Historical NFTs: The first projects of the NFT ecosystem

In NFTexpress we review NFT collections and projects that are created day by day with great efforts of rediscovery, research and high quality technology. However, today we are going to review the pioneer NFTs that gave life to this industry.

Nowadays, all the innovation we discover and bring from NFTexpress corresponds to the newest and latest on the market. However, all this has been possible thanks to the pioneers of the NFT ecosystem: the first non-fungible tokens that led to the existence of categories such as CryptoPunks, which helped to know what are the PFP or profile images with NFT.

The “historical NFTs” are a kind of filter that covers the first projects and collections of the ecosystem. Since 2021, these digital assets have aroused great interest from users, but also from large brands and companies that want to innovate on this technology to offer their customers different services to their digital structure.

In this article we will review historical NFTs and also discover two new markets that cater exclusively to them.

Historical NFTs before the existence of Ethereum

Ethereum is the blockchain that pioneered smart contracts and has also been the home of the current NFT boom.

Prior to the creation of Ethereum in 2015, collections could be referred to as “Proto-NFT” (currently referred to as ERC-721 standard), where the Historical NFTs that existed were in Bitcoin, Namecoin, Counterparty.

Some of the pioneering projects are:

  • Bit DomainsBit Domains: a domain name system launched on Namecoin in April 2011.

  • Punycode DomainsPunycode : is a domain name + chain art experiment that started in 2011 around May.

  • Colored CoinsThe concept was introduced by Yoni Assia, a system similar to NFT on Bitcoin. It was created in March 2012.

  • Monegraph: was the first NFT platform in Namecoin, launched in May 2014.

  • NILICoinsNILICoins: was issued by Nili Lerner in September 2014. It was concept art tokens as “colored coins” in Bitcoin.

  • MYSOUL: Rhea Myers, the artist who conceptually tokenized her soul on the Counterparty and Dogecoin blockchains in November 2014.

  • FDCARD: were digital trading cards in Counterparty and the start of the Spells of Genesis project in March 2015.

  • Rare PepesRare Pepes: perhaps the best known historical NFT collection. These are user-issued cards centered on Pepe the Frog, which first appeared on Counterparty in September 2016.

Currently, we can see how the non-fungible tokens called “historical” that were emerging since the creation of Ethereum are quite a few. However, the very concept of Historic NFTs will be in constant motion, as, perhaps, in a quarter of a century we will see collections and projects created between 2020 and 2023 linked to this concept.

According to many NFT archaeologists, projects that fall under this concept as “historic” may be:

  • Terra Nullius: launched in August 2015, it is referred to as the first proto-NFT project on Ethereum; it allowed users to create non-transferable blockchain messages.

  • Etheria V1.1Etheria V1: a virtual world project with the first transferable proto-NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. It was launched in October 2015.

  • Million Ether Homepage V1: this project allowed users to create 10×10 pixel blocks as proto-NFT. First presented in December 2016.

  • Ethereum Name Service: The domain name project, which currently carries the most active sales of NFTs. It was launched in March 2017.

  • Curio Cards.: collectible art that appeared in May 2017.

  • CryptoPunks: the CryptoPunks V1 and V2 collections that were launched in June 2017 and to this day is the most recognized and pioneer in PFP or profile pictures.

  • MoonCatRescue: was the first generative art project on the Ethereum network. It was launched in August 2017.

  • Digital Zones: created by artist Mitchell F. Chan, is a conceptual art project that launched in August 2017.

  • DADA Creeps and Weirdos: first project to encode royalties for artists directly on NFT. It was created in October 2017.

  • CryptoKitties: first project of collectible digital cats inspired by the modern Ethereum standard: ERC-721.

New markets, targeting historical NFTs

In recent days, two marketplaces have been created that have taken a big step towards catering to owners and those interested in historic NFTs. The birth of these two projects certainly speaks to the growing interest and demand that has been seen lately around the historic NFT categories. However, the more well-known markets in the industry have not catered to these requests and two projects have anticipated what perhaps, will be a new niche market in the industry.

These markets that have been created are: HNFT y NFT History.

HNFT focuses on assets prior to the birth of today’s massively used standard (ERC-721).

For its part, NFT History is a market that is based on assets that predate the boom that the non-fungible token market made in 2021.

Finally, we will see if in the future these exclusive niche markets can grow as more collections of Historical NFTs are added to interact with these markets.

Written by Rodrigo Catalan (TW: @RodrigoCatalanB) for NFT Express.