We’ve witnessed an almost cataclysmic NFT market crash during the first half of 2022 after the explosive growth in 2021. NFT activity took a nosedive around mid-March to $964 million compared to February 2022 when trading volume was estimated at around $3.9 billion.
In other words, volume is still there but trading activity has contracted, big time. Does this mean that the inflated NFT bubble is about to blow up? Why did people start tightening their belts when it comes to investing in web3? Has the NFT crash started or there is still a chance that these risky digital assets will go back to what they used to be after a rough start of the year?
Reasons Behind the Activity Drop
It has been a month since the NFT market began to level off. NFT transaction activity flopped by almost 50% compared to the same time last year. However, did NFTs crash just like that or are there some major reasons behind?
Digital assets are risky, out of which NFTs are the riskiest while cryptocurrencies were considered relatively safe, all until the past month when $500 million was wiped out of the crypto market.
During one of the craziest weeks in crypto, LUNA, one of the most popular stablecoins dropped to 0, USDT dipped to 95 cents, and Elon Musk said that the Twitter acquisition was put on hold.
As a result of all this, the market experienced a massive sell-off. Bitcoin dipped below $27,000, Ethereum below $1,700, Solana below $45, and so on.
Cryptocurrencies started bleeding and NFTs simply followed and took the huge burnt out of the crypto crash. It turned out NFTs were even more vulnerable to speculations compared to crypto than everyone thought.
Newbies got scared that we were entering a crypto winter, meaning their digital assets would lose value significantly. A single question circled their minds – will NFTs crash?
Flippers were selling at a loss (their idea was to limit the damage by selling low) whilst some of them were just listing but never selling their NFTs, which was a result of a massive downturn in trading volumes.
To clarify, most people in NFTs are seeking overnight profits. No wonder such a large drop in value when it comes to cryptocurrencies made them fear they would lose most or all of the money invested. For the same reason, they got discouraged from injecting more money and buying new stuff.
Note that most new people in the space aren’t making educated decisions. They are, mostly, buying the hype, and just going for the latest trend instead for utility projects is enormously risky. “Scared money makes no money” is something you’ll often read on Twitter about investing in NFTs.
Another reason for a significant volume drop is that the number of frauds or rug pulls has never been higher and the entire NFT space feels less safe than it used to be.
Connect your wallet to the wrong website and you will get drained – all of your NFTs and funds, gone, within seconds. Click on the link sent to you on Discord, and the same thing happens. The more people in the space, the more scammers, and needing to stay super-cautious about all this simply kills the vibe NFTs had initially.
The declining price of cryptocurrencies and NFTs has a lot to do with the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the rise of interest rates, and, needless to say, inflation. If we enter a recession, the world will be way less interested in art.
Still, it’s good to know that successful holders, traders, and flippers in the NFT space are not newcomers. A large portion of people in web3 are crypto-natives, deeply enthusiastic about decentralization, gaming, and art and they are considering this dip advantageous in so many ways.
NFT whales do not have the need to cash out, or, at least, not entirely. They have survived bear markets and their mindset is set to “1 ETH is 1 ETH”. They are willing to participate in transactions almost without caring what is happening to fiat. Shortly said, crypto and NFTs are not for the faint-hearted.
Are All NFTs Performing Badly?
Of course not! High-profile aka blue-chip projects (Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, Crypto Punks) as well as the metaverse land, Otherdeed for Otherside, are doing relatively well.
The number of active collections, buyers, and sellers is growing consistently as well. A weekly number of active collections on OpenSea solely skyrocketed from below 500 in Q1 2021 to 5,000 in Q1 2022. In Q1 2022, almost 1 million unique addresses performed a transaction – bought or sold an NFT, compared to Q4 2021 when the number of active wallets was around 627,000.
On the other hand, Solana NFTs have gained huge traction since the Okay Bear mint followed by the Trippin’ Ape Tribe mint. Thanks to the latter, Solana NFTs surpassed trading volume on Ethereum NFTs first time in history – $24.3 vs $24 million in a day.
A recently minted NFT on Solana, Trippin’ Ape Tribe, surpassed the most popular Etherem NFTs in 7-day volume on OpenSea.
Magic Eden took over OpenSea in terms of both transactions and weekly users. One of the reasons behind this is that minting, purchasing on the secondary, listing, and bidding costs practically 0 SOL, and transaction fees on Ethereum are still relatively high.
Trying to stay on top of transactions, OpenSea now accommodates Solana collectibles (Polygon and Klaytn as well) and currently supports trading over 500 collections. On June 5th, NFT trading volume on Solana surpassed $2.35 billion, and it could be that Solana summer is really not just a buzzword.
Finally, some big brands such as Nike, Lous Vuitton, Pepsi, and Samsung have dipped their toes into NFTs. A couple of established brands that are just about to get into the NFT world are LACOSTE, Diesel, and Audi, which is an indicator that NFTs are far from dead.
So, do we think this NFT crash means the end of NFTs? Not at all! We’re going through a period of consolidation. The market is maturing, and, eventually, it will bounce back. However, people willing to invest in NFTs should be more cautious and go for projects they believe have potential and will stay around long-term instead of looking for quick flips.