Contemporary art sales are back due to NFTs

    14 Oct 2021

    Art that was usually confined inside the museum or the apartment has found an expansive new home now – in the world of crypto. Contemporary art sales are back, hitting a record $2.7 billion in the past year, thanks to the love between young people and blockchain.

    According to Artprice, a leader in art market information, contemporary art auctions hit a peak of $2.7 billion over the past fiscal year of 2020-2021, boosting 117%. Art sales are seemingly facing a notable revival due to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital collectibles that live on the blockchain.

    As Artprice’s report says, this mammoth-like figure is largely due to the digitization of art. With the pandemic moving everything online for galleries and art dealers amid tough financial times for the arts, the world’s soaring fascination for NFTs saw art sales making a comeback.

    CEO of Artprice, Thierry Ehrmann, called NFTs a “sensational arrival” to the landscape of modern art.

    A number of famous contemporary artists have joined the NFT game. There’s the universally-known Banksy, who sold his work titled “Morons” for $380,000.

    Another digital artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, sold an NFT for an enormous $69.3 million at the online auction held by Christie’s, which had 22 million people in attendance.

    This digital art phenomenon is also drawing in a younger generation of art enthusiasts. Christie’s, in particular, reported that Beeple’s auction mostly brought in buyers under 40. A survey by UBS and Art Economic found that a new sector of millennial collectors is driving digital works, with 12% of art sales in the first half of 2021 being purely digital. These millennials are spending the most on art overall — $378,000 on average. That’s three times more than Gen-X and Boomers.

    As reported earlier, NFT sales volumes surged to $10.7 billion in the Q3 of 2021, up more than 700% from the Q2, according to market tracker DappRadar. The third-quarter figure was up from $1.3 billion in Q2 and $1.2 billion in Q1. On the biggest NFT marketplace, OpenSea, sales volumes hit $3.4 billion in August. Activity remained strong even in September when global stock markets faltered.

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