What’s the biggest NFT project to date? In terms of total trading volume, it’s not NBA Top Shot or CryptoPunks . No, it’s Axie Infinity —an Ethereum -based, Pokémon-inspired, monster-battling game that exploded in popularity this summer.
Sky Mavis’ game surpassed the $2 billion mark in total transaction volume last week, according to data from DappRadar . Players are spending piles of ETH on cartoonish monsters, land plots, and other items in a game that now claims more than 1.8 million daily active users. Axie’s native AXS governance token has also surged in value , with a market cap nearing $4 billion.
It’s not a cheap game to get into, however. An NFT acts like a deed of ownership to a digital item—in this case, an interactive creature or a chunk of customizable terrain. You need three monster NFTs to even play Axie Infinity, with starting prices around $150-200 worth of ETH apiece. That’s a sizable upfront investment, although it hasn’t deterred the project’s exponential growth of late.
The Axie Infinity community has gradually expanded since development started in late 2017, but it accelerated quickly this summer with the launch of Ronin, a custom-built sidechain for Ethereum. It cuts down fees and avoids Ethereum’s network congestion in the process, resulting in speedy transactions as players buy, sell, and breed Axie NFTs.