After cryptocurrency, if there’s any digital asset that has taken the internet by storm in the past two years is Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). The popularity of the NFT market skyrocketed in 2021, with its global worth of $22 billion. Now, more people are witnessing digital images or NFTs as a smart investment opportunity. But why are NFTs popular?
The primary reason behind its popularity is its exclusivity. People like to buy NFTs because they are one of a kind and allow you to be their digital owner. Still, the NFT concept is relatively new, and people are still trying to understand it. That is why I have curated these fascinating NFT stats to give you a clear picture of its market, trends and sales.
Historical Facts – When did NFTs start?
The term “Non-Fungible” stands for “non-replaceable”, and NFTs refer to such digital assets/arts as one of their kind & exclusive. Some historical facts that made NFTs popular in the blockchain world were:
- The concept of NFTs came to life in 2014 when artist Kevin McCoy and tech-entrepreneur Anil Dash met in a hackathon. The first NFT minted by McCoy on “NameCoin” blockchain technology was “Quantum” – a pixelated octagon image filled with denoting arcs, circles, and other shapes. Recently, the art was on sale for $7 million.
- In 2015, the first-ever blockchain-based game called Spell of Genesis was launched. The game had an in-built currency called BitCrystals.
- In 2016, memes made their way into the blockchain, and the most popular one was RarePepes. It was an interesting meme featuring a comic character Pepe the Frog. With RarePepe Wallet, the CryptoArt was born, and creators started minting their own artworks.
- In 2017, Matt Hall and John Watkinson created 10,000 popular “CryptoPunks – punk-rock-resembling pixelated avatars.” For each avatar, they issued an NFT, and no two avatars would be the same. Around 9,000 CryptoPunks were auctioned for sale and sold within 24 hours after a Mashable article featuring them. By the end of the year, the crypto punk NFT sold for $170,000.
- Another popular project named CryptoKitties launched in 2017, featuring unique cat avatars. It was a blockchain-based game centered around breedable cats with a new ERC721 standard.
- The most popular and first NFT marketplace, OpenSea, was launched in the same year (Dec 2017). This marketplace allowed creators to mint and trade their original digital artworks.
- In 2018, John Crain created an NFT marketplace called SuperRare. The platform used blockchain technology and charged a 15% commission from the artists to list and sell their NFTs there. On every NFT sale, the artists used to get a 10% royalty.
- By 2021, widespread and big NFT projects like NBA top shots, Axie Infinity, and Decentraland came into existence.
[Source: NFTNow, NFTNewsPro, GarageFarm]
Types of NFTs
There are seven popular types of NFTs you must know about:
1) Digital Artworks – The most popular NFT type. It could be anything from a painting to a photograph to drawings.
2) Music NFTs – Popular artists are releasing their tracks as original Music NFTs directly to the fans. Artists like DJ Steve Aoki or bands like Euphoria are all set to follow this trend.
3) Avatars/PFPs – Avatars or Profile Pictures NFTs are the other most common type. Some popular NFTs like CryptoPunks, BoredApes, LazyLions, etc., fall under this category. The owner of these NFTs can use them as their identity or profile picture on digital platforms.
4) Video Game NFTs – Multiple blockchain games allow gamers to buy or trade gaming NFTs in the form of characters, weapons or in-game accessories. One popular NFT in 2021 was Axies – the pokemon-like character from the game Axie infinity.
5) Collectibles or Trading Cards NFTs – It includes the digital version of traditional cards or collectables that owners can store or trade. Popular examples of it are Sorare cards and God’s unchained.
6) GiF and Video Clip NFTs – Moving digital artworks fall under this category. In Feb 2021, a famous Video clip NFT by LeBron James’s Kobe Bryant Tribute Dunk was sold for around $400,000.
7) Meme NFTs – It could be both standalone or moving and thus considered as a different category. Some popular Meme NFTs are Dogecoin, Disaster Girl, Charlie Bit My Finger and Bad Luck Brian.
Popular and Most Expensive NFTs of All Time
Although it is hard to decide which is the most popular NFT to date, the sales statistics of the most expensive NFTs can give us a better picture:
- The most expensive NFT sold for $91.8 million in 2021 was “The Merge” by Pak.
