These Young Trailblazers Have Made Over $30 Million Trading JPEGs: What's Their Secret?

"NFTs, the new frontier in digital investments, offer both unparalleled potential and sobering lessons. From the successes of Beeple to the pitfalls faced by BAYC, this space showcases the duality of monumental gains and unexpected challenges.


I reminisce about the time when investing was synonymous with stocks, bonds, real estate, and maybe a dash of gold or silver for good measure. Now, we're witnessing an entirely new asset class taking center stage in the alternative investments landscape - Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Much like the transition in the art world from the Old Masters to Impressionism, Pop Art, and Abstract Expressionism, NFTs are changing the traditional investing paradigm.

The Intrigue and Potential of NFTs

For the uninitiated, NFTs are unique digital assets, verifiable via blockchain technology. From digital artworks and music to tweets and virtual real estate, almost anything can be tokenized and sold as an NFT. As an enthusiast and investor, I can’t deny the allure of these novel investments. There is something undeniably exciting about the digital frontier. Much like the thrill of buying a lottery ticket, the possibility of striking gold in the next big NFT is tantalizing.

Beeple’s collage, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, Source: Beeple

The success stories are compelling. The creator of digital artwork, Beeple, sold his NFT for a staggering $69 million. In similar fashion, a tweet by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, was tokenized and sold for $2.9 million. 13-year-old Nyla Hayes became a multimillionaire in just 1 year when her drawings depicting iconic women as ‘Long Neckies’ were sold as NFTs with one of her portraits selling for $6,621.70.

These stories echo the sales of Old Masterpieces in their prime, pulling in large sums and offering incredible returns for the right investments.

However, just like the shift from Old Masters to newer art styles did not occur without a fair share of controversy, skepticism, and risk, the NFT market is no exception.

The Dark Side of NFTs

Dwindling NFT Market visualized by Dune, Source: @hildobby

As enticing as this new frontier is, it is equally riddled with pitfalls, and, in many instances, the losses have been devastating. The recent slump, not only in equities but also cryptocurrency, has seen a ripple effect on NFTs as well. 

Platforms have experienced shutdowns as they are unable to generate revenue, and stories of rugpulls – when creators sell off their tokens and then vanish without delivering the promised value – are becoming all too familiar. 

Despite Recur raising $50 million and hosting notable IPs, they recently announced their platform's shutdown. This decision, attributed to unforeseen challenges, underscores the volatile nature of NFTs especially during a prolonged Bear Market

Another notable example of a rugpull is the Iconics NFT project on the Solana blockchain. Investors were promised 8,000 randomized 3D artworks but instead received a random collection of emojis. The alleged 17-year-old artist behind the project disappeared, and the investors lost around $140,000.

The fake Banksy NFT was advertised on the artist's official website

And then, there is the peril of counterfeit NFTs. In a notorious incident, Pranksy, a well-known NFT collector, paid $336,000 for a fake Banksy NFT. Although the money was surprisingly refunded, the incident revealed the vulnerabilities of the NFT market.

Fraud is not the only problem plaguing this sphere. We have also seen large-scale scams like the Frosties NFT project, where investors were swindled out of $1.3 million, and the Evolved Apes project, where the pseudonymous developer 'Evil Ape' stole $2.7 million from investors. These stories are harrowing tales of a market unchecked and unregulated.

Celebrities have not been immune to the risks of NFTs either. A rug pull scam involving an NFT collection called "Aku: The Moon God," backed by Miami Heat basketball player Jimmy Butler, led to investors losing their money. Yuga Labs, the creator of BAYC, also faces legal challenges. A class action suit alleges misleading promotions, roping in major names like Adidas, Sotheby's, Justin Bieber, and Paris Hilton. Such events shed light on the darker aspects of the NFT space.

BAYC #8585 selling for 153 ETH, Source: OpenSea

Another case in point is the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT. A piece from this collection, once sold for a whopping 777 ETH, recently traded hands at a mere 153 ETH, marking an 80% decrease. This decline showcases the potential risks even in high-profile NFT projects.

These stories are cautionary tales that even high-profile endorsement doesn't guarantee safety or success in the world of NFTs.

Diversify and Tread With Caution

It's essential to approach NFTs with caution. While I advocate for embracing the evolution of investment options, we must not let the excitement of potentially high returns blind us to the risks involved.

I firmly believe that investing in NFTs should be part of a diversified portfolio. Speculative investments, whether it's NFTs or risky stocks, should never dominate your portfolio. And just as we wouldn't buy a painting without understanding its provenance, we should not invest in NFTs without doing our homework.

Conclusion: The Brave New World of NFTs

The emergence of NFTs as a new asset class in the investment world is akin to the seismic shift that occurred in the art world from Old Masters to modern artistic styles. The potential for high returns is there, but so are significant risks.

As investors, we must navigate this brave new world with a mix of curiosity, excitement, and a healthy dose of caution. With careful planning and an understanding of the risks involved, we might just find ourselves a part of the next big wave in the world of investments.

Just remember: in the world of NFTs, as with any investment, not every token is a masterpiece. Choose wisely.

Disclaimer: This is not financial or investment advice and should not be interpreted as such. Please do your own research on investments and financial decisions before partaking in any ideas or ventures depicted in this publication. Please note that historical rates of returns may not reflect future returns.