NFTs have been in steady decline for months, and new data shows just how bad it has gotten: digital collectibles have basically lost all of their luster and trading volume has collapsed by 97% since the beginning of 2022.
That collapse puts NFTs below the point they were in just before the NFT boom that took place in the summer of 2021 which saw the creation of NFTs explode in popularity. Gizmodo notes that OpenSea, which is the largest NFT trading platform by volume, saw its sales drop 75% in September compared to just two months prior. This, despite the fact that the number of traders hasn’t really fallen much even though the number of trades has collapsed. There were over 42,000 total traders in September this year compared to the peak of just over 45,000 in March.
Since May, nearly $2 trillion has been lost in the crypto space. So while the core of the NFT trading market is still around, clearly hoping for a rebound, the actual value of these digital products has been all but completely erased.
NFTs have been nothing if not controversial. For about a year, multiple high-profile organizations ranging from top-tier auction houses, to Twitter and Meta, and even Canon and to the Associated Press tried to get in on the NFT hype. Even Samsung and LG launched NFT-specific marketplaces to try and sell NFT artwork to be displayed on their televisions.
NFTs of photography were particularly popular, with the highest value of a single NFT and 100 physical photos selling for $1.11 million.
So strong was this desire for and hype of digital collectibles that one auction house sold historic glass plate photos along with an NFT and instructed the top buyer to smash the originals, which is perhaps the perfect example of the absurdity of the fad. But even with these legitimate NFT pushes, the format was rife with exploitation. In January it was revealed that over 80% of the NFTs that were minted for free on OpenSea were fake or stolen. The next month, the same NFT marketplace made famous for selling Jack Dorsey’s first tweet for $2.9 million halted trading due to widespread fraud. Stories like these certainly did not help keep the crypto hype alive with the average person.
Even though Meta is still pushing for NFT support on its platforms, probably as a way to monetize Mark Zuckerberg’s fever dream of a metaverse (the push into which has caused the company to lose billions), these digital collectibles are absolutely not heading in the right direction as far as value is concerned.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.