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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The viral ‘I ain’t never seen two pretty best friends’ TikTok is being auctioned as an NFT

Jordan Scott's "I ain't never seen two pretty best friends" video
Jordan Scott

  • The “I Ain’t Never Seen Two Pretty Best Friends” TikTok will be auctioned off as an NFT.
  • The video, which has over 54 million views, first went viral in October 2020.
  • Selling viral videos as NFTs has become a lucrative option for creators.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The original “I ain’t never seen two pretty best friends” viral TikTok video is being auctioned off as a non-fungible token (NFT), a unique digital asset purchased with cryptocurrency. The move follows several high-profile sales of viral videos or memes as NFTs.

Jordan Scott, the video’s creator, said in the October 2020 video, “I ain’t never seen two pretty best friends, always one of them gotta be ugly.” The video quickly went viral, reaching over 54 million views as of Wednesday, and the audio was used by 66,000 users. Some creators have used the sound in an effort to disprove Scott’s thesis, while others used it to playfully make fun of their friends.

Scott is auctioning off his viral video in NFT form on June 2 through a partnership with NetGems, a digital agency working with creators to sell their viral videos in the crypto market. The sale will begin on June 2 and last for 72 hours, ending on June 5.

NetGems will also be auctioning two early viral online hits the same day – the “Honey Badger Don’t Care” video from 2011 and the “Numa Numa” video from 2004 – though the TikTok differs from the others due to its recency.

Selling viral video hits as NFTs has become an attractive option for creators, some of whom have sold their content for large sums of money. The family behind the “Charlie Bit My Finger” video made over $760,000 on an NFT sale; Chris Torres, the creator of the “Nyan Cat” gif, made nearly $600,000; and the “Disaster Girl” meme earned close to $500,000.

Screenshot from the "Charlie Bit My Finger" video
Screenshot from the “Charlie Bit My Finger” viral YouTube video

The video will be taken down from TikTok after the sale, according to NetGems. “We’re trying to provide value to the NFT buyer by taking it off of TikTok, ” Connor Flannigan, the co-founder of NetGems, told Insider.

Scott, the video’s creator, told Insider that the co-founders of NetGems reached out to him and encouraged him to take advantage of the cryptocurrency boom. He said it was a “big thing” for him that NetGems wanted to partner with him, because he doesn’t currently have a job or income, being that he just graduated from college with hopes of becoming an actor or model.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for me,” Scott said.

Scott said he would be gifting the red jacket he wore in the original TikTok to the purchaser, who will have the opportunity to collaborate with him on a video.

While he said he’s not going into the auction with any financial expectations, he said he was slightly nervous for the sale because his video doesn’t have the same nostalgia factor that almost all of the other viral video NFT auctions have had. “I can’t control what it would go for or what someone thinks the value is,” he said.

Scott mentioned he remained hopeful because Nathan Apodaca – the man behind the viral video of himself drinking cranberry juice on a skateboard while listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” – auctioned off his recent TikTok as an NFT. (Apodaca’s publicist told Insider in an email that there was a problem with the file and it has not yet been relisted.)

The money he makes from the sale will go towards helping him achieve his goal of being a full-time model and actor, according to Scott. “It could set me up to do great things and also just help me create something for my family one day,” he said.

To read more stories like this, check out Insider’s digital culture coverage here.

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The family behind ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ sold the original viral video as an NFT for over $760,000

Screenshot from the "Charlie Bit My Finger" video
Screenshot from the “Charlie Bit My Finger” video

  • The original “Charlie Bit My Finger” video was uploaded in 2007 and was seen over 882 million times.
  • The family auctioned the original video as an NFT and it sold for over $760,000.
  • The original video will be taken down from YouTube after the sale was final, as promised.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The family behind the early viral hit, “Charlie Bit My Finger,” auctioned the original video as a non-fungible token (NFT) and it sold for over $760,000.

In the video, the two brothers are seen playing together on the couch when Harry Davies-Carr, who was three years old, playfully puts his finger in the mouth of one-year-old Charlie Davies-Carr. Harry laughed and said the famous line, “Charlie bit me!”

The 2007 video had been viewed over 882 million times on YouTube, and the family vowed to delete the video from the social platform after the sale was final. The auction started on Saturday – which marked the 14th anniversary of when the video was uploaded – and ended on Sunday.

The sale of the video marks yet another early content creator breaking into the NFT space and profiting off the early viral videos. The people behind viral videos and memes including the “Leave Britney Alone,” “David After Dentist,” the “Disaster Girl” meme, and the Nyan Cat meme have all sold the original files of their viral content as NFTs – with some making as much as half a million dollars.

Harry, now 17, told Insider through email on Friday that the family is working with Original Protocol – a digital marketplace for NFTs because they offered them a “personalized auction” that is dedicated to the sale of their one NFT which was hosted on This is a change from the popular websites like Rarible and Foundation that other viral creators have used.

On the website, the family wrote that the winner of the auction will get to film their own version of the parody with Harry and Charlie, who is now 15.

Harry told Insider that the family did so because they “wanted to commit to the whole evolving ethos of NFT” and “give it a new life.”

The boys’ father, Howard, who recorded the viral video, told Insider they did benefit from the YouTube Partner Program after it launched in 2008. The program, which allows content creators to monetize their videos using ads, is still in use today by many content creators. “Our family did benefit financially and this really allowed us to provide the boys with a great start to their lives,” he told Insider.

However, they went into this auction with no expectations except with a commitment to meeting up with the winner and offsetting the environmental costs that have worried many cryptocurrency critics.

According to the Verge, “Individual pieces of crypto art, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), are at least partially responsible for the millions of tons of planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions generated by the cryptocurrencies used to buy and sell them.”

To help, the family said they will be donating to “carbon offset costs of mining bitcoins before we even worry about having anything left over.” Whatever is left will be put towards the boys’ education, “which will hopefully include universities,” Harry told Insider.

The boys’ father said they understood that the future of content sharing is changing and wanted to change the way they engaged with their audience. He told Insider, “NFTs allow us to engage with the fans in a different way.”

Charlie added that they wanted to “be at the beginning of this new platform just like we were with YouTube.”

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