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Boardroom’s Top NFTs of 2021

Last Updated: July 5, 2023
From the World of Women to Crypto Cannabis to the ever-popular Bored Apes, there was a lot to learn and admire in the world of non-fungible token collectibles this year.

In 2021, the NFT landscape expanded roughly as fast as the universe itself.

(Feel free to check our math there.)

From relative niche obscurity to this year’s Collins English Dictionary’s Word of the Year, non-fungible tokens skyrocketed in popularity and into the public consciousness. And, love it or hate it, blockchain-backed digital collectibles are here to stay. Now, it seems like everyone and their uncle, grocery store worker, and/or pilates instructor has either minted an NFT or has the inside scoop on the “next big thing.”

We’ve been following and covering the industry all year here at Boardroom, and pooled our efforts together on the six biggest and most disruptive NFTs of 2021 that completely changed the game.

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Bored Ape Yacht Club

Few (if any) NFT platforms blew up the way Bored Ape Yacht Club did — or as quickly. The celebrated collection of 10,000 unique apes with trendy outfits in front of colorful backgrounds exploded on the Ethereum blockchain in 2021. The average sale price has soared above $200,000, with some of the rarer NFTs going for millions.

Celebrities from around the world like Stephen Curry, Steve Aoki, and DJ Khaled have bought into BAYC and used their Apes as their social media avatars — a status symbol and a shrewd investment at the same time. And from a Rolling Stone magazine cover and collaboration to physical art galleries, BAYC owner Yuga Labs has a blockbuster hit on its hands.

It’s so popular that Boardroom has opted to keep a running list of which celebrities have bought and owned Bored Apes.

Stay tuned.

World of Women

Embracing the power of representation, inclusivity, diversity, and equal opportunities, World of Women features 10,000 unique artworks of badass women of all kinds. It has grown tremendously since it launched at the end of July and sold out within 10 hours after the collection got the attention of Gary Vaynerchuk.

Also living on OpenSea and running on Ethereum, the average WoW price is at a little over 2.7 ETH ( just over $10,000 as of this writing). Gary Vee, NFT collector Pranksy, MC Hammer, and Logan Paul are all supporters, with the latter even offering to buy Reese Witherspoon an NFT that bore her resemblance.

After announcing a partnership with Coinbase last month, expect World of Women to have an even bigger 2022.

NBA Top Shot

No NFT exemplified the boom during the early 2021 quarantine period like Dapper Labs‘ NBA Top Shot, which enables NBA fans to buy and sell officially licensed video highlights (Moments) from their favorite players.

Operating on Dapper’s own Flow blockchain, Top Shot was profiled inThe New York Times, has had NBA players become just as addicted as fans — including partner and Thirty Five Ventures co-founder Kevin Durant. The platform has a market cap of over $759 million according to Evaluate.Market, with volumes only expected to increase in 2022 thanks to new releases and gamifications. They’re even offering $100 to spend on moments for new users during the holiday season.

Top Shot has enabled Dapper Labs to raise $250 million in September at a $7.6 billion valuation, according to a source close to the company, as well as a licensing deal with the NFL for its All Day NFT platform that will launch in beta next month.

Rumble Kong League

Though this gorilla-based 3-on-3 NFT basketball league has yet to tip off, the buzz from the basketball and NFT communities has been too loud to ignore. There will be 10,000 unique Rumble Kong NFTs users can purchase to build their squad for tournaments and league, with the ability to buy Web3-ready apparel as well to deck your Kongs out.

A slew of NBA stars are already on board, including Stephen Curry, Paul George, Andre Iguodala, Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony, Josh Hart, and Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey. RKL and Curry even partnered on a special edition NFT drop to commemorate his record-breaking 2,974th career three-pointer, selling out in minutes and raising $2.1 million for Steph’s charity.

With a $4.5 million fundraise earlier this month from the likes of CAA Sports, JDS Crypto, SkyVision Capital, Ideo CoLab, Victory Creative Group, Framework Ventures, and Animoca Brands, this ascendant NFT is just getting started. 

Zed Run

For generations, the barrier for entry in the world of thoroughbred horse racing has been tremendously high. But with Zed Run, you can create an elite stable of digital horses on the Polygon blockchain, then buy, sell, race, and even breed horses to make money (with stud fees!) and build an empire.

You feel the same exhilarating rush watching your digital horse the same way you would when betting on a horse on a physical track, with the top three finishers earning Ethereum. More than 47,000 people own Zed horses, per Opensea, with the average price over the last 90 days of 0.0816 ETH, or just over $318. There have been an impressive 5,800 transactions over that 90-day period, with horses going for tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

With huge names like Andreesen Horowitz, The Chernin Group, a16z, Red Beard Ventures and TCG Capital Management invested in parent company Virtually Human Studio, Zed Run is well equipped to be a major player in the space for a long time.

Crypto Cannabis Club

The Crypto Cannabis Club isn’t just a collection of 10,000 stoner NFTs, or NFTokins as the company calls them, available on the Ethereum blockchain. Owning an NFT gives users the ability to breed and sell cannabis plant NFTs on secondary markets, compete in crypto cannabis cup competitions for NFTs and physical prizes, and even going to work digitally in a greenhouse and earning passive income, which is the real millennial dream.

Per Opensea, there’s a perfectly appropriate 4,200 Cannabis Club members right now, with the average sale price over the last 90 days going for 0.2277 ETH, or roughly $893, with the highest sale over the last month going for $9,400.

There’s even a CCC metaverse headquarters in Sandbox, Decentraland, and Cryptovoxels with plans for physical cannabis cup trade shows, collabs with artists, and there’s already a weekly podcast on Weed Wednesdays. As cannabis becomes more widely accepted, it’s likely that there will be an even greater demand to become an NFToker.

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