The meteoric rise of NFTs traces back to the sudden embrace from the arts and entertainment industries.
The frenzy around this niche sector comes mainly from a concept difficult to fully appreciate total ownership of a digital asset. For many, this begs the question: what are NFTs, and where can I get them?
In this article, we break down the NFT concept into smaller and easy-to-understand chunks and run a review of five of the top NFT marketplaces operational today.
Understanding Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
NFT made a grand entry into the blockchain scene through the Ethereum network before spreading to other networks, like Binance Smart Chain, Tezos, Solana, and many others.
The concept behind NFTs revolves around two factors: rarity and copyright. As such, rare digital artworks, like music albums, paintings, videos, art, and other digital art projects can get converted into NFT forms, and enthusiasts can purchase these digital projects from an online marketplace and have the absolute ownership of the product.
To trade an NFT, prospective sellers must have digital wallets linked to the host blockchain. Most times, sellers use the Ethereum digital wallet, considering that Ethereum houses most NFTs. Also, these digital products are minted through smart contracts, meaning that they must reside on blockchain networks with smart contract capabilities, like Ethereum, Solana, Polkadot, Binance Smart Chain, and many others.
NFTs are all the rave today because of how effective it is in rewarding digital artists today. This sector has proven to be a unique and innovative avenue for making money.
Before now, blockchain technology was an obscure realm reserved for the tech-savvy who understood blockchain programming. It is practically impossible for an average individual without programming expertise to create and plan an ICO launch.
However, with NFTs, the blockchain space has become less cryptic and become more accessible to the public. As a result, several NFT marketplaces have sprouted across the industry as more artists capitalize on this avenue to gain social and financial leverage.
Buying and Selling NFTs: Non-Fungible Token Marketplace
An NFT marketplace is a digital avenue for creating, buying, or selling digital art. This platform operates similarly to an e-commerce website where commodities like clothing or gadgets are purchased using digital wallets.
With the recent boom in NFTs, several marketplaces are operational today, all with different attributes and unique selling points. That said, in this article, we review the best five NFT marketplaces to host or purchase digital arts.
Best Five NFT Marketplaces
Below are listed the five best NFT marketplaces at the moment.
OpenSea is a decentralized NFT marketplace developed in the Ethereum network and allows users to create, exchange, and trade NFT assets efficiently.
Unarguably the biggest NFT marketplace operational today (based on trading volume), OpenSea offers numerous non-fungible tokens, including virtual worlds, art, sports, censorship-resistant domain names, collectibles, trading cards, and sports collectibles. Alongside the Ethereum blockchain, this platform uses ERC721 and ERC1155 digital standards to ensure that NFT creators genuinely own the asset they want to sell.
Interested purchasers and sellers have a large selection of digital asset offerings such as ENS names, Decentraland, CryptoKitties, Axie, and many others. Interestingly, OpenSea offers 241 payment options, including stablecoins, ensuring that anyone can trade on the platform.
Created in 2017 by Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah, this NFT platform dominates 97% of the sector and records trading volume 12x that of its closest rival. As of October, the behemoth marketplace has facilitated the sale of over $13 billion worth of NFTs, with a $25 billion annual gross merchandise volume (GMV).
By using the minting tool on the platform, creators can develop their digital assets for free, without any coding requirements on the blockchain.
Pros and Cons of OpenSea
As with virtually everything, OpenSea has its strengths (pros) and weaknesses (cons). Let’s evaluate some of them.
- Easy to create (mint) NFTs.
- There are zero gas fees with the new Collection Manager feature.
- Offers top-notch security.
- The website is beginner-friendly and easy to navigate.
- Compared to many other marketplaces, OpenSea offers low royalties (10%).
- The platform does not support fiat currencies like the US dollar.
- The blockchain is energy intensive.
- Limited customer support.
Founded in 2020, Rarible is a Los Angeles-based NFT marketplace that offers NFTs in art, photography, music, domain names, DeFi, games, and Metaverses forms, at a reasonable fee. One of Rarible’s unique selling points is its seemingly endless supply of NFTs; collectors can purchase any category of NFT imaginable.
