The clamor for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) continues to heat up, with third-quarter sales of $10.7 billion, up from $1.3 billion in the previous quarter and $1.2 billion in the first, DappRadar data shows.
Sales of NFTs largely happen across one of the many blockchains, although some take place off chain at auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s, which can make tracking sales volume difficult and variable.
NFTS, unique units of digital art or content, are linked to images or video and give holders singular ownership. The investment phenomenon is taking hold in various sectors, from legacy brands like Visa to social media platforms like TikTok. Creators come from every walk of life — athletes, musicians, artists — and run the gamut of household names to anonymous online handles.
DappRadar, which compiles data from several blockchains and includes off-chain transaction data, pegs the volume of NFT sales at $13.2B so far this year. CryptoSlam data, which doesn’t include off-chain volume, puts 2021 sales at $9.6 billion. NonFungible.com collects data only from the Ethereum blockchain and tallied $7 billion in sales so far this year.
The popularity of NFTs includes iconic brands like Dolce and Gabbana, which just set a $6 million record for fashion NFTs, to TikTok videos from creators like rapper Lil Nas X.
While sales volume is high, the number of wallets actively trading on the Ethereum blockchain in the third quarter was 265,927, per NonFungible.com data. Over 50 percent of sales were $101-$1,000, with 17 percent going for less than $100. Some 20 percent of sales were in the $1,001-$10,000 range.
Among the highest NFTs sold was close to $70 million for a digital collage called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by the artist Beeple. The NFT CryptoPunk 7523, dubbed “Covid Alien” went for $11.7 million in a June Sotheby’s auction.
Visa Vice President and Head of Crypto Cuy Sheffield told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster in August that NFTs are forging a new path for collecting and conducting commerce across social media, retail and entertainment channels.