Although NFTs have been around since 2014, 2021 saw the peak in their popularity after Mikel Winkelmann (aka Beeple) bagged $69 million for his NFT; Everydays: The First 5000 days. News of this broke mainstream media; it was all everyone could talk about. And suddenly, everyone wanted to know what they were and why on earth people were paying so much for them.
Before Beeple’s NFT came to be, OG NFTs like Nyan Cat and CryptoPunks had already been in existence. CryptoPunks is an NFT series that consists of 10,000 pixelated portraits of punks and, on rare occasions, apes. True to what NFTs are, no two CryptoPunks are the same.
John Watson and Matt Hall, who make up Larva Lab studios, created CryptoPunks and launched it in June 2017.
At first, they gave CryptoPunks out for free but in January 2021, its value hit the $1 million dollar mark. Eventually, it cost a very pretty penny to buy a CryptoPunk; some even sold for as high as $11.75 million.
The Nyan Cat is another NFT that sold for a mind-boggling price. What started out as a viral Youtube video in 2011, went on to make rounds on the internet as a meme. It was then minted as an NFT by its owner Chris Torres and sold for almost $600,000 in February 2021. This further heightened people’s curiosity about NFTs. Leading to countless discussions held on the then-popular app, Clubhouse. And explanatory articles on what NFTs are and how to mint them began popping up on the internet.
Another NFT that took the NFT market by storm is the Bored Ape Yacht Club which is a 10,000-part series; exhibiting apes with various facial expressions and accessories. These days, you can’t look up NFTs without seeing images of apes; they’re almost synonymous at this point. This series launched in May 2021 by Gordon Goner, Gargamel, No Sass, and Emperor Tomato Ketchup— aliases obviously— and is eerily like the CryptoPunk collection. One another NFT worthy of note is the White Male for sale NFT which was quite bizarre. It was a video of a white male standing on a crate in Brooklyn.
With how hard NFTs hit the mainstream, we all assumed that they were here to stay. But, recent events in the NFT space are causing some doubts. With the crash of cryptocurrency sales in May 2022, the sales of NFTs took a nosedive as well.
The prices of best-seller NFTs have been on an almost constant decrease since May. The volume of sales of NFTs has plummeted by approximately 75%. This shows a steep decline, and it has investors breaking out into cold sweats.
Given how bad the crypto and NFT markets have been in recent months, everyone is wondering, “Could this be the end of the line for NFTs?”