Amid the cryptocurrency market’s lingering winter in 2023, a longing for the previous bull market permeates major social media networks, especially for the NFT market which experienced a meteoric rise between 2021 and 2022.
During that time, the entire cryptocurrency market was thriving, and the NFT market, in particular, underwent rapid and frequent shifts, with new hot projects emerging briskly.
There were many impressive and nostalgic projects among them, and Moonbirds stands out as one of those cherished memories.
Moonbirds represents a collection of 10,000 Ethereum-based NFTs known as a digital aviary, each featuring a pixelated owl character. Just like typical PFP NFTs, these Moonbirds possess unique and random attributes.
Initially, the owners of Moonbirds NFTs held intellectual property rights, allowing them to leverage the images to create various products, services, and merchandise. Additionally, they were granted access to a private community called the PROOF Collective.
While subsequent developments, such as the introduction of frameworks like CC0, altered the rights of NFT holders without community consensus, the initial rights bestowed upon Moonbirds NFT holders were deemed appealing. However, this aspect was not a key determinant of the project’s success.
During its prime, this parliament of 10,000 owl avatars garnered significant attention in the market since its launch in April 2022. The project’s allure can be attributed to its distinctive pixelated design, as well as its notable diversity and scarcity, setting it apart from other NFTs.
Unlike many other NFT projects at the time, Moonbirds NFTs did not employ extensive marketing strategies targeting a wide range of users. Instead, the project relied on endorsements from influential figures within the community. Kevin Rose, the founder and host of the NFT-focused Proof Podcast, was a prominent figure with substantial influence and an established reputation as an astute investor.
Capitalizing on the project’s initial fame, Moonbirds NFT took a closed-community approach to facilitate a smooth initial launch, following the successful path paved by PROOF in previous projects.
The team behind the Moonbirds NFT series, PROOF, had previously launched the PROOF Collective NFT series. Through a Dutch auction, 1,000 NFTs were successfully acquired by a dedicated community of long-term participants, resulting in the creation of the PROOF Collective, a private and exclusive NFT members’ club.
Therefore, the launch of Moonbirds NFT is intricately connected to the collective ideology that PROOF has consistently championed. Building upon the PROOF Collective community, Kevin Rose has complemented this endeavor with the publicly accessible Proof Podcast, utilizing his own influence to forge continuous connections with various resources. This community provides long-term benefits to NFT holders through complimentary NFT airdrops, exclusive event access, content, and other privileges.
Ahead of its launch, Moonbirds NFT meticulously divided the specific token distribution. Among them, 2,000 NFTs were allocated to the previous 1,000 PROOF Collective community members, allowing each person to mint two NFTs for free.
The Moonbirds NFT team reserved 125 NFTs for future business collaborations and marketing resources. Initially, the team planned to adopt a Dutch auction format, similar to PROOF Collective NFTs, with a starting price of 2.5 ETH per NFT for the remaining 7,850 NFTs. However, due to the overwhelming popularity of the project and to prevent potential hacking attacks, the team ultimately decided to use a combination of lottery and whitelist for the sale.
Within 24 hours of its launch, Moonbirds NFT’s trading volume surpassed $100 million. It quickly set a new record for an individual NFT transaction at $457,000 (OO ETH), securing the top position on Opensea’s transaction leaderboard at the time.
However, the initial success was followed by a decline, resembling the graceful flight of an owl through the night sky. Today, the floor price for this collection is around 2 ETH, a significant departure from its initial value. Nevertheless, the total transaction volume of 321,176 ETH is a reminder of its past dominance.
Several factors contributed to this situation. While Moonbirds NFT benefited from the star power of PROOF founder Kevin Rose, the introduction of the Nest Building gameplay alongside the NFTs allowed users to participate in similar staking-like activities from the early stages, which attracted significant market attention.
However, the NFT enthusiasts drawn to this project were primarily captivated by the various accolades associated with Kevin Rose. PROOF, the pioneer of the Moonbirds NFT project, was founded solely by Kevin Rose, a partner at the venture capital firm True Ventures, and has been recognized by Bloomberg as one of the world’s 25 most influential figures.
Kevin Rose, renowned for his previous successful investments in companies like Twitter, Zynga, Facebook, Square, Medium, and Ripple, holds significant influence in both Web 2.0 and Web 3.0.
