So you've learned what NFTs are.
Nice! You should be proud of yourself because plenty of people still think non-fungible tokens are a type of mushroom (if you're reading this, Mom, I'm referencing you).
But you've now run into a different problem: where the heck can you go to buy some NFTs to grow your collection of digital collectibles? Or, for the creators, you're probably wondering which marketplace is the best to start selling your digital art.
These are fair questions that many people are confronted with when entering the NFT space. But before we dive into which marketplaces are la crème de la crème for digital collectibles, let's quickly cover a little more about what NFT marketplaces are.
What are NFT marketplaces?
One of the big and probably abundantly obvious things about NFTs is that they are pieces of digital art that have value. Having one of these tokens represents digital ownership, and of course, to own something, one must buy that something. And just like with consumer goods in the physical world, there needs to be a destination to purchase digital collectibles.
And voilà, you have NFT marketplaces!
Just like there are different types of NFTs – PFP collections, music, sports clips, 1-of-1 digital collectibles – there are also NFT marketplaces that sell one or a particular kind of NFT. Knowing the right marketplace is crucial for those looking to sell NFTs, and there are a variety of factors that go into choosing the right one.
What you need to shop for NFTs
Before completing a transaction on any marketplace, there's the matter of connecting your digital wallet.
Once you've connected your wallet to your marketplace of choice, you’ll need to add to your wallet the currency (or currencies) the marketplace typically uses. A good number of NFT marketplaces run on the Ethereum blockchain network, meaning that you'll have to add Ethereum to your wallet at some point. Knowing that, plenty of marketplaces use other tokens and run on different blockchain technology, it's always good to ensure you have the correct type of cryptocurrency before trying to make a transaction.
You'll want to have a base-level knowledge on crypto.
Since NFTs are still in a bullish stage, you're going to want to be sure to include enough funds to start your collection. Even the most seemingly modestly priced collections are hitting floor prices of 0.15 ETH (that's roughly $463.87), which is still a pretty penny for most people looking to break into NFTs.
With your wallet squared away, and the correct type of crypto to buy your tokens, the next step is simply creating your account on the marketplace that suits your needs. Then it's just a matter of deciding which NFTs you want to spend your precious coins on.
The most popular marketplaces
In Q3 of 2021 alone, there was over $10 billion of NFT trading volume. On top of that, according to Dappradar and Cryptoart, the start of 2022 was even stronger (nearly $7.5 billion in January alone), meaning that NFT marketplaces are thriving in a frothy digital economy.
It warrants mentioning again that not all marketplaces are equal. Some marketplaces are more niche and specific to a particular type of NFT – or even a video game – while some serve a more well-rounded assortment of collectibles.
With that in mind, here are five marketplaces making waves in the metaverse and capturing significant portions of NFT communities.
Perhaps the most well-known and "well-rounded" NFT marketplace is OpenSea. Dealing in almost every category of digital tokens, OpenSea continues to generate colossal NFT sales.
Regarding the big numbers that OpenSea is putting up in the NFT space, here are some concrete data to give it some context:
- According to DappRadar, while writing this, OpenSea, in the last 24 hours, moved a total volume of 37.19K ETH (roughly $115 million).
- OpenSea hosts over 80 million NFTs on its marketplace alone.
- The top-selling collection CryptoPunks currently sold a volume of Ξ828,550.0228 (that’s approximately $2,643,886,551.75) on OpenSea’s marketplace.
- OpenSea controlled 60% of the NFT sales market in 2021, netting them around $14 billion.
These are some impressive financial statistics, but a large part of what makes this massive volume of trading possible is the diversity of the NFTs it offers. An NFT enthusiast can find everything from the most popular PFP collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club and Robotos to music and virtual world assets.
Another significant feature for OpenSea is that it supports over 150 different cryptocurrencies. Allowing a wide range of crypto enables potential buyers and sellers to have tremendous flexibility within the marketplace and reduces entry barriers in an already complex ecosystem.
Despite all the financial success, OpenSea sometimes finds itself in turbulent waters. On numerous occasions, the platform crashes and goes dark for extended periods of time. These glitches can have serious financial consequences, sending floor prices plummeting and creating shockwaves throughout the entire NFT market.
Despite the technical difficulties, collectors, creators, and NFT enthusiasts still flock to the site on a daily basis. Only time will tell if OpenSea is able to hold onto the spot as the top dog of NFT marketplaces.
Alex Salnikov and Alexei Falin created Rarible in 2020, and since then, have built one of the largest creator-focused NFT marketplaces in the world. Like OpenSea, Rarible by the numbers is impressive, but there is more to this marketplace than comparing sales volume.
Since Rarible is a multichain marketplace, meaning that if you're looking to buy, sell, and mint on multiple secure blockchains, Rarible might be the right marketplace for you. Rarible supports Ethereum, Flow, and Tezos, but the Rarible devs team has set their site on adding even more integrations.
While various factors go into choosing the ideal blockchain for a project, the fact that artists and creators can choose how they mint is an attractive feature of Rarible's platform.
