With the advent of a variety of new tech-driven creative movements, an unprecedented era of art is only just beginning. And with the rising “money lego” composability possibilities of Ethereum, it seems that a whole new era of permissionless public infrastructure is just beginning, too.
Combine those two trends, of course, and you get the makings for totally new kinds of demand and marketplaces. Making such an evolution possible at the intersection of Ethereum and digital artistry are non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
These special tokens are programmed via smart contracts to be permanently and provably scarce, dynamics that have made them fertile grounds for recent innovation around digital collectibles and “cryptoart,” i.e. tokenized art pieces.
Yet lately its not cryptoart that’s generating the most buy pressure around the NFT scene. Rather, it’s the virtual worlds of Cryptovoxels and Decentraland, whose constituent plots are sold as tokenized parcels of digital real estate where creators can host and monetize content like NFT art.
Looking at the Numbers
According to NFT analytics tracker site NonFungible, trade volume around the top 10 Ethereum NFT projects amounted to less than $400,000 USD over the last week. However, the aforementioned projects of Cryptovoxels and Decentraland generated most of that volume.
Indeed, over the last seven days Cryptovoxels trades accounted for 470 ETH, or $96,000 USD, while Decentraland trades accounted for 1.26 million MANA, or $91,500.
Between the two of them, that’s more trade volume on the week than was collectively generated by the eight other top NFT projects at the moment, namely Gods Unchained, MyCryptoHeroes, SuperRare, CryptoKitties, Crypto Space Commander, Known Origin, Axie Infinity, and 0xUniverse.
That reality suggests demand is acutely growing for land in Ethereum’s top virtual realms. And the going prices of their digital parcels indicates that users are willing to pay up to secure pieces of these creative worlds. Per NonFungible, a Cryptovoxels plot typically sells for the equivalent of $550 in recent days, while that number’s been $865 on average for Decentraland in the same span.
As an aside, it’s also worth noting that Cryptovoxels acutely overtook Decentraland for the #1 position on NonFungible’s volume leaderboard this week.
Prior to that, Decentraland had been the reigning leader for some time. It’s the first time Cryptovoxels has moved into first place on the tracker site, a sign that the project is on the rise and gaining traction for now — let’s see if it can continue that pace in the months ahead.
More Innovation Is Coming, Whoever Wins
Make no mistake, Cryptovoxels and Decentraland are still fledgling projects that have plenty of evolving left to do. Yet with that said, the projects already represent extremely interesting experiments at the crossroads of Ethereum and digital creativity and have plenty of runway left for further adoption.
Is it possible these platforms are too early to the scene to achieve breakout success? Certainly, just like the Amazons and Googles of today had like-minded predecessors that never panned out because they were slightly ahead of their time.
Accordingly, if not Cryptvoxels and Decentraland, then later projects will rise to pick up similar mantles. Digital art and decentralized finance aren’t going anywhere and are poised to become considerably more popular in the decades ahead.
Thus the building and trading that’s done now will help define and pave the way for the building and trading that’s done later. So while decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and DeFi are hot at the moment, look for the wider NFT scene and its myriad early wrinkles to steadily transition from underrated and underexplored to in vogue.
— Mel Duarte (@catsandcolors) February 5, 2020
For the early birds who have already arrived, there’s certainly no shortage of work to do.