As Moonbirds’ NFT sales surged, some investors made thousands of dollars. Others went into debt to buy at the peak and lost

In just over a week on the market, Moonbirds NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have amassed more than $445 million in sales. The project remains the top-selling NFT collection of the past 30 days, according to CryptoSlam, an NFT data rankings site.

Moonbirds is a collection of 10,000 pixelated bird NFTs. After launching on April 16, Moonbirds quickly shot up in price. Many blame the surge of interest on its being created by the Proof Collective, an exclusive group of 1,000 NFT collectors, and its cofounder Kevin Rose.

But, like most NFT collections, Moonbirds has seen major price volatility. The project is down 50% since Sunday. Though it still ranks fourth in terms of sales within the past 24 hours—in the company of famous collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club—and its minimum price is still around $101,632, the price of a Moonbirds NFT has fallen significantly since its peak over the weekend. On Sunday, the average price of a Moonbirds NFT was 44.8 Ether, or $134,000.

With all the recent fluctuations, investors have had very different experiences trying to turn a profit from the collection.

Those who received free Moonbirds or bought in when prices were lower at 2.5 Ether, or about $7,500, and sold at the peak made a lot of money. But with the hype also comes fear of missing out, which impacted investors who took on debt to buy Moonbirds at a high and ultimately sold at a loss.

‘Fomo definitely came into play’

When Jay Kingston saw the success of Moonbirds, he decided to sell a large portion of his portfolio to afford one. On Friday, he bought one Moonbird NFT for 36 Ether, or over $106,000, he told Fortune. 

“Fomo definitely came into play,” he said.

However, the excitement lasted just about three hours, he said, as the floor price of the collection started to decline.

With all his liquidity tied up in the Moonbird, “I was paralyzed and as worried as ever,” Kingston said. “I was just filled with anxiety, stress, depression, and couldn’t rationalize what I had done. I just kept thinking, ‘How far can this drop?’”

Kingston “panic sold” his Moonbird for 29 Ether and lost about 11 Ether, or about $33,000 total after transaction fees, he said, adding that though others have experienced worse in similar situations, it’s a lot of money, and the situation took a toll on him.

Yesterday, as the floor price jumped back up to 40 Ether, Kingston said he felt sick and had trouble sleeping. The collection has since dipped again, and it’s still been “very stressful” for Kingston to look back on.

“Still comes to haunt, but kind of just surrendering to the fact that nothing can be done,” he said.

Like Kingston, other investors felt FOMO with Moonbirds and even went into debt to buy one.

Franklin, who requested that we use only his first name, told Fortune that he took out a 45 Ether (or $135,000) loan on Friday to try to make money buying and selling Moonbirds. His 90-day payback requirement for the loan is 47.9 Ether, or about $144,000, and Franklin used his Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT as collateral for the loan. That means if he couldn’t pay back the loan, he’d lose his BAYC NFT.

With the loan, Franklin bought and sold a few Moonbirds at a loss throughout the past few days, but ultimately, he was able to earn enough to pay back his loan by a hair. He knew how risky it would be to pull this off, but it’s been “very stressful nonetheless,” Franklin said.

“Since it’s a ton of money, makes me wonder all day what I’d rather be doing if I just had that much extra in my bank account.”

Franklin is very experienced in the space and has crypto assets to hedge this loan, but “it’s a ton of money [and] affects my mood.”

“Price swings change drastically in both directions and can trigger emotions,” he said.

Indeed, just as many have lost or struggled, others have sold at Moonbirds’ peak for profit.

On Sunday, one Twitter user claimed to have sold a Moonbird for just under 38 Ether, or $114,000, making about 22 Ether, or $66,000, and calling it “life changing money.”

Many have also shared having the same experience online.

Nonetheless, there’s been a bit of controversy surrounding the project, which has sparked some questions from the Moonbirds community.

Ryan Carson, chief operating officer of the Proof Collective, the company behind Moonbirds, announced Monday morning that he’d be leaving Proof and Moonbirds. This comes after Moonbirds skyrocketed in value, and has left many Moonbirds owners confused.

Proof cofounder Kevin Rose started a Twitter Spaces event on Monday afternoon to try to ease concerns, but Moonbirds holders questioned what had happened. Rose promised transparency and a future communications policy for Proof employees, especially when it comes to speculating on the price of the NFTs. Carson did not attend the Twitter event, but Rose said that it was under his recommendation and that there’s no beef between them.

Rose and Carson did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.


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