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Once Worth Billions, NFTs Now Crippled as Market Downturn Continues

In 2021, the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) buzzed with excitement, speculative fervor, and skyrocketing prices. However, a notable transformation has occurred since then, with the market witnessing a substantial downturn that has led to plummeting floor prices and dwindling trading volumes.

Market Downturn and Shrinking Trade Volumes

Between January 2022 and July 2023, the monthly trading volume for NFTs suffered an 81% decline, paralleled by a 61% drop in monthly NFT sales figures during the same period. This downturn has struck hard at even well-known NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, causing their floor prices to reach their lowest point in two years.

NFTs’ Struggle Post-Crypto Meltdown

Once hailed as the next big thing in the crypto realm, NFTs have failed to recover from the 2022 cryptocurrency meltdown. Holders of blue-chip NFTs have experienced substantial value erosion, while several NFT platforms have been forced to shut down operations. Notably, Recur, a prominent NFT marketplace supported by billionaire Steve Cohen, and Nifty’s, an NFT social media platform backed by Mark Cuban and Joe Lubin, ceased operations, citing unforeseen challenges and unfavorable investment opportunities.

Regulatory and Market Pressure

Even established platforms like Blur, a leading NFT marketplace, have observed a staggering 96% plunge in sales volume measured in Ether between late June and early August. OpenSea, the second-largest NFT marketplace, has similarly faced a more than 90% reduction in trading volume. The apprehension of heightened regulatory scrutiny adds to the unease within the NFT community. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement action against Yuga Labs, alleging unregistered securities, has added to the mounting concerns.

The Rise and Fall of NFTs: A Brief Retrospective

NFTs gained prominence in 2017 with the introduction of Dapper Labs’ CryptoKitties, which featured tradable digital cats. This phenomenon overwhelmed the Ethereum network, further solidifying the trend with the success of Bored Ape Yacht Club—a collection of whimsical monkey NFTs. Celebrity involvement from Madonna, Paris Hilton, and Justin Bieber fueled the hype, resulting in nearly $24.7 billion in NFT trading volume across platforms in 2022, almost matching the $25 billion of 2021.

The Aftermath: Impacts on Investors, Creators, and Traders

Since its peak in 2022, the NFT market’s fortunes have turned completely. Investors have witnessed a souring sentiment, leading to lawsuits against NFT creators and sellers due to the rapid decline in artwork value. Traders are diverting their focus towards cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which have experienced significant rallies this year. Profile picture (PFP) NFTs have been hit particularly hard, losing substantial value and prompting many collectors to sell their holdings.

Navigating Changing Market Dynamics

As the NFT market faced challenges, it shifted from a collector-driven to a trader-driven market. This transformation has emphasized floor items, incentivized bids, lending, and inventory, eroding the initial emphasis on rarity and intrinsic value. Furthermore, some industry players have started distancing themselves from the term “NFTs,” using alternative labels like “digital art” or “digital collectibles.”

Market Resilience Amidst the Decline

While much of the NFT market is declining, pockets of resilience persist. Sotheby’s and Christie’s have continued to witness demand for NFTs, and brands like Lufthansa have even launched NFT-based loyalty programs. Notably, NFTs tied to the Bitcoin blockchain have experienced a surge in popularity, exemplified by a remarkable 2,834% increase in the second quarter compared to the first.

In conclusion, the journey of NFTs from their euphoric beginnings to the current downturn reflects the dynamic and evolving nature of the crypto market. Regulatory challenges, changing market dynamics, and investor sentiment have all played a role in shaping the present state of NFTs. While the market has faced setbacks, its resilience and adaptability continue to be evident through various sectors, showing that the NFT story is far from over.


Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions. Crypto is not a legal tender and is subject to market risks. Readers are advised to seek expert advice and read offer document(s) along with related important literature on the subject carefully before making any kind of investment whatsoever. Crypto market predictions are speculative and any investment made shall be at the sole cost and risk of the readers.