NFT Highlights of 2023: The Best and Worst of a Whirlwind Year

January 2023: Hacks, Sweeps and Dookey Sprint

2023 began off with a bang with massively common battle royale recreation PUBG asserting a partnership with web3 gaming platform Banger Video games.

It was a massive month for giant model adoption, with BMW, Sq. Enix and the Tribeca Movie Competition experimenting with web3.

In a signal of issues to come back, a number of gaming-focused collections kicked off 2023 with a bang. Axie Infinity pushed their equipment replace, Treeverse held their pre-alpha launch, Neopets netted $4mil in funding, and Yuga Labs launched the wildly common Dookey Sprint.

NFT collectibles had an explosive begin to the 12 months. Artwork Blocks minted their Friendship Bracelets, one collector swept the DeGods ground for $1mil, PROOF launched Grails: Season III, Mocaverse began making waves, Sweet Digital raised $38mil, and Doodles acquired Golden Wolf alongside asserting Doodles 2 on Circulation.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. @NFT_God and PROOF Collective co-founder Kevin Rose have been hit by main hacks, Porsche had a rocky NFT launch, ApeFest severed its ties with NFT.NYC, Nifty Gateway’s founders departed the venture, NFT Examine closed its doorways, and Yuga Labs co-founder Wylie Aronow stepped down amid well being issues.

February 2023: Ordinals, Controversy and Market Struggle

Amidst Dookey Sprint rising to prominence and the discharge of Worldwide Webb’s MOBA, the OpenSea-Blur warfare dominated the headlines – the plucky challenger’s $BLUR token choosing up velocity with the back-and-forth between the 2 marketplaces raging all through the month.

Manufacturers continued to experiment with web3 expertise, as Shopify launched tokengated commerce, Amazon invested $20mil into Superplastic, Sorare signed a $4.3bil take care of the English Premier League, Reddit launched free Tremendous Bowl snoos, Rihanna utilised NFTs to share her streaming royalties, Spotify debuted tokengated playlists, Wizards of the Coast backtracked on license modifications that prevented by-product NFTs, and free-to-mint Starbucks NFTs hit a $2,000 ground value.

February was busy for Yuga Labs, as alongside Dookey Sprint, they needed to make clear the rights of Bored Ape holders, landed in sizzling water over the unique Bored Ape Kennel Membership emblem, and settled their lawsuit with the developer behind the copycat RR/BAYC assortment.

Following their January debut, Bitcoin Ordinals picked up tempo, with their reputation spilling over into Litecoin. Different improvements made their mark in February, as Uniswap allowed NFT purchases utilizing any ETH-based token, the debut of Porsche’s NFT assortment sparked debate on NFT refunds, and Immutable launched their Immutable Passport resolution.

This was additionally the month of Cool Cats’ rebrand, a @ZachXBT tip-off serving to the FBI seize $260,000 of NFTs, and World of Girls’s inaugural Artfest – but in addition noticed the conclusion of Hermes lawsuit in opposition to Metabirkins, Coinbase roll again assist for creator drops.

March 2023: Unity, Keys and Bridges

Yuga Labs continued to rule the headlines in March, with the controversial launch of Ordinals assortment TwelveFold, a Wisconsin-based vineyard releasing BAYC-emblazoned NFT wine, Dookey Sprint winner Mongraal promoting his Golden Key reward for 1,000 ETH, the holding of The Summoning, the announcement of Legends of the Mara, the “Second Trip” for Yuga Labs’ metaverse Otherside – which noticed over 7,000 contributors – and information of a collaboration between Yuga Labs and Gucci.

Blur hit the headlines as soon as once more, as amid a rise in phishing scams piggybacking off their success, whales dumped NFTs to capitalise on the upcoming $BLUR token airdrop.

Mainstream manufacturers continued to discover web3. NFT-backed TV present Krapopolis was renewed for a third season (regardless of being yet-to-air), Lamborghini launched their remaining sixtieth anniversary NFT, rumours swirled of an Amazon-backed NFT market, Nike launched bodily RTFKT Air Pressure 1 sneakers, Starbucks Odyssey debuted their first NFT stamps, the Pokémon Firm marketed a C-suite web3 position, Avenged Sevenfold built-in their Deathbats NFT assortment with Ticketmaster, and Sony filed a patent for cross-platform NFT buying and selling.

