NFT sales volume soared to $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021, as artists, celebrities and even Twitter and CNN joined the crypto craze

NFT art
  • NFT sales volume skyrocketed to $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021, according to DappRadar.
  • Artists, celebrities and organizations like Twitter, CNN and the US Space Force jumped onto the trend.
  • The NFT market has however cooled off since the height of the frenzy in these tokens back in May.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Sales volumes for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) soared to a record $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021, according to DappRadar, as artists, celebrities, companies and even government institutions have joined the crypto craze and created a red-hot market for digital tokens.

Digital analytics firm DappRadar, which tracks data on decentralized applications including NFT sales platforms that are based on blockchain networks like ethereum, noted the explosion in growth, particuarly over the last 12 months.

“In 2020, the total amount of volume generated by the NFT collections tracked by DappRadar equaled a staggering $94,862,807. Even more impressive is that by the end of Q2 2021 that figure stands at almost $2.5 billion dollars.”, the company said in a blog post last week.

NFTs are digital tokens that can represent real-life assets such as artworks, music, video, games and even virtual land. Unlike a typical cryptocurrency, they are unique and not interchangeable, much collectible items.

DappRadar’s data shows NFTs started gaining traction in January of this year, before sales volume exploded in March. A major contributor to this boom was the sale of the most expensive NFT ever – a digital artwork by Beeple that was sold for around $69 million by luxury auction house Christie’s that month. The craze continued from there, reaching its peak in early May when NFTs worth $102 million sold in a single day, according to Protos data.

A series of artists, celebrities and organisations have since created and sold the digital tokens. Reddit recently auctioned NFTs featuring it’s mascot for instance, while the US Space Force sold NFTs to commemorate the launch of a vehicle during their GPS Block III mission and Twitter creator Jack Dorsey sold his first ever tweet as an NFT. Existing NFTs, for example a series of collectibles called CryptoPunks, one of which sold for $11.8 million, were also pushed into the spotlight.

NFT prices have dropped since that peak – DappRadar noted that sales volume fell in the second quarter of the year. However, the number of sales per day and active wallets increased, their report found.

“In comparison to Q1, the number of sales spiked by 111.46%, while the daily average of unique wallets increased by 151.86% as well.” it reads.

According to the data platform, the NFT market is shifting from highly priced, individual sales to smaller, more frequent ones as online games which incorporate digital tokens for example become increasingly popular.

“It appears that a wider, more mainstream audience has finally arrived. [ … ] The mass adoption factor is undeniable.” DappRadar’s report said.

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Christie’s auctioned a set of 9 CryptoPunk NFTs for almost $17 million – almost double their expected value

Agents at a Christie's auction
Agents at a Christie’s auction

Christie’s auctioned a set of nine CryptoPunk NTFs for almost $17 million late on Tuesday at their 21st Century sale held in New York. When the auction house announced the sale, it expected the CryptoPunks to sell for between $7 million and $9 million.

The realized price of the CryptoPunk NFT set was $16,962,500, the second highest sale of the night. They exceeded artworks by more traditionally popular artists like Banksy, Gerhard Richter and Damien Hirst.

CryptoPunks, which were created by the software company Larva Labs in 2017, are a series of 10,000 virtual characters in 8-bit 24×24 pixel format that were inspired by London’s punk scene. Larva Labs launched them in 2017, making them some of the first NFTs and leaders of the crypto art scene.

The CryptoPunks were offered to the public for free at the time, but creators Matt Hall and John Watkinson kept 1,000 NFTs for themselves. The set of characters auctioned by Christie’s was part of their private collection.

“Taken together, the set represents both the rarest possible CryptoPunks and highlights from the variety of attributes that are the signature of the project.”, Hall and Watkinson said when the Christie’s auction was announced.

Rare CryptoPunks have sold for over $7.5 million per character. Based on CoinMarketCap data, the full set of 10,000 CryptoPunk NFTs is worth almost $325 million. 9,250 sales have been made over the past year at an average price of $80,259.09.

Alongside the sale, Christie’s and Larva Labs collaborated with non-profit organisation SaveArtSpace, which creates art exhibitions in urban spaces. 193 CryptoPunks will be shown on New York’s bus shelters, phone booths and billboards over the next month.

“By bringing these pixelated versions of our online lives to the real world, we hope to show to the world the very human side of this technological revolution.”, SaveArtSpace said in the announcement.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique digital items such as images, audio or videos that are based on blockchain technology, which also registers ownership. As is the case with CryptoPunks, NFTs can often be viewed by anyone online – but only one person can own them.