Proof Podcast, a platform championed by Kevin Rose to showcase his own initiatives, has long been a gathering place for a diverse array of notable figures from various industries. Among the esteemed guests are Sebastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox; Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit; Mike Shinoda, member of the band Linkin Park; Gabby Dizon, co-founder of Yield Guild Games; and even renowned artist Beeple and NFT enthusiast Gary Vee.
Under Kevin Rose’s skillful hosting, the podcast delves deep into the future of Web 3.0, providing profound insights into the artistry and evolution of NFTs. This has further solidified Kevin Rose’s esteemed reputation within the NFT and broader Web 3.0 landscape.
Moonbirds NFT marks Kevin Rose’s second foray into NFT projects under the PROOF banner. Building on the success of the earlier PROOF Collective, Moonbirds was poised for a promising start, backed by a talented team and ample resources. One might even argue that a fortunate beginning was almost inevitable.
However, it was disheartening to witness the subsequent market performance of Moonbirds NFT, as its momentum waned. This was largely due to the project’s failure to meet consumer demands regarding strategic roadmaps and user privileges, ultimately diminishing its competitive advantage.
The roots of these outcomes can be traced back to PROOF itself. The subsequent projects launched after Moonbirds NFT failed to capitalize on the existing foundation and sustain the momentum generated by earlier efforts. Moreover, these subsequent NFT series and commercial ventures gradually eroded the confidence anticipated by the PROOF community.
These developments are closely intertwined with PROOF’s underlying motives and market strategies.
There has been extensive discussion surrounding PROOF, with many enthusiasts in the crypto and NFT communities already familiar with it.
PROOF’s genesis is marked by a collective endorsement, largely due to the renowned founder, Kevin Rose. When Rose ventured into the Web3 space, his attention was captivated by the NFT sector and its potential as a nascent artistic medium.
Drawing on his influence, Rose quickly amassed a dedicated following of NFT enthusiasts, forming the foundation of the nascent PROOF Collective community.
After immersing himself in the NFT sphere as an observer, Rose was ready to make an impact. Thus, PROOF was born, leaving an indelible impression from the start, thanks to Rose’s resourceful clout.
From the beginning, PROOF attracted venture capitalists, securing an impressive $50 million in Series A funding led by a16z, with additional support from other institutions. Rose envisioned PROOF as a focused enterprise in the NFT realm, involved not only in creating and distributing NFT series but also in cultivating its own ecosystem, incorporating NFT art, and expanding into IP-oriented businesses.
During its early stages, Kevin Rose utilized the PROOF Podcast to establish his personal brand, leveraging an initial user base comprised of early adopters and PROOF patrons. This led to the launch of PROOF Collective, the inaugural NFT project, featuring an exclusive collection of just 1,000 NFTs. This initiative placed the community at the core of PROOF, attracting esteemed industry influencers and a legion of NFT artists.
The PROOF Collective can be seen as a congregation of top-tier individuals in the NFT realm, shaping market discourse through their prominent status. The tremendous success of the Moonbirds NFT series attests to PROOF’s adept market manipulation.
However, like any digital asset, investment, and circulation are vital for the NFT market. Regardless of branding efforts, NFT projects must offer tangible investment returns and consistently strengthen their narrative to expand their user base and gain wider market acceptance.
This influx of users signifies the passing of the torch, where newcomers must perceive a promising future trajectory, while early patrons reap rewards from their initial investments. For community-centric NFT ventures like PROOF, this reciprocity is paramount, reinforced through narrative development and the realization of vested interests.
For PROOF, its insular community served as the cornerstone of its initial market success, rather than being merely a marketing ploy. However, after the Moonbirds NFT frenzy, the general market population flooded into PROOF’s community. Coupled with the rapid circulation of this series in the secondary market, the demographic makeup of the original community underwent a significant shift.
Nevertheless, this shift should be considered a minor drawback. For many prominent NFT ventures, diversifying community demographics rarely impacts market performance. From another perspective, it is a natural progression that often enhances the project’s future prospects.
