NFT sales reached about $25 billion in 2021 as the crypto assets exploded in popularity, according to DappRadar.
Prices of non-fungible tokens representing a digital item such as an image or video rallied to millions of dollars in some cases amidst the speculative frenzy of bull market mania. Even traditional actuation houses Christie's and Sotheby’s were quick to get in on the trend.
Some of the world’s top brands, including Adidas, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca Cola, and Gucci capitalized on this trend to sell their own NFTs.
But while the most expensive known NFT sale was $69.3 million, the usual price range for NFTs is $100-$1,000, as per NonFungible.com. Also, collectible NFTs were the most popular NFT category followed by art.
It resulted in NFT sales volume climbing to $24.9 billion last year compared to a mere $95 million the year before. The activity peaked in August 2021 at $3.4 billion, only to decline in September, October, and November, as per data from the biggest NFT marketplace OpenSea. But since then, volumes are rising yet again, with January already doing $2.6 billion, more than entire November numbers.
The NFT market is yet again recording a spike in activity while the broad crypto market is struggling with weak price action. Additionally, 28.6 million wallets traded NFTs in 2021 while in 2020, this number was just 545,000.
As NFTs grow popular and go mainstream, thousands of new projects are being launched daily. But among the sea of new NFTs entering the market, which ones are really worth your time and investment?
To help you make the right choice, we are sharing a few projects that are worth your attention.
The community-driven NFT project, Doodles is a collection of 10,000 profile pictures (PFPs), made up of over a hundred exciting traits of faces, hair, hats, body, and backgrounds. Owning a Doodle allows you to vote for activations and campaigns to benefit the project and “participate in coordinating the Doodles Community Treasury.”
At the time of the launch in mid-October, Doodles were minted for 0.123 ETH, and today their floor price, the lowest price an NFT is available in the market, has surged to 12 ETH.
The project is planning to launch another NFT Space Doodles in February, but it will come with a twist. Users can only have either a Doodle or its corresponding Space Doodle in their wallet.
Already, we are seeing a rise in profile pictures of NFTs, with celebrities increasingly showcasing them on their Twitter. But with metaverse gaining traction and expected to be the future, PFP NFTs will only gain further adoption as they will allow artists to perform anonymously under their digital persona.
CryptoPunks is one such project which is the OG project of the crypto space. With a limited quantity of 10,000 algorithmically generated punks, punks are among the most expensive NFTs ever sold so far.
Bored Ape Yacht Club is another one, and their floor price is rising fast, currently the highest at 74.69 ETH. Much like punks, there is a limited 10,000 unique BAYC NFTs, which further grants its holders access to exclusive events such as private concerts and makes them eligible for other NFTs like Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFTs, with the latter’s floor price at 14.59 ETH.
This NFT-based game, which is created by Vietnam-based Sky Mavis valued at $3 billion, has drawn in users from all over the globe thanks to the economic opportunities it offers to players.
For now, NFTs are primarily being used to promote art, but the latest trend that is expected to rule in 2022 is their applications in play-to-earn (P2E) games. According to crypto tracker DappRadar, 49% of active crypto wallets connected to decentralized applications (Dapp) used their wallets to play games in 2021.
GameFi is allowing players to earn rewards, stake their tokens to earn in games, and lend their virtual assets. And Axie Infinity played a vital role in NFT gaming gaining traction. The project is currently earning $3.6 million in 7-day protocol revenue.
One of the top performers of 2021, its governance token AXS is still over a $5 billion market cap crypto. Axi, meanwhile are NFTs that are used to play the game, and users earn SLP tokens, which can be sold on crypto exchanges, for completing daily tasks.
Game-based NFTs are a growing trend that is increasingly getting popular this year. Illuvium is another one that is an open-world RPG blockchain built on Ethereum. Due to release this year, in this adventure game users mine, harvest, capture, and fight NFTs called Illuvial. Its $500 million market cap cryptocurrency ILV is used to participate in the governance of the game via its DAO.
