Blur Leads 69% of NFT Sales, Sparks Wash Trading Concerns

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NFT sales in February experienced a significant boost, reaching over $2 billion in trading volume, according to data by DappRadar and Dune. March saw a tiny dip, but here’s the twist: Blur drove the majority of trades with 69%, sparking wash trading concerns among others.

Quick Takes: 

  • Blur dominates the total NFT sales, contributing $1.35 billion worth of Ethereum NFT trades in March alone.
  • The marketplace’s reward token launch in mid-February contributed to mass flipping by “whale” traders.
  • Consequently, questions over wash trading are being raised, following the platform relying heavily on token rewards.
  • OpenSea still maintains the lead for having unique wallets. However, NFT sales on the marketplace dropped from $586 million in February to $424 million in March.

Factors Behind Blur’s Rise in NFT Sales

Data from DappRadar and Dune indicate that trading volume in March amounted to around $1.95 billion — a minor decline of 4% compared to the month prior.

Much of this volume originated from OpenSea’s top competitor, Blur, accounting for almost $1.35 billion in Ethereum NFT trades on the secondary NFT marketplace. This represents a marginal increase from $1.32 billion in February.

The spike in trading activity in Blur began in mid-February, following the BLUR reward token for loyal members. However, this caused “whale traders” to engage in extensive flipping. For example, an NFT founder, Rektguy, recently sold 71 highly converted Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs alongside other iconic blue-chip collectibles, racking in 5545 ETH ($9M) in sales on Blur — to take advantage of NFT liquidity and profit following market scarcity.

Another concern arises from observers who believe the trading volume questionable, prompting them to ask whether or not the surge links to wash trading—a practice that accounted for half of NFT trading in 2022, according to recent sources.

Interestingly, allegations of such trading was directed at Donald Trump’s NFTs, which are currently on the rise. In December, Trump’s NFT team were accused of minting a thousand of the Former President’s NFTs, transferring them to his vault wallet to retain the rarest ones for future sales. As Trump’s digital assets continue to gain traction, it is possible that wash trading has a part to play in these sales figures — not just his indictment.

Previous NFT Trading Volume

Top NFT marketplace concerning wallet count, OpenSea, recorded around $424 million in trading volume in March — a decrease from $587 million in February. Ethereum NFT trading remained stable last month, increasing from $1.81 billion in February to $1.82 billion.

March saw a slight dip in total trading volume and fewer NFTs sold than in February. According to reports, around 5.8 million NFT sales took place in March, as opposed to 6.5 million in February and 6.6 million in January.

February’s $2.04 billion figure marked the highest monthly NFT trading volume since May 2022, when the market plunged due to the collapse of Terra’s cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Given that most volume links to Blur’s reward program, it’s hard to know whether or not the NFT sales are genuinely “organic” or controlled by whale traders.

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