How Anonymoux became one of the most influential collectors in NFTs

October 24, 2022
'Twin Flames #49. Alyson & Courtney Aliano', by Justin Aversano

Anonymoux has built a reputation for spotting – and supporting – artists before they're picked up by anyone else. He spoke to Signal about how he collects, why investing in good people matters above anything else, and why “good things happen when you invest in good people.”

In June 2021, Anonymoux bought Justin Aversano’s Twin Flames, #49, at Sotheby's for 14ETH. Two months later, with the help of Aversano, he sold the piece for 506ETH, netting over $1.8m in the process.

Anonymoux’s collection includes XCopy, Fewocious, Drift, AlphaCentauriKid, Patrick Amadon, and many other talented artists. But his art journey didn’t start at that tier. Prior to collecting, he worked in banking before managing portfolios at a family office and subsequently his own. Years ago, he bought his first piece on holiday in Bangladesh, which sparked his relationship with art.

“Good things happen when you invest in good people.”

— Anonymoux

Early to CryptoPunks, he’d hang out in their Discord with upcoming builders, collectors, and artists like OSF, Justin Aversano, and Deeze. It’s crazy to think, but 18 months ago, Justin’s work was around 1eth, OSF had not yet built Degenz, a leading NFT trading community, and Punks were trading for $70,000. 

Hurt Feelings by Fewocious.

It was here where Anonymoux cut his teeth and learnt how to collect art. Punks was a tight-knit community, and investment decisions were weighted towards supporting the creator as much as they were towards the art itself. When Aversano’s work was selected for auction at Sotheby’s, Anonymoux deliberately placed a bid of 14eth, 75% above the artist’s previous all-time high, because he wanted to support him.

Throughout the following week, he assumed someone would out-bid, but nobody did. A disciplined collector, he questioned whether the auction environment led to over-paying. Not that it mattered: he wanted to support Justin. And Aversano is a master networker, liked by many in web3: his charm, talent, and work ethic catapulted his name across the industry and later, with help from Justin, led to Anonymoux selling the piece for seven figures. Anonymoux believes that these events transpired because his intention was never to trade art but invest in good people. From that, good things happened. 

Twin Flames #49. Alyson & Courtney Aliano, by Justin Aversano.

When it came to XCopy, it was different. The first time seeing his art was simply a pure-play investment. “I saw his work and thought 'I need XCopy injected into my veins'.” He purchased his first 1/1 piece in May 2021 and then proceeded to buy six more pieces within a four-month period. Why? Because Anonymoux trusts his gut and goes all-in on the artist, buying their work at the right time if he feels his gut burning. If he elects to sell an XCopy, he rotates the capital into other artists like Drifter Shoots, ACK, and Monaris.

The dust from the 2021 collectible mania has settled, and folks who made large sums of capital are looking to rotate funds into art. Aside from established artists whose works regularly trade, the art market can be an intimidating asset class to tie up capital in. “There is a preconceived notion that 1/1 art is cost prohibitive,” Anonymoux accepts.

“There are tons of artists out there for under 1eth or 0.5eth.”

— Anonymoux

Collections are illiquid, and often the decision of who will be the next big artist feels like an unsolvable equation if you aren’t in the right conversations. Anonymoux agrees that there’s a gap in knowledge but argues that this should not stop people collecting art. “There are tons of artists out there for under 1eth or 0.5eth,” he points out. “Log on to SuperRare, browse the feed, and when you get that feeling of something that fits your eye and budget, go after that.”

NGMI, by XCopy.

In collectibles, rather than buying pfp collections, he prefers to build his capital by taking concentrated positions on artists for whom he has high conviction. He’s a top 50 holder of Fewocious paint, one of the largest buyers of Rekt Guy, and a Seerlight whale. All of these collections he will trade in accordance to market sentiment, because he knows that none of them will ever rug the market or abandon their web3 careers. When his gut tells him to buy, he listens. When his heart tells him to support an artist, he goes all in. And when market conditions change, he trades, buying low and selling high. But he is always supporting the artists that he's backed.

'We're early' is a phrase often used to describe the emergence of digital art, but recently it feels like momentum is building. In particular, Anonymoux is watching the Museum of Modern Art, after the New York gallery announced that they are selling masterpieces from Picasso, Renoir, and Francis Bacon to raise up to $100 million in order to invest in digital media technology, “new digital acquisitions,” and the possible launch of a streaming channel.

This news is bullish for digital media and Anonymoux believes that if MoMA  acquires digital art, they will begin with the roster of established artists like XCopy and Fewocious. “In fact,” he suggests, “now is the time to front-run the MoMA on the good stuff.” MoMA’s headlines contrast with today’s macro environment of high inflation, high-interest rates, and on-going conflict, and most web3 portfolios are substantially down on paper, but Anonymoux has full confidence that market conditions will eventually change.

Violent Red, by Monaris.

Last year he bought a CrypToadz for 60eth and sold it for 420eth. Under bear market conditions, these kinds of wins are near impossible so the impetus is to survive and wait until the next bull run. Reflecting on his experience, Anonymoux is as assured as ever. “In my 40's, I’m more comfortable with volatility and drawdowns than I was in my 20's. I have always massively outperformed in bull markets and this is my strongest financial position ever in a bear market.”

“Now is the time to front-run the MoMA on the good stuff.”

— Anonymoux

At this inning of the bear cycle, NFTs attract a particular type of individual. Yes, financial upside is part of the reason to participate in the market, but for Anonymoux it goes beyond that. “Justin went from being six figures in debt, wanting to buy a Punk, to where he is now. Collecting art is not going to change the world but it’s fun to support an individual and see their lives change for the better.”

His comments hint at a distinguishing mark of the nascent NFT sector. In his former career, Anonymoux says all his connections were just ”relationships”. Now in web3, they are ”meaningful friendships”. He hopes for a world in which artists and collectors ”can all win together”, and he continues to rotate capital into smaller artists who he believes have a bright future, like Monaris, Lorcan, and Zak Krevitt. These artists are individuals he considers talented and who, over time, have become friends, following his thesis that "good things happen when you invest in good people". 

“Collecting art is not going to change the world but it’s fun to support an individual and see their lives change for the better.”

— Anonymoux

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After a career in financial consulting in London, Sig directed her attention to blockchain technology and spent some time as a Solidity developer. Her work focuses on web3 because she believes in the opportunity for curious individuals to unlock their creative potential. Away from her computer she is passionate about long-distance running.

Collaborators and honourable contributors: @Anonymoux2311, interviewed by @_theSignal