The digital trees are a smash hit amid a demand drought for NFT projects.

While the short-term market outlook for many NFT projects look uncertain and multiple new releases struggle to gain traction, one gardening-themed drop may have set some records by selling 8,888 NFTs in just under an hour.

Nonfungible token studio Zenft released a line of 8,888 unique bonzai NFT plants that quickly sold out last night, with the studio selling each digital tree for .08 ETH or roughly $220 at the time of publication. The bonsais have AR/VR functionality, and their 3-D design is a step up from previous pixelated, 2-D projects. The studio celebrated the nearly $2,000,000 sale with a tweet:

The success is somewhat of a surprise, given that sunshinecrypto.com/news/silent-crash-as-price-floors-collapse-across-nft-space”>NFTs remain mired in a slump following explosive growth earlier this year. New drops like Crypteriors struggle to sell out completely, making the one-hour mark a particular feat.

However, some collectors suspect that the success may be due in part to clever marketing.

“I like the way they look but it feels like people are trying to recreate what happened with the Bored Apes money printing machine,” said one prominent collector who spoke to Cointelegraph on the condition of anonymity. “Been feeling a little exhausted seeing the space devolve into celeb pump and dump.”

Bored Ape Yacht Club, another recent success amid the market dip, managed to attract a fervent community in part on the back of outreach to prominent investors and collectors in the NFT space — and, as one collector put it, where whales go smaller collectors, or “plankton,” follow (sometimes to their detriment).

In an interview with Cointelegraph, “8ncient Gardener,” one of the three Zenft “gardeners” (or developers) said that marketing played a role — 8ncient “took painstaking care around crafting our giveaways” in particular — but ultimately the quality of the art is what made the bonsais such a hit. 

“I think our art speaks for itself quite honestly. And everyone can unify around a bonsai. We had Apes, Punks, Voxo, Sandbox, Camels — all these NFT factions all rallying around bonsai,” he said. “In a world of pixel art we made gorgeous 3D bonsai.”

The on-chain evidence is somewhat mixed. There are currently 1,736 different holders of the nearly 9,000 bonsais, with over 22% of the supply concentrated in two NFT whale addresses. From there there’s a steep drop-off, however, with a board range of addresses holding smaller quantities of the bonsais.

While it’s impossible to tell the exact source of the success, Zenft “Grove Councilor” “Justsomebonzai” argued that the digital trees are ultimately spreading joy:

“People genuinely like Bonsai, they’re beautiful IRL and they’re beautiful as an NFT.”