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The State of Crypto: January to June 2023

Boardroom takes a deep dive into the state of cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and blockchain activity in the first six months of the year.

Coinbase is a sponsored partner of Boardroom.

One might argue that NFTs are dead, but seven-figure sales throughout the year prove otherwise.

Though NFTs definitely aren’t as popular as they were a year ago, they are still a big part of the crypto industry. Between January and June 2023, NFT sales raked in approximately $5.2 billion compared to the $22.2 billion the market saw during the same time period last year, according to CryptoSlam data. Some big market moments drove the bus, including April’s introduction of the PEPE coin, a meme coin that drove up gas fees and cost to trade NFTs for a bit. After much anticipation, Nike’s .SWOOSH project unveiled some nostalgic AF1 digital sneaker collectibles, and Y00ts moved to the Polygon blockchain while DeGods moved to the Ethereum network.

And let’s not forget about Limit Break’s sketchy crypto advertisement during the Super Bowl earlier this year.

Let’s take a look at what else has been happening across the crypto market.

Coinbase Catch-up

Earlier this year, we checked in with Coinbase about the developing and evolving world of Web3 and blockchain technologies. As a recap, the crypto exchange detailed three key themes in a report on the crypto market in 2023:

  • A flight to quality among institutional investors
  • Creative destruction that will eventually lead to new opportunities
  • Foundational reforms that usher in the next cycle

In recent years, we’ve seen Coinbase sprout up across the sports industry through various partnerships and activations. This year, the crypto exchange has been in the limelight, going head-to-head with the SEC on crypto regulations. Coinbase is cementing itself as more than a company that operates a crypto exchange; it’s becoming a leading authority in the crypto space.

When it comes to the SEC, there has been a bit of back-and-forth between the two entities, with Coinbase solely focused on getting some set crypto rules from the commission in order to operate in good faith. The SEC has been making it hard for crypto exchanges with various lawsuits, but Coinbase doesn’t seem to be backing down any time soon. The SEC sued Coinbase for allegedly operating as an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency. This lawsuit came after the SEC reviewed and approved Coinbase’s business practices before the crypto exchange went public in April 2021. 

Despite the battle with the SEC, Coinbase has been vocal about the power of crypto and blockchain technologies. Following a national survey that found one in five Americans own crypto, Coinbase launched a national campaign earlier this year that highlights its mission to make crypto a tech that can modernize the global financial system. The Block reported that Coinbase’s international exchange attracted nearly $2 billion in trade volume last month, despite momentum slowing across the market.

We’ll have more exclusive insights soon on Coinbase’s ongoing battle with the SEC and how it might affect the exchange on the stock market.

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NFTs Today

As we sunset our biweekly-ish NFT Sales Roundups in favor of a biannual check-in on the market, we pulled some data on sales volume from the first six months of 2023, with data exclusively from CryptoSlam. Though it’s not reflected in these top sales, Bitcoin Ordinals, a protocol that allows NFTs to be attached to Bitcoin tokens, was one of the biggest innovations to arrive this year that propelled the Bitcoin blockchain beyond just a ledger for tracking digital payments.

“We’ve reached a point of maturation to a degree where many NFT traders are coming to understand that not all NFTs are equal,” CryptoSlam’s Yehudah Petscher told Boardroom. “A majority of NFTs are closer to “meme” coins or crypto than they are utility tokens. Still, plenty of builders are innovating by using Web3 tech. From bands using NFTs as fan club passes to artists using NFTs to establish provenance and then games building out ecosystems using NFT assets. The NFT space is still very young but growing fast. The future is very bright for NFTs. Let’s start calling them blockchain collectibles, though.”

See below for some of the statistical highlights from the first half of the year. All data measured from January to June 2023.

10 highest-selling NFT collections (by sales volume):

  1. Bored Ape Yacht Club: $809.1 million
  2. Mutant Ape Yacht Club: $700.8 million
  3. Wrapped Punks: $568.4 million
  4. Azuki: $535.3 million
  5. Otherdeed: $341.9 million
  6. Bored Ape Kennel Club: $189.8 million
  7. Doodles: $180.5 million
  8. Moonbirds: $179.9 million
  9. CloneX: $171.9 million
  10. Pudgy Penguins: $160.7 million

10 highest-selling NFT mints:

  1. Azuki’s Elementals: $37.7 million
  2. DeFi Apes: $7.7 million
  3. PORSCHΞ 911: $3.5 million
  4. SMB Gen3: $2.9 million
  5. a KID called BEAST: $2.6 million
  6. Mad Lads: $1.5 million
  7. ArcheWorld Land: $1.3 million
  8. Gambulls: $1.2 million
  9. Solcasino.io: $1.2 million
  10. AssetDash Vanta: $1.1 million

5 of the Biggest NFT Sales:

Sewer Pass #21915 sold for $1.6 million (1,000 WETH) on Feb. 27.

This NFT was awarded to pro gamer Mongraal after he achieved the top score in Yuga Labs’ Dookey Dash game.

CryptoPunk #5066 sold for $1.4 million (857 ETH) on Feb. 6.
Bored Ape #7090 sold for $1.3 million (800 ETH) on Feb. 7.
Bored Ape #4980 sold for over $971,000 (530 ETH) on May 15.
Bored Ape #5840 sold for over $800,000 (500 ETH) on Jan. 29.

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About The Author
Michelai Graham
Michelai Graham
Michelai Graham is Boardroom's resident tech and crypto reporter. Before joining 35V, she was a freelance reporter with bylines in AfroTech, HubSpot, The Plug, and Lifewire, to name a few. At Boardroom, Michelai covers Web3, NFTs, crypto, tech, and gaming. Off the clock, you can find her producing her crime podcast, The Point of No Return.