According to prominent NFT gaming platform Balthazar DAO, non-fungible token trading has picked up again so far this year. That said, it might be best to keep any great expectations tempered for 2023.

The Aussie-founded DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation), which is backed by Finder founder Fred Schebesta’s Hive Empire Capital investment firm, released its latest market update last week, which shows some solid NFT growth in January.

The platform based its findings and projections on January trading volume figures across five leading NFT marketplaces – OpenSea, Magic Eden, X2Y2, LooksRare and Solanart.

Balthazar’s data shows that the five marketplaces saw a combined trading volume of US$691.67 million in January 2023, which is 54.19% higher than December 2022 (US$448.59m). Four of the five marketplaces saw increases in trade volume in January 2023, while LooksRare saw a 25.16% decline.

These are encouraging signs that reflect the overall surge in the crypto market this year. Crypto’s market barometer Bitcoin, for example, recorded a near-40% gain in January, and leading NFT ecosystem Ethereum has been in similar gainage territory so far in 2023, too.

In terms of NFT marketplaces, though, interestingly, at least one Solana-housed trading platform performed well, belying any perceived downturns in Solana NFT ecosystem health after the FTX implosion came to light.

According to Balthazar, Solanart saw the biggest jump in trading volume, almost double (97.97%) from US$142,203 in December 2022 to US$281,514 in January 2023.

Meanwhile MagicEden recorded a 23.72% rise in January, compared to the previous month, which is a good performance, although not as powerful as OpenSea and X2Y2’s.

Meanwhile, the total number of users (+17.98%) and number of trades (+16.16%) across the five marketplaces were up in January compared with December figures. And the average trade size has increased about 39%, too, from US$922 in December, to US$1,283 in January.


That said, don’t pull out the hopium pipe just yet

While sounding encouraged by the month-on-month upturn, John Stefanidis, co-founder and CEO of Balthazar, said he doesn’t expect the market to bounce back to the early 2022 levels this year.

“It’s great to see that NFT sales have picked up in January,” said Stefanidis. “This is the highest trading volume we’ve seen since August last year. But I’m not expecting the market to return to the levels we saw at the start of 2022.

“There is still an appetite for NFTs and we can see from the report that well over one million people are trading NFTs every month.

“NFTs are here to stay and more exciting use cases are being built, especially in the gaming industry where there’s a huge opportunity to create a more equitable market, where players are empowered, where their in-game assets hold real value, and where the gaming experience transcends mere entertainment,” added the Balthazar CEO.