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The Sui NFT Scene Already Has Early Buzz—Will It Last?

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Since the Sui blockchain’s mainnet launch on Wednesday, an active NFT community is already taking root, with marketplaces dropping projects that have sold out and collectively yielded hundreds of thousands’ of dollars worth of trades—albeit with some early hitches.

The Mysten Labs-developed layer-1 blockchain has been billed a “Solana killer” by some, but Solana boasts one of the liveliest NFT markets around, second only to Ethereum. Sui is pulling in traders, but it’s still too early to tell whether the network will support a thriving space or see the initial hype cool quickly as it did on networks like Aptos and Near.

Thursday’s drop of Fuddies, a set of 10,000 Sui profile pictures (PFPs) depicting cartoonish owls in various poses and styles, has been the biggest drop thus far. But the marketplace that hosted the drop faced technical problems following the mint, yielding backlash from collectors as well as NFT traders and Web3 builders on competing blockchain networks.

Fuddies debuted on upstart marketplace Clutchy—which Mysten Labs has helped to promote—and offered its NFTs for 95 SUI (about $125) to users added to a pre-launch allowlist. Afterwards, the public sale began with a Dutch auction format, with the initial price of 300 SUI (about $395) gradually dropping, hitting 150 SUI (nearly $200) before selling out.

Buyers who hoped to flip the Fuddies NFTs for a quick profit were quickly frustrated, however, when Clutchy’s secondary marketplace failed to work as intended.

Some Ethereum and Solana NFT collectors took the opportunity to call out the new rival’s marketplace for encountering technical difficulties. Clutchy had already delayed its planned Wednesday NFT mints after facing issues after the Sui mainnet launch.

Before long, however, the secondary marketplace started working—and so far, Clutchy reports some 605,000 SUI (about $792,500) worth of trading for Fuddies in about 24 hours. As the project creators noted on Twitter, that’s more than the total amount of NFT trading seen on Ethereum scaling network Polygon during the same span, per data from CryptoSlam.

It’s far and away the biggest NFT project on Sui so far, however. Another NFT project that minted on Clutchy yesterday and sold out, the sushi-themed Suishi, has only notched about 10,900 SUI (about $14,300) worth of secondary trades since the mint.

Clutchy isn’t the only Sui NFT marketplace that’s live, however. Souffl3, a marketplace that started life on Aptos last fall, has expanded to Sui as well—but its top project so far hasn’t been a sales sensation. The biggest Sui project on Souffl3 is Sui Trident, which has stacked up just under $65,000 worth of trades in the last 24 hours.

Projects are launching and selling out, however, with drops like Fuddies and Suishi both selling through on Clutchy, and Depthos and Sui G00dies selling through. On the downside, however, the current price floor—that is, the price of the cheapest-listed NFT in the project—has fallen below the public mint price, to 118 SUI (about $155).

Ahead of the mainnet launch, Clutchy founder and CEO Jacob “Dizzy Lizzy” Lawless told Decrypt that the marketplace had seen “tons of interest from influencers, investors, creators and onlookers.”

Given the gold rush seen on Ethereum, Solana, and recently with Bitcoin Ordinals when the earliest NFTs on each platform shot up in value, there’s always an eagerness among creators to be first out the gate with projects on a new chain. Likewise, savvy collectors try to snatch up assets that will have early provenance, which could boost its value in the future.

We saw that most recently with the debut of Aptos last October, which saw a surge in trading volume that corresponded with a dip in Solana NFT sales. Like Sui, Aptos is built around the Move programming language, so there are commonalities—and it helps explain why Souffl3, for example, bridged over to Sui and bills itself as the “NFT market on Move.”

Aptos NFT fever calmed quickly, but the initial buzz was massive. The Aptos Monkeys NFT project, for example, yielded about $2.3 million worth of trading volume in about 24 hours in October, just over a week after the Aptos mainnet went live. Sui has yet to match that kind of peak, but it’s only been a couple of days since the mainnet rollout.

Amongst Sui creators, there’s excitement over the chain’s ability to enable more advanced capabilities than some other chains, such as dynamic NFTs that update in real time. There’s an obvious benefit for blockchain-based video games, for example, with weapons or armor that improve over time, potentially becoming more useful or valuable in the process.

And gaming may ultimately prove to be one of the biggest drivers of NFT momentum on Sui, with a slate of notable early titles like the Overwatch-esque hero shooter Bushi, a Walking Dead game, and tank game Panzerdogs (a Solana transplant) due out in the coming weeks.

“I feel like there’s still a lot of interesting experimentation going on, culminating in another wave of NFT and dapp innovation,” pseudonymous Web3 project advisor Dabblerer told Decrypt. “The launches are inspired by lessons learned by early movers with some different takes.”

She pointed to other potential NFT use cases on the horizon for Sui, including a project called Sui Name Service (SuiNS). It’s similar in approach to the popular Ethereum Name Service (ENS), but with domain names tied both to NFTs as well as smart contracts (which hold the code that powers decentralized apps), which Dabblerer suggested would let users “interact with more trust and security.”

“One of the main reasons we decided to build on Sui [is] because its tech provides a platform for innovation,” Clutchy’s Lawless said. He added that the Move language “significantly lowers the boundaries for creators to innovate through dynamic NFTs,” potentially unlocking more types of use cases and compelling apps and experiences.

Just a couple days into the Sui mainnet launch, however, such innovative projects and applications could still be far off on the horizon. For now, the projects launching this week mostly look and feel like derivative knockoffs of collections on other chains.

Still, a small but engaged community flipping hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of PFPs is something—and we’ll see whether the early buzz grows into something that can put a real scare into competing NFT ecosystems.

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