Brian Nguyen refers to himself as a “whale,” a cryptocurrency time period used to explain collectors of high-value non-fungible tokens (NFTs). “I’m interested in buying the expensive, higher-tier ones,” mentioned Nguyen, a enterprise capital advisor primarily based in Los Angeles.

However lately, the 28-year-old hasn’t been centered on widespread and pre-established NFT collections like these from Bored Ape Yacht Membership or CryptoPunks. He’s been shopping for Reddit Collectible Avatars, a brand new NFT initiative from the community-based social platform.

Regardless of solely being 4 months previous, Reddit’s NFT market, referred to as Vaults, has already grow to be a $10.5 million market. And with 2.3 million Reddit Avatar house owners, the platform’s variety of energetic customers has surpassed these on OpenSea, which touts itself as the most important NFT market. Reddit’s Collectible Avatars, variations of the web site’s signature mascot, Snoo, are designed by artists who’re energetic on the platform’s comedian and digital artwork sub-communities. With a worth vary of $10 to $100, they’re usually accessible and could be bought through bank card. However the avatars have been rapidly promoting out, fetching excessive prices on the secondary market.

Nguyen estimates he’s spent greater than $100,000 on Reddit Avatars to date, primarily by way of purchases on OpenSea. He’s significantly fascinated with a group of Reddit Avatars referred to as Midas Contact, and has already bought 5 of the gold-colored avatars for $15,000 every.

NFTs give customers social energy inside their communities

Reddit’s avatars are used as profile footage for Reddit customers, giving the photographs a glow-like impact after they remark in boards. “People don’t know who you are when you make a post on Reddit, but an expensive NFT gives you more credentials,” mentioned Nguyen. Along with contemplating them an extended term-investment, he calls the avatars a “social flex,” akin to driving an costly Ferrari or Lamborghini. And by way of prompt recognition, Nguyen mentioned an avatar profile image is the equal of being granted a blue verified tick on Twitter.

With Twitter’s verification system present process changes beneath the helm of recent CEO Elon Musk, the social media platform could take cues from Reddit Avatars and undertake one thing comparable sooner or later, based on Andrea Baronchelli, a professor at Metropolis College of London who research the crypto and NFT area. “It’s a new tool, very flexible. It’s perfect for community engagement,” he mentioned.

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