NFT Marketplaces play a crucial role in the distribution of NFTs. However, when choosing a marketplace, there are essential factors to consider, such as versatility and control over the user experience branding. Mainstream appeal and a wider audience can be achieved if the marketplace allows users to buy NFTs with fiat currency (like dollars) or cryptocurrencies, making it convenient for various users, including those who prefer card payments or mobile money (MoMo).
To make the decision-making process easier, NFT marketplaces can be categorized on a scale from simplified to augmented. Streamlined platforms like OpenSea and Rarible offer a comprehensive range of NFTs and generic services for vendors. They are akin to traditional platforms like Etsy, Mercari, or eBay and primarily focus on facilitating efficient transactions. These platforms typically accept payment through credit cards and various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. With their broad range of services, streamlined marketplaces attract a diverse user base.
On the other hand, augmented markets are more specialized and cater to specific niches, providing a wide array of value-added services. These services may include minting (NFT generation), marketing, curation, pricing tips, portfolio analytics, and even NFT-based games. For example, Sorare specializes in digital sports cards and organizes fantasy soccer competitions using these NFT cards. NBA’s Top Shop concentrates solely on basketball collectibles, packaging, and marketing them. SuperRare, which focuses on visual art, offers extensive curation and recommendation services.
Before delving into the various available NFT Marketplaces, it is essential to distinguish the types of NFT Markets that one may encounter:
White-labeled NFT Markets: White-label marketplaces encompass a spectrum, ranging from those providing a white-label storefront to those offering a complete back-end infrastructure to establish a custodial marketplace. Storefronts facilitate easier integration, while fiat on-and-off ramp functions and asset custody formats are standardized. On the other hand, back-end infrastructure providers offer greater flexibility but require a significant technology leap for successful implementation.
Existing Closed NFT Marketplaces: These platforms come with pre-existing storefronts and branding but retain the NFTs for the customers. Frequently, these marketplaces support fiat currency on-and-off ramps, accept card payments, and offer ACH or wire withdrawals.
Open Marketplaces: Open marketplaces are public platforms where anyone can create and sell NFTs. To engage in buying and selling NFTs, open marketplaces require cryptocurrency transactions and web-wallet integration.
Crypto-native Curated Marketplaces: On these platforms, contributors must first undergo a selection process to produce NFTs and then be allowed to sell them. Similar to open markets, these curated platforms accept cryptocurrencies as payment and let customers manage their assets.
Understanding the distinctions among these types of NFT markets can aid users in selecting the most suitable platform that aligns with their preferences and requirements.
Exploring Prominent NFT Marketplaces
Now that you are familiar with the various types of marketplaces available, let’s delve into a few prominent examples that hold a significant presence in the crypto ecosystem. While certain platforms may enjoy greater popularity than others, each of them constitutes a viable marketplace, possessing unique strengths and weaknesses.
OpenSea, positioning itself as the world’s largest NFT marketplace, boasts an impressive array of approximately 700 projects. These projects span various categories, from trading card games and collectible games to digital art projects and name systems like ENS (Ethereum Name Service).
Non-fungible tokens under the ERC721 standard encompass a diverse range of offerings, including art, censorship-resistant domain names, virtual worlds, trade cards, sports, and collectibles. Additionally, the platform supports ERC1155 assets. Exclusive digital assets like Axies, ENS names, BoredApe Yacht Club, Azuki Clan, HaPeeBees, Decentraland, and CryptoKitties are among the intriguing options available for purchase, sale, and exploration.
Founded in 2017, OpenSea boasts a substantial presence with over 200 employees, 600k users, 80 million NFTs, and an impressive $20 billion in trading volume. The platform extends its support to multiple blockchains, with Ethereum being the largest. It is also set to include other blockchains like Polygon (MATIC), Klatyn, and Solana in the near future. OpenSea conveniently integrates with popular wallets such as Metamask, Coinbase Wallet, WalletConnect, and Fortmatic, with plans to add Phantom Wallet (Solana) to its roster.
Here are some key facts regarding OpenSea:
In 2021, nearly 90% of NFT trading volume occurred on OpenSea, although this figure has decreased due to the emergence of new marketplaces like LooksRare.
OpenSea facilitates transactions with a 2.5% fee on each sale happening within the marketplace.
The platform offers three listing options for projects: Fixed Price Listings, English Auctions, and Dutch Auctions, each with its own unique selling mechanism.
Strengths of OpenSea include its user-friendly search function, royalty payment for creators on secondary market sales, and the ability to bundle multiple NFTs from a project for sale. It also allows users to place bids, make offers, or buy immediately. Furthermore, users can filter search results based on various criteria such as price, status, blockchain, and token rarity. Additionally, the platform provides transparent information about the purchasing history of NFTs.
