NFT gas usage shows downward trend, signals shift in landscape

Ethereum

Ethereum gas consumption of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) has gone through significant drops since its highs in 2021. Marketplaces and NFT projects that occupied top spots in terms of gas consumption at the time have since shown a sharp decline in two years. 

Data shared by the on-chain analytics platform Glassnode shows that gas usage by NFT marketplaces is currently on a downward trend. The marketplaces that once topped the charts for gas usage are now far from their former spots in the Ethereum gas consumption list. This shows that there may be a shift in terms of NFT use, where more users may be opting to hold on to their assets instead of trading them on marketplaces.

Etherscan’s top 10 contracts or accounts that consumed a lot of gas on August 4, 2021. Source: The Wayback Machine

In 2021, NFTs were leading the charts in terms of Ethereum gas usage according to blockchain explorer Etherscan. On Aug. 4, 2021, NFT gaming project Axie Infinity (AXS) placed second in terms of gas usage due to its Ronin bridge that transfers assets from Ethereum to the Ronin blockchain. On the same day, NFT marketplace OpenSea was in the fourth spot on the list.

Related: Ethereum gas fees cool down after May memecoin frenzy

Fast forward to 2023, crypto analytics platform Nansen revealed that NFT marketplaces have only accounted for over 3% of the entire gas consumption in a weekly period back in May. This happened amid a surge in Ether (ETH) gas prices at the time, and sparked theories positing that NFTs were only a “product of excess liquidity” due to money printing during the pandemic.

Today, gas consumption by NFTs continues its decline. At the moment, the gas consumption of Blur, OpenSea, SuperRare, LooksRare and Rarible only account for roughly 1.85% of the gas consumption for the entire Ethereum network. 

Apart from this, OpenSea and Axie Infinity, projects that once topped the charts in Etherscan’s top gas users are nowhere to be seen in the top 50 list. However, while marketplaces are nowhere to be seen in terms of gas consumption, NFT marketplace Blur is still hanging around Etherscan’s top 30 spot for gas consumers, at the time of writing.

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