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The NFT Index: Assessing the burgeoning NFT market in 2021

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are all the rage in the crypto world these days. These tokens have surged in popularity in 2021, with a bundle of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs recently selling for an incredible $26 million at a Sotheby’s auction.

So what exactly are NFTs, and why are they so popular? NFTs are unique digital assets that can be used in multiple ways, such as to prove the ownership of a real-world asset, to be collected and used as part of an online game, or simply collected for the unique artwork often attached to them. The key here is that each NFT is a unique asset that cannot be counterfeited as it sits on a blockchain and tampering is not possible. The vast majority of NFTs use the Ethereum blockchain, which can store a large quantity of information allowing  a wide variety of tokens and NFTs to use it effectively.

There’s an increasing number of NFTs available, with new ones being created, or “minted”, every week. These digital products have caught the attention of many celebrities who have minted their own NFTs, including Grimes, Tony Hawk and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, who sold an NFT of the first ever Tweet for over $2.9M. 

World-renowned artist Damien Hirst has also entered the NFT space, with his “The Currency” collection of 10,000 NFTs, each with its own unique artwork. The novelty here is that each NFT also comes with a real-world original piece of art, with the buyer having to choose between keeping one and having the other burned.

This sudden popularity isn’t limited to celebrities; the owners of classic memes are also keen to get in on the action. One example is Zoe Roth, pictured in the “Disaster Girl” meme side-eyeing the camera while a house burns in the background. Roth sold this classic image for $500,000 worth of Ethereum.

Celebrity involvement aside, BrokerChooser is aware that the NFT market is still largely unknown to the majority of investors and even to many crypto enthusiasts. This has prompted us to dig deeper into the world of NFTs to paint a clearer picture of this new digital landscape. 

So join us as we explore the many facets of this exciting new opportunity in the crypto-sphere.

The NFT Index : Assessing the burgeoning NFT market in 2021
NFTs with the fastest increase in floor price

While the value of NFTs can vary wildly from project to project, some have sold for astronomical sums. The most expensive NFT so far is Everydays: The First 5000 Days by digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winklemann. This NFT is an amalgamation of his first 5,000 digital art pieces, and sold for an incredible $69.3 million at auction on March 11, 2021.

There are many different platforms for buying and selling NFTs, with some of the most popular being OpenSea, NiftyGateway, Rarible and Foundation. On OpenSea, for example, you can buy and sell NFTs as well as create your own. 

We will now take a closer look at some of the NFTs that increased in floor price the fastest to reach certain milestones. Looking at some of the most popular NFTs, we’ve divided them into groups based on whether they’ve ever hit a floor of 1, 5 or 10ETH (Ethereum), and checked how long each NFT took to reach these floor levels from the date they were minted.

The fastest to reach a 10ETH floor

The following table shows the NFTs that have reached a floor of 10ETH at some point since mint. This gives us an idea of which NFTs are the most popular and represent the best options for investors looking for high returns.

To calculate this, we noted the date when each one was minted, as well as the date when each one hit a 10ETH floor price for the first time, revealing which NFTs managed this the fastest.

NFTs can be attached to anything from digital art pieces to audio files, and are often released as  part of a larger collection or project in which there could be hundreds or thousands or variations of the NFT you bought. You can picture it like trading cards, but with only one of each card available for purchase.

As you can see, The 140 Collection by Twitter was the fastest to reach a value of 10ETH or higher, taking less than one day. This collection comprises 140 NFTs that were freely given to 140 handpicked Twitter users, and were so popular that their values shot up past a 10ETH floor price on the same day they were minted.

Three other NFTs took ten days or less to reach the 10ETH marker with Mutant Ape Yacht Club taking one day, Loot (for Adventurers) taking six days, and Meebits taking ten.

The fastest to a 5ETH floor price

Proportionally, very few NFTs have made it to a 10ETH floor price, so we’ve also taken a look at promising NFTs that have hit the 5ETH milestone. Below you can see how long each of these took to make it to a 5ETH floor.

At the top of the table, the MetaHero Universe: Generative Identities NFT hit 5ETH on its very first day. This NFT comprises a collection of heroes, villains and mutants from the MetaHero Universe.

The second fastest to 5ETH is 0N1 Force, which took eight days, while GEN.ART Membership took 15 days to reach 5ETH.

NFTs that reached a 1ETH floor price the fastest

While NFTs that reach a 1ETH floor price aren’t the most valuable of the lot, they still show promise and have the potential to grow in value as the market develops and matures. These NFTs have at least proven that they hold some value and can generate a degree of interest in the community.

As you can see, many more NFTs are capable of hitting the 1ETH milestone right off the bat, with six such NFTs in this table. Some of these, such as Sneaky Vampire Syndicate and Woodies Generative Characters, are compilations of characters that you can collect and even use as online avatars, icons or gamer pics.

Also hitting 1ETH on the day it was minted was TIMEPiece Community, an NFT launched by TIME Magazine. This represents another foray into the NFT world by a large media organisation, indicating the potential for this market to surge as more big players take note.

All in all, there were 20 1ETH NFTs that hit this valuation in fewer than ten days from being minted.

