The market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) surged to new highs in the second quarter, with $2.5 billion in sales so far this year, up from just $13.7 million in the first half of 2020, marketplace data showed.
An NFT is a crypto asset, representing an intangible digital item such as an image, video, or in-game item. Owners of NFTs are recorded on blockchain, allowing an NFT to be traded as a stand-in for the digital asset it represents.
Sales volumes have remained high after NFTs exploded in popularity early this year. Monthly sales volumes on OpenSea, a major NFT marketplace, reached a record high in June.
Some NFT enthusiasts see them as collectibles with intrinsic value because of their cultural significance, while others treat them as an investment, speculating on rising prices.
Buyers have mostly totalled 10,000 to 20,000 per week since March, outnumbering sellers, according to NonFungible.com, which aggregates NFT transactions on the ethereum blockchain.
Total sales volume estimates vary depending on which NFT transactions are included.
DappRadar, which tracks sales across multiple blockchains, said volumes hit just under $2.5 billion for the first half of 2021. But NonFungible.com’s figure is $1.3 billion, excluding around $8 billion of “DeFi” (decentralised finance) NFTs.