The decentralized NFT marketplace provides verification badges to dedicated collectors and creators of NFTs. To get verified, users have to fill a form on the platform. Interestingly, collectors and creators can view and manage their Rarible digital assets on OpenSea.
Rarible is also a non-custodial platform, meaning that your NFT projects remain in your wallet until an interested collector buys them from you. Once your NFT gets purchased, the smart contract you signed when listing activates, taking the product from your wallet and crediting the amount due.
Meanwhile, Rarible has a native token known as ‘RARI,’ the world’s first governance token in the NFT space.
RARI holders get to vote on system upgrades on the platform, submit network development proposals, and “mint” featured artworks or moderate platform curators. The platform has asserted that it aims to evolve into a fully decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), where users make all the decisions.
RARI currently trades at $20.25 to the dollar and has a total market cap of $104.39 billion, making it the 460th largest cryptocurrency based on market valuation. Additionally, RARI has a capped supply of 25 million tokens.
- Rarible has an open-source codebase.
- As mentioned earlier, Rarible is a non-custodial marketplace.
- The platform is beginner-friendly, as creators can mint tokens without any coding knowledge.
- This marketplace offers peer-to-peer NFT trading at low costs.
- ‘Wash trading’ creates room for bad actors to access RARI tokens.
- Rarible has no whitepaper or any equivalent illustrating milestones and the future of the project.
- This platform only supports ERC-20 tokens.
- Rarible charges a 2.5% fee on both parties (seller and buyer) on energy sale.
Just as its name suggests, SuperRare offers unique NFT projects and detests the current abandon at which NFTs get listed today. They refer to their style of sorting projects as “true crypto art.”
Recently, some artists have begun minting multiple versions of the same item by offering different editions. SuperRare vehemently pushes against this trend, focusing on exclusive crypto art. The marketplace aims at becoming the high-end art dealer of the NFT world.
Like a real-world art gallery, SuperRare charges a larger commission on sales of NFTs on the platform (15%). However, one of SuperRare’s unique selling points is its artist commission standard, where it perpetually pays an artist 10% on every subsequent sale of their work.
- SuperRare delivers high-quality, unique crypto art only.
- The platform focuses solely on crypto art and does engage in NFT memes or games.
- The platform provides several avenues for curating top-notch NFT collections.
- SuperRare only accepts payments in Ether.
- This platform charges exorbitant fees: a 3% premium on buyers and 15% on the original sale of the project.
Created in 2018 by Zach Burks in Singapore, Mintable is an NFT marketplace where enthusiasts can create, buy, or sell NFTs. Individuals can purchase art, collectibles, game items, music, domains, templates, and videos on the platform.
Mintable consists of three categories of items, namely gasless, the normal, and printable tokens, and charges a 2.5, 5, and 10 percent premium, respectively. The platform also has an NFT DAO, which fosters community-driven governance.
- Mintable is free and easy to use.
- Mintable offers an easy and quick NFT trading mechanism.
- Mintable is accessible to all.
- The platform charges excessive transaction fees.
- Mintable struggles with low wallet integrations.
Foundation, also known as Foundation.app, is one of the most prominent and fastest-growing NFT marketplaces today. This platform is home to some of the most popular NFTs sold to date, including the NyanCat, which sold for $590,000 in February.
Unlike other NFT marketplaces, Foundation.app operates a closed model for onboarding creators. You need to receive an invite from a member of the platform to become a creator.
While you can sign up without invites, your activities are limited to bidding for artworks alone, as you cannot mint NFT projects.
- Foundation is a community-driven platform.
- Creators can share their NFTs to other marketplaces from Foundation.
- Foundation has a solid customer support base.
- As mentioned earlier, Foundation runs a closed onboarding system.
- This platform also runs a premium service.
- Foundation.app requires a service fee outside the normal Gwei.