What makes an NFT project “blue-chip”?

There are hundreds of thousands of collections in the NFT sector—which ones are really defined as “blue chip”?

It’s difficult to confer “blue chip” status on projects in an industry as volatile and new as NFTs. Many NFT projects advertise themselves as blue chip projects, but are they?

Footprint Analytics uses its own Blue Chip Index to gauge the strength of the NFT industry.  This article will explain how we define blue chips in the context of NFTs, and how this classification can help analysts. 

What is a“Blue Chip NFT”?

In the context of the stock market, blue chip refers to stock of a company with long-term stable growth, large traditional industrial stocks as well as financial stocks. Also seen as a long-term investment that generates steady returns, the stock is often considered relatively safe, as is the case with companies like Berkshire Hathaway.

Footprint Analytics –  BlueChip Index Since 2022

The blue chip stock index pictured above is an index that tracks the market cap share of more than 20 well-known, financially stable publicly traded non-financial companies. It refers to the algorithm of the S&P 500, calculates the sum of all values (in USD) of [X] blue chip NFTs per day, and then divides it by [X] NFTs.

What factors determine a blue-chip NFT project?

CryptoPunks and BAYC are the first projects that come to mind when thinking about blue chip NFTs. They are considered by everyone to be the industry leaders, mainly because they have the following characteristics.

  • Backed by a strong team and financial support
  • Frequent presence in NFT sales ranking
  • Recognized by the market and a popular brand in the NFT sector
  • Compared to the transactions of projects such as Terraforms and Meebits, CryptoPunks and BAYC have almost no wash trading.

Footprint Analytics – All Time Top 10 Most Wash Traded Collections

Footprint Analytics – All Time Wash Trading Stats of Bluechip ERC-721 Collections

Therefore, it is not possible to judge whether the project is a blue chip NFT from a single indicator. To determine whether a project should be in the Blue Chip Index, Footprint Analytics looks at 4 other factors:

  • Design Style

Quality of design is critical for the long-term success of a project. CryptoPunks, for example, was once sought after for its punk pixel style as an OG NFT, making the pixel art style popular, and many derivatives replicated them, making pixel art projects stand out in the space. So the innovative design art style will make the project stand out from some of the more bland NFTs. 

  • Utility

What are the privileges of holding NFT and how useful is it to the user? Will it add value? These are all questions that users should consider. Ongoing utility refers to the benefits that come with being part of the community and holding an NFT, such as the project owner providing a whitelist for minting other projects, airdropping NFTs to holders, etc. This not only increases the life of the NFT but also increases the value of the project. BAYC holders, for example, were rewarded with a BAKC airdrop.

  • Volume and Floor Price Indicator

The transaction volume is the basis for verifying the floor price, which is not determined by the holder’s arbitrary pending order price, but through market transactions. It always follows the fluctuations of the market. If the floor price goes up, the volume decreases, and if it goes down, it increases. Therefore, floor price has become the most intuitive blue chip indicator. The higher the floor price of the purchased project, the higher its value.

  • Community

The community also plays an important role in considering whether an NFT project is a blue-chip NFT. Most blue-chip NFT projects have their own dedicated communities.

Blue Chip NFTs: 3 Examples

In general, NFTs are considered a high-risk investment in a market fraught with speculation and volatility. Blue-chip NFTs are relatively less risky—but anything can happen. Most NFTs fail to build a brand, while blue-chip NFTs have done just that. 

Footprint Analytics – Bluechip Collection

  • Bored Ape Yacht Club

BAYC includes 10,000 Bored Apes and entitles the holder to have access to an exclusive online club. Even though it was launched later than CryptoPunks, it surpassed CryptoPunks in over a year.

The major innovation is that BAYC gives the commercial rights of avatar images to the holders and the community, which promotes PFP NFTs to the general public. The floor price has reached as high as 73.15 ETH (as of November 10), which is several times the floor price of other NFTs. It has become a new favorite among celebrities and is arguably the biggest brand in the NFT market. It also released other successful NFT series including MAYC and BAKC.

  • CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks was one of the first successful NFT projects. launched in 2017, CryptoPunks has 10,000 unique digital characters, and some of these NFTs were even auctioned off by Christie’s and Sotheby’s. It provided the inspiration and foundation for the ERC-721 standard that later NFTs developed. The project has now been acquired by Yuga Labs.

  • Azuki

Azuki is a community-built, decentralized meta-universe brand that is popular for its Japanese manga style and high aesthetic appeal, and for its strong branding capabilities, with the first batch of NFTs selling out in just a few minutes. Azuki has major innovations that have to be mentioned, which are new minting standards, whitelist screening mechanisms, and sales methods.

  • Azuki has developed a new algorithm that uses batch casting to mint multiple NFTs for a single gas fee, which significantly reduces costs for users.
  • It does away with the random whitelisting method and combines various criteria to complete the whitelisting process.
  • The sale method is Azuki to sell in three stages: Dutch auction (reduced price auction), whitelist minting, and public sale in order to provide more benefits for the members of the community.

In summary, blue-chip NFT is a good starting point for users who want to understand the market. It is possible to summarize the characteristics of these projects and analyze the relevant metrics to compare emerging NFT projects, how far they have reached and how far they are from blue-chip NFT projects.

This piece is contributed by Footprint Analytics community.


The Footprint Community is a place where data and crypto enthusiasts worldwide help each other understand and gain insights about Web3, the metaverse, DeFi, GameFi, or any other area of the fledgling world of blockchain. Here you’ll find active, diverse voices supporting each other and driving the community forward.


Footprint Website:  https://www.footprint.network

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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