Sales of CryptoPunk non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are soaring to record levels, another sign of just how frenzied the market has become as credit-card giant Visa jumped into the fray.
On Monday, sales volumes of CryptoPunks topped $86 million, a daily record, according to data from the industry tracking website CryptoSlam.
And sales so far in August have already reached $332 million. Prior to August, the largest single monthly sales total was $135.2 million during July. This month's average price for a CryptoPunk is $199,069, more than double last month's average.
The market is so hot that Visa apparently had to pay up for its CryptoPunk purchase, announced Monday. According to CryptoPunks creator Larva Labs, the NFT that Visa bought – CryptoPunk #7610 – was acquired for a price of 49.50 ether, which is about $150,000. That's more than double the price of 21.75 ETH paid less than a month ago by a user named "gmoney."
"We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment and commerce," said Visa’s Head of Crypto Cuy Sheffield in a blog post on Monday.
It's unclear if the surge in CryptoPunk sales was directly the result of Visa's vote of confidence, but more than 300 transactions took place Monday alone, versus a daily range of 16 to 184 over the past month, according to data from CryptoSlam.
Visa’s move, "largely a PR exercise more than anything else, not only demonstrates how the underlying infrastructure of digital assets has improved over the years but also how quickly these assets can go mainstream,” said Denis Vinokourov, head of research at Synergia Capital.
The ability to facilitate transactions and custody assets using Anchorage (a crypto exchange platform used by institutional investors) shows the willingness of traditional finance giants to adapt, he said.
“It will also likely further serve to boost the value of NFT marketplaces going forward as a whole,” said Vinokourov.
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