MekaVerse Earns $60 Million in Ethereum Sales for NFTs We Can’t See Yet

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Secondary sales for the Japanese mecha-themed NFT series are soaring, despite the fact that buyers have yet to see the final images.

Another day, another buzzy NFT drop—and MekaVerse is one of the largest launches to date.

Since launching yesterday, the Ethereum NFTs have already yielded $60 million worth of sales between the initial mint and secondary sales. Even on the latter front, buyers are spending tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of ETH on something they can’t even view just yet.

MekaVerse is a collection of 8,888 NFT profile pictures inspired by Japanese mecha anime series, most notably the classic “Mobile Suit Gundam,” with each 3D-rendered image generated at random from a pool of traits. Following in the footsteps of popular NFT avatar series such as CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club, no two images are alike.

What’s interesting is that even secondary market buyers don’t know what they’re getting with MekaVerse NFTs just yet. Every image on OpenSea is currently an animated placeholder for a collection-wide reveal scheduled for October 10-11. As a result, there is currently no way to predict whether users will pull a rare NFT or something more common.

The NFT is a blockchain-backed deed of ownership for a digital item that proves your one-of-a-kind avatar is truly yours. Other types of NFTs include digital artwork, video files, and interactive video game items, and the overall market is expected to explode in 2021, with $10.67 billion in trading volume in Q3 alone, according to DappRadar.

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MekaVerse—led by French crypto artists Matt Braccini and Mattey—faced immense demand for its minting process on Thursday. Rather than hold an open mint, which has typically driven up the network-wide Ethereum gas fees (i.e. transaction fees) for other hot NFT projects, MekaVerse held a raffle to secure spots for the closed mint.

 

The project reported having the holders of 172,876 unique wallets register for the raffle. Ultimately, 8,593 NFTs were sold during the minting window at a fee of 0.2 ETH ($725) each, yielding over 1,718 ETH—almost $6.3 million. The remaining NFTs that were not minted will be used for future giveaways and promotions, the team wrote in its Discord server on Friday.

Secondary sales of the MekaVerse NFTs have taken off since the mint, with the OpenSea marketplace recording 14,832 ETH—more than $53.7 million—in trading volume in less than 24 hours. The floor price (or cheapest available) of a MekaVerse NFT is currently around 5.6 ETH, or $20,275—a massive increase from the original mint cost.

One of the biggest trends of this year’s NFT explosion has been avatar collections. The influential CryptoPunks collection debuted in 2017 and commands the highest sale prices of any collection, with a current starting price of around $413,000 in ETH. The most popular new collection from 2021 is Bored Ape Yacht Club, and other top projects include Cool Cats and 0N1 Force.

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The Meka controversy

The MekaVerse launch wasn’t without drama, however. Some users bristled at the need to log into the raffle system using either a Twitter or Discord account, for example, alleging a data harvesting scheme. Others have alleged that the project is one big scam or “rug pull,” citing claimed red flags like an unverified Ethereum contract, a large transfer of funds from the contract, and a lack of communication from the team.

Today, the team announced that the contract has been verified (as seen on Etherscan), and that it transferred funds out of the contract into a private wallet for “maximum security.” The team further claimed that it had minimized social media interactions around the launch period “for the sake of our mental health.”

Meanwhile, concept artist Emerson Trung—who has worked on the “Doom” and “Transformers” franchises—alleged that the project refused to fully compensate him for his work. However, following Twitter exchanges, including purportedly deleted tweets in which Braccini called Trung’s behavior “disgusting,” Trung tweeted that the team will honor its original agreement, which included one MekaVerse NFT.

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