However, OpenSea does face certain weaknesses. The most notable challenges are the high gas fees on the Ethereum network due to network congestion, which may deter newcomers from participating. Users have reported issues with the OpenSea status tracker, website performance, and API functionality, leading to discrepancies in showing the right floor price and other data. Consequently, such inconsistencies may prompt people to engage in panic selling.
Overall, OpenSea remains a formidable player in the NFT market, offering a diverse selection of NFTs and a range of features, despite some areas that may require improvement.
LooksRare, an NFT trading website, empowers users to explore collections, acquire their favorite items, and curate unique groupings. It was founded on January 11, 2022, by two anonymous individuals known by their pseudonyms, Zodd and Guts. With a mission to be “by NFT people, for NFT people,” LooksRare resonates strongly with the NFT community, especially during the recent surge in rare digital items. Its appeal lies in its minimal transaction fees and unwavering commitment to community-first values.
Key Facts about LooksRare:
The platform aspires to become OpenSea’s main competitor.
LooksRare operates with its native token/currency – $LOOKS.
It prioritizes being a community-first NFT marketplace, actively rewarding traders, collectors, and creators for their participation in the ecosystem.
Users involved in buying or selling NFTs on LooksRare earn $LOOKS tokens.
The platform distributes 100% of trading fees to those staking $LOOKS.
Creators receive royalty payments at the moment of sale.
Currently, LooksRare exclusively supports ETH NFTs.
LooksRare gained immense hype through a Vampire Attack Airdrop strategy, compensating initial users with $LOOKS tokens based on their wallet activity on OpenSea. The more users spent on OpenSea, the greater their compensation in $LOOKS tokens. Within 30 days of its launch, LooksRare achieved remarkable numbers, generating $307 million in protocol revenue and $9 billion in trading volume. Notably, its protocol revenue during this period outpaced OpenSea’s, which was $110 million.
The platform boasts custom-built smart contracts in a modular system, facilitating the gradual rollout of new features. Some examples of forthcoming features include the ability to make offers covering entire NFT collections, purchasing NFTs with specific traits, and implementing multi-cancellation for greater cost-efficiency.
Strengths of LooksRare include its enticing user incentives and rewards, lower fees compared to OpenSea (2% vs. 2.5%), faster instant royal fee payments, and trader rewards. The platform also experiences fewer issues with APIs and website data when compared to OpenSea. Moreover, LooksRare offers an annual percentage yield (APY) of up to 250%, providing users with attractive returns on their holdings.
However, the platform faces certain weaknesses, such as the presence of wash-trading contributing a significant amount to January volumes. Despite this, the platform’s legitimate volume remains substantial, surpassing the total volume of several other NFT marketplaces combined in 2021. Additionally, rewards on LooksRare are given in WETH (wrapped ETH), necessitating gas fees whenever users wish to claim their rewards. Presently, the platform lacks the option to buy assets using non-crypto currencies or any other currency besides $LOOKS. Furthermore, creators cannot mint their own NFTs on the platform at the moment.
Rarible stands as a top NFT art marketplace, catering to traders with its diverse selection of digital art, photography, games, music, domains, and even metaverse objects. However, it is important to note that both buyers and sellers incur a 2.5% fee on the platform, placing it on the higher end of the cost spectrum. Rarible offers support for multiple blockchains, allowing NFTs to be developed on Tezos, Ethereum, and Flow.
Operating as a community-owned NFT marketplace, Rarible employs the ERC-20 RARI token as its “ownership” token. Active users engaging in purchases or sales on the platform are rewarded with the RARI token, with 75,000 RARI being distributed weekly.
Established in 2020, Rarible started as a centralized marketplace but has plans to gradually decentralize and relinquish control to the Rarible DAO over time.
Key Facts Regarding Rarible:
The platform is compatible with various wallets, including Metamask, Coinbase, Fortmatic, WalletConnect, Torus, and Argent.
Users can explore top sellers and NFT art collections, filtering their searches by categories like photos, games, or memes.
Rarible allows users to mint their own NFTs, offering the flexibility to choose whether to sell them or not. However, when minting NFTs, users must pay two fees – one for the wallet and another for the mint function.
Sellers have the freedom to decide on NFT royalties, with options available up to 50%.
Rarible integrates with OpenSea, enabling users to view and manage NFTs on both platforms, with the option to sell on OpenSea for ETH or RARI (the native token).
Strengths of Rarible include the ability for users to select their desired royalties, the non-custodial nature of the marketplace, and its user-friendly process for creating, buying, and selling NFTs.
However, the platform faces certain weaknesses, such as higher commissions compared to competitors and the absence of a mobile app. Additionally, some users may view its centralization as a potential drawback, although this aspect can have varying interpretations and implications.