The sale comes at a time where the NFT and especially art NFT markets appeared to be cooling off. In April, the sales volume and prices for art NFTs had dropped by over 40% and talks about NFTs being in a bubble have been rife.

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Record-breaking digital artist Beeple says the NFT craze is just like the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s

Vignesh Sundaresan bought Beeple’s “Everydays” NFT for $69 million

  • Beeple, whose digital NFT art sold for a record-breaking $69 million, said NFTs are like the early stages of the internet.
  • He told ‘The Street’ that even if NFTs are in a bubble, he thinks they will survive.
  • He said there was no reason why digital art should not have the same value as physical art.
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Record-breaking digital artist Beeple, who sold a piece of digital art for a record-breaking $69 million, thinks the non-fungible token (NFT) market will evolve in the same way the internet did during the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s.

He told The Street that during the dotcom bubble, people realised there were a lot of worthless internet pages being set up, which they then stopped using and that he believes it will be similar for NFTs.

“There was a bubble with the internet, it didn’t kill the internet. People kept using the internet, it just kind of wiped out all the c***”, he said.

NFTs are digital items such as videos, visual elements or audio that are based on blockchain technology. They are unique and not exchangeable, so they are often viewed as collectors items. Usually, anyone can still see the NFT online, but only one person can own it.

Beeple believes digital art can have the same value as traditional art and that it will continue to be highly priced after the NFT hype is over and lower value content has been weeded out.

“If it creates emotional connection with people, it will have value,” he said. Creators and buyers can ensure that their work and investments will be worthwhile by keeping this in mind, Beeple said.

In March, a piece of Beeple’s digital art sold for a record-breaking $69 million at a Christie’s auction. The buyer later said investing in digital art was highly risky and he believed NFTs were in a bubble. Beeple himself has also echoed this and said a lot of crypto art will sink in price to the point where it becomes worthless.

Based on data collected by, an NFT tracking and analysis hub, the value of art NFTs has been trending downwards for the past month. The number of sales, as well as the amount of money paid for them, have steadily been declining, as have the amount of unique sellers and buyers.

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NFT sale prices are dropping, but experts say it might not be a bad sign

NBA Top Shot Press Logo_Collectibles_
NBA Top Shot.

  • The average price of NFTs dropped over 60% in April compared to February highs.
  • Experts say declining sale prices are not a bad sign for the overall NFT market.
  • Other crypto-art investors question whether the market is in a bubble.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The average sale price for crypto art has dropped over 60% from a February high, according to the market research site

On Friday, the average price for a non-fungible token or NFT was about $1,549 while average February prices were over $4,000.

Many people in the crypto space have speculated whether NFTs are in a bubble. After selling a crypto-art piece for nearly $70 million, digital artist Mike Winkelmann – also known as Beeple – told Insider he believed NFT prices could be in a precarious position.

Winkelmann, as well as Nifty Gateway co-founders Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, have compared the recent NFT boom to the dawn of the internet and the bubble that followed.

Noelle Acheson, the managing director of research at CoinDesk, told Insider that interest in crypto art is likely far from over.

Read more: What you need to know about NFTs, the collectible digital tokens that are selling for millions online

“The NFT craze is not so much about prices and quick profit as it is about a new model of creative monetization, a new type of engagement with fans and a new cultural ‘experience’ for users,” Acheson said.

Beeple V4
Beeple’s record sale

While the average price of NFTs have fallen from their highest point in February, average crypto art prices have been fluctuating in recent weeks. Between February and the end of March, prices dropped 70% but have since climbed 30% from a low around $1,200 last month.

Melissa Gilmour, the founder of the London-based NFT agency Lily & Piper told CNN the price drop is likely not permanent.

“There are elements of a hype cycle in this one, but we still see it as an immense long-term opportunity,” she told CNN.

Still, March’s lows were far above where the NFT market was just four months ago. In January, the average price for a crypto art piece was about $195 – the year before it was $30.

Acheson told Insider prices evening out could actually be a good sign for the longevity of the NFT market.

“Just because something is settling down doesn’t mean it’s over,” Acheson told Insider. “Sale prices may very well continue to go down from these spikes we saw in February, but just look at where the market is from just three or six months ago.”

More people appear to have gotten into NFT trading. Data from CoinDesk’s Quarterly Review shows that NFT trading volumes rose to 25 times December volumes in March and they don’t appear to be slowing down. March sales volumes were up nearly 40% from February on top NFT marketplaces, according to CoinDesk’s data.

