Skip to main content

Illuvium card trades in mysterious sudden decline

Strong trading in Illuvium’s collectible card NFTs fell off a cliff last week, with speculation the sharp drop could be related to bot activity or artificial trades.

Illuvium Beyond, a collectible card game released two weeks ago, is part of the Illuvium game universe that will eventually constitute several games tied together by game lore and shared blockchain assets.

Beyond has had a strong start, selling more than 80,000 “disks” – digital collections of creatures and accessories – for a total estimated value of $4.5m-$5.5m.

For an introduction to Illuvium Beyond, see Caveman’s first look article.

The analysis of the period can be separated into the minting phase, where collectors bought disks from Illuvium, and the phase where individual creatures (Illuvitars) and accessories were traded between collectors.

All activity occurred on blockchain platform ImmutableX. Using tracking tools on Immutable, we can see buying slowed after the first three days as the collectors started to find everything they needed for their collections or ran out of crypto. 

Demand for minting the disks directly is waning to roughly $20k/ day over the last week. 

In contrast, trading volume ramped up to frenzied levels, until it sharply declined on March 16.

There are at least three theories behind the decline:

  1. Bots were trading aggressively and have recently been turned off, leaving only organic traffic. This is what Illuvium co-founder Kieran Warwick believes, based on a statement made on Discord:
  1. ImmutableX is doing “wash” trades. This is where people or organizations sell to themselves to artificially boost trading volume, and can only make financial sense where transaction fees are very low (as is the case with certain partners on Immutable). It has happened before on other chains and IMX may be trying to boost their numbers to show off a strong face.
  2. There was a race among whales – big investors – and try-hards. Everyone was trying to be the first to reach Diamond ranking, 1m points, in the Beyond game. 

The last point happened on March 16th when influencer @SeatinCrypto was the first to reach the coveted rank.

It was thought this may not even be possible till future sets were released, but Seatin did the math and spent hours loading and opening disks to mint Illuvitars and accessories.

When I contacted Seatin to discuss his achievement, he didn’t want to give much away, but did mention a few things: 

  • He opened over 5000 disks personally.
  • He was unwilling to discuss how much he had spent, although given that it is possible to buy disks with Illuvium’s sILV token, the actual cost to the influencer was probably less than the sticker price.
  • He doesn’t believe there are many players in the world who could reach 1m points, unless another 100k disks are opened.
  • He wants to reach 2m points.

Here are a few tips (from me, Caveman, rather than Seatin) to help boost your score. 

  1. Make sure you bond accessories with Illuvitars that fit in multiple collections. This can multiply your points substantially. Look for cheap, but high-powered Illuvitars to buy off the secondary market. 
  2. When buying an Illuvitar make sure to consider its background. Sometimes people list the same Illuvitar but with a strong background at the same price. This is an easy way to boost your ROI (return on investment). 
  3. Accessories are key to growth. Using tip 1 and diversifying your accessories across a few powerful Illuvitars should boost your score substantially. 

While the sudden drop in sales is concerning I believe it could pick up again when the rewards for the leaderboard are announced. If Illuvium has an engaging reward system that actually drives collectors to build out the perfect album there could be huge demand.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to Illuvium Zero, Season 1, the next installment of the city-building game of the Illuvium gameworld, delayed indefinitely from the announced launch deadline last month.

Enjoy our reporting? Sign up for the Pharos newsletter and receive an update every week for free.

Cavan "Caveman" Roe

Caveman is one of Polemos' core content producers and a game expert with more than two decades of experience. He has been an esports professional and hosts Polemos Bridge on YouTube.