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Nearly $27bn worth of Ethereum NFTs traded in 2021

By Aaron Woolner

05:06, 7 December 2021

NFT non-fungible tokens art and collectables illustration
NFT non-fungible tokens art and collectables illustration - Photo: Shutterstock

The explosion of popularity in non-fungible token (NFT) in the last 12 months has seen nearly $27bn worth of cryptocurrencies exchanged so far in 2021.

Users have sent at least $26.9bn worth of cryptocurrency to ERC-721 and ERC-1155 contracts, the two types of Ethereum smart contracts associated with NFT marketplaces and collections, according to research by Chainalysis. 

NFTs, or smart contracts are most readily associated with the worlds of art and sport but the principle of digital proof of ownership can be extended to any form of tradable asset. Blockchain companies are developing NFTs in areas such as trade finance and logistics. 

Big increase in NFT transaction size

Chainalysis’ report said there had been significant increases in both total value sent and average transaction size, over 2021 which it said suggested that NFTs as an asset category are gaining value as they attract new users. 

“There’s also a noticeable spike beginning in the last week 3 of August, which appears to have been largely driven by the release of a new collection from the popular NFT creator group Bored Ape Yacht Club.”


40,145.90 Price
+1.290% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 106.00


0.63 Price
+0.540% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.01168


2,205.95 Price
+1.670% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 6.00


0.01 Price
-3.320% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.0005306

In terms of NFT collections CryptoPunks, has been the most popular, with more than $3bn in transaction volume since March, Chainalysis said. 

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Diverse geographic spread of NFT buyers

The geographic mix of NFT users is diverse. Chainalysis looked at web traffic linked to NFT activity and said that Central and Southern Asia, North America, Western Europe, and Latin America had seen significant activity but no region made up more than 40% of monthly web visits since March.  

The main driver of NFT collection activity has been retail investors, with the vast majority of transactions below $10,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

Chainalysis said that larger value transactions are becoming more common. As of the week of 31 October, NFT collector-sized transactions, which it classified as those costing between $10,000 and $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency, made up 19% of all NFTs deals. In March this figure was just 6%. 

Read more: Ethereum: the “gold standard” blockchain for minting NFTs

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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