Whilst most of us were enjoying a well-earned break over the Easter weekend, PROOF Collective was busy making a casual US$289 million.
Moonbirds are PROOF Collective’s first NFT collection. Comprising of 10,000 pixelated owl profile pictures with a mint price of 2.5 ETH, the NFT collection sold out almost immediately on its Saturday debut.
Prior to the launch, the public was able to enter a raffle to be guaranteed access to mint one Moobird NFT upon launch. Members of the PROOF Collective were also able to enter the raffle, guaranteeing two Moonbirds for every membership NFT they owned.
7,875 Moonbirds NFTs were allotted to raffle winners, 2,000 for PROOF Collective members and 125 for distribution by the Moonbirds team.
In just 7 hours, Moonbirds eclipsed the trading volume of BAYC, MAYC, Azuki, Beanz, Punks, Doodles, and CloneX combined over the 7 days prior. Its historic debut has placed Moonbirds on the top of OpenSea’s volume leader board for the last 30 days.
Despite its meteoric success, the NFT collection was dropped amid controversy. Bots had allegedly manipulated the raffle to benefit, whilst some accused the project’s leaders to use inside knowledge to buy Moonbirds that featured rare traits. Others even accused the project of wash trading.
Proof is in the pudding
There’s no smoke without fire, and Moonbirds NFTs are no exception. The value in holding a Moonbird NFT stems from the team behind the PROOF Collective and its exclusive membership.
PROOF Collective cofounders Kevin Rose and Justin Mezzell have profound experience in the NFT world. Rose is a venture capitalist at True Ventures focusing on blockchain startups as well as hosting a popular crypto podcasts.
Membership for the PROOF Collective had an average price of 1.99 ETH in December 2021. Its minimum price is now 98 ETH. Gary Vaynerchuk and Beeple AKA Mike Winkelmann are among the members.
PROOF Collective members are given access to events, a private Discord chat and collaborations including Moonbirds.
“Each Moonbird unlocks private club membership and additional benefits the longer you hold them,” the Moonbirds website reads.
As interest in NFTs is diminishing, developers are seeking ways to augment their projects to incorporate utility. For the PROOF Collective, its Moonbirds NFT project is a source of early funding to “build a new media company” according to a video posted by Rose on Saturday.
Moonbirds NFT holders are effectively investing in a planned ecosystem that echoes the likes of Yuga Labs’ BAYC, which is growing its own digital ecosystem and metaverse.
According to founder of startup funding service Grant Tree Daniel Tenner, Moonbirds are being used as a means of startup fundraising.
“Moonbirds is one of the first majorly successful (so far) projects that is unashamed about what it is. Kevin and Ryan have been very clear that they’re raising money, that they’re not “selling art”, that they’ll treat the money as funds to build a product, etc.,” Tenner tweeted.
He added that the PROOF Collective even has an edge over Yuga Labs, which “operated in a grey area where utility was still a novel concept that people didn’t understand” when they started.
“Moonbirds is clear that they’re building a product and holding one of these early investment tokens will be rewarded if the product succeeds.”