The craze around “non-fungible tokens”, NFTs, these lines of code referring to a virtual work, continues. A market valued at several tens of billions of dollars.

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Des CryptoPunks sur un panneau d’affichage numérique, à New York, le 12 mai 2021.

The announcement caused a stir in the non-fungible token (NFT, “non-fungible tokens”), these lines of code refer to a virtual work whose authenticity is guaranteed thanks to blockchain technology. On January 4, OpenSea, one of the leading marketplaces in this area, raised $ 300 million (€ 264 million), bringing its valuation to $ 13.3 billion.

The crypto-arts market is booming such as Financial Times l ‘valued at $ 41 billion. Almost as much as the traditional art market, estimated at around $ 50 billion. “I would rather situate the volume around 22 billion to 27 billion dollars”, however qualifies John Egan, director of L’Atelier BNP Paribas, a subsidiary of the bank specializing in research and innovation. But, specifies this seasoned observer, “this is already a lot for a field that people were unaware of. almost everything still a year ago ”.

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Since the record of 69 million dollars won, in March 2021, at Christie’s, by an NFT of Beeple, an artist then unknown, the world whole is engulfed in the breach. Sotheby’s, which in one year sold NFT for $ 100 million, has counted 78% of new buyers, half of whom are under 40. The rise is such that the Nike brand plans to produce virtual sneakers, while the former first lady of the United States Melania Trump sells, in January, the NFT of a design reproducing her azure gaze … “We have all the elements of a“ mania ”, summarizes Mr. Egan. People buy things they don’t understand, often trivial. And this market is experiencing enormous manipulation and questionable transactions. ”

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Beware, moreover, of magnifying effects! No crypto art has come close or near the record high of $ 69 million. According to Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics platform, transactions under $ 10,000 account for 75% of the NFT market. And art represents less than 10% of this market, dominated largely by collectibles – the collectibles, in the jargon -, which maddens the counters. Because almost everything can be transformed into NFT. So the dribble of an NBA basketball player, the first tweet of Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, sold for $ 2.9 million. Or the very first text message in history, awarded in December 2021 for 107,000 euros.