The average price of collectable non-fungible tokens is soaring, as are sales. Is a new beginning in sight?
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The death of NFTs was proclaimed — and proclaimed and proclaimed and proclaimed — too soon, it seems.
Despite sales dropping 90% from January 2022 compared with January 2023 — and there's a big old asterisk on the number that we'll get to later — the first week of February has shown definite signs of a thaw.
Two of the hottest NFT collections saw sales reaching well over $1 million, with CryptoPunk #5066, a rare zombie, selling for $1.44 million.
Bored Ape Yacht Club #7090, an also-rare BAYC with a multicolored grin and solid gold fur, went for $1.34 million.
Both of those were sold by serious collectors. The CryptoPunk was sold by Kevin Rose, a noted NFT collector, venture capitalist and founder of Proof Collective, whose $280 million launch of the Moonbirds collection in April was one of 2022's biggest launches.
Rose made headlines last month when a phishing hack drained his portfolio of 40 NFTs worth at least $1 million.
The BAYC was sold by Jimmy McNelis, who owns the four apes — three Bored and one Mutant — that are the front-simians for Kingship, Universal Music Group's NFT "supergroup."
More broadly, over the past 30 days the average price of many top collections have been soaring, with BAYC up almost 40%, CryptoPunks nearly 30%, Doodles 27%, Art Blocks 26%, and Azuki 43%, according to DappRadar.
All of them had sales growth of 35% to 45% in the past week, with Azuki as the outlier, up more than 110%, according to CryptoSlam.
Both the CryptoPunks and BAYC collections saw their market caps climb back over $1 billion.
There's another side to the NFTs-are-dead story that's worth pointing out.
The big lead in that story is that NFT prices were down 90% between January 2022 and 2023. That was 97% from January to September last year.
However, the key to those big headlines is January 2022. You can call it a peak or all-time high, but really, a spike is more accurate.
From when NFT sales first crossed $1 billion monthly in July 2021, according to CryptoSlam, to when it crossed back below 10 figures in June 2022, it only crossed $4 billion twice.
Except for January 2022, when sales hit $6.17 billion — more than double the previous month.
Having a spike in anything in January is what journalists call a gimme — you've got a free story every month for a year.
And for all the narrative of 2021 being the year NFTs exploded and 2022 the year they collapsed, the total sales in 2022 was $24.9 billion and $20.1 billion in 2021, according to CryptoSlam.