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Instagram takes interest in NFTs as gaming sector bucks crypto market downturn

2021.05.25 Robbie Liu

The nonfungible token market has shown resilience in the face of a wider cryptocurrency market crash — especially in the gaming sector — while NFTs boom in China.

While the cryptocurrency market experienced a severe flash crash last week, the nonfungible token market has shown some resilience. The gaming sector, in particular, bucked the trend. Moreover, the NFT market is booming in China — despite the country's regulators reiterating their hardline cryptocurrency stances. 

Here's everything you need to know about these stories, and more, in this week's NFT Snapshot from OKEx Insights.

Gaming sector resilient amid wider crypto market crash 

Affected by the cryptocurrency market sell-off, crypto-native projects — such as CryptoPunks and Meebits — saw huge declines in volume. The two projects are down 50% and 75%, respectively. 

In terms of single-item prices, CryptoPunks are still the gold standard. CryptoPunk #1190 sold last Monday for 400 ETH (worth $1.4 million at the time) — which is close to the average price of the nine rare CryptoPunks previously sold at the recent Christie's auction.

The highlight of the week comes from R-Planet, which saw $2.3 million in sales via an NFT sale on Saturday. The resource-exploration and discovery game on the WAX protocol reaped $3.34 million in weekly volume and attracted more than 5,000 active users. 

Among top collections, crypto-gaming projects have shown resilience in volume. Source: DappRadar

NBA Top Shot’s volume has declined significantly in recent weeks. While a jump in daily users can still be seen when new packs drop, overall trading enthusiasm has waned. Last week, the platform saw another 25% drop in volume and a 7% drop in transactions — despite the fact that the NBA post-season playoffs have just recently begun.

The trading volume of NBA Top Shot continues to decline. Source: DappRadar

Axie Infinity, meanwhile, has maintained a high number of active users. Its “play-to-earn” blockchain mechanic is becoming increasingly popular. Volume increased by 6% during the last week — while sales and traders surged 45% and 34%, respectively. 

The number of users and volume of Axie Infinity remains at a high level. Source: DappRadar

NFTs are booming in China

While the Chinese government has reiterated its restrictions on cryptocurrency mining and trading, the NFT field appears to be booming in the country. 

NFT art platform AART and Yongle Auction jointly held the first offline auction of NFT artwork in Beijing. Li Yang, an associate professor at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, sold his work, “30 Years of Painting Dreams,” for 1.6 million RMB (about $250,000) — setting a new price record for NFT artwork in China. The auction used fiat currencies as a form of payment.

Alibaba, China’s second-largest publicly traded company, launched a special NFT digital art auction on its online marketplace last Thursday. More than 70 artists' works were auctioned for charity on Alibaba's independently developed blockchain platform AntChain.

On the grassroots side, MAO DAO, an NFT-focused decentralized autonomous organization, is onboarding Chinese players to the Metaverse space — and sharing the latest news and games with its community. 

NFT market continues push for mass adoption 

In last week's NFT Snapshot, we mentioned that the e-commerce giant eBay is currently providing NFT sales. From a Twitter blurb by NFT artist Sean Williams, people noted that another internet giant — Facebook-owned Instagram — is building an NFT platform. 

Instagram apparently reached out to artists and wanted to invite them to a panel to discuss further how to build the product. Williams declined the offer because, among other things, he was unhappy that Instagram required artists to sign a one-sided NDA with the only benefit to the artists being a $1,000 honorarium. 

OKEx Insights presents market analyses, in-depth features, original research & curated news from crypto professionals. 

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Disclaimer: This material should not be taken as the basis for making investment decisions, nor be construed as a recommendation to engage in investment transactions. Trading digital assets involve significant risk and can result in the loss of your invested capital. You should ensure that you fully understand the risk involved and take into consideration your level of experience, investment objectives and seek independent financial advice if necessary.