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As NFTs Grow in Popularity, Some Collectors Are Striking it Rich – The New York Times

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NFTs are making some collectors and artists rich, but success in this high-risk marketplace is more art than science.
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Late on a Friday last spring, Izzy Pollak decided to buy two Bored Ape NFTs, which — as a reminder for the many people thinking, Yeah, but I still don’t know what an NFT is — means he bought unique, digital images (in this case, of apes).
As the owner of a Bored Ape, he now has commercial rights over the digital image to do with as he wishes. Many people choose to display their NFTs as their profile picture on social media accounts.
(And if you’re wondering how ownership of a digital asset can be proven: Every NFT, or non-fungible token, has a distinct serial number, and the transaction history of each NFT is stored on the blockchain, so people can see who the real owner is.)
Mr. Pollak, 29, who bought three more a few months later, obtained these from a collection of 10,000 NFTs known as the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Some of the apes are wearing gold jackets or animal-print tunics. Others are smoking cigars or smiling widely.
At the time, Mr. Pollak, who works for Genies, a tech start-up in Los Angeles that makes NFTs and avatars, didn’t have a lot of disposable income. “I was living in a four-bedroom townhouse with three other people,” he said. “We all shared a bathroom. It felt like college life.”
He didn’t come from money, either. During the 2008 financial crisis, Mr. Pollak said, when he was 16, his mother couldn’t pay the mortgage, so he and his family had to rent an apartment.
Mr. Pollak’s interest in NFTs was spurred by hearing people talk about them on Clubhouse. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is insane. I’m about to spend hundreds of dollars on a picture of a monkey,’” he said.
Turns out it was a wise decision. Last fall, several months after he had bought his first NFTs, Mr. Pollak’s apes skyrocketed in value. He sold one that he had bought for approximately 14 Ether (a virtual currency that was worth about $40,000 on the day of the purchase) for around 70 Ether (approximately $231,000 on the day of sale).
He used the money for a down payment on a three-bedroom house in Los Angeles with a backyard. “We call it the Chimp Chalet,” he said, laughing. “I always wanted to own a house but never thought I could make it work.”
He now has three Bored Ape NFTs in his portfolio. He hasn’t sold them yet, but he will one day. For the first time in his life he feels financially well-off.
A fortunate handful of people now have their very own rags-to-riches stories thanks to NFTs. By investing in the right project at the right time, some collectors and digital artists have made “life-changing money,” said Matt Medved, a founder of Nft Now, a digital media publication about NFTs. Some are using the funds to pay off student loans, buy a home or quit jobs they hated. (Some people, of course, are also buying yachts or throwing lavish parties.)
“NFTs are like manna from heaven,” said Mr. Pollak, who also acknowledges how lucky he is. “I’ve heard horror stories of people spending their rent money on NFTs. It’s heartbreaking to see people risk their money when it doesn’t usually work out.”
Most people who make or buy NFTs never turn a profit. There is no regulation or consumer protection, and trading them is basically as risky as gambling. Investing in cryptocurrency is high risk and involves a lot of technical know-how and luck; few financial professionals would recommend it, and scams are aplenty.
Mr. Medved encourages people to think of NFTs like baseball cards. “For generations our society has accepted that rare baseball cards have value,” he said. “There is a rare Mickey Mantle card that probably costs 5 cents to make that sold for $5.2 million last year. And why? It’s not about the physical piece of card stock. It’s the history, the rarity, the scarcity, the cultural relevance.”
“It comes down to fandom,” he added.
Similarly, what many NFT artists create or collectors invest in will be worth little or nothing in the long term. But there are a few NFTs that have become very valuable and have earned their owners and creators a vast sum of money in a short period of time.
The Bored Apes that Mr. Pollak bought, for example, could be minted — i.e. go to market — at .08 Ether ($200 last spring). Now, less than a year later, the cheapest one is worth about 73 Ether (about $190,000). (Ether can be converted to cash on major cryptocurrency platforms like Coinbase and Gemini and then transferred to a bank account.)
Claire Silver, an artist in her early 30s who works with artificial intelligence, is another NFT success story. In 2017, she was given three CryptoPunks, a collection of 10,000 unique pixel art characters generated from an algorithm, by someone she met on Slack.
“I was in a chat room about cryptocurrency, and I met this guy who was interested in art,” said Ms. Silver, who lives a nomadic lifestyle but most recently lived in Denver. He told her he had 730 CryptoPunks, she said, “and asked if I wanted three. I said, ‘Sure.’”
In 2017, collectors could claim CryptoPunks for free as long as they had an Etherum wallet. Now the cheapest one is selling for around 68 Ether (almost $175,000).
She held on to hers until 2020 when she heard rumblings that they were selling for a lot of money. She sold one in July 2021 for about $60,000 and still has two others. (Many are selling for six figures. One sold last month for almost $600,000.)
Ms. Silver also makes her own NFTs. She, like all NFT artists, earns money from the original sale and may receive 10 percent of every secondary sale. One of her pieces sold for 15 Ether ($63,000 at the time).
She has saved so much that she finally feels financially secure, at least for now. “This amount of money is a big deal to me because I come from poverty. We had to accept church donations for food growing up,” she said. “The other day I walked into Walmart and was like, ‘I can buy the cheese, I can buy the good coffee.’ I had never experienced that freedom before.”
She recently returned from a trip to Britain, where Sotheby’s was auctioning her work, and has a trip planned to Japan.
This month she is even giving her mother a house, which she paid for in all cash. “I got one of those big red bows, and I am going to stick it on the front door like in those commercials,” she said. “I have been wanting to do something like this for my mom since I was a little kid.”
A glossary. Cryptocurrencies have gone from a curiosity to a viable investment, making them almost impossible to ignore. If you are struggling with the terminology, let us help:
Bitcoin. A Bitcoin is a digital token that can be sent electronically from one user to another, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin is also the name of the payment network on which this form of digital currency is stored and moved.
Blockchain. A blockchain is a database maintained communally and that reliably stores digital information. The original blockchain was the database on which all Bitcoin transactions were stored, but non-currency-based companies and governments are also trying to use blockchain technology to store their data.
Cryptocurrencies. Since Bitcoin was first conceived in 2008, thousands of other virtual currencies, known as cryptocurrencies, have been developed. Among them are Ether, Dogecoin and Tether.
Coinbase. The first major cryptocurrency company to list its shares on a U.S. stock exchange, Coinbase is a platform that allows people and companies to buy and sell various digital currencies, including Bitcoin, for a transaction fee.
DeFi. The development of cryptocurrencies spawned a parallel universe of alternative financial services, known as Decentralized Finance, or DeFi, allowing crypto businesses to move into traditional banking territory, including lending and borrowing.
NFTs. A “nonfungible token,” or NFT, is an asset verified using blockchain technology, in which a network of computers records transactions and gives buyers proof of authenticity and ownership. NFTs make digital artworks unique, and therefore sellable.
Web3. The name “web3” is what some technologists call the idea of a new kind of internet service that is built using blockchain-based tokens, replacing centralized, corporate platforms with open protocols and decentralized, community-run networks.
DAOs. A decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, is an organizational structure built with blockchain technology that is often described as a crypto co-op. DAOs form for a common purpose, like investing in start-ups, managing a stablecoin or buying NFTs.
Only two years ago Alex Lugo, 29, who lives in Lindenhurst, N.Y., drove trucks to support his wife and two children, 9 and 5. “I was making $25 an hour,” he said. “That’s nothing in New York.” He decided to enroll in a program to learn how to trade in cryptocurrency, and it changed his family’s life.
While some collectors buy select NFTs and hold on to them for years, he flips many in the short term. “I ended up buying them and flipping some of them for 10K, some for 30K, some for 5K, 2K,” he said.
He has also benefited from investing in newer types of NFTs. “I own real estate in the Metaverse next to the Adidas headquarters,” he said. “It’s like owning real estate in the Hamptons, because what is Adidas going to do when they want to expand? They are going to buy me out and pay me millions of dollars so I will move.”
(“This sounds speculative rather than anything that could be easily proven,” Mr. Medved said in an email.)
Mr. Lugo made enough money from these individual sales that he quit his truck driving job in January 2021. Now, he says he has been able to tuck away a significant amount of savings for his children, who will “have the freedom to choose what they want to do with their lives.”
He and his family currently live in a two-bedroom apartment, but he is looking to buy a four-bedroom house in Lindenhurst.
NFTs have helped others dig themselves out of financial holes and get a new start.
Gossamer Farris, 32, is now a full-time artist in Brooklyn. But it took NFTs to get her there comfortably.
After college she worked a 9 to 5 job at a student loan servicing center. “I was doing art as much as I could after work,” she said. “I was making illustrations and sculptures and textile work, and I was also making items like little stickers that people could buy in my online store.”
In 2019, she quit that job to become a tattoo artist, but even that was a struggle, especially in the early months of the pandemic. “I had a hard time making ends meet,” she said. “Unfortunately I had a lot of debt like credit card debt and health-related debt because I am a transgender person and had surgery.”
In the winter of 2021 she saw people were going crazy for NFTs, and she decided to try to make her own collections, with work that focuses on her Filipino and Black heritage, and collaborate with other artists on their NFTs.
She has since paid off her debt, and now makes enough money through NFTs that she can pursue her passions exclusively. “I don’t have the stress that I need to make money as an artist,” she said. “I can pay the rent and not have to worry about making ends meet.”
While some people are getting rich off NFTs, Mr. Medved advises people to remember that many other NFT projects lose value over time. “You should never invest any more money than you are willing to lose,” he said. “The NFT space, like the crypto space, is very volatile, and the markets go up and down very quickly.”
“I do think a lot of NFTs will end up going to zero in the long run,” he said. “Your success depends on your ability to pick the best projects, and that isn’t easy.”
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This Week's NFT Sales Slide, Bored Ape Market Cap Drops 21%, Floor Prices Sink Lower – Markets and Prices Bitcoin News – Bitcoin News