The crux of PROOF’s challenge lies in its subsequent NFT series. Following Moonbirds, PROOF launched Oddities, Mythics, and several related NFT series, each characterized by meticulous content narration. PROOF aimed to craft a commercial brand with Metaverse traits, building upon Moonbirds and weaving these projects into a cohesive narrative tapestry. However, concerning practical vested interest design, the focus remains primarily on overall commercial performance, unlike numerous NFT projects that strive to provide users with tangible applications.
（Image Source: propaganda.xyz）
Although initially, NFT projects relied heavily on community ties and cultural affinity, as they grew in scale and market competition intensified, participants in each NFT project began to prioritize short-term returns on their investments.
However, PROOF faced a significant challenge when the entire crypto market entered a downturn in 2022. The NFT market, in particular, experienced a major shift in its ecosystem following the burst of an overheated bubble. This left many projects needing help, with the only solace in the trading and circulation of NFTs.
In these circumstances, PROOF attempted to maintain its market presence through brand cultivation, but unfortunately, this yielded little results. In the first quarter of 2023, PROOF partnered with the clothing label Madhappy to launch an NFT badge themed around Moonbirds, alongside a collaboration with physical merchandise. However, the response was underwhelming.
In reality, PROOF aimed to evolve its NFT collection into a brand, similar to projects like BAYC, Doodle, or Azuki. While navigating the NFT market, PROOF sought to expand its horizons in the Web2 space through various commercial expansions and foster growth in the NFT art realm, similar to the ongoing Grails project that brings together multiple NFT artists.
However, when Moonbirds took the spotlight as the primary IP for content dissemination, it failed to meet expectations. This was largely due to PROOF’s resources being predominantly focused on Web3, and Moonbirds lacked the compelling attributes to compete with more renowned projects.
The lackluster market response gave PROOF community members a clear impression of a need for more clarity in the roadmap. This was exacerbated by the limited disclosure of information regarding brand commercialization progress and the inability of PROOF’s various NFT collections to maintain vitality through economic model designs.
These factors led to a decline in confidence among community members. Following the consecutive launches of the Moonbirds, Oddities, and Mythics NFT collections, PROOF’s presence in the NFT market gradually diminished, even with its flagship Moonbirds collection struggling.
PROOF’s market performance since 2022 has been notable to a significant faction of NFT enthusiasts, if not the majority. The intentions and strategies of PROOF have been revealed through subsequent NFT collection launches, with various issues casting shadows on the market performance of these collections.
Herein, we will delve into the three NFT collections under PROOF’s purview: PROOF Collective NFT, Oddities, and Mythics. We will meticulously examine these collections, punctuated by key episodes involving PROOF.
Please note that the Grails project, mainly focused on Grail NFTs within the realm of NFT-curated art pieces, will not be discussed in this context.
As a pioneering project under the PROOF banner, it would be inappropriate to evaluate it using the lens typically applied to traditional NFT initiatives. The PROOF Collective NFT goes beyond being a digital asset traded in the NFT market; it represents a quintessential example of the NFT PASS genre.
Early NFT initiatives like BAYC and Pudgy Penguins gave rise to communities that, essentially, were fueled by hype and nurtured by influential figures and prominent venture capitalists. The concept of prestige is intertwined with these NFTs, and owning them serves as a social currency within their community.
The PROOF Collective NFT exemplifies this category. The private community it has spawned, known as PROOF Collective, resembles an exclusive elite guild. Even as Moonbirds attracted a flood of new members to PROOF, it did not diminish the uniqueness of the PROOF Collective. As the most esteemed and distinctive NFT series under PROOF’s umbrella, PROOF Collective NFT naturally gained significant attention. Its trajectory is closely linked to PROOF’s demonstrated business acumen.
Regardless of whether one is genuinely captivated by the artistry within the NFT domain, PROOF’s inherent penchant for sensationalism has bestowed numerous attributes upon PROOF Collective NFT, including scarcity, high barriers to entry, exclusivity, endorsements from key opinion leaders, and overwhelming support from the masses. As a result, PROOF Collective NFT has commanded astronomical prices since its launch, reaching a staggering floor price of 130 ETH in tandem with the release of Moonbirds NFT.
