NFT Brief

NFT Brief (2H 2023) | June 30, 2023

The purpose of this report is to bring everyone up to speed with a snapshot of the current NFT market and a few major NFT projects/ecosystems.

General Overview & Market Trends

The NFT space is generally considered to be in a bear market, though volume has started climbing again in the last 60 days on Ethereum.


Blur has become the dominant exchange as it incentivizes trading by rewarding users with $BLUR token airdrops and a UX/UI designed specifically for serious traders rather than casual collectors.

We believe that OpenSea volume, which is still declining, may be a strong indicator of retail investor/collector participation in the market due to its friendlier user experience.

Additionally, the number of active projects is waning, with only 54 projects doing over 100 ETH in trade volume last week and only 10 projects doing over 1,000 ETH in trade volume.


Ethereum remains the largest chain by NFT Volume, with Bitcoin ordinals now firmly in 2nd place, and Solana in 3rd.


The top performing projects of 2023 on Ethereum are DeGods and Captainz, though Captain minted in January and is still a new project.


Milady Makers was another standout project, though price performance was heavily affected by Elon Musk tweeting out a meme related to Milady NFTs.


The NFT projects outlined below are not necessarily projects we’ve identified as good investments. We’re simply providing an overview and investment thesis for each so you can better understand why some people in the market are investing in them.



The Bored Ape Yacht Club floor price has been in a strong downtrend for over a year, falling from $450k to $65k.

The bear market has greatly shrunk the pool of people who can afford a 6 figure NFT, which has led to diminished demand. Meanwhile, the supply of Yuga assets in circulation has risen to hundreds of thousands of NFTS with the continued launch of new collections like Otherdeeds, Otherside Kodas, HV-MTL, and 10KTF.

This supply dilution has diminished the value proposition of owning a BAYC as BAYC owners usually get these new collections airdropped to them. Each new collection has provided less and less value to BAYC holders over time.

Additionally, BAYC has not onboarded any new A-list celebrities into the ecosystem, which was a a successful marketing strategy in the bull market.

The current investment thesis of owning a BAYC or any BAYC related Yuga assets is the hope that Yuga will be able to deliver on their goal of creating a massively popular video game: Otherside. At Sistine Research, we do not feel BAYC or any other Yuga asset presents asymmetric risk reward at current prices.

DeGods / y00ts

DeGods have developed a strong uptrend since the collection was migrated to Ethereum and have been one of the best performing NFT collections of 2023.


The founders (Frank & Kevin) are strong marketers who have developed a system for DeGods and y00ts called “Seasons” where major announcements, art upgrades, and new products are rolled out all at once.

While most projects experience down trends while the team builds, DeGods and y00ts often see strong price action in anticipation of the next season launching.

The investment thesis for owning DeGods and/or y00ts is simply investing in the marketing competence of Frank and the building competence of Kevin. Frank has demonstrated continued prowess as a viral marketer while Kevin has built and exited multiple tech startups (sold Acompli to Microsoft for $200M) as well as served as the VP of engineering for Instacart.

See the entire deep dive on DeGods, y00ts, and DUST here for a more comprehensive explanation of the DeLabs ecosystem.

Based on the new roadmap site ( launched on June 29, we believe the team has hinted at a few developments. The following are unconfirmed, and purely speculation based on some Easter eggs on the new site.

  • y00ts may be moving to ETH (this would be bullish for the same reasons DeGods moving to ETH was)
  • It’s likely that the DeGods S3 art upgrade will cost 333 DUST, which may cause a short-term pump in $DUST
  • There may be 535 BTC ordinal y00ts launched which would likely be minted/airdropped to BTC DeGod holders.

Azuki / Beanz / Elementals

The Azuki ecosystem recently took a massive hit after badly fumbling their latest collection mint, quickly going from one of the top performing projects of 2023 to down nearly 60% from recent highs.


Azuki is well-known for dominating the anime NFT niche with their high quality art and web design. Particularly popular among asian NFT whales, Azuki had carved out a solid standing behind Yuga before the Azuki Elementals mint last week.

