Exploring the Layers of Meaning in PFP NFTs

Unlocking the Symbolism Behind PFP NFTs: More Than Just a Digital Portrait


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NFTs have become a leading technology in the Web3 movement, which resembles the new and upcoming version of the internet as we know it. This new web focuses on decentralization and ownership by the public, rather than different bigger organizations.

Assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs will be heavily involved and given that they’ve been a big deal so far, they’ll become even bigger a deal. Non-Fungible Tokens, so far, have been a great in terms of providing ownership to artists over their own artwork. They have enabled a secure and proper way to own, sell and swap art pieces of any kind. They have been used as memberships, virtual properties and have a great future ahead. 

Social Media plays a huge role behind the usage and meaning of the PFP NFT. We are talking about NFT Profile Pictures here which are used on some of the major social media platforms. What once was a way to prove ownership over your own art, through NFTs, has now become an opportunity to showcase your own collection through online avatars.  

How PFP NFTs Started

The concept of NFT avatars was first introduced through the NFT collection CryptoPunks. These were released in 2017 but didn’t gain their popularity until 2021, settling the first example behind the PFP NFT meaning. They depict pixel art avatars of punks, though their heads only. What makes them stand out is that first of all, there are 10,000 of them, and second of all, they are all different. No CryptoPunks NFT is like any other. The differences can be in (facial) hair styles and colours, skin colours and accessories. This was the first NFT project that showed people representation for different communities. Everyone could adapt a profile picture similar to their real self.  

The collection was created by Matt Hall and John Watkinson, founders of Larva Labs. And whilst in the beginning, all 10,000 NFTs could be claimed by anyone for free, now, they can only be bought. Of course, prices will change, but at writing, the current cheapest CryptoPunk is on sale for $136,164,04 with the most expensive costing $23.7 million.  

Celebrities, such as Jay-Z, Serena Williams, Heidi Klum and Jason Derulo took part in the hot trend to own a CryptoPunk and to show it off as their profile picture. Once influential people hop on the trend, of course, it’s bound to get even bigger. Tech communities on Twitter, Discord, GitHub and Reddit took on the craze and NFT PFPs became the became the newest way for crypto investors to show their portfolios off.  

How are PFP NFTs created?

The easiest way to get your hands on a cool new profile picture for your social media profiles, in the form of a PFP NFT, is to buy one. Since their boom in 2021, they’ve become quite popular and there are hundreds of collections out there. All you need is a wallet to store the NFT and to acquire it over the marketplace that it is stored in. However, the available NFTs might not necessarily match your taste or vision of what you want your PFP to represent. 

Quick Guide to Buying NFTs
A quick guide to buying NFTs online
Quick Guide to Buying NFTs (mobile)
A quick guide to buying NFTs online 

Another option is to create your own NFT (collection). While you may have the idea for an unique NFT (collection), you might not have the right tools to design and produce it. This is where you can use an NFT generator, but you’ll have to design different components to provide the generator with. A special platform like DigitalArtists can help you, as an individual or a company, with everything mentioned above, to make the journey easier for you whilst delivering a unique NFT (collection).

Why the Twitter NFT Profile Picture Is So Popular

Twitter quickly became one of the best places to showcase your newest and/or best NFT in your collection. Tech communities span across many platforms, as we mentioned earlier, Discord, GitHub and Reddit for example, but Twitter is easily one of the biggest among those. One of the reasons for that is how easy information is spread across. Many users appreciate that they can find out and/or be notified about different jobs, news and courses instantly, all day, every day. The reason, however, why the Twitter NFT profile picture option became so popular is different.

Twitter PFP NFT

As we may know, NFTs can be downloaded and screenshotted by everyone. The core principle of them is that you can prove ownership over them with your wallet address and by having the NFT in that wallet. There are many users who are either fans of a particular NFT collection or just don’t care about owning the actual NFT and have used different NFTs which don’t belong to them as PFPs. To battle that, Twitter tested a new function for some time before finally launching the NFT PFP function in March 2022. If a user is subscribed to the Twitter Blue subscription, they would be able to link their wallets with their Twitter profiles and so get their favourite NFT as a profile picture. On top of that, they get a special hexagon shaped PFP frame, unlike the usual circle frame.  

This option is appreciated by NFT owners because they can show ownership over the actual NFT. Many of them like to express that they are members of big communities like CryptoPunks or the Bored Ape Yacht Club, both providing their members with exclusive perks like members-only parties and merch. Other users don’t necessarily like to show their real pictures on the internet and acquire avatars which resemble their true self as close as possible. It is safe to say that regardless of whether you are using your Twitter NFT PFP to express something, show wealth or to promote your own work, it has become the most popular, best and easiest way to showcase your NFT as a profile picture on any platform out there. 

