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NFT marketplaces overview

July 28, 2021

NFT marketplaces overview

NFT marketplaces have been quickly rising in their importance as a result of the general growth in popularity of NFTs. Which you can read more about in our blog here. So, naturally, it would be extremely helpful for anyone to be aware of the most popular NFT marketplaces out there and some of their unique characteristics. 


These marketplaces are major factors in the NFT industry. They operate as platforms that connect NFT content creators with collectors. While providing the latter with the functionality of bidding or buying NFTs. Meanwhile, content creators use marketplaces as a way to “mint” or create an NFT, display it to the crypto-collector community, and potentially sell it. 


So if you’re someone whole interested in buying, investing, creating, and collecting NFTs then this article will be very helpful. We’ll go over the most popular NFT platforms and highlight some key things you need to be aware of.


The overview of current NFT marketplaces

Typically, all that's needed for someone to actively interact with NFT marketplaces is a cryptocurrency wallet and some crypto to pay for the minting, purchase, sale, or transfer of an NFT. The one most frequently used for this is the browser based MetaMask wallet that supports Ethereum based tokens. You can also set it up during your first visit to some of the NFT marketplaces we’re about to cover down below.

OpenSea

OpenSea is the industry's first NFT Marketplace and is commonly referred to as eBay on the blockchain. At the moment it is the world's largest digital marketplace for NFT goods with an expansive set of categories like in-game items, domain names, virtual property, digital art, and more. OpenSea users can easily create, sell, or buy NFTs from amongst the large variety of millions of digital goods on the platform.  


All of the NFTs on the platform are on the Ethereum blockchain. However, OpenSea provides its users with convenient access to over 240 payment methods in addition to aggregating NFTs from other platforms. 


What's interesting to note about OpenSea is its Lazy Minting process. Creating or minting an NFT requires you to pay a small fee in cryptocurrency. Lazy Minting lets creators upload their stuff but it only gets minted once it has gone on the blockchain, or in other words purchased.


Rarible

Rarible is primarily used for digital art, videos, and gifs. Anyone is free to create and post their NFT on Rarible. However, as opposed to OpenSea, Rarible only presents its users with NFTs created on their platform. But what's interesting, is that NFT creators will still be able to see the NFT they created on Rarible while they’re on OpeSea. 


This platform also has its native cryptocurrency, RARI. Which is primarily used for community-governance purposes, like voting on new features or other important things for its users.


Binance NFT Marketplace

The Binance NFT Marketplace launched just this month and has a lot of interesting functionality. It works on two Blockchains and as such it will support NFTs on both the Ethereum Network and its own Binance Smart Chain (BSC). 


This NFT platform will feature two distinct sections. A trading market where users can trade NFTs and Premium Events. Which will feature awesome collections with renowned artists, singers, gamers, celebrities and athletes.


Foundation

An NFT Marketplace solely for digital artists. The Foundation offers its users a sleek interface and more commonly upscale art NFTs. What's interesting to note about this platform is that it is semi-exclusive and invite-only for content creators. Which is a measure that's used by Foundation to maintain quality work on their platform. Works on this platform are sold through an auction format only.

Niche NFT Marketplaces

In addition to major NFT Marketplaces, there are also niche platforms. For example, Decentraland and Axie that relate to video games and virtual reality items. Another peculiar example would be Valuables, which lets you sell your tweets as an NFT.

Problems of the current NFT Marketplaces

Most NFT marketplaces provide a very similar user experience for browsing, buying, and interacting with NFTs. A common trait among many of them is limited customer support, user interfaces that could use some improvement, and most operate on the Ethereum blockchain. 


Which has both been a blessing and a curse in the sense that while Ethereum is the biggest digital blockchain ecosystem in the cryptocurrency industry its popularity often outpaces the network's technical capabilities of scaling to meet demand, leading to high transaction fees. This is of course burdensome to both NFT buyers and content creators who at peak load times had to either pay minting fees in the hundreds of dollars or wait to create an NFT. A major technical constraint. 


Nonetheless, the market is nascent and evolving, with technical constraints being remedied in different ways like layer 2 scaling solutions and more NFT action taking root on blockchains like Binance Smart Chain that provide immense transaction speeds and low-cost minting. And let’s not forget things like OpenSeas Lazy Minting mentioned earlier in this article. 


Quality control is definitely something that NFT Marketplaces need to always be on top of. From keeping an eye on imposters putting stolen art up for sale and posing as the original creator, just rubbish content being minted, user account security, and of course, illegal content and regulations.


Wrapping things up

There’s many different types of NFT Marketplaces that you can use as a content creator and NFT collector. At the end of the day, things really boil down to personal preferences and using what you’re most comfortable with. 


As the industry continues to grow and new NFT categories and possibilities emerge, the variety of NFT marketplaces will also increase as well as the functionality their users derive.