It was billed as the "Mona Lisa" of the emerging world of digital art and it came with a price tag to match that label – with the Iranian-born crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi paying a stunning $2.9 million to acquire an NFT of the first tweet by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
That was in March 2021 when NFTs were on fire, bursting into mainstream consciousness. That year we saw sale after sale of the digital assets that attracted millions of dollars. For instance, a collection of images by Beeple, a visual artist, sold for an incredible $69 million. Meanwhile, the NFTs required to play the hit "play-to-earn" video game Axie Infinity were selling for thousands of dollars each. Coca-Cola raised more than $575,000 selling customizable digital items to be worn in the metaverse, and plenty of other companies got in on the action too.
But one year on and it seems the NFT bubble has burst. Back in April, it was reported that Jack Dorsey's original tweet had lost almost all of its value, with auction bids maxing out at just $14,000. The explosive growth of NFTs has seemingly hit a brick wall. A recent report by the blockchain data firm Chainalysis said that while collectors have spent $37 billion on NFTs so far this year, on track to beat the $40 billion spent throughout 2020, the market had "leveled off", with transactions falling sharply since February.