On December 2, 2021, this NFT became the most expensive NFT sold. Around 28,000 investors purchased its 266,445 units for $91.8 million on Nifty Gateway.
[Source: NFTEvening, iTechPost]
- “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is the second most expensive NFT so far, sold for $69.3 million in Feb 2021.
As the name indicates, this NFT is the collection or collage of popular artist Beeple’s (Mike Winkelmann) earlier 5000 artworks. In Feb 2021, this NFT was sold for a whopping $69.3 million to investor Metakovan in an auction sale at Christie’s.
The artist started working on this NFT in 2007 and has been uploading a new image to his Instagram feed every day for 13 years.
- After “The Merge by Pak”, another popular NFT purchased by multiple collectors for $52.7 million was “Clock” by Pak & Assange.
“Clock” is the classical digital representation of activist Assange’s imprisonment days at London’s Belmarsh Prison, created by digital artist Pak in collaboration with Assange. If found guilty, he could face imprisonment of up to 175 years.
The NFT was created to fund the legal defence of Assange. Over 10,000 pooled their money (around $52.7 million) to support Assange by purchasing the NFT through AssangeDAO (created in December 2021).
- The fourth most expensive NFT so far is “Human One” NFT by Beeple, which sold for $28.9 million.
“Human One” was Beeple’s first human-size 3D video sculpture. It was not just a digital artwork but a hybrid piece portraying the real-life movement of a sculpture wearing a spacesuit. The NFT was bought for $28.9 million at Christie by Ryan Zurrer in Nov 2021. [Source: BankOnCube, CryptoTimes]
- CryptoPunk NFTs account for at least five of the top 10 highest-paid NFTs so far.
Out of the ten biggest NFT sales of all time, five are Cryptopunk NFTs created by Larva Labs on Ethereum Network. After the Human One NFT, the fifth most expensive NFT is CryptoPunk #5822, followed by #7523, #4156, #3100 and #7184.
These NFTs are considered a great valuable asset due to their rarity. Here is the sales price of these top five CryptoPunk NFTs:
- CryptoPunk #5822 – Sold for $23.7 million
- CryptoPunk #7523 – Sold for $11.8 million
- CryptoPunk #4156 – Sold for $10.26 million
- CryptoPunk #3100 – Sold for $7.58 million
- CryptoPunk #7184 – Sold for $7.57 million
- The most expensive NFT video sold so far is Crossroads by Beeple for $6.6 million.
In October 2020, a buyer named Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile bought the Crossroads NFT for $67,000, which he later sold for $6.6 million in Feb 2021. This 10-second video artwork featuring the giant sculpture of Donald Trump collapsed on the ground with millions of slogans written on his body.
The other popular video NFTs of 2021 that sold for millions or about a million were:
- “Earth” and “Mars” by Grimes – $5.18 million
- “Auction Winner Picks the Name” by 3LAU – $1.3 million
- “Metarift” by Pak – $906,709
- “Charlie Bit Me” by Davies-Carr Family – $760,999
[Source: Kapwing, Reuters]
- The most expensive NFT meme is the iconic “Doge” meme, which sold for $4 million in June 2021.
The original meme NFT based on Shiba Inu named Kabosu was sold by the owner Atsuko Sato to PleasrDAO. The NFT made history by being the most expensive NFT meme, sold for $4 million in June 2021.
Later, the PleasrDAO decided to split the NFT into 17 billion ERC-20 tokens and named them “$DOG”. The organization initially auctioned 20% of $DOG for further purchase, while the rest was kept reserved for $DOG community programs and further development of the coin.
- The most expensive NBA top shot NFT so far is LeBron James’ “Cosmic” Dunk moment, which sold for a massive $208,000.
NBA top shots are popular digital collectibles or NFTs having serialized number “Moment” in a pack. Among these collectibles, the most expensive is LeBron James’ “cosmic” dunk with #29 of the 49 cards in the Cosmic Series 1 set.
The collectible was sold for a massive amount of $208,000 to a buyer named Jesse on Feb 22, 2021. It was the only moment from the pack that got past the $200,000 mark, while the other cards hit around $100,000.
NFT Market Share Statistics – How big is this Industry?
- The global NFT market size in 2022 is $3 billion, which is expected to grow to $13.6 billion by 2027.
According to the latest research, the global NFT market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 35.0% from 2022 to 2027 to reach $13.6 billion. The major factors influencing this growth are the rising adoption of NFTs among popular celebrities and the revolution in the gaming industry.
- The total NFT sales worldwide reached a peak of $12.6 billion in January 2022 but totaled over $1 billion in June 2022.
As per the Chainalysis latest report, In June 2022, the total NFT sales reported over $1 billion, which for July 2021 was around $648 million. By 2021, the NFT sales figures were $40 billion, skyrocketing to over $42 billion at the start of 2022.
Since January, the market witnessed a 92% downfall in June due to crashing stocks and cryptocurrencies.
[Source: CryptoPotato, TheVerge]
- In Q1, 2022, the total number of unique wallet addresses bought or sold NFTs was 950,000, up from 627,000 in Q4 2021.
Since Q2, 2020, the number of active NFT wallet addresses increased QoQ till Q1, 2022, when it was around 950,000. However, in Q2, 2022, the number of active wallet addresses decreased to 491,000.
- In June 2022, the total global NFT sales in the art segment were recorded at around 20.4 thousand.
Between the period of April 2021 to June 2022, the worldwide sales of NFT in the art segment fluctuated significantly. Starting from 28,396 in April 2021, the number rose massively to 109,088 on August 15, 2021.
In Jan 2022, the sales were recorded at around 44,604, which declined to 20,387 (about 20.4 thousand) on June 15, 2022. In June 2022, the aggregated sales figures were recorded on Ethereum, Flow and Ronin blockchains.
- Open Sea is the world’s first and largest NFT marketplace, surpassing $3.5 billion trading volume in Jan 2022.
Supporting more than 150 cryptocurrencies for payments, Open Sea is the biggest and world’s first NFT marketplace. In Jan 2022, this NFT marketplace witnessed high trading volumes in Ether, surpassing its all-time high $3.42 billion mark set in August 2021 to build a new record of $3.5 billion. Also, in Jan 2022, Open Sea set a $169 million daily trading volume.
The other popular NFT marketplaces for 2022 are:
- Nifty Gateway
- NBA Top Shot
[Source: IndianExpress, CoinMarketCap]
- Pak is the highest-grossing NFT artist with a total NFT value of $4.3 billion.
The anonymous and famous NFT artist (formerly known as Murat Pak), Pak has earned more from the NFT than any other artist. He has been active in the NFT space for years and is known for his notable NFT “Merge”.
He has sold around 66,320 NFTs, with the highest sale of $49,843,557.40. The average sale price of his NFTs is $6,490.42. [Source: NFTEvening]
- The second-highest earned NFT artist of all time is Beeple, with a total NFT worth of $1.76 billion.
On the second spot comes the renowned artist Beeple with a total NFT value of $176,201,356.04. He has sold around 1,351 with the highest sale of $69.3 million of his popular NFT named “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”.
So, how much is an NFT cost by Beeple? The average sale price of his NFTs is $130,422.91. Beeple is known as an individual artist who brought NFT to the mainstream. [Source: NFTEvening]
- Axie is the third most successful and biggest NFT project after Open Sea and Look Rare, surpassing the $4 billion mark in Feb 2022.
According to dappradar.com‘s report, Open Sea has facilitated the maximum NFT trades of $21.8 billion, followed by LookRare at $16.85 Billion. After them, Axie is the third-largest NFT project running on the Ethereum network in terms of total NFT trades.
It is one of the most successful play-to-earn games created by Sky Mavis. The platform currently has over 2.8 Million daily active users. Regarding total NFT sales, Axie surpassed the $4.1 billion mark in February 2022. One of its most expensive sales of Axie was $820,000.
NFT Demographics Statistics
- The latest survey shows Singapore is the top country interested in NFT worldwide, with a monthly search volume of 18,717 per 1 million population.
The latest study of CashNetUSA reveals that Singapore is the most interested country in NFTs, with 18,717 searches per million inhabitants in 2022. After Singapore, the other top nine countries that took the spot are:
- Hongkong – 15,213 searches per million inhabitants
- Canada – 12,358 searches per million inhabitants
- Iceland – 11,194 searches per million inhabitants
- United States – 10,677 searches per million inhabitants
- Liechtenstein – 10,360 searches per million inhabitants
- San Marino – 9,873 searches per million inhabitants
- Australia – 9,851 searches per million inhabitants
- New Zealand – 8,934 searches per million inhabitants
- Malta – 8,810 searches per million inhabitants
- The most Anti-NFT country is Poland, with around 227 negative tweets out of every 1000.
While Montenegro ranked as the most beloved NFT country with around 862 positive posts out of every 1000 posts around NFTs, Poland turned out to be the top anti-NFT country.
However, Poland is not the only country with a bad reputation for NFTs, as Nicaragua is giving a neck-to-neck competition in terms of negative tweets related to NFTs. [Source: CashNetUSA]
- The two most-searched NFT in America and worldwide are Decentraland and Axie Infinity.
The most-googled NFTs across the different continents of the world are: Axie Infinity – most searched in 112 countries and Decentraland – most searched in 43 countries.
People in South America, North America, Oceania, the Middle East, Asia and Africa are actively searching for these virtual land NFTs to buy.
Who Buys NFTs?
So, which gender and age group tends to buy more NFTs over the years? Let’s understand it with the latest research statistics:
- Compared to the other generations, Millennials tend to buy more NFTs – around 23%.
As per Morning Consult’s research, people born between 1981 and 1996, i.e., Millennials, have been more enthusiasts of digital innovations and NFT trends. That is the reason why more GenZ people (around 23%) buy NFTs or show interest in them as compared to GenXers (8%) or Baby boomers (2%). The other generations primarily don’t invest in NFTs as they don’t understand the concept much.
[Source: Morning Consult]
- Compared to females, more males invest in NFTs worldwide.
The same research shows that in terms of gender, more males – around 15% invest in NFTs than females – only about 4%. However, women like Sara Williams and Paris Hilton – who invested around $4 million in an NFT marketplace, are increasing awareness among more females so that we can expect a significant change in this ratio in the future.
- Most people who buy NFTs have an annual income of around $25k to $250k.
According to another survey by CivicScience, around 5% of people with an annual income of less than $25,000 invest in NFTs. While about 14% of people who invest in NFTs earn more than $25,000, with the following breakdown:
- 2% of people earn between $25k to $50k
- 3% of people earn between $50k to $75k
- 4% of people earn between $75k to $1,50,000
- 5% of people earn more than $1,50,000
- Half of the male adults in the US invest in NFTs for the better ROI, while the other invests as a crypto art fan or due to the rising popularity.
In a recent survey across all ages and genders in the US, most male adults (between ages 55 to 65) responded that they invest in NFTs for a better investment return. The second popular reason among male individuals (aged between 35-54 years) was being a crypto art fan. Women, on the other hand, usually invest in NFTs due to their rising popularity.
All these NFT stats clearly indicate how they are becoming the “Next Big Thing” in digital space. Although many popular NFTs have been sold in millions, the average price of a digital artwork starts from $150 and varies according to the marketplace, popularity, and other factors.
So, if you are interested in them, you can start investing a small amount and see how it performs. But just like cryptocurrency and other digital assets, NFTs are also subjected to risk and volatility, so do your research before investing.
- NFTNow, NFTNewsPro, GarageFarm
- NFTEvening, iTechPost, Binance
- NFTNow (Clock NFT sales figure)
- BankOnCube, CryptoTimes
- Kapwing, Reuters
- BusinessInsider (Most expensive meme NFT sold so far)
- CryptoPotato, TheVerge
- IndianExpress, CoinMarketCap
- NFTEvening (Best-selling NFT artists)
- NFTNews (Axie – the biggest NFT project)
- Morning Consult
- Statista (Why people buy NFTs)