In the blockchain universe, 2021 would most likely be known as the year when non-fungible tokens (NFTs) were introduced to the masses as the trading volume crossed $23 billion — 230X growth from just $100 million in 2020, according to a report by decentralized application discovery and analysis platform DappRadar. Thanks to multiple trends in NFT space including randomly generated collectibles, involvement of mainstream celebrities, and the rise of play-to-earn NFT games, digital images became a major investment bet for NFT lovers this year.
The top-selling NFT of 2021 was The First 5000 Days by the digital artist Beeple that was sold for $69.3 million. The digital image was essentially a giant collage of 5,000 images that Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, started creating on May 1, 2007. For the next 13-and-a-half years, he posted one picture every day online. Beeple’s latest NFT Human One was sold for $29 million in November this year and was the second top-selling NFT in 2021.
The third one was Bored Ape Yacht Club — a collection of 10,000 NFTs that was bought for $26.2 million at an auction by the UK-based auction house Sotheby’s. In February, the report noted, Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot had generated $226 million in trades. This was 46 per cent of the record NFT trading volume. “The floor market cap for the top 100 collections is now estimated at $16.7 billion,” DappRadar said.
“The entrance of celebrities like SouljaBoy (American rapper), Steve Aoki (DJ), and Rob Gronkowski (football player) into the NFT space early in the year paved the way for the category’s most crucial period so far. In months to come, mainstream media was filled with NFT headlines after Paris Hilton, Eminem, and Stephen Curry joined the space,” DappRadar said. Moreover, the number of blockchain addresses engaging with NFTs on a daily basis increased from 5,000 in the beginning of 2021 to around 1,40,000 at the year-end.
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