After Animoca Manufacturers waded into the dialogue on creator royalties – and launched a members-only membership in LA – a Buterin-associated NFT assortment raked in hundreds of thousands as Ethereum launched a new token customary, Immutable and Polygon joined forces, Magic Eden launched an Ordinals market as choose DeGods bridged to Bitcoin, Christie’s bought a Fidenza for $440,000, and Sotherby’s kicked-off a new NFT-themed public sale occasion.

On the much less constructive aspect, Meta u-turned on NFT options for Instagram and Fb, the UK authorities backtracked on proposals to problem their very own NFTs, a US decide authorized the use of an airdropped NFT to serve court docket papers, Doodles founder @poopie turned heads by claiming the gathering is “not an NFT project” following the discharge of their DoodleMap, and a CryptoPunk was ceaselessly misplaced to the void.

April 2023: Staking, Phygitals and Utility

April kicked-off with information that common cryptocurrency staking platform Lido would incorporate NFT into their unstaking course of.

On the model entrance, April additionally noticed Google Cloud open up their web3 Startup Program, Sq. Enix accomplice with web3 recreation launcher Elixir and drop a Remaining Fantasy VII NFT assortment, confectioners Wrigley file a patent for the ‘Juicyverse’, Jack Daniels dip their toes into NFTs, FIFA launch an NFT-powered AI soccer recreation, Reddit drop their third technology of NFT snoos, Adidas ramp up their metaverse plans, the tokenisation of TikTok movies, The Smurfs hit web3, Donald Trump’s second NFT drop, and Hugo Boss, Nike and Wrangler all discover phygital merchandise.

Web3 natives didn’t stand nonetheless. Yuga Labs launched their first Gucci pendants and lastly triumphed of their lawsuit in opposition to Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cohen. Of their ongoing battle with Blur, OpenSea launched OpenSea Professional, which rapidly picked up steam. The Proof Collective introduced new initiatives for Moonbirds holders, together with unique paintings and their Talons reward system.

The month additionally noticed Ember Sword run their inaugural alpha playtest, Reality Labs make a controversial assertion on creator royalties, Mad Lads trick the bots with a $250,000 pretend mint, and one unfortunate collector place a 100 ETH bid on a free NFT – which was swiftly accepted.

Could 2023: Apps, Chains and Reveals

Could heralded the beginning of Pudgy Penguin’s rise to prominence. They signed with iconic Hollywood expertise company WME, and launched their inaugural line of bodily toys in shops worldwide, promoting $500,000 of inventory inside simply 48 hours on Amazon alone.

Mainstream publicity continued to develop. The CEO of luxurious conglomerate LVMH was revealed as an avid NFT collector, Cryptoys revealed a line of Star Wars, Barbie and Quick & Livid phygitals, Renault launched phygital footwear, Ubisoft introduced Assassins Creed collectibles to Polygon – and helped Reddit move 10 million avatar holders with an unique launch, STEPN enabled NFT buying and selling on Apple gadgets, Physician Who and Prime Gear entered The Sandbox, Method 1 experimented with NFT tickets, Sony launched a web3 incubator in Japan, and the Epic Video games Retailer added 20 web3 titles.

On native shores, Sui’s launch kicked up a storm, Dapper Labs gave a choose few entry to their Prime Photographs app, Bitcoin Ordinals gained the assist of Binance NFT and OKX, Bitcoin Frogs dominated the buying and selling panorama, and Blur launched NFT lending platform Mix – which noticed over $100mil in NFT-backed loans in simply 11 days. Milady Maker noticed big traction on Mix, with a shoutout from Elon Musk serving to costs rise ever larger.

Yuga remained within the highlight with the blended response to their HV-MTL reveal, a current to holders for the 2nd anniversary of Meebits, and the appointment of ex-Riot Video games & Epic Video games Mike Seavers as their new CTO. Elsewhere, Axie Infinity debuted on Apple’s App Retailer, Moonbirds collaborated with Spotify, Magic Eden launched $SOL rewards, Doodles launched their Pharrell Pack, and Ledger unveiled a controversial new seed phrase restoration function.

In different information, two basketball giants captured consideration, as LeBron James was noticed sporting Nike RTFKT sneakers, while on the flipside Shaquille O’Neal obtained a class-action criticism over his involvement within the Astrals NFT venture.

June 2023: Mints, Backlash and Ground Costs Dives

As summer season started, Azuki kicked into gear by launching their Elementals assortment – although not with out controversy.

Model adoption rode on, as Mercedes-Benz created their debut NFT assortment, Louis Vuitton dropped at 5-figure NFT trunk, Puma went head-to-head with Nike, Warner Bros crafted a Superman web3 film expertise, GameStop tabled a proposal to problem firm shares as NFTs, Sotheby’s bought ‘The Goose’ for $6.3mil, Nike’s .SWOOSH collaborated with Fortnite – however with out utilizing NFT tech, and Binance collaborated with Cristiano Ronaldo on an NFT assortment.

