4 NFT Projects That Just Might Drop a Token in the Future

Not every NFT project has the same objective, but it’s fair to say all are keen to emulate the success of Axie Infinity. The smash-hit game generated $1.3 billion in revenue over the course of 2021, at one point hitting a daily peak of $17.5m as the market frothed. Axie was also the first NFT collection to hit $4 billion in sales volume, with countless players eagerly battling and breeding across the cryptosphere.

Little wonder, given these numbers, that Axie’s native utility and governance token (AXS) has been a roaring success. At the time of writing it sits just outside the top 50 cryptocurrencies by market cap, within striking distance of long-established assets like AAVE, KLAY and EOS. So which NFT project will be next to follow the likes of Axie and Decentraland by launching its own native token? Here are four that warrant close attention.

1. CloneX

CloneX is an ambitious NFT avatar project launched late last year by RTFKT – a creative studio recently acquired by Nike. Safe to say it didn’t take long for the venture to make an impact, with one lurid 3D NFT, CloneX #4594, selling for an eye-watering 450 ETH (around $1.25m) in February.

As with some other digital collections, CloneX avatars can be used within the metaverse and each of the 20,000 strong stockpile has its own inimitable style represented by wacky haircuts, masks, jewelry, jackets, etc. Many of the avatars were crafted by renowned contemporary artist Takashi Murakami.

The rapid success of the project has naturally led to speculation that a native token could be in the pipeline. As if in readiness, CoinMarketCap has even created a page for an as-yet inexistent CLONEX token. Perhaps one will drop to launch the platform’s one-year anniversary in November?

2. Azuki

Azuki’s anime-themed collection isn’t as vast as CloneX’s, but its success is certainly on a par: one especially rare NFT was snapped up for 420 ETH ($1.4 million) in March. Azuki’s nifty avatars aren’t just pretty to look at, though: they give holders member access to The Garden, an exclusive gateway to live events, token drops, streetwear collabs and more.

Azuki is one of the newest projects in the avatar space, having only released its maiden collection in January. But that doesn’t automatically mean that the anonymous team behind Azuki have ruled out releasing a native token, which could help bring the ecosystem to a wider audience. After all, Bored Ape Yacht Club was less than a year old when it released ApeCoin.

Given the scope of Azuki’s vision – ‘to create the largest decentralized brand for the metaverse that is built and owned by the community’ – a native token would surprise no-one. Watch this space.

3. FewoWorld

A generative art project from teenage creator FEWOCiOUS, FewoWorld reimagines commodities like paint and canvas in the digital space. Ostensibly, collectors need to load up on ‘paint’, the building block of all life in FewoWorld, to unlock collectible avatar NFTs. Last month, over $13m worth of paint was sold on the Nifty Gateway platform. Interestingly, FewoWorld recently teamed up with the aforementioned RTFKT to release a physical-digital sneaker collection.

While it’s too early to say whether FewoWorld will entertain the creation of a native token, it wouldn’t be a shock if it added a fourth pillar to an ecosystem that already includes paint, canvas (rewards), and Fewos (NFTs).

4. Moonbirds

This collection of 10,000 pixelated owl avatars recently took the NFT world by storm, generating $281 million in sales volume after just two days. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Backed by an OG team of NFT collectors known as Proof Collective, Moonbirds specialises in utility-enabled PFPs that unlock private club membership and benefits that accrue the longer you hold them. The principal benefit, for the time being, is access to the private Proof Discord channel which offers access to Moonbird-related drops, IRL meetups and events, and upcoming Proof projects.

Proof/Moonbirds founder Kevin Rose took to Twitter a few weeks back to discuss his experience with Dogecoin and its community. During the thread, Rose said: “When I think about Moonbirds’ roadmap and the idea of a governance token associated with it, I believe we can take governance one step further and build the next community currency for good. It needs to be gas-free, easy to use, mobile, and the rewards go to the engaged community. On top of that, we need tools for social distribution/tipping/and more.”

The thread ended with “When? Likely later this near (sic?), keep nesting my friends.”

Will any or all of the above release a native token in due course? Only time will tell. In the meantime, their avatars are helping to power strong sales volume as NFTs and metaverse remain the talk of the town.

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Jared Polites is a partner at Rarestone Capital, an active Web3 fund, and Raresone Labs, the fund's marketing arm. He often writes about Web3, technology, and entrepreneurship for sites like Entrepreneur, Benzinga, Hackernoon, and more. As a dual investor/marketer, Jared helps early-stage companies with everything from marketing and go-to-market strategy, as well as tangible PR execution and strategic consulting.

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