Non-fungible tokens might seem like a passing fad, but with over $15 billion traded in 2021, it's clear that this blockchain-based tool for monetising digital content is transforming into a big industry.
Following the auction of Beeple's tokenized digital artwork that sold for $69.3 million at Christie's auction house, firms and individual creators have begun exploring ways to use NFTs.
Even traditional art brokers are now exploring cryptocurrency, with sites like https://www.cryptovantage.com/ providing the information they need to understand decentralized finance.
The popularity of blockchain-based digital artworks doesn't show any signs of slowing down and NFT marketplaces have likewise boomed.
Some NFT art creators have tried building their own marketplaces, but most creators have found it more feasible to partner with larger, already established platforms.
Third-party NFT platforms reduce upfront costs, give the creators access to a larger customer base and offer valuable add-on services like legal and technical support.
What's an NFT Marketplace?
An NFT marketplace is a digital platform that connects art collectors, brokers and investors with NFT creators.
These platforms are continually trying to differentiate each other, with some appealing to gamers' aesthetics, while others are about fine art.
While you don't need a middleman to trade NFT art, at this stage, partnering with an NFT marketplace is becoming essential. The market is getting crowded and unless the creator already has a loyal audience of their own, they will need to gain exposure through an NFT platform.
Types of NFT Marketplaces
NFT marketplaces are divided into two main categories – open markets and closed marketplaces.
- Open markets are free for anyone to join.
- Closed marketplaces (sometimes also called premium) only allow creators to register on the invitation.
The value of the art you can get at either of them in general differs.
Open Markets for NFT art
While open markets are free to join, they're known to have fewer premium values than closed platforms.
However, every creator goes through the minting and listing process, before building their careers as NFT creators to get an invitation to closed platforms. Here are popular open NFT marketplaces online:
Opensea is the oldest and currently the leading NFT marketplace.
It was launched in 2017 and boasts the highest number of registered artists. The platform supports various NFT formats, including video, images, 3D, and other types of physical and non-physical assets.
While Opensea charges a lot of gas fees for your first contract, creators are not charged more gas fees on their consecutive NFT minting. That makes the platform relatively friendly to artists compared to other pricing systems, only taking 2.5% of the sales value as their commission.
The only negative side of Opensea is that each NFT listings gets less engagement compared to closed communities due to the high number of registered users. So, the audience at NFT is larger, but the amount of art to choose from too, which dilutes the engagement.
However, users on the platform can search NFTs by keywords to discover your work from the millions of listings available. That makes Opensea among the best choices for creators who can promote their works on social media or other platforms.
While Rarible only came to life in 2020, it's also among the most reliable NFT marketplaces online.
Rarible allows artists to NFT on the original token known as "RARI" and ERC721, supporting images, audio, and video.
The defining feature of Rarible is the use of their original token (RARI), which can be used to buy or sell NFTs on the platform. The token also allows users to vote or propose improvements, curate featured artwork, moderate community members, and propose community grants. That means it functions like a virtual stock that involves the users in platform management.
Like Opensea, Rarible charges a gas fee for the initial contract. You'll also be paying for minting and listing fees every time you try to sell your works, which explains why Rarible artists often lament over finance.
However, with their 2.5% service fee, Rarible is still very popular as a user interface, useful to both creators and collectors.
Closed Marketplaces for NFT art
For artists who have done well trading in open marketplaces and are ready to move forward, here are the best premium (closed) marketplaces to join.
https://foundation.app(Promote your NFT art on Twitter for invite code)
Foundation is arguably the most populated and best accessible closed NFT marketplace.
The platform was officially launched in 2021 and rapidly grew in popularity to host thousands of creators. The invite codes are mostly given away on Twitter to unique NFT artists that are rising in popularity. An invite code can occasionally be traded for non-fungible tokens or money too, though.
The main advantage of being a Foundation creator is in its reputation. NFT art collectors know that the platform only hosts works that deserve a high value.
However, the Foundation’s 15% sales commission is larger than most marketplaces and their gas fees are also remarkably high.
Additionally, the platform only supports PNG, MP4, and JPG, but Audio, 3D, and AR are coming soon.
https://makersplace.com(Submit portfolio to get invitation)
Makersplace is a premium NFT marketplace that is less accessible than Foundation.
Unlike Foundation, Makersplace isn't based on community invitation. Instead, creators can join the platform by submitting their portfolio and profile as an audition and they can get an official invitation after passing.
The audition process is relatively smooth, but you might have to wait for a few months as there is an increasing amount of interest.
Thankfully, the fee structure at Makersplace is a little more favorable than Foundation. Creators only pay the gas fees once per minting and their sales commission stands at 15%.
Makersplace also supports more file formats, including JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, and MP4.
Open marketplaces get more of both NFT art and visitors, which lowers the amount of attention per artwork. Premium marketplaces list high-value NFT art, which is convenient for art collectors who are willing to pay premium.
For NFT traders and art brokers, a value opportunity can be found on open marketplaces, if they manage to find an upcoming artist who ends up gaining in popularity later.