Report says 2021 NFT trading topped $17 billion, up 21,000% from 2020

A study developed between and L'Atelier research firm says NFT trading was over $17 billion in 2021.


Yes, NFTs. All of our Shacknews readers' favorite topic. According to a study developed in a partnership between BNP Paribas subsidiary research firm L'Atelier and, trading in NFTs amounted to $17.6 billion in 2021. That's up an astronomical 21,000% from 2020. 

It's really hard to believe that the valuation of NFTs reached such astronomical heights, but there were instances of people moving NFTs between wallets in potential attempts to launder money. One such event occurred on October 29, 2021 when an individual sold themselves Crypto Punk 9998 for a record $530 million. At the time, the NFT community was on absolute fire, even if some parts of the market have slowed down in recent weeks.

When there are transactions that could be money laundering going on, just how useful is this number that the study from came up with? The website does appear to track a number of popular NFT marketplaces and even highlights various hot non-fungible commodities, and the study claims to have taken steps to remove bots and wash trading. The estimates from this study do come in below an earlier projection of $40 billion from Chainalysis.

Anyway, last year was crazy. Here are some other interesting data points from the study:

  • 2020 trading of NFTs amounted to $82 million
  • NFT collectibles accounted for $8.4 billion of trading
  • Gaming NFTs accounted for $5.2 billion of trading
  • Sales of digital real estate in various magumbo metaverses came in at $514 million
  • 2.5 million crypto wallets belonged to people holding or trading NFTs in 2021, up from 89,000 wallets in 2020

These are truly strange days. It really makes you value the little things in life. Like a nice belt or a drawstring that holds your pants up, or even memes that are posted to the Internet for free that you can screenshot and share with your friends. For free.

Do you think this cryptocurrency-based NFT digital ownership world is here to stay? Do you think digital real estate sounds like a '90s techno album? Are you tired? Let us know in the Shacknews Chatty comments thread below. 

This article is only meant for educational purposes, and should not be taken as investment advice. Please consider your own investment time horizon, risk tolerance, and consult with a financial advisor before acting on this information.


Asif Khan is the CEO, EIC, and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

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