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NFT Frenzy Sees Sales Top $10B for Q3 While AXS Hits Another ATH

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There has been a record number of nonfungible tokens (NFT) sold in the third quarter of 2021 and the frenzy does not look like slowing down.

More than $10.7 billion worth of NFTs were sold between July and September, according to stats from analytics websites.

Digital art, memes, gaming items, and collectibles have sold like hotcakes over the past three months, so much so that they’ve even headlined on Reuters.

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The report, citing figures from DappRadar, stated that the whopping third-quarter figure was up from $1.3 billion in Q2 and $1.2 billion in Q1. The figures could be even higher as they don’t include off-chain transactions such as those carried out by auction houses.

NonFungible, which tracks NFTs only on the Ethereum blockchain, puts the 2021 total volume at $7 billion.

OpenSea and Axies Lead the Way

NFT marketplace OpenSea has been dominating in terms of trade volumes. Since most NFTs are based on the Ethereum ERC-721 standard, they have also been responsible for record transaction fees in recent months.

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Etherscan reports that the platform is the highest generator of gas on Ethereum, with 22.5% of the entire share for the past 24 hours. It had generated 2,189 ETH or $7.3 million in network fees since the same time yesterday. In fact, OpenSea churns through more gas than Uniswap and Tether combined.

DappRadar is currently reporting that OpenSea has handled $2.75 billion in NFT sales over the past 30 days.

More than half of NFTs sold during the period were between $101 and $1,000, and around 20% were in the $1,001 to $10,000 bracket, according to NonFungible.

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U.S.-based NFT project selling algorithmically-generated digital artworks called Art Blocks saw impressive growth for the quarter. However, the Axie Infinity “play-to-earn” metaverse has been the largest seller of NFTs to date, with more than $2.2 billion sold, according to CryptoSlam.

There are currently around 2 million Axie owners, the NFT ranking website reported. Axie Infinity had $776 million in Q3 revenues, according to DappRadar.

NFT Fever Drives AXS to ATH

The gaming platform launched staking incentives for its native AXS tokens last week, which resulted in a price surge to an all-time high of $156 on Oct. 4.

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At the time of writing, AXS was trading at $137, up 115% over the past seven days and a whopping 825% over the past three months, according to CoinGecko.

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Bitcoin

NFTs ‘on Bitcoin’: Yes, That’s a Thing!

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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage right now. From CryptoPunks to Bored Apes, millions in crypto are exchanging hands for pixel art, tokenized memes, and crypto collectibles. 

For the most part, the action takes place on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, which has made some hardcore bitcoiners skeptical of this new crypto market segment. However, there is also a market of NFTs secured by the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain.

Read on to learn about what’s happening with Bitcoin-secured NFTs. 

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NFTs are moving beyond Ethereum

Until recently, Ethereum has been the go-to blockchain for minting and trading NFTs. That is changing quickly, however, as Ethereum high gas fees have pushed out many would-be market participants, making NFTs on other chains more attractive. 

The Bitcoin blockchain has also a role to play here.  

While NFTs “on Bitcoin” don’t exist purely on the Bitcoin blockchain (in a way that ERC721 tokens exist on Ethereum), they are secured by the Bitcoin blockchain. The additional tech stack that powers the ability to issue and secure NFTs with Bitcoin is provided by the likes of CounterpartyStacks, and the Liquid Network

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Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the most prolific NFT projects secured by Bitcoin.

Rare Pepes & crypto art on Scarce City

Scarce City is a Bitcoin-secured art auction platform that enables artists to sell their artwork for BTC. 

The Scarce City team claims that “Bitcoin’s finest goods should be sold according to the network’s properties of pseudonymous, borderless, permissionless, trust minimized, and verifiable authenticity and supply.” 

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On the auction platform, art is sold via Lightning-powered auctions to “keep auction participants accountable by collateralizing their bids through instant, anonymous, low-fee Lightning Network payments,” the team explains on its website.

In addition to giving artists the ability to sell their physical art in exchange for BTC, the marketplace also sells an NFT series based on the Pepe The Frog internet meme, called the Rare Pepe collection. 

Rare Pepe NFTs are powered by Counterparty – an open-source protocol built on top of the Bitcoin network – that uses the Bitcoin blockchain to record data. 

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By securing NFTs on Bitcoin, these digital collectible cards arguably have a chance of lasting longer than NFTs secured by newer chains that may end up disappearing (or forking) in a few years’ time. For NFT holders, that is something to consider. 

NFT skins for Bitcoin gamers

Bitcoin-secured NFTs are not only limited to artworks and dank memes. They also have applications in the gaming world. For instance, Lightnite, a play-to-earn online game powered by Lightning payments, utilizes Blockstream’s Liquid Network to enable players to purchase and earn in-game items in the form of NFTs. 

The Liquid Network is a Bitcoin sidechain that can facilitate the trading of these and other Bitcoin NFTs. While it was created by Blockstream, it’s currently governed by a federation of parties and operated on an open-source blockchain platform called Elements. 

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In a blog post, Blockstream explains that Lightnite players receive a unique Liquid token in their account every time they purchase or earn a skin. These tokens can then be withdrawn to a personal Blockstream wallet for safekeeping or to trade with other Lightnite players. Should a Lightnite player receive a skin outside of the game, they can deposit the Liquid token in their Lightnite account to receive the skin and deploy it in the game. 

Lightnite skins are not the only NFTs floating around on the Liquid Network. Another notable NFT project on Liquid is Raretoshi. 

Raretoshi is an NFT marketplace that enables artists to sell rare digital art for L-BTC (pegged bitcoin on Liquid), benefiting from lower transaction costs and the ability to get paid in bitcoin. 