Acheson said the decrease in the average sale price of NFTs could be attributed to less outlying sales, driving up the overall average.

As NFT sales become more democratized and accessible, average sale prices will likely go down

Bhad Bhabie NFT
Bhad Bhabie dropped several NFTs

Data from NFT-tracking site DappRadar shows the volume and number of users across most popular NFT marketplaces is continuing to go up. Data from shows the weekly number of NFT transactions are near February levels, with thousands of buyers and sellers trading every day across top platforms like NBA Top Shot and Sorare.

While mainstream sites like NBA Top Shots – a platform that recently received a $2 billion valuation from DappRadar – have largely driven sales volume, more accessible marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible have become increasingly popular in recent months.

Investors have also turned their interest toward less curated sites like OpenSea, Rarible, and Mintable. In March, OpenSea received $23 million in funding from investors like billionaire Mark Cuban. Other platforms like Topps have already begun planning to launch an IPO.

More celebrities have also gotten into selling their own NFTs since February sales caught the national spotlight. In March alone, The Weeknd, Snoop Dogg, Halsey, and Shawn Mendes started selling their own digital art pieces on curated sites like Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, and

While artists like Grimes and DJ 3LAU have had jaw-dropping sales, other artists have had less success.

Grimes NFT
Grimes Battle of the WarNymphs NFT on Nifty Gateway

Grimes showed the music industry how lucrative NFTs can be when she sold her collection for $5.8 million in under 20 minutes. In March, Shawn Mendes’ NFTs averaged only a couple thousand dollars a piece. The same month Halsey’s highest selling NFT was about $7,000, while others sold for under a grand.

Artists like 3LAU and producer RAC attribute their success to their history in the crypto world. While the world of NFTs continues to expand, the average price of the digital art pieces may also continue to drop.

As new buyers enter the space drawn in by big names, SNL skits, and flashy sales, they might be more inclined to invest more conservatively in NFTs. Music industry expert Cherie Hu told Insider newcomers to crypto investing will have more difficulty identifying valuable NFTs and will likely be less willing to spend large amounts of money on crypto-art drops.

“In most cases, it’s not your typical fan making these kinds of big purchases,” Hu told Insider. “Artists like 3LAU have built up a network of buyers in the crypto space.”

Furthermore, NFT creators that are new to the space may need more time to build up their credibility in the crypto world.

“[Investing in crypto art] is for people who are looking to take some risks,” Winkelmann said in an interview with The New York Times’. “Just making an NFT does not give it any value.”

Much like the internet bubble, NFT creators like Winkelmann and buyers such as NFT investor Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile believe that NFT prices will eventually drop, but the phenomenon of NFTs as viable investments will not go away.

“When the [internet] bubble burst, it didn’t wipe out the internet,” Winkelmann told The Times. “It wiped out the crap.”

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Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl join the crypto frenzy and collaborate with 3D artist Extraweg on NFT charity auction

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs with Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones during The Rolling Stones' "50 & Counting" worldwide tour
Dave Grohl performs with Mick Jagger during The Rolling Stones’ “50 & Counting” worldwide tour

Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl have joined the crypto frenzy, collaborating with 3D artist Extraweg on a non-fungible token (NFT) that is being auctioned in aid of music and environmental charities.

Jagger and Extraweg collaborated on the audio-visual NFT, which includes a custom loop from Jagger’s lockdown-inspired song “Easy Sleazy”, featuring Foo Fighters frontman Grohl. Extraweg contributed the visual element, which shows a human figure running through human heads as they shatter.

The NFT is being sold at a 24-hour auction, which started on Thursday evening, through digital token trading site Nifty Gateway. At 07:45 ET, around 5 hours before the auction will end, the highest bid was $10,200.

The auction will benefit various charities, selected by Jagger and Grohl, including Back Up, the UK’s Music Venue Trust and the American National Independent Venue Association. Back Up supports “industry technical professionals, crew/production personnel and people working in the technical supply chain” in the UK financially, whereas the other charities aid independent music venues and their workers.

Further charities in the music and environmental sectors will also be supported, but they remain unnamed so far.

NFTs are visual and audio data units that are built on blockchain technology. They are unique and cannot be interchanged. NFTs are often treated as collector items and can usually be seen by anyone online – although just one person can own them.

Jagger and Grohl have become the latest celebrities to join the NFT craze.

