London: Irreplaceable Token Sales (NFT) rose to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, more than eight times in the previous quarter, according to data from market marker DappRadar, as crypto asset fury hit new highs.
NFT uses blockchain to record ownership of digital goods such as images, videos, collectibles, and even lands in the virtual world.
Soaring sales and solid prices for NFTs – items that don’t physically exist – are mind-boggling, but the explosive growth shows no signs of slowing down.
The third-quarter data was up from $1.3 billion in the second quarter and $1.2 billion in the first, DappRadar said.
NFT’s largest marketplace, OpenSea, had sales of $3.4 billion in August. Activity remained strong in September as global equity markets collapsed.
Rising prices of cryptocurrencies during the Covid-19 pandemic are often cited as the growth engine of the NFT market – as people use cryptocurrencies to buy NFTs – but enthusiasts say cryptocurrencies have value regardless of market conditions.
Of course, the approximate size of the NFT market varies depending on what it is. Out-of-chain transactions, such as the sale of NFT artwork at auction houses, are often not recorded in the data.
DappRadar’s data, which covers multiple blockchain chains and off-chain transactions, puts total revenue in 2021 at $13.2 billion. Another market tracker, CryptoSlam, which rules out off-chain sales, said the figure was $9.6 billion.
Meanwhile, NonFungible.com, which tracks NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain alone, pegs the 2021 total at $7 billion.
The most expensive NFT sale known was a digital collage, which sold for $69.3 million at Christie’s in March. No NFT is known to have reached this price since then, but the auction house still has NFT sales that often bring in millions.
Despite increased sales and celebrities and other investors, the number of NFT buyers remains relatively small: According to NonFungible.com, there were only 265,927 active portfolios trading NFT on the Ethereum blockchain in the third quarter.
More than half of NFTs sold in the third quarter ranged from $101 to $1000, while from $1,001 to $10,000 accounted for 20% of sales and 17% received less than $100, NonFungible.com said.
One NFT brand that will see particularly strong growth in the third quarter is Art Blocks, a US project that sells NFT algorithmically generated digital artwork.
On Saturday, Art Blocks sold NFT for 2,100 ether (about $6.9 million at the time). The average price of Art Blocks rose to around $15,100 for NFT in September, from $3,300 in July, according to CryptoSlam.
NFT-related games are also on the rise, with blockchain-based game Axie Infinity leading the “Play to Win” sector with $776 million in sales in the third quarter, DappRadar said.