NFT. Is the latest fashion in digital art losing momentum?

In April last year, oi published an article about NFTs, this new world that has unfolded in recent years and has resulted in multi-million dollar transactions. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are at the heart of this new form of philanthropy and art appreciation, boiling down to the purchase of digital content which, being tied to the blockchain technology behind the Ethereum cryptocurrency, is accompanied by a unique digital certificate. ownership,” giving your buyer the privilege to say they own, for example, a YouTube video, tweet, or digital artwork such as a drawing or song.

The world of NFTs has grown exponentially in recent years, and in 2021, precisely when the aforementioned i article was published, the artist Beeple was selling his collection Everydays: The First 5000 Days, in a publicized sale by the famous auction house Christie’s, for 69 million dollars (about 58 million euros, at the exchange rate of March 2021).

There was talk (and talk) of a new way to support artists, a new market for philanthropists, and a new environment disconnected from the boundaries of the physical world, as well as regulated markets, and creativity was flowing… but now the interest in this type of art seems to have hit a snag. At a time when the world markets fluctuate and vary according to the predictions and speculations of the various agents concerning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world of NFT does not seem to remain unpunished in the face of the skepticism of investors. According to data from StockApps, a well-known mobile application dedicated to supporting stock market investors, global interest in NFTs has dropped by 68% in the past two months.

“In recent years, the blockchain world has been marked by several waves. First came cryptocurrencies, then DEFi, and more recently NFT and the metaverse. While many of these waves, such as crypto and DeFi, seem to have stood the test of time, the same cannot be said for NFT and metaverses.

These are the words from StockApps, which uses data collected by the Google Trends tool, which compiles the most searched terms of a given period, to reveal that interest in the search term ‘NFT’ has dropped by about 68% from the start. of the year, increasing the score of this term in the ranking of the most searched in this search engine from 100 in January to 32 in March 6.

“It seems that the NFT skeptics, after all, knew something the others didn’t. It’s not just interest that’s dwindling – NFT sales are also down. While this is expected of any new technology, we cannot be sure at this time what direction NFT will take,” StockApps’ Edith Reads said in a statement.

Cautious skepticism The StockApps report does not mention any influence of the war in Ukraine on the international NFT market, however, preferring to blame the weight of the decline in interest in this art form on a certain “skepticism” of the market.

“Skeptics have warned that the NFT ‘craze’ is just a bubble, about to burst…and recent data shows they may be right,” warns the platform, recalling that ‘after the gradual increase in NFT sales and transactions in the months following the sale of Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days, the start of 2022 also marked the starting point for declining interest in this digital art format. “Now it looks like the decline is not going to slow down for the foreseeable future.”

Despite the apparent decline in global market interest in NFTs in recent months, the reality is that 2021 has been the real boom year for this artistic medium. Indeed, according to the annual report devoted to NFT carried out by NonFungible and L’Atelier BNP Paribas, between 2020 and 2021, the market for this digital content has increased by more than 21,000%, reaching 17.6 billion dollars (around 16 billion euros) in Sales. Two years earlier, the total was 82 million dollars (74 million euros).

but after all, what is NFT? In Portugal, the world of NFTs continues to be seen as something underground, little known in the mainstream media, presenting itself as a niche for investors and art lovers who seek variety in their portfolios and who believe that the future is to invest in this economic model. Lisbon was however the scene of the first European festival of crypto art, in May 2021.

NFT-related digital art has no physical format, is not touchable, and cannot be hung on the wall. An NFT can be a tweet, as it can be a YouTube video, an Instagram post or a drawing of a “bored monkey” – that’s right, one of the best known collections – and the most valuable – in the world of NFTs is called Bored Ape Yacht Club (something like ‘Bored Monkey’s Yacht Club’), a series of caricatures of monkeys that imitate beings with a little… that’s it, ‘bored’.

But anyone who thinks these works are just entertainment for an artist with a lot of free time is wrong: on January 31 this year, one of the collectibles of this exclusive club sold for a total of 1,080 .69 Ethereum, which, at the same time, translates to 2.5 million euros. Moreover, at the close of this edition, the cheapest work in this collection displayed a price of around 200 thousand euros.

Curiosity and the millions of dollars involved have drawn several celebrities into the world of NFTs: from actress Lindsey Lohan to Neymar Jr., a Brazilian soccer player who plays for PSG and who in January this year acquired an NFT from the Bored Ape Yacht collection. Club for around one million euros.

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