Although PFP NFTs started out simply as avatars, they have grown to become coveted digital collectibles among NFT collectors. Read on to learn what PFP NFTs are and why they have become so popular in the NFT community.

What Are PFP NFTs? 

A profile picture (PFP) NFT is an NFT showcased as an avatar on social media profiles. PFP NFTs offer a unique way for creators and collectors to display their artwork on social media platforms like Twitter and Discord.

Although most PFP NFTs are artworks generated by a computer, there are also hand-drawn collections. Typically, PFP NFTs comprise thousands of NFTs that feature a character that could be anything, including an ape, a cat, or even a person. Though characters in a collection share some resemblance, they are differentiated by various traits that make each item unique. 

The concept of PFP NFTs was first debuted by CryptoPunks, an NFT project launched in 2017 by Larva Labs. The project was widely adopted by many, including celebrities and web3 pioneers, who started using the artwork as profile pictures on social media platforms. 

CryptoPunks’ colossal success paved the way for similar PFP NFT collections, including the highly popular Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC).

How Do PFP NFTs Work?

PFP NFTs are non-fungible tokens operating on a public blockchain with have a fixed supply, transparent history, and provable scarcity. All PFP NFTs have a fixed supply, transparent history, and provable scarcity.

Most of these NFTs are on the Ethereum blockchain and follow the ERC-721 standard. However, there are also NFTs on other chains that have become popular avatars in 2023, such as the Bitcoin Ordinal collection, Taproot Wizards.

To acquire an NFT for your profile picture, you can mint one from a popular project’s website or purchase one from an NFT marketplace, such as OpenSea or SuperRare. 

To showcase your NFT on social media, you can simply right-click and save the image of your NFT and upload it as your new profile picture. You don’t actually need to use a social media platform that allows you to connect your NFT with your account. However, you can connect Ethereum NFTs to your Twitter account if you have a Twitter Blue subscription. 

Why Are PFPs So Popular?

The success of CryptoPunks in 2017 inspired the rise of PFP NFTs, which surged in popularity during the 2021 market boom. Beeple’s $69 million NFT sale in March 2021 fueled the trend further, cementing PFP NFTs as a status symbol for the wealthy, famous, and NFT enthusiasts.

PFP NFTs are also popular because they enable collectors to signal their affiliation with a specific community. Besides the prestige of belonging in these exclusive communities, owning such NFTs may give the holders privileges. 

For example, the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) grants its members access to private events, merchandise, and other perks. Additionally, the projects behind the most popular PFP NFTs have a clear roadmap for future development, which can give investors confidence in the project’s long-term value.

Examples of popular PFP NFTs include:

How Are PFPs Different From Other NFTs?

PFP NFT collections are different from other NFTs in that they are typically designed to be used as profile pictures on social media and other online platforms. Unlike other NFTs that may represent real-world assets, in-game items, or virtual land, PFPs are typically 2D images meant to be showcased on social media.

Furthermore, unlike other NFTs, PFPs enable collectors to showcase NFT rarity and exclusivity. The rarer and more exclusive an NFT is, the more prestige it affords the owner and the more expensive it is likely to be.

There are many reasons for the popularity of PFPs. Some people view them as a way to show off their wealth or status, while others see them as a way to connect with a like-minded community. Whatever the reason, PFP NFTs are a new and exciting way for people to express themselves online, and the trend is likely here to stay.