NFT Sales Set a New Record of $7 Billion in January
Since the New Year, the cryptocurrency market has been in the red, but the market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has been prospering – at least on paper. NFT trading volume increased nearly thrice in January, to $6.86 billion from $2.67 billion in December, according to data compiled by The Block Research.
Most of the credit for the increase goes to LooksRare, a new NFT platform that is being marketed as a “decentralised” alternative to OpenSea, the market leader in terms of all-time value. This isn’t to suggest that OpenSea didn’t had its share of success. In fact, it increased its trade worth by a factor of two.
While the reduction in the value of cryptocurrencies, particularly Ethereum, made NFTs more affordable, analysts believe that at least some of the increase is artificial. The massive trade value exhibited on LooksRare could just be the consequence of NFT owners buying and selling digital art amongst themselves to artificially inflate the price – a process known as ‘wash trading.’
This is the largest monthly trade volume in the industry’s history, surpassing the previous peak of $3.31 billion set in August 2021. With last year’s total NFT trading volume about $20 billion, January’s performance alone shows that this year’s trading volume might easily surpass it.
OpenSea should also rejoice because it has surpassed its previous monthly high of $3.16 billion recorded in August 2021. OpenSea dominated the market last year, accounting for over 80% of NFT monthly trading volume on several occasions.
However, the launch of LooksRare earlier this month appears to have put an end to the celebrations. LooksRare has used a variety of techniques to gain more users in order to dethrone OpenSea. It’s over $2 billion trading volume in the first month suggests that the tactics are working.