NFTs Are Back? Sales Jump 32% in October, Led by Ethereum

Crypto’s JPEG market is showing signs of life—despite mass layoffs at prominent marketplace OpenSea on Friday—as NFT trading volume grew by $99 million in October compared to the month before, according to a report released by crypto data firm DappRadar.

“The yearlong downward trend in NFT trading has been broken,” DappRadar wrote, noting that NFT trading volume increased 32% from $306 million in September to $405 million last month. The firm described it as levels of sales not seen since August.

NFTs are unique digital tokens that represent the ownership of an item, often digital art. While the market for NFTs was bubbly in 2021 and early 2022, this year has been tough for many profile picture (PFP) projects so far—as hype for collections like Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) chills amid a prolonged crypto winter.

However, signs of warmth in the broader digital assets industry could be at play. The uptick in NFT trading volume came as the price of Bitcoin bounced above $35,000—touching its highest price in 16 months on anticipation that a spot Bitcoin ETF could be approved in the U.S. soon, analysts say.

DappRadar’s report highlighted Solana as a notable network in terms of growth. NFT trading volume on the speedy layer-1 grew 15% from $24 million to $27.6 million, DappRadar reported. Meanwhile, the price of Solana itself surged 65% in October, jumping from $23 to around $38, according to CoinGecko.

NFT trading volumes across a breadth of blockchains that support the class of tokens are captured in DappRadar’s report. And across all networks, a 50% jump in NFT trading volume on Ethereum—crypto’s second-largest coin—kept it “leading the pack,” DappRadar said.

As the flow of JPEGs grew in October, the floor price—or cheapest listed NFT on a secondary marketplace—for some popular PFP projects increased as well. For example, the floor price of NFTs from the aforementioned Bored Ape Yacht Club rose from $40,000 worth of Ethereum to around $55,000.

An uptick in the price of PFP projects boasting large market capitalizations was recently touched on by Punk9059, director of research at NFT startup Proof. “Uptober has arrived,” the pseudonymous researcher said on Twitter last week.

While DappRadar’s report could provoke WAGMI-like hopes among some NFT traders, $405 million in NFT trading volume throughout October is a paltry sum compared to the $2 billion in JPEGs that traded hands in March. Additionally, NFT sales continued to slump last month.

Despite the rise in trading value, the overall number of NFTs sold in October slid by 5%, from 3.58 million in September to 3.4 million last month, DappRadar reported. Still, the decrease was less severe than when NFT sales fell by 290,000 in August.

Edited by Andrew Hayward