THE FIRST NFT BILLIONAIRES
Since being founded in December of 2017 by New York City locals Alex Atallah (29) and Devin Finzer (32), the Ethereum based NFT (non-fungible token) trading platform OpenSea has become the industries largest force, boasting a 600x increase in trading activity during the 2021 period.
Now the company is worth $13.3 billion USD after a successful series C round of funding from current and new investors, making the founders the first official NFT billionaires, as reported by OpenSea earlier this month.
Just 6 months ago the company was valued at $1.5 billion.
OpenSea’s CEO Devin Finzer wrote “In 2021, we saw the world awaken to the idea that NFTs represent the basic building blocks for brand new peer-to-peer economies… OpenSea’s vision is to become the core destination for these new open digital economies to thrive”
He also indicated what the companies plan for expansion will look like, saying “We have four goals for this funding: 1) accelerate product development, 2) significantly improve customer support and customer safety, 3) meaningfully invest in the wider NFT and Web3 community, and 4) grow our team.”
NFT INDUSTRY GROWTH
In March of 2021, OpenSea was reporting just over $1.1 million USD in monthly transactions , netting the company $28,000 in monthly commissions.
As of August 2021, shortly after locking in a $100m USD funding round, OpenSea’s monthly transactions sky rocketed to $3.4 billion, netting the company close to $85 million USD in monthly commissions.
So if history is anything to go by, the realisable growth from this recent funding round may be astronomical. OpenSea has also partnered with some hot ticket figures and businesses including ex heavy weight champion of the world Mike Tyson, Saturday Night Live, pop-star Shawn Mendes and Coca-Cola.
The Financial Times reported that in 2021 total NFT sales topped the $40 billion USD mark. However, it is predicted that the actual figure may be much higher.
This is because the research only looked at Ethereum based NFT sales. Other blockchains that support NFT’s like Solana, Polygon MATIC and Zilliqa also saw impressive growth during the same period were not included.
THE BORED APE EFFECT
One of the star NFT successes of 2021 was without a doubt the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, which recorded over $1 billion USD in transaction volume across multiple NFT trading platforms, according to Cryptoslam.
Founded by two college dropouts known only by their online pseudonyms “Gargamel and Gordan Goner”, the teams goal is to “set out to make some dope apes, test our skills, and try to build something (ridiculous)”, according to the official website.
According to Bored Ape, each NFT is “unique and programmatically generated from over 170 possible traits, including expression, headwear, clothing, and more”, with notable celebrities such as Eminem, Logan Paul and Shaquille O’Neil all jumping on the ape bandwagon.