The company that is behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club series of NFTs, called Yuga Labs, is looking to cash out its 107 NFTs from the series at an auction with Sotheby’s. According to the auction house, the set of NFTs may fetch between $12 million and $18 million in an upcoming auction.
With a weekly trading volume in excess of $150 million, the Bored Ape series of NFTs is currently the fourth largest in the world, at least when it is measured by volume. It is interesting that the same kind of metrics that are applied to financial instruments are being used for digital collectibles, especially given their limited use.
To be sure, the NFT market is white-hot. Trade in NFTs has exploded in 2021, with many run-of-the-mill NFTs trading in the five and six digit price range. Unlike cryptocurrencies, NFTs are totally unique, and most are made to be some form of artwork.
The fact that one of the world’s largest auction houses is willing to deal in NFTs should be a sign of both the success of the format, and perhaps a warning for buyers who are entering the space at the moment.
NFTs May be Too Hot to Handle
The NFT market has caught on in a big way. Last month, the global NFT market OpenSea handled over $3 billion in NFT transactions – which does demonstrate how popular the sector has become – but it also may be a sign for caution.
While collectable NFTs have existed ever since the CryptoKitty mania in late 2017, as an asset class, NFTs are just a year or so old. The DeFi boom of 2020 seems to have morphed into the NFT mania of 2021, with massive money entering the space.
Of course, DeFi and NFTs are very different. NFTs have succeeded where no other blockchain-based product has – namely – widespread adoption by the masses, without any major regulatory hurdles. OpenSea saw more than 300 million transactions in a day during August, which is an impressive stat by any measure.
NFTs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club series trade above the $150,000 USD level, and there seems to be a lot of mercurial value built up in the asset class as a whole. People may say the same thing about art in general, but with such a short amount of time on the market, buyers should be careful with these newly coveted digital tokens.
New Access for Artists
NFT sellers are in a position to enter the global art markets in a way that has never existed before. Clearly, the buying side of the market is in a frenzy, which is amazing news for artists that can make the transition to the NFT space.
In addition to driving interest in digital art, NFTs provide global connections for artists that would otherwise be limited to a local or regional market.
One such artist is from Zimbabwe. Greatjoy Ndlovu was recently able to sell a new artwork, titled ‘Burnt Out’ via the Async Art marketplace. Clearly, Ndlovu wouldn’t have the kind of access to global markets that NFTs provide without the technology, and they were able to sell the work for 0.7 ETH.
Like any boom, the NFT boom will create opportunities for many people and companies. There is zero doubt that NFTs have established themselves as an asset class, in the same way that physical art is.
The art market can be a volatile place to speculate, and as any art collector will tell you – buy what you love. Depending on what one paid for the work, and the state of the market, one may have to derive joy from the work itself, and not its market value.