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A Visual Guide to Profile Picture NFTs

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Profile picture NFTs

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A Visual Guide to Profile Picture NFTs

How do you represent yourself on social media? For most people it’s a selfie, a photo with their friends, or a picture of their pet—but what about a digitally-created character?

Profile picture NFTs are pieces of digital artwork that people use to express themselves online. Each item is a depiction of a character’s face, and has a unique mix of attributes that gives it a sense of collectability.

Like other NFTs, they’re secured on a blockchain and can be bought and sold for cryptocurrency. And while there’s nothing to stop you from screenshotting an NFT and using it for your own profile, the market for these items continues to grow.

To learn more, this infographic explains how three well-known profile picture NFT collections were created.

CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks are commonly regarded as one of the first examples of NFTs. The collection consists of 10,000 unique “punks” and was released in 2017 by Larva Labs.

One interesting fact is that these NFTs were originally given out for free—today, they are worth thousands or millions of dollars each. According to OpenSea, one of the largest NFT marketplaces, CryptoPunk #3100 was sold for 4,200 Ethereum (roughly $7.6 million) in March 2021.

A large component of #3100’s perceived value is its blue alien skin, which only eight other punks have. In other words, it’s incredibly rare. The following table shows the species distribution of the CryptoPunks collection.

Species% Rarity
Human98.7%
Zombie0.88%
Ape0.24%
Alien0.09%

In addition to species, each punk features a unique mix of facial accessories or “attributes”. Examples include a big beard (found in only 146 punks), and a VR headset (found in 332 punks).

Bored Ape Yacht Club

Next is the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), another collection of 10,000 unique profile picture NFTs. Unlike CryptoPunks, BAYC NFTs show both the head and torso of a character (in this case, an ape).

This opens up many combinations of clothing items, facial features, and accessories. Altogether, there are seven categories of attributes: Background color, Clothes, Earring, Eyes, Fur, Hat, and Mouth.

The following table lists some examples of BAYC attributes, and their % rarity. To explore further, visit the BAYC gallery.

Attribute CategoryAttribute Name% Rarity
FurSolid Gold0.05%
FurWhite3.9%
HatKing's Crown0.02%
HatStuntman Helmet1.6%

BAYC NFTs also grant access to members-only benefits. This includes access to a collaborative graffiti board, as well as other NFTs from spin-off collections like the Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC). As its name suggests, the BAKC is a collection of dogs, rather than apes.

Cool Cats NFT

The last collection is Cool Cats NFT, which again amounts to 10,000 images. Cool Cats were minted at a cost of 0.06 Ethereum each, or roughly $200. The act of “minting” an NFT is similar to when metal coins are entered into circulation.

Each Cool Cat NFT is a depiction of a cartoon cat with a varying number of facial features, hats, and shirts. Altogether, there are over 300,000 possible options that could be included.

This collection also features nine “hidden” cats which boast one-off features. #500 is an upside down cat floating in a blue sky background, while #2288 is simply a skeleton.

Building Your Identity in the Metaverse

A criticism of today’s social media is that there’s little room to express yourself.

Think back, for a moment, to the days of MySpace. Users could spend hours customizing their profile page, adding music, art, and whatever else they felt was an expression of themselves. As the platform’s name implied, it was a space that belonged to you.

The metaverse offers something similar. To take part in a virtual universe, you need an avatar—a digital manifestation of yourself. Avatars will be highly customizable and far less constrained by the limitations of the real world.

If you’re having trouble imagining this, check out VR Chat, a virtual reality game where players socialize as aliens, monsters, and other “interesting” beings.

This may help to explain the recent craze around profile picture NFTs. When the metaverse arrives, these NFTs could become a user’s avatar. After all, who wouldn’t want to have blue alien skin?

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Charting the Next Generation of Internet

In this graphic, Visual Capitalist has partnered with MSCI to explore the potential of satellite internet as the next generation of internet innovation.

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Teaser image of a bubble chart showing the large addressable market of satellite internet.

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The following content is sponsored by MSCI

Could Tomorrow’s Internet be Streamed from Space?

In 2023, 2.6 billion people could not access the internet. Today, companies worldwide are looking to innovative technology to ensure more people are online at the speed of today’s technology. 

Could satellite internet provide the solution?  

In collaboration with MSCI, we embarked on a journey to explore whether tomorrow’s internet could be streamed from space. 

Satellite Internet’s Potential Customer Base

Millions of people live in rural communities or mobile homes, and many spend much of their lives at sea or have no fixed abode. So, they cannot access the internet simply because the technology is unavailable. 

Satellite internet gives these communities access to the internet without requiring a fixed location. Consequently, the volume of people who could get online using satellite internet is significant:

AreaPotential Subscribers
Households Without Internet Access600,000,000
RVs 11,000,000
Recreational Boats8,500,000
Ships100,000
Commercial Aircraft25,000

Advances in Satellite Technology

Satellite internet is not a new concept. However, it has only recently been that roadblocks around cost and long turnaround times have been overcome.

NASA’s space shuttle, until it was retired in 2011, was the only reusable means of transporting crew and cargo into orbit. It cost over $1.5 billion and took an average of 252 days to launch and refurbish. 

In stark contrast, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 can now launch objects into orbit and maintain them at a fraction of the time and cost, less than 1% of the space shuttle’s cost.

Average Rocket Turnaround TimeAverage Launch/Refurbishment Cost
Falcon 9*21 days< $1,000,000
Space Shuttle252 days$1,500,000,000 (approximately)

Satellites are now deployed 300 miles in low Earth orbit (LEO) rather than 22,000 miles above Earth in Geostationary Orbit (GEO), previously the typical satellite deployment altitude.

What this means for the consumer is that satellite internet streamed from LEO has a latency of 40 ms, which is an optimal internet connection. Especially when compared to the 700 ms stream latency experienced with satellite internet streamed from GEO. 

What Would it Take to Build a Satellite Internet?

SpaceX, the private company that operates Starlink, currently has 4,500 satellites. However, the company believes it will require 10 times this number to provide comprehensive satellite internet coverage.

Charting the number of active satellites reveals that, despite the increasing number of active satellites, many more must be launched to create a comprehensive satellite internet. 

YearNumber of Active Satellites
20226,905
20214,800
20203,256
20192,272
20182,027
20171,778
20161,462
20151,364
20141,262
20131,187

Next-Generation Internet Innovation

Innovation is at the heart of the internet’s next generation, and the MSCI Next Generation Innovation Index exposes investors to companies that can take advantage of potentially disruptive technologies like satellite internet. 

You can gain exposure to companies advancing access to the internet with four indexes: 

  • MSCI ACWI IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation Index
  • MSCI World IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation 30 Index
  • MSCI China All Shares IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation Index
  • MSCI China A Onshore IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation Index

MSCI thematic indexes are objective, rules-based, and regularly updated to focus on specific emerging trends that could evolve.

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Click here to explore the MSCI thematic indexes

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