22/07/2021 With $2.4 Billion in Transactions, NFT Market Defies Expectations in Second Quarter of 2021

LarvaLabs, CryptoPunks Detail, 2021 Courtesy of Sotheby's

The price of Bitcoin is down but, contrary to conventional wisdom, the market for NFTs has not faded. The NFT phenomenon dominated the first quarter of 2021, culminating on March 11th with Beeple’s record price of $69 million at Christie’s. A month later, in mid-April, the price of Bitcoin reached its apex around $63,500. Since then Bitcoin’s dollar price has dropped by more than half. Nevertheless, NFT sales have not just remained on par with the pace of the first quarter of 2021, according to a Dapp Industry Report, but exceeded them in the second quarter. 

DappRadar, which tracks blockchain sales, saw that in the second quarter of 2021 NFTs brought in $2.4 billion, slightly above the first quarter’s $2.3 billion. These numbers don’t even account for off-chain sales, transfers that take place through auction houses, as with the Beeple sale. The same report found that sales spiked 111.46% compared to Q1, with the number of active wallets also jumping 151.89% in the same time period. 

Meanwhile, the NFT marketplace OpenSea is now valued at $1.5 billion, after Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz led another round of funding for the company, raising $100 million. This past June alone OpenSea saw $160 million worth of sales. 

What’s keeping NFTs afloat? It’s not necessarily art. NFTs are now finding a fast growing utility as “keys” for unique access to experiences and also in gameplay, something experts long predicted would be the ultimate value of non-fungible tokens. Bored Ape Yacht Club uses NFTs as a membership card for their digital “Yacht Club” which mainly consists of access to a Discord server, Telegram chat group, and a digital graffiti wall called “THE BATHROOM.” Bored Ape has had $70 million in sales since its launch in May. 

NFTs for gameplay are also doing quite well. For example, Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn game where players breed and sell Pokemon-like “axies”  collected $30 million in fees just this past week, which is more than Ethereum, Bitcoin and every other top ranked DeFi app collected in the same time period. 


This isn’t to say that more traditional collectibles aren’t doing well. CryptoPunks, a collection of 10,000 unique “Punks” represented by pixelated faces, remain strong. Two Punks, 5002(2017) and 5690 (2017), sold this past week for $385,000 and $354,000 respectively. Some of the rarest Punks sold in May in the millions, peaking at around $7.5 million on OpenSea. But off chain, NFT sales are stronger. CryptoPunk 7523 (2017) sold for $11.7 million at Christie’s in June. Does that suggest auction houses and galleries might have better luck selling art NFTs than NFT marketplaces? The art world certainly hopes so.




Interesting NFTs
Poem by Dainagon Tsunenobu, from the series One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets, Explained by the Nurse
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) Poem by Dainagon Tsunenobu, from the series One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets, Explained by the Nurse late 1830s - Japan
The term “Fuku” refers to fortune or good luck. “Shiva” refers to the Hindu deity who represents strongly polar qualities, both severe and delicate. On a beach inspired by adventures on Phi Phi island in Thailand, three youths cavort. Two are representational figures and the third is psychologically rendered. A dynamic relationship ensues between the triad; a reciprocity of active and passive states. The boy on the right engages in maneuvers of evasion, defense, and is dressed in a speedo which reiterates the colors and symbolism of the caution tape on the left and upper right frame of the composition. In concurrent reaction the psychedelic figure shoots out a rocket powered paper airplane. The nude boy seated in the froth and sand approaches in passive repose, and is met with active attention but equal physical reserve by the psychedelic being. Perhaps the most naked figure is also the least representational. Looming large, dynamic, and active, it engages its companions playfully. Various symbols interject into the otherwise naturalistic scene, most notably a beach ball and two contaminated barrels nested in the sand. The upright barrel reads “FukuShima” in Kanji. The barrel laying down reads “Dharma”. To the left the scene is bounded by caution tape, reiterating the danger of the nuclear waste while also hosting alien archetypes, whose presence, as is the nature of these entities, runs up and just behind the consciousness of the psychedelic figure’s eggshell-like skull.
缥缈之美的过去与现在(Vanitas Then and Now)
虚空派的画像。在这个虚拟时代,外在之美到底是否还受到时间的限制?(Vanitas portrait of a woman. Is beauty finite or not in the Virtual age?)
Red Cactus
I created this piece with Cinema 4D and Octane Render. I had an idea of creating a cactus / aloe type plant only using a few shapes and colors. I was really excited how it turned out. The contrast and color palette reminds me of a space-like desert.
Chromie Squiggle #4697
Simple and easily identifiable, each squiggle embodies the soul of the Art Blocks platform. Consider each my personal signature as an artist, developer, and tinkerer. Public minting of the Chromie Squiggle is permanently paused. They are now reserved for manual distribution to collectors and community members over a longer period of time. Please visit OpenSea to explore Squiggles available on the secondary market.