Amid the ongoing crypto market downturn, overall NFT sales volume remained largely flat in September. But while overall volume appears stagnant, individual NFT sales are keeping pace, high value NFTs on Ethereum are still selling, and NFTs are gaining steam.
All in all, $947 million worth of NFT trading volume was recorded in September, according to data from DappRadar—and that figure specifically excludes suspected wash trades. That compares to $927 million in August and nearly $916 million in July. June was the last month to crack the billion-dollar mark at $1.03 billion.
The NFT market remains in significant decline from the frenzy of late 2021 and earlier this year. In January, for example, DappRadar recorded about $5.36 billion worth of organic NFT trading volume. In other words, the NFT market produced 82% less trading volume in September when measured in USD.
DappRadar Senior Blockchain Analyst Pedro Herrera pointed to a few potential reasons for the ongoing NFT market depression. On one hand, crypto prices have fallen significantly since the start of the year. Ethereum (ETH), for example, is down by 65% measured in U.S. dollars since the start of the year.
Amid crypto market turmoil and broader macroeconomic trends, he told Decrypt, investors also appear to be more risk-averse than before. So while snagging pricey NFT might have seemed inviting to some buyers earlier this year, there are fewer high-value sales in the mix lately.
But NFTs are still selling by the millions, despite the lower price point and declining ETH value. In fact, that number is rising lately, with some 8.78 million NFTs transacted in September—up from 7.68 million NFTs sold in August and 5.89 million sold in July. It’s the third-highest monthly total so far in 2022, with January still on top with 12.16 million NFTs sold.
“Demand for NFTs is not fading away,” Herrera told Decrypt. “It's just the market adjusting the value for some NFTs. Definitely, there was a bubble in terms of how certain collections were priced out, which led to million-dollar sales.”
And there are some interesting trends in the mix too: Solana NFT sales have jumped in recent weeks, thanks to the success of projects like y00ts and ABC. DappRadar recorded almost $133 million worth of Solana NFT sales last month, nearly double the $68.5 million mark from August.
What's more, DappRadar’s data suggests that OpenSea’s once-firm grip over the NFT market is loosening. OpenSea’s $350 million worth of September trading volume still tops rivals, but rival X2Y2 is coming up close with $297 million worth of organic volume. Magic Eden, the top Solana marketplace, had $127 million worth of volume in September.
Last week, the NFT market saw some high-profile, high-value sales and drops, showing that there’s still life in the space despite depressed overall numbers.
Tyler Hobbs’ latest generative art drop yielded nearly $17 million in primary sales on Wednesday, for example, with secondary sales topping $27 million in the days since. Meanwhile, a single CryptoPunks NFT sold for $4.5 million on the secondary market last week.
Asked about future prognosis for the NFT market, Herrera said that he doesn’t believe we’ll see monthly totals around the $5 billion or $6 billion mark again—that speculative bubble has popped. But he anticipates that the market will grow from here and climb back into the $2 billion monthly range in time.
He pegs that projected growth to rising activity from brands in the space, such as Starbucks and Ticketmaster, plus potentially significant adoption once the NFT gaming space matures.
“All of the market activity that will come from games will be massive,” he said. “I reckon that in one year, the NFT market could look a lot different because of the hype and dominance of game NFT assets.”