2021 was a disappointing year for many. COVID is still closing businesses and filling hospitals, events have been canceled, and things have yet to return to “normal.” But shining through an otherwise dark year, the NFT market reached never before seen heights in 2021. Looking forward to 2022, NFTs look like they will continue to grow and gain popularity, becoming a staple of modern society. This article will take a look at what NFTs accomplished in 2021, as well what the future holds for NFTs.
First, let’s take a look at NFT sales in 2021. In the fourth quarter of 2020, total NFT sales were only $52.8 million. That is a lot, but it’s only a fraction of NFTs potential in the digital economy. By the first quarter of 2021, NFT sales reached $1.2 billion. In the fourth quarter, total NFT sales hit a stunning $10.7 billion. That is an incredible increase from 2020, one that shows the true potential of NFTs.
Taking a look at specific collections, it’s clear that 2021 was a massive year for NFTs. Collections like NBA Top Shot and Bored Ape Yacht Club have hit hundreds of millions in all-time sales. The biggest collections in the NFT space like CryptoPunks and Axie Infinity reached over a billion dollars in all time sales. Axie infinity has managed to reach $2.3 billion in sales, which is a truly staggering amount. Collections like these reaching all-time highs proves that the NFT market is alive and well. By the end of 2022, it’s almost guaranteed that even more collections can reach the one billion dollar mark. But it’s not just sales that shows what a stunning year 2021 was for NFTs and crypto.
As the gobstopping sales numbers suggest, the general interest in NFTs is up. According to recent research, over 6% of Americans either own or plan on owning an NFT. 6% may not seem like a lot, but considering how new the NFT movement is and the technical knowledge required, it is an astonishing number. But what kind of NFTs are they buying? Art? Music? Well, seemingly everything. From music and movies to art and sports, interest in nearly all aspects of NFTs are up. Though most people think of art when they hear NFT, this is clearly not indicative of the broader market. NFT enthusiasts are becoming more interested in other uses of NFTs besides art.
Looking towards the future of NFTs and digital collectibles , the diversification of NFTs is bound to be promising. With the NFTs slowly reaching into nearly every market, this is sure to increase sales and popularity. Whereas NFTs have been more focused on art in the past, enthusiasts are seeing the utility that NFTs have. Album releases, TV show funding, and more are all potential uses of NFTs that we are only beginning to experiment with. These uses are destined to bring more and more people in the NFT and crypto space, growing the movement.
These potential uses are compounded when one considers the future of the metaverse. As more and more aspects of our society are transferred to entire digital spaces, the metaverse will continue to grow. And in this digital metaverse, NFTs are becoming an important commodity. Digital property ownership, digital collectibles, digital art, and more are important aspects of the metaverse that NFTs can provide.
One of the biggest spaces for NFTs to grow is in the gaming world. While games have traditionally been pay for play, meaning you must pay to play the game, crypto games offer a play to earn model. Instead of paying $10 a month to play your favorite game, you could be payed in crypto and NFTs to play blockchain games. This offers an entirely new perspective on the gaming world. Then, one must consider the digital collectibles angle. Games have always been filled with digital collectibles. Things like skins and in-game items are a driver of gaming. But in the past, gamers didn’t actually own these collectibles. They had no power to sell them, trade them, transfer them to another game, etc. However, NFTs allow gamers to own their collectibles, encouraging a player-run digital economy.
This transition to a digital player run economy focused around digital collectibles could be revolutionary. If you’ve read Ready Player One, you can already imagine a similar future. Society living inside a digital metaverse, playing games to earn money, buying and trading collectibles. This is slowly becoming a very real future.
Ultimately, the future of NFTs is bright. With record breaking sales numbers in 2021, heaps of interest, and brand new use cases for the utility of NFTs, the market is clearly on the up. And with things looking optimistic for the new year, 2022 is certainly going to be yet another landmark year for NFTs and crypto.