The State of NFT Utility (March 2023)

From new token-gated access and surprise airdrops to limited edition merch, it’s been a busy month.

The State of NFT Utility (March 2023)
"A digital springtime," courtesy of DALL-E (NNH).

From new token-gated access and surprise airdrops to limited edition merch, it’s been a busy month. Collections are finding innovative ways to create value for their communities, while experimenting with what’s possible when it comes to digital objects.

It’s been an equally busy few weeks here at Lasso. We’ll share more soon, but we’ve been hard at work introducing new features—including the first user actions on Lasso: favoriting and bookmarking—welcoming more beta testers, developing a fresh brand identity, and publishing our thoughts on the language we’ll use to describe the NFTs of the future.

As we look back on a productive March, let’s take a deeper dive into some of the drops we surfaced on Lasso recently.


It’s been a big few days for Nakamigos, a collection of “20,000 unique crypto investors” made of human and non-human pixelated avatars. As a fun offshoot, on March 28th, 24 unique Honorary @Nakamigos were minted in tribute to 24 popular digital art characters, such as 6529, DCInvestor, and gmoney. The avatars were created by the anonymous Nakamigos artist and sent to their IRL likeness from the Nakamigos-Deployer.

Despite seemingly appearing from nowhere—the original 20k mint took place on March 23rd— the collection tops the list of most traded ETH NFT collections in the past week (#2 of all in 24H trading velocity as of the time of this writing), per Lasso’s data platform.


This collaboration between Justin Mezzell of Proof Collective and Moonbirds, and the creator and artist of Monsters, Lucréce, is known as Defybirds (a Moonbird/Monster hybrid). A lucky 185 wallets with nested Moonbirds received a surprise airdrop from Defybirds. Holders were invited to claim additional Legendary Glitch Defybirds by burning one of each color of one of the eight different Defybird species.

Wallets with nested Hoodie trait birds also received an airdropped NFT on March 2nd, which could be burned and redeemed for an exclusive Moonbirds x MadHappy hoodie.

Moonbirds has cemented itself as a top PFP NFT collection known for the utility it grants its holders. For those still unfamiliar with the widely-recognized owl avatars created by Kevin Rose (Proof Collective): they’re more than just simple PFPs. Locking or “nesting” a Moonbird—making it untradable but not vaulted—grants holders Proof membership, priority access to Proof events, and access to an exclusive Discord community. The unique rewards model incentivizes holders to long-time nest their Moonbirds and drives loyalty to the project, as those with higher-level nests receive priority rewards.

Otherdeed for Otherside

While we’re in the land of bluechip collections, let’s touch briefly on Otherdeeds. Holders of Moonbirds were also found to own Otherdeed for Otherside: plots of land in Yuga Labs’ Otherside metaverse.

Recently, Otherdeed for Otherside introduced new holder utility, in the form of an upcoming 2D strategy game: Legends of the Mara. This game further augments the lore of the Otherwise metaverse; access is available for Otherdeed holders, who could claim free Guest Passes and playable items/characters.

Following this announcement, Otherdeed for Otherside has cemented its spot as the #2 most traded ETH NFT collection in the last week of March, trailing Nakamigos.

Selected other drops

Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week Show started on March 28th, and included activations by collections like BFF and others. Holders could claim free wearables and chances to win rare physical pieces from a variety of fashion brands. From FaceTimes with founders to exclusive parties and curated collections for holders, BFF continuously finds ways to create exciting utility for its community (with a focus on mostly women, non-binary folks, and allies in web3).

Popular project Pudgy Penguins announced new utility updates to their free NFT "Rog"—Pudgy fishing Rods—which will upgrade the catching abilities of Lil Pudgy and Pudgy Penguins. The Pudgy Penguins team stated that the Rogs “have developed a layer of utility and will serve as a multiplier for certain licensing deals, on-chain drops, or claims we may do in the future." They further stated that the first implementation will take place during project Overpass in Q2. What started as a dev team mishap has emerged as a funny opportunity to introduce new utility to Pudgy holders.

Ticketmaster also made headlines by debuting token-gated ticketing infrastructure for artists, using the Ethereum blockchain. They announced the new feature in partnership with popular metal band Avenged Sevenfold, who granted early access to their upcoming arena tour to the 10,000 holders of their Deathbats Club NFT. We expect to see more experimentation around events ticketing via NFTs, as well as “access pass” implementations, in the months to come.

For some related reading:

For more insights into these projects and other communities, sign up for the Lasso beta. And, stay tuned for weekly Twitter roundups and next month’s State of Utility.