| Crypto Education, NFT

NFTs 101: Identity expression with PFPs

There was once a time when displaying an image of your real face on social media was standard practice. A holiday photo, a mugshot, a pic of you and your pug; these were all commonplace ways of showcasing yourself to the world. But that time has passed, and a new era of social signaling has begun.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are one of the crypto industry’s most innovative creations. Here, artists and communities are constantly pushing the boundaries of art and ownership. One popular use case for higher-ticket NFTs that has emerged in this space is profile picture NFTs, or PFPs.

What is a PFP NFT?

The PFP NFT all started when a collection of 10,000 pixelated characters called CryptoPunks. The collection first launched on Ethereum in 2017. At the time, Ethereum holders could get them by paying a small gas fee to generate a single punk.

Each person who did so received an algorithmically generated NFT character, each with its own randomized set of traits of varying rarity. If you want to learn more about how the rarity of different NFTs can be measured, you can check out the Kraken Learn Center article What is an NFT rarity ranking?

As the NFT craze peaked in 2021, everyone wanted their own CryptoPunk NFT because of their immutable prestige as the first Ethereum PFP collection.

The rampant surge in demand for the collection’s limited supply sent CryptoPunk prices skyrocketing. Presently, the floor price for CryptoPunk NFT is 65 ETH (~$106,000). Only a few crypto enthusiasts own one and therefore, they carry a unique level of prestige.

It wasn’t long before people started substituting their Twitter profile pictures with their CryptoPunk NFT characters to cement themselves as an early adopter and express their punk personalities. This trend set the stage for holders of other popular NFTs to follow suit, and before long, PFPs became mainstream.

Clockwise, starting bottom right: CryptoPunks, SlimHoods, Doodles, BAYC, 0N1 Force, Lazy Lions.

These days, a variety of NFT collections fall within the PFP category. Bored Ape Yacht Club is another prominent collection featuring portraits of apes sporting unique facial expressions, accessories and clothing items. The creators later produced two additional spin-off collections – Mutant Ape Yacht Club and Bored Ape Kennel Club. All three collections are often featured as profile pictures on social media platforms.

Doodles is another popular collection of colorful, cartoon characters that are easy to spot on social media platforms. Some OG NFT collectors choose to feature smaller collections such as SlimHoods, Lazy Lions, and 0N1 Force as their social profile pictures. 

How to use an NFT as a PFP

Twitter is the leading social media platform that supports PFP NFTs. Any NFT can be used as a PFP, the options are limitless!

To officially feature your NFT onto your Twitter profile as a PFP, you’ll first need to:

  1. Pay for a Twitter Blue subscription (~ $8-$11 per month).
  2. Download the Twitter mobile application (free).

Then, you’ll need to head to your profile on the mobile app, tap your profile picture > “Edit.” Three options will appear including “Choose NFT.” Clicking this option will take you to a screen prompting you to connect your crypto wallet that stores the NFT. Please be very careful when connecting a crypto wallet to any third-party website or app and double check the URL and security certificate before proceeding.

The social media platform currently supports multiple wallets, such as:

  • MetaMask
  • Rainbow
  • Ledger Live
  • Trust Wallet

Once connected, you’ll be able to select the NFT you wish to feature as your new profile picture.

Twitter crops all PFP NFTs hexagonally to differentiate them from normal profile pictures.

Beware of fakes

While blockchain technology allows you to prove to the world that you are the true owner of an original media file, it doesn’t stop people from copying PFP NFT images and minting their own NFTs for themselves.

Some may pose as legitimate NFT holders to gather followers, mislead people, or commit fraud — something to bear in mind when navigating the minefield that is “Crypto Twitter.” If you want more tips on how to keep your crypto and NFTs safe, be sure to check out our Crypto Security 101 video series.

Why buy a PFP NFT? 

Not only can a PFP serve as a visual extension of the digital identity you want to create for yourself, but they can also demonstrate your commitment to the cryptocurrency movement, and your appreciation of digital art. 

Holders are also finding new ways of increasing the utility of their PFP NFTs by setting up exclusive communities, selling physical merchandise sporting their NFTs, and providing early access to new NFT collection launches. When it comes to the practical benefits of owning an NFT, things are changing – and improving – every day.

Learn more

These materials are for general information purposes only and are not investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell, or hold any digital asset or to engage in any specific trading strategy. Some crypto products and markets are unregulated, and you may not be protected by government compensation and/or regulatory protection schemes. The unpredictable nature of the cryptoasset markets can lead to loss of funds. Tax may be payable on any return and/or on any increase in the value of your crypto assets and you should seek independent advice on your taxation position.