Which Is the Most Valuble NFT PFP

NFTs were first created as a monetised graphics project between Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash in 2014 at the New York Conference Seven on Seven. They presented their project by having Dash acquiring the first NFT ever – Quantum – created by Kevin and Jennifer McCoy, for $4. In 2022, the NFT Quantum sold for $1.47 million at an auction ran by Sotheby’s, one of the world’s largest brokers of collectibles, fine arts and more. The price difference is massive, and quite expected, given that it is the first NFT ever to be created, but it also reflects how NFTs nowadays vary in prices.

First NFT Quantum
The first NFT ever called Quantum created by Keving and Jennifer McCoy

Unlike Quantum, CryptoPunks were first free to mint. After all of the 10,000 NFTs were minted, the only way to obtain one became by having to sell and buy them. This led to the biggest sale of an NFT PFP ever in history. The most expensive CryptoPunk to be ever sold is the CryptoPunk #5822. It is a very rare one in the whole collection, because it is one of nine to wear a hat. The sale occurred in February 2022 where the best NFT PFP was sold for $23.7 million. The buyer was Deepak Thapliyal, who is the CEO of Chain, a blockchain-based technology company.  

One of the other most famous profile picture alternatives it the monkey PFPs produced by YugaLabs and called the Bored Ape Yacht Club. They depict, quite literally, bored apes, again, all different from each other with different attributes. The cheapest Bored Ape NFT as of writing is $111,888.71 and the most expensive one, BAYC #8817, sold for $3.4 million in October 2021 to Brandon Buchanan, founder of Meta4, a crypto fund which invests in NFTs. 

Do You Need a Profile Picture as NFT?

Profile Pictures on social media are the first glimpse of who we are, or in another words, who we present ourselves to be online. Many people prefer to put their face and expose themselves a notch further as an online presence. Other people don’t like the idea of that and prefer to use anything but themselves as a profile pictures. Be it actors, scenery, animated characters, or anything else, it gives them a comfort of security. An option is to not have one at all. The need to have a profile picture really depends on the person themselves, the community and platform they are signing up to and the reason behind that.

Tips on choosing an NFT PFP
Important things to consider when choosing a PFP
Tips on choosing an NFT PFP (mobile)
Important things to consider when choosing a PFP

If you want to come across as professional, and are signing up to LinkedIn, for example, it wouldn’t be rational to not have a profile picture. If you are someone who invests millions of dollars in the Tech field and your name is quite known, then in that case, security might be of high importance to you. This is where you can use a PFP NFT to still show your investments and progressive mindset, in terms of the Web3 and NFT movements.  

Everyone interested in NFTs knows the feeling of browsing marketplaces for hours looking at different NFT collections, artworks, and NFT drops. If you are on a mission to invest in an NFT, and you want to pick the best one, then you’ll probably spend even more hours researching until you find the one that catches your eye. Having all of this hard work behind you, most people want to show what they’ve acquired. This is the best reason to set up and showcase your new Twitter NFT profile picture. At the end of the day, it is a very subjective question, that you need to answer for yourself.  

What Should We Expect From PFP NFT Projects In the Future?

It’s uncertain to say what the future hold for NFT PFPs, like any upcoming and digital innovation. Given their current increasing popularity, however, NFT profile pictures surely are a big market and door opener for many future NFT PFP projects. Many (digital) artists have been relying on this technology to expand their portfolios, get their names out there and to make some profit.  

NFTs & Crypto are the future. But it can be scary to get started.

Tom Bilyeu

Usually, with higher demand comes higher price. There could be a higher demand for NFTs in the future because some of the current ones will become classics, which collectors might want. Most NFTs are a one-time thing only. Because every NFT is different from all the others, even if it comes from the same NFT collection, it can still be differentiated from the rest. But collections are created constantly, some gaining more popularity as time goes.  

Still, what NFT PFPs offer to online users is quite valuable. They provide users with the unique way to express themselves through their profile pictures without having to use their own real faces. An NFT can express someone’s interests, hobbies, favourite colours and many more things, which to some people is quite important. This adds another layer of security over their internet existence. This exclusive way to appear online is more likely to see an increase of demand rather than decrease. It will continue to appeal to people who want to be different for whatever purpose and/or to stand out on the social platforms. But if the quantity of different and good collections increases in the future, the value of all available NFTs and NFT profile pictures might decrease at some point.   

All in all, NFTs are a continuously growing unique digital identifier. As they develop, along the upcoming Web3, cryptocurrencies and blockchains, more people will become familiar with them. Regardless of their values being higher or lower in the future, there will always be interest in NFTs. This surely will lead to more demand for them but at the same time, it will introduce NFTs to more markets and provide artists, current and future, to even more opportunities.  

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve got a long way from the PFP NFT meaning, using an NFT PFP generator and where to use NFT profile picture all the way to what the future might hold for them. To revise the informative content above, we’ve summarised all the important questions on NFT PFPs: