The summer of SOL debuted in 2021, bringing the standards of Ethereum NFTs to the lightning-quick speeds of the Solana network. Soon, dozens of projects launched, all competing to be the top dog in a new and exciting NFT niche.
It wasn’t long before Solana NFTs began to show their clout. In this list of the top 10 Solana NFT projects, you’ll see exciting developments in the NFT space — DAOs, tokenomics, airdrops, and great art. The collections feature different animals, from monkeys to geckos, and promise various utilities for collectors.
Within each project, we’ll cover specifics, such as whether a project has other Solana NFT drops and any relevant Solana NFT rarity data. All statistics about floor prices and volume came from SolanaFloor.
Let’s start with the OG top collection. It’s all about the monkey business.
#1 – Solana Monkey Business
- Floor price: 128 SOL
- Floor volume: $53,856,000
Solana Monkey Business (SMB), a collection of over 5,000 pixelated monkeys, launched during the summer of 2021. Quickly, it became the premiere NFT collection on Solana, amassing consistent sales over $10,000 and one sale above $2 million.
SMB is a collection of two parts: Gen1 Monkeys and Gen2 Monkeys. Gen1 Monkeys — of which there are just 205 — are organized into four different types, all of which are space-themed. The Gen2 Monkeys are a more standard generative art collection. There are 5,000, and all possess an array of traits.
While it is Gen2 that sees the eye-popping sales, Gen1 Monkeys have utility as well. Owning a complete set (all four types) of Gen1 Monkeys gives you royalties from the Gen2 sales. But the sales are not the only drawing point of SMB.
The collection is solid in two other parts: its community and team. The SMB Discord has over 32,000 members, a large number for 5,000 NFTs. The larger community on Twitter is even bigger, with over 71,000 people following the SMB official Twitter handle.
Aside from the usual community metrics, SMB stands out among the top Solana projects because of a unique organization: the MonkeDAO. This DAO is specific to SMB holders and gives them special privileges, such as staking SOL for an APY and fractionalized ownership of the SMB mascot.
The team behind SMB isn’t a slouch, creating a marketplace specific to SMBs. Both the DAO and the team are forward thinkers, intent on developing Metaverse-ready avatars and items for SMB NFT holders.
#2 – Boryoku Dragonz
- Floor price: 300 SOL
- Floor volume: $28,072,440
Released during the winter of 2021, the Boryoku Dragonz collection features 1,111 pixelated dragons and interesting lore. The year is 4269, and the Dragonz have inherited the Earth from humans. Although there is in-fighting, the Dragonz realize that the hopes for their race are in cooperation. To further their bloodline, the Dragonz need a special elixir called BOKU, which the Dragonz use when mating and creating baby dragon eggs.
BOKU is where the utility of this collection starts. It isn’t just an imaginary elixir. It’s an actual token with a value of $4.54. The team behind Boryoku Dragonz airdrops this token to Dragonz owners. One NFT influencer reported receiving seven $BOKU per day for his Dragon, which amounts to around $31.50.
The elixir has other purposes as well. As the story suggests, it’s needed for two Dragonz to mate and produce a baby Dragon egg. The team behind the collection has created an actual breeding game that involves using two Dragonz and some $BOKU to breed an egg.
Thus, Boryoku Dragonz has a little bit of game theory. If you’re a holder of two Dragonz, you can either sell the $BOKU or use it when breeding a baby Dragon, which may lead to more profits down the road.
The utility of a Boryoku Dragon NFT extends beyond tokenomics and into the realm of social media. Holders of the Boryoku Dragonz collection are known to use the NFTs as profile pictures on Twitter, which adds to the clout of their account. This clout can lead to more social media followers, more credibility, and increased influence in the community. The NFTs also have decent art.
The breeding game and profile picture utility have likely contributed to the collection’s high sales and rising floor price.
#3 – Degenerate Ape Academy
- Floor price: 52.5 SOL
- Floor volume: $44,227,347
Launched in the early fall of 2021, the Degenerate Ape Academy (DAA) is a powerhouse collection of 10,000 Apes released on the Solana blockchain. Although the DAA collection may lack utility, the DAA team’s Twitter presence and the art itself have vaulted the DAA collection up the rankings of Solana NFT collections.
The story behind the collection is interesting, and it may appeal to certain aspects of the NFT community. The 10,000 Apes are part of an academy for special apes who exhibit signs of degenerate behavior. One example the DAA website gives of “degenerate behavior” is “crayon eating.”
DAA is, first and foremost, a generative art collection. Each Ape is highly rendered into a nice 3D image with different rarity traits. The traits include headwear, clothes, and what the Ape holds in its mouth.
Like other generative art collections, some traits are rarer than others. One of the rarest NFTs — a green zombie Ape with a brain in its mouth and a crooked halo over its head — sold for over $1 million.
The art itself is a top draw of DAA. The artist created each Ape in hyper-realistic fashion, unlike much of the pixel art seen in today’s NFT landscape. They have large bodies, a protruding jaw, and narrow, beady eyes. The Apes appear like they would have no qualms engaging in degenerate behavior.
Aside from the art, a reason for the rise of the collection is the DAA team’s use of Twitter. After a botched first launch that resulted in the DAA team’s system crash, the team actually “leaned into” the mishap and started poking fun at themselves. This use of humor, sometimes dark, mitigated the mistakes of the drop and resulted in a public relations boon.
While there isn’t much utility in the DAA universe, some current projects on the DAA roadmap include opening the Academy, bathroom breeding, and Ape swag.
#4 – Thugbirdz
- Floor price: 33.5 SOL
- Floor volume: $9,333,792
Thugbirdz, an OG Solana NFT collection, combines pixel art and street swagger to jump to #4 on our list. The project aims to put community first, with one of its top goals being to build the “kindest community” in the Solana blockchain landscape.
The collection contains 3,333 NFTs of pixelated birds done in the style of CryptoPunks. There are birds with earrings, birds smoking cigarettes, and birds with sunglasses. Keeping in line with their “street” theme, the Thugbirdz team created nine 1/1 birds with the likenesses of famous rappers, including a Jay-Z bird and a Tupac bird.
The project does not have much utility, with just an 8-bit game on the horizon. But what it does offer is a community of like-minded individuals who revel in the “street” attitude pervaded by the Thugbirdz art and team.
That community is no more present than in the Thugbirdz DAO, an organization run by the Thugbirdz community. The DAO is responsible for a Thugbirdz-specific marketplace where sales fees return to the treasury.
The community is likely one of the reasons why the floor price of the Thugbirdz collection is so high. At 40 SOL ($6,949), it is the fifth-highest floor on this list, even higher than the 3rd-ranked collection Degenerate Ape Academy.
The Twitter presence of the Thugbirdz team behind the collection is on-point as well. The Twitter account is very active, engages with the community, and exudes that “street swagger” in its posts.
After the 8-bit game, the Thugbirdz team plans to roll out a major initiative to bring NFT eggs to Thugbirdz holders. This initiative could provide additional money to Thugbirdz holders, rewarding them for being part of the community.
#5 – Aurory
- Floor price: 31.0 SOL
- Floor volume: $26,070,848
Aurory’s NFT collection, launched in August of 2021, has steadily risen to one of the higher floor prices for Solana NFTs. A draw is the collection’s promise for the holders: The NFTs are tied to Aurory’s play-to-earn game and could give owners a leg up over the competition.
The Aurory collection consists of 10,000 NFTs in the form of avatars. These avatars are formed like most other generative collections with randomized traits, some rarer than others. Options for traits include clothes, hats, mouths, and skin color.
In Aurory’s game, each player starts with the main character. Here is where the NFT collection comes in. Rather than a default main character, the NFT holders can use their avatars as the main character. This functionality adds a bit of utility to the collection.
The NFTs also grant holders early adopter status. This status confers two known privileges: the ability to play parts of the game before the general public and access to airdrops as the game grows. NFT holders will also have the ability to vote in an AuroryDAO, which governs game development.
