A Comprehensive Analysis of 5 Popular NFT Marketplaces
NFT Marketplaces are essential to how NFTs get distributed, however, there are important aspects to consider when deciding which one you would like to use. Aspects such as versatility and control over the branding of the user experience – whether the marketplace allows users to purchase NFTs with fiat currency (e.g. dollars) or requires users to use cryptocurrency for purchases (accepting card payments, or maybe even mobile money (MoMo) – is essential for mainstream appeal and the NFT marketplace’s wider audience.
Although there are many aspects to consider, it is helpful to categorise NFT marketplaces on a scale of simplified to augmented. Streamlined markets support a more comprehensive range of NFTs and provide vendors with more limited, generic services, whereas augmented marketplaces are more specialised and offer a more comprehensive service.
Streamlined platforms such as OpenSea and Rarible feature both auctions and fixed-price sales for various NFTs and are more akin to traditional platforms like Etsy, Mercari, or eBay. These exchanges are primarily concerned with facilitating effective transactions and thus frequently include payment systems to accept both credit cards and crypto payments in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other speciality tokens. These platforms provide only a few more services, and because of their range, they typically have a broad and varied user base.
On the other hand, augmented markets are more focused on specific niches and provide a variety of value-added services such as minting (generating the NFT), marketing, curation, pricing tips, portfolio analytics, and even full-fledged games built on top of NFT technology. For instance, Sorare, which focuses on digital sports cards, hosts fantasy soccer competitions that incorporate these NFT cards. Another example is the NBA’s Top Shop, which focuses solely on basketball collectables that the platform packages and markets. In addition, SuperRare concentrates on visual art and offers extensive curation and recommendation services.
Before diving into the various available NFT Marketplaces, it is important to differentiate the types of NFT Markets one may encounter:
White-labeled NFT Markets: White-label marketplaces range from those that give a white-label storefront to those that provide whole back-end infrastructure to establish a custodial marketplace. Storefronts make integration easier while fiat on-and-off ramp functions and formats for the custody of assets are standardized. Conversely, back-end infrastructure providers will offer far more flexibility but necessitate a tremendous technology leap to be well executed.
Existing Closed NFT Marketplaces: These platforms have storefronts and branding, but they keep the NFTs for the customers. These marketplaces frequently have fiat currency on-and-off ramps, accept card payments, and offer ACH or wire withdrawals.
Open Marketplaces: These are public platforms where anyone can create and sell NFTs. To buy and sell NFTs, open marketplaces require cryptocurrency and web-wallet integration.
Crypto-native Curated Marketplaces: Contributors must first be accepted to produce NFTs and sell them on these platforms. They, like open markets, accept cryptocurrencies as payment and have customers manage their assets.
What Are Some Popular NFT Marketplaces?
So now that you know the different types of Marketplaces available, we can explore a few examples that are very present in the crypto ecosystem. Although some are more popular than others, they are all viable marketplaces, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Founded in 2017, with over 200 employees, 600k users, 80million NFTs, and $20billion in trading volume, OpenSea supports multiple blockchains, with Ethereum being the largest. Other blockchains include Polygon (MATIC), Klatyn, and Solana (very soon). OpenSea is compatible with Metamask, Coinbase Wallet, WalletConnect & Fortmatic and will quickly add Phantom Wallet (Solana) to its roster.
Basic Facts Regarding Open Sea
In 2021, nearly 90% of NFT trading volume happened on OpenSea.
That figure is smaller now due to new marketplaces popping up left, right, and centre, such as LooksRare.
Known collections on OpenSea(commonly referred to as Blue-Chip) – These are collections such as CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Doodles & Cool Cats, et cetera.
OpenSea takes 2.5% of every transaction happening on the marketplace
OpenSea also lists projects for sale, offering three different options for listing:
Fixed Price Listings
Fixed price set by the seller
The seller sets the minimum price, waits for bids to climb up, and accepts the highest. Here, the seller can set a minimum reserve price for the NFT.
Sellers set starting price, an end price and duration. You start the auction at a high price and let the price decline over time. People will then buy the NFT at the price they see fit.
Creators can mint NFTs for free using the polygon-based gas-free marketplace.
Creators can receive a royalty payment for every secondary market sale of their art, token, etc.
For users, it has an easy-to-use search function.
Users can filter by price, status, blockchain, the rarity of the token, etc.
You can place bids, make offers, or opt to buy immediately.
You can bundle more than one NFT from a project to sell in one go.
You can see the purchasing history of the NFT in question.
