The ETH Merge Did Little to Energize a Tepid NFT Market

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As Ethereum con­tin­ues its reign as one of the dom­i­nant blockchains for launch­ing non-fun­gi­ble tokens (NFTs), some spec­u­lat­ed that its mile­stone tran­si­tion from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake last week would help rein­vig­o­rate an NFT mar­ket that’s been trend­ing down­ward for the bet­ter part of two months. But data shows lit­tle move­ment in either direc­tion despite major improve­ments to the blockchain’s ener­gy use, speed and scalability.

In the weeks lead­ing up to the Merge, NFT trad­ing decreased over­all, and this past week has been just slight­ly bet­ter. One of the indus­try’s top mar­ket­places, OpenSea, has seen $84 mil­lion of vol­ume in the past sev­en days for Ethereum-based NFTs, a 5.3% increase from the week lead­ing up to the Merge, accord­ing to data from Dap­pRadar. The aver­age week­ly price for an Ethereum-based NFT on OpenSea stands at $199, a 14.5% decrease from the pre­vi­ous week.

Still, the total num­ber of traders on the plat­form increased 9% with­in the past week, total­ing 156,000 unique wallets.

Read more: What is the Ethereum Merge?

The lack of appetite for post-Merge NFTs, for some, has come as a sur­prise, with many traders believ­ing Ethereum’s tran­si­tion to proof-of-stake would lure in poten­tial traders pre­vi­ous­ly con­cerned by exor­bi­tant ener­gy con­sump­tion. Sales­force, for exam­ple, was scold­ed by employ­ees who opposed its plans for an NFT cloud plat­form out of con­cern for the envi­ron­men­tal impact of the tech­nol­o­gy, despite the fact that the com­pa­ny had empha­sized that it would not sup­port proof-of-work blockchains. But post-merge, there have not been any mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions about how NFTs on Ethereum are now sig­nif­i­cant­ly less tax­ing on the envi­ron­ment and cre­ate few­er emissions.

In addi­tion, con­cerns about forked NFTs – a wor­ry that NFTs would be dupli­cat­ed and have one ver­sion on the main, new proof-of-stake blockchain as well as a ver­sion on the forked ETHPOW chain – have been raised, though no such issues have yet materialized.

A report released by Dap­pRadar on Thurs­day con­clud­ed that Ethereum-based NFTs are oper­at­ing nor­mal­ly post-merge, and hold­ers won’t need to take any addi­tion­al actions to ensure nor­mal mar­ket func­tion­al­i­ty. The first NFT mint­ed on Ethereum using proof-of-stake hap­pened 26 min­utes after the Merge, and it was pur­chased for 36 ETH. Bloom, which claims to be the first NFT col­lec­tion mint­ed in Ethereum’s new proof-of-stake era, also expe­ri­enced a suc­cess­ful launch.

Zoom­ing out, Sep­tem­ber 2022 is shap­ing up to be one of the worst months for NFTs at large since its mania in August 2021. The indus­try is on pace for under $600 mil­lion in total sales for Sep­tem­ber, a frac­tion of its $5 bil­lion month­ly peak last Jan­u­ary, accord­ing to data from The Block.

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