Newsletter #149: Big Ideas

This week’s featured collector is Chamathp

Chamathp’s motto is “In the grand scheme of things, your entry price won’t matter.” Sage advice. Their NFT collection focuses on Ethereum and NBA Top Shots. They have a few classics too. View the full collection at is the easiest way to create a gallery of your NFT collection. Show some love for NFTs by sharing this newsletter with your friends!


The results of last week’s poll: What’s your take on Yuga Labs buying Moonbirds?

Last week’s poll suggests a prevailing ambivalence within the NFT community regarding Yuga Lab’s purchase of Moonbirds with 19% of respondents reporting they are concerned about a monopoly. The equal distribution between those who predict minimal long-term impact and those who are unsure of the effects may indicate a lack of clear precedent on how such acquisitions play out in the relatively new and rapidly evolving NFT space. This hesitancy to take a definitive stance could reflect the NFT community’s caution in speculating about the future in a market known for its volatility and unpredictability. Of note, however, is that only 6% of respondents felt the move was a positive development.

This Week’s Big Ideas in NFTs

Figure 17

The study of NFT prices just got a whole lot more rigorous with a recent study published in Nature.

The Market Dynamics and Behavioral Patterns in NFTs

Recent research, published in Nature, challenges the applicability of traditional financial models to the NFT market. In “Periodicity, Elliott waves, and fractals in the NFT market”, a researcher reports that NFT prices are not dictated by linear models but are influenced by the community and social behaviors. The big insight is that the NFT market behaves more like a social media platform, with trading volumes and prices ebbing and flowing in a manner akin to viral trends. What we find fascinating about this article is that it highlights the need for new predictive models that can capture the social and faddish nature of NFT trading, suggesting that the future health and profitability of the market will depend on understanding these patterns.

Read the full study at Nature.

The New Medici Effect in Crypto and NFTs

Next up is an essay arguing that crypto can be understood as the revival of the Medici Effect in the digital age. The big idea is that we are witnessing the renaissance of financial and cultural landscapes through the decentralized nature of crypto. This new era encourages a broad diffusion of ideas, stimulating creativity and innovation. Particularly notable is the shift from monetary gain to valuing social capital, where success is gauged not just in financial terms but by contributions to the community. NFTs are the vanguard of this change, democratizing patronage by directly connecting creators with supporters. The big idea here is that NFTs are creating a curation economy that emphasizes cultural impact and blurs the line between creator and consumer, where small entities can flourish financially without traditional venture backing.

Check out the full essay at

The Intellectualization of NFTs

In a conversation with OpenSea, Robert Alice, a pioneering artist in the NFT space, emphasizes the importance of history and intellectual discourse within the realm of digital art. His collaborations with prestigious institutions and his involvement in Christie’s first on-chain generative project signify a bridging of the traditional art world with the NFT community. His work with TASCHEN on a comprehensive art history book signifies the big idea that NFTs are not just a technological novelty but a cultural phenomenon deserving rigorous academic exploration and documentation. The TASCHEN book aims to provide a historical context to the NFT movement, inviting a broader audience to engage with digital art in a familiar format and cementing the cultural legitimacy of NFTs.

The full conversation is worth a read at OpenSea’s blog.

Concluding Thoughts: The Cultural Renaissance and Market Maturation of NFTs

Taken together, the big idea of these three items coalesces around the theme of a cultural renaissance driven by NFTs. Whether it’s the broad diffusion of creativity akin to the Medici Effect, the scholarly approach to digital art history taken by Robert Alice, or the market’s behavioral eccentricities, we are beginning to see the permanence of NFTs as both a cultural phenomenon and a complex market worthy of study.

This week’s poll: Which NFT trend do you believe will shape 2024?

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