Top 10 NFT Collections by Sales Volume

Below are the Top 10 NFT Collections by Sales Volume as recorded by

The data is in USD and based on the last 30 days ending on 22 December 2021.

  • Axie Infinity $420M
  • CloneX $161M
  • The Sandbox $154M
  • CryptoPunks $136M
  • Bored Ape Yacht Club $116M
  • RTFKT CloneX Mintvial $98M
  • Mutant Ape Yacht Club $57M
  • Adidas Originals $47M
  • Art Blocks $46M
  • Wizards & Dragons Games $43M

What is Axie Infinity?

Axie Infinity is a game on the blockchain.

It features economic incentives in order to encourage players to play for longer.

You may have heard the term ‘play-to-earn’ when referring to a new category of video games where players receive rewards during their gaming experience.

Axie Inifinity is one of the most famous and successful examples.

The game is centred on ‘axies’, creatures with six body parts for which 500 options are available.

Each axie is therefore very unique and has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to battling with other axies.

Players can breed, raise, trade and battle the creatures. Each axie is digitized as an NFT using the Ethereum blockchain. Since April 2021, Sky Mavis (the company behind the game) has developed the Ronin blockchain, an ethereum side-chain specifically dedicated to supporting this game.

Winning battles allows players to win SLP (Smooth Love Potion), a crypto-currency token.

Players can then convert SLP in other cryptocurrency outside of the game.

SLP is needed to breed axies in increasing amounts with each iteration of breeding.

SLP also allows players to buy digital items within the game.

Breeding also requires AXS (Axie Infinity Shards), another crypto-currency token used as a governance token.

The Future of The Attention Economy

Kevin Kelly shares his view on what the future of the attention economy holds.

Below are my notes.

We are producing more and more things, a world of abundance.

The one thing that is scarce is our attention, limited to a maximum of 24 hours per day (if you were not to sleep).

Currently, a lot of services are paid for by our attention.

Anything that is supported by advertising is paid for by our attention.

We use our attention to watch an ad which in turn enables the service to be provided at no immediate financial cost to us.

Most things you consume on a screen are paid for by your attention.

Ironically, our attention is very valuable but we surrender it for very little.

For example, if someone sends you an email you read it without too much consideration for the cost of doing so.

Kelly believes giving away our most valuable thing for free is not sustainable.

We will move towards charging for our attention.

For instance, if you want me to watch an ad, you will pay me.

At present, television charges about only $2-$3 an hour for people’s attention.

Kelly sees a future where advertisers and brands are much closer to the final consumer.

This implies cutting out the current intermediaries.

It is already partially happening.

Brands go directly to influencers and pay them to bring their product to the attention of consumers.

This cuts out advertising agencies and media companies.

Another potential avenue is for individuals to curate advertisements.

Anyone with a digital platform could choose products that they like, run their ads and earn some revenue in the process.

Kind of like Adsense but with greater control and input into what ads are shown.

The attention scarcity is challenged by an ever increasing content production.

How do we find the good stuff?

With the gradual disappearance of middle people in the ecosystem, critics/curators/reviewers don’t have the same platforms as they used to.

Recommendation algorithms (think Amazon, YouTube or Netflix) are becoming more important in this context but are not sufficient.

These algorithms tend not to surface ‘unexpected’ recommendations, surprises.

One final consideration for the future of attention is the ability to focus it on creating rather than consuming.

YouTube launches Shorts

YouTube has announced the launch of Shorts.

Shorts are videos with a maximum length of 15 seconds.

Sounds familiar?

This product has been likened to TikTok.

Interestingly this feature has been launched in beta in India.

Interesting because India’s government banned TikTok in June following clashes between the Indian and Chinese armies in border regions on the Himalayas.

The ban has left a massive hole in the digital arena in India.

YouTube describes Shorts as “a new short-form video experience right on YouTube for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.”

The scant details provided make Shorts sound a lot like, the first iteration of TikTok.

