Non-fungible token marketplace OpenSea is headed for its highest volume month ever, indicating NFTs may be one sector of the cryptocurrency economy that has decoupled from bitcoin’s price drop.
For the first half of January, OpenSea has generated nearly $2.7 billion in volume, which is on track to surpass the $3.4 billion high it notched in August, according to data from Dune Analytics.
On Jan. 9, OpenSea recorded its largest single-day volume of $261 million dollars, according to Dune Analytics. For each day so far in January, OpenSea has broken $150 million in trading volume.
The resurgence in NFT volume appears to be driven by the price surge in NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and its sister collections, Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) and Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC). The BAYC collections alone account for approximately 10% of the volume on OpenSea, according to calculations by CoinDesk.
New developments in NFT trading are also bringing significant market structure changes to crypto’s hottest growing segment.
OpenSea is facing competition from newly launched decentralized NFT marketplace LooksRare, which generated nearly $400 million in sales volume in three days, rivaling numbers recorded by OpenSea.
As new entrants battle incumbent OpenSea for NFT market share, OpenSea volumes may be underestimating the pace of NFT adoption.
Another possible explanation for the boom in volumes was the launch of NFT marketplace aggregator Genie in November, which allowed deep-pocketed speculators to batch buy and sell NFTs in a single transaction, saving time and transaction costs.
the @geniexyz community is wild! over 14,000 ETH ($45M) in weekly volume and 12,000 users all-time. can't wait to unveil what's next! 🧞🧹💕
— Scott (🧞,🧞) (@Scott_eth) January 9, 2022
The boom in NFT trading comes as broader cryptocurrency markets experienced bloodshed in the new year.
The price of bitcoin – the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization – briefly plummeted below $40,000 on Monday, a loss of over 17% since the start of the year. Bitcoin has since rebounded and is trading at approximately $42,800 per coin at the time of publication.
Ether, the cryptocurrency associated with the Ethereum blockchain that has so far dominated NFT volume, lost 9.8% for the year to date.
OpenSea, founded in 2017, is the leading NFT marketplace. It recently raised $300 million in fresh capital in a Series C round led by venture capital firms Paradigm and Coatue. The fundraise puts OpenSea at a $13.3 billion valuation, up nearly tenfold from the startup’s $1.5 billion valuation in July.