It’s safe to say that a year in the NFT space is like seven years in any other space – if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss a noteworthy project. 2021 was a wild ride for NFT, as we do every week, so let’s review the important NFT data for 2021 today. To say that the NFT market saw phenomenal growth in 2021 would be an understatement. The segment went from a hidden niche to a mainstream topic and dominated the headlines in the second half of the year. Let’s take a look at the overall changes in the NFT market in 2021 Q1 and Q2: NFT Begins to Bloom The NFT boom began in the first quarter, starting primarily with centralized programs, including NBA Top Shot, which began to soar in February and March. March also saw OpenSea sales top the $100 million per month mark for the first time, as NFT began to inadvertently garner the attention of more crypto consumers. At the time, this was already a record-breaking month following the approximately $8 million worth of NFT sales in December 2020.
By March 2021, not only were sales increasing, but creators were beginning to establish a substantial identity for their work online. Digital design artist Beeple made headlines when his ‘Everydays NFT’ set a record for the most expensive artwork at a record price of $69 million. Christie’s also began selling NFTs in the first half of the year, creating a lasting attraction for the auction house, and more and more NFT-only auctions have followed Since May, we have been writing a weekly report. And at the end of the first half of the year, NFT sales continued to soar, topping $2.5 billion in June, compared to $13.7 million in the first half of 2020. Q3 and Q4: NFT in full swing By the second half of the year, NFT and the metaverse dominated the Crypto community. According to Crypto Research, OpenSea began to open up to gradual popularity, jumping from $33 million in July to $3.4 billion in August. August’s NFT trading volume exceeded that of the first and second quarters combined. Institutions also began to actively participate, with Visa buying its first CryptoPunk in August. Social media platforms like Twitter had more and more headlines about NFT, and game companies like Ubisoft, Epic Games and EA began discussing NFT in their games in the second half of the year. Other public chains are starting to enter the mainstream, starting with a surge in Solana-based NFT in addition to Ether, and this wave has expanded to other public chains including Polygon, Cardano, Avalanche, and more. This change has been exacerbated by the high Gas fee for Ether.
According to Arcane’s research, NFT has a very good performance compared to the annual transaction fees of Ether and Bitcoin. By December, there was increasing talk about the utility of NFT and the ecosystem tools surrounding it – Kraken, for example, recently focused on building the infrastructure to allow users to lend using NFT. And by the fall, NFT went mainstream, and in the second half of the year, not only did crypto-digital artists find their way into the space, but veteran creators of various media began to dip their toes in the water. Everyone from legendary film director Quentin Tarantino, to classic bands like The Beatles and sports stars like Shaq wanted a piece of the action. In the second half of the year, brand involvement also began to take shape. Brands like Nike, Adidas, Budweiser, Disney and others have also set up NFT programs. 2022: What’s really in store for NFT? What will the NFT of 2022 be? Don’t be surprised to see more and more brands getting involved in this space. Among the untapped areas of the NFT are the music industry and the sports industry, which are in desperate need of revitalization. In addition, the NFT online community has been debating the practical NFT of a strictly art-inspired NFT that is ‘more than just art’. Art-driven NFT is likely to continue to thrive, and many core NFT consumers want more interesting and unique expressions of the program. Only time will tell how this all shapes up, and NFT may remain a hot topic of discussion in the community in 2022.