Investment in NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, has taken off over the past two to three years.
Increasingly, mistrust of NFTs is being replaced by a more balanced, savvy approach – one that’s cautious but recognises the investment potential of this new asset type.
That said, the value of NFTs can be difficult to predict. Like in the traditional world of fine art, it helps to be in touch with current trends and top NFT artists.
Below we cover:
- the investment value of NFTs
- the 10 best-selling NFT artists at auction
- the 10 top-selling NFT artists overall
- NFT trends as we head towards 2023
- the option of securing a loan against an NFT.
Investment value of NFT art
The NFT market experienced a boom in 2021. Total sales of NFTs stood at US$25 billion and sales at auction totalled US$235 million.
Even big auction houses like Christies and Sotheby’s are now selling NFTs. This is unsurprising, given the massive profits being made by both artists and investors.
In November of 2021, the biggest-ever sale of a CryptoPunk NFT was reported at US$532 million.
Investor and collector Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile made 100-fold profit from an NFT by Beeple which sold for US$6.6 million.
10 top-selling NFT artists at auction
These were the ten most popular NFT artists in 2021 with the following average value for digital art sold at auction:
- Beeple – US$49.2 million
- Yuga Labs – US$4.6 million
- Dmitri Cherniak – US$2.7 million
- Mad Dog Jones – US$2.2 million
- Larva Labs – US$2.1 million
- Mitchell F. Chan – US$1.5 million
- Kevin McCoy – US$1.5 million
- Rare Pepe – US$1.3 million
- Don Diablo – US$0.93 million
- Refik Anadol – US$0.63 million
Best-selling NFT artists overall
If you want to invest in NFTs but you’re not sure where to start, these are the best-selling NFT artists overall, as of April 2022.
1 | Pak
Anonymous NFT artist Pak, formerly known as Murat Pak, has a total NFT value of US$430,444,627, with 66,320 NFT sales so far.
Pak has partnered with Sotheby’s.
An artwork by Pak; part of a collection that yielded $16.8 million in a Sotheby’s auction. Image source: Sotheby’s & Pak.
2 | Beeple
Although he comes in second on this list, Beeple is considered by some to be the most famous NFT artist in the world.
Beeple’s collage, Everydays: The First 5000 Days; sold for $69 million. Image source: The Verge.
His total NFT value to date is US$176,201,356, with 1,351 NFT sales.
3 | Tyler Hobbs
The first of the six Art Blocks artists on this list, Tyler Hobbs is one of the best artists working in generative blockchain art. His total NFT value is US$116,585,360, with 1,012 NFT sales.
Fidenza #118 by Tyler-Hobbs. Image source: Coin News.
4 | Dmitri Cherniak
Every January, Cherniak sends one of his now very valuable NFT artworks to a random wallet address. It’s like an NFT lottery – and the recipient stands to make a sizeable sum.
One of the Ringers artworks, #109, by Dmitri Cherniak. Image source: NFT Evening.
Dmitri Cherniak has a relatively low sales total at only 875 NFTs sold. However, his total NFT value of US$98,319,885 indicates the impressively high value of some of his works.
5 | XCOPY
Another anonymous artist, XCOPY is a London-based crypto artist – and a favourite of the NFT community.
XCOPY’s Max Pain NFT, which sold $23 million worth of open editions. Image source: Decrypt.
XCOPY’s total NFT value sits at US$90,024,872, with 9,543 sales to date.
6 | Matt DesLauriers
Matt DesLauriers is another NFT artist representing the Art Blocks platform. His total NFT value is US$54,958,643, with 2,070 sales to date.
In 2021, he offered prints of his well-known Meridian series, to raise funds for a UK charity that helps fund open green spaces.
Meridian print by Matt DesLauriers. Image source: Twitter.
7 | Hackatao
As an artist, Hackatao is famous for both NFT art and traditional physical artworks. The artist’s total NFT value is US$42,079,970, with 9,184 NFT sales.
Hack the Borders: Blondie and Hackatao collaboration, commemorating Andy Warhol. Image source: NFT Evening.
