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What is Bitcoin's Hottest NFT Project?

Understanding the rise of NodeMonkes on Bitcoin.
William M. Peaster William M. Peaster Mar 6, 20244 min read
What is Bitcoin's Hottest NFT Project?

A new force is reshaping the NFT landscape on Bitcoin. 

The project? NodeMonkes

Over the past month, this Ordinals collection has surged to prominence, quickly becoming a flagship collection for Bitcoin and now rivaling top NFTs on other chains. 

For today’s post, let’s get you up to speed on the blooming of the Nodes and some things you’ll want to keep an eye on here!

The Bankless Guide to Ordinals on Bankless
Updated: Jan 2024

The Rise of NodeMonkes

With its first inscriptions made in February 2023, NodeMonkes are hailed as the first original, i.e. non-derivative, 10k profile picture (PFP) collection minted via Ordinals. Bitcoin Punks and OnChainMonkeys had earlier inscriptions, though these collections sprang from already existing projects.

Aesthetically speaking, the NodeMonkes collection has a pixel art style similar to retro video game graphics with large, blocky pixels and exaggerated, minimalist features.

Each character is an abstract monkey, with some more abstract than others, so the interpretation of their faces is largely left to the viewer’s imagination. Overall, the stylistic approach here reminds me of Nouns, one of the most iconic pixel art NFT collections on Ethereum, but more explicitly tailored to the Bitcoin scene.

The top Bitcoin NFT collection

Bearing no roadmap and created by an anonymous duo, NodeMonkes kicked off in December 2023 with a public Dutch auction that ended up fetching 0.03 BTC (~$1,260 at the time) per NFT. 

The months of anticipation leading up to the mint, combined with the Bitcoin NFT scene recently swelling from surging interest around Ordinals, BTC ETF approvals, and Bitcoin L2s, has led to incredible early momentum for the NodeMonkes. 

Now, they’ve risen to become not only the biggest NFT collection on Bitcoin but also among the most valuable collections in the entire NFT space. Their current 0.81 BTC floor price—a 2,600% increase from the 0.03 BTC mint cost—puts the Nodes behind only CryptoPunks and Pudgy Penguins when it comes to floor value right now. As for market caps, the Nodes (~$500M) are second only to ‘Punks (~$2B) at the moment. 

The main trading hub for NodeMonkes has been multichain NFT marketplace Magic Eden, where over 2,795 BTC (+$190M) worth of NodeMonkes have traded to date. Impressively, this volume level already makes the collection among the top 30 most traded NFT projects of all time, and the trading has only been picking up lately.

For example, over the past month, the Nodes were at the center of more than $86M worth of trades, and $11M of those trades came in the last 24 hours alone. In fact, the trading around Nodes has become so frenzied that it’s helped push Magic Eden into pole position as the leading NFT marketplace by volume in recent days. 

Big NodeMonkes sales coming in hot

With NodeMonkes increasingly being hailed as the “CryptoPunks of Bitcoin” by some, the collection has unsurprisingly seen some large sales lately thanks to big NFT collectors piling in.

For instance, the first Node to crack the $1M sale mark was the alien #2769, which resold over the weekend for a whopping 16.6 BTC. That sale also happened to mark the second-largest Ordinals purchase in the cryptoeconomy so far. A handful of other recent buys have also occurred above 8 BTC, namely around Nodemonkes #9255 (10.54 BTC), #5605 (9.95 BTC), #3315 (9.17 BTC), #10 (8.83 BTC), #3361 (8.82 BTC), and #4791 (8.7 BTC). 

The big takeaway here? Well capitalized collectors are moving in and securing the rarest and most desirable Nodes on the market. This action, combined with the fresh 4,500 ETH buy of CryptoPunk 3100, shows that whales are back out in force in NFT land.

The Big Picture

While NodeMonkes are now decidedly out of the price range of the vast majority of people, their rise is emblematic of the surging popularity of the Bitcoin Ordinals scene, and they’ve catalyzed an interest boom toward Magic Eden and other more affordable Bitcoin NFT projects

Ethereum has CryptoPunks, Solana has Mad Lads, and now Bitcoin has a flagship PFP collection in NodeMonkes. The Ordinals space is so early that in time it’s entirely possible that some other project will become king of the hill on Bitcoin, but for now and the foreseeable future that title is firmly in the grasp of the Nodes. Let’s see where they go from here!

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William M. Peaster

Written by William M. Peaster

635 Articles View all      

William M. Peaster, Senior Writer, has been with Bankless since January 2021. Immersed in Ethereum since 2017, he writes the Metaversal newsletter on the onchain frontier, covering everything from AI projects to crypto games, as the team’s lead NFT analyst. With a background in creative writing, he writes fiction and publishes art on Ethereum in his free time. He lives in Washington.

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