While the Azuki main collection has been widely celebrated as “the best NFT generative art collection”, their new collection launched with shocking similar art and a 20,000 supply, heavily diluting the value of owning an Azuki.

Most people are unable to tell the difference between the two collections, massively devaluing the proposition of owning “the best art in the space”. Why pay 10 ETH for an Azuki when you can get the same thing for 1.5 ETH?


Furthermore, while many projects have rewarded their holders by airdropping new collections to their holders for free, Azuki holders had to pay 2 ETH (~$3.8k) to mint an Azuki Elemental AND only had a 10 minute window to do so before the mint opened to others.

This move demonstrated a massive disconnect between the team and the community in addition to incompetence regarding the effects of diluting the main collection with the same art.

The investment thesis for owning an Azuki is that the strength of the brand and art will eventually overcome this bump in the road, especially once an NFT bull market comes back.

Pudgy Penguins

Pudgy Penguins have maintained a level price thus far in 2023, with a few small speculative pumps along the way. Since being acquired by Luca Netz, Pudgy Penguins have dominated the niche of “cute” NFT art.

As often in the case, marketing has been at the core of the Pudgy Penguins’ success. Pudgy Penguins have designed and uploaded 3.4k gifs to giphy that have generated 4.5 billion views to date:


Luca has a background in the toy industry and since acquiring the Pudgy Penguins IP has launched a Pudgy penguins physical toy line that has reached #1 on Amazon, selling out within 48 hours of launching.


The investment thesis for owning a Pudgy Penguin is threefold:

  • The team has a real, profitable revenue stream via physical toys, meaning they do not have to sell more NFTs and dilute their holders.
  • Pudgy Penguins are a strong and recognizable brand with billions of social media impressions.
  • Pudgy Penguins experience limited competition as they have carved out a space in the “cute” niche.
  • The hope that the team will eventually be able to find a way to return monetary value to the Pudgy Penguin NFT holders in some way.

The main uphill battle for Pudgy Penguins is that there may not be a realistic, legal way to return monetary value to holders.

Solana Projects

Mad Lads

Mad Lads is a project we provided research on and have been fairly bullish on since mint.

Mad Lads minted for ~$150 on April 22 and has since ranged between $1100 - $2200.


Mad Lads are the corresponding NFT project of Backpack, a multi-chain crypto wallet built by Coral. For a more in-depth review of Backpack and Mad Lads see the report we published before mint here.

The investment thesis for Mad Lads is one of mass distribution to crypto/NFT users through the BackPack wallet.

The Mad Lads/Backpack team is trying to build a community (Mad Lads) that is worth marketing to from the Backpack wallet, which allows developers to build and distribute xNFTs to users. xNFTs are executable NFTs, or code packaged up as an NFT.

The team is extraordinarily competent when it comes to software engineering. If Backpack is successful, it is assumed that Mad Lads will be highly desirable NFTs to own.

Additionally, Mad Lads are


Metame is an upcoming Solana NFT project that we have identified as an asymmetric risk/reward opportunity.

Based on the below notes, we believe it’s a worthwhile endeavor to get a whitelisted for Metame.

  1. The art is very well done and in a niche (anime) that is extremely popular in the NFT space (see Azuki, ON1 Force). This is the main reason to be bullish at the moment. Well-received art almost always sees positive price-action after mint.
  1. The website ( is high quality and the whitelist claim process is smooth.
  2. The project has been slowly handing out whitelists to engaged community members rather than trying to run large-scale giveaways to people who are likely to dump after launch.
  3. The supply will not be 10,000 and may be as low as 3,000. The exact supply is unknown, but lower supply NFTs pump much easier post mint.
  4. There is a general lack of excitement about any other pre-launch NFT projects on Solana at the moment.

The lower supply cap and art alone are likely enough to make whitelist mints profitable. Should the team follow-through with a solid long-term plan, Metame may be a project worth holding onto. We will provide updates periodically as more information is available.

Launch date: unknown (anticipated sometime in Q3 of 2023)

How to get whitelisted:

  1. Follow on Twitter and turn on notifications.
  2. Follow the team on twitter:

  4. Comment and engage positively and consistently and you will likely be DM’d a whitelist code that can be redeemed for a whitelist card at