Beyond Bored Ape: Every NFT Collection Worth Knowing About

Slowly but surely, NFTs are going mainstream. From Cool Cats to CloneX, here are the brands you should know.

A year ago, nonfungible tokens were internet oddities. Artworks were sold for confounding prices thanks to the NFT label that was slapped on them. 

It was scary and confusing, but a year later... NFTs are still scary and confusing. Yet slowly but surely, they're entering the mainstream.

 Celebrities with household names use NFTs as profile pictures, seen by the tens of millions who follow them. Brands like Nike and Adidas are striking deals with NFT makers to enter the metaverse. 

If you're peripherally aware of NFTs, you probably know of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Maybe it's the only one you know about.

 But though it is the most well known NFT collection, it's but one of many "blue chip" (which typically refers to a sustained floor price of over 10 ether) sets that, for good or ill, have acted as NFT market pioneers. This is a list of those NFT collections worth knowing. 

A few notes before we begin. First, this list only includes rundowns of NFT collections, not stand-alone pieces of art and not NFTs 101. The unspoken convention is that most NFT collections span between 5,000 and 10,000 tokens, featuring variations of the same design that make some much rarer than others.

 This has come into vogue for, among other reasons, the fact that it encourages communities to grow around these collections. As we'll see, membership into a genuine and helpful community is a big selling point for some big-name NFTs.

Second, the term "floor price" is used frequently: It essentially refers to the cheapest price you can buy an NFT for in any given collection. (I'm using USD for simplicity.) For instance, Bored Ape Yacht Club's floor price of $390,000 means the lowest price a holder has listed their NFT for sale is $390,000, but sales go far above that.


CryptoPunks is the OG NFT collection: 10,000 8-bit Punks. It's often cited as the first NFT set, and it's definitely the first set to gain significant cultural traction. While future successful collections have become blue chips by offering some kind of utility -- whether real or imagined -- buying a CryptoPunk is likened to buying a piece of history. 

The collection created by Larva Labs launched in 2017 and was a "free mint" at the time: Customers only had to pay a transaction fee, but nothing for the NFT itself. It's now impossible to buy a CryptoPunk for less than $150,000. CryptoPunks set two trends that would become standard fare in the NFT world. Thanks in large part to CryptoPunks, most (though not all) collections are 10,000 pieces strong. 

Second, each CryptoPunk has a series of traits and attributes that rank it on a scale of rarity in the set. This collectable quality is something you now see in practically every NFT set, and CryptoPunks is often cited as the inspiration. The CryptoPunks brand was bought earlier this year by Yuga Labs, creators of the next collection. 

Bored Ape Yacht Club

If the average NFT speculator knows any collection, it's Bored Ape Yacht Club. That's because of the celebrities that have bought into the collection and use its apes as profile pictures on social media: Steph Curry, Eminem, Jimmy Fallon... it's quite the list.

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