8 | Snowfro
An artist based in Houston, Erick – or Snowfro – is the founder of Art Blocks. This is a platform dedicated to “decentralized generative art.”
Using the platform, collectors mint tokens without knowing what artwork, or image, they’ll get. Code plugged into the platform generates random combinations of variables to create unique “Chromie Squiggles”. These are stored on the Ethereum blockchain.
The most expensive Chromie Squiggle is titled Chromie Squiggle #2227. It last sold for 10.5 ETH – or roughly US$26,058.
A generated image in the “Chromie Squiggle” collection. Image source: alts.co.
Snowfro’s total NFT value is currently US$37,746,808, with 3,054 sales.
9 | Rich Lord
Rich Lord is another well-known artist from the Art Blocks platform. His total NFT value is US$30,364,325, with 1,423 sales.
Rich Lord’s Geometry Runners is a collection of 1000 generative artworks, curated by Arts Block and sold via the Ethereum blockchain. It was one of the most sought-after collections to date, selling out almost immediately.
Part of the Geometry Runners collection by Rich Lord. Image source: inside bitcoins.
10 | Monica Rizzolli
Monica Rizzoli’s most famous digital works were sold via the Art Blocks Curated platform. Within just 48 minutes of the collection going on auction in 2021, Rizzoli’s net worth had increased by $5.4 million.
One of 1,024 pieces in Rizzolli’s 2021 series, Fragments of an Infinite Field. Image source: Time.
Rizzolli’s total NFT value to date stands at US$29,972,304, with 1,026 sales.
NFT trends as we head towards 2023
Some key trends are currently shaping NFT investment. Among these are:
- “fractionalisation” of both digital and real-world artworks
- continuing evolution of blockchain platforms
- growing popularity of music and games-based NFTs
- adoption of NFTs by big brands.
Fractionalised NFT artwork makes it possible for multiple entities to own and govern one or more NFTs. This helps “democratise” NFT investment. It overcomes the high entry barrier that otherwise exists for art investors.
A trend that’s predicted to accelerate is the fractionalisation of existing, physical artworks.
As early as 2020, a Banksy mural, Gorilla in a pink mask, was tokenised into 10,000 fractionalized NFTs. Each token was sold for $750.
Banksy’s Gorilla in a pink mask mural. Image source: Arthive.
In 2021 a Swiss digital asset bank and an art investment business partnered to mint 4,000 security tokens for Picasso’s Fillette au béret painting. Each token was made available for a fraction of the full artwork value.
Better blockchain platforms
Solana is a third-generation blockchain that’s rapidly gaining support. Unlike its predecessors, it uses a hybrid consensus algorithm and combines proof-of-history (PoH) with proof-of-stake (PoS).
Solana can process over 50,000 transactions per second. By comparison, Ethereum can process no more than 30 transactions simultaneously.
With high speed and low fees, new blockchain models like Solana make investing in NFTs increasingly attractive.
Boom in music and game NFTs
NFTs aren’t only about pop art. The market for music NFTs – and more recently, for game-based NFTs – is booming.
Big brands joining the fray
Big brands in both fashion and fast food have already released digital collectibles. Examples include Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pringle, McDonald’s and Taco Bell.
Loans against NFTs in South Africa
Lamna is the first FSP in South Africa to offer loans against NFTs.
We verify the unique identity and ownership of your NFT, as well as its underlying value. The NFT can then serve as security for a loan amount we offer.
Once the loan and agreed interest have been repaid, the NFT is still yours – so your investment remains intact.
This means that investing in NFTs isn’t only about building a more diverse (and forward-thinking) portfolio. It can also give you assets of value to fall back on, when you need access to funds.
Lamna is a registered financial services provider and offers competitive, NCR-compliant interest rates. For more information about using an asset such as an NFT to secure a short-term loan, contact us on 086 111 2866 or simply complete and submit our online application form.
Client borrows R10,000 for 90 days.
Total Cost of Loan
Fixed rates range from 36% to 60% APR and payment options range from minimum 3 to maximum 24 months. Apart from the initiation and monthly fees shown below, the only additional fee is credit life insurance if the borrower does not have this already.