Although the PROOF Collective NFT was once considered a valuable treasure, its limited supply (only 1,000 issued) and liquidity challenges have resulted in a total trading volume of just 33,189 ETH. From this NFT alone, one can extrapolate the waning state of PROOF today. Compared to its peak when it reached jaw-dropping prices, the floor price has dwindled to a mere 8.75 ETH.
The persistent emphasis on the speculative aspect of PROOF Collective NFT throughout this discussion is closely tied to PROOF’s efforts to promote it as an artistic pursuit within the NFT realm.
Ultimately, it is nearly impossible to associate PROOF Collective NFT with genuine art.
Oddities NFT is the subsequent NFT series introduced by PROOF, following closely after the launch of Moonbirds NFT. It made its digital debut in May 2022, merely a month after the unveiling of the previous collection.
As previously mentioned, PROOF’s inception brought forth a significant deficiency in terms of rights design for NFT projects, a characteristic that has proven to be far from trivial.
The PROOF Collective NFT led to a community interwoven with esteemed personalities and artists. The impact and influence wielded by these members in shaping PROOF cannot be underestimated. Their focus on NFT speculation and artistic excellence has inadvertently led to a lack of foundational structure in rights design and the cultivation of a thriving ecosystem within PROOF’s NFT endeavors.
In stark contrast to the whirlwind success of Moonbirds NFT, Oddities NFT encountered a less enthusiastic reception. While Moonbirds NFT was embraced with open arms, the excitement surrounding Oddities NFT diminished significantly within three months of its launch. Its lowest price dipped to approximately 1 ETH and currently stands at a mere 0.2 ETH. Over the course of a year since its release, the total transaction volume for this series amounts to 42,150 ETH.
Introducing the highly anticipated culmination of PROOF’s NFT collections to date - Mythics.
Mythics, an enchanting assemblage of NFTs, has been freshly minted by PROOF. This series continues the captivating narrative of Moonbirds but with an intriguing twist: Mythics NFTs debuted on April 17, 2023, taking the form of captivating eggs, with a total supply of 20,000.
Currently, there are two captivating avenues to acquire Mythics eggs NFTs. One can either become a guardian of Moonbirds NFTs and receive airdrops through an engaging nesting game or embrace Oddities NFTs and receive airdrops through the alchemy of NFT burning.
A closer look at Mythics reveals that PROOF has deviated from convention and embarked on a new path with this release. Furthermore, this launch is a tribute to their dedicated users, solidifying the foundation of their community.
In line with the previously disclosed roadmap, PROOF has meticulously planned an extended-release schedule for the Mythics NFTs. Fifty Mythics will be released daily, akin to golden drops of dawn, over an estimated 400 days. These tokens will be equitably distributed among participants of the Moonbirds nesting game and those who burn Oddities NFTs – 25 allocated to each faction. However, all will receive them in the enchanting form of Mythics eggs.
Inside sources from PROOF’s inner sanctum suggest that the hatching of Mythics eggs is slated for June.
From available information, it is evident that Mythics NFTs grant exclusive community access and a range of resources provided by PROOF. Moreover, Mythics eggs possess distinct attributes, echoing the design philosophy behind Moonbirds NFTs. Their rarity foreshadows potential value and privileges, positioning Mythics NFTs as a catalyst in shaping an illustrious ecosystem within the tapestry of the Moonbirds’ universe that PROOF is weaving.
Mythics NFTs, in the form of Mythics eggs, have made their presence known on platforms such as Opensea. Since users privately hold the majority, only a few thousand are in circulation, with an entry price hovering around 0.2 ETH and a total trading volume of 371 ETH. As the series is still in its early stages, the future prospects it holds are nothing short of enthralling.
Despite the multitude of new projects surrounding Moonbirds NFT, the predicament faced by PROOF became evident as early as the release of Oddities NFT.
Many experts foresaw the fate of Oddities NFT. Released only a month apart and sharing a similar profile picture representation and design aesthetic to Moonbirds NFT, it primarily focused on subsequent collections while also airdropping to Moonbirds NFT holders, garring considerable interest from its users.
However, the aftermath of PROOF’s release of Oddities NFT resulted in a domino effect, causing prices to plummet across its other NFT collections. As the NFT market entered a bearish phase, this situation escalated into a dire predicament.
In such a climate, users no longer held onto the once-beloved lore of profile picture NFTs.
