Ascendant Ethereum NFT project Pudgy Penguins now boasts a floor price within striking distance of once-dominant collection Bored Ape Yacht Club—setting the stage for a potential flip that would upend long standing power hierarchies in the NFT industry.
At one point on Sunday afternoon, the lowest price one could pay for a Pudgy Penguins NFT rose to 21.5 ETH, or just over $54,850 at writing, according to data from NFT Price Floor. At that same moment, Bored Ape NFTs sold for a minimum price of 22.8 ETH—a sum worth just north of $58,000 at current prices.
The gap in floor price between both collections has widened ever so slightly since yesterday: at writing, Pudgy Penguins—Decrypt‘s pick for the 2023 NFT project of the year—boasts a floor of 20.7 ETH, while Bored Ape Yacht Club has remained steady at 22.9 ETH.
Nonetheless, the fact that both collections are currently so close in price is a remarkable occurrence, that even months ago would have been unthinkable.
Pudgy Penguins, an Ethereum-based profile picture (PFP) collection, caught some momentum after launching in 2021, only to be rattled by the devastating crypto winter that unraveled the NFT industry the following spring. A new owner then doubled down on enhancing the brand’s IP value, first on social media, then through physical merch drops launched in collaboration with major partners like Walmart.
The strategy paid off remarkably. After dipping below 1 ETH in floor price in mid-2022, Pudgy Penguins climbed to 5 ETH by last year; fueled by flashy brand partnerships and increased industry buzz, the collection then began surging last fall, quadrupling in value during an otherwise paltry period for the broader NFT market.
Bored Apes, meanwhile, have seen an inverse trajectory. The brand defined both the innovation and excess of the 2021 NFT boom; back then, BAYC PFPs routinely sold to celebrities for prices north of $1 million a piece.
Since the onset of crypto winter in May of 2022, however, the collection has bled substantially, mirroring macro industry trends. After reaching a peak floor price of 152 ETH in April 2022 (worth about $429,000 at the time), BAYC has since shed over 82% of its ETH value, according to NFT Price Floor. Since 2022, the collection has failed to meaningfully reverse its steady depreciation for any period of time.
The noteworthiness of the now near-equal value of both brands can perhaps best be highlighted by their respective fundraising histories. Last year, after an IP reboot, Pudgy Penguins managed to pull together $9 million in seed funding to launch its next chapter.
Bored Ape creator Yuga Labs, in contrast, raised an astounding $450 million in 2022 to fuel the then-untouchable cartoon monkey brand, putting the company’s value at $4 billion.
Both Pudgy Penguins and the Bored Ape Yacht Club still sit below CryptoPunks, the influential titan of the NFT space, in terms of floor price. As of this writing, a CryptoPunks NFT starts at about 58.7 ETH, or about $146,000 worth.
Yuga Labs owns the CryptoPunks project IP after acquiring it from creator Larva Labs in 2022 for an undisclosed sum. Back in 2021 and 2022, the Bored Apes and CryptoPunks often traded places in terms of NFT value, but the older CryptoPunks project from 2018 has done a better job of maintaining value over the last year-plus.
Edited by Andrew Hayward