Taking the Pulse of the NFT Market 🔥 - TokenSmart NFT Humpday Report #19

Welcome to the 19th issue of the NFT Humpday Report, a weekly column covering and providing embedded analysis on the NFT economy’s biggest topics du jour. Brought to you by WIP meetup collaborators and nft42 community hub TokenSmart.

Interest in and adoption of NFTs has been rapidly accelerating lately, to say the least.

For context, last summer the NFT economy grabbed headlines after crossing its first $100 million in all-time sales, a feat that took years to achieve. Some 6 short months later and the NFT economy has almost doubled that figure, having now notched $174M to date according to NonFungible.com

Source: CryptoPunk #2890, which was recently purchased by Flamingo DAO for 605 ETH. The move comes as NFTs have never been more in vogue.

What’s happening: The NFT ecosystem is still very young, as Ethereum’s increasingly popular ERC-721 NFT standard was created only 3 years ago. Since then, though, the infrastructure and innovation around NFTs has significantly advanced. 

This early maturation has led to veteran projects like OpenSea now being positioned to net significant traction. For example, OpenSea — the most popular DIY NFT marketplace to date — just set a new all-time daily sales volume record of $1.9M on Monday and also set a new record for monthly unique visitors at 356k in Jan. 2021. 

Yet it’s not just incumbents who are benefiting from this NFT boom. Indeed, there are now almost 50 different NFT issuance platforms and each with their own different aims and styles, like how Async Art focuses on programmable art or how nft42’s InfiNFT platform focuses on on-chain minting. 

Thus when we consider the increased possibilities and increased range of NFT projects with recent increasingly bullish conditions in the wider cryptoeconomy (ETH just set a new all-time price high of ~$1,545 yesterday), then we have perfect storm conditions for the ongoing NFT boom we’re seeing at the moment. People are flocking into the space, and it’s showing up everywhere in the data.

For example, the number of unique wallets that own at least 1 NFT just crossed the 1M mark. That’s up from 630k as of early Jan. 2021! And since things are still so early for NFTs generally speaking, this bullish flare-up around “media legos” is seemingly only just beginning. 

By the numbers: The NFT ecosystem already has a handful of breakout sectors spanning art, games, and beyond. The top sectors’ all-time USD volumes are currently as follows:

  • Collectibles (e.g. CryptoPunks, Avastars) — ~$66M

  • Metaverse (e.g. Cryptovoxels, Decentraland) — ~52M 

  • Games (e.g. Axie Infinity, Gods Unchained) — ~$33M

  • Art (e.g. SuperRare, Art Blocks) — ~$20-30M

  • Sports (e.g. Sorare, F1 Delta Time) — ~$14M 

  • Utility (e.g. ENS names, Urbit IDs) — ~$5M

It’ll be interesting to check back around this time next year and see how much sales grow across these categories in the next 12 months. There will surely be fits and bursts, and some sectors will undoubtedly grow faster than others at times.

We’re already seeing some of this within the cryptoart category, which essentially notched half of it’s all-time volume in Jan. 2021 alone. 

Source: cryptoart.io

New eyes arriving: Those of us who have been around NFTs or crypto for a bit know that these technologies can be radically empowering to creators and communities in novel ways.

But what’s been interesting lately is seeing an explosion of new interest coming from mainstream circles. For example, major internet services company Cloudfare just announced support for Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains. Celebrities like Mark Cuban and Soulja Boy have started minting and extolling NFTs. Look for developments like these to start bringing in plenty of new eyes and interest for the foreseeable future.

Source: Soulja Boy’s 1st NFT on Rarible

Looking ahead: With demand to use Ethereum exploding, the big question for many NFT projects this year will be scaling.

The good news is that we’re starting to see considerable movement on the layer-two (L2) scaling front, like Axie Infinity’s release of their Ronin sidechain and Aavegotchi’s embrace of the Matic Network. This L2 traction will beget and inspire further embraces throughout the NFT ecosystem, so expect the L2 topic to be a persistent area of focus throughout 2021. It’s officially go time as far as meeting the rising demand for NFTs.

Thanks for reading the 19th NFT Humpday Report! Check back this time next week for more excellent NFT ecosystem coverage! Cheers🌠