NFTs go religious as Vatican creates digital gallery

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


Key points

  • Catholic Church leaders recently announced plans to convert their invaluable inventory of statutes, religious icons, artwork and books into non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
  • Despite recent weeks of downward pressure in the general cryptocurrency market, TradingPedia research reveals that NFTs have weathered the downturn better than single crypto projects.

Earlier this month, the Vatican announced plans to bring its vast collection of artifacts, statutes, paintings, jewelry and religious artwork into the digital age by converting priceless physical assets in non-fungible tokens (NFT). 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 is reported that the Church wants to “democratize” and share these timeless and irreplaceable physical coins with the general public using NFT technology, for the benefit of people who would not normally be able to visit Vatican City in Rome in person. Father Phillip Larrey has been appointed president of the Vatican NFT Gallery which oversees the project. The launch date for the Vatican’s NFT Gallery has not yet been set; however, the timing of the Vatican’s announcement of the NFT seems almost divinely inspired.

New Research Reveals NFTs Are Faring Better Than Cryptos

While 2021 was a banner year for NFTs and digital currencies traded on cryptocurrency exchanges, the crypto side hasn’t fared so well this year. In the past six months, virtual currencies have lost $1 trillion in market capitalization.

Conversely, analysis published by TradingPedia revealed that the number of daily active NFT traders increased by 12% in April 2022 to an average of 58,000 daily users from 52,000 daily users in March. While user numbers for the first two weeks of May have returned to March levels, they are still higher than at any time in 2021, as is NFT trading volume.

“In January 2022, we saw average daily NFT trading volume increase by 439% month-over-month, while average daily active traders increased by 77% month-over-month. On the face of it, this doesn’t make sense with the crypto markets heading south at a rapid pace, however, as the markets stagnate or decline, many crypto investors are trying other ways to get the high returns they’re used to in a bull market,” TradingPedia market analyst Brian McColl said of the reported findings.

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

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Given that the Vatican has not shared any intention to publicly sell its pending NFT collection, it is unlikely that the Church will slow down its plans for this project, regardless of prices or volume changes covering NFTs or cryptos in general. It’s probably a godsend for anyone praying to take a look at his collection.

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