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May 2023 NFT Trend Recap: Bitcoin NFTs, NFT Lending

May 2023 was an eventful month in NFTs – marking the rise of new trends, and possibly the downfall of some.

NFT spring has possibly sprung.

Many seeds of developments in the NFT world were planted in the months prior, setting the stage for Bitcoin NFTs to blossom, NFT loans to bloom, and plenty of global brands announcing plans to set up shop in Web3 (with a mixture of smooth and unsmooth launches).


Bitcoin NFTs

Ordinals inscriptions – otherwise known as Bitcoin NFTs, Ordinal NFTs, or Bitcoin Ordinals – have continued to grow in popularity. Web3 data platform CryptoSlam shows data indicating that over the past month, Ordinals have grossed around $167 million. While Ethereum has sold nearly $397 million at the same time, sales on Bitcoin are nearly three times larger than on Solana’s recorded $57 million.

Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens were a fairly new addition to the Bitcoin mainnet – only having been a feature there since January 2023. However, Ordinals have marked somewhat of a renaissance in Bitcoin development – with some even anticipating that it can potentially spark new growth in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

As of writing, spending on Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens have been slowing down in comparison to the beginning of the month – but that’s just because these types of tokens have come into fire from bitcoiners as they’ve brought up network clogs and gas fee increases.

Space Pepes

May 2023 was infamous for being ‘Meme coin May’ – that is, a month full of hype for tokens, coins, and even NFTs that have no fundamental value. On the NFT front, imagery from well-known and loved memes have been used to ensure the sale of the NFT project, with some projects gaining more success than others.

Amongst the swarm of meme-inspired NFTs is the rise of Space Pepes – a Bitcoin Ordinals-based NFT collection. Having jumped to the top of the NFT leaderboard last Thursday, it became the most traded NFT over a 7-day period, with over $7.3 million worth traded.

The weekly amount that Space Pepes racked in were higher than what the popular Ethereum-based collection Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) brought in at the same time – showing a possible shift in demand towards Bitcoin Ordinals.


Nike’s slow .SWOOSH to $1M

Global sportswear brand Nike’s launch of its first NFT sneaker collection, Our Force 1, recently passed the $1 million mark in sales, overcoming issues from delays and technical issues.

The highly-anticipated virtual sneaker collection exclusively sold on the brand’s .SWOOSH Web3 platform left some users frustrated regarding the sale experience.

With the “First Access” sale beginning on May 15 after a series of persistent delays and technical issues, the sale then opened up “General Access”, on May 24 – two weeks after the initial proposed public sale date. Despite the delay, tech issues still remained, preventing many users from minting.

The sale remains ongoing, but Nike considered the sale a success on Twitter, noting that more than 50% of the collection’s boxes are gone on May 26th.

As a big, already-established brand fumbles up a sale, it’s evident by this point that NFT sales cannot rely solely on clout and status alone.


NFT Lending 

NFT lending platforms, including NFT loan services, are gaining even more traction than before.

NFT marketplace Blur’s latest lending platform Blend is currently dominating 82% of the NFT lending market share, according to a report by DappRadar. Blur is known for bringing the zero-royalty NFT sales model to the space.

Meanwhile, Binance is dipping their toes into NFT waters. The top crypto exchange brought a feature to its NFT marketplace where digital asset holders can secure ETH loans by using their owned NFTs as collateral.

A new project, Astaria, has also got NFT loaners excited recently. Co-founded by the former CTO of popular DeFi protocol SushiSwap, Astaria lets NFT holders lease their assets to traders, letting them ‘rent’ out blue-chip NFTs in one single transaction.

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