Overall, Rarible presents itself as a compelling NFT marketplace, offering a rich selection of digital assets and a rewarding experience for active users. While it has its strengths and weaknesses, Rarible continues to evolve and adapt within the dynamic NFT ecosystem.
Treasure is an innovative decentralised NFT ecosystem operating on the Arbitrum network. Within the Treasure marketplace, all projects integrate the native currency, $MAGIC, into their metaverses, crafting unique lore and storytelling around this digital resource. To make purchases on the Treasure marketplace, users must use $MAGIC on DEXswaps.
Key Facts Regarding the Treasure Marketplace:
The trading volume during December 20 to January 20 surpassed an impressive $85 million.
The native currency, $MAGIC, boasts a market cap exceeding $90 million.
Notable collections featured on Treasure include Smol Brains, Treasure NFTs, Legions, and Life.
Royalty fees are set at 5%, with a minimum of 2.5% directly benefiting the Treasure DAO (specific to Legions and Treasures).
The marketplace only allows direct purchases of listed items, with no option for placing offers on NFTs.
It supports compatibility with popular wallets like Metamask, Coinbase wallet, and WalletConnect.
Strengths of the Treasure Marketplace:
The platform benefits from a robust and engaged community, with most projects within the marketplace enjoying substantial followings.
Treasure stands as a decentralised ecosystem, appealing to users seeking greater autonomy and control over their NFT transactions.
The success of its ecosystem token, $MAGIC, contributes to the platform’s positive reception and growth.
Weaknesses of the Treasure Marketplace:
While Treasure thrives on its unique ecosystem, it currently offers a relatively small selection of NFTs, which can only be acquired using $MAGIC. This may pose a barrier to entry for newcomers to the NFT world, as it requires exchanging ETH for $MAGIC on a DEX.
The marketplace faced a recent bug in March that resulted in an exploitation of the Treasure stack. The issue was attributed to a logic flaw within the buyItem() function of their smart contract, which failed to validate the quantity of the listing being purchased. As a result, bad actors could manipulate the transaction to create a specific buy order with 0 quantity for a listing.
To address these issues, the TreasureDAO is working on a generalised NFT marketplace named Trove Marketplace, intended to be an L2 competitor to OpenSea.
Overall, Treasure presents an intriguing and dynamic NFT ecosystem, offering a decentralized experience for users, though it currently faces some challenges that its team is diligently addressing.
Nifty Gateway has played a pivotal role in supporting renowned digital artists like Beeple, Grimes, Pak, and Refik Anadol. As a cryptocurrency exchange-backed art curation platform controlled by the Winklevoss twins, Nifty Gateway offers Ethereum-based NFTs, also known as Nifties. Established in 2018 by Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, the platform distinguishes itself as a custodial platform, securely storing NFTs in a wallet powered by Gemini’s custody technology. This unique feature enables users to transact without incurring gas fees and provides assistance in case of account access issues.
Key Facts Regarding Nifty Gateway:
Nifty Gateway offers various payment options, including debit card, credit card, Gemini balance, and prepaid ETH, eliminating the need to sign transactions or calculate fees.
The platform provides collector services, enhancing the user experience and convenience.
Drops on Nifty Gateway operate under two categories:
Curated Drops: These are directly sold by the creators and can be purchased on the platform or through the secondary market from other users.
Verified Drops: Nifty Gateway verifies these drops to ensure they meet legal requirements and basic smart contract standards. They are not curated by the platform.
Nifty Gateway has a partnership with the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house for selling NFTs. However, it charges a relatively higher fee of 5% plus 30 cents for every sale on the site.
Strengths of Nifty Gateway include:
Exclusive access to top digital artists from around the world.
Predictable and easily manageable drops.
User-friendly selling process, particularly suited for beginners who can pay with debit or credit cards without the hassle of setting up a crypto wallet or dealing with gas fees.
The option to cross-list purchases from Nifty Gateway on OpenSea, broadening the audience.
Weaknesses of Nifty Gateway include:
Difficulties for beginner artists to get their work on the platform unless they have industry connections, which may act as a form of gatekeeping.
As a custodial marketplace, users don’t fully own their NFTs until they withdraw them into their own wallet, and this process can be challenging.
Breached accounts pose a risk, as anyone can withdraw the NFT to their address; therefore, enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) is crucial.
Higher administrative fees compared to some alternatives, with a 5% fee that is double that of OpenSea but on par with Rarible.
In conclusion, Nifty Gateway stands as a significant player in the NFT market, attracting top artists and offering user-friendly experiences, albeit with some limitations related to account security and fees. As the Web3 space evolves, addressing gatekeeping and simplifying ownership processes will remain essential considerations for NFT marketplaces.
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.