Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are redefining our perceptions of art and raking in large sums of money as well as huge followership.
While only few people had heard about NFT at the start of 2021, the innovation has grown in popularity to the point where Collins Dictionary named ‘NFT’ the word of the year for 2021. It is, of course, pretty good news for crypto enthusiasts!
According to JPMorgan analysts, the monthly sales of digital tokens hovers at around $2 billion. The analysts estimated that the total market capitalisation of the NFT universe was worth $7 billion. Moreover, there are tons of NFTs for sale, and it seems like hundreds of new NFT projects are launching daily.
NFT outlook 2021
NFTs first entered the limelight with CryptoPunks, the world’s first rare digital art marketplace. Since then NFTs have expanded to include not just art but games, memes, virtual fashion etc. Rather, it was in 2021 that the NFT explosion rocked the world.
A study showed that more than $2 billion was spent on NFTs during the first three months of 2021 – marking a 2,100% increase from the corresponding quarter in 2020.
It is even estimated that NFTs generated $1.2 billion in sales in July 2021 alone; more than half of the cumulative $2.5 billion sales volume in the first two quarters of the year. Furthermore, daily trading volume on the prominent OpenSea NFT marketplace surpassed $49 million on August 1 2021.
The NFT market is growing exponentially, driven by many factors among which include social capital, celebrity impact, rarity, demand for digital art and uniqueness of NFTs.
Top 5 performing NFT Projects/Marketplace of 2021
CryptoPunks: These are a collection of 10,000 software-generated punk-style characters created in 2017 by developers at Larva Labs. Each punk has its own personality and distinctive features that determine their value as collectables. The most expensive CryptoPunk was sold in late October for 124,457 Ether – at the time worth around $532m.
Axie Infinity: Launched in 2018, Axie is one of the games advancing a play-to-earn model in which players can make real-world money. Players collect, breed and battle with creatures known as Axies, which are NFTs that players can trade for profit and play to earn cryptocurrency tokens.
NBA Top Shot: The US National Basketball Association (NBA) teamed up with Dapper Labs to launch a collection of digital collectibles. Top Shot NFTs feature video clips of key moments from NBA games selling for the highest prices.
OpenSea: OpenSea is the leader in NFT sales. It has all sorts of digital assets available on its platform, and it’s free to sign up and browse the extensive offerings. It also supports artists and creators and has an easy-to-use process if you want to create your own NFT.
Rarible is one of the largest Ethereum-based NFT marketplaces, where users can create, sell and buy NFT artwork, collectibles, land and other digital assets. RARI is the platform’s cryptocurrency coin used to vote on proposals, curate featured artwork and moderate creators.
Top 5 most valuable NFTs (art piece) of 2021
In March 2021, the most expensive NFT ever was sold for $69.3 million. In fact, Everydays: The First 5000 Days is the first purely digital artwork ever to be offered by a major auction house. The NFT was created by the digital artist Beeple (formally known as Mike Winkelmann) and is a collage of his earlier work.
Second on our list is Human One by Winkleman. The Human One is a hybrid physical and digital artwork that sold for $28.9 million at Christie’s. The auction house lauded Winklemann as a man among the top three most valuable living artists.
Right behind is CryptoPunk #7523 – an NFT that was minted in 2017 – and was referred to as a “COVID alien” because it wore a mask and a surgeon’s cap. It was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for a final price of $11.75 million. The Cryptopunk was purchased by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder in-game betting platform Draftkings.
The Cryptopunk #7523 was a huge success. It was this success that the Cryptopunk #3100 sailed upon selling high. The alien’s blue and white headband was considered unique enough for the NFT to sell for $7.67 million on March 11 2021 on OpenSea, the world’s biggest NFT platform.
Lastly is the Cryptopunk #7804, an alien with a cap, wearing shades, and smoking a pipe. It got the attention of a buyer who snapped it up for $7.57 million on March 11 2021. Even after its sale in March, there have been multiple bids on it.