NFT Sales Have Lost Nearly All Their Allure

Data shows that non-fungible token trading volume has slid 97% since the beginning of 2022.

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A wall of television screens displays several types of NFTs including bored apes.
There have been multiple attempts to sell NFTs like art from professional auction settings like this set up at the Bass Art Museum in Miami Florida.
Photo: Aaron Davidson (Getty Images)

Crypto-focused folks are having a harder time getting any money for their gross, insultingly derivative Bored Apes and dull-eyed, featureless 8-bit faces of CryptoPunks, according to crypto analytics data.

Bloomberg first reported on data hosted on Dune Analytics that showed trading volume for NFTs has gone from $17 billion to just $466 million from January to September this year. That’s a precipitous 97% drop in just nine months. The data was collected from NFT trading platforms including OpenSea, NFTX, LarvaLabs, LooksRare, SuperRare, Rarible, and Foundation.

That number would put current trades below where they were in July last year, before the NFT craze really took off. This data follows on from earlier reports this month that OpenSea, currently the largest NFT trading platform by volume, has seen sales drop 75% compared to just two months prior.

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What makes this data even more interesting is while the number of trades has decreased immensely, the number of total traders hasn’t seen nearly as much of a drop, according to the data posted by Dune Analytics user hildobby. There were over 42,000 total traders in September this year compared to a peak of over 66,000 in March but a little less than the 45,000 or so that were trading in March.

But users are also down across the board. DappRadar data shows the number of users on OpenSea is down nearly 5% this month.

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A big part of this downturn could be because of the decreased popularity of Bored Ape Yacht Club, which though it still occupies a rather spacious room in the crowded minds of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Jimmy Fallon, the once-king of the non-fungible expanded universe is now ranked under the likes of Terraforms and CryptoPunks. Bored Apes had a 1 week trading volume of 3,634 ETH compared to Terraforms 12,202 ETH, according to the hildobby data. NFT Price Floor lists BAYC tokens have seen an over 8% drop in market cap, though they have seen a small bump in recent days.

Bloomberg noted the ongoing crypto winter has drained nearly $2 trillion from the crypto industry since this past May’s crypto crash. That’s certainly true, as CoinMarketCap data on the likes of ApeCoin and Tezos show both are lingering in relatively low-price doldrums compared to heights of Spring, 2022.

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And even if less people are making profits off of NFTs, users continue to see major hacks of their accounts. Jason Falovitch, a former sports manager turned crypto shill who peddles NFT projects on behalf of Mark Cuban, said he had four NFTs stolen from his wallet Sunday, with the hacker apparently making a $150,000 profit. Falovitch later tweeted that over $1 million had been hacked in ETH and NFTs.

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OpenSea is still trying to get more people interested in trading, including by adding the Optimism blockchain network to its slate of supported networks. But new trading platforms like GameStop’s NFT marketplace experienced an influx of new users when it came out of beta in July, but that boom quickly tapered off. Daily revenue for the company’s NFT platform reportedly dipped under $4,000 in late August.

This news makes many companies’ belated attempts to cash in on the NFT craze now seem even more ludicrous. The thing is, more companies are trying to implement NFTs onto their platforms by simply not calling them NFTs. Starbucks recently talked about its own NFT platform but called them “stamps.” Reddit announced “collectible avatars” in July, but company execs have been loath to even use any reference to NFTs in any of its promotional material.