NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have tremendously surged in 2021 reaching a total sales volume of $25B according to reports. Influencers in the industry have played a pivotal role in the rise of NFTs today. From rare NFT CryptoPunks collectibles to astounding digital art pieces were among the top-grossing NFT sales. 

In this article, let’s pay tribute to these top influencers primarily consisting of known digital artists and celebrities, and other known personalities for the massive growth of the NFT market. Despite the recent subsequent market crashes, the crypto market was able to survive with the surge in the demand for NFTs. Let’s begin our roundup.

Mike Winklemann a.k.a Beeple

Mike Winklemann a.k.a Beeple

An American digital artist, graphic designer, and animator were known for creating comical, phantasmagoric works that make political and social commentary while using pop culture figures as references according to Wikipedia. He was dubbed as “A visionary digital artist at the forefront of NFTs” by Christie’s auction house. Pak, another NFT creator has introduced him to NFTs in 2020 and provided him his first primer in selling NFTs. “Everydays: the First 5000 Days” sold for $69.3M and Human One also sold for $28.9M were only two of his works. The artist’s Twitter followers now ballooned to 557.6K to date.

CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks

Created by Larva Labs in mid-2017, CryptoPunks are 10,000 rare NFT collectibles. It was the inspiration for the ERC-721 standard for NFTs and the modern crypto art movement. Four of the rare collectibles were among the most expensive NFTs ever sold in the crypto market. Currently, CryptoPunks has 2,809 Twitter followers. Though initially distributed for free in the form of an airdrop, the cheapest would cost almost $400,000 while the most expensive cost more than $7M. In September 2021, CryptoPunks reached a total sales volume of $1 billion.

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity

A Pokemon-inspired blockchain game built on the Ethereum network. The game became so popular especially with poor countries primarily because of its play-to-earn model. Due to this feature, the displaced workforce found a new way earn without leaving their homes in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic. In October 2021, Axie Infinity players have already reached 2 billion, and in the report by CryptoSlam, it has now reached a total sales volume of $3.8B. Axie Infinity has total followers of 854K in its Twitter account. To date, Axie is the top-grossing NFT project with a play-to-earn model.

Roham Gharegozlou

Roham Gharegozlou

Founder of Axiom Zen, a venture studio that is referred to as “a startup that builds startups.” It was also named by Canadian Business magazine as one of Canada’s most innovative companies. In February 2018, he founded Dapper Labs along with Dieter Shirley, a former Apple engineer. Dapper Labs was behind the successful CryptoKitties and NBA Topshot. He has more than 70K followers on his Twitter account.

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban

The American billionaire investor is a known Dogecoin compatriot along with Elon Musk and Snoop Dogg but eventually ventured into NFTs. In 2020, he made his first investment venture in NFT after he invested with the NFT marketplace Mintable. In March 2021, Cuban were among the investors of the $150M development fund for Axie Infinity. Dallas Mavericks, an NBA team owned by Cuban has started issuing profile pictures of its players in the form of NFTs. The  Mavericks partnered with NFT.kred to mint the NFTs. He also opened an NFT art gallery where NFT holders can show, buy and sell their NFTs. He now has 8.5M followers on his Twitter account.

Emily Yang a.k.a Pplpleasr

Emily Yang a.k.a Pplpleasr

She is a multidisciplinary artist based in NYC and her digital works include visual effects credits in feature films (Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman, Star Trek Beyond), commercials, and Blizzard game cinematics. Her first dip in crypto began in 2017. During the DeFi summer, she created short video clips for DeFi projects and after making 20 videos, she was approached by Uniswap to create a video for the V3 launch.  And that was the turning point of her life and her involvement with crypto and NFTs. Later on, her friends created a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) to support her works. “The Collectoooooor” minted on Solana spans 500 total pieces, including 3D ducks, buildings, UFOs, and more. Her Fortune NFTs have generated a total sales of $1.3M. Her Twitter has 62,300 followers to date including Binance founder Changpeng Zhao.

Jay-Z

Jay-Z

The American rapper and songwriter was among the top influencers of NFT. In June 2021, he tapped the services of Derrick Adams to create NFTs for his 1996 debut album “Reasonable Doubt.” The NFT artwork featured a portrait of a young musician and was sold for $138,600 at Sotheby’s auction. He also owns a CryptoPunk 6095 which he used as his Twitter profile photo which he bought for $120,000. The artist has 3M followers on his Twitter account.

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton

Once a controversial figure in Holywood, the hotel heiress is now one of the top NFT influencers considering her involvement with NFTs. Cryptocurrency is not something new to Hilton. In a report by Coindesk, she revealed that she already invested in BTC (bitcoin) and ETH (ethereum) way back in 2016. She launched her first NFT drop in March 2020. In April 2021 with a collaboration with designer Blake Kathryn, she launched her own NFT collection. In November 2021, she joined other investors to fund a $20M investment for the NFT platform Origyn. She now has 16.M followers on her Twitter account.

Claire Elise Boucher a.k.a. Grimes

Claire Elise Boucher a.k.a. Grimes

She is a Canadian musician and visual artist. In February 2021, she launched her first NFT collection “WarNymph” in collaboration with her brother, digital artist Mac Boucher.  The collection generated $5.8M in just 20 minutes during an auction on Nifty Gateway in March 2021. This makes Grimes one of the top-performing musicians in the NFT industry to date.

Gary Vaynerchuk a.k.a. Gary Vee

Gary Vaynerchuk a.k.a. Gary Vee

A Belarusian-American entrepreneur, author, speaker, and Internet personality. He is a co-founder of the restaurant reservation software company Resy and Empathy Wines. He was an early investor in technology giants like Facebook, Venmo, and Twitter. He owns over 1,000 of the crypto assets and is the largest owner of CryptoPunks NFT collectibles given his holdings of 59  CryptoPunks. He also owns Bored Ape #1452, #7912, and #8106. “VeeFriends” is an NFT project launched by the NFT guru, is a collection of 10,255 cocktail napkin doodles of animals that represent business virtues, such as “Empathy Elephant” or “Patient Panda.” Vaynerchuk has 1.2M followers on his Twitter account.

That wraps up our top NFT influencers in the crypto market today. There’s actually a long list of influencers with the popularity of NFTs and the rising number of budding NFT creators that have joined the bandwagon. But how will the trend stay? In recent reports, there has been a significant decline in NFT sales especially at the end of 2021. Will these influencers be able to keep investors’ interest and the NFT fire burning?