Inside web3, FEWOCiOUS had a busy month, unveiling his FEWOS assortment and collaborating with Adidas on an unique launch. Doodles joined forces with US retailer CAMP on a retail leisure expertise, Oracle Crimson Bull Racing introduced digital fan experiences to Sui, Illuvium raised $10mil, Blankos Block Social gathering noticed recreation belongings obtainable by way of Amazon’s Prime Gaming service, and Kraken’s NFT market noticed its official launch as LooksRare regarded to compete by internet hosting a CryptoPunk raffle.

As one Punk was given away, one other Punk left Ethereum’s shores for a dwelling in Bitcoin. They weren’t the one blue-chip to star, as Yuga had an up-and-down month. Their HV-MTL Forge recreation moved in direction of its Season 1 launch, and a BAYC holder signed a groundbreaking film contract – however ground costs dove as holders regarded to capitalise on the upcoming $BLUR airdrop.

In the meantime, NFT Examine topped its rebirth by launching an NFT monitoring instrument for X (previously Twitter), Solely Up’s explosive debut put Goblintown within the limelight, the Proof Collective unveiled plans for an IRL neighborhood hub in LA, Zora rose to prominence, NFL Rivals shot previous 1 million downloads, Gods Unchained debuted on the Epic Video games Retailer, Pixel Penguins creator did the unthinkable, and @ZachXBT turned to the neighborhood in his hour of want.

July 2023: Opepen, Ice Cream and Gaming

Opepen was the title of the sport in July, as an act of kindness from Jack Butcher drove his newest assortment to new heights.

model adoption, Warner Music Group partnered with Polygon, Dior launched phygital sneakers, Wimbledon created Andy Murray NFTs, Starbucks Odyssey labored with former MLB star Micah Johnson, 7-Eleven distributed free Slurpee NFTs on Polygon, Puma returned with much more phygital sneakers, Warner Bros introduced The Flash to the blockchain, Louis Vuitton and Pharrell collaborated on an NFT, Gucci and Lacoste adopted in LV’s footsteps, Snoop Dogg lent his Bored Ape to create Walmart ice cream, and Google Play made a web3-positive change to its retailer tips.

Talking of Bored Apes, in constructive information, Yuga Labs’ HV-MTL recreation went reside – however on the flipside, many Bored Apes have been sold-off, driving the ground value to new lows. BAYC wasn’t the one assortment to battle, as Azuki fell from 17 ETH to six ETH after their Elementals mint, with founder @ZAGABOND fleeing X within the fallout. Moreover, The Gutter Cat Gang fell sufferer to a two-pronged assault, and Ether held one of probably the most disastrous mints of the 12 months.

As blue-chips fell, web3 gaming started its rise. Epic Video games continued to onboard extra web3 video games to its retailer, The Sandbox introduced that user-generated content material was lastly across the nook, Futureverse closed a whopping $54mil Collection A, Cool Cats introduced a trio of video games anticipated to reach in 2024 – alongside showing in Reddit’s Gen4 avatar drop – and Axie Infinity launched dynamic NFTs as dad or mum firm Sky Mavis introduced CyberKongz to Ronin.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom nevertheless. DeGods launched a cryptic web site hinting at their strides in IP licensing, Moonbirds started to disclose their 20,000-piece Oddities assortment, Ethereum Layer-2 Linea held a profitable alpha, and AI-driven market Jungle secured $16mil in funding.

August 2023: Royalties, Crocs and Kevin Returns

Creator royalties took a massive hit in August, as OpenSea took the choice to roll again on their royalty enforcement instrument – a transfer which attracted appreciable neighborhood backlash, and affirmations from rivals that they wouldn’t observe the identical path.

Starbucks continued their web3 journey with a new 5,000-piece assortment, Method 1 experimented with circuit-based NFT rewards as Williams Racing put choose PFPs on their rear wings, Etihad Airways and Manchester United launched web3 loyalty packages, Coca-Cola introduced us their Masterpiece NFT assortment, McDonalds introduced shake-lover Grimace to the blockchain, Adidas labored with BAPE on all-new phygitals, Snoop Dogg’s Bored Ape made its sneaker debut, and Zynga introduced their first web3 recreation Sugertown to the fore.

