According to NonFungible.com, more than 7.94 billion euros worth of NFTs had been sold by the end of October. At the start of the year, it was only 140 million euros.
This huge change of more than 5000% is mainly determined by the sharp increase in prices, because the number of works sold increased “only” by 98% during this period – from 5.1 million to 10.1 million.
CryptoMonday experts have researched which countries in the world are most interested in the NFT market. They also wanted to know if interest in NFTs and cryptocurrencies could be compared.
What is an NFT?
“Non-fungible” simply means something that is unique and cannot be replaced. There is an example that is often cited: a 10 euro note is fungible, but the Mona Lisa is not fungible.
The term “token” refers to a line of code on a blockchain – usually Ethereum – that indicates who owns a digital asset. Incidentally, the same applies to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Ownership of a digital currency unit can also be proven by a code in the corresponding blockchain.
So, a digital asset is something that can refer to both cryptocurrencies and NFTs, and in the latter case, it can represent any piece of digital art. It can be a video, a song or a meme – to name a few examples.
According to the NFT, others can view it freely online. It’s easy to compare to the real world. The Mona Lisa is on display at the Louvre Museum for all visitors. In the digital world, NFTs are issued to everyone, with the token determining the true owner.
Khashayar Abbasi, Bankless Times contributor and founder of the Crypto With Kash analytics newsletter, sees four reasons for the tokens’ appeal.
“First, buying NFT is very easy to do. Mainly because NFT markets are so clearly structured today,” he explains. “Digital artwork can be a very lucrative investment, as we’ve seen it with NFT collections such as Cryptopunks and Bored Apes. You can create a sense of belonging to an exclusive group of people who own a specific NFT. For some investors, such exclusivity is extremely important.
“After all, they have become a status symbol. Rich people bought expensive watches to show off their wealth. But only the few could see what kind of watch they were actually wearing – the people they met in real life. You can now buy an NFT and post it on social media for everyone to see. After that, anyone in the world can 100% verify who the owner is. I think we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential uses for NFTs.
Where are NFTs popular?
Abbasi says it’s difficult to determine the exact locations of NFT sales because the transactions are usually anonymous. But Google Trends and social media information can give a certain impression.
CryptoMonday used data from Google Trends to find out where the topic of non-fungible tokens is generating the most interest.
Google compares search queries around the world by ranking them on a scale of 1 to 100. 100 represents the highest level of interest in a query compared to interest in that query elsewhere.
Interestingly, China, where Google is technically blocked, tops the list. Most of the searches came from the coastal province of Zhejiang, the city of Shanghai and the province of Hubei, now better known as the homeland of Wuhan.
The next four spots in the top 10 were all in Asia-Pacific. The greatest interest can be seen in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia.
Abbasi commented, “Asian countries are generally more accustomed to cashless and digitized systems than Western countries. This could explain why NFTs are so common there.
“Chinese marketplace Alibaba, one of the largest companies in the world, has also implemented its own NFT platform.”
“Additionally, the country recently banned the trading of cryptocurrencies. It could also lead crypto-savvy investors to switch to NFTs.
Canada follows in sixth place, the United States is tied with the Philippines in seventh place.
Then came New Zealand, and finally the only European countries, Cyprus and the Netherlands, made the list.
Could NFTs Become More Popular Than Cryptocurrencies?
The cryptocurrency market is currently outperforming the NFT market by a multiple. The global capitalization of the crypto market is estimated at €2.25 trillion.
Even though cryptos and NFTs have different purposes – one is a digital monetary unit, the other a digital work of art – they have a lot in common. They are blockchain-based, used by many as an investment vehicle, and both are on the rise.
CryptoMonday compared searches for “NFT” to searches for “cryptocurrency” to find out the changes over the past year.
Japan, which has both an outstanding NFT art market and a highly developed crypto market, recorded the highest share of NFT searches against cryptocurrencies. So this is where the new industry obviously seems to be gaining popularity.
In Nigeria, on the other hand, interest in cryptocurrencies over NFTs is highest. According to data from Statista, the country has a very high proportion of people in the world who own cryptocurrencies. NFTs can’t seem to keep up.
Digital currencies are gaining popularity in some emerging markets with weak fiat currencies (i.e. traditional money). They are also commonly used by workers transferring money from abroad.
Commenting on the future of the NFT world, Abbasi notes, “There is certainly a lot of excitement in the NFT market with many new projects being launched every day. Many will be worth nothing, but blue chips like CryptoPunks will likely retain their value and become even more expensive over time.