The NFT Index : Assessing the burgeoning NFT market in 2021
NFTs with the biggest online communities

The size of the community for each NFT is a strong indicator of their popularity and the staying power of any media hype or buzz surrounding them. Without a large fanbase to generate discussion and keep them relevant, NFTs could struggle to keep from falling into obscurity.

The largest NFT followings on Twitter

Below is a compilation of the NFTs with the largest followings on Twitter. Twitter is an active platform for NFT enthusiasts, with most NFTs running their own dedicated Twitter accounts to engage and interact with their followers.

1. The 140 Collection by Twitter - Twitter Followers: 59,600,000

The NFT with the largest Twitter following is The 140 Collection by Twitter. This might seem like something of a cheat, but seeing as how this is the Twitter account they use to promote the NFT, it just about qualifies. This huge following of almost 60 million Twitter users means they can promote their NFT to a vast audience, creating hype and increasing value.

2.  Bored Ape Kennel Club & Bored Ape Yacht Club - Twitter Followers: 162,900

These NFTs share a Twitter account, with 162,900 followers between them, and feature a range of ape characters with various features and styles. Owning a Bored Ape grants access to a private “club” and various attached areas such as “the bathroom”, which is a collaborative graffiti board.

The biggest NFT communities on Discord

Another prominent platform for NFT enthusiasts is Discord, home to many communities to discuss NFTs in a more comfortable setting. Here we take a look at some of the largest NFT followings on the platform.

 

1. VeeFriends - Discord Members: 145,892

The NFT with the biggest Discord community is VeeFriends, whose Discord server has 145,892 members. This is by far the largest Discord community of any NFT, making it a promising proposition for investors. This NFT allows holders to access the VeeFriends community and grants three-year access to VeeCon, a virtual conference focused on business, marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation.

2. ZED RUN - Discord Members: 97,631

ZED RUN has the second most members in its Discord channel at 97,631. This NFT operates as a digital horseracing platform, where you can either bet on existing digital horses or “breed” your own from a horse of your choice. This gamification of the NFT works particularly well and is reflected in the large size of the ZED RUN community.

3. Loot (for Adventurers) Discord Members: 87,235

Loot for Adventurers comes third with a Discord community of 87,235 members. This NFT is booming in popularity for the simple and highly interpretive nature of what each NFT actually is. Simply put, each NFT is a list of eight items of fantasy gear that you might find in a role-playing game. These lists are randomly generated and allow owners to use them in whatever way they choose, the only limit is their imagination.

Possibly the best way to judge the popularity of an NFT is to see how many people have bought into it. Trading activity for an NFT shows that people are not just interested in an NFT but are convinced that it holds value and is worth handing over their money for (or their Ethereum in this case).

NFTs with the most unique owners

Here we can see which NFTs have the highest number of unique owners. This means that if one person has multiple tokens of the same NFT, they are still only counted once. This gives us a good impression of the overall spread of interest in each NFT.

1. ZED RUN Unique Owners: 29,900

The digital horse racing NFT ZED RUN has the largest number of unique owners by quite a margin, with 29,900 unique individuals owning the NFT.

2. The Sandbox Unique Owners: 20,300

The Sandbox, the virtual world-building platform, has the second-highest number of unique owners at 20,300.

3. Art Blocks Factory Unique Owners: 14,900

Art Blocks is an NFT that allows users to create their own generative artwork. The Art Blocks Factory NFT enables these users to create their work without waiting for approval from the curation board. This NFT has the third-highest number of owners at 14,900.

The most-traded NFTs

The number of times that each NFT is traded also underlines the degree to which it is popular as an investment. The more activity these NFTs see on the marketplace, the higher the interest in them from investors. 

1. CryptoPunks - Volume Traded: 516,400

CryptoPunks are one of the original NFTs, dating back to 2017. This NFT consists of 10,000 unique collectable characters that can be traded on the Ethereum blockchain. By far the most traded NFT, CryptoPunks has seen 516,000 trades since its inception.

2. Art Blocks Curated - Volume Traded: 202,900

Art Blocks Curated, a branch of the popular Art Blocks NFT, is the second most traded NFT with 202,900 trades over the token’s lifespan. 

3. Bored Ape Yacht Club - Volume Traded: 171,100

In third place is the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, which has seen 171,000 trades since the apes made their first appearance on the blockchain.

The NFT Index : Assessing the burgeoning NFT market in 2021
The most lucrative NFTs for investors

Here we take a look at the financials of a selected range of NFTs. We’re only looking at NFTs for which the mint price was available, and which weren’t given away freely at launch. We’ve calculated the difference in value for each NFT between the date it was minted and the present day.

1. Bored Ape Yacht Club - Return on Investment: 58,118%

The NFT that has increased in value the most is Bored Ape Yacht Club, which has seen a rise in value of $109,627 from its original minting price, representing an ROI of 58,118%.

2. Cool Cats NFT - Return on Investment: 19,301%

The Cool Cats NFT has seen the second-highest increase in value since it was first minted, with its current floor price of 9.4ETH translating to $26,475, up from 0.06ETH at mint, which at the time equalled $136. This brings the ROI for the NFT to 19,301%.

