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The NFT Market – Facts, Numbers and Growth Expectations in 2022

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NFTs came out of nowhere – much like crypto did… right? Well, no. After cryptocurrencies rose to  power quickly and efficiently, the next trend kicked off: Non-Fungible Tokens. Unlike cryptocurrencies that are only used as currencies such as Bitcoin, NFTs are all unique – while they can be many or few in number, they work like limited edition comic books.

Say, only 500 will ever be printed, each with a unique number between 1 and 500 on it – therefore, even if you bought two, they are unique and different from each other, and may have different values as well. Normal crypto coins such as Bitcoin are different – any single Bitcoin has the exact same value as any other, and they are indistinguishable and can also be split into smaller fractions of themselves that then have a fraction of the value in question. Now, the crypto network that was most central to the NFT boom was Ethereum – at least at first.

NFTs Market

Growing NFT universe

At the start of 2021, Ethereum’s share of all NFTs dropped from 95% to just 80%. In other words, new projects are moving to other chains, and even existing projects are moving away. The reasons for this are fairly straight-forward: high transaction volumes slow down the network, and high gas fees make transactions expensive. Other chains such as Solana are picking up the slack – they are faster, cheaper, and more scalable.

NFTs are expanding rapidly – the market itself was valued at about $41 billion dollars in 2021 – that’s nearly as much as the conventional fine art market was worth in 2020 ($50 billion). NFTs are appearing everywhere – celebs are discussing them, rappers are launching them, and even major auction houses are putting them into their major auctions to not miss out on the profits.

Large-scale projects are becoming common knowledge – even non-crypto-fans are becoming aware of Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks, Sandbox and more – not to mention of course Beeple. Auction House Christie’s set a new record with this sale, where a collector spent the equivalent of $69 million dollars to acquire the artwork. The sale made the creator one of the most valuable living artists on the planet – his NFTs have sold for millions in various high-profile transactions before and after the auction as well.

Numbers in NFTs

While individual transactions at the scale of multiple millions are somewhat rare, NFT sales and purchases are not. The most popular NFT platform out there, OpenSea, saw a total of $14.6 billion dollars in sales in 2021. Popular NFT-based game Axie Infinity alone saw a total of $3.74 billion in sales volumes for their game. Others on our best NFT games list are not faring badly either.

Both OpenSea and Axie Infinity are based on and around the Ethereum chain – but even competitors are seeing incredible numbers. Solana, one of Eth’s biggest competitors, saw some record-breaking transactions too, with one NFT selling for the equivalent of about $2.1 million dollars, or more than 13k SOL. This happened amidst several negative stories around Solana and NFTs, with some scandals about fake collections and knock-off NFTs.

Of course it wasn’t all bad news – even in the middle of such negative publicity, the industry is absolutely booming. New projects are popping up everywhere, from art collections to NFT games and more, as more and more new use cases for NFTs are being developed and created on a near-daily basis. Even play-to-earn games may soon start rewarding NFTs that can be traded further.

Based on how popular creating and distributing digital art and content is becoming, there is no doubt the NFT market is expected at least quadruple in size and volume in 2022.

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Troubled waters: The NLC is struggling to stay afloat after Riot’s sweeping changes to EMEA

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Before the new year begins, Riot Games revealed an entire treasure chest of changes headed to the European League of Legends scene, including a regional name change, new formats for the LEC, and a new ecosystem for tier two organizations. One league, however, is struggling to tread in these new waters: the NLC.

NLC teams are reportedly struggling to find funding and sponsors for the 2023 season due to the unstable situation in the league, according to independent journalist Brieuc Seeger. Recently, multiple major esports teams have pulled out of the league, including Excel Esports and Dusty Esports. Bifrost has also reportedly parted ways with all of its League staff, according to Seeger.

