The market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) surged to new highs in the second quarter, with $2.5bn in sales so far this year, up from just $13.7m in the first half of 2020, marketplace data showed.
An NFT is a crypto asset, representing an intangible digital item such as an image, video, or in-game item. Owners of NFTs are recorded on blockchain, allowing an NFT to be traded as a stand-in for the digital asset it represents.
Sales volumes have remained high after NFTs exploded in popularity early this year. Monthly sales volumes on OpenSea, a major NFT marketplace, reached a record high in June.
Some NFT enthusiasts see them as collectibles with intrinsic value because of their cultural significance, while others treat them as an investment, speculating on rising prices.
Buyers have mostly totalled 10,000 to 20,000 per week since March, outnumbering sellers, according to NonFungible.com, which aggregates NFT transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.
An online sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by the digital artist Pak fetched a total of $16.8m at Sotheby’s, including an image of a single pixel which sold for $1.36 million, the auction house said on Wednesday.
A non-fungible token is a form of blockchain-based digital asset which has exploded in popularity in 2021, with prices soaring as collectors and enthusiasts rush to buy the items which only exist in digital form.
American artist Beeple became the first to sell a purely digital piece of artwork at auction, fetching more than $69.3m for “Everydays – The First 5000 Days”, a stunning collage comprised of artwork he created every day for the past 13 years.
The sale also catapulted Beeple, whose name is Mike Winkelmann, to become one of the top three most valuable living artists, auction house Christie’s announced, calling it a “watershed moment in the development of digital art”.