With the new year comes new opportunities, renewed excitement, and of course, fresh problems. While 2023 has yet to hit the NFT space hard in any respect, general blockchain enthusiasts are undoubtedly preparing to ride the ups and downs of the NFT market for another year. But for the truly devout, seasoned collectors, the new year also brings with it a chance at greatness.
While both established creators and the up-and-comers featured in nft now’s Next Up nail down their minting plans for the year, collectors are looking to execute profitable flips and collect elusive grails. But not all collectors are created equal. While some hide in the shadows to carry out trades day after day in a drive to stack ETH, others operate in the public eye, aiming to support artists, inspire others, and provide wisdom to their followers.
So to honor those who’ve consistently shown up in the NFT space, we’ve hand-picked 13 collectors who have had a palpable influence on the ecosystem over the last year. Chosen through qualitative metrics and presented in no specific order, these movers and shakers are folks you’ve probably heard of by now and are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Lex Marcano, known throughout the metaverse as NFTGirl, is a notable voice in Web3 who endeavors to uplift both artists and NFT newcomers by any means necessary. Her list of accolades as a collector, speaker, educator, and all-around proponent of NFTs is impressive and even includes a stint working with Sotheby’s on their Natively Digital 1.2 sale. A content creator who hosts a range of podcasts, recurring Twitter Spaces, and web series, Marcano extensively covers the metaverse, digital collectibles, and play-to-earn games for both English and Spanish-speaking audiences.
Cozomo de’ Medici
Cozomo de’Medici is a pseudonymous NFT collector, investor, and thought leader who has become one of the most popular and prominent names in the NFT community. First becoming active on Twitter in August 2021, he quickly amassed a large following by posting cryptic Tweets, sharing selfies with major celebrities, and trolling the NFT community with a stunt in which he appeared to reveal himself to be legendary rapper Snoop Dogg. While it is apparent that Cozomo has ties to many higher-ups within the music industry, he built a reputation throughout 2022 as an anon who champions crypto-artists, a collector of NFTs from lesser-known creators, and the purveyor of a vast network of investors through the Medici Group.
Former Wall Street trader turned NFT enthusiast OSF wears many hats within the NFT ecosystem. First known in the space as a whale collector, he has since adopted the roles of artist and builder through the art project Rekt Guy as well as via Canary Labs, a Web3 imprint created in collaboration with his fellow pseudonymous NFT collector Mando. Aside from finding success with Rekt Guy, OSF remains an avid collector and champion of both creators and traders, with his platform Degenz providing its audience with frequent, deep, and insightful analyses of the NFT market.
YeahYeah is an NFT collector, curator, and enthusiast who has amassed a following by routinely offering insights into — and analysis of — the NFT market. He styles himself as a buyer and seller of crypto-art that he deems “historically significant.” To this end, he focuses on art created from around 2018 to 2020 while also taking an interest in creations and creators that push the boundaries of crypto art and NFT tech. His collecting tactics have been covered by the New York Times, he’s one of the all-time leading collectors in sales on SuperRare, and he was even honored by NFT superstar Beeple with a portrait featuring the likeness of his unique CryptoPunk #638.
DC Investor is one of the leading investors and project advisors in the NFT space. Billed by some as owning “the world’s greatest NFT portfolio,” he was an early adopter of crypto, and as soon as NFTs started picking up steam, he went all-in on crypto art. As such, his impressive collection features some of the biggest names in NFTs, like CryptoPunks and Art Blocks. Considered a seasoned and knowledgeable collector, he often gives input and advice on the goings-on in both the crypto and NFT spaces via his Twitter account, offering his followers invaluable insight into the current and future direction of the market.
Lady Phe0nix is a leading digital art curator, collector, and founder of several notable organizations within the NFT community, including crypto media company Universe Contemporary, the Yes Universe, and Crypto Club Basel. In the metaverse, she has been active in founding the Museum of Digital Diaspora on Cryptovoxels. In the physical world, she helps proliferate Web3 knowledge and culture as a lecturer who has spoken at Harvard, Dartmouth, and beyond. Through her work with her various ventures and her personal brand, she has taken significant strides in elevating culture, educating others about NFTs, and uplifting artists.
