You’ve likely heard in the news of someone paying a ridiculously large amount of money for something called a NFT (non-fungible token) such as $387,000 for a LeBron James NBA Top Shot moment, artwork from the hottest artists in the world who have been adopting NFT technology on a massive scale, and many more uses/offerings popping up every day. It’s definitely going to continue to be a huge driving force in the cryptocurrency market and there’s no way to put the genie back in the bottle.
You don’t have to have 400 grand to start playing with non-fungible tokens and learning more about them though. Today I’ll cover where to find (relatively) cheap NFTs on the Binance Smart Chain that I have picked up to learn more about them and exactly what they do!
The Binance Smart Chain
If you’ve never used the Binance Smart Chain it’s pretty easy if you make a Binance account.
If you are in the United States then you will need to use:
If you already have Ethereum and ERC20 tokens you can use the Binance Smart Bridge to move them back and forth!
I have reviewed ApeSwap (a fantastic exchange on the Binance Smart Chain) here in the past and it’s a great service. Non-fungible Apes is a NFT offering from the team behind the ApeSwap exchange so I was absolutely interested in checking out their NFT offering.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Non-Fungible Ape #0406, the (provably) one and only: Beautiful Ape!
This is from within ApeSwap where if you click the “NFA” section will bring up all non-fungible apes including my Beautiful Ape. Observe in the top right corner of the screen that Beautiful Ape is my profile icon within ApeSwap which happens automatically if you own one. There are only 1000 NFAs that will ever be made. They have not all been released initially yet although you can see above that I did buy mine from someone else who got it a few thousand blocks before I did and flipped it to me for an easy 2x gain.
Why would I do such a thing if this guy just got it for that price? Because every few weeks they drop a new series of the 1000 total NFAs and they sell out within a couple of minutes or less. Each sale seems to be more competitive. They’re snagged *very* quickly now when they’re released. I have gone to several auctions but never have been fast enough to get one I liked. The initial price depends on rarity and I believe each series the price goes up slightly so the upcoming auctions likely won’t have any for 1BNB like this lucky guy got. Still, it’s not too late to get one for cheaper than market rate if you go to the initial auctions and be quick!
When you own a NFT and it is in your MetaMask wallet you can use it on multiple sites. I got my NFT at the official nftkey.app marketplace which is also where the official Non-Fungible Ape auctions take place (the initial release to the public). You can see here that I have a “List onto market” option on the nftkey.app page for my Ape:
Why is this cool? Because I now have a cryptographic non-fungible key that is attached to my Binance Smart Chain address. I can go to multiple web sites that recognize this token and I immediately get access to different parts of the site people can’t access. It’s like a VIP club card for a casino chain where certain ones will honor it and other ones won’t but since there’s a set of standards and technology they can still “read” my token and see if it’s one they accept right through my web browser safely. That’s one of the most valuable parts of this technology and illustrates some of the most important uses of NFTs we’ll be covering!
My Ape is a level 1 Ape (the lowest rarity). There are higher rarity apes though that get much more expensive and look literally out of this world:
My screenshot doesn’t really do them justice here because they are using some fancy tricks to give it a really cool animated background effect. This was one of the lower priced ones of the level 5 rarity on the store (which I assume the people who have them priced at 100K BNB are just showing them off) and the lowest I saw at time of writing was 48 BNB for a top rarity one so they are much more expensive and much more exclusive!
So what else does having a non-fungible ape do? When ApeSwap launches a new token there seems to be an excellent chance I get an airdrop of that token every time. So far I have got 2 SPACE (worth about $32/ea at aperocket.finance which is a great site I need to cover in a future article) and recently got 3300 HIFI tokens automatically sent to my account just for having a non-fungible ape. That’s my favorite part so far but there are even more upsides promised in the future! This is my favorite of my NFTs so far and by far the most rewarding. Here’s the HIFI airdrop transaction to all non-fungible ape owners a couple of days ago: https://bscscan.com/tx/0x1c130b0d656af84c982c4c3d01ac598b51443e3e630c81d10c02a08e287771ab
It has also appreciated in value because the minimum price for any NFA at time of writing on nftkey.app is 2.3 BNB for any NFA. Are those ones even beautiful? No of course not, it actually is kind of rare to have one that looks happy like this which you’ll notice if you browse them, and not only that but the first 5 of them on the list are all less rare than mine is (mine is 706 / 1000 meaning theirs was even higher than mine)!
No one knows for sure what will happen with the value of NFTs on the Binance Smart Chain but it’s quickly taking the #2 spot behind Ethereum for NFTs and marketplaces because the fees and minting costs involved for creators are so much less and if the value of NFTs on Binance Smart Chain repeats even a fraction of their success on Ethereum it’s likely these will continue to appreciate over time. This is crypto though, if anyone tells you they 100% for sure know what is going to happen they’re trying to sell you something/scam you/are delusional but as far as best guess I would say the non-fungible apes have a bright future.
