Top NFT Projects (2022)

Top NFT Projects (2022)

Nansen shares the top NFT projects of 2022, including BAYC, Azuki, Decentraland, Moonbirds, and more!

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The bull run of 2021 marked a transformative year for the NFT space, but which projects are the top dogs of 2022 in a much colder market environment?

This article examines the top NFT projects of 2022 so far, and thus individual works are non-germane to the scope of this article. The distinguishing factor between projects and individual NFT art is the scale. Independent artists craft NFT art and launch these pieces on their preferred marketplace, whereas larger organizations construct collections often available on native platforms.

When curating this list, a number of metrics were employed including but not limited to growth, hype, and overall market cap. Another considerable metric was utility which although in its current stage remains relatively nascent; it is this latent potential for application that will push the future of NFT development.

This blockchain driven proof of ownership will transform the world and commerce as it is currently understood. To borrow words from Andreas Antonopoulos talking on the significance of the Internet of Money: ‘‘Do not underestimate where this is going.’’

What is an NFT Project?

An NFT or Non-Fungible Token is a blockchain-based certificate that proves ownership. NFTs allow people to own title on their property in a fully transferable manner that is recognized everywhere. These unique cryptographic assets are transfiguring the entire world, and disrupting all sectors beginning with art and finance but steadily working their way through fashion, sports, and beyond. Nansen provides an in-depth guide to NFTs here: Everything You Need to Know About NFTs.

An NFT project is a collection of NFTs released by a group with a finite supply. NFT collections observe stylistic similarity with varying characteristics.

A classic example is Yuga Lab’s Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT project. One of the most recognizable collections in the digital asset space. Prized not only because of their value and social status, but NFT owners maintain the ability to commercially exploit their NFT however they like. This utility case has been leveraged by Universal Music who launched a band called Kingship constituted from Bored Ape NFTs, and Cordell Broadus (Snoop Dog’s Son) used his Bored Ape to market cannabis products.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection consists of 10,000 unique NFT assets, all primates, but possessing different traits. The more uncommon the attribute, the rarer the NFT and thus the more desirable. Investors can use Nansen’s NFT God mode to see an entire project breakdown and even filter by specific traits: NFT God Mode: BAYC.

Their simplicity has, in part, propelled NFT’s growth compared to other applications of blockchain technology such as DeFi. And these non-interchangeable units of data with proof of ownership have provided creators with an alternative way to generate revenue with their work.

NFTs have enabled the play-to-earn model in the gaming sector. But primarily, the larger collections are social currencies; crypto investors utilize NFTs to signal their wealth and status. Colloquially termed ‘‘PFP’’ (Profile Picture), investors display these NFTs on their Twitter as a status symbol.

Investors who want to stay ahead of the majority can utilize Nansen. This blockchain analytics platform combines millions of wallets with on-chain data to deliver market alpha and condenses all this information into visualized dashboards for the investor. Nansen’s NFT Paradise Dashboard gives an overview of the top NFT projects, their floor price updated in real-time, the volume, and shows which projects Smart Money (the most profitable NFT traders) are minting, selling, and holding.  

Best NFT Projects of 2022

Bored Ape Yacht Club

These iconic simian NFTs remain the top NFT project ranked by cultural prominence and market cap. A growing list of celebrities owns Bored Apes, with a current floor price of 77 ETH and a market cap of 810,000 ETH. The Bored Ape Yacht Club has cemented its place in the NFT space. Minted initially for 0.08 ETH in April 2021, this 10,000 strong primate collection has changed the NFT space irrevocably. This collection features in Nansen's Blue Chip Index which tracks the most notable and well-established NFT projects.

Owning a Bored Ape comes with a string of benefits beyond the social flexing it enables on Twitter. Owners of Bored Apes have received multiple airdrops of other NFT collections, most notably the Mutant Ape Yacht Club. There are real-world events for owners and limited edition merchandise. However, the intellectual property rights attached to the NFT grant the greatest potential benefits. With the entrenchment of Bored Apes in the NFT sphere, some even argue they can be considered a relatively ‘safe’ investment option. 

Axie Infinity

Launched by Sky Mavis, this play-to-earn game revolves centrally around Axies. Players collect, battle, and breed these NFT creatures in a game reminiscent of Pokemon. Three Axies are required to play Axie Infinity, and owners can breed and sell their Axies for profit or even lend them to other players creating a passive income stream.

These brightly colored four-legged fishlike creatures are minted and traded on Ronin, an Ethereum sidechain, and the breeding revenue may surprise many investors: Nansen- Axie Infinity Overview.


