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NFT Adoption: How Popular are NFTs among Crypto Holders?

4.4 | by Lim Yu Qian
NFT Ownership Among Crypto Holders

NFTs’ Popularity in the Crypto Community

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are blockchain-based digital assets that gained a meteoric rise in popularity during its first bull run in 2021. Since then, NFT adoption has become common in the crypto community. As many as 3 out of 4 crypto holders have NFTs in their portfolio of assets. This was found in a recent survey, in which 75.8% of respondents indicated that they held one or more NFTs at the time.

A small minority of 2.5% said that while they had held NFTs in the past, they did not do so currently. This suggests that there are crypto holders who have tried out NFTs, even if they no longer participate in that sector of crypto. 

On the other hand, around 2 in 10 crypto holders have never owned NFTs. These crypto holders might simply be disinterested in NFTs, or intentionally against the digital asset altogether. Another possible reason could be that they had not yet found an NFT project that they wanted to engage with and invest in.

How Many NFTs Do People Own?

Once people do get into NFTs, they usually seem to keep on buying and collecting more. At least 1 in 4 NFT holders said that they are avid collectors, with 51 or more NFTs at the time of the survey. This group likely represents people who are the most enthusiastic about NFTs, or traders who flip NFTs. Following that cohort, 17.6% of NFT holders reported owning 2 to 5 NFTs.

Those who owned 11 to 50 NFTs made up 18.7% of holders, while those with a handful of 2 to 10 NFTs made up 25.8%.

In contrast, only 4.8% of NFT holders owned just a single NFT. Given that holders quite regularly owned at least 2 to 5 NFTs, this suggests that people rarely stop participating in NFTs after their first one. 

NFT Holders Rarely Stop at 1

In other words, the NFT market’s growth potential depends more on adoption, by making it easier for people to have their first experience with NFTs. NFT collections from well-known brands like Adidas and Starbucks, and seamless NFT experiences like Reddit’s Collectible Avatars help to encourage adoption of the technology.

At the same time, the popularity of NFTs has the potential to continue growing, supported by the increasing diversity of projects that appeal to different demographics and preferences. NFTs have gone from mainly being profile pictures, to having utilities in both the digital and real world. As NFTs continue evolving to serve various needs, it is possible that more and more NFT holders will become avid collectors.

When Did People Get Their First NFT?

When Did People Get Their First NFT

Unsurprisingly so far, most people got their first NFT in 2021, when NFTs’ popularity skyrocketed during its first bull market that year. Almost 4 out of every 10 people got into NFTs in 2021, or 38.8% of participants in the same survey. 

NFT adoption slowed down in 2022, as NFT prices fell when crypto entered the bear market phase. 27.4% of NFT holders, or just over 1 in 4 people, said they got their first NFT last year. While it was a 11.4 percentage point decrease from the previous year, NFT adoption in 2022 still outpaced 2020 by 9.0 percentage points. This can be seen as a positive indicator that NFTs continue to be popular and attractive for newcomers, regardless of market conditions, perhaps partly driven by the momentum from the 2021 NFT hype.

There are also some people who got into NFTs during its early days. 2.9% said they got their first NFT in 2017, the year in which CryptoKitties and CryptoPunks were launched. An equally small group of 3.2% said their first NFT was in 2018, when the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity and leading NFT marketplace OpenSea were launched. NFT adoption increased in 2019 following these initial developments, with 9.3% getting into NFTs that year.

Overall, NFT adoption has gained traction in the last 3 years. NFT developments in 2023 might continue to maintain or even accelerate adoption this year, such as Bitcoin’s Ordinals and Stamps NFTs, and Blur overtaking OpenSea to become the top NFT marketplace.

Methodology

The study examined 438 responses from the NFT and Crypto Users Survey, jointly conducted by CoinGecko and Blockchain Research Lab from December 2022 to January 2023.


If you use these insights, we would appreciate a link credit to this article on CoinGecko. A link credit allows us to keep supplying you with future data-led content that you may find useful.

Curious to find out more about our previous research studies? Check out this one we did about people’s opinions on the risks and regulation of NFTs.

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Lim Yu Qian
Lim Yu Qian

Yuqian is a cryptocurrency writer and marketer who specializes in mainstream cryptocurrency insights. She's especially fascinated by the philosophical and socioeconomic aspects of crypto and also goes by the name of Q. She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honors from the National University of Singapore. Follow the author on Twitter @solosbrqt

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