Talking of web3 video games, Yuga Labs acquired Roar Studios to work on Otherside, Animoca dropped three new video games alongside revealing Wreck League, Mojo Melee partnered with Amazon Prime Gaming, Bandai Namco introduced a web3 “virtual pet adventure”, WAGMI Video games struck a partnership with OpenSea, Sky Mavis enabled Greenlight on their Mavis Hub and dropped their Mission T playtest.

On the collectibles entrance, Pudgy Penguins launched one other batch of toys alongside the launch of an in-house clothes line, a glitch led to Jack Butcher issuing refunds on his Infinity Checks assortment, ‘Kevin’ made an notorious return, Sotherby’s was on the receiving finish of a lawsuit from BAYC holders, and Recur shut down regardless of elevating $50mil. DeGods began the month off sturdy with a trio of surprises, however rapidly nosedived amid their rocky DeGods III’s reveal, the lukewarm response to its launch, and the stepping down of co-founder Finn.

Blue chips didn’t all endure. Doodles hailed a new partnership with Crocs, PROOF went reside with Grails IV, and Azuki labored with NFL star Patrick Mahomes on a collectibles launch – with the gathering additionally being on the centre of a buying and selling bot scenario that gifted one shrewd dealer 800 ETH in revenue.

September 2023: Penguins, Punks and Legends of the Mara

September noticed Pudgy Penguins meteoric rise proceed, as they flipped each DeGods and Azuki amid chaotic market situations, and noticed their toys debut on Walmart’s cabinets throughout the US.

Yuga Labs trajectory continued to swing wildly, as amongst hiring an ex-Nike VP of Attire and Way of life, a BAPE x BAYC collaboration, a HV-MTL hunt occasion, and the announcement of Legends of the Mara’s impending open beta, pleasure led to disappointment with LoTM’s underwhelming launch and a block on buying and selling Legends of the Mara belongings on marketplaces akin to OpenSea, Blur and LooksRare.

Elsewhere, Lufthansa launched an NFT-based loyalty scheme, MoonPay unveiled MoonPay Ventures, Adidas created an NFT residency program, PSG partnered with for a free NFT launch, Casio dropped free G-SHOCK NFTs, Honda labored with Animoca to launch NFTs at F1’s Japanese Grand Prix, whisky giants Glenfiddich launched a partnership with BlockBar, Justin Bieber adopted Rihanna’s footsteps with a royalty-sharing NFT drop, and Google dropped its long-standing ban on promoting NFT video games.

The month additionally noticed Vitalik Buterin’s X account be hacked, ensuing within the loss of the primary publicly-claimed CryptoPunk. This was adopted up by the U.S. SEC declaring the Stoner Cats NFT assortment a safety, with main marketplaces halting buying and selling of the belongings. Controversy wasn’t over nevertheless, as Milady Maker noticed a rogue developer siphon $1mil from the venture, and Nakamigos Cloaks was met with cynicism from the neighborhood at massive.

By all of the mud, there have been some positives. Cool Cats revealed their balloon for Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Moonbirds ready for a journey into area, Aavegotchi unveiled their Sport Heart, Blankos Block Social gathering introduced their swap to mobile-first growth, My Pet Hooligan launched on Epic Video games, Zynga distributed free NFTs that rapidly hit $1mil in quantity, and Pixels started its march to the highest of web3 gaming by asserting a swap to Ronin.

October 2023: Monopoly, Lattes and 6,000 Days

After months of debate, the Open Metaverse Alliance for Web3 (OMA3) – led by a number of prime trade leaders – established a working group alongside Magic Eden, Yuga Labs and others to create a community-developed resolution for defending creator royalties.

Yuga stored themselves busy, partnering with Avant Arte to carry CryptoPunks into the true world. Talking of improvements, Phantom launched their “one-tap” NFT creation function, OpenSea Studio hit the blockchain, World of Girls launched their very own official Monopoly board recreation, y00ts transitioned to Ethereum, and a $5mil liquid fund drove Bitcoin Ordinals buying and selling ever larger.

On mainstream model adoption, Steve Aoki partnered with STEPN for an NFT sneaker raffle, Marvel and Funko introduced Iron Man to VeVe, Starbucks dropped a Pumpkin Spice Latte open version, MoMA launched their Postcards NFT venture, PayPal unveiled a royalty-friendly market patent, Sotherby’s introduced a partnership with Ledger, and Nike launched a new line of RTFKT phygital sneakers.