High gas-fees on the Ethereum network due to network congestion – can be a deterrent for a newcomer
The OpenSea status tracker, website, and API tend to underperform
A lot of issues with showing the right floor price and other data
Causes people to panic sell
LooksRare is an NFT trading website that allows users to explore collections, buy their favourites, and create unique groupings. Founded on January 11, 2022, by two anonymous individuals going by the pseudonyms of Zodd and Guts, LooksRare is “by NFT people, for NFT people”. With the recent surge in rare digital items, the premise of this marketplace has never been more popular; people love LooksRare for its minimal transaction fees and community-first values.
Basic Facts Regarding LooksRare
The aim was to become OpenSea’s main competitor
It has its token/currency – $LOOKS
A community first NFT marketplace, actively rewarding traders, collectors, and creators for taking part in the ecosystem
Users buying or selling NFTs on LooksRare earn $LOOKS tokens
100% of trading fees are earned by those staking $LOOKS
Creators get royalty payments at the moment of sale
Only ETH NFTs are available
LooksRare gained incredible amounts of hype by utilising what is called a Vampire Attack Airdrop
Rewarded initial users by compensating them with the $LOOKS token based on a user’s wallet activity on OpenSea. The more spent on OpenSea, the more compensation you would get in $LOOKS
LooksRare was able to identify OpenSea users who had traded a min of 3 ETH worth of NFTS over the prior 6 months, and airdrop $LOOKS token- to claim these users had to list an NFT on the exchange
Within 30 days of launch, LooksRare produced $307 million in protocol revenue and $9 billion in volume (OpenSea’s protocol revenue in that period was $110million)
Smart contracts are custom-built in a modular system, allowing new features to roll out over time. Examples of what’s to come:
Collection offer – the ability to make an offer that covers all NFTs in a collection
Trait offer – the ability to buy NFTs with a specific trait – example – punk with a cigarette or a Bored Ape with a Katana
Multi-cancellation – this will involve the capacity to cancel multiple orders in one transaction rather than doing individual transaction
This feature will be cost-efficient for the consumer
LooksRare is exceeding a daily volume of $394 million
It’s compatible with several Metamask, Coinbase Wallet, WalletConnect, & Fortmatic
Incentives and rewards for users are enticing
Lower fees than OpenSea; 2% vs. 2.5%
Trading fees are 20% lower than OpenSea – a considerable amount
Instant royal fee payments – OpenSea can take weeks
Trader rewards – OpenSea has none
There aren’t many issues happening with APIs or website data when compared to OpenSea
It’s an excellent alternative to OpenSea
It has an annual percentage yield (APY) of up to 250%
New features are implemented frequently
Wash-trading contributed 8-9 billion dollars to the January volumes
Nevertheless, if you take that into account, the rest of the volume that wasn’t’ attributed to wash-trading is still more than what other NFT marketplaces have done altogether in the year 2021
Rewards are given in WETH (wrapped ETH), and every time you wish to claim the rewards, you must pay gas fees; an acceptable compromise relative to all other amazing offerings
Presently, there is no method to buy assets on the platform using non-crypto currencies or any other currency than $LOOKS.
As of now, creators cannot mint their own NFTs on this platform
Rarible is one of the top NFT art marketplaces for traders since it offers a wide range of digital art and photography, games, music, domains, and even metaverse objects. The site charges both buyers and sellers a 2.5% fee, putting it on the higher end of the cost spectrum. Rarible supports many blockchains and can host NFTs developed on Tezoa, Ethereum, and Flow.
Rarible is a community-owned NFT marketplace that uses the ERC-20 RARI token as its “ownership” token. Rarible rewards active users who purchase or sell on the NFT marketplace with the RARI token. Every week, it dispenses 75,000 RARI.
Rarible is an open-source Ethereum-based marketplace for tokenised digital art and NFTs launched in 2020. They initially operated as a centralised marketplace; nonetheless, they intend to slowly decentralise over time and cede control to the Rarible DAO.
Basic Facts Regarding Rarible
It’s compatible with the Metamask, Coinbase, Fortmatic, WalletConnect, Torus, and Argent wallets
The platform displays top sellers, NFT art collections, allowing you to search via categories such as photos, games, or memes
You can use Rarible to mint your own NFTs
And you are not forced to sell them
You must pay two fees the first time you do this
One for the wallet
One for the mint function
The NFT royalties are available for art sellers, which you get to choose by yourself
Rarible integrates with OpenSea, which allows you to view and manage NFT on OpenSea
It means that you can sell on OpenSea for ETH or RARI (native token)
Users can choose their royalties up to 50%
It’s a non-custodial marketplace
Easy to create, buy and sell NFTs
Commissions are higher than competitors
There is no mobile app
Centralisation – this doesn’t always have to be a weakness
Treasure is a decentralised NFT ecosystem on the Arbitrum network. All projects listed on the Treasure marketplace use $MAGIC in their metaverses, with each community inventing lore and storytelling for this resource. To purchase on the Treasure marketplace, you must use $MAGIC on DEXswaps.
