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The $2 Billion Month in NFTs

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The non-fungible token space’s marketplaces saw little over $300 million in trading activity in July. Most of it happened on OpenSea, an a16z-backed market that launched a $100 million investment round the same month.

The monthly amount wasn’t the all-time high – March brought in roughly $315 million, headed by Nifty Gateway — but it was part of a series of data signals that pointed to a recovery in NFT activity, notably around collectibles and artworks — or “jpegs” in crypto trade terminology — in July.

No, you don’t need to turn down the volume – August’s NFT market volume is currently $2.3 billion, with OpenSea accounting for $2.23 billion of that total. It’s the clearest indication yet that OpenSea has surpassed the competition in the NFT sector.

Of course, OpenSea’s quick growth has not been without its drawbacks. The market’s website fell yesterday, prompting a flurry of social media complaints — no doubt a result of the fact that NFTs are the dominating crypto narrative this summer. As a result, all eyes are on this particular sector of the ecosystem.

Other markets have witnessed a rise in volume as well. SuperRare grossed just over $23 million in August, up from roughly $6 million the previous month. Nonetheless, the August figure is lower than the all-time high of $29.5 million set in March. Nifty Gateway increased from $7 million to $27.3 million from July to August, although they remain behind its March high of $143.5 million.

The Block Research’s weekly data shows that most of the activity — especially in recent days — is coming from the trading of NFT art and collectibles — think CryptoPunks, Art Blocks, and so on.

The point is that interest is high right now, which is benefiting markets that cater to NFT trade activity — and, no doubt, operating platforms like OpeanSea. Is this the apex or just a foreshadowing of what’s to come? We’ll defer to the crypto Twitterati on this one.

Gone Ape

Bored Apes is one of the most well-known NFT collections today, with interest from Christie’s and a $180,000 purchase from NBA star Stephen Curry. Simply put, Bored Apes are, to quote Mugatu, “so hot right now.”

After that, the Mutants appeared.

Mutants Apes are, well, mutations of the NFT collection’s established look. The event took place on two fronts this past weekend. The first was a public sale of Mutants Apes by the Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC), which netted more than $90 million in ETH in less than an hour. Simultaneously, BAYC airdropped “serums” to current NFT holders, which resulted in a mutant version when applied to a specific NFT.

Simply put, the event provides a big financial windfall for a project that has grown into a darling of the NFT community. The company behind Bored Apes (and Mutant Apes) has subsequently disclosed future plans for NFT owners (membership in the Yacht Club is one of the “perks” of owning one), which appear to hint at a Bored Ape Metaverse. 

ART & COLLECTABLES

The crypto decline may be used by Binance to increase its market share in NFT

Football fans will soon have the opportunity to buy “an iconic piece of sports history” thanks to a collaboration between Cristiano Ronaldo and Binance.

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CR7 is starting to participate in NFTs.

The football phenom revealed his exclusive collaboration with Binance today. The multi-year contract, according to Ronaldo, will provide fans the chance to “own an iconic piece of sports history” and take part in his Web3 community.

In a video, Ronaldo stated, “Today we are going to transform the NFT game and move football to the next level.”

The Binance-controlled exchange and the Binance Smart Chain are two of the largest elements of one of cryptocurrency’s largest ecosystems (BSC). With 407 different protocols built atop it and $5.92 billion in value locked, BSC is the second-most used blockchain (after Ethereum).

Binance has had trouble creating a thriving native NFT ecosystem despite these great figures. With only $79 million in total trade volume, PancakeSwap, the decentralized exchange and flagship protocol of Binance, ranks twenty out of the NFT markets (OpenSea and LooksRare, two Ethereum marketplaces, had respective trading volumes of $31.24 billion and $23.23 billion).

Therefore, the alliance with Ronaldo might be interpreted as an effort by Binance to add value to BSC and start growing the NFT market share of the blockchain. On this retweet of the formal announcement, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao “CZ” may have hinted as much: “Now, we start.”

This week saw the announcement of several noteworthy NFT partnerships, such as Pharell Williams’ recent appointment as Chief Brand Officer for the Doodles line.

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NFT

OpenSea and Kakao’s Klaytn collaborate to expand NFT across Asia

Klaytn, a Singapore-based public blockchain platform, and OpenSea, a non-fungible token (NFT) market, established a cooperation on Friday to support the Asian NFT ecosystem.

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  • In order to showcase Asian NFT initiatives to a worldwide audience, the alliance involves conference collaborations and ecosystem awards.
  • The largest NFT marketplace in the world supports four blockchains: Klaytn, Polygon, Solana, and Ethereum.
  • The blockchain subsidiary of South Korean internet behemoth Kakao, Ground X, founded the Klaytn Foundation.
  • On its central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot project, the Bank of Korea collaborates with Ground X.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

NHL Opens Hockey Collectibles NFT Marketplace

The NHL, along with its Alumni Association and Players’ Association, said on Thursday that it has joined with NFT platform Sweet to build a distinctive NFT marketplace and libraries of NFTs—individual blockchain tokens that denote ownership.

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The NHL’s market will fall between a full-fledged NFT trading platform and a website that enables momentary NFT drops, according to David Lehanski, the league’s executive vice president of business development and innovation.

By creating an NFT marketplace with exclusive releases, the NHL hopes to give fans a little bit of both. In preparation for the commencement of the 2022–2023 season, the NHL’s Sweet marketplace is anticipated to launch in October.

The NHL aims to gamify NFTs with “questing and collecting” components so that fans will interact and can be rewarded with benefits like other NFTs, according to Lehanski, who spoke to Decrypt.

Depending on a player’s performance, some of the NFTs will also be dynamic and alter over time. According to a statement, NFTs will also include “cinematic game highlights from past and present NHL seasons” or surprise packs of NFTs that may be seen in “3D interactive trophy rooms.”

Lehanski claimed that the NHL wasn’t yet ready to reveal which blockchain it would be constructing on. Though it might be on Polygon or Tezos if Sweet’s offerings are any indicator.

Lehanski stated, “We’re looking at everything,” and that the NHL’s top priorities in its search for a blockchain include “cheap gas expenses” and “environmental sustainability.”

The NHL is one of the most recent major professional sports leagues to enter the NFT market, following the NBA’s Top Shot NFTs, the NFL’s “play and own” NFT game, and MLB’s impending NFT contest.

Lehanski commented on the NHL’s approach to NFTs, saying, “There was clearly a lot of temptation to potentially moving very rapidly […] but we thought that was a little shortsighted.” He added that, in his opinion, spending the time to investigate indicators like fan behavior was worthwhile. Especially in relation to digital collectibles and gaming, NFTs have a long-term future as relevant and meaningful items for enthusiasts.

But according to Sweet CEO Tom Mizzone, the NHL’s NFTs won’t simply be targeted at hockey fans who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies; seasoned NFT collectors will also be able to participate in a way that feels natural to them.

It will undoubtedly appeal to that degen culture, he continued, but not to the extent that it excludes fancier consumer bases.

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