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The price of the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, Ether, and other digital assets are down, but it’s a different story for nonfungible tokens following the long-awaited upgrade of the Ethereum blockchain.
Sales and prices of NFTs have surged, according to crypto data tracker DappRadar. The upgrade, known as the Merge, also seems to have benefited marketplaces that sell NFTs based on Ethereum, which is the most popular blockchain for this type of token.
One of the top NFT collections, Bored Ape Yacht Club, recorded $1.3 million in sales as of 4 p.m. New York time Thursday, a 187% increase from 24 hours ago, according to DappRadar. Among the most recognizable NFTs, Bored Apes are colorful cartoon primates owned by celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Eminem.
CryptoPunks, another popular NFT collection, saw trading volume rise 56% to $1.4 million for the same period, according to DappRadar. These NFTs depict pixelated images of 10,000 unique characters stored on the Ethereum blockchain.
The top NFT marketplace by all-time sales, OpenSea, saw trading volume increase 77% to $10 million as of 4 p.m. New York time Thursday, but its volume has since steadied in the past 24 hours, according to DappRadar. The average price of an NFT on the platform soared 227% to $114 early Thursday, but has settled at $105, a 74% increase from the day before. Even Magic Eden, which mostly sells Solana-based NFTs, experienced a boost, with volume rising 36% to $4.6 million, DappRadar found. The startup began supporting Ethereum NFTs in August. Magic Eden currently has $4.4 million in sales, a 19% increase from the day before.
For now, increases in trading volume and asset price represent a bright spot amid overall declining sales for NFTs, which have been hit hard amid crypto winter. Global NFT sales declined 675% in August compared to the same month last year when it totaled $4 billion, according to NFT data tracker CryptoSlam.
The Merge, which saw Ethereum switch to a more energy-efficient way to verify and order transactions on the blockchain, is expected to pave the way for more upgrades that will make transactions on the network faster and cheaper. These improvements would be a boon for NFT collectors who have faced delays and sky-high transaction costs when trying to use the network. When Otherdeed NFTs were released in April, for example, buyers paid as much as $6,000 in transaction fees amid major congestion on the Ethereum blockchain. Each Otherdeed is a plot of virtual land in an online game connected to Bored Ape Yacht Club.
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