Non-fungible token sales hit almost $25 billion in 2021

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
People look at NFT artwork of the Tezos exhibition at Art Basel Miami Beach in Florida, United States, November 30, 2021.
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyPeople look at NFT artwork of the Tezos exhibition at Art Basel Miami Beach in Florida, United States, November 30, 2021.

Some of the world’s top brands, including Coca-Cola and Gucci, even sold their own NFTs

Sales of non-fungible tokens (NFT) reached almost $25 billion in 2021 as the crypto asset exploded in popularity, although data from market trackers showed signs of growth slowing.

The assets represent a digital item such as an image, video, or even land in virtual worlds like Facebook’s metaverse.

Prices of some NFTs rose so fast last year that speculators sometimes “flipped” them for profit within days.

Auction houses sold NFTs of simple cartoons for millions of dollars as the art world quickly cashed in, with one artwork fetching a record $69.3m in March.

Some of the world’s top brands, including Coca-Cola and Gucci, even sold their own NFTs.

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According to DappRadar - which collects data across ten different blockchains - NFT sales volume totaled $24.9b last year, compared to $94.9m in 2020.

This means the money spent on NFTs in 2021 was more than the funding pledged by the World Bank to buy and deploy Covid vaccines, Reuters noted.

Sales peaked in August before declining the following four months, as shown in data from the biggest NFT marketplace OpenSea.

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Roughly 28.6 million wallets traded the crypto asset in 2021 compared to some 545,000 the year before.

However, research published in the journal Nature showed that just 10 percent of traders accounted for 85 percent of all NFT transactions.

While some consider NFTs to be the future of ownership in the online world, others are baffled as to why so much money is being spent on items that do not physically exist.