In March 2021, an artist called Beeple sold an NFT-based artwork for a record-setting $69 million — and NFTs began to shake up the art world, the tech world, and dozens of other subcultures. The year that followed has been a rollercoaster: artists and collectors have made fortunes off NFTs, brand after brand has launched digital marketing gimmicks, and NFT apes even made it onto The Tonight Show.
But more recently, the NFT scene has lost much of that early momentum. Sales of NFTs have cratered, and the entire crypto market has lost much of its value. This slowdown has put the space in a new light. Can the tremendous growth and the communities that formed around it in the early days of NFTs be maintained, or was this whole thing just a strange technological fad?
In this package, The Verge explores the NFT scene as it is today, a year after things first took off. We look at people who found unexpected success, others who are still striving for it, and the odd and uncertain cultural and legal implications that weave it all together.