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HANDSHAKE MARKET UPDATE: Double-Emoji TLD Secondary Sales
A staggering 364 sales in the past eight weeks may suggest flight to the “poor man’s single-emoji”
Befitting this special Fourth of July market update, the past two months have featured an abundance of fireworks in the emoji top-level domain (TLD) resale space. Although single-emoji TLDs have captivated investor and collector interest since late 2020, multi-emoji TLDs have only more recently attracted significant attention. Despite its later awakening, the category appears determined to make up for lost time. This post explores trends in the double-emoji space since the start of May.
First, some definitions and notes on methodology:
Double-emoji as used here refers to a TLD for which the punycode renders as a pair of uniform emoji. Glyphs and other non-emoji symbols are excluded.
Both “one-of-one” emoji and “non-1/1s” are included in this analysis. The latter refers to emoji for which there are skin tone and/or gender variants, whereas for the former there are none.
Flag emoji are excluded from this analysis. Flag multi-emoji TLD sales also spiked during the period being analyzed. However, the author believes that the flag category warrants its own analysis separate from non-flag emoji.
This analysis utilizes Namebase Marketplace sales data as presented by Namebase and as collected by the author. It is believed but has not been confirmed that the Marketplace has captured the majority of recent emoji TLD sales, including doubles.
Certain sales presented are known or suspected to be constituents of portfolio transactions. No adjustments were made based on portfolio premiums for assemblages or bulk discounts.
Unless another currency is specifically referenced, all analysis and commentary refers to Handshake coin ($HNS) and no adjustments were made for fluctuations in its exchange rate.
The author has been party to numerous of the depicted transactions as both buyer and seller. Please refer to other disclosures and disclaimers at the bottom of this post.
Screening recent sales per the methodology described above resulted in 364 sales of double-emoji TLDs since the start of May. Since none of those sales occurred in the first week of that month, this analysis focuses on the eight-week period that ended yesterday, July 3.
Double-emoji gross sales volume totaled over 683 thousand $HNS during the past eight weeks. As of posting time that equates to approximately 4.25 BTC or $151k USD. For a TLD category that was virtually unknown as of a few months ago, that is truly staggering. The graphic below depicts underlying transactions and trends.
In addition to the sheer volume associated with the emergence of this category, this visualization identifies the two concentrated periods that have accounted for the majority of transactions. Somewhat surprisingly, individual transaction trends have been rather tightly coordinated during both of these periods, though deviation from average price has widened as values have increased.
Enlargements of the two detail areas identified are presented below, starting with May.
By number of domains transacted, the first week depicted (ending 15 May) resoundingly outpaced all subsequent weeks with 153. This suggests a single or small cadre of highly opportunistic buyers who may have capitalized on sellers’ impatience in these early innings. For instance, the sale of the double red heart for a de minimis amount or the double double beer stein for 1,000 $HNS seem premature in hindsight, but TLD owners who had witnessed a relative dearth of double emoji sales in the preceding months should be spared criticism for taking profits.
The subsequent week seems to have mounted seller reticence which carried the average sales price toward 1,000 $HNS. Nonetheless, some of the acquisition prices for quality double-emoji TLDs during this period might still strike observers as paltry compared to the trades that followed just weeks later.
During the last week of May and first two weeks of June, double-emoji sales activity was somewhat muted, but this period did bear witness to two five-figure $HNS double-emoji sales, those of the peach and eggplant. Based on the – ahem – connotations associated with these emoji, these doubles were likely to command premium pricing. These sales, as with the subsequent double onion, may indicate increasing stratification in the emoji market, with ultra-desirable emoji (be they doubles or other variants) becoming increasing differentiated as market participants have gained sophistication.
Mid-June triggered a resurgence of heavy double-emoji transaction activity. The below graphic details this period through early July.
During this period, the average sales price increased from just over 1,000 $HNS to about 3,800. Along with the likelihood that levels of discernment are increasing on both the buy and sell sides, stratification, as mentioned above, continues to increase. This would suggest a future in which the most popular and readily distinguishable emoji continue to outpace the pack, though subjectivity and evolving use cases could cause fluidity in such future stratification.
One potential area of increased activity is non-1/1 doubles. Although included in the scope, non-1/1 doubles did not represent a significant portion of the transactions depicted in this analysis. Anecdotally, the author has observed an increase in acquisition activity for such non-1/1 doubles (and other multiples), as well as an uptick in marketing the same through informal channels (Discord, etc.) It would be unsurprising to see a wave of transactions in this category, although pricing should be expected to lag their 1/1 counterparts in almost any conceivable scenario.
As is always the case with Handshake, it is impossible to anticipate the degree to which these trends will inform future market behavior. From the blockdomains/ portfolio management perspective, important questions to probe include:
To what extent does stratification continue/recede when comparing like-kind emoji domains (single v. single, double v. double, etc.)?
Are outlier (high) prices indicative of elevated pricing throughout the stack for a given emoji (i.e., does quadruple peach command the same pricing premium relative to other 4x sales as the double did relative to its peers)?
Will portfolio sales (e.g., trades of “sets” of the same emoji (single through triple or quintuple), assemblages of skin tone/gender variant, assemblages of visually similar 1/1s) and purchases to “complete the set” constitute major market drivers?
Happy Fourth and no matter how you’re celebrating, remember to point it away from your face.
DISCLAIMER AND DISCLOSURE
This commentary is not intended to be investment advice. Please consult appropriate investment, financial planning, legal and tax professionals prior to making any investment decisions. The author owns, has sold and acquired, and may sell and/or acquire in the future various Handshake TLDs, including certain double-emoji as defined in this commentary.