Last week, trading volume on Reddit’s NFT avatar collection exploded on Polygon.
Depicting Snoo, Reddit’s alien mascot, the sales volume of Reddit’s NFT collection surged from less than $1 million to more than $2.5 million in less than 24 hours. According to the director of research at Proof Collective, on October 25 the Reddit avatars saw as much volume as all the other ETH NFTs on Blur, LooksRare, x2y2, LarvaLabs, and SudoSwap combined, reaching around 1,900 ETH (currently equivalent to $3.09 million).
Reddit isn’t new to NFTs, having launched its first collection, CryptoSnoo, in June 2021. At that time, Reddit partnered with independent artists to create unique Snoos which were then made available for around $9.99 to $99.99 — the current number of Reddit NFTs in circulation includes this original collection. Users who purchased one of these avatars received licensing rights to use it on a variety of platforms, not just Reddit, and were able to “mix and match” the avatar using the avatar builder tool.
This July, Reddit launched its NFT marketplace featuring collectible avatars and in August, avatars were airdropped to certain community members with a certain level of “karma” — Reddit’s point system for contributions to the site’s communities. At a TechCrunch panel on October 18th, Reddit chief product officer Pali Bhat revealed that over three million Redditors have created about three million crypto wallets using Reddit’s vault blockchain — that’s more than on OpenSea.
About a week later, trading volume surged on Polygon, with “Midas Touch #100” from Reddit user poieeeyee’s Spooky Season collection taking the cake for the most expensive NFT at 1,000 ETH ($1.6 million).
Why it Matters
The crypto market has seen a steep decline from its $25 billion boom in 2021, leaving many to question the appeal of NFTs and others to ask whether the current so-called “Crypto Winter” could become an Ice Age. Google Trends shows that “NFTs” are an extremely unpopular search category, and NFT projects from Twitter Blue, Facebook, and Instagram have received reams of criticism. Yet Reddit has managed to bypass this failing interest, even among its own community members. Why?
Three things are integral to the success of the Snoo NFTs.
For one, Reddit has never overtly referred to these NFT collections as “NFTs.” In July, when Reddit launched its NFT platform, many users noted how unusual it was that the plaform “went out of its way to not describe these avatars as NFTs.” This has been instrumental to the success of the venture, because it helped Reddit sidestep the loaded jargon of the Web3 world, making it much easier to attract new users.
Secondly, users have never needed to use cryptocurrency to purchase avatars, and all collectibles were sold at a fixed price, unlike regular NFTs, whose price changes with the market. Avatars can be bought using fiat currency, with a credit or debit card — and then stored on Reddit’s digital wallet, the Vault. Integrating Reddit-native features and fiat currency significantly lowers the barrier of entry and smooths the path to widespread adoption.
Finally, it’s been argued that the explosion in interest is deeply connected to the success of Reddit’s Avatar Builder and Reddit’s close collaboration with independent artists. Rather than simply selling collectibles, Reddit fosters a community — one that isn’t connected to the expensive hype of Bored Apes. The Avatar builder, which was launched in 2020, has also helped individuals showcase their personalities, deepening this Reddit-native community. Other marketplaces could learn a thing or two.