Digital Owl Moonbirds 📈 have sold $281 million, making them a sought-after collectible among NFT collectors. Here’s why.

Token aggregator CryptoSlam reports that 10,000 pixelated-bird non-fungible tokens have sold for almost $281 million in two days on the market, making it the top-selling NFT collection.

Known as Moonbirds, the collection is already on par with other immensely popular ones, such as Azuki, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and CryptoPunks.

Although enormous sales of NFTs are usual, many in the NFT community were surprised by the sudden popularity of Moonbirds — digital art of cartoon owls.

After its introduction, the Moonbird NFT collection was rapidly sold out in a “fixed-price drop,” as the fashion industry refers to a new collection.

The Proof Collective, a club of 1,000 NFT collectors, was a major factor in the high level of interest in the collection of 10,000 birds. Gary Vaynerchuk and Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, are among the group’s members.

Besides being well-known in the NFT community, Kevin Rose and Justin Mezzell, the co-founders of Proof Collective are also well-known. In addition to being a venture investor at True Ventures, Rose is also the host of a popular podcast on blockchain businesses.

There was a cost to joining Proof Collective. The average price of a Proof NFT, which signifies membership in the organization, in early December 2021 was 1.99 Ether, or roughly $7,900 at the time.. The current minimum price is $285,670, or 98 Ether.

On its website, Proof provides members access to events, a private chat room, and the opportunity to work with other members. Moonbirds is one of these partnerships.

Moonbird NFTs were made available to the general public through a raffle, which anybody may participate. According to the Moonbirds website, a single mint might be won for 2.5 Ether ($7,500).

Aside from the raffle entry, Proof members also received two Moonbirds for every Proof membership NFT they held.

In all, 7,875 Moonbirds were given to the winners of the raffle; 2,000 to Proof Collective members; and 125 to the Moonbirds crew for distribution.

Controversy has swirled around the Moonbirds drop, which some claim was rigged in favor of bots, while others believe the project’s executives utilized inside information to acquire Moonbirds with unusual features, which might lead to a higher price in the future.

You may “nest,” or stake, your NFTs if you have them, and they will “accrue extra advantages as total nested time increases,” according to its website. In other words, NFT owners will be able to benefit from “increased drops and awards” as time goes on..

Proof’s founders saw Moonbirds’ triumph as the beginning of their firm. Rose said in a video he uploaded on YouTube on Saturday that Proof planned to use the profits to “create a new media firm.”

In the minds of some of Moonbirds’ backers, the anticipated NFT drop and ecology are as valuable as the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a top-tier NFT collection that evolved into the epicenter of its own metaverse and ecosystem. While some people thought the rise in value was normal, others thought it was odd.

NFT Ethics, a Twitter account that monitors the NFT sector, stated on Friday that the Proof Collective was “wash trading” its membership NFTs, or manipulating their price. When a seller is involved in both ends of a transaction, an asset’s worth is artificially inflated. Additionally, NFT Ethics alleged that the Collective had engaged in “nepotism” by exchanging or giving away free membership NFTs to family members and friends.

This is so riddled with falsehoods that it’s ridiculous — invite me to any podcast, any time — you are simply making stuff up at this point,” Rose tweeted in response to the criticism.

Rose, Mezzell, and Proof Collective COO Ryan Carson did not immediately reply to requests for comment from Fortune.

Fundraising using non-financial transactions (NFTs)
There has been a rise in the price of Moonbirds on the secondary market and some believe this is a “turning moment” for the NFT market as a source of startup funding because of the volume of approximately 70,000 ETH, or $205 million.

As far as significantly successful initiatives go, Moonbirds is one of the most unapologetically honest.” According to Daniel Tenner, creator of startup fundraising site Grant Tree, “Kevin [Rose] and Ryan [Carson] have been very explicit that they are gathering cash, that they are not “selling art,” that the money will be used to develop a product, etc.”

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