Creators will be able to use music clips, string multiple clips together and speed controls to aid creativity.

Less than the current offering from TikTok but it’s a first iteration.

YouTube is selling the idea of creating Shorts thanks to its 2 billion people reach.

TikTok is renowned for its algorithm.

The magic sauce that has contributed to a lot of its success.

YouTube is one of the platforms well placed to replicate these achievements.

It already has a very sophisticated suggestion algorithm built on billions of views by billions of users.

One issue, in my opinion, is that short videos is all that TikTok does.

The user uses the app for one reason.

This is an advantage that YouTube does not have.

How YouTube integrates Shorts into the users’ experience remains to be seen.

Also, will Shorts displace or take away time from other YouTube content?

In the very short term, if TikTok gets banned from the US, YouTube will have a very strong incentive to accelerate the deployment of Shorts in order to capture users suddenly starved of 15 seconds videos.

The power of an engaged audience

AP News reports on the impact that an appearance on ‘The Rachel Maddow Show‘ has on book sales.

The Rachel Maddow Show reaches million of viewers on MSNBC, has over 10 million followers on Twitter and nearly 3 million on Facebook.

In short, it has a big audience.

But what is important for book publishers is that the audience is a book-buying engaged audience.

Other shows may have a larger audience but appearing on them may not generate the same number of book sales.

“There isn’t any show on television that sells more books than Maddow,” says Keith Urbahn of the Javelin literacy agency, where clients include former FBI Director James Comey and former Hillary Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri. “She has the most engaged, book buying audience bar none. Every time one of our authors has been on, she has shot the book to number one.”

A similar point can be made for Oprah’s or Reese Witherspoon’s book clubs.

They are influential destinations with highly engaged audiences.

The size of the audience is obviously important but it shouldn’t be the most important metric.

There are other shows and influencers that have bigger audiences but that wouldn’t deliver the same results.

Having an author interviewed about her latest book during half time of any major sport is very unlikely to deliver the sales boost that Rachel Maddow delivers.

The audience might be large but unlikely to engage with the topic being discussed.

Similarly, if you sell camping equipment, The Rachel Maddow show is unlikely to help you reach an engaged audience.

The ‘great outdoors’ program showing at 2pm on a Saturday on a secondary digital TV channel on the other hand….

In short, find where your engaged audience is likely to congregate and then put yourself in front of them there.

Twitch benefits from coronavirus lockdown

eMarketer reports that the video viewing platform Twitch has seen traffic rise as people spend more time at home.

Estimates for the US market put the number of users for 2020 at 41.5 million.

This number is considerably higher than eMarketer’s own February prediction of 37.5 million.

YOY growth is predicted to slow down to just above 5% for each of the next 4 years.

This should bring the number of users to close to 52 million in 2024.

Such a prediction is based on things going back to some level of ‘normality’.

The growth is driven by both gaming and non-gaming channels.

According to eMarketer, many first-time users are starting by exploring options such as ‘music’ and ‘just chatting’.

US Twitch Users 2019-2020

(Source: eMarketer; September 2020)

Advertising spend on podcasts to skyrocket

According to eMarketer, advertising spend on podcasts is set to pass the $1M mark next year.

This figure relates to the US market and follows sustained audience growth over the last few years.

The forecast also puts at 20% the level of advertising going to podcasts when compared to digital radio.

The growth predicted by eMarketer in advertising spend for the medium is very impressive.

This year it is forecast to grow by 10.4%, reaching $782M, while next year it should jump by 45% and exceed the $1M threshold.

Shelleen Shum, eMarketer forecasting director at Insider Intelligence, said “The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused in H1 due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4.”

One change highlighted by eMarketer’s analysis is the shift towards more programmatic selling of podcast ad inventory.

At present only 4% is bought programmatically but as the deployment of audience measurement technology increases this figure should rise to 8% by 2022.

Estimates put the US podcast audience at 105.6 million, about half the size of the digital radio audience.