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NFTs on Stacks: Web 3.0, built on Bitcoin

Stacks says it is a decentralized, open-source network built on Bitcoin that aims to unleash Bitcoin’s potential as a programmable base layer to build “a better Internet.” That means that developers can mint NFTs and build NFT marketplaces that are secured by the power of the Bitcoin network. 

The Stacks team says that “Bitcoin has all the properties that decentralized apps and smart contracts need: the security, the settlement assurances, the capital, and the network effects.” 

In light of Stacks’ Bitcoin-powered technology stack and the rising popularity of NFTs, it comes as little surprise that the first NFT ventures have already started to emerge on Stacks. 

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StacksArtSTXNFT, and Boom are examples of up-and-coming NFT platforms operating on the Stacks chain. 

Interestingly, Satoshibles – an NFT collection by bitcoiners for bitcoiners that launched on Ethereum – announced that it plans to move to Stacks via an NFT bridge between Ethereum and the Stacks blockchain. 

“Using Satoshi as our mascot, we have always felt that we are the NFT for Bitcoin enthusiasts, however, it’s a pretty hard sell when your project is on Ethereum,” the Satoshibles team admitted. 

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To bring its series of 5,000 algorithmically generated, Satoshi-themed NFTs close to the Bitcoin community, Satoshibles holders will be able to port their NFTs to Bitcoin via Stacks.

As the NFT market continues to grow and more NFTs “powered by Bitcoin” emerge, we could see even more money flowing into non-fungible tokens, especially when collectors can trust that their NFTs are secured by Bitcoin. 

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In a blog post, Blockstream explains that Lightnite players receive a unique Liquid token in their account every time they purchase or earn a skin. These tokens can then be withdrawn to a personal Blockstream wallet for safekeeping or to trade with other Lightnite players. Should a Lightnite player receive a skin outside of the game, they can deposit the Liquid token in their Lightnite account to receive the skin and deploy it in the game. 

Lightnite skins are not the only NFTs floating around on the Liquid Network. Another notable NFT project on Liquid is Raretoshi. 

Raretoshi is an NFT marketplace that enables artists to sell rare digital art for L-BTC (pegged bitcoin on Liquid), benefiting from lower transaction costs and the ability to get paid in bitcoin. 

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NFTs on Stacks: Web 3.0, built on Bitcoin

Stacks says it is a decentralized, open-source network built on Bitcoin that aims to unleash Bitcoin’s potential as a programmable base layer to build “a better Internet.” That means that developers can mint NFTs and build NFT marketplaces that are secured by the power of the Bitcoin network. 

The Stacks team says that “Bitcoin has all the properties that decentralized apps and smart contracts need: the security, the settlement assurances, the capital, and the network effects.” 

In light of Stacks’ Bitcoin-powered technology stack and the rising popularity of NFTs, it comes as little surprise that the first NFT ventures have already started to emerge on Stacks. 

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StacksArtSTXNFT, and Boom are examples of up-and-coming NFT platforms operating on the Stacks chain. 

Interestingly, Satoshibles – an NFT collection by bitcoiners for bitcoiners that launched on Ethereum – announced that it plans to move to Stacks via an NFT bridge between Ethereum and the Stacks blockchain. 

“Using Satoshi as our mascot, we have always felt that we are the NFT for Bitcoin enthusiasts, however, it’s a pretty hard sell when your project is on Ethereum,” the Satoshibles team admitted. 

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To bring its series of 5,000 algorithmically generated, Satoshi-themed NFTs close to the Bitcoin community, Satoshibles holders will be able to port their NFTs to Bitcoin via Stacks.

As the NFT market continues to grow and more NFTs “powered by Bitcoin” emerge, we could see even more money flowing into non-fungible tokens, especially when collectors can trust that their NFTs are secured by Bitcoin. 

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China Sort of Bans NFTs, But Local Internet Giants Keep Entering This Field

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Chinese authorities are prohibiting NFTs but allow digital collectibles instead; however, Internet giants keep entering the NFT space

According to the Chinese crypto blogger Colin Wu, Chinese regulators are in talks with major Internet companies about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) use.

He has reported exclusively that NFTs are not allowed to be used any more. However, instead digital collectibles are permitted.

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Still, local Internet giants and other major companies are still entering the NFT space actively. Recently, U.Today reported that McDonald’s in China has released a set of 188 NFTs to present to its staffers and customers in honor of the 31 anniversary of the company’s presence in China. These NFTs are called “Big Mac Rubik’s Cube”.

Tencent and Alibaba have also launched their NFTs platforms and DHL has released its NFTs too, Wu reminds.

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In late September, China also banned cryptocurrency transactions, marking them as illegal. However, Chinese citizens are still allowed to own Bitcoin legally as digital property.

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Reddit Working on NFT Platform

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The Reddit message board is getting into the NFT market, a new job posting suggests

Online message board Reddit is preparing to develop a platform for non-fungible tokens, according to a new job posting.

The San Francisco-headquartered company is looking for a senior backend engineer who will be responsible for building services that will make it possible for “millions” of users to mint and trade NFTs.

The job description highlights the importance of NFTs, predicting that they are going to “rewrite” the way we think about goods. It highlights a slew of use cases that are linked to the new technology:

Beyond visual art, there are already NFTs for music, videos, articles, and even memes. Many believe that NFTs will become the standard for items in online games, as well as items in the eventual metaverse.

Five years of experience in backend development and the ability to design complex distributed systems are the key qualifications required for the position.

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Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is a big fan of Ethereum and NFTs. At the MET Fashion Gala, he even wore a CryptoPunk NFT that he purchased for his wife, Serena Williams.

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