Even though most NFTs are nothing more than overpriced JPEGs, they’ve become a cultural phenomenon.
At minimum an NFT signifies ownership of a particular digital asset secured by using blockchain technology. However plenty of NFTs go far beyond digital art that you can set as you twitter profile or resell to the highest bidder.
Thanks to innovative new projects, many NFTs provide other types of utility — including dividends, pieces that evolve over time, objects used in online games, and creative copyright licences.
Sales of NFTs surged to a whopping $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021. This might be due in part to boredom and speculation, but we cannot discount the innovation. Yes, a lot of new projects end up abandoned by developers or have terrible-looking art. But for every few scammy, low-effort projects – there are clear innovators on the scene.
It seems clear that NFTs aren’t finished with their current bull run, as large crypto exchanges have taken notice and are developing their own marketplaces to sell these digital assets.
FTX, recently launched an exchange for NFTs on Solana. And they will look to expand their purview towards NFTs from other exchanges in the near future.
Coinbase and FTX bring vast amounts of investors into the NFT scene, making it easier than ever to purchase them. Rather than needing to transfer their crypto from the exchange’s custodial wallet, into their own and connect to a third-party marketplace, they’ll be able to buy right on the platform if they wish.
It is important however to note that certain non-Ethereum collections will be exclusive on specific marketplaces.
When the dust settles from the upcoming battle between NFT marketplaces, it is unclear who will tower over the rest. While we still need to see more of what Coinbase and FTX will bring to the scene, there are plenty of excellent marketplaces for NFTs built on Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, Tezos and Wax.
Ethereum and Polygon
Most NFTs are built on Ethereum. As the originator of Smart Contracts, Ethereum paved the way for the development standards for NFTs. However ETH is very expensive.
Polygon acts as a Sidechain. This makes transactions on Ethereum cheaper on a massive scale. As one would imagine, this has been attractive for many gaming-based NFT projects and various utilities.
Getting started with OpenSea is really simple. Just connect your Ethereum-based wallet and, you’ll be able to participate in the marketplace.
OpenSea features collectibles throughout Ethereum and Polygon, as well as Klatyn.
Users will need to pay gas fees on any transactions on OpenSea.
- Accepting an auction bid
- Listing an NFT from a particular project for the first time
- Buying an NFT for the listed price
Note: Most of the popular Ethereum collections such as CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club are listed on OpensSea. Items originally minted and released on SuperRare and Rarible will be available at OpenSea for resale.
OpenSea takes 2.5% from every transaction
Creators can list an additional royalty of up to 10% for each transaction
SuperRare is a “social collecting” platform where artists turn their unique work into NFTs. It has a niche focus on art projects and artists, with fewer overall users. For the sale of a new art piece, the creator receives 85% of the commission while in subsequent sales, the artist gets 3% commission. Unlike other marketplaces, you cannot just list your project. Artists are selected and curated through an application process.
SuperRare has its own governance token (RARE) which can be staked for voting rights; that means that people who love the platform can help maintain and improve it by voting on changes and proposals.
Super Rare takes 15% commission, much higher than OpenSea but lower than other art-galleries
Royalty of 3% from subsequent sales
Rarible is another up-and-coming Ethereum marketplace. It is more similar to OpenSea than SuperRare as anyone can host, buy or sell NFTs on the platform. Since its 2020 launch, it has generated more than $150 million in sales. Rarible recently locked up more than $14 million in investments to continue its innovation and expansion into the Flow blockchain in the future.
Rarible also has its own governance token called RARI, originally used to reward collectors and creators. Now, RARI is listed across many different decentralized exchanges online.
Rarible takes 2.5% from every transaction
Users can also set their own royalties for subsequent sales of NFTs
The Axie Marketplace
While this marketplace only sells NFTs used for Axie Infinity, it has significantly more volume than Rarible and SuperRare. All-time, the Axie marketplace has done $2.72 billion in sales while Rarible and SuperRare haven’t yet eclipsed the $250 million mark.
Axie Infinity and Play-to-Earn Gaming to learn more about Axie Infinity and why so many people are using this marketplace.
