Is the crypto bear market coming to an end? Cryptocurrency prices are on the rise lately, and there are now growing signs that the NFT space is rebounding as well. The latest: OpenSea, the leading marketplace, has notched back-to-back Ethereum NFT monthly sales increases for the first time in a year, with January sales volume already topping December’s tally with a week left to go.
According to public blockchain data available on analytics platform Dune, OpenSea has processed over $320 million worth of Ethereum NFT trades so far in January, already beating December’s tally of about $283.5 million. And December was the first time since April 2022 that OpenSea had posted any kind of sales increase, climbing from $253 million worth in November.
The rising value of Ethereum has something to do with it. Ethereum is up 33% over the past 30 days to a current price of $1,620, per data from CoinGecko. But even when measured in ETH, OpenSea’s January sales just inched past the December tally with over 228,000 ETH this month compared to 227,000 ETH the previous period. In November, OpenSea had almost 191,000 ETH worth of Ethereum NFT sales.
Even so, while OpenSea’s recent rise is a positive signal for the industry after months of declining sales, the figures reinforce how significantly the market has deteriorated over the past year. In January 2022, OpenSea marked its best-ever month with $4.86 billion worth of Ethereum NFT sales.
OpenSea had five straight months of at least $2 billion worth of NFT trading volume each to start off 2022, but saw volatile up and down swings during that span. The last time the marketplace had two straight months of sales volume growth (measured in USD) was across December 2021 and January 2022.
The OpenSea streak isn’t the only recent data point that suggests signs of life for the NFT space. Prices are up for top collections, for example, with the the cheapest-listed Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT jumping from $84,500 worth of ETH to nearly $108,000 over the past 30 days, per NFT Price Floor. CryptoPunks jumped from $76,500 worth of ETH to $108,000 during the same span.
Over the past 30 days, Bored Ape sales are up 45% over the previous period, per data from CryptoSlam, while Azuki NFTs have risen 89% and Art Blocks sales are up 62%.
The rise in NFT trading volume doesn’t appear to be restricted to OpenSea, either. Broadly, CryptoSlam shows a 33% rise in Ethereum NFT sales volume during that span, and a sizable 95% uptick in Solana NFT sales.
Previously, Decrypt reported that overall NFT market organic sales volume rose slightly in December 2022 compared to the previous month, per data from DappRadar, up from $662 million to $684 million.
Last week’s launch of the Sewer Pass NFT for Bored Ape Yacht Club members has helped fuel secondary market trading, with over $35 million worth of secondary trades thus far. OpenSea and X2Y2 appear to have handled the majority of those trades, as Yuga Labs blocked platforms (like Blur and LooksRare) that don’t fully enforce creator royalties.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club and associated collections are driving NFT trading volume lately, with pseudonymous Proof Director of Research Punk9059 pointing to Yuga’s projects encompassing about half of all Ethereum NFT trading volume over the past week. But the Apes were prominent drivers of early-year activity in 2022, as well, so that’s no major shift.
BAYC ecosystem assets have done nearly 50% of total ETH NFT volume over the past week.
It’s unclear if these recent signals will ultimately coalesce into a sustained NFT market rebound, and there’s no doubt that the space has lost considerable momentum over the last year. But amid several months of declining activity, any upward movement is sure to be seen as good news by traders and builders in the space.
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