The league has been running since 2020, and has featured the Academy teams of several major European esports organizations, like Excel Esports, Astralis, and Fnatic. After an unsuccessful year in terms of finances, however, the NLC was forced to downsize its entire operation and become a non-accredited league. As a result, Seeger also said that sponsors are now hesitant to fund the league, especially after the NLC’s prize money and stipends were reduced from 200,000 to 45,000.

Related: LEC is getting a new look in 2023: Riot introduces 3 splits and over 300 games

“We tried our best throughout the year but sadly, we did not hit our partnership goals due to the current market situation,” the NLC said in a statement. “As such, it is no longer financially viable to continue at the level at which we have been operating. Therefore we have to take a step back for 2023 to establish an alternative path to lead the NLC into the future.”

There will be two splits in the year, one pro-am tournament called the Aurora Cup, and there will be eight or 10 teams competing in 2023, depending on the feedback from the teams. If the situation worsens, however, the NLC might need some major help in the coming months if this league wants to survive the new year.



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Doubling down on Matthews: TSM adds Ari and Whitemon to Dota 2 roster

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TSM’s Dota 2 roster has been going through major changes after the team’s disappointing run at The International 2022. Earlier in the roster shuffle season, TSM parted ways with Dubu, moved MoonMeander to the coach position, and the organization announced Matthew “Ari” Walker and Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon would take on their mantle.

In addition to Evil Geniuses moving to South America, TSM’s latest roster move is one of the most intriguing in the North American Dota 2 region. Not only did the team bring in two talents from two different parts of the world, but the roster got dramatically younger in the process.

MoonMeander and Dubu are 30 and 29 years old, respectively, while Ari is 19 and Whitemon is 22. With MoonMeander moving to a coaching position, it looks like TSM decided to bring in young talent in the hopes of developing them in NA.

Despite his young age, Whitemon has been a part of strong rosters in SEA like Geek Fam and T1. Ari, on the other hand, was only beginning to participate in the Dota Pro Circuit, as he only previously played with Into The Breach. Ari’s resume might look a little short in Dota for now, but his past speaks volumes.

Ari is a former Heroes of the Storm professional player who made the transition to Dota 2 in 2019 after HotS scrapped its esports scene. Only two years after making the switch, Ari reached 9,000 MMR and 11,000 MMR in 2022. His ability to learn rapidly and improve in an unmatched speed were recognized by other European talents, and Ari made it to the TI11 WEU qualifiers with Into The Breach, finishing fourth.

With TSM’s roster getting even younger, it will be up to coach MoonMeander to shape the hot-blooded talent into the best versions of themselves. The current iteration of TSM features:

  • Enzo “Timado” O’Connor
  • Jonathan “Bryle” Guia
  • Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek
  • Matthew “Ari” Walker
  • Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon

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OpTic Hitch Reveals $100k ‘Warzone World Classic’ Tournament

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On Twitter, OpTic Hitch has revealed the Warzone World Classic tournament, a $100,000 event that will take place between the 6th and 7th of December. It’s an event that will be backed by Team Summertime, the same team that was responsible for the Black Ops II throwback tournament that took place in October 2022. Reportedly, thirty-two countries will be represented at the Warzone World Classic, which in a way is an attempt to mirror the FIFA World Cup, which is currently live.

While OpTic Hitch was the one to break the news regarding this tournament, there’s no sign that it’s at all related to OpTic as an organisation. In November, just after the game dropped, OpTic Texas held the first-ever North American Warzone 2.0 tournament, which also boasted a prize pool worth $100,000. As fans are waiting for news regarding the 2023 World Series of Warzone tournament, events like these are pivotal to maintaining the game’s esports scene.

The Warzone World Classic is a Global Event

Admittedly, not much is known about the Warzone World Classic, aside from the date, prize pool, and the number of competitors. However, information hasn’t been provided clearing up whether those countries are being represented by individuals or by squads. Regardless, some of the best Call of Duty players in the world have already shown an interest in representing their country at the event.

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