Solana has grown into one of the most popular blockchains for developing NFT projects. This is in part to the transaction costs which are often lower than $0.01. Meanwhile, Ethereum still has transaction fees on the scale of hundreds of dollars. Unlike the Ethereum ecosystem, there aren’t many large established marketplaces.
Solanart is by far the most popular, but it remains in beta.
While all Ethereum projects can eventually receive a listing on OpenSea, certain Solana projects are exclusive to specific platforms. This may change in the future as more Solana marketplaces gain popularity.
Out of all the NFT marketplaces around, Solanart might have the nicest looking interface, which makes it easy to look for projects and filter by the price and characteristics of individual pieces. When an NFT is put up for sale, it is transferred to a temporary account on the marketplace.
Someone can then connect their Solana wallet to Solanart, pay the price to buy the listed NFT, and as soon as the SOL is transferred to the seller, the buyer receives their new NFT. Despite being new to the NFT scene, it has made around 4,000,000 SOL in sales. Getting a collection listed however requires you to fill out a Google Form.
Solana takes a 3% commission from every transaction
Solana charges a 0.02% listing fee
Entering the Solana NFT space was a wise move for FTX, as there is little competition. As of October 2021, users could list, trade, and sell NFTs on the marketplace. The caveat, however, is that they will require user verification to use the marketplace through their KYC policies. It is unclear if this will limit the adoption moving forward.
$1 fee for minting new NFTs
FTX also takes a 2% fee from each transaction
Binance Smart Chain
Binance, in addition to backing one of the most popular crypto exchanges, also has its blockchain called the Binance Smart Chain. Fees on the Binance Smart Chain are much lower than the fees on Ethereum, often by more than 100 times. It is no surprise that this smart chain has received a lot of adoption in decentralized finance and NFT applications.
While this ambitious new platform was launched on the Binance Smart Chain, it aims to support many other more popular (and less popular) blockchains including Solana, Ethereum, Polkadot, Cosmos, and more. It hopes to improve liquidity in the NFT market, allow monetization while holding an NFT as well as allow cross-chain interaction. It also has its own governance token called MOMA.
Since Mochi Market is also early in its development, NFTs must be submitted through a Google Form for consideration. Nonetheless, it has managed an impressive amount of sales, almost $750 million as of October 24th, 2021.
1% for transactions using the MOMA token, and otherwise 2.5% for BNB/MATIC payments $1 fee for minting new NFTs
This blockchain ecosystem, the Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX) was developed to trade items used in video games and virtual worlds. The decentralized WAX platform lets players have ownership over in-game items and prove their rarity via the blockchain.
The Atomic Market is the place to buy in-game collectibles within the WAX ecosystem, boasting more than $100 million in lifetime sales.
2% commission on sales plus additional royalty fees specific to in-game items
NFT marketplaces are the place to go when you want to mint or trade your one-of-a-kind digital assets. But there aren’t any major marketplaces that allow for the exchange of NFTs across multiple blockchains; that leaves us with fewer overall options when we go to buy or sell.
On the Ethereum blockchain (and Polygon side chain), OpenSea remains king. It is the place to go for both expensive artsy NFTs, collectibles, profile avatars, and more. Rarible and especially SuperRare, are more so focused on the artsier side of NFTs and the pieces there may be more expensive. By bringing in more than a million users, Coinbase has the chance to disrupt the hierarchy within the Ethereum NFT marketplace. Hopefully, competition between Coinbase and OpenSea will drive innovation in the marketplace.
FTX rolled out its Solana marketplace, a wise decision considering its main competition Solanart is still in beta. Nonetheless, Solanart has managed 4 million SOL in sales and features one of the best user interfaces across all marketplaces. FTX meanwhile requires KYC verification to use their marketplace, a sticking point that might prevent its adoption.
The major player to look out for is Mochi Marketplace; while it is currently on the Binance Smart Chain, it has ambitious goals for expansion into Ethereum and Solana-based NFTs. Mochi Marketplace is developing ways to give NFT holders more liquidity while facilitating cross-chain trading and interactions. The Mochi governance token MOMA may be a good opportunity to get into this project on the ground floor.
Finally, for the gamer inside all of us, we have the WAX ecosystem which is dominated by the Atomic Market. Here, in-game items are bought and sold; a simple focused strategy that has allowed the Atomic Market to gain popularity.