In just over a year, NFTs have surged in popularity. No, actually. NFTs will be ubiquitous in 2022. Nonfungible tokens have continued to dominate pop culture, from taking over Super Bowl LVI and finding their way into March Madness to helping define this year’s Coachella and grabbing the limelight at SXSW.
Yet, despite public appearances and stories about million-dollar sales, the rise of the NFT ecosystem may be the most astounding feature of the “NFT frenzy.” Although NFT sales have declined dramatically since their peak at the beginning of 2022, it is evident that this exponential expansion has contributed to creating a new (and sustainable) creative economy.
How does the NFT market look now that it has been a little over a year since Beeple’s historic $69 million Christie’s auction? Let’s examine the charts.
Cumulative # of wallets that have ever owned an NFT
It’s no news that the NFT ecosystem has flourished over the past several years, but infographics like the one above demonstrate the market’s full size. In 2020, when NFTs first began to gain popularity, just a few hundred thousand wallets had ever held an NFT. Now in 2022, this figure is considerably over four million.
Weekly # of unique wallets that have traded an NFT
Trading of NFTs is the primary driver of market movement; hence ownership is not the sole statistic we can use to gauge NFT market growth. Obviously, some wallets may have acquired an NFT and subsequently stalled, but this one-year chart from April 2021 to April 2022 reveals that there were fewer than a few thousand distinct wallets trading NFTs in April 2021, compared to well over 200,000 in the first few months of 2022.
Daily # of Ethereum NFT Transfers
Obviously, if the number of active traders is high, the number of daily transactions must be enormous, correct? The preceding graph illustrates how much may change in a single year. According to the data collected, NFTs began to take off in March 2021. The market subsequently had a slowdown over the spring and summer before numbers began to rise once more. And the tendency persists. In 2022, the number of daily Ethereum NFT transactions will reach millions.
OpenSea’s monthly USD sales volume
Over the past year, the great majority of Ethereum NFT trades have occurred on OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace in the world. Although this is progressively changing as rivals such as LooksRare and Rarible continue to expand, data between April 2020 and April 2022 reveals an increasing pattern of peaks and valleys. In August 2021, it was great news when OpenSea surpassed the billion-dollar mark and soared above three billion. Now, these numbers occur every month.
Median NFT sales prices
Everyone has heard of people making millions with NFTs. However, this is not typical of NFT trading. Yes, the ecosystem has flourished, but most NFT aficionados will never be as wealthy as early Bored Ape Yacht Club supporters. This final graph illustrates this stark distinction. The typical NFT sales price has increased significantly over the past year, but not by thousands or millions of dollars. Moreover, the pattern is inconsistent, resembling a seismograph reading more than a visual depiction of data, illustrating both the rise of the NFT industry and its irregularity.
If you are interested in tech-savvy stuff, here’s an article about the benefits of artificial intelligence.