“NFTs as elite art-forms are definitely here to stay: this is the beginning of a huge new trend” Viktor Prokopenya, founder of cryptocurrency trading platform, commented on Jagger getting involved in the NFT market.

DJ Steve Aoki sold an NFT through Nifty Gateway in early March which brought in almost $900,000. Also in March, the band Kings of Leon sold an album as an NFT for the first time. Shawn Mendes has sold digital versions of his signature accessories. And Snoop Dogg and Lionel Richie have committed to producing NFTs for the crypto exchange’s NFT marketplace.

After buying a Beeple artwork for a record-breaking $69 million early in March, the buyer said investing in the digital tokens was a “huge risk”. Beeple himself also told Coindesk TV that he believed NFTs were in a bubble.

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The New York Stock Exchange is minting crypto art commemorating the first trades of 6 companies that recently went public

  • The New York Stock Exchange announced on Monday that it had minted six NFTs.
  • The NFTs represent the first trades of several companies that recently went public on the NYSE.
  • The crypto art pieces are not currently up for sale, but will be gifted to the companies, a source told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced on Monday that it was getting into crypto art by minting its own digital collectibles designed to commemorate the first public trade of six stocks.

The NYSE is not only the largest stock exchange in the world, but it is also the first to get into crypto art. The collectibles will represent the first trades of Spotify, Snowflake, Unity, DoorDash, Roblox, and Coupang. NYSE said it plans to launch more first-trade collectibles in the future.

The digital collectibles will operate as non-fungible tokens or NFTs. NFTs are digital collectible tokens that allow the buyer to connect their name directly to the creator via the blockchain.

NFTs have boomed in recent months. In February, one crypto art piece sold for nearly $70 million. Since, celebrities and public figures from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to singer Shawn Mendes have gotten in on the trend, which has brought in millions for opportunistic creators and resellers of the pieces.

Read more: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are the hottest thing in entertainment, art, and crypto right now. Here’s a simple explanation of the craze.

While the NYSE appears to be getting in on the NFT trend, the exchange’s tokens are not up for sale. The NFTs are housed on, a less than month-old NFT trading platform that has already launched crypto art sales for several celebrities including Snoop Dogg and Boy George.

A source familiar with the matter told Insider NYSE does not plan to sell its NFTs, but has already gifted them to the respective companies. The NYSE also plans to mint future NFTs and gift those to the memorialized companies as well, according to the source.

The NFTs for each company feature a short clip containing information about the first trade, including the sale price, date, and a string of numbers representing the first trade quote code.

Stacey Cunningham, the President of NYSE, said the NFTs will help commemorate the very first moments a company joins NYSE by highlighting the data from a company’s very first trade.

“NYSE technology is processing over 350 billion order, quote and trade messages across our markets on our busiest days, more than any other exchange in the world,” Cunningham said in a LinkedIn post. “Only one of those messages marks the NYSE First Trade: the exact moment a company became public, creating an opportunity for others to share in their success.”

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Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz says NFTs could be worn like jewellery one day

Mike Novogratz

Mike Novogratz said that NFTs could be worn like jewellery one day thanks to augmented and virtual reality.

The billionaire investor gave insight into his thoughts on how NFTs will be displayed in the future on his podcast Next with Novo following a conversation he had with Urs Fischer, a Swiss visual artist in a previous episode. Fischer released his first NFT artwork, a combination of an egg with a BIC lighter, earlier this week. It will be on sale from Sunday.

“I thought, what about that egg floating over my shoulder as I’m walking down the street”, Novogratz said on his podcast. “It’s the only one of its kind and just like people wear jewellery, maybe I’ll wear that egg”, he continued.

Passersby would be able to see it through their augmented reality glasses. Wearing NFTs as jewellery would allow people to show off their unique digital assets in the form of earrings or rings for example, said Novogratz.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital artworks that include images, videos or audio that are unique and registered on a blockchain. NFTs have surged in popularity recently, as more artists flock to the digital space and auction houses sell pieces for sky-high prices.

Auction house Christie’s announced on Thursday that it would be presenting a set of nine so-called CryptoPunks, some of the first crypto artwork at an auction next month and were expecting the digital asset to sell for $7 million-$9 million. The auction house was also behind the sale of an NFT by Beeple, which was purchased for a record-breaking $69 million.

Talks of the NFTs being in a bubble have surfaced recently. Bobby Lee, crypto exchange founder, told Insider that bubbles may be developing in some areas of the market.

