A common question that’s asked is “why are nfts so ugly?” and we wanted to break down three significant reasons why nfts are ugly or unpleasing to the eye on marketplaces like Open Sea, Rariable, and Niftyblocks.
First, we’ve found nft projects come in all shapes and sizes, and most of the successful ones have high-quality artwork that’s pretty to look at or admire. However, ugly nft projects can still be successful.
We’ve compiled a list of ugly nft projects that are still relatively successful, profitable, and well-known to prove ugliness doesn’t have that big of an impact overall.
We found nft projects with large engaging communities and utilities create more value and demand in the marketplace than ugly nft projects without them. If you’d like to learn more about how to create value using nfts with utility, read our guide on 6 Best NFT Utility Ideas for Sellers You Should Consider.
Let’s first define what an ugly nft looks like and how we’re thinking about it:
What Makes NFTS So Ugly?
‘Ugly’ is when something is unaesthetic appealing, misunderstood, or scary.
NFTs can be art, and sometimes art can be ugly. However, it’s subjective, and what someone considers ugly may be beautiful. In addition, some projects programmatically generate nfts creating mismatched or error-prone artwork.
When they use generated nfts, it randomizes different layers representing expressions, accessories, and attributes like smiles, eyebrows, hats & hair, etc. Unfortunately, sometimes these get mixed up when the computer picks which facial expressions go with each other when they naturally wouldn’t.
Here’s some of the sentiment from new nft collectors around ugly nfts:
Art is in the eye of the beholder. Similar to when the trend of ‘Ugly Christmas Sweaters’ was highly undesirable at first, and most felt the sweaters looked stupid for the holiday season. However, there’s a growing demand for ugly Christmas sweaters at office parties every year.
NFTs are following a similar trend.
First, no one knew what it was and why people were buying JEPGs when they could right-click to save them. However, it’s so much more than that, and now everyone wants to buy the latest nft, even if it’s ugly or not pleasing to the eye.
3 Reasons for Why NFTs Are Ugly
We wanted to share some reasons why a nft may be considered ugly and what to keep in mind when launching your nft project. The market will determine if they like a nft or don’t, so ugly nfts have a high chance of success even if they aren’t appealing.
1. Quantity over Quality
Our analysis found different levels of success, with 10K generated through photoshop layers vs. illustrating hand-drawn originals.
Hand-drawn nfts have a higher chance of uniqueness because each would be difficult to recreate similarly. If you were to bring in nft utility by offering the ability to swap a digital non-fungible token for a real-world painting or print of the nft, the value of the artwork would increase even more.
For example, Beeple: The First 5000 Days piece of art was original artwork and not generated by a computer, which sold for $69.3million.
You can even combine both hand-drawn nfts and generated nfts. For example, previous Google Associate and YouTuber Joma Tech launched 2,500 NFTs called “Vaxxed Doggo“—selling out in less than a minute. All with hand-written notes held within the artwork. It sold for $29.6k.
2. Programmatically Generated NFTs
Mismatches are a real possibility with generated nfts. It’s when NFTs have attributes like accessories, smiles or hats that do not make sense for the rest of the character design. In the example above, the hat fits better with the outfit on the right ape vs. the left ape.
These generated nfts build upon mathematical diagrams/models and use advanced programming languages like Python.
Read more about how these:
- Generative Art NFTs with Python and Solidity
- How to Create Generative Art in Less Than 100 Lines of Code
3. Value of NFTS Goes Beyond Aesthetics
Why NFTs are Ugly is because the rare items are differentiated from everyday items.
Generally speaking, most nft projects can have 80% of nfts that look mismatched or ugly, whereas 20% make sense and are rare.
Since most projects have 10,000 tokens, this gives you about 2,000 nfts which could be rare. The super rare is likely among the 1% to 2% of those 2,000 nfts, bringing the total number down to ~40 nfts.
We analyzed five different projects we classified as ugly nft projects to see if they could be profitable and how likely it would be to get a rare nft based on the number of traits available. Considering if we bought in at the floor price and increased the selling price 20% for making a realistic margin, we found 3 out of the 5 or 60% of the projects we picked were not profitable.
|NFT Project Name
|Floor Price ($)
|Profit / Loss Potential at 20%
|The Alien Boy
|Sad Girls Bar
It taught us how there may not be a direct correlation with how many traits and how profitable a project can be; however, there’s a high likelihood the better looking a nft art project is, the higher the floor price (or perceived value). Ultimately, this leads to a more profitable project for nft traders and collectors.
Keep in mind that gas prices and floor prices are constantly changing, and it’s essential to use an NFT Profit Calculator | NFTinit takes into account current gas fees, open sea site fees, and the price you bought in at initially.
In other words, the floor price is a telling sign of if a nft is widely accepted or too ugly to be effective.
Consider using trait rarity tools to help identify rare nfts out of the massive, mismatched amount.
Examples of Ugly NFT Projects (Still Successful)
Some projects make the art style of ‘ugly or misunderstood’ apart of their brand. Here’s a list:
- Funky Flies
- Bastard Penguins
- The Alien Boy
- Bold Badgers
- Sad Girl Bar
- Ether Rock
- The Ugly Duckling
Why NFTs Will Remain Ugly Until the Future Changes It
Human psychology suggests collectors get a beneficial feeling when collecting something they think they are ahead of the curve and others can’t fully understand. However, it’s the same for nft collectors, and you can find that accurate among other industries.
For example, look at the car industry where car collectors and critics talk about the Telsa Cyber Truck.
The Tesla Cybertruck may not be aesthetically pleasing; however, it pushes the limit on what we believe a pickup truck should look like and get us living in the future. Elon musk intended for the Cybertruck to land on Mars and be a daily driver.
In the nft space, ugly art and projects express what the future could look like, and eventually, they will take on an entirely different form. Additionally, as nft projects become more competitive in getting the market share, those short-term low-quality projects will become obsolete.
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