What’s Really Going on With NFTs?

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The NFT digital craze is far too big to go away, or at least not any time soon, according to research conducted by the NFT Club.  They have piloted a deep dive into the biggest moments in NFT history, dating back from 2017 when early interest began to take hold to a multi-million-dollar industry by the end of 2021. 

No question, there are a variety of aspects that make involvement in NFTs too enticing to pass up.  Being a part of a vibrant community of enthusiasts – a club of sorts – all centered around a highly active emerging movement has people inquiring about NFTs and wanting to know how to get in on the action. 

The NFT Club asserts that “traditional art is going nowhere fast.  NFTs do seem to be growing ever more popular and have begun attracting big names from the art world such as Damien Hirst, who has launched his own collection of NFTs called ‘The Currency’.”

Inherent to an NFT is its quality of being unique, non-replicable, and exclusive – and the public ledger on blockchain proves that this is so.  This in and of itself elevates the sentiments and pleasure around being a rightful owner.

The good news is that anyone can enter this marketplace, as a creator or buyer.  From well-known artists to the mainstream public, the buzz is happening and it's really starting to take hold.

The NFT Club marks the summer of 2021 as the time when “NFTs finally break into the mainstream consciousness, gaining widespread media attention in many top-tier publications.”  In fact, the #1 online question dominating all other search inquiries regarding NFTs is “Where to buy NFTs?” with almost 158,000 in search volume in 2021.

In terms of being an NFT creator, the NFT Club affirms that all you need is an idea and a small amount of Ethereum to “mint” your NFT on an NFT trading platform like OpenSea.

And, it’s true that buying online has an appeal.  As a whole of society, more and more people turn to the Internet to make purchases and post things for sale…and of course, engage in social communities.  It’s convenient and frankly just a click away from feeling the pleasure factor of ownership to meeting a particular need.

Of course, there is the thrill of opportunity … to pad the pocketbook.  But, what really is the reality?  Are NFTs a ‘sure thing’ as a good investment?  Can NFTs help make a name for yourself in ownership or financially?

Well, there were over 20,000 searches about this very question in 2021. 

The NFT Club provides these considerations: 

“NFTs can be a good investment if you’re lucky enough to snag an NFT before it or its collection becomes widely popularized.  However, NFT trading is a risky business if you’re purely interested in the monetary value of the NFTs as they can go up or down in value in a fairly new and volatile market.  True, there is the chance that you could make hundreds of thousands of dollars, but you could equally lose all of your investment if things go badly for you.

The value of NFTs is often subjective, and much like traditional art can be affected by popular trends and the name of the creator.”

And, finally, NFTs are and will be representing most anything in the foreseeable future.  NFTs are moving well beyond the artists and creators, in the most direct sense.  We are hearing about homes being sold and represented by an NFT and NFT transactions at the major auction houses!

The NFT Club conquers that NFTs have made their way into traditional art auction houses such as the prestigious Sotheby's, which sold $100 million worth of NFTs in 2021.”

The NFT Club wraps with this thought:

“With all this in mind, NFTs have carved out their own space in the art world, though how much and how quickly it will grow is anyone’s guess.”

Getting back to the Research, let’s look at the highlights of their findings.

The NFT Club research tracks the interest in NFTs over time by mapping monthly market data, including the number of monthly sales, the total monthly value of sales, and the average value of each NFT sale for every month.

The research documents the growth of NFTs with a timeline of key events, to reveal where NFTs came from and how they got to where they are today. 

Some of the highlights include:

May 2012: The first-ever NFT, ‘Quantum’, minted by Kevin McCoy on the Namecoin blockchain

August 2015: The first NFT appears on Ethereum, marking Ethereum’s imminent dominance as the top blockchain platform for NFTs

September 2016: The first ‘Rare Pepe’ NFT merges the boundary between meme culture and NFTs

June 2017: ‘Cryptopunks’ MFTs by Larva Labs launch

July 2017: The average NFT sale price surpasses $100 for the first time

December 2017: The world’s largest NFT marketplace and trading platform launches

October 2020: NBA and Dapper Labs launch ‘NBA Top Shots’

February 2021: US election-themed ‘CrossRoad’ NFT by Beeple (A.K.A. Mike Winkelmann) sells for a whopping $6.66 million

March 2021: Cryptopunk’s ‘Pipe-Smoking Alien’ sells for $7.56 million and ‘Teal Alien with a Headband’ sells for $7.51 million

March 2021: The most expensive NFT of all time: ‘Everyday's: The First 5000 Days’ by Beeple sells for an unthinkable amount, $69.3 million

March 2021: The average NFT sale value exceeds $100 for the first time since 2017.

April – August 2021: A variety of NFT art sells for $3-$12 million

November 2021: The average price of NFT spikes to an unprecedented high of $2,966.35, though prices return to previous levels the following day.

December 2021: The average price of NFTs at the end of 2021 sits at $580.47

The average monthly sales value of NFTs:

Month, Year

Value of Sales ($)

YoY % Change

December 2017



December 2018



December 2019



December 2020



December 2021




The increase in popularity of NFTs in 2021 can be seen in the value of NFTs sales increasing from $4.9bn in December 2020 to over $422bn in December 2021. This huge increase by 8,570.96% just shows how much more interest there was in NFTs. 

The number of NFT sales per month: 

Month, Year

Number of Sales

YoY % Change

December 2017



December 2018



December 2019



December 2020



December 2021



In December 2017, the number of monthly NFT sales skyrocketed, surpassing one million transactions for the first time and going on to reach more than 15 million sales by the end of the month representing a monthly increase of over 14000% from November 2017 which saw just 106,218 sales. 

The Wrap Up

The most expensive NFT ever sold was Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Beeple, which sold for a monumental $69.3 million. This is followed by CryptoPunk #7523 at $11.8 Million and CryptoPunk #7804 T $7.56 Million.

The public is most interested in CryptoPunks with 3.62 million searches for the collection in 2021. This is almost 1,000,000 more than the next most popular collection, The Sandbox, which received 2.68 million searches in the same period. Bored Ape Yacht Club follows with 1.65 million searches.

For so long, the average price of NFTs has hovered around $100 since 2017.  Not until the end of 2021, did the average price finally rise to $580.

For all the details on this research, check out NFT Club


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