Bitcoin broke $50,000 for the first time in February 2021, around the time Christie’s auctioned off a Beeple NFT for $69.3 million. So you’d think that crypto prices and NFT sales would be pretty tightly correlated. But that hasn’t seemed to be the case. Take August, for example: at the time, crypto prices remained depressed, but NFT market OpenSea posted a record $3.4 billion in trading volume. This week, however, as Bitcoin came close to spring’s all-time highs, many major NFT projects lost steam — and OpenSea logged a roughly 30% drop in daily trading volume over the last week. Time for a closer look.
- Just weeks after notching their first $1 million sales, Ethereum collectible projects Cool Cats and CrypToadz saw their floor prices fall sharply. Meanwhile, Degenerate Apes, the avatars that sent Solana to all-time highs in August, posted their lowest average prices since launch on Monday.
- After a blockbuster $60 million launch last week, the Gundam-inspired Mekas generative NFT project shed value (from a floor price above 7 ETH to less than 2 ETH on October 15) after some major NFT collectors claimed that developers had rigged the raffle system used for the launch. On the project’s Discord, Mekas’ developers insisted that “everything was distributed clearly, fairly, and randomly.”
- Even with this week’s declines, October NFT sales still seem poised to match August’s highs. NFTs that maintained momentum include a new drop from NBA Top Shot, featuring Shaquille O’Neal and Dwayne Wade. The retro pack seemed to renew interest in the collectible marketplace. CryptoPunks also held steady, and (in case you were wondering) the lowest price for a digital pet rock is still above $1 million.
Why it matters… When NFTs first took off in early 2021, the thesis was that crypto whales, flush from the bull run, were looking to park some of their holdings — and that NFT sales would cool alongside the broader market. But when crypto slumped this summer, record interest in NFTs led creators to mint collectibles, in-game creatures, and tens of thousands of unique avatars. It may be that the vast proliferation of projects makes any single project less buzzworthy, which might be good for collectors who just love the art (as opposed to speculators looking to make a bundle of ETH). But NFTs change fast — an exciting new project, a viral artwork, or a rare zombie Punk can move the market in unexpected ways.