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by Jamie Redman
Non-fungible token (NFT) sales this week dropped 10.88% lower than the week prior. Roughly $118.02 million worth of NFTs were sold this week compared to last week’s $132.43 million. Further, the top two NFT collections with the largest market capitalizations shed significant value during the past seven days. While Bored Ape Yacht Club’s market valuation lost 21.29%, Cryptopunks’ market cap slid by 19.18%.
NFTs had a lackluster week as sales and prices have followed in sync with falling crypto asset prices. Statistics show that a large number of NFT collections have lost considerable market value during the past week. For instance, metrics show that Bored Ape Yacht Club’s (BAYC) floor value on September 13, 2022, was $114,388 and today, the floor value is around $90,026. BAYC’s market valuation on September 13 was $1.14 billion and today it’s down 21.29% to $900.25 million.
Data shows that the second most expensive NFT floor value belonged to Cryptopunks on September 13, and that’s still the case today. However, the cheapest Cryptopunk last week was around $98,941, but today you can get one for $79,960. Cryptopunks’ market cap has nosedived 19.18% lower during the past week. The same can be said for a majority of blue chip NFT collections like PROOF Collective, Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC), Castaways, and Doodles.
Seven-day statistics show that the BAYC NFT collection is the compilation with this week’s top sales, as $8,603,290 in trades were recorded. BAYC sales have increased by 17.33% and the second largest NFT collection in terms of weekly sales is RENGA. The RENGA NFT collection has managed to print $5,822,323 in seven-day sales, up 121.08% since last week. Overall, however, NFT sales across 17 blockchains monitored by cryptoslam.io are down 10.88% lower than last week.
This Week’s NFT Sales Slide, Bored Ape Market Cap Drops 21%, Floor Prices Sink Lower
Ethereum (ETH) captured the top NFT sales and Solana (SOL) recorded the second largest number of digital collectible sales this week. Although, ETH-based NFT sales slipped 1.66% lower than last week with $79.05 million in seven-day sales. SOL-based NFT sales are down this week 42.11% lower than last week with $23.71 million. Both Flow and Immutable X saw an uptick in NFT sales. Flow NFT sales jumped 59.42% higher, and Immutable X NFT sales saw a significant 790.96% increase.
The top five most expensive NFTs sold this week all stemmed from the BAYC collection and include Bored Ape #441, Bored Ape #2897, Bored Ape #5733, Bored Ape #4179, and Bored Ape #1846. Bored Ape #441 sold for 351,000 DAI and Bored Ape #2897 sold for 215.38 ether or $296,404. Bored Ape #5733 was sold three days ago for 120 ether or $176,458, and Bored Ape #4179 sold for 123 ether or $176,307. Lastly, the fifth most expensive, Bored Ape #1846, was sold for 106 ether or $151,939 four days ago.
What do you think about this week’s NFT sales dropping more than 10% lower than last week’s sales? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
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FASB Excludes NFTs, Some Stablecoins From Crypto Accounting Project – The Wall Street Journal

