NFTs Join Crypto in the Race to Zero

12 months on from record highs, even the Apes are going down with the ship

Stephen Moore


Photo: Poorly edited by author

In July 2021, NFT mania exploded. At its peak between August and November last year, the number of NFT sale transactions frequently topped 200,000 per day, with sales reaching an insane high of $12.6 billion in January 2022 alone. That’s some serious dollars for what was, at the time, just JPG images.

And during the hype, these JPEG images were everywhere (well, everywhere on Twitter, there wasn’t anywhere else to show them off…), and investors and enthusiasts alike were scrambling to empty their digital wallets to invest in the next big token and its associated “community.”

But now, 12 months after the pixelated takeover, things are going south.

The state of play (it’s… bad)

In June, sales of NFTs totaled just over $1 billion.

That might sound high, but it’s an almighty fall from the $12.6 billion. According to CryptoSlam, sales have plummeted dramatically even since May 1 (where daily global NFT sales peaked at $637.9 million), leading to a daily low of $6.6 million on July 2.

That represents a nearly 99% collapse.

Alongside the drop in money exchanged, the number of unique buyers has also tumbled — again by over 90%. The same data from CryptoSlam shows the number dropped from a peak of 115,932 on January 20 to just 11,983 on July 1.

Across at OpenSea — the world’s largest digital marketplace for crypto collectibles and non-fungible tokens — sales have fallen 75% since May, and daily trading volume dropped below $1 million for the first time in more than a year. (For comparison, the marketplace generated more than $405.7 million in sales at its peak in early May 2021.

The JPG NFT Index, which follows some blue-chip NFT projects (allowing investors to gain broad exposure to blue-chip and premier NFT collections through a single liquid token), is also way down from its own peak in May 2022.