6 Bear-Defying NFT Drops


While the NFT market in general has crashed, several new mints this year have generated sustained interest and performed strongly, including art releases from Vera Molnar, Richard Nadler, and DeeKay Kwon, an innovative drop from Garbage Friends, anime-styled PFPs The Captainz, from Memeland, and, in Nakamigos, a PFP collection that stays true to the spirit of NFTs and has attracted plenty of speculation about its origins.

It’s been a stormy time for NFTs this year as JPEG markets crash, and against this backdrop it takes serious commitment to release new collections, so have any recent NFT drops managed to succeed?

Against the odds, several new mints have defied the bear and performed well. Not a huge number of high performers, for sure, but still, there are creators demonstrating that NFTs are not done yet, so let’s check which collections have managed to take off amid the turbulence.

The State of the Market 

First, a quick update on the NFT space. Back in 2022, when the rest of crypto was crashing badly, NFTs were still enjoying good times, and it almost looked like they were an especially resilient asset.

Here in 2023 though, the situation has reversed. While BTC and ETH have made big recoveries this year, it’s NFTs navigating a decline, with sales at lows not seen since April 2021 and floor prices down across the board.

One thing currently apparent is that NFTs operate out-of-sync with the rest of crypto but, that all said, let’s now focus in on the outperformers.

Top Drops of the Year

Here are some 2023 collections that generated ongoing interest among collectors and traders, and have seen their valuations rise.

Themes and Variations by Vera Molnar

NFT drops
Image credit: Vera Molnar

Over on the Sotheby’s Metaverse NFT art platform, the first in-house drop was from veteran digital artist Vera Molnar, who has been making generative art since the 1960s. Her new 500-item collection was titled Themes and Variations and it sold out in July at a mint price of 1.23 ETH. These NFTs are now trading on secondary from a floor price of around 4.5 ETH.

Yamabushi’s Horizons by Richard Nadler

NFT drops
Image credit: Richard Nadler

Another art drop, this time by digital creator Richard Nadler, and minting through the Verse platform. These elegant generative artworks depict Japanese mountain scenes in a way that mixes digital and organic aesthetics, and sold out, also in July, at an auction cost of just under 0.6 ETH.

The collection consists of 128 pieces, and they are now trading from 2.25 ETH on secondary.

DeeKay Kwon

NFT drops
Image credit: DeeKay Kwon

A highly respected animator and designer who has been making NFT art since 2021, DeeKay Kwon this month dropped a new 50-edition artwork called What the Font, which sold out immediately at 0.35 ETH to holders of other DeeKay pieces, and 0.9 ETH otherwise (buyers were selected through a raffle process), and now has a 1.99 ETH floor price.

What the Font is a notable drop, but DeeKay has also released other work this year, including collaborations, an open edition on new Layer 2 Base, and 1/1s, with Am I Dreaming? selling for 52.5 ETH.

Garbage Friends

NFT drops
Image credit: Markus Magnusson

Created by animator Markus Magnusson, the Garbage Friends collection uses a mysterious, four-stage reveal mechanic, whereby holders stake and then burn their NFTs, gradually evolving the item into its final stage (when it becomes a Garbage Friend.)

The process has been named upcycling, and it begins with the purchase of a Garbage Bag NFT. The 6,500-item collection minted in July at 0.05 ETH to holders of Invisible Friends NFTs (also by Magnusson), or 0.065 ETH in a public mint, and they’re currently selling from around 0.1 ETH.

The Captainz

NFT drops
Image credit: The Captainz

When they revealed in July, after having minted in January, The Captainz NFTs, from major project Memeland, suffered from a barrage of misplaced FUD, with claims that the PFPs all looked the same. Actually, some did look the same, but this was deliberate, as the NFTs act as customizable templates that holders can modify, and they make use of the innovative ERC-6551 protocol, which allows NFTs to act like wallets holding other NFTs.

Captainz may also have suffered from being an anime-style collection that revealed around the same time as the heavily criticized Azuki Elementals anime collection, but that’s all in the past now as, having minted for 1.069 ETH, Captainz PFPs are now holding a floor price of over 4.5 ETH.


NFT drops
Image credit: Nakamigos

The Nakamigos mint feels like a long time ago, which shows how the NFT ecosystem distorts time and space, because it was actually only back in March of this year. Most of the 20,000 PFPs were claimed for free by End of Sartoshi holders, with the rest going to a public mint, and the collection subsequently pumped to a floor price close to 0.9 ETH, amid interest from Beeple and speculation about its origins (who exactly are creators HiFo Labs?)

NFT drops

Remarkably, considering the state of the market, the collection still holds a floor price around 0.35 ETH (remember, most items were free), and speculation is swirling again, this time sparked by a tweet hinting at new developments. For most projects, these kinds of teasers don’t currently work as drivers of interest, but Nakamigos are still firing up the crowd like it’s 2021.


  • Art has shown resilience, and when renowned artists work with prestigious platforms, it looks like there are sure to be buyers. Overall, digital collectibles fit neatly into the existing art market.
  • While the Garbage Friends drop doesn’t fit into the art category, it’s by a creator with a design-related portfolio, and leans into the artistic side of the NFT space.
  • Captainz is technically innovative, connected to a big platform, and has picked up while Azuki and Bored Apes have declined, demonstrating that there’s still competition at the top.
  • And as for Nakamigos, someone has to keep the meme-fueled, degen spirit alive, and Nakamigos have taken up the challenge.
6 Bear-Defying NFT Drops - - 2023

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