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NFTs Get Religion as Vatican Creates a Digital Gallery


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The Catholic Church announced earlier this month that it plans to digitize its vast archives of art and artifacts, as a new study finds NFTs have fared better than cryptos in 2022.


Key points

  • Leaders of the Catholic Church recently announced plans to convert its priceless inventory of statutes, religious icons, artwork, and books into non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
  • Despite recent weeks of downward pressure on the general cryptocurrency market, research from TradingPedia finds that NFTs have weathered the downturn better than straight crypto projects. 

Earlier this month the Vatican announced plans to bring its expansive collection of artifacts, statutes, paintings, jewelry, and religious works of art into the digital age by converting the priceless physical assets into non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Over the hundreds of years of its existence, the Catholic Church has amassed one of the largest and most valuable art collections in the world. 

It’s reported that the Church wants to “democratize” and share these timeless and irreplaceable physical pieces with the public at large using NFT technology, to benefit individuals who would not normally be able to visit Vatican City in Rome in person. Father Phillip Larrey has been designated as the Chairman of the Vatican NFT Gallery overseeing the project. A launch date for the Vatican’s NFT Gallery has not yet been set; however, the timing of the Vatican’s NFT announcement seems almost divinely inspired.

New research finds NFTs are doing better than cryptos

While 2021 was a record-setting year for NFTs and digital currencies traded on cryptocurrency exchanges, the crypto side has not fared as well this year. During the past six months, virtual currencies have lost $1 trillion in market cap valuation. 

Conversely, published analysis from TradingPedia found that the number of daily active NFT traders increased 12% in April 2022 to an average of 58,000 users per day compared to 52,000 daily users in March. While the number of users for the first two weeks of May dipped back to March levels, they’re still higher than any time in 2021 as is trading volume of NFTs.

“In January 2022 we saw the daily average NFT trading volume increase by 439% month-over-month, while the daily average active traders increased by 77% month-over-month. At first sight this doesn’t make sense with crypto markets going south at a fast pace. However, with markets stalling or going down many crypto investors try alternative ways to get the high returns they are accustomed to in a bull market,” stated TradingPedia market analyst Brian McColl, regarding the announced findings.

McColl went on to note that NFT volumes bounce around quite a bit, but that’s largely due to episodic launches of specific NFT collections that can drive demand in spurts. The findings summarize that despite the decline in the broader crypto markets and increased volatility among digital currencies, the NFT space has shown strong signs of stabilization and steady growth.

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Since the Vatican has not shared any intent to publicly sell its pending NFT collection, it’s unlikely that the Church will slow its plans for this project regardless of pricing or volume shifts spanning NFTs or cryptos in general. That’s likely to be a godsend for anyone praying for a peek at its collection.

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