The project also features a built-in decentralized exchange called IlluviDEX, which is governed by the DAO and is used by players to buy and sell in-game NFTs. The DEX charges a 5% fee on each sale which is rewarded to ILV stakers.
Illuvium has dedicated 30% of its 10 million maximum supply to the yield farming program. Rewards are locked for one-year, but stakers can skip this by converting their ILV rewards to secondary in-game asset sILV.
If you are looking for a free NFT game, you should check out BSC-based Mobox. A couple of months back, Binance Labs, the VC arm of the largest crypto exchange, invested in this Hong Kong-based gaming metaverse platform.
This gaming platform combines NFTs and yield farming to create a P2E ecosystem. Mobox is a collection of different blockchain games within the MOMOverse.
Players can farm and generate rewards in cryptocurrency with their MOMO NFTs, which can be acquired through either Binance NFT Mystery Box or Binance NFT Marketplace. Besides trading, MOMOs can also be staked to farm MBOX tokens or even used as collateral within the MOBOX metaverse.
The Sandbox game has been around since 2012 but started gaining traction when the metaverse caught hype. Currently, it is in the alpha testing phase but has an NFT market where you can buy and sell different NFTs.
Its virtual world is made up of LAND and brands like Adidas, Atari, and The Walking Dead, and celebrities like rapper Snoop Dogg have already acquired LAND in The Sandbox. Players can own, build, and monetize their experiences within the Sandbox using NFTs and its utility token SAND.
In a recent interview, the virtual real estate platform co-founder and COO Sebastien Borget said they are moving to Polygon to better cater to its growing audience. There is also a plan to launch a DAO this year so that LAND owners get to vote on changes to be made in the game. LAND NFTs will also be released throughout the year.
Another virtual world, Decentraland, gained traction after Facebook announced its rebranding to Meta. This platform, much like Sandbox, uses two types of tokens — LAND is NFT that represents the ownership of land parcels, and MANA is the utility token used to purchase virtual goods and services in Decentraland.
This year, the electronics giant Samsung opened its virtual store called “Samsung 837X” inside the Decentraland metaverse along with NFT support in its upcoming smart televisions.
Australian Open (AO), one of the world’s biggest tennis tournaments, has also partnered with the virtual reality platform to hold this year’s championship in Decentraland.
Launched at the beginning of the pandemic, RTDKT creates virtual sneakers and collectibles using NFTs, the latest in-game engines, blockchain authentication, and AR. Their Clone X collection, which is self-described as their most ambitious project yet, gives buyers access to 3D files to forge physicals for their Clone’s fit.
In mid-December, Nike forayed into the metaverse and went deeper into crypto-collectibles by acquiring the NFT studio RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”). The acquisition came after the startup raised an $8 million seed round led by VC giant Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) in the first half of 2021, valuing the company at $33.3 million.
The floor price of RTFKT's Clone X NFTs is currently 10.5 ETH. The startup has also collaborated with other creators to design items like physical shoes using imagery from other NFT projects, including Bored Apes and CryptoPunks.
Nouns is a new DAO-based collectibles project where each NFT owner participates in shaping its future. The project attempts to bootstrap community and governance along with a treasury that can be used to create long-term value and expand the project.
This Ethereum-based NFT collectibles project mints and auction only one Noun, an NFT character, every day. NFT holders govern Nouns through the DAO, which collects all the funds from the NFT sales. The DAO Treasury currently holds 16,133 ETH (over $65 million).
This project, as the name suggests, is the collection of customized autographs of athletes, and celebrities. Co-founded by Tom Brady, the startup has backing from the likes of Naomi Osaka, Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt, Rob Gronkowski, Wayne Gretzky, and more.
You can get one-of-a-kind individually signed editions on this platform, as well as gain access to exclusive content such as future drops and entry to private Discord channels through NFTs.
The NFT space is expanding at a rapid pace after grabbing the headlines in 2021. But the fun and growth are only starting as their application goes beyond art to music, gaming, community, avatars, and the metaverse.