To preserve the project, PROOF announced in August 2022 that the Moonbirds and Oddities NFT collections would transition to a CC0 model. This move aimed to liberate the copyrights of the two series, allowing everyone to create new works or derivatives. Additionally, the establishment of Moonbirds DAO was signaled to support and oversee the evolution of the ecosystem.
During a subsequent Future PROOF live stream, a new roadmap was revealed.
PROOF decided that their third NFT collection, Mythic NFT, scheduled for early 2023, would provide certain privileges to previous users. They would launch an avant-garde Web3 social platform, serving as a platform for NFT holders and enthusiasts to curate exhibitions. The upcoming Grails project is a manifestation of this vision.
Alongside plans for new ventures, PROOF aimed to consolidate existing research papers, podcasts, DAO proposals, and other content assets to support the CC0 model. They also planned to establish Moonbirds DAO for managing trademark licensing and capital allocation. Additionally, the issuance of $PROOF tokens was on the horizon.
PROOF has faced significant setbacks and challenges after the release of Oddities NFT. While their business ventures have had somewhat lackluster performance compared to ecosystem development and execution, PROOF’s strength appears to lie in capital ventures, with ecosystem construction presenting challenges.
While the CC0 model may hold promise for PROOF’s NFT collections in the long run, outsourcing project commercial development due to execution inadequacies raises questions about their commitment. Moreover, brand expansion requires inherent product competitiveness.
PROOF’s offerings in critical aspects were somewhat conventional and commonplace for Web3 projects. While these strategies may have been advantageous during favorable market conditions, they are unlikely to rekindle market sentiment for PROOF’s current situation.
In summary, the aftermath of the Oddities NFT release exposed PROOF’s shortcomings in strategy and execution. While this NFT series adds marginal value to the Moonbirds IP, its approach and applications are merely perfunctory. Launching three NFT collections falls short of constructing a cohesive ecosystem for PROOF.
Although it has only been a year since the launch of the Moonbirds NFT series, its journey from a promising beginning to its current mediocrity has left a lasting impression on Web3 users.
Moonbirds NFT, PROOF’s most well-received NFT series, is associated with various labels. Its founders’ reputation, backing from elites, impressive beginnings followed by waning momentum, and being seen as a harbinger of the decline of profile picture blue chips are all closely linked to Moonbirds NFT.
As we reach the midpoint of 2023, the focus shifts to whether PROOF can deliver on its new plans when discussing the prospects of Moonbirds NFT.
Given its track record and the challenges it has faced, Moonbirds NFT’s image among users has solidified. To enhance its intellectual property and revive the market, it is crucial for PROOF to develop its ecosystem fully.
Otherwise, relying solely on current market recognition and endorsement from a few elites, Moonbirds NFT may find its growth limited. PROOF has shattered many of its previous illusions over the past year.
In this trajectory, a convergence of buzz and favorable market conditions is necessary for Moonbirds NFT to experience a renaissance. Therefore, it is prudent to adopt a watchful and neutral stance. While PROOF may not have showcased exemplary cases in the NFT realm, its founding team and PROOF Collective community bring substantial resources to the table, commanding significant recognition in terms of capital.
Hence, PROOF is not lacking resources to seize opportunities in the future, and Moonbirds NFT may yet paint a different landscape.
The ingenuity from the Owl once drove countless NFT enthusiasts to a frenzy. Although Moonbirds NFT was born amidst blossoms and applause, enjoying the enviable resource backing that many NFT projects aspire to, it, unfortunately, made mistakes in its route planning and business expansion, a perhaps inherited trait from PROOF’s hype-driven debut.
In times of dramatic shifts in market conditions, the stark downturn of Moonbirds NFT and the cluelessness of PROOF have become deeply imprinted memories.
However, having witnessed everything that transpired during the previous bull market, the case of Moonbirds NFTs will undoubtedly serve as a continuous reminder for future NFT users and project operators. It urges them to actively explore the boundaries of NFT projects and design more enjoyable and sustainable strategies to go the distance, rather than relying solely on prestige and popularity.
The outcome driven from the inside out invariably empowers one with greater autonomy than that from the outside in. This encapsulates the ongoing transformation in both Moonbirds NFT and PROOF.