Explained: What Are PFP NFTs And How Do They Work?

What are PFP NFTs?

PFP NFTs: PFP, or “profile picture,” is a well-known social media phrase. On the other hand, NFTs are non-fungible tokens, which are assets with a distinct digital identity that is primarily present on the Ethereum blockchain.

PFP NFTs usually consist of a randomized collection of traits with varying levels of rarity. Color, hats, sunglasses, and other more esoteric features are a few examples. Only nine Alien CryptoPunks exist, and they have been sold for tens of millions of dollars each. A PFP’s most unique qualities can raise its value. The vast majority of these resources are works of generative art. These pieces are typically produced by computers using generative algorithms, though hand-drawn PFP NFT collections are also quite popular.

History of PFP NFTs

NFTs appear to be a relatively recent trend, but they were actually developed by Larva Labs, a product studio founded by Matt Hall and John Watkinson. They were able to produce tens of thousands of punks-stylized humanoids in pixel art. At first, the pair thought they had found a brand-new app or game for smartphones. However, the publication of Hall and Watkinson revolutionized the field of digital art and redefined the concept of ownership.

Some of the first non-fungible token prototypes were presented by Larva Labs as a means of denoting ownership of the Punks. Starting with slightly modified versions of the ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, Hall and Watkinson began their work. As a result, a specialized digital coin was made possible; the ERC-721 token standard was developed especially for non-fungible tokens.

NFT collectors soon started using their CryptoPunks characters as Twitter and Discord profile pictures. Before the Punks gained widespread acceptance, it took some time. As celebrities and other members of the NFT community joined, NFT profile pictures started to gain enormous popularity. Numerous PFP projects including the well-known bored apes emerged as a result of the Crypto Punks’ enormous popularity.

How do PFP NFTs Work?

PFP NFTs can either be created through the website of the NFT collection or bought on a second-hand NFT market like OpenSea or Magic Eden. Once purchased, the NFT will show up on the user’s profile page on the NFT marketplace as well as in their supported cryptocurrency wallet (like MetaMask or Phantom).

Owners of Ethereum PFP NFTs can display their NFT on Instagram or other social media platforms, or they can link their crypto wallets to their Twitter Blue accounts to verify their profile picture NFTs for a “hexagon” shape.

How to use PFP NFTs

The fundamental function of a PFP NFT is its function as a profile picture (PFP). Prestige is a key component of the NFT industry and the larger crypto community. PFPs give owners of NFTs the opportunity to display their assets because digital collectibles thrive on rarity and exclusivity. On the other hand, some PFP NFT projects give NFT collectors access to a wider range of usefulness.

Since the monetization of creative works of art is a major factor in NFTs, artists must tread carefully when incorporating utility into their projects. The majority of creators and developers choose not to assign intellectual property rights (IP rights) to their creations, but PFPs must have a significant practical benefit.

Some PFP projects give users access to metaverse resources. Alongside NFTs, the concept of a virtual world known as the metaverse gained popularity. A PFP NFT could serve as an avatar in a virtual world, which added to the popularity of avatars. Additionally, a collection like BAYC offers restricted access to the personalized utility, a feature that also applies to the project’s follow-up, the mutant ape yacht club. PFPs may also grant owners access to benefits that are available in the real world.

Also Read: My Neighbor Alice: An Introduction To The Play-To-Earn Crypto Game

Top PFP NFTs projects of all time

Even though there are hundreds of projects, these few are among the 1% that continue to make headlines across the NFT ecosystem (for various reasons).

1. CryptoPunks

Punks were introduced in June 2017 by Larva Labs, which Yuga Labs acquired in 2022. These Punks were among the very first NFTs ever created on the Ethereum blockchain, giving them immeasurable significance in the context of NFT history. CryptoPunks, which featured humans, apes, zombies, and aliens, invented the concept of generative trait combinations, which is still used as an inspiration in the majority of PFP projects today.

2. Bored Ape Yacht Club

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is second only to CryptoPunks in significance, but unquestionably first in popularity and worth. In April 2021, BAYC, a collection of 10,000 NFTs, also debuted. Although it got off to a slow start, the project quickly gained value and became one of, if not the most, cherished NFT projects ever.

3. Doodles

Doodles were introduced in October 2021 and feature 10,000 avatars. But it has quickly emerged as one of the most well-liked PFP projects across all NFTs. Doodles continue to win over the hearts of countless NFT enthusiasts and seasoned NFT collectors thanks to its vibrant community, experienced executive team, and multifaceted approach to entertainment.

4. Moonbirds

A recent NFT PFP collection is called Moonbirds. Moonbird offers owners a tonne of benefits and is expected to be another high-caliber release like BAYC. The collection’s tokens serve as membership cards for exclusive clubs. Nesting is another distinctive feature found in the Moonbirds collection. The longer a buyer holds onto a token, the more benefits are accrued for that token.

5. Cool Cats

Cool Cats is hard to beat when it comes to neighborhood-based initiatives. The collection, which consists of 9,999 generated and, in the words of its creators, “stylistically curated” NFTs, debuted in June 2021. It was supported by partnerships with Ghxsts and TIME magazine as well as a milk chug challenge that almost went viral.

What distinguishes PFP NFTs from other NFTs?

PFP NFTs are primarily focused on the fact that each NFT is an avatar that can be used in place of a personal photo as one’s online alias. But in addition to 2D art, an NFT can be linked to a wide variety of other kinds of metadata.

For instance, blockchain-based metaverses like The Sandbox, Yuga Labs’ Otherside, and Decentraland sell virtual land as NFTs. However, the PROOF Collective has offered for sale NFTs that don’t provide art but rather serve as a membership card to gain access to various advantages.

Also Read: Semi-Fungible Vs Non-Fungible Token: Here Are The Differences

Why are PFP NFTs important?

PFP NFTs are frequently the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of an NFT and are arguably what launched the larger NFT cultural phenomenon. They serve as a starting point for NFT technology and give those interested in cryptocurrencies a glimpse of what the technology might have to offer in the future.

The future of PFP NFTs

The PFP NFT collections of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), Crypto Punks, and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) fill out the remaining top four positions, with billions of dollars in total volume traded, while game character NFTs for Axie Infinity is the most-traded collection of all time by volume, according to CryptoSlam data.

A future for PFP NFTs, though? Avatars, according to some, are just a passing trend that will eventually give way to utility NFTs like membership cards, blockchain gaming, virtual real estate in the metaverse, and other forms of virtual currency. However, PFP NFTs currently serves as a badge of membership to an exclusive club; Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT holders are peers with celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Madonna and have access to events like Ape Fest.

Top 10 Celebrities Who Have NFTs as Profile Pics

What do Jimmy Fallon, MC Hammer, and Reese Witherspoon all have in common? Well, in addition to being well-known, they also have NFT PFPs.

  1. Reese Witherspoon
  2. Serena Williams
  3. Jimmy Fallon
  4. MC Hammer
  5. Snoop Dogg
  6. Gwyneth Paltrow
  7. Travis Barker
  8. Eminem
  9. Timbaland
  10. Amber Rose


PFP NFTs are a significant trend right now, but will this continue in the future as well? Some people think they’re just a trend. Indeed, there is speculation that PFP NFTs will eventually become obsolete as more utility tokens and virtual worlds emerge. PFPs are capable of changing over time. Numerous new collections continue to flood the market, maintaining the iconic cultural trend while also introducing novel features.

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