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NFT Sales Volume Surges to $2.5 Billion in 2021 First Half, a Major Jump From $13.7 Million Last Year


An NFT is a cryptocurrency 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.

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.

Both sites only track sales which occur on the blockchain, also known as "on-chain" transactions. Some of the biggest NFT sales, such as those at auction houses, have part of the transaction take place "off-chain", meaning they must be manually added to the data.

In March, a digital image sold for a record $69.3 million at Christie's as an NFT. No NFT sale has come close since. The second most expensive known NFT sale was a CryptoPunk which fetched $11.7 million at Sotheby's.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club, a set of 10,000 unique digital ape NFTs, has become a hit among collectors. The average ape sold on OpenSea as of July 1 for $3,600, up 1,574 percent from the launch price of $215 in April.
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