What Are Mad Lads NFTs?

Mad Lads

Mad Lads is a 10K PFP collection on Solana that launched in April 2023 but has seen a huge surge in interest and price at the end of the year. The project is closely connected to the Backpack Exchange, and is the top Solana NFT collection at a moment when Solana itself is attracting growing attention for its future potential, and also as there is renewed interest in PFPs across the NFT space.

If you thought PFPs were dead (and to be fair, they were on life support for a while), then you might want to check in with Mad Lads, a project that, at the beginning of what looks like a PFP revival in the NFT space, has been surging to new highs.

What is Mad Lads?

At first glance, the Mad Lads collection looks like a classic PFP drop. Basically, you’ve got 10,000 unique characters, all based around a standard profile-style template. The design has an anime influence, but takes the visual atmosphere in a gangster-ish direction, and–if you’re in it for the art–then the design quality is high.

Mad Lads
Image credit: Mad Lads

Importantly, if we’re interested in how the whole NFT space is developing and where it might be heading, Mad Lads is on Solana. It launched in April 2023 at a mint price of 6.9 SOL, grew and stuck around consistently since then, is experiencing a huge surge of recent interest, and it has some connections and features that set it apart from other projects.

Coral and Backpack

The project was launched by Coral, a Web3 company co-founded and run by Armani Ferrante, who used to be Software Engineer at Alameda Labs, and Tristan Yver, who was previously Head of Strategy at FTX US.

Mad Lads PFPs were launched as the first ever xNFTs. This refers to ‘executable NFTs’, meaning a new kind of protocol that enables NFTs to themselves function as programmable Web3 apps.

Mad Lads
Image credit: Backpack

What’s more, this is all part of the Backpack project, which aims to create a one-stop Web3 platform/interface of interoperable apps, and is referred to by its team as “an open, programmable system built for Web3.”

And Backpack has been grabbing attention recently for its in-development Backpack Exchange. The exchange is now functioning in Beta for a limited number of users, but has been racking up some impressive stats so far, with 116,000 applicants KYCed (although that said, there are debates to be had about how KYC can fit in with decentralization.)

Mad Lads

Notably, Backpack also recently brought on board Can Sun, who was formerly General Counsel at FTX (and was a key witness at SBF’s trial), meaning the FTX/Alameda connection that started with founders Ferrante and Yver is even stronger now. Also, the compliance team includes former employees from HSBC, Credit Suisse, and APG Asset Management, indicating that–unlike FTX/Alameda–this is a project fully focused on being legit.

It seems that right now, Mad Lads is being viewed as an NFT component of everything Backpack-related, and something NFTs excel at–especially during bull markets–is functioning as a community hub, with PFPs serving as membership passes. When markets heat up and a project takes off, flashing a signal of membership to an exclusive club becomes a flex, and prices can soar.

Mad Lads
Image credit: Mad Lads

We’ve seen this before, most clearly with Bored Ape Yacht Club back in 2021/22 (and of course, Apes are still very valuable, even when down from all-time highs), and now Mad Lads is beginning to take on some of that aura.

Mad Lads Performance

Mad Lads are currently soaring, hitting a new floor price all-time high of over 150 SOL, and racking up some big individual sales. This means the project has not only risen to the top of the Solana NFT charts, but is also–at the time of writing–the second biggest collection by trading volume across all chains, after Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Mad Lads
Mad Lads Floor Price
Mad Lads
Chart from CryptoSlam

Additionally, this activity means that Mad Lads has now entered the top rankings, by floor price, of PFP collections across all chains, putting it at a comparable level to leading collections Captainz and DeGods, and just behind Mutant Ape Yacht Club.

Mad Lads
Chart from NFTstats.eth

Solana Firing Up

These developments around Mad Lads come as Solana itself outperforms other Layer 1s, including Ethereum, with excitement building around the potential of the entire ecosystem, and with users impressed by the speed and economy of the network. Solana offers an alternative to the high gas fees that can become a friction point on Ethereum, and in the ongoing battle of the Layer 1s, is currently looking the most hyped up and dynamic (with the caveat that these kinds of comparisons can alter very rapidly.)


On top of that, this week also saw the Magic Eden marketplace (which began as a Solana platform and subsequently expanded) launch its own multi-chain wallet in Beta. This is a cross-chain product focused on making it easy for collectors to switch between the various NFT ecosystems, and is a development that arguably favors blockchain competitors looking to onboard Ethereum NFT buyers.

Magic Eden
Image credit: Magic Eden

Earlier this year, major collection DeGods migrated from Solana to Ethereum, and it looks as if Mad Lads is stepping up to fill the space left. Mad Lads is now positioned at the center of the Solana NFT space, is linked up with the Backpack Exchange, and has built up an engaged community and plenty of wider attention.

With seasoned professionals on board from the worlds of both crypto and TradFi, and with the project operating on multiple fronts, Mad Lads looks like a solid collection with the capacity to take full advantage of bull market conditions.

What Are Mad Lads NFTs? - - 2024

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