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.
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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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A ‘CryptoPunk’ NFT called ‘Covid Alien’ was bought for $11.8 million by DraftKings’ largest shareholder in a Sotheby’s auction

People walk past a CryptoPunk digital art NFT displayed on a digital billboard in Times Square.
  • The NFT of a “CryptoPunk” character fetched $11.8 million, setting a new world auction record for a single CryptoPunk.
  • The token, dubbed “Covid Alien,” was bought by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder of DraftKings.
  • The sought-after token is one of the nine alien CryptoPunks made by Larva Labs in 2017.
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The non-fungible token of a character from the “CryptoPunk” series fetched $11.8 million Thursday, setting a new world auction record for a single CryptoPunk, luxury auction house Sotheby’s said.

The NFT, dubbed “Covid Alien,” was bought by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder of online sports gambling firm DraftKings.

The sought-after token called “CryptoPunk #7523” is one of the nine alien CryptoPunks made by artists Matt Hall and John Watkinson, the founders of Larva Labs, in 2017. It is the only one with a mask.

Before the sale, a collector known as Sillytuna owned the token.

In total, there are 10,000 24 x 24-pixel CryptoPunks with no two that are exactly alike. Other characters in the collection are composed of 24 apes, 88 zombies, 3,840 females, and 6,039 males.

The NFTs were initially released for free besides a small transaction fee but the record-breaking amount seen from Covid Alien indicates the massive interest investors have.

Following the sale, the auction house announced it will offer five “exceptionally rare” CryptoPunks later in June.


NFTs have soared in popularity this year. The market thus far has seen immense growth and buyers now vastly exceed sellers, according to a report from L’Atelier BNP Paribas.

These tokens are digital representations of artwork, sports cards, or other collectibles tied to a blockchain, typically on ethereum. Each NFT has a signature that can be verified in the public ledger and cannot be duplicated nor edited.

When people buy NFTs, they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain, not the artworks themselves. But the fact that the information on a blockchain is next to impossible to alter makes NFTs appealing, especially to artists.

Many have speculated the space is in a bubble, and apart from some massive sales, evidence shows the craze may be cooling for now. The number of NFT sales for June is about half of what they were during March’s peak, the industry tracker showed.

Read more: The CIO at a digital asset hedge fund that returned 373% in 2020 breaks down why bitcoin’s sell-off is in its final stages – and shares why he thinks ether could triple from current levels

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The founder of news site TechCrunch is using an NFT auction to sell an apartment

  • TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is selling an apartment via an NFT auction.
  • Propy, a blockchain-based real estate platform, is running the auction with bidding starting at $20,000.
  • The winner of the NFT will also win the property rights to the studio apartment in Kiev.
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TechCrunch founder and crypto investor Michael Arrington is selling an apartment in Ukraine through an NFT in a transaction being billed as the world’s first real estate sale via a non-fungible token.

Propy, a blockchain-based real estate platform, is running an auction for the studio apartment as a real estate-backed NFT and bidding starts at $20,000. The apartment was purchased in 2017 by Arrington, founder of online publisher TechCrunch, through Propy.

NFTs are digital assets such as video, images or audio that are tied to a blockchain. The assets can usually be viewed online but just one person can own them and the market for such collectibles has boomed recently.

The apartment is located in the Svyatoshino neighborhood in Kiev. Following the auction, the winner will become the owner of the NFT and the property itself. If the NFT is resold, the property rights are attached. Bidding begins June 8.

“Real estate is the world’s largest asset class and the most significant financial investment for most families. The intersection [between] Humanity and Big Capital is key to changing the old industry,” wrote Natalia Karayaneva, the CEO of Propy, in a Tuesday post on Twitter.

Arrington bought the apartment for $60,000 and the residential property transaction was recorded on the Ethereum blockchain network and settled using smart contracts. Michael Arrington served as an advisor to Propy, according to a 2017 press release announcing Arrington’s purchase of the Kiev apartment.

Propy’s Karayaneva, a software engineer and former real estate developer, is an advisor to Arrington XRP Capital, a hedge fund denominated in XRP, the digital asset used in Ripple Labs’ payment network.

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