In 2023, the NFT industry faced challenges but showed resilience and growth. The biggest trends included the rise of Layer 2 solutions for NFTs, the success of certain profile picture (PFP) collections, advancements in NFT gaming, infrastructure developments, the emergence of Bitcoin and Solana in the NFT space, a revival of onchain NFTs, the growth of crypto social apps, the intersection of AI and NFTs, and a growing interest in NFTs representing real-world assets. These trends laid the foundation for further innovation in the NFT market.
2023 NFT Trends
2023 was a challenging year for the NFT space, as it weathered a bear market. However, despite the difficulties, the NFT industry showed resilience and saw significant advancements and new trends that pushed the space forward.
In this article, we will explore the biggest NFT trends of 2023 and highlight notable projects and developments that shaped the industry.
1. Rise of the NFT L2s
One of the significant trends in 2023 was the rise of Layer 2 (L2) solutions for NFTs. L2 solutions, such as Arbitrum and Optimism, gained traction and saw increased minting activity.
These platforms were utilized for launching culture-centric rollups like Xai and Redstone. Established names like Coinbase and Zora also joined the L2 space with their platforms Base and Zora Network.
New entrants like Frame introduced exciting features such as NFT royalties directly into their network. This trend marked the beginning of the NFT Scaling Era.
2. New PFP Powers
The profile picture (PFP) sector of NFTs faced challenges in the bear market, but some collections managed to defy the downtrend and became powerhouses in the PFP category.
Opepens and Pudgy Penguins were two notable projects that gained popularity during 2023. Opepens, launched by Jack Butcher, followed a collective curation model and captured the imagination of thousands of users. Pudgy Penguins achieved "blue-chip PFP" status and made significant developments, including placing Pudgy Toys in 2,000 Walmart stores.
3. Games Get Gud
The NFT gaming scene experienced broad advancements in 2023, with games like Axie Infinity and Parallel leading the way.
Axie Infinity, in addition to its main game, introduced Axie Experience Points (AXP) and the Axie Parts Evolution system.
Parallel released new starter decks and started its Closed Beta gameplay, receiving positive reviews. These games continued to improve and separate from other titles in the space, promising even more exciting developments in the future.
4. The Infra Renaissance
Infrastructure developments around NFTs exploded in 2023, with various projects introducing novel features and functionalities. Nouns V3 open-sourced the first DAO-native forking mechanism, offering more flexibility to the community.
The ENS Name Wrapper brought new options to ENS domain holders, while Zora unveiled Protocol Rewards to incentivize users. Other projects like ERC-6551, mint.fun, and Privy brought ease of use and user-friendly features to the NFT ecosystem. This vibrant infrastructure ecosystem signifies a great time for building around NFTs
5. Multipolar Momentum
While Ethereum dominated the NFT space for years, Bitcoin and Solana joined the party in 2023. Bitcoin's NFT scene saw a resurgence with the introduction of Ordinals, a tokenization system for Bitcoin, and the standardization of alternative tokenization methods like Stamps.
Solana gained popularity as a new airdrop frontier, attracting users to its top projects such as Magic Eden and Tensor. Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Solana now stand as the major players in the NFT market.
6. Onchain Revival
Onchain NFTs and experiments saw a resurgence in 2023. Chaos Roads mint and the Terraforms update pushed the boundaries of blockchain art.
Projects like BasePaint and Party provided new avenues for collaboration and creation onchain. The possibilities for creativity and experimentation with onchain NFTs have never been more open.
7. Crypto Social's Bloom
Crypto social apps gained prominence in 2023, providing platforms like Warpcast and Lens to highlight and facilitate NFT mints. These apps made it easier for users to discover and share their NFTs with friends, making NFTs more social and interactive.
8. Arrival of AI
The intersection of AI and NFTs saw significant research undertakings in 2023. Projects like Upstreet explored the integration of AI agents into multiplayer worlds, enabling interactions between humans and AI.
Gaming experiments like Parallel Colony introduced the concept of "1.5 player games," blurring the lines between human play and AI play. These early efforts indicate the massive potential of AI and NFTs in the future.
In 2023, there was a growing interest in Real World Assets (RWA) in the NFT space. NFTs representing real-world assets, such as real estate or art, gained attention and opened new avenues for investment and ownership. This trend highlighted the expanding use cases and possibilities of NFTs beyond digital art.
In conclusion, 2023 was a year of resilience and growth for the NFT space. Despite challenges, the industry witnessed advancements in scalability, new powerhouses in the PFP sector, improved gaming experiences, infrastructure developments, the emergence of new platforms, the integration of AI, and the exploration of real-world assets. These trends and developments laid the foundation for further innovation and expansion of the NFT market in the years to come.