In gaming, Immutable revealed a strategic partnership with AWS, Shrapnel builders Neon Machine introduced a $20mil increase, Deadfellaz and MetaMask celebrated Halloween in Decentraland, Peter Molyneux’s ‘Legacy’ noticed its long-awaited launch, and Animoca launched the formally licensed ‘Formula E: High Voltage’ web3 recreation.

Away from gaming, Boss Beauties acquired BFF, Bybit’s Head of Partnerships got here to the defence of NFTs, a CrypToadz bought for 1,000x its estimated value, and Beeple hit the 6,000-day mark in his quest to create one piece of artwork each single day.

November 2023: Drama, Offers and Blast

After preventing to grow to be the #1 NFT market, the builders of Blur got down to create the following massive blockchain with the discharge of Blast, an Ethereum Layer-2, in November.

Main manufacturers continued to experiment with web3. Adidas labored with Bugatti on phygital soccer boots, Crossmint tokenized AC Milan’s San Siro stadium, NFT platform Authentick partnered with TikTok and Shopify, Dairy Queen struck a weird take care of Weirdo Ghost Gang, Nike launched but extra RTFKT sneakers, and Louis Vuitton revealed a €6,000 phygital trunk for his or her current web3 neighborhood.

Inside web3, Cool Cats acquired a top-draw rent, Yuga Labs introduced an upcoming royalty-compliant market with Magic Eden, the Decentraland Music Competition took centre stage, Taproot Wizards raised $7.5mil to empower Bitcoin and Ordinals, Pudgy Penguins equipped for Artwork Basel Miami Seashore, CoinGecko acquired web3 information intelligence firm Zash, and Bioniq unveiled the “world’s fastest” Bitcoin Ordinals market.

Web3 gaming ramped up additional, as Animoca partnered with Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab (with the gaming large additionally partnering with Immutable), and each Illuvium and Phantom Galaxies hit the Epic Video games Retailer – while on the flipside, Shrapnel discovered itself mired in C-suite drama.

December 2023: Safety, Innovation and Contemporary Crowns

As Pudgy Penguins continued their unprecedented rise with the reveal of Pudgy World and an look on Kai Cenat’s livestream, the headlines have been dominated by the information that Blur had captured 80% of all NFT buying and selling quantity, and a collection of main safety breaches as Ledger’s Join Package Library was compromised, resulting in a renewed concentrate on eliminating blind signing.

Gods Unchained had a tumultuous month. After using excessive following an Amazon Prime Gaming partnership, the web3 TCG was faraway from the Epic Video games Retailer following an AO ranking from the ESRB – solely to return the next week.

While we’re discussing web3 gaming, Animoca raised over $11mil to assist its Mocaverse ambitions, Valeria Video games secured IP offers with distinguished BAYC, CryptoPunks and Azuki holders, and. Axie Infinity introduced their Stage 2 evolutions – on prime of asserting their 2024 Creator Awards – as Ronin approached 1 million each day energetic customers due to Pixels. The Sandbox shifted their market from Ethereum to Polygon, Nifty Island unveiled their upcoming Play-to-Airdrop beta part, and Ubisoft’s free Warlord NFTs gathered over $4.5mil of buying and selling quantity in 48 hours.

Elsewhere, Megadeth dropped a 5,000-piece NFT assortment, Michael Jackson’s first studio observe hit the blockchain, Reebok united with Futureverse, Funko introduced Disney’s Mickey & Buddies into the phygital recreation, Donald Trump held his third NFT drop, Starbucks rewarded their prime Odyssey holders with journeys to Costa Rica alongside asserting an NFT loyalty initiative in Korea, Minecraft gave the inexperienced mild to an integration with ChatGPT chief Sam Altman’s Worldcoin venture, FIFA provided a web3 approach to earn tickets to the 2026 World Cup Remaining, and Bored Apes made their approach to Roblox due to Common Music Group’s all-BAYC ‘Kingship’ band.

December additionally noticed Rainbow emerge to problem MetaMask’s pockets dominance, Yuga Labs unveil a much-needed CryptoPunks wrapper, an upcoming $150,000 NFT treasure hunt, and Cool Cats develop into specialty espresso, as we wrapped up a jam-packed 12 months by discussing 2023’s prime 10 NFT gross sales, and revealing our picks for the highest 5 web3 video games of the 12 months.


Phew! There now we have it, our rundown of probably the most memorable moments in NFTs in 2023.

As we shut in on 5,000 articles and counting, we’re striding into 2024 as motivated as ever to carry you the most recent information on the trade we love. Be a part of us right here at NFT Plazas, and observe our socials beneath, for each day protection of all issues NFTs as we embark on what’s sure to be a thrilling 12 months forward.

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