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Michael Saylor can't stop: MicroStrategy now holds 130,000 Bitcoin – Cointelegraph

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MicroStrategy bought an additional 301 BTC for $6 million at an average price of $19,851, the company’s executive chairman announced on Twitter.
MicroStrategy now owns 0.62% of all the Bitcoin (BTC) that will ever be mined. The company’s executive chairman, Michael Saylor, announced that the company bought another 301 BTC for roughly $6 million at an average price of $19,851 per BTC. 
In sum, the company is one of the planet’s largest holders of the asset, owning 130,000 BTC. Apparently, Saylor likes round numbers, buying 301 BTC to reach the 130,000 milestone. 
MicroStrategy has purchased an additional 301 bitcoins for ~$6.0 million at an average price of ~$19,851 per #bitcoin. As of 9/19/22 @MicroStrategy holds ~130,000 bitcoins acquired for ~$3.98 billion at an average price of ~$30,639 per bitcoin.https://t.co/5kYW98ij4I
Due to plunging price action, the company’s investment is down substantially in U.S. dollar terms. MicroStrategy’s entry price is roughly $30,639 per BTC, and the Securities and Exchange Commission filing states that the firm has bought 130,000 BTC at an aggregate purchase price of approximately $3.98 billion.
If MicroStrategy started stacking sats (buying Bitcoin) at today’s prices, it would have spent $2.48 billion on 130,000 BTC. Saylor is currently at a paper loss of over a billion dollars.
According to the SEC filing, the company made the purchase with “excess cash.” Saylor recently stepped down as CEO of the company to focus on buying more Bitcoin, while Washington, DC has taken aim at the billionaire in a tax evasion lawsuit.
Bitcoin enthusiasts were quick to commend Saylor’s buy. Referred to as the “Chad” or “Gigachad,” Saylor’s conviction and commitment to buying Bitcoin despite the investment being underwater has garnered both a devout following and numerous critics.
Related: Bitcoin better than physical property for regular folks, says Michael Saylor
Other large wallet addresses include that of crypto exchange Bitfinex, which holds 170,000 BTC, and a Binance reserve wallet that holds 125,000 BTC. Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange and has several wallets holding six figures of Bitcoin. Regarding individuals, Saylor has stated that he holds Bitcoin, and FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao are also “hodlers” — a meme that became popular jargon for holding crypto.

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