Crypto

NFT sales almost equalled all global art sales in 2021

Digital asset sales totaled nearly $41 billion, compared to around $50 billion for the global art world.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Nearly a year ago, in February 2021, we wrote that the NFT market was gaining momentum after having already tripled in value the year prior, notching ~$250 million in sales, per a report from NonFungible.com.

In 2021? Almost $41 billion worth of Ethereum-based NFTs were sold, according to Chainalysis research cited by the Financial Times. In 2021, the global art market was worth ~$50 billion, per UBS.

  • The vast majority (75%) of NFT transactions were sales under $10,000, but the wealthiest 9% of NFT wallets held ~80% of the market’s value.

Looking ahead: NFTs, and crypto more broadly, are quickly working their way into new corners of business and society. Platforms like Arcade—which raised $15 million in late December—have popped up to allow NFT holders to take out loans against their digital assets. Earlier, we mentioned Samsung’s new NFT-enabled TV. Brands are embracing them.

But, but, but…With the explosion of the market in both value and volume has come greater scrutiny of its risks. One example: In late December, an owner of Bored Ape NFTs—a popular NFT collection that just passed $1 billion in lifetime sales—had ~$2 million worth of Bored Apes stolen from his wallet.

And as digital assets grow more mainstream and valuable, fears of a bubble—and its potential impact—grow bigger, too.

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