Digital Art Lovers Spend Billions On NFTs

Art lovers and investors have smashed spending records to buy NFT artworks worth a staggering $22 billion (£16.8 billion) in the past year from a base of just $100,000 (£76,276) in the year before.

And the biggest take-up in digital art came from major American celebrities – including unlikely trailblazers like Star Trek nonagenarian actor William Shatner, tennis ace Serena Williams and model Kate Moss.

NFTs – short for non-fungible tokens – are unique digital art collectors can buy, keep or trade online.

CryptoPunks are among the first and best-known NFTs. The set of 10,000 characters is highly sought after, and each character sells for millions of dollars.

Celebrities are keen on joining the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Membership is attached to buying one of the NFTs, which comes with a pass to the brand’s metaverse.

Celebrities Go Crazy For Crypto Art

Stephen Moses, founder of digital estate planning platform Zenplans, said: “Celebrities are going crazy for NFTS, helping global sales reach $22 billion in 2021 – up from $100 million in 2020. Not only do NFTs have significant value, but also, due to their nature, a vast potential for development, with play-to-earn platforms such as Axie Infinity set to grow exponentially this year.

“However, despite the increase in popularity, the market is still in its infancy, and most people don’t know how to manage their NFTs to ensure who inherits when the time is right.”

This insatiable demand from celebrities is driving interest, with some dismissing NFTs as a craze or investment bubble while others scramble to grab a piece of the pie.

Celebrity NFT Collectors

NFTs are popular with rappers:

Snoop Dog

Hiding behind the pseudonym Cozomo de Medici, Snoop Dog has an NFT collection worth at least $14 million. His haul includes a Bored Ape and 10 CryptoPunks.

Marshmello unmasked

Music maestro Marshmello likes to hide his face, but broke his golden rule to Tweet to the world ‘Marshmello Face Reveal’ and changed his profile image when he bought a CryptoPunk.


The veteran rapper signed up with the Bored Ape Yacht Club when he bought an NFT dubbed EminApe because the image resembles him. He shelled out $460,000 for the NFT, which has become his Instagram profile pic.

Other notable celebrity NFT collectors include:

Serena Williams

Tennis superstar Serena Williams owns a CryptoPunk gifted to her by husband Alexia Oharian, the Reddit social media platform founder. She uses the image as her Twitter profile pic.

Jimmy Fallon

US TV talk show host Jimmy Fallon paid about $220,000 for his Bored Ape NFT which has a personal Twitter account.

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Celebrity NFT creators


The hip-hop hero shares what he earns from music streaming with fans who have invested in his NFTs

William Shatner

Media survivor Shatner – Captain Kirk in Star Trek and cop TJ Hooker in the series of the same name – minted a collection of space-themed NFTs which quickly sold out

Robert de Niro

The Hollywood A-lister partnered with NFT creator LIT DAO for a monotone collection of images in which the actor changes expression as the price of Ethereum rises and falls

Kate Moss

Supermodel Kate Moss released three NFTs – Sleep with Kate, Walk with Kate and Drive with Kate. Any proceeds from the sales go to charity

Ellen DeGeneres

Comedian and TV host Ellen DeGeneres created an NFT collection mostly highlighting her stick drawings of cats. Proceeds from selling the limited edition art go to charity


The wife of crypto investor and pundit Elon Musk released a set of music video NFTS last year. For traders, the value of the collector pieces is pitiful – with one dropping 84 per cent in price

Digital Art Lovers Spend Billions On NFTs FAQ

What is an NFT?

NFT is short for a non-fungible token – a unique digital art work with proof of ownership logged on a blockchain. NFTs are the 21st century equivalent of paintings like the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa is unique and has a single owner, but has plenty of copies floating around.

NFTs are the same. The original has a digital ownership certificate, but others can copy the content.

NFTs are not limited to art works. Other examples include music, books and animations.

What is minting an NFT?

Minting is the process of registering ownership of a digital file on a blockchain. Saving a file to a blockchain is permanent and acts as the digital ownership certificate.

How do you buy an NFT?

Buying an NFT is like buying anything else online. You can make a purchase with the creator, retailer or at an auction.

One of the largest online galleries is OpenSea

How do I pay for an NFT?

To buy an NFT, you need a digital wallet which includes the cryptocurrency associated with the blockchain the NFT was minted on. For example, Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs are on the Ethereum blockchain, so you will need ether to buy them.

Can investors make money from NFTs?

Besides the creators minting NFTs, middle men and collectors are making money. Like most art, collectors should buy NFTs because they like them, not for future profit that is impossible to predict.

No one can predict if NFTs are a bubble or if a new market for digital art is opening. Best advice to collectors is buy what you like and can afford. Any gains in value are a bonus.

Why are celebrities involved in NFTs?

Celebrity endorsements are nothing new. Plenty of actors and personalities help sell all sorts of products online. Advertisers love endorsements because they help customers trust their services. NFTs are the latest in a long line of endorsements.

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