NFT market passed $41 billion in 2021, rivaling the global fine art market

    Nearly $41 billion worth of cryptocurrency was sent to NFT marketplaces and collections from the beginning of 2021 through mid-December, according to a new estimate from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. NFTs are now inching closer and closer in value to the traditional art market.

     

    By the end of 2021, the marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital pieces of art tied to blockchain technology, reached a $41 billion value, according to blockchain data company Chainalysis.

    The metric revises an estimate the firm included in a December report on NFTs based on data through mid-October, said Maddie Kennedy, a spokeswoman for Chainalysis.

    According to the Financial Times, which first reported the new metric, total NFT sales would be even higher if digital collectibles minted on blockchains other than Ethereum were also included.

    NFTs are now inching closer and closer in value to the traditional art market, where people buy and sell physical works. The latest estimate from a 2021 report showed sales of conventional art and antiques reached $50 billion in 2020. However, that number declined from the year prior, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market report found.

    And art-industry stalwarts have taken notice. Centuries-old auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s have sold millions of dollars worth of NFTs as they capitalize on the burgeoning market.

    Heading into 2022, the NFT market appears to be staying strong. In the past week alone, sales of NFTs hit half a billion dollars, according to the latest data from NonFungible.com. The iconic Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks NFT collections led the sales, followed by Doodles, the Sandbox, and Art Blocks, Insider reported earlier.

    NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, exploded in popularity last year with recording-breaking, multimillion-dollar sales, and celebrities, such as singer Shawn Mendes, socialite Paris Hilton, and former first lady Melania Trump jumping on the bandwagon.

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