Reddit Avatars Explained: Why Are These NFTs Soaring in Value?
Interest in limited edition Reddit avatars has spiked this week, with the most expensive examples reaching a peak of 2.8 ETH—or about $3,700.
Cover images: Reddit Collectible Avatars (edited by Mariia Kozyr)
While some Reddit Collectible Avatars were available for purchase when the NFTs launched in July, many have also been distributed for free to the social media site’s most active users.
What Are Reddit Collectible Avatars?
NFTs are reaching a new audience—this time through Reddit.
The social media giant’s Reddit Collectible Avatars collections have stolen the crypto spotlight this week, racking up a combined $2.2 million in trading volume on the leading NFT marketplace OpenSea over the past 24 hours.
After an initial release earlier this year in July, the avatar NFTs received little attention from Reddit users or the wider crypto community. However, in recent weeks, many active Reddit users started receiving collectible avatars for free. This, combined with several recently released Halloween-themed collections, has helped interest in the avatars grow.
Minted on the Polygon blockchain, each Reddit Collectible Avatar can be used on the social media site as a user’s profile picture. Avatars also provide additional boons, such as the ability to mix and match clothing with other avatars and a glow effect on users’ comments.
While some Reddit avatar collections, such as “The Singularity,” have supplies in the millions, others are more scarce. This has led to sought-after avatars soaring in value as interest in the NFTs jumped this week. Currently, the highest-valued avatars appear to be from the Sys32Template “Spooky Season” collection. Examples from this small group of 210 NFTs have sold for as much as 2.8 ETH—approximately $3,700.
Another Spooky Season collection by poieeeyee currently holds the top spot for the most traded NFT collection on OpenSea over the past day. Since its launch on October 24, the 1,800 NFT-strong poieeeyee collection has hit a trading volume of over $1 million. However, it’s not just these Halloween-themed examples that are seeing success. The Foustlings collection, part of the initial Reddit Avatar series released in July, has more than quintupled in value this week. On October 22, a Foustlings avatar would have set collectors back 0.31 ETH. Now, the same NFTs regularly sell for as much as 1.65 ETH—a 432% increase in floor price.
While many in the Reddit community are exuberant about their newly received and often valuable avatars, die-hard NFT fans appear to have missed out on the excitement. The Reddit Collectible Avatars have been known in NFT circles since their July launch but largely disregarded. Now they have soared in value, leading many to question what has caused these Reddit avatars to attract so much attention.
Why Are Reddit Avatars So Popular?
Reddit’s NFTs have succeeded for many of the same reasons as other avatar projects, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club or CryptoPunks.
On Reddit, the avatars are easily visible and let users show off their wealth and customize how other posters see them. Giving users the ability to customize how they look online in exchange for a fee is not unique to the crypto space or Reddit. For years, popular online games such as Counter-Strike, League of Legends, and Overwatch have sold cosmetic items or character “skins” to players via in-game purchases. In this sense, Reddit avatars are familiar to users who have been willing to pay money for cosmetic items elsewhere online.
However, there are other reasons Reddit avatars have seen success. The social media site already has an established user base numbering in the millions, meaning its collectible avatars will appeal to more people than the average NFT collection. In comparison, many “crypto-native” NFT collections attempt to build a community around their avatars from scratch, and while some succeed, many more fail.
It’s also worth noting that Reddit Collectible Avatars have been purposefully marketed without using any crypto jargon. Crypto wallets have been replaced with “Reddit Vaults,” and the term NFT has been dropped in favor of “Digital Collectible.” While it may seem like an insignificant change for those used to using crypto and trading NFTs, for the uninitiated, it has made a huge difference in terms of accessibility.
Additionally, the specific decision to avoid calling the Reddit avatars “NFTs” has helped their adoption. NFT has become a dirty word among many art and gaming communities in recent months. The term has been mired with several negative connotations ranging from excessive energy use to scams and even money laundering schemes. On the other hand, “Digital Collectible” is easier to understand, doesn’t come with the baggage that “NFT” does, and has likely helped adoption with users who have previously been skeptical of blockchain technology.
However, while all these points may be true, some have taken a more cynical approach to the Reddit avatar hype. Coinshares CSO and Crypto Twitter personality Meltem Demirors has posited that the popularity of Reddit avatars among the non-crypto community might simply be explained by the status and value they confer. “Reddit NFTs prove everyone loves being an insider to a new thing that gives them status and makes money,” she wrote. “ppl don’t actually hate NFTs or crypto they hate that people who aren’t them get status and wealth from it because they think they deserve it more.”
Whether you love them or hate them, the Reddit Collectible Avatar collections prove that anything can be successful if it’s marketed correctly. Reddit has found a winning formula, turning a poorly understood technology into something even those without prior knowledge of crypto can enjoy and participate in. Other companies, both in the crypto space and beyond, will likely be watching closely so they can attempt to replicate Reddit’s success.
Disclosure: At the time of writing this piece, the author owned ETH, BTC, and several other digital assets.
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