In the previous edition of More than JPEGs, we covered the kings of the space - Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). The success of BAYC kick-started a wave of cartoon animal PFP collections. The majority of the collections that came after followed suit but RTFKT (the studio behind Clone X) charted their own path.
While BAYC managed to get the attention of Adidas in the form of a partnership, RTFKT received the biggest endorsement possible from Nike when they were acquired by the sportswear giant. In our second installment of More Than JPEGs, we look into Clone X to find out what they’re all about and leverage Nansen’s NFT analytics to uncover deeper insights on the collection.
History of Clone X
Clone X was not RTFKT’s (pronounced: Artifact) first rodeo. Prior to releasing Clone X, RTFKT had already established themselves as a leading metaverse brand. They started off with creating virtual sneakers, slowly evolving into fashion pieces that could be used in Decentraland and even had events that allowed users to receive physical sneakers by using their NFTs.
A metaverse brand would not be complete without having their own digital avatars. Clone X’s launch unlocked a new dimension for the RTFKT brand. Having a collection of 3D avatars creates a foundation of an entire ecosystem that goes beyond clothing. The collection was done in collaboration with one of the most influential Japanese artists in the world today, Takashi Murakami.
The collection had a presale of 10,000 NFTs on 27 November 2021 for existing RTFKT NFT holders and a public launch of the remaining 10,000 2 days later. Initially, the launch was a Dutch auction with a starting price of 3 ETH per mint vial. Each mint vial allows the holder to redeem 1 randomly generated Clone. However, attacks on the website forced the team to switch the launch to a standardized 2 ETH mint price for the remaining vials.
After Adidas’s foray into the metaverse and NFTs, the question on everyone’s minds was “How is Nike going to respond?”. Roughly 2 weeks after the launch of Clone X, Nike officially announced their acquisition of RTFKT. The acquisition of the entire RTFKT team and product lines is a testament to the quality of the brand that they have built.
Since the acquisition, RTFKT has only continued to grow and build out their ecosystem together with Nike. Clone X holders have received multiple airdrops, all of which serve different purposes and use cases. The first was the Space Pods which acts as a virtual home and was quickly followed up with PodX, an extension to Space Pods that featured the Nike branding.
MNLTH was the most mysterious of the bunch. Holders of the NFT had various virtual quests to do and the community had to band together in order to find answers to riddles. This again was RTFKT charting their own path and creating an interactive experience for their community instead of simply revealing their plans at a predetermined time. Holders of the MNLTH were given a choice to burn their MNLTH NFT to obtain 3 separate NFTs - Skin Vial Evo X, Dunk Crypto Kicks & MNLTH 2.
On-chain deep dive
To understand the success and gain a deeper insight into the Clone X universe, let’s dive into the various NFT analytics dashboards on Nansen to assess the strength of the collection.
Here’s a high level overview of the collection :
- ~205K ETH in secondary sales (Wash trading filter applied), 210K ETH without
- Highest single day volume of 12,898 ETH (Day of Nike acquisition announcement)
- Averaging ~456 ETH daily volume the L30D (Wash trading filter applied)
- ~9.4K holders
With 5% in royalties on secondary sales, RTFKT has received roughly 10.5K ETH in royalties from Clone X alone.
There are ~9.3K unique addresses holding an NFT from the collection. The number of addresses started off at 3.5K on the day of reveal but quickly jumped to 6.3K the next day and has been up only ever since. Over 83% of the NFTs have been held for at least 60 days, and ~74% for at least 90 days. Floor prices peaked at 20 ETH in April and have since dropped to ~7.7 ETH.
The duration that the holders have held onto their NFTs is a reflection of their outlook of the project, the longer they hold the more optimistic they are. 74% being held for at least 90 days puts Clone X in line with other blue chip collections such as BAYC (74%) and Doodles (75%). One thing to note is that Clone X is a newer collection compared to BAYC and Doodles, making the seniority distribution more impressive when taking that into consideration.