Basic Facts Regarding Treasure Marketplace
The trading volume from December 20 to January 20 was over $85million
Its native currency, $MAGIC, has a market cap of over $90million
Known Collections include – Smol Brains, Treasure NFTs, Legions, and Life
Royalty fees are 5%, of which a minimum of 2.5 % goes directly to the Treasure DAO (specific to Legions and Treasures)
You cannot place offers on NFTs in the marketplace – it’s only possible to purchase listed items
It’s compatible with Metamask, Coinbase wallet, and WalletConnect
Treasure has a robust community, and most of the projects within their marketplace seem to have quite the following
It has an ecosystem token that is doing well
It has a small selection of NFTs that one can only pay using $MAGIC – this can be a barrier to entry for those new to the NFT world as it requires exchanging ETH – $MAGIC on a DEX.
A recent bug in the Treasure stack in March saw the marketplace exploited
As per Denley from the Metamask security team, “The issue with Treasure was a logic flaw in their smart contract within the buyItem() function. The function did not validate the quantity of the listing you were buying from, so a bad actor could craft a transaction to call buyItem() to create a specific buy order with 0 quantity for a listing.”
The TreasureDAO is working on a generalised NFT marketplace, designed to be an L2 competitor to OpenSea, the Trove Marketplace.
Nifty Gateway has helped some of the most well-known digital artists, including Beeple, Grimes, and works like Pak & Refik Anadol. It’s a cryptocurrency exchange-backed art curation platform (controlled by the Winklevoss twins). The NFTs, sometimes known as Nifties, are Ethereum-based. As a top NFT marketplace founded in 2018 by Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, the most fundamental difference when contrasted with other marketplaces is that they are a custodial platform. Fundamentally, their NFTs are stored in a secured wallet powered by Gemini’s custody technology. In addition, buyers and sellers can transact without gas fees. If you lose access to your account, they can help you retrieve it.
Basic Facts Regarding Nifty Gateway
Other things making it great (self-styled)
Debit card, credit card, Gemini balance, prepaid ETH – no need for signing transactions and calculating fees
Curated Drops – are sold directly by the creator, and you can buy them on the platform or from another user in the secondary market
Verified Drops – are not curated by Nifty but verified by them
That is, to see if they meet the legal requirements and basic smart contract standards
They have a partnership with the Sotheby’s auction house for selling NFTs
Nifty Gateway gets 5% plus 30 cents of every sale on the site – relatively high, innit!
Not compatible with any of the hot or cold wallets as it is a custodial marketplace
Exclusivity of the artists that are part of the marketplace
Working with some of the top digital artists around the world
Drops are predictable and easy to keep up with
Selling on the platform has been made very easy, too
Easy for beginners – can pay with debit or credit card
Removes the boundary of having to set up a crypto wallet, buying ETH, paying gas fees, etc
No gas fees
You can cross-list your purchases from Nifty on OpenSea
As a beginner artist, it is nearly impossible to get your work onto their platform unless you know people within the industry that can put you in contact. This kind of gate-keeping is the bane of the “muggle” existence typically associated with conventional finance or enterprise. Web3 aims to tackle that
One must either use OpenSea or Rarible as an alternative
As a custodial NFT marketplace, one doesn’t own the NFT until you withdraw it from the website into a wallet
This process is not as easy
If your account gets breached, anyone can withdraw the NFT to their address
Ergo, it is crucial to have 2FA
Higher administrative fees – 5% is double that of OpenSea but the same as Rarible
A leading NFT marketplace on the Solana network – the equivalent of OpenSea and built for Solana only
It has a 90% market share for secondary trading volume
It has a launchpad which is an exclusive minting platform
An NFT marketplace aggregator that collects all NFT transaction information from different chains and consolidates them into a single place – improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the transaction
The top benefits
One page for everything – easy to navigate
Improved search efficiency finding best deals across all exchanges
Optimisation – gas fees are lower, saving on gas fees
It has a function called sweeping NFT floors meant to save money across marketplaces
He is a 29-year-old content writer and digital marketer with a passion for Crypto, NFTs and anything else of the digital realm. Born and raised internationally, he speaks three languages fluently: Spanish, English & Dutch.
His first interaction with crypto was around 2013, but he was not a firm believer of it at first. Half a decade later he found himself entering the crypto-sphere and since then he has been mesmerized by it. His goal is to continue to learn more about this fascinating world and contribute positively to its growth.