Although the game is still in its development stages, it does have a token — $AURY — which is trending at a high value for an NFT game. Because NFT holders are early participants in this gaming ecosystem and likely stand to benefit more than the general public if the game grows large.
#6 – Galactic Gecko Space Garage
- Floor price: 6.0 SOL
- Floor volume: $5,049,000
Galactic Gecko Space Garage, a collection of 10,000 illustrated geckos, launched in September of 2021 at the price of 2 SOL. Within just a few months, it has established itself as a top SOL NFT collection with a strong community.
The Galactic Gecko lore is simple and intriguing: In a world with competing factions and lineages, the Geckos do not settle disputes with swords and laser guns but intergalactic races that take place faster than the speed of light. The Geckos align with four factions, each with pros and cons. And each faction has its garages, vehicles, and racers to compete for intergalactic glory.
The Galactic Gecko Space Garage is notable on two fronts: community and utility.
The community of Galactic Gecko Space Garage holders is strong, sharing on Twitter that “I am my Gecko and my Gecko is me.” One holder went so far as to tattoo their Gecko NFT on their arm. The Discord server for the collection has over 35,000 members with channels for goofing off, serious NFT discussions, and trading. The Twitter team account for the Geckos has nearly 30,000 followers.
Then there is the utility. The Galactic Gecko Space Garage is innovating with their Roadmap 2.0, promising the building of vehicles and ways to get your Gecko inside a vehicle. There will be possible staking of NFTs and rewards for doing so, along with sponsorships for the vehicles. The Gecko team likens this to NASCAR, where companies pay big money to put their logo on the side of a car.
New buyers into the collection can expect to see some of those perks in Roadmap 2.0. Nothing in the research for this piece shows that original holders receive some specific benefit over new buyers. Although the Gecko team has said nothing yet, it is hopeful that the Galactic Gecko Space Garage will create a racing game featuring Gecko NFTs and their ships.
#7 – Portals
- Floor price: 67.9 SOL
- Floor volume: $28,568,925
The Portals NFT collection is unique on this list because it’s not generative art. A quick look at the NFTs on the secondary marketplace shows similar cards over and over again, some differing just in color. But the key is not in the aesthetics of the NFT. It’s in the utility.
Portals dub itself the “first Solana metaverse,” similar to a Sandbox on Ethereum. The metaverse city is like a virtual Neo-Tokyo or New York City, filled with arcades, entertainment centers, and meeting halls.
The collection of 5,000 cards is the key to that city. Each NFT is a passport to your own space in Portals, which you can build out using a “drag and drop” system. The type of card you carry determines the amount of personal space you get.
Ivory cards grant access to rooms with the smallest floor space. Onyx and vision cards unlock rooms with bigger floor spaces. Onyx and vision cards sell for a premium, and just three Onyx cards are listed for both categories. Vision cards are available “by offer only.” Right now, all cards belong to Building 1.
Demand is high for all NFTs in the collection, even though it launched just a month ago. Aside from the NFTs giving access to personal space, they grant additional perks. Those include a residual payment for land transactions in the Portals metaverse.
Portals also has compatibility with any VRChat 3D avatar. If you have one, you can import it into the system.
#8 – Shadowy Super Coder
- Floor price: 77.0 SOL
- Floor volume: $64,749,300
The Shadowy Super Coder NFT collection, named after U.S. Senator Warren’s claim that adopting crypto would put the financial system in the hands of “shadowy super coders,” is a collection in two parts: generative art and utility. And the utility itself speaks to the high floor price.
For the art, the Shadowy Super Coder NFTs share a common theme: a person wearing a hoodie sitting in the dark, surrounded by glowing computer monitors. Like other generative art collections, different traits are randomized. These include the style of the hoodie, the monitors, the background, and the coding language. But the art, while cool, is not the main play for these NFTs.
To know the utility behind Shadowy Super Coder, you need to learn about the collection’s creator — a company called GenesysGo. The company spotted an early problem involving the Solana network and providers of RPCs (remote procedural calls). It proposes to fix it by lending out power from its servers, and it doubles as a validator on the network.