In short, if you are planning to advertise on podcasts today is the day to do it!

All other things being equal, it will become more expensive over the next couple of years.

Alibaba needs world influencers to win war

Alibaba is reportedly recruiting influencers outside of China to grow its share of eCommerce.

Influencers that sell through live-streaming are a massive feature of the Chinese ecommerce landscape.

Alibaba now wants to export and adapt the model internationally.

To do so is looking to hire an army of influencers that can sell through AliExpress, its international retail arm.

The reason behind this goal is the current tiny size, by comparison with Alibaba’s presence in China, of its international segment.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Alibaba intends to recruit 1 million of such international influencers by 2023.

The key is to find people that can sell in a specific language and to a specific culture.

These salespeople would also help to overcome the current lack of trust towards the quality of a lot of products available on AliExpress.

Live-streaming in China is an established way of selling. According to iiMedia Research, $63 billion of goods were sold through the medium in China in 2019.

The one big advantage for Chinese companies is a big market that, broadly, speaks the same language and has a similar culture.

Many other markets, Europe for instance, present more challenges as they are more fragmented both because of language or geographical differences.

The difference in consumer mindset is also a challenge.

Observers note that the Chinese consumer has a keener eye and interest in bargains and is more willing to sit through a 30 minutes sales pitch.

It is yet to be seen if the European or North American consumer behaves in the same way.

Finally, the time spent on mobile phones is much higher for Chinese users, making the transition to consumers of live-streaming much easier.

Facebook updates policies ahead of 2020 US election

Mark Zuckerberg gave a town hall update during which he tackled the issue of reviewing Facebook’s policies ahead of the 2020 U.S. election.

The objective of the review is, in his words, “to connect people to authoritative information about voting, to crackdown on voter suppression and to fight hate speech.”

The first change aims at providing more authoritative information empowering more people to register to vote. How to register, how and when you can vote, voting by mail, early voting. All these are especially important during a pandemic when some people may be afraid of going out.

The voting information centre will be shown at the top of both Facebook ánd Instagram.

In the 72 hours leading up to election day, Facebook will work with local election authorities to evaluate any claim regarding voting conditions (e.g. large queues ect).

Facebook are also going to ban posts that make false claims.

Plus, they are creating a higher standard for hateful content and ads.

Zuckerberg underlines that, within this context, there already is a more stringent standard for ads when compared to personal posts.

From today Facebook is going to update its policies in order to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, a specific ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation or caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety or health or survival of other people.

(My comment: shouldn’t have this already be in place?)

Also, ads will be prohibited if they express disgust or contempt at immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers.

Soon Facebook will be labeling content that they leave up because they deem it to be newsworthy (even if some people may find it offensive).

The exception is if Facebook believes that the content will lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote.

All of the above, in the context of many big advertisers pulling their spend from Facebook claiming failure in policing hate speech.

In a first, Google impacted by surprise drop in ad revenue

eMarketer has revealed some fascinating news.

According to its latest forecast, net US digital ad revenues will decline in absolute terms. 

In other words, Google is taking home fewer dollars than the year before.

This has never happened since eMarketer started forecasting such a metric.

In its estimate, eMarketer puts the figure at $39.58 billion for 2020.

This is 5.3% down on the previous year.

This in the context of a slightly increasing triopoly.

The combined U.S. ad revenues of Google, Amazon and Facebook combined is estimated to grow by $1.69 billion, approximately 2%.

This means that Google is losing market share while Facebook and Amazon are growing both in absolute and in % terms.

Nicole Perrin, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, said “Google has been growing its net US ad revenues at a slower rate than the overall digital ad market since 2016, so this year will continue a trend of Google losing digital ad market share in the US.”

The challenges to the digital advertising market are linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economy crisis.

eMarketer has revised sharply downwards its pre-COVID-19 forecasts.

Google has been particularly impacted as it derives a considerable amount of revenue from the travel industry.