As the name suggests, Anonymoux is an anonymous NFT collector who has leveraged his investment management background and prior experience in online poker and fantasy sports into a successful run as an NFT investor. Starting out with 50 CryptoPunks in January 2021, he managed to grow his collection at an astonishing rate while maintaining his persona as a sort of “everyman” of the NFT space. Aside from Anonymoux’s work curating and collecting high-value NFTs, he often offers wisdom and encouragement to his many artist and collector followers on Twitter.
One of the most successful traders in the NFT space — with over a decade of experience in trading in stocks and crypto to his name — is Keyboard Monkey (also known as KBM). An early entrant to the NFT trend, he has ridden the wave to massive success, breaking his process down to a science. His advice on how to play the NFT market is well-regarded in the community, and he’s also seen as a master at seeking out rare 1/1s. Additionally, he regularly supports up-and-coming creators and often appears on podcasts to share his strategies and high-level view of navigating the volatile field, providing wisdom to his followers and the NFT community.
Gmoney, once an anonymous investor before revealing his face near the end of 2022, first garnered attention when he paid 140 ETH (roughly $150,000 at the time) for CryptoPunk #8219 in January 2021. By May, Gmoney had solidified his status as an influential collector, launching Delphi INFINFT, a fund that invests in several NFT projects with crypto research and investment firm Delphi Digital. In 2022, he continued to be a champion of artists while simultaneously becoming more of a builder himself by launching projects 9dcc and Admit One, the first being a multifaceted project that aims to verge the gap between physical and digital assets, and the second crafted as a private group aiming at providing the NFT space with opportunities and education.
Beauty and the Punk
Beauty and the Punk — commonly referred to as “B” — is an anonymous NFT collector who has operated under a shroud of mystery since the 2021 NFT boom. Like other anon and pseudonymous collectors, her actions in the NFT space’s early days helped solidify her as one of the most prominent “whale” collectors in Web3. A very early CryptoPunk maximalist, after selling an influential Punk, B shifted her collecting strategy early on to focus on women, artists from developing countries, and less robust markets like photography and music NFTs. While she is involved in developing the growing Nouns ecosystem, her major efforts lie with RiseDAO, an organization formulated to help women and non-binary individuals from developing economies succeed in the tech and NFT spaces.
Daniel Maegaard, better known by his pseudonym Seedphrase, is a collector and investor with undeniable prominence in the NFT space. After making millions from crypto investments in the 2010s, Maegaard saw the incoming NFT wave and quickly decided to build an NFT empire. To do so, he bought NFTs from some of the most sought-after collections in the world, the most notable being CryptoPunk #8348 – often considered the rarest Punk of all. A major proponent of blockchain technology and the malleable nature of identity in Web3, in 2023, his Punk has become his alternate personality and has led to Maegaard branching his influence into the world of fashion and electronic music as a DJ.
Vincent Van Dough is a pseudonymous NFT collector, investor, and thought leader who has become one of the most popular and prominent names in the NFT community. Said to have spent tens of millions on NFTs, Van Dough rose to popularity for collecting/believing in NFTs even before NFTs achieved mainstream notoriety. Throughout the twists and turns of the NFT market, Van Dough has remained a staunch supporter of historical and meaningful fine art NFTs and is said to be the purveyor of one of the largest collections of Art Blocks NFTs. In 2022, Van Dough launched Art of This Millennium, a global gallery specializing in contemporary digital art that works closely with artists on all aspects of career planning and execution.
DeeZe is a pseudonymous NFT collector, investor, and crypto trader who has become one of the most influential commentators and tastemakers in the NFT space. Considered a champion of rising artists and builders within the ecosystem, DeeZe first began to accrue a profit through crypto trading, then moved to DeFi before becoming a major proponent of photography NFTs — dedicating countless numbers of his Twitter Spaces to spotlighting artists in the burgeoning sector. Having remained faceless and pseudonymous, he is considered a quintessential part of the NFT space and is seemingly one of the most respected anons in Web3.