Novogratz, who is bullish on crypto assets generally, said he believes that NFTs will be displayed in virtual and physical reality, for example “in your little digital man cave” but also on screens in physical spaces.

“None of us really know how far this NFT thing can go”, the billionaire investor said. But he believes that the way reality is experienced will change in the coming years, as different screens and versions of reality come together and interact with each other.

“NFTs are going to be much bigger than everyone thinks they’re gonna be”, he ended.

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Tom Brady is launching a new company called ‘Autograph’ that will sell unique digital memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities

tom brady 2020
  • Tom Brady is launching a company called “Autograph.”
  • The site will sell digital memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities like Brady.
  • The NFT market has been highly profitable for sports through platforms like NBA Top Shot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

NFL star Tom Brady is launching a company for digital collectibles called “Autograph.”

The platform will sell crypto memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities like Brady, according to the company’s site.

“Autograph will bring together some of the world’s most iconic names and brands with best in class digital artists to ideate, create and launch NFTs and ground-breaking experiences to a community of fans and collectors,” co-founder and CEO of Autograph Dillon Rosenblatt told CNN.

Brady and millionaire entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt will act as co-chairs of the company. Autograph boasts a team with several big business names, including Lionsgate CEO Jon Filthier and Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino, as well as three of the founders of DraftKings.

There has been a boom in interest in digital collectible in recent months. Items that function as non-fungible tokens or NFTs have generated millions of dollars in sales. In March, a $70 million digital art sale made history.

Since then, artists and celebrities from rapper Snoop Dogg to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have gotten in on the action.

Read more: What you need to know about NFTs, the collectible digital tokens that are selling for millions online

The items operate as unique digital assets. When someone buys an NFT they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain that acts as a digital certificate of authenticity. The token can gain value due to its relation to its creator or content. For example, tokens that represent memes like the Nyan Cat can gain in value as they increase in popularity online, though the NFT buyer is not be able to control the image’s distribution.

The NFT market has been especially profitable for sports. The site NBA Top Shot, which allows people to buy NBA sports clips, recently received a $2 billion valuation from NFT tracking site DappRadar. Top NBA clips, including a LeBron James dunk moment, have sold for over $200,000 on the platform.

As an NFL legend, Brady NFTs would likely see similar high sales. Yesterday a Brady rookie card sold for about $2.3 million – smashing the record for the most expensive football trading card sale, according to Bleacher Report.

Brady himself is no stranger to selling his personal brand. In February, Brady merchandise sales set records as he became the best-selling NFL player ever, according to Reuters.

Autograph isn’t Brady’s first company. In 2013, the football star launched TB12, a sports performance and nutrition company.

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Take a look at the digital ‘Mars House’ that just sold for over $500,000 – the world’s first crypto real-estate sale

"Mars House" on SuperRare
“Mars House” on SuperRare

  • A digital house sold for over $500,000 to a Toronto buyer.
  • The house can be uploaded into the buyer’s metaverse or even recreated in the physical world.
  • NFT real estate could be set to boom, according to the head of real estate group Republic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A digital home sold for over $500,000 online in March.

The house was sold as a non-fungible token, or NFT, on the SuperRare marketplace. In exchange for about $512,712 worth of ether, the Toronto buyer received 3D files and clips of the NFT piece, called “Mars House,” set to music.

The files can be uploaded to the buyer’s metaverse and used as a home for their avatar. A metaverse is a virtual world similar to “SimCity” or “Minecraft.” In the metaverse, users can buy digital assets including homes and clothes while living and interacting with other users via an avatar in the virtual world. One of the most popular NFT metaverses is Decentraland, a community-owned site where users can build their own reality.

The NFT is the first blockchain-based digital house in the world, according to SuperRare. The artist Krista Kim worked with Jeff Schroeder from the band Smashing Pumpkins to generate the music for the clip.

The house, which is set on Mars, appears to be made up almost entirely of glass.

from on Vimeo.

The artist said she was inspired during quarantine to build the digital house.

“Kim ventured into NFTs while exploring meditative design during quarantine; her hope was to use the influx of digital life as an opportunity to promote wellbeing,” the press release said. “Comprised entirely of light, the visual effects of her crypto-home are meant to omit a zen, healing atmosphere.”

Read more: What you need to know about NFTs, the collectible digital tokens that are selling for millions online

Though the house currently only exists on the blockchain, it can be recreated in real life by glass furniture-makers in Italy or via LED screens, according to the press release.

