Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are exploding worldwide, but there are certain key spots where the digital collectibles are particularly popular.
A new global study shows that Taiwan is the top country in the world for interest in non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The East Asian country performed more than 2.3 million Google searches related to NFTs over the most recent year, according to data from the NFT Club.
Overall, Taiwanese citizens performed more than 9,600 searches per 100,000 people over the past year. Australia and Canada followed closely behind.
Curiously, other geographic locations like India — which boasts one of the largest concentrations of NFT-related business headquarters worldwide — do not show a large interest in NFTs. NFT Club’s study indicated that Indian citizens only performed 254 searches per 100,000 people, indicating a low level of interest in NFTs.
The popularity of NFTs has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching a record-breaking $44.2 billion last year, according to data from blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis. This is a significant leap from the previous year, when digital collectibles earned only $106 million in 2020.
Celebrities and political luminaries alike have jumped aboard the NFT bandwagon, with people like former First Lady Melania Trump and American rapper Snoop Dogg unveiling NFT collections to appeal to their fans. Brands like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour have also embraced the trend.
Alongside the massive growth in NFTs, of course, is a growing number of crimes associated with digital collectibles. Last year, $8.6 billion of crypto-related money laundering was logged by Chainalysis.
“Money laundering, and in particular, transfers from sanctioned cryptocurrency businesses, represents a large risk to building trust in NFTs, and should be monitored more closely by marketplaces, regulators, and law enforcement,” the firm said.
The industry is also marred by an increase in ‘wash trading’ which refers to the seller being on both sides of the NFT trade to arbitrarily inflate the bid and generate more interest from prospective buyers. Chainalysis logged more than 260 users selling NFTs to themselves. “We can’t be 100% sure that all instances of NFT sales to self-financed wallets are intended for wash trading, (but) the 25-transaction threshold gives us a higher degree of confidence that these users are habitual wash traders,” said the report.