Sales of NFTs reached a record $25 billion in 2021 – data from DappRadar shows – despite the signs of growth slowing towards the end of the year.
Over the course of 2021, we’ve seen NFTs boom in popularity, with Google Trends reporting that in August 2021 alone, global interest in NFTs surged by 426%. From when NFT Bored Ape number 3,547 accidentally sold for $3,000 instead of $300,000, to the charity NFT collection of the Dalai Lama, NFTs have constantly been in the news.
Major brands seized the opportunity to be a part of the NFT revolution in 2021: from Coca Cola and Gucci cashing in, to Stella Artois’ ‘Tipping’ NFT and Vodafone’s first SMS NFT for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
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DappRadar reported that NFT sales volume totalled $24.9 billion in 2021, compared to just $94.9 million in 2020. They recorded that around 28.6 million wallets traded NFTs in 2021, up from some 545,000 in 2020.
Data was collected across ten different blockchains, which are used to record who owns the NFT. It’s important to consider that estimates of volumes vary by different data provider, depending on what is actually included in the data. ‘Off-chain’ transactions, such as major NFT art sales at auction houses, are usually not captured by the data.
Other data shows the NFT sales of 2021 at lesser amounts: CryptoSlam said 2021’s total was $18.3 billion and NonFungible.com said the 2021 sales were at $15.7 billion.
Research from OpenSea showed that sales of NFTs peaked in August, then declined in September, October and November. Sales then picked up again in December in time for Christmas. These fluctuations in NFT popularity do not seem to be correlated with fluctuations in the price of cryptocurrencies, often used to buy NFTs, as bitcoin and ether rose between September and November 2021.