Rumors state that GenesysGo plans to act as a storage provider for the Solana blockchain. By providing storage, GensysGo would facilitate any building that would take place on the chain. And it would do this through transactions using its coin $SHDX.
Now, back to the Shadowy Super Coder NFT collection. According to reports, every holder of a Shadowy Super Coder NFT will receive 10,000 $SHDX after the token’s IDO on January 3rd. The team will also airdrop 27 $SHDX every day to the holder if they stake the NFT. These airdrops could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
Holders of the Shadowy Super Coder NFT could be in for a big payday if $SHDX holds its value — a lump sum upfront and passive income for months afterward.
#9 – Monkey Kingdom
- Floor price: 27.0 SOL
- Floor volume: $5,044,895
Monkey Kingdom, a generative art collection of 2,222 pixelated monkeys, faced strong demand from the beginning. On mint day in November 2021, the Monkey Kingdom collection sold out in two minutes. Although the Monkey Kingdom collection may seem like just another monkey generative art collection, it has something going for it that few have: a focus on Asia.
Although most NFT collections are either geographically-agnostic or focus on the Western world, Monkey Kingdom creators tried a different angle in the marketing for this collection. And despite having some incredible blockchain developments, Asia had not seen an NFT collection cater to their interests.
The creators of the Monkey Kingdom collection — both from Hong Kong — are not shy about appealing to the Asian population. The lore behind Monkey Kingdom delves into Asian mythology, with the Buddha trapping the Wukongs in the Solana blockchain (Wukongs are capable of mass destruction). The Monkey Kingdom team even states as part of its goals that it wants to:
- Create an exclusive international Asian community
- Attract new Asian investors into the NFT space
Whether you are Asian or not, there may be something of value in Monkey Kingdom for you as a collector. First, there is access to a large international community. Although there are just 2,222 Monkey Kingdom NFTs, over 33,000 members are in the collection’s Discord. Over 20,000 people follow the Monkey Kingdom Twitter page.
There is also the possibility of an upcoming airdrop: the Baepes (female Wukongs). It is possible to add the Baepes to your collection or flip them for a profit at some point. The Monkey Kingdom team also hints that the Wukongs will evolve sometime in 2022, leading to an airdrop or game.
Although Monkey Kingdom is sold out, you can create a Solana NFT wallet and head to a secondary marketplace to purchase one.
#10 – Stoned Ape Crew
- Floor price: 56.0 SOL
- Floor volume: $19,777,968
When the Stoned Ape Crew (SAC) launched in late November, action on NFTs was still in a slump. It might have been a surprise to hear about a collection of Apes selling out in two minutes. But these were no ordinary Apes.
The SAC team divided the 4,200 generative art collection NFTs into five categories: scientists, artists, businessmen, farmers, and chimpions. The first four have assumed roles in the SAC universe, while the fifth is more ordinary. What they all have in common is a token called $PUFF.
$PUFF is SAC’s utility token, given to holders of the Stoned Ape Crew NFTs every day. The four named categories get 30 $PUFF per day while the chimpions receive 15. $PUFF, in addition to having monetary value, also has value within the SAC ecosystem. Chimpions can go to a “retreat” with a certain amount of $PUFF and have a chance of assuming one of the four roles.
$PUFF is not the only utility the team has promised NFT holders. In the future, there will be a SAC DAO, which will purchase NFTs from secondary markets and fractionalize them.
Naturally, all the language on the website, the art, and even the $PUFF token itself relate to smoking weed. The generative art reflects that as well. Some of the traits are an eye visor that reads “4:20,” Apes blowing rings of smoke, and some Apes having blunts sticking out of their mouths.
The utility itself hints at a future community-created marijuana strain, and the first big PUFF PUFF bash for the SAC will take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. While it remains to be seen if $PUFF will take off like some other utility NFT tokens, the SAC team seems focused on providing utility in addition to building a community.
Solana NFTs are still rising in popularity, with some collections staring down the mid-tier ETH collections. And while they don’t yet have the street credibility of the top ETH collections, many are innovating at high levels. This innovation bears great promise for the future of this NFT niche and for those who want to create a Solana NFT.