From CryptoPunks To Beeple And VeeFriends – The World Is Crazy About NFTs And Here Is Why

The crypto sector continues to cripple into mainstream finance, as the COVID-19 pandemic managed to test most of the modern economies, some of which failed to withstand the pressure and recorded massive inflation. And despite the crypto sector increasing almost threefold in 2021, several sub-categories made a stunning rise in 2021 – one of which is NFTs.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, quickly went from zero to being able to secure nearly $17 billion in market capitalization in just a year. NFT marketplace OpenSea is leading the pack in terms of processing most of the NFT transactions, with a trading volume that recently surpassed $10 billion.

NFTs escaped from the art realm and quickly got incorporated into the music, sports collectibles, and video games, granting owners proof of ownership, as well as exclusive access to unique functions and features.

One of the biggest trendsetters in 2021 was the CryptoPunks collection, made by Larva Labs in 2017. Interestingly, CryptoPunks were created long before the crypto sector adopted the ERC-721 NFT standard and was given for free to Ethereum holders.

0aadd73bcb9d17baec80e523ea0ad959Source: Larva Labs

Just four years later, one of the NFTs in the collection raised $11.75 million via a Sotheby’s auction. Furthermore, remittance giant Visa bought a $150,000 CryptoPunk for its corporate collection. CryptoPunks on OpenSea recorded 756,984 Ether (ETH) ($3.03 billion) in trading volumes, and those numbers are going to increase.

Next to CryptoPunks is Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club, which recorded 266,843 ETH ($1.07 billion) in trading volumes. Sotheby’s made yet another huge NFT sale, this time - a collection of 107 BAYC NFTs, made up of 101 Bored Apes and six Mutant Apes, for $24.4 million. Furthermore, celebrity buyers like Jimmy Fallon, Post Malone, and Rolling Stone magazine pushed the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection into the skies.

However, one artist is holding the records for first and second-most expensive digital art pieces sold at public auction and off-chain as of November 2021 - Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple.

Beeple sold his “Everdays: The First 5000 Days” in March 2021 at a Christie’s auction for $69.3 million. Beeple also managed to sell his “HUMAN ONE” piece for $28.9 million in November. However, “HUMAN ONE” also has physical dimensions, which differs it from purely digital NFTs. It resembles a 2,1-meter rotating box, which is made up of LED panels. Beeple can replace the footage via the blockchain to address current geopolitical events.

Meanwhile, games do not lag far behind the art, as Axie Infinity shattered records as the game became the first DApp to surpass $2 billion in NFT trading volume in 2021. The game lets users duel other players, battle enemies, and complete daily quests while minting, buying, and selling Axie NFTs.

Big commercial sports brands are also on the lookout at NFT solutions, as NBA pushed out its Top Shot NFT game, which allows users to collect, trade, and sell cards as digital tokens that represent their favorite NBA players and moments. Furthermore, Top Shot collectors, which were at the NBA Summer League games in Las Vegas were given the chance to purchase in-arena moments.

Projects like VeeFriends, FLUF World, Jadu Hoverboards and Jetpacks, RTFKT, and Pak close the top ten NFT projects by trading volumes, with VeeFriends selling out in May for $51 million at auction in the first week, giving Gary Vaynerchuk a 10% royalty on every secondary transaction, Jadu attracting names like Grimes, Lewis Hamilton, and Snoop Dogg.

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