The Top 10 NFT Collections of 2023


Up to now, 2023 in NFTs has felt very different to the year just gone, and there’s a little more cautious optimism around, so let’s look at the top ten NFT collections to keep a close eye on this year.

Yuga Labs

Image credit: Yuga Labs

Yes, this is an entire company, rather than a collection but, basically, Yuga is the Coke/Amazon/Disney of the NFT space, and everything they do is significant. Bored Apes are Yuga’s showcase PFP collection, followed by Mutant Apes and the Kennel Club, along with Otherdeeds, which represent land in the in-development Otherside metaverse, and there’s also the related ApeCoin token.

Recently, Yuga has been busy rolling out a sequence of gamified, reward-driven experiences for its holders, who have been playing a game called Dookey Dash, the winner of which (a professional gamer) received a Golden Key NFT which was then sold for a staggering 1,000 ETH. This all demonstrates the way Yuga has been consistently adept at keeping attention high through new drops and developments, and can create its own hype cycles.

If BAYC is too expensive to buy outright, you can speculate on its price movements through the NFTperp platform. If you’re going to do that, though, then be aware of the extent to which whale activity, like token farming on Blur, can affect the market.

Image credit: Yuga Labs

Most recently, Yuga inscribed and auctioned Twelvefold, a collection of 300 generative art pieces that are stored immutably on the Bitcoin blockchain as Ordinals. These are a self-contained art project and aren’t intended to have further utility, showing that not everything Yuga implements needs to be ape related.


Image credit: Chiru Labs

Of the multiple projects vying to compete with Yuga at the top, it’s Azuki that has most clearly established itself as a brand to watch. It set the meta for anime-centered art and design, looks slick and, like Yuga, has not stood still when it comes to introducing new ideas.

In Azuki’s case, the key developments are Beanz, Physical Backed Tokens (PBTs), and Hilumia. Beanz are a companion collection that was airdropped to Azuki holders, PBTs are a way of connecting NFTs and physical items through a chip, bringing together digital and physical collectibles (phygital, if you like new words), and Hilumia is a very cool-looking, metaverse-style virtual city for Azuki and Beanz holders to explore.


Image credit: Doodles

Another OG-ish collection to watch in 2023 is Doodles. This collection minted in October 2021 and, like BAYC and Azuki, set a new style for others to copy, in this case, simple, pastel colored and cute. Other similarities include a loyal holder base, and constant new developments with the aim of establishing a brand.

Key developments to keep tabs on this year include the Doodles 2 customizable collection, and whether the decision to launch it on the more newbie-friendly Flow blockchain–rather than on Ethereum–pays off. There’s also the acquisition of Golden Wolf animation studio, with an eye on what that partnership will produce, and don’t forget Doodles’ collaboration with Pharrell Williams, which was announced in June 2022, but has yet to see any music released.

ON1 Force

Image credit: ON1 Force

The ON1 Force project started as a collection of 7,777 anime-style PFPs back in August 2021, at which time it had the distinct look of a top collection in the making. ON1 Force created its own world, had a storytelling theme, and the mecha aesthetic seemed to resonate with NFT buyers, with the drop minting out immediately on launch.

However, the project soon entered a decline, with the prevailing sense being that momentum was dissipating, while the team in charge weren’t delivering and didn’t respond well to criticism. There’s debate to be had about exactly where the problems lay, but whatever the truth, ON1 Force started to look like it might not stay the course.

Fast forward to 2023, and there’s been a further dramatic turnaround, but this time for the better. In February, the entire project was bought out by a group of investors that includes executives from Binance and Yield Guild Games, and is led by blockchain investors Old Fashion Research. As a result, the original founders have left, new personnel have come in, and there are funds to be deployed.

This was exciting news in the NFT space, and it looks like ON1 Force is now back from the dead and may have a big year ahead. How the project’s future will pan out remains to be seen, but it looks re-energized, motivated, and is enjoying a surge of new interest.

Dust Labs

Image credit: Dust Labs

Like Yuga, a studio rather than a collection, Dust Labs is the home of the DeGods and y00ts projects, both of which were created by Frank DeGods. These two projects started life on the Solana blockchain, with DeGods becoming the number one collection within the Solana NFT space, but both DeGods and y00ts are scheduled to switch networks this year, moving to Ethereum and Polygon, respectively.

These migrations should generate attention when they happen, and everyone will be watching to see how the collections develop after moving. Frank DeGods himself is a very influential figure within the NFT space, and showed himself to be always on top of new advances when, last month, he put 535 DeGods NFTs onto the Bitcoin blockchain as Ordinal inscriptions.


Image credit: Mocaverse

One of the biggest names in the web3 space is Animoca Brands, which is heavily invested in and supportive of a huge portfolio of projects, including some of the very biggest names (such as The Sandbox, Yuga Labs, ApeCoin, OpenSea, Magic Eden, and many others).