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Beyond checking the percentage of wallets that are sitting on decent amounts of profit, let’s take a look at the percentage of wallets holding only 1 Clone X NFT and the number of diamond hands addresses to assess how sustainable the current floor price is.
Clone X has a decent percentage of wallets that only hold 1 Clone. At 71%, it’s lower than other social NFT collections in the Nansen Blue Chip-10 index such as BAYC (81%), MAYC (79%), Doodles (79%), Azuki (74%) but on a similar to CryptoPunks (72%). While the distribution of NFTs is not as wide as other blue chip collections, 71% is still a healthy number. Coupled with the seniority distribution, we can infer that even though the distribution of NFTs is not as wide, holders are in it for the long haul.
~10.6K Clones are being held by wallets that have never sold a Clone. Although that number has been on a decline, we are starting to see it stabilize at the current levels and gradually reversing upwards.
Another indicator to take a look at in order to understand the psychology of the holders is listing activity.
Only about 7.8% of the collection is listed, 0.24% within 15% of the floor price and the most being listed at the 16 - 31 ETH price range. This shows that the majority of the holders aren’t thinking about selling and for the small percentage that are, are looking for prices well above the current floor.
There has been a gradual decline in the number of listings of Clones up till the last couple of days where it spiked up to 1084 listings, the highest it has been in the past 2 months.
Smart to buy in at these prices?
Prices have come down from their highs but would buying now be trying to catch a falling knife?
We analyze smart money trends and buying activity to gather some insights.
Looking at the trends in smart money holders, two things stand out.
- Number of Smart NFT Sweepers and Smart NFT Traders have been decreasing over time with a significant drop in number of NFTs held by Smart NFT Traders (41 NFTs to 5)
- Number of Smart NFT Hodlers and Smart NFT Early Adopters have increased in number and number of NFTs they hold
On a whole there’s been a drop in number of Clone X NFTs held by smart money, with the drop largely driven by NFT traders exiting their positions. Traders typically have shorter time horizons and are more defensive during turbulent market conditions, explaining the drop in exposure in the middle of May. However, smart money addresses that are inclined towards longer term horizons have been increasing. This is a signal that they’re optimistic about the long term prospects of the collection.
Diving into transaction data since 29 April, we see that most of the buys have come from common buyers. Only 2 purchases were done by a Smart Money address in the past 2 weeks and were near the average sales price at that time.
What other collections do Clone X holders own?
Unsurprisingly, the top 5 collections that Clone X holders also own are RTFKT or Murakami related, with PodX being the most common. Beyond the RTFKT ecosystem, we see that holders are interested in the Bored Ape universe as well. Bored Ape Yacht Club and their related collections make up the next bulk of NFTs held.
Interestingly, we see that the Adidas NFT collection is ranked 8. While Travis Scott might pick “Checks over stripes”, that rule doesn’t seem to be as prevalent in the metaverse.
Future of the Clones
On top of releasing physical merchandise tied to their NFTs, RTFKT has leveraged augmented reality tools to help bridge the two worlds. This allows their virtual goods to have a presence in the physical world and be shared all over social media. Clone X is the foundation of the universe that they are creating and acts as avatars for inhabitants of that world. By open-sourcing development and ideas via their creator challenge, they’re allowing anyone to participate in building that universe. Having the resources of a giant like Nike will only supercharge their ability to deliver and allow them to execute on the scale that only a brand the size of Nike is able to.
The Clones are an integral part of the world that RTFKT is building. What set’s the team apart is their ability to build a brand that merges the digital with the physical. It’s still too early to tell what else RTFKT has in store for Clone X holders but if past performance is indicative of future success, we likely see the team go from strength to strength and continue to impress. The collection has a high percentage of holders that are optimistic about the future of the collection and smart money holders with a longer time horizon seem to agree with that sentiment.