“Everyone should install an LED wall in their house for NFT art,” Kim said in the release. “This is the future, and Mars House demonstrates the beauty of that possibility.”

The over $500,000 sale is just one of many NFT drops that have captured the spotlight in recent months. Earlier in March, digital artist Beeple sold a crypto art piece for nearly $70 million. NFT sales have encompassed anything from 3D images and videos to memes and tweets.

In March, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $2.9 million.

Janine Yorio, the head of the real-estate group Republic, said NFT real estate could be the future of home-buying.

“I predict that the best parcels of virtual real estate will appreciate faster than real-world real estate,” Yorio said in a post on CoinDesk, showing how NFTs have already gathered value in recent months.

In February, an NFT buyer was able to flip a crypto art piece for $6.6 million, or nearly 1,000% its initial purchase price. Over the past 30 days, NFT sales have generated over $1 billion, according to CryptoSlam.

Furthermore, virtual real-estate sites like Decentraland have continued to grow in recent months. The site’s internal currency, “MANA,” has a $225 million market value. MANA prices have risen over 321% in the past year, according to Yorio.

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Crypto-art investors could face a surprise on tax day since NFTs can lead to a hefty tax bill

5,000 everydays artwork by Beeple, which was sold at Christies auction house for $69 million
5,000 everydays artwork by Beeple, which was sold at Christies auction house for $69 million

  • Crypto art is taxed when it is purchased and sold, as well as through the cryptocurrencies used to buy the NFTs.
  • NFTs are not yet subject to the same sales taxes as physical art pieces.
  • After his $70 million NFT sale, Beeple likely faces taxes worth tens of million of dollars.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

While crypto art sales have boomed in the past month, catching the national spotlight with flashy price tags, what many buyers and sellers might not realize is that non-fungible tokens or NFTs can generate a large tax bill.

In March, a crypto art piece by digital artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, made history when it sold for nearly $70 million. When told how he would be taxed on the sale, Winkelmann expressed surprise.

“Holy s—, that’s a lot of taxes,” Winkelmann told CNBC.

Winkelmann may be facing a tax bill worth tens of millions of dollars. As an artist, Winkelmann will also have to pay federal and state income taxes on his earnings from the sale, in addition to reporting the cryptocurrency gains on his 2020 tax return.

The Internal Revenue Services sees buying and selling NFTs as a realization of investment gains, and therefore subject to the capital gains tax.

There are multiple ways you can get taxed when buying and selling an NFT. Capital gains taxes apply to NFTs, in much the same way they apply to selling stocks. However, because NFTs are considered collectibles they are also taxed at an even higher rate of 28%.

NFT buyers and sellers also need to be aware of how the cryptocurrency they used to buy the NFT will be taxed.

Most crypto-art pieces are bought using digital currencies, including ether and WAX. These cryptocurrencies are also subject to a capital gains tax, depending on how much they’ve gained in value since they were originally purchased and how long the buyer held the digital currency.

If the buyer held the cryptocurrency for over a year, they would be subject to a long-term capital gains tax. Long-term capital gains are taxed at 15% for individuals who earn between $40,000 and $441,000 – and 20% for individuals that make more than that amount. Holding the digital asset for less than a year will create a short-term capital gain, which is based upon the effective tax rate for the taxpayer.

In short, NFT buyers and sellers will be taxed when purchasing an NFT using a digital currency, selling an NFT for another NFT, selling an NFT for a cryptocurrency, as well as when converting the cryptocurrency used to buy and sell the item back into US dollars.

On the other hand, NFTs are not yet subject to the sales tax that would be applied to a physical piece of art – an issue that art law expert Diana Wierbicki told ArtNet state tax laws could soon catch up to.

The IRS has been cracking down on cryptocurrencies in recent months. This year, the IRS put a question about crypto investments on the first page of 2020 tax returns. People that fail to report digital assets or attempt to hide them could face serious penalties from the IRS.

Many NFT buyers and sellers likely do not know the hefty tax fees they will face. Shehan Chandrasekera, head of tax strategy at CoinTracker, told CNBC that there’s so many unknowns when it comes to the emerging market of NFTs that many people probably won’t know what to expect on tax day.

“People’s knowledge of this tax in the U.S. is very poor,” he said. “I just don’t think people know about it.”

This article was reviewed for accuracy and clarity by Sheneya Wilson, an expert on Personal Finance Insider’s tax review board.

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