An anime-themed NFT collection of 10,000 whose nostalgic artwork brings classic shows such as Cowboy Bepop and Samurai Champloo to mind. Azuki remains one of the most successful NFT drops selling out, with a volume of $30 million in just three minutes.

As well as offering a great PFP owning an Azuki NFT grants access to The Garden. An exclusive area where the lines and rules between the physical and digital worlds soften and obscure. Built as a decentralized metaverse brand with a complex roadmap Azuki ownership invites owners on a journey.

World of Women

A collection celebrating representation, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for women. This collection comprises 10,000 digital artworks of women from various backgrounds and honors female representation. Created by Yam Karkai these colorful female figures have seen more than 70K+ ETH trading volume on OpenSea.

The project has undertaken several humanitarian initiatives supporting the rights of women globally. And this project has brought diversity and female representation to the NFT space. Owners retain commercial rights to their NFT and gain access to the World of Women community.


Silks is another play-to-earn metaverse game effacing the line between physical and digital. A collection of 10,000 jockeys or Silks act as the entry point to the ecosystem and allows the purchase of Silk NFT horses that track real-life thoroughbred racehorses.

Whenever the tracked horse breeds or wins a race, the NFT holder will receive rewards. And this profit-sharing mechanism, coupled with the direct link to the high-stakes world of horse racing, makes Silks a project of intrigue.


Decentraland NFTs represent parcels of land in the Decentraland world, and owners can use their land however they see fit. With Decentraland acting as the real estate broker, the fundamental aim is to generate a shared virtual world with a global network.

Speculation about the future of metaverse real estate remains a contentious topic, but that has not stopped many investors from scooping up their own section of the metaverse.

Clone X

RTFKT and Murakami created this collection of 20,000 avatars. These avatar NFTs are metaverse ready and will play a central role in RTFKT’s digital fashion adventures. Despite a messy launch, this NFT collection remains highly sought after and has seen close to 230K ETH trading volume on OpenSea.

Clone X is merging the metaverse and fashion with its ‘Forge’, turning NFTs into real-world collectibles. With owners gaining access to the RTFKT community and events. Backed by Nike, the potential for RTFKT NFTs and their augmented fashion remains incredible.


This parliament of 10,000 8-bit owls minted at 2.5 ETH- perceived as expensive for a mint- saw their floor price rise rapidly. Created by Proof Collective, the Moonbirds project pushes utility and is the access point to the Proof Collective.

Owners unlock private club membership and access to Proof’s upcoming projects. A unique feature of Moonbirds is Nesting, a similar concept to staking, with the potency of each Moonbird increasing the longer the investor holds it.

Flyfish Club

Headed by Gary Vaynerchuk, a vocal proponent of NFT technology, Flyfish Club is a membership token for a private dining club. The collection consists of 3,035 pictures of Tuna or Sushi, depending on the membership tier.

Owners have exclusive access to the Flyfish Club, a members-only dining venue in New York. It represents the first of its kind and is a new application (NFT) to an old principle (members-only dining clubs). Interestingly the token can be leased, giving investors the potential for long-term appreciation and revenue generation.


A collection of vibrant pastel characters launched by Evan Keast, Scott Martin, and Jordan Castro. Hundreds of variations exist within the 10,000 unique images, and these buoyant PFPs grant owners voting rights in community-driven features.

Doodle possesses a community treasury and requests that owners take an active role in the project’s future. Ownership of a Doodle equates to one vote, and the entire Doodles project can be mentally construed as a large DAO. This collaborative roadmap makes Doodles one of the most interactive NFT projects with founders and investors working together.

Special Mention: Ethereum Name Service (ENS)

Not technically an NFT collection but a utility application of NFT technology and perhaps a flavor of what the future holds. ENS has seen a massive uptick in volume, and this protocol is a naming service that allows users to register human-friendly domain names to typical blockchain addresses. This process makes the future decentralized web more straightforward and digestible for average users, and this convenience will be essential in driving mass adoption.

Want to learn more about the top NFT projects? Check out NFT God Mode and more with a Nansen plan today!


The bear market has not spared any area of the digital asset space, and large marketplaces such as OpenSea have witnessed a considerable decline in trading volume. Yet the price and volume metrics ignore the growing utility application of NFTs.

Nansen, a blockchain analytics firm, leverages on-chain data and millions of wallet addresses to provide deeper insight into the crypto space. In these bearish times, tracking the activity of smart wallets can be illuminating. These wallets are the best NFT traders on-chain, and seeing what these wallets are minting, selling, or buying offers a different perspective. Smart money wallets minted many of the projects mentioned above, and for investors seeking market alpha to outpace the rest, Nansen offers dashboards to facilitate this information asymmetry.

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