NFTs aren’t totally dead as crypto ‘Goblins’ swarm to NYC this week

A handful of investors claim the notoriously battered NFT sector is showing fresh signs of life after a spectacular fall – and hordes of so-called crypto “goblins” are swarming to events across New York City this week to tout their non-fungible tokens.

NFT.NYC, which began Tuesday at the Javits Center and ends Friday, has played host to more than 800 speakers and 100 events for the closely-knit investors in NFTs — pieces of collectible, authenticated digital art that has included the “Bored Ape” and “CryptoPunks” series.

Despite becoming a punchline among crypto skeptics over a major boom-and-bust in 2022, NFTs are still drawing steady interest, according to Alex Taub, co-founder of Goblintown, an NFT collection whose name refers to so-called “goblin” investors who have blown their cash on failed crypto purchases.

NFT enthusiasts showed off their fandom by wearing goblin masks. Jon Macapodi

While Goblintown’s basic releases sell for between $500 and $1,000, rare or one-of-a-kind NFTs can go for more than six figures, according to Taub. The current lowest asking price is $492, while the most expensive sale in the last 90 days went for more than $11,000, according to

“A lot of people say NFTs are dead — and in a lot of ways, most of them are,” Taub, the CEO of Truth Labs, told The Post. “But the teams that are still around and building things, there’s still a lot of value to be created.”

NFT enthusiasts are undeterred even after the high-profile implosion of convicted fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX empire. At one point, the “floor price” for the Bored Ape Yacht Club, arguably the most popular NFT collection, rapidly collapsed by 75% from more than $400,000 in April 2022 to less than $100,000. Currently, it is hovering just above $39,000.

Overall, NFT prices are still far below their peak in 2021 and 2022, according to NFT Price Floor COO Nicolas Lallement. While the initial surge in NFT popularity took place on the Ethereum blockchain, new projects tied to bitcoin and Solana have seen a spike in trading volume.

“Activity is still way lower than two years ago, but there are signs to be optimistic, especially on high-end NFTs,” said Lallement, who pointed out that two NFTs from the popular CryptoPunks collection recently sold for more than $15 million each.

Goblintown is loosely inspired by “The Hobbit.” Jon Macapodi

A Goblintown-themed food truck, dubbed “McGoblin Burger” has been making pit stops at several NFTs.NYC events. The down-but-not-out crypto enthusiasts gathered in the pouring rain to scarf smash burgers outside the Cellar Dog in the West Village on Wednesday night.

“A lot of people in the crypto space are like, ‘we’re back,’” Taub said.

Aside from building brand awareness, Taub said the truck will serve as a hub for the project’s tight-knit community, who show up to crypto events in goblin masks in an oddball show of solidarity.

NFT proponents face an uphill climb to convince the general public. A report by dappGambl last year found that an eye-popping 95% of NFT investments had become worthless as crypto bottomed out.

Through this week, the price of Bitcoin has jumped 53% to more than $67,000 since the start of the year. Ethereum, another popular digital currency closely tied to the NFT sector, is up 43% to $3,370.

Bitcoin has surged to record highs this year. Jon Macapodi

“Regarding the overall market, first thing to highlight is that crypto markets are highly cyclical and capital has a strong tendency to move to the new shiny thing,” Lallement added.

Goblintown issued 10,000 NFTs for free just as the crypto sector’s meltdown began in mid-2022. The project, which is loosely inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” has poked fun at the inherent volatility and skepticism tied to crypto investments from the start. Its website initially joked that the founders have “no roadmap” and “no utility.”

“I’ve seen this so many times where we go up, there’s euphoria, then it crashes, everyone’s like, this is over, and it comes back even stronger,” Taub said. “Every time, time and again, it does the same thing. We’re just in that cycle.”

The conference drew more than 16,000 attendees in 2022, but that number dropped to roughly 6,000 last year as Bitcoin imploded.

A Goblintown burger truck is traveling around New York City. Jon Macapodi
The McGoblin Burger food truck. Jon Macapodi

As The Post has reported, the jump in bitcoin’s price is largely related to the SEC’s approval of spot ETFs, which were taken as a vote of confidence from skeptical regulators and made crypto available to a wider pool of investors.  

NFT.NYC organizers could not immediately be reached for comment.

Taub said the co-founders decided to return the truck after a previous appearance at NFT.NYC in 2022 got a positive reaction. “McGoblin Burger” is a fixture in the NFT project’s bizarro mythology.

Overall, the conference has a much more upbeat feeling than it did just one year ago.

“There’s a lot of excitement. People who weren’t going to come now are coming. The vibes are very strong in terms of upbeat and positive. It’s less like, ‘we’re all going to make it’ and more like, ‘crypto is inevitable,’” Taub added.

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