3. Pudgy Penguins - Return on Investment: 13,313%

Pudgy Penguins has the third highest ROI of 13,313%, reflecting a rise in value of $7,967 from a minting value of $60.

The NFT Index : Assessing the burgeoning NFT market in 2021
Interest in NFTs across the world

NFTs have experienced a huge and sudden boom in popularity, and have garnered attention from all corners of the globe. Yet, which countries are the most interested in NFTs and where is interest growing most quickly?

Countries with the most NFT searches per head

Here we can see the ten countries with the most Google searches per head for “NFT” and “non-fungible token”.

This gives us an idea of which international markets are adapting the most to the NFT craze as it really begins to gain traction

1. Canada - Searches per 100,000: 2,784

Canada is the country with the highest number of NFT searches per head, with 2,784 searches per 100,000 Canadians. This makes Canada the world’s NFT hotspot, with the largest proportion of the population taking an interest in the world of Ethereum and unique tokens.

2. Australia - Searches per 100,000: 2,431

Australia took second place, with 2,431 searches per 100,000 people. Australians have shown themselves to be at the forefront of the digital revolution, and NFTs are clearly no exception to their forward-thinking nature.

3. United States - Searches per 100,000: 2,361

The United States came third, with 2,361 searches for NFTs per 100,000 people. This demonstrates that interest in NFTs is currently centred on Westernised countries for the most part, as the rest of the top ten will clearly show.

Countries where interest in NFTs is growing the fastest

Having looked at the countries where the interest in NFTs is highest, we now turn our attention to the places where interest is growing the fastest. Here we can see the ten countries with the greatest increase in searches for NFTs over the course of 2021, from January through August.

1. Brazil - Increase in Searches: 7,464%

Brazil is the country with the greatest increase in searches for NFTs over 2021, with 7,464% more searches taking place in August than in January. 

2. Argentina - Increase in Searches: 6,914%

Argentina takes second place with interest in NFTs growing by 6,914% from January 2021 to August.

3. Colombia - Increase in Searches: 6,276%

In third place is Colombia, where searches for NFTs have risen by 6,276% over the first 8 months of of 2021.

Interest in NFTs is rising rapidly outside western countries, taking hold across the world from Taiwan to Saudi Arabia, with a particular focus on South America.

The NFT Index : Assessing the burgeoning NFT market in 2021
Methodology

We wanted to investigate the NFT landscape in 2021 to get a better understanding of which NFTs are the most popular, how interest in NFTs is changing, and whether they make good investment options.

To do this, we first wanted to highlight some of the NFTs that have risen in value the most since they were first minted. We did this in two different ways. The first method was to see how long it took different NFTs to reach a 10ETH, 5ETH or 1ETH valuation. We did this using data from OpenSea to track the change in floor price for each NFT.

The second way in which we tracked the rise in value was to find the mint price of each NFT, often from the NFT’s own website, along with the price of Ethereum on the day it was minted. This allowed us to calculate the value in USD of the Ethereum required to mint the NFT. We then found the current floor price of each NFT in ETH on OpenSea and calculated their current value in USD. We were then able to calculate the change in value in USD from the day the NFTs were minted to the date on which we carried out the calculations (September 29, 2021).

We also wanted to find out which NFTs have the largest communities and online followings, which would give us an indication of their popularity. To do this, we found the Twitter account and Discord server for each NFT and recorded the number of followers and server members. This allowed us to rank each NFT’s following for each online platform.

Another factor we wanted to look at was how much activity there was on the market for each NFT. For this, we looked at two different variables, the first of which was the number of unique owners of each NFT, with the second factor being the number of trades each NFT has had. Data for both of these factors was sourced from OpenSea and allowed us to rank the NFTs by each variable. 

All data for floor prices, community followings, and numbers of trades and owners were recorded on 28/09/2021.

We also wanted to gain an understanding of NFTs’ popularity across the world to see which countries are most interested in the subject. To do this, we looked at 50 different countries, comprising the G20, OECD and EU, along with a few other developed nations. We used Google Keyword Planner to find out how many searches for “NFT” and “non-fungible token” had taken place so far in 2021. 

We combined this data with population figures for each country, taken from Worldometers, which allowed us to formulate the number of searches per 100,000 people in each country and rank them accordingly. We also wanted to find out which countries have experienced the greatest increase in searches for NFTs, indicating that interest in the topic is growing most rapidly in those countries. To do this we took the search data for January and August (the most recent month available) and calculated the percent increase between the two figures, revealing the countries where interest had risen the most.

Author of this article

Eszter Zalan

Author of this article

Eszter is a Brussels-based content editor and writer with over fifteen years of experience in journalism. She thrives in researching complicated issues and explain their essence in a plain and clear language to guide you through the world of finance.

Eszter Zalan

Content Editor

Eszter is a Brussels-based content editor and writer with over fifteen years of experience in journalism. She thrives in researching complicated issues and explain their essence in a plain and clear language to guide you through the world of finance.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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