Neural Pepe NFTs
Pepe the Frog is one of the biggest internet memes in history. His character has a complicated history and is now basically dead (literally, the creator killed him) but suffice it to say it’s a mess and controversial (there’s even a documentary) and has nothing to do with technology or NFTs. We’re going to focus on the technology behind the Neural Pepe NFT which basically generates a Pepe meme with various enhancements/features/mutations of varying rarities/desirability.
There’s really no way to prepare you visually for the weirdness you’re about to see so let’s just get right to it:
What on earth are those? Those are computer generated Pepe frogs! As you can see, very strange things can happen. There will only be 7777 issued. Here’s the site where you can mint them (nftkey.app also has a Neural Pepe store):
Here you can see that the minting costs are up to about 0.4 BNB for a Neural Pepe but that they started out very cheap at as low as 0.07 BNB at one point and that they will continue to rise much further as it gets closer to the end of the 7777 total issuance. I went ahead and minted one for science. Here is my creation:
and… wow, it doesn’t even give me nightmares, that looks nothing like a lot of people’s turned out from our earlier screenshot! It’s totally random what you will get so you never know.
I also unlocked a new currency on the Neural Pepe web site:
Notice here that I’m getting some weird currency called $AI with 563.1799 available to claim even after I just minted it. Apparently I can use this to give my NFT a name that will display to everyone on the web site. There are also some “collection” based challenges where you collect NFTs with certain attributes and can unlock a challenge (looks like 3 Pepe’s with a certain attribute for the 1 challenge that appears to be open so far). I’m still playing with all the options but the currency is paid to me continually while I hold the NFT which is very interesting. There could be endless possibilities for all sorts of ideas / projects / products / etc. that could make great use of a currency paid automatically to people who hold one of these non-fungible tokens!
I’m not completely sure what to make of this project yet (it depends on how they continue to develop/support the project) but it illustrates many different things that are possible with NFTs that have some pretty wild implications for 5-10 years down the road from now (or even sooner in some cases).
This is all very cool technology right in my web browser through MetaMask. That is why I wanted to play with this project and try “minting” one myself. The cost to “mint” something on Ethereum is an order of magnitude more expensive even with today’s “lower” fees than earlier in 2021. That is amazing and will be how the next generation of NFTs work which will probably have something you like even if this isn’t your cup of tea!
Now it’s time for today’s budget option. If more than 2 BNB sounded way too expensive and 0.4 BNB also sounded too expensive allow me to introduce you to BNB Bunnies:
There is my bunny and I bought him for about 0.08 BNB which is about as cheap as it gets for NFTs! There are 10,000 BNB bunnies which helps with the price since they aren’t quite as rare as the Apes or Pepes. The link to the bunny nftkey.app store is here: https://nftkey.app/collections/bnbbunnies/?bnbbunniesTab=forSale
So what does unlocking a BNB bunny get you? Access to an exclusive browser based video game available only for owners of BNB Bunny NFTs!
And after pressing play:
It’s basically a little platformer game! From what I can tell it only has one level (unless I’m missing something) but there’s a reason that the BNB bunnies are cheap! The site mentions a way to get suits for your bunny to be dressed up in so there’s apparently more to these as well to be explored! This illustrates that it really varies by NFT how useful they are. It’s as useful as the creators behind the project make it and it definitely impacts the value!
Bonus Cheap NFT Option: PancakeSwap Profile Bunny
There’s another relatively cheap way to get a NFT. You can get one cheap NFT from Pancakeswap one time for 1 CAKE (about $16 at time of writing) and then remove it from being your profile picture for another 0.5 CAKE. Normally when you mint the bunny it is attached in your profile and won’t show up in your wallet / in BSCScan as a token that you have at your address. This is also the case with staking NFTs (yes, you can stake NFTs now for rewards, but that’s a subject for another article!).
Here’s some of the choices you’ll have (you’ll pick one) to mint:
Now here’s the trick: if you take the bunny OFF your Pancakeswap profile picture the NFT *will* be sent to your address. You can see it in BSCscan.com as “Pancake Bunnies” in the ERC-721 token section like this:
It will now be available at your address and you can send it / transfer it / do anything you want with it just like any other token!
What can you do with them? They actually have a lot of different PancakeSwap collectibles and they can be traded on various other marketplaces so that is their intended purpose although don’t be surprised to see some extra features over time with most of these NFTs. Definitely not as much utility as some of the other ones on the list at this time but still an easy way to get your hands on a NFT and it is intended to be a collectible one!
The great thing about the Binance Smart Chain is that you can start participating in the NFT market and learning about them at a very low price. Even the more expensive ones in this article are a joke compare to some of the very old and very big NFTs out there! It’s still early on the Binance Smart Chain and in cryptocurrency being earlier usually means it’s cheaper. Way cheaper.
In 5 years though? Nobody knows for sure. It probably depends on the overall success of the Binance Smart Chain. I keep hearing more and more people (especially in DeFi) saying that Binance Smart Chain has taken over Ethereum for the hotbed of a lot of this stuff and I can certainly understand why when transactions / minting / basically every step of the process is much cheaper and faster on BSC than Ethereum.
If that’s the case the future of NFTs on the Binance Smart Chain are very bright!