NFT sales are slowly morphing into a faint reflection of what they used to be. The second week of November saw the lowest sales volume of art and collectibles NFT since January. A total of 86,870 items were sold in this category – the lowest figure recorded in over ten months – accentuating the cooling demand for digital art. The average price of each item was, however, significantly higher: an indication of the rising prices of NFT works.
The gaming category posted a similar trend, with the figure of 439,700 that was posted being the lowest in a couple of months as well. Notably, the sales volume in this category was much higher than that in the art category. Despite the slump, which NFT influencer Jason Bailey attributed to the gaiety of this year's NFT.NYC event, the overall NFT sector is still doing well.
Here is a roundup of other recent headlines in the NFT sector:
Creative artist Beeple sells first physical NFT
On Thursday, highly appreciated digital artist Beeple confirmed he had sold his first-ever physical NFT. The creation named ‘Human One' was sold at Christie's 21st Century Evening Sale, accompanied by a digital NFT, for $28.9 million. The piece of artwork features a lone astronaut walking in a seven-foot-high translucent box, depicting the first portrait of a human born in the metaverse.
Beeple revealed he would continuously update the piece throughout his lifetime, an effort that will keep the collector and the artist in close trust. The buyer, an online bidder from Switzerland, placed a $25 million bid for the piece of art – a figure higher than the auction estimate of $15 million.
The hybrid digital and physical NFT's sale marked the second-largest amount ever paid for an NFT. Popularly known as Beeple in the NFT space, Mike Winkelmann has previously worked on other pieces fetching millions from their sale. In March, he sold his ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days' NFTs back for $69.3 million. He also sold the ‘Ocean Front' NFT to TRON founder Justin Sun for $6 million.
Celebrities providing a boost to NFT sale volumes
Daily trading volumes on one of the biggest NFT marketplaces, OpenSea, are down over 40% from the peak recorded at the end of August. Over 1.7 million NFTs were sold on the platform in September, which dropped to 1.43 million in October. Only about 315,000 have been sold so far this month, with only two weeks left. The waning demand of NFT items on this, and other major marketplaces, has seen experts conclude a bear cycle is around the corner.
Not all NFT projects are seeing a tumble in sales volume, though with some soaring thanks to a couple of positive factors, including celebrities' continued entry into the space. Last Friday, The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon declared his interest in the Bored Ape Yacht Club, confirming he had made an NFT purchase of Bored Ape #599. The comedian-cum-actor is also reportedly interested in the Mutant Apes project.
On the same day, four-time Grammy Award winner and legendary hip-hop producer Timbaland revealed that his Ape-In Productions studio would leverage BAYC NFT avatars in his work on virtual music groups and animation. The growing interest in NFT items among celebrities from different backgrounds has seemingly helped keep the sector afloat, as reported by CoinTelegraph.
Musician Deadmau5 announces ‘Head5' NFT Collection
This week, Canadian electronic music producer and DJ Joel Zimmerman, known by his stage name Deadmau5, revealed a new NFT collection dubbed ‘head5'. The collection, which is now available on head5.io, is a joint project with long-time music partner and video director Nick DenBoer (Smearballs).
‘Head5' features a total of 5,555 NFTs minted on the Polygon blockchain and meant to build on the ‘mau5verse.' Each of the NFTs which take the shape of a 3D head will set back buyers 0.15 ETH. Speaking about the project, DenBoer noted that the inspiration to mint the NFTs was from the “Pomegranate” video he worked on alongside the Canadian star.
NFTs have aided crypto adoption this year, Visa Crypto Head says
Head of Crypto at Visa Cuy Sheffield noted during his speech at the Singapore FinTech Festival last Monday that NFTs had changed the view of crypto from weird to cool. Sheffield explained that previously, those investing in cryptocurrencies were perceived as odd and that NFTs have played a significant part in changing that.
The Visa executive noted that with the expansion of NFT markets, an increased number of mainstream users have become more willing to use their digital wallets. He added that several users created their first digital wallet this year to purchase a digital asset. Sheffield further stated that the ability for users to ‘track and leverage' a digital collectible in various environments meant opportunities in several sectors.
Cuy Sheffield's engagement in digital assets has been through Visa purchases. In August, he led the payment services company to a surprise purchase of CryptoPunk #7610 for 49.5 ETH (almost $150,000 at the time). The company, however, clarified that the purchase had been motivated by the need to understand the infrastructure necessities for a global brand to buy, hold and leverage an NFT.
Just 5% of NFT returns in the past 21 months have gone to female creatives
A report by Bloomberg last Tuesday cited Art Tactic's research which revealed that only 5% of all NFT sales have been credited to women. In comparison, at least 77% of sales have gone to the male creatives. The other 16% chunk of transactions is linked to artists whose gender is not known.
As per the report, female artists were also paid significantly less than their male counterparts, with only one female in the top ten earners within the said period. Female participation has been limited in the general blockchain space, with only a few etching their name in the industry.
OpenSea surpasses $10 billion in trading volume
From trading volumes that were at least ten times less back in August, NFT marketplace OpenSea earlier this week reached $10 billion worth of volume in digital assets trading. Data from DappRadar confirms that the marketplace founded in 2017 has seen approximately $10.65 billion in traded assets from 654,100 traders at the time of writing.
Axie Infinity follows OpenSea with a trading volume of $3.23 billion but has over 400,000 more traders than the volume-dominant OpenSea. Being a marketplace of significant size, OpenSea has facilitated some major million-dollar sales including, the NFT' Everydays: The First 5000 Days', ‘Ocean Front,' and several CryptoPunks.
OpenSea's growth has partly been due to serious investor interest. The platform secured $100 million raise in a July fundraising spearheaded by California-based venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz, A16z. The round succeeded a March $23 million Series A funding that A16z also led.
With the NFT buzz yet to wither completely, platforms such as Axie Infinity and OpenSea are expected to see more activity and interest from users and investors.