January NFT data wrap: ETH volumes rise nearly 50% as BAYC leads blue-chip brand expansion

Quick Take

  • NFT trading volumes rose in January, painting a more optimistic picture as the year kicks off. 
  • Yuga Labs’s Sewer Pass and Doodles next iteration seem to have given blue chip collections a ticket to higher prices. 

The year kicked off with NFT trading volumes giving digital-asset enthusiasts a reason to cheer.

For the second consecutive month, transactions grew compared with the previous month. In January, Ethereum NFT marketplaces — as usual led by OpenSea — totaled $796.3 million, a month-on-month increase of 47%, according to data compiled by The Block Research.

The total number of trades also rose slightly from December to January, clocking in at 2.21 million transactions versus 1.92 million the previous month.

Blue chip maturation

There’s no getting around it. Last year was the pits across the digital-asset landscape for collectors and collections alike as prices dropped dramatically. Even blue-chip NFT collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Azuki and Doodles, were negatively affected.  

But these top NFT brands are trying to turn the page in 2023. So far, so good it looks like.

As part of a next phase in the evolution of their exclusive, token-gated NFT ecosystem that has featured prominent holders like Justin Bieber, Mark Cuban and Snoop Dogg, the creator of Bored Ape Yacht Club, Yuga Labs, dropped a NFT collection called the Sewer Pass. BAYC holders could mint one of the NFTs free of charge while non-holders are able to purchase a Sewer Pass on the open market.

The Sewer Pass mint generated more than $1.3 million in trading volume one hour after launch. Since then, in about two weeks, Sewer Pass trading has climbed to nearly $50 million worth of ETH, according to OpenSea data.

Owning a Sewer Pass allows holders to play a BAYC-themed video game called Dookey Dash. Scoring high in the game will eventually unlock some future benefits; the specifics of which are still under wraps. 
Yuga Labs’ Sewer Pass NFT trading volume since launching. Source: OpenSea.

Pursuing its own strategy, Doodles advanced the anticipated “Doodles 2” initiative, which allows holders to personalize the look of the profile-picture-like assets belonging to the collection. Using what’s called a “Dooplicator” Doodles owners can alter “attributes like body, hairstyle, emotion, apparel and accessories,” the company said.

In the wake of the launch, Doodles NFT sales volumes soared to a January daily high of $2.8 million, according to CryptoSlam. That was a massive jump from Doodles’ worst daily trading volume for January, which was $121,000.
Doodles trading volumes. Source: CryptoSlam.

Azuki also expanded with its creation and launched a virtual city called Hilumia. The introduction of Hilumia was timed to celebrate Azuki's one-year anniversary. On the day of the announcement the project's trading volume spiked 86%, according to the NFT data tracker CryptoSlam.

“Game of Thrones” drop fizzles

Despite being ridiculed by many on Twitter for its level of artistic quality, a drop based on HBO’s popular fantasy series “Game of Thrones” sold out in seven hours.  

The show’s favorite tagline, “Winter is coming,” proved apropos as the collections trading volume and then cooled significantly.
“Game of Thrones” January trading volumes. Source: OpenSea.

NFT lending pops off

NFT lending hit all-time highs in January, according to data from Dune Analytics. As NFTgators notes, 17,900 ETH was leant out from 4,399 loans.


Who said crypto lending was dead? 

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