An Introduction to NFT Marketplaces — Aspen Digital
While NFT marketplace trading volumes have taken a hit with bearish market sentiment and macroeconomic pressures, NFTs have proven to be a fast-growing opportunity. Over the past year, there was $250 million in NFT daily trading volume at the market’s peak (JPMorgan). Venture capital also began heavily investing in the space, with OpenSea raising $300 million at a $13.3 billion valuation and, most recently, Magic Eden raising $130 million at a $1.6 billion valuation. Traditional players have even positioned themselves in the space — Sotheby’s established a proprietary marketplace for curated NFT art. It is clear that NFT marketplaces are a nascent, but rapidly growing sector.
In this article we will introduce and compare different NFT marketplaces across Ethereum, Solana and Flow.
A Comparative Breakdown
OpenSea is the world’s largest open marketplace for NFTs. Similar to eBay, Etsy, and Amazon, it allows anyone to buy, sell and mint NFTs on a decentralised, peer-to-peer exchange. Because of this, users can transact with one another directly in a trust-less manner. OpenSea has over $4.2 million in weekly volume and makes up 90% of all NFT marketplaces’ weekly volume.
LooksRare is an open NFT marketplace on Ethereum that rewards traders and creators for participating in the marketplace. For instance, 100% of trading fees are given to $LOOKS token stakers, which contrasts the generation of NFT marketplaces whose fees mainly reward a single entity (typically the marketplace). LooksRare’s token, $LOOKS, can be earned by trading NFTs on LooksRare and staked. Staking $LOOKS also earns WETH fees. LooksRare’s special features include collection-wide offers, instant royalty payouts for creators and flexible purchases (NFT traders are able to execute purchases using mixed tokens, such as WETH and ETH).
Magic Eden is the largest NFT marketplace on the Solana blockchain, with a total transaction volume of more than $1.47 billion. Magic Eden claims to have over 90% of the market share for NFT games’ secondary-trading volume. In the past 24 hours, Magic Eden had over 539,600 transactions and over 45,000 unique wallet addresses interacting with Magic Eden’s smart contracts.
Jack Lu, CEO & Co-founder at Magic Eden, recently announced that the platform has raised $130m at $1.6B valuation. Participating investors include Electric Capital, Graylock, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Paradigm.
X2Y2 is a decentralised NFT marketplace on Ethereum. Launched in February of this year, the marketplace is a new competitor to OpenSea by sharing profits with users that stake X2Y2 tokens on the platform. More specifically, stakers will receive a percentage of fees from all NFT trades proportional to the amount of tokens that they stake. X2Y2 also offers bulk listings and bulk purchases for users to save on gas fees, as well as a rarity tracker and “Secret NFTs” privacy feature.
Gaia is a closed NFT marketplace on the Flow blockchain that brings in world class IPs for primary and secondary NFT sales across sports, music, movies, television and pop culture. Gaia was one of the first marketplaces built on the Flow blockchain and the first to integrate the Dapper Wallet outside of NBA Top Shot. The NFT marketplace even built and supported the launch of NFL All Day marketplaces, one of Dapper Labs’ projects, and provides added utility for Dapper Labs’ projects overall. In supporting Dapper Labs’ projects, Gaia was the first marketplace that was granted access to sell the NBA Top Shot NFT collection on the secondary market. Another prominent collection on Gaia includes BALLERZ, a basketball-inspired generative NFT collection with $11.9 million in trading volume.
In sum, while NFT trading volume has slowed in tandem with the broader crypto and macroeconomic market, the past few years have proven NFTs to be a lucrative sector in crypto. Even traditional players like Jeffries see the NFT market reaching more than $80 billion in value by 2025. Considering NFT marketplaces’ critical role in the sector, early investment opportunities in the space also have exceptional potential for growth.
About Aspen Digital
Aspen Digital is a leading technology and financial services company with a mission to accelerate the mass adoption of digital assets. The company provides a digital asset management solution for asset managers, institutions, and sophisticated investors. Aspen Digital was co-founded by digital assets innovators and asset management veterans at Everest Ventures Group (“EVG”) and TT Bond Partners (“TTB”) in 2021.
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