Another distinguishing aspect of Rarible is that aside from being a marketplace, it's also part DAO. Rarible allows users to form the direction of the platform by issuing out of $RARI – Rarible's Protocol DAO governance token. With these tokens, users can vote on platform upgrades and modifications to the marketplace.
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that The Rarible Protocol focuses on empowering creators; it's not just a marketplace, but instead, a space for open web innovation. By equipping creators with tools to have more control over their digital space, Rarible will continue to snag a strong share of the NFT market.
As its name might suggest, SuperRare is in the business of dealing in more exclusive, single-edition digital artworks. With a marketplace full of NFTs from the world's most highly-respected artists, SuperRare tilts towards a more exclusive high-end vibe.
SuperRare is not an easily accessible market for the creators who want to start selling NFTs. As an invite-only marketplace, the selection process for artists looking to break in is highly selective. Luckily for the artists who make the cut, they can sell their work on SuperRare and other marketplaces like OpenSea.
The curated works that you can find on this marketplace have price tags that match their rarity; according to DappRadar, the current average price of SuperRare NFTs is over $7k, so collectors should be ready to spend a good chunk of crypto when shopping on SuperRare.
To hammer home the type of money people are spending on SuperRare, here are the top five selling NFTs to start 2022:
- D I S O R D E R, sold to @tg12 for 202Ξ ($647,464)
- Come Forward, a crypto-gif by @osinachi sold to Ox7d54 for 40Ξ($133,000)
- For All The Lonely Nights, sold to Ox7d54 for 25Ξ ($79,300)
- The Beginning is the End, and the End is the Beginning, sold for 8Ξ (a little over $68,000)
- PEREGRINUS sold for the modest price of $47.1K to the collector known as Basileus
It's a pricey market but an overall incredible place to see some of the most groundbreaking digital art. Even for those fresh on the NFT scene, SuperRare is an excellent destination to learn about limited edition NFTs.
The mission for the Nifty Gateway team is simple: sell NFTs to as many as 1 billion people. That's ambitious in every possible way imaginable, but the idea behind this message is that Nifty Gateway wants to be the marketplace that's accessible to everyone.
To make things easier for users to participate in the NFT space, Nifty Gateway operates as a custodial platform powered by the crypto exchange Gemini. In simple terms, custodial technology means no gas fees go into transactions, and collectors can pay with credit cards, debit cards, or ETH.
Apart from accessibility, Nifty Gateway is well known for having some of the first multi-million dollar sales. In February 2021, Beeple's CROSSROADS sold for $6.6 million, and in December, Pak's The Merge sold for $91 million, which shattered the previous record for an NFT sale.
With both curated and verified NFT drops, a client list that includes some of the biggest celebrities in the world (The Weeknd is all about his non-fungible tokens), and a user-friendly platform, Nifty Gateway has lots of momentum heading behind it.
The NFT ecosystem is still in its early stages, and while marketplaces are still relatively fresh on the scene, there’s a new marketplace on the block that is shaking things up: LooksRare.
LooksRare burst onto the scene in early 2022, and a quick look at their Twitter account shows that they’ve already built up a solid and loyal following. But what exactly makes this marketplace different from the rest?
For one, creators get paid instantly, meaning that once an NFT transaction is processed, creators will get their royalties the moment the sale occurs. For artists this is huge, because other platforms are not always quick to give creators their royalty cut, which can understandably lead to a good amount of frustration.
Another draw to this innovative marketplace is that they reward users for participating. Using the native platform token LOOKS, users can earn rewards in several ways:
- Earn by staking
- Earn by buying or selling NFTS
- Earn by providing liquidity
On top of the incentives, the LooksRare platform runs on WETH, which means no gas prices when purchasing NFTs and even more savings that go back into users' digital wallets.
There’s a lot to like about this platform, which is why they are not-so-slowly eating away at OpenSea’s market share. It could be just a matter of time until they claim the spot as the number one NFT marketplace.
If you’ve heard of Coinbase, you’re probably familiar with it as one of the largest platforms for cryptocurrency exchange. However, this crypto exchange juggernaut is making big moves and is in the process of launching its own NFT market.
The news of Coinbase launching its marketplace sent shockwaves through the NFT space because with a database of 73 million verified users, Coinbase has the opportunity to be the prime destination for NFT transactions.
If this sounds intriguing to you, you’re not alone. The Twitter account for Coinbase’s NFT marketplace already has over 300K followers, and it takes just a few seconds of scrolling to see there is serious excitement building up around it. So for those who are excited about this intriguing new NFT marketplace, Sanchan S Saxena – the VP of product at Coinbase – dropped a sneak peek into how the product works:
Despite the competition in the NFT marketplace, Coinbase is making a compelling case for creators, collectors, and enthusiasts to join in on the action. As launch day approaches, the excitement continues to bubble, and the waitlist to be an early member is filling up.
The next phase of NFT Marketplaces
So far, 2022 has been off to a hot start for NFTs. As artists, enthusiasts, and collectors continue to pour into the digital collectibles scene, NFT marketplaces will continue to thrive and innovate.
Of course, the right marketplace depends on each person. Whether you are selling, minting, collecting, or browsing, there will always be an NFT marketplace that has the perfect blend of features to meet your needs.