That makes it a big deal if Animoca drops some NFTs of its own, and as it happens, that’s exactly what will happen this year through the Mocaverse development. Mocaverse is not a regular NFT mint, since it’s aimed at people and organizations involved professionally with Animoca, including partnered projects and investors. Holders will then gain access to the Mocaverse ecosystem, which is planning to provide educational insights and resources for web3 builders, among other utilities.

As is often the case with NFT projects, it’s a work in progress, but as it’s being produced by such an influential presence, it’s likely to make an impact and provide value.


Image credit: Overlord

Its landing page describes Overlord as a story-driven gaming ecosystem, but that may not capture the full scope of this project’s ambitions. It appears to be building out an entire web3 empire, incorporating not only gaming, but also animation and fashion, with its own currency. Admittedly, plenty of projects promise these kinds of plans, but Overlord’s content is impressively well produced, and they have some solid partnerships in place.

The animation arm of the project is collaborating with Seth Green’s production company Stoopid Buddy, when it comes to fashion, West Brand Lab are on board, and entertainment companies Three Six Zero and WME will be assisting with brand building. Also, Overlord was recently named as one of the projects involved in Spotify’s NFT-gated playlists pilot scheme.

Image credit: Overlord

The genesis NFT collection at the heart of Overlord is Creepz, an array of 11,111 psychedelic extra-terrestrial lizards created back in January 2022, and tying in with the storyline running through the project, of planetary invasion and a mysterious alien galaxy.


Image credit: DigiDaigaku

If you believe that gaming is set to be an important area for NFTs and web3, then you’ll need to follow DigiDaigaku, which is a key player in that corner of the NFT space.

DigiDaigaku Genesis is the central collection from Limit Break, which is a web3 gaming studio co-founded by Gabriel Leydon. That name is important because Leydon has had proven success in mobile gaming with his previous development studio, Machine Zone, and he’s an outspoken character who’s expert at bringing attention to his work.

Leydon has promoted the idea of free-to-own gaming, meaning that although NFT gaming assets might be limited in number and acquire value, they’re initially distributed for free, as was the case with DigiDaigaku Genesis, which stealth minted for free last year.

More recently, DigiDaigaku ran a very expensive ad during this year’s Super Bowl. This, naturally, generated a lot of interest, but not all of the feedback was positive. The ad featured a QR code, which could be scanned to mint an NFT. However, while some participants were directed to the minting site, others landed instead on Leydon’s Twitter page, and even among those who went to the minting site, not everyone had the necessary application (an Ethereum wallet) to receive an NFT. Still, the NFTs were free for those who could mint, and if the purpose of advertising is to get people talking about your product, then it worked.

In addition to the project’s Genesis collection, there are now several other categories of DigiDaigaku NFT, including Heroes, Villains and Spirits, creating an expanding game world with huge potential.

Taproot Wizards

Image credit: Taproot Wizards

Ordinals are, basically, on-chain NFTs on Bitcoin, they’re very new, and development around them is still at an early stage. That makes it difficult to predict what will happen, so it’s a good idea to keep tabs on the entire space, including the marketplaces and wallets that are being developed.

A good starting point from which to do that is the Taproot Wizards collection, which is the creation of Udi Wertheimer, a veteran Bitcoiner who has vocally championed Ordinals, drew on the Bitcoin Wizard meme, which dates back to 2013, for his inspiration, and has placed this collection at the center of the current hype.

Where the collection leads (if anywhere) is anyone’s guess, but it’s a rare case where both NFT flippers and Bitcoiners are interested to find out (although some of the more hardcore Bitcoiners won’t admit to that).

Earth Node

Image credit: World Mobile

This collection has nothing to do with PFPs, art or gaming, but represents pure utility and is connected to an ambitious telecommunications project called World Mobile, which makes use of the Cardano blockchain.

There are 1,000 NFTs, and each one represents ownership of a node in the World Mobile network. The purpose of World Mobile is to provide internet connectivity to remote locations that are not served by traditional infrastructure, in which there are, globally, around 3 billion people disconnected from existing mobile networks.

World Mobile has a fungible token, WMT, and to reserve an Earth Node NFT on launch, buyers needed 100,000 WMT tokens, which were locked into a smart contract. However, the NFTs received in exchange are now changing hands for an ADA value greater than that of 100,000 WMT, reflecting the potential value of the rewards to be earned from holding an Earth Node. The NFTs give holders a monthly return of 1.3%, or 1,300 WMT, in addition to staking rewards from the 100,000 locked tokens, and a future share of network revenue to be distributed in WMT.

When people ask what uses NFTs have, point them to World Mobile, which is focused on real world solutions to challenges around communications technology and global development.

One last point to keep in mind regarding all the collections mentioned here is that NFTs, web3 and crypto are just about the most unpredictable creative/tech ecosystem around, and anything could happen in 2023. A great current example of that is Bitcoin Ordinals, which seemed to come out of nowhere and shake up the whole space. So, whatever happens from here, expect ups and downs along the way.

The Top 10 NFT Collections of 2023 - - 2024

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