This is the second piece of our series on Generative Art. See our previous article: Why generative art is the next biggest trend in NFTs
There are a couple of collections that every NFT collector should know: Bored Apes and Squiggles, both part of the generative art movement. Why is a Bored Ape worth 55ETH and a Squiggle worth 9ETH today?
Each of these two collections leads the NFT market in their own respective field, Bored Apes as a 10k generative PFP (Profile Picture) and Squiggles as one of the first generative art NFT collections.
As generative art collections, both utilize lots of different properties (also known as traits) to differentiate each piece. Each trait is randomly generated to create thousands of different NFTs varying in rarity.
Another common point is their great performance growth as a common point, as both launched below 200$ with current floor prices in the tens of thousands.
At the time of writing, these are the current stats of Bored Apes and Squiggles:
About Bored Apes
Bored Apes started out as a 10,000 edition NFT collection, designed to fit your social media profile picture. The art style was different from the usual pixelated art of other NFT profile picture projects, with a website that centered around building a club.
When they were released on April 23rd, it took almost 12 hours for the entire collection to sell out (many current NFT collections sell out in minutes). Today, it would cost you a cool 53 ETH to get a floor ape.
About Chromie Squiggles
Chromie Squiggles is one of Artblocks’s first collections and a collection created by Artblocks’ founder, Snowfro. It is one of the first mainstream generative art NFTs to hit the Ethereum market.
It minted for 0.035 ETH in 2020, and made a historic sale for 922.5 ETH in September 2021.
2. About Rarity and Traits: On the Importance of Looking at Traits When Buying NFTs
We took a look at the listed traits of Bored Apes and Squiggles to see if there was a clear correlation between trait types and appraisal prices (our appraisal prices are based on historical sales of the specific NFT within its collection).
Does Rarity Affect Pricing When It Comes To Bored Ape Traits?
With all generative art, Bored Apes’ traits are valued differently, which can easily be seen through looking at sales of rare traits:
If you take the Bored Apes’ mouth traits (one of the more visually differentiable features), we can see that the traits “Phoneme ooo” and “Bored Unshaven Dagger” are at both ends of the appraisal spectrum. Interestingly, the “Bored Unshaven Dagger” is 2nd most rare (with only 28 apes sporting this trait) but has the highest appraisal price. As for the “Phoneme ooo” trait, it ranks 11th on the list of rarity but has the lowest appraisal price.
Similarly, both the “Bored Unshaven Kazoo” and the “Bored Unshaven Bubblegum” traits, which appear on around 60 apes, have a lower appraisal price than the “Grin Gold Grill” that has been used on 90 apes!
Therefore, actual rarity of traits is not directly correlated to appraisal price, especially when it comes to mid-tier traits. Another explanation may be that it is a combination of traits, rather than unique rare traits, that have the highest impact on a piece’s value.
What is certain is that the largest appraisal differences come from the opposite ends of the spectrum. To truly invest in rare collections, only traits on the higher end will have a significantly higher appraisal. For instance, “Gold Fur”, a trait less than 1% of Bored Apes have: a “Gold Fur” ape recently sold for $3,408,000 USD or 819 Eth at Sotheby’s in October 2021.
We see the same for Fur traits. Appraisals sit between 50–100, and then jump in 100’s once we get to the 5 rarest traits in the Fur category.
Does Rarity Affect Pricing When It Comes To Squiggles Traits?
When looking at Squiggles traits, we looked at the Spectrum trait and Segments. The appraisal prices increased more steadily with each trait. Here it looks like appraisal prices are more directly correlated to trait differences.
3. Utility vs Art: How much is a community worth?
Since we have demonstrated that some traits are worth more than others in both profile picture and generative art NFTs, why are Chromie Squiggles worth 9 ETH, while a floor BAYC is worth 55?
If you look back at the genesis of the project hare, you see that Bored Apes have one major specificity: owners don’t only own the NFT, they also have commercial rights over their owned apes. They can freely use their apes to create their own products, collections, bands, comic books and more.
This aspect most definitely strengthened the Bored Ape community, and added further utility to holders. What later helped was the onboarding of many celebrities and companies that further established Bored Ape as one of the most successful NFT projects.
Beyond commercial rights, Bored Apes offers a community, an identity, and a unique art style in a sea of pixelated profile pictures. Made to fit your social media profile pic, they also offer a way to brand yourself. That, in itself, is a price people are willing to pay.
While Chromie Squiggles offer historical value in being one of the first generative NFTs along with rarity in traits, it seems community, utility, and identity are worth a lot more.
If you had 55 ETH, would you buy a floor BAYC or 5 Squiggles?