NFT Wash Trading on Marketplaces: The Dark Side of the Booming Crypto Art Industry

NFT Wash Trading


In recent years, the crypto art industry has been booming thanks to the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are unique digital assets that are stored on a blockchain, making them one-of-a-kind and impossible to duplicate. This has created a new market for digital artists to sell their work for millions of dollars, but it has also attracted a dark side to the industry: NFT wash trading.

NFT wash trading is a form of market manipulation that involves artificially inflating an NFT’s price by repeatedly trading it among oneself. This creates false demand, giving the illusion of value and increasing the price. However, the NFT has no actual value, and those involved are only seeking quick profits.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of NFT wash trading on marketplaces and how it affects the crypto art industry. We’ll also provide tips on how to protect yourself from scams and make informed investments.

The Dark Side of NFT Wash Trading on Marketplaces

It’s a serious issue on many marketplaces, including OpenSea, Rarible, and Nifty Gateway. While it’s difficult to estimate the exact extent of the problem, it’s clear that wash trading has become a widespread practice in the industry. Here are some of the key issues with NFT wash trading:

1. Artificially Inflated Prices

One of the most obvious problems with NFT wash trading is that it artificially inflates prices, making it difficult for investors to determine the true value of an NFT. When a group of individuals engage in wash trading, they can drive up the price of an NFT to levels that are far beyond what the market would normally support. This can create a bubble that eventually bursts, leaving investors with worthless assets.

2. Lack of Transparency

Another issue with NFT wash trading is that it lacks transparency. Since wash trading involves trading an NFT back and forth with oneself, it can be difficult to identify when it’s happening. This makes it harder for investors to make informed decisions and can lead to a lack of trust in the market.

3. Scams and Fraud

It’s also a breeding ground for scams and fraud. Since it’s easy for individuals to create multiple accounts and engage in wash trading, it’s also easy for them to scam investors. For example, they might create a fake NFT and use wash trading to drive up its price, then disappear with the profits.

4. Harm to Legitimate Artists

Finally, NFT wash trading can harm legitimate artists who are trying to make a living from their work. When the market is flooded with artificially inflated NFTs, it can be difficult for legitimate artists to compete. This can lead to a situation where only the individuals engaging in wash trading are making money, while talented artists are left struggling to make ends meet.

How to Protect Yourself from NFT Wash Trading Scams

Now that you know about the dangers of it, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from scams. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Do Your Research

Before investing in an NFT, take the time to research the artist and the marketplace. Look for reviews and ratings from other investors and check the artist’s past works to see if they have a track record of producing high-quality pieces. Also, research the marketplace to ensure it has a reputation for being trustworthy and transparent.

2. Look for Signs of Wash Trading

Pay attention to the trading patterns of an NFT before investing. If you notice that the NFT has been traded back and forth between the same accounts multiple times, this could be a sign of its trading. Similarly, if the price of the NFT suddenly spikes without any apparent reason, this could also be a red flag.

3. Don’t Invest More Than You Can Afford to Lose

As with any investment, it’s important to only invest what you can afford to lose. This is especially true in the crypto art industry, where prices can be volatile and scams are common. Before investing in an NFT, make sure you have a clear understanding of the risks involved and only invest money that you can afford to lose.

4. Use a Trusted Escrow Service

When buying or selling an NFT, it’s a good idea to use a trusted escrow service. This will help ensure that the transaction is secure and that both parties are protected. An escrow service acts as a middleman, holding onto the funds until the transaction is complete. This can help prevent scams and ensure that the buyer receives the NFT they paid for.

Learn more about NFT Wash Trading on Marketplaces (2023) by CoinGecko

FAQs about NFT Wash Trading on Marketplaces

Is NFT wash trading illegal?

  1. NFT wash trading is not illegal, but it is considered market manipulation and is unethical. It can also lead to scams and fraud.

How can I spot NFT wash trading?

  1. Look for patterns of trading that involve the same accounts trading an NFT back and forth multiple times. Also, be wary of sudden spikes in the price of an NFT without any apparent reason.

Can I make money from investing in NFTs?

  1. Yes, it’s possible to make money from investing in NFTs, but it’s important to do your research and be cautious. Only invest what you can afford to lose and be aware of the risks involved.


It’s a serious issue in the crypto art industry that can lead to artificially inflated prices, lack of transparency, scams, and harm to legitimate artists. It’s important to be aware of the risks involved and to take steps to protect yourself from scams. Research, watch for wash trading signs, invest wisely, and avoid crypto art scams. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Amid the rising popularity of NFTs, it’s crucial for investors to be wary of its risks. Stay alert by following the tips, doing your research, and avoiding scams and market manipulation.

It’s crucial for marketplaces to combat NFT wash trading to uphold their credibility as a transparent and dependable arena for artists and investors. Some measures that can be taken include implementing stricter regulations, monitoring trading patterns, and providing educational resources to users.

To address it, all stakeholders in the crypto art industry must be informed, cautious, and proactive to ensure sustainable and ethical growth.