Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) give you ownership of artwork, music, videos and other online collectibles. They exist on blockchains, the innovative technology that underlies cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
As the popularity of NFTs has grown, the NFT market has climbed to more than $40 billion in value, according to The 2021 NFT Market Report released by blockchain data company Chainalysis.
Here are some of the most popular and well-rated NFT marketplaces where you can buy and sell these digital assets.
Top NFT Marketplaces of May 2022
OpenSea is ancient by NFT standards, having launched in 2017, and it’s also among the largest NFT marketplaces active today. It hosts many popular NFTs, including art, music, photography, trading cards and virtual worlds.
The core cryptocurrencies used on OpenSea are Ethereum, Solana, and USDC, and payment options feature other cryptos. Just note that you can’t use fiat currencies like Sterling or US dollars.
On the bright side, OpenSea is very user-friendly for beginners. You can set up an account for free within minutes and start browsing NFTs immediately, and you can even create NFTs on their platform.
For costs, OpenSea charges a fee equal to 2.5% of every transaction. You must also pay the ‘gas fee’ for completing NFT transactions with Ethereum. Gas fees are the transaction fees paid to miners.
If you’re looking to avoid the gas fee, you can buy and sell NFTs with Polygon. But you’ll need to ensure that the NFT item of interest displays the Polygon logo.
In short, OpenSea is a solid choice for beginners looking to get started with a straightforward marketplace and who want as many options as possible for NFTs.
Rarible allows users to buy and sell art, collectibles, video game assets and NFTs. You can buy and deal on Rarible with Ethereum, Flow and Tezos.
Rarible charges a flat 2.5% fee on every transaction, plus any gas fees. One nice feature is you can buy NFTs using a credit card, allowing transactions in fiat currencies.
An interesting aspect of Rarible: Rather than having in-house management decide everything, Rarible created its own native token called RARI. The holders of RARI get to vote on company decisions like company policy changes.
In 2021, Rarible announced a partnership with Adobe to make it easier to verify and protect the metadata for digital content, including NFTs.
For those that want access to a large network with solid connections, Rarible could be the best NFT marketplace. At the same time, it also still follows a decentralised mindset.
NBA Top Shot
If you’re a major basketball fan, the NBA Top Shot marketplace lets you buy NFTs of great moments in basketball history.
You can buy video clips, play highlights and art for both the NBA and the WNBA. But some of these ‘Moments’ aren’t cheap. A LeBron James slam dunk video fetched $208,000 in February 2021.
The NBA built and manages this NFT marketplace, and they have exclusive rights to these video clips. Plus, you know you’re dealing with a large, reputable organisation.
The NBA Top Shot marketplace is one example of major companies getting on this trend. Others include the DraftKings Marketplace and the Associated Press’ NFT marketplace. Even GameStop plans to launch an NFT marketplace this year.
Users can purchase Moment NFTs with credit/debit cards or select cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, DAI or USDC. And of course, fees are added to the purchase price, whether you’re buying that iconic moment with a credit card or cryptocurrency.
Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, added an NFT marketplace in 2021. The international crypto exchange is one of many other industry players entering the NFT sector, like Crypto.com NFT, which describes itself as a highly-curated NFP marketplace.
Binance NFT offers the typical digital assets found on other major platforms: artwork, gaming items, and collectibles.
A major advantage of Binance NFT is that it charges very low fees. The platform only deducts a 1% trading fee. It’s also a user-friendly platform built using similar technology and layouts as their exchange.
As such a large player in the crypto space, Binance also runs on its own blockchain, giving it an added advantage.
Nifty Gateway is known for hosting expensive and exclusive NFT sales, including digital artist Pak’s “The Merge,” which sold for $91.8 million. It made headlines when the platform was acquired in late 2019 by Gemini, which is run by the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
This marketplace focuses on artwork, especially artwork from celebrities and top artists. To boost demand, Nifty Gateway uses an “open editions” system. When a new type of NFT comes out, you can only buy editions for just a limited time.
This marketplace does allow you to make purchases with your credit card. Nifty Gateway could be the way to go if you’re looking to make a large investment in NFTs and want access to higher-end options.
SuperRare is a high-end NFT art marketplace that positions itself in the NFT ecosystem as an art gallery. This marketplace doesn’t accept “meme style” NFTs, and is highly selective with NFT submissions.
Given that SuperRare spends so much time reviewing work before it’s available for sale, investors can feel more confident in the quality. For their services, SuperRate charges 15% the first time an NFT is sold on the primary market. There is also a flat 3% of every transaction, which the buyer pays.
SuperRare could be a good choice for someone looking for high-end NFT artwork, especially pieces with a more classical style.
What Is a NFT Marketplace?
An NFT marketplace is a digital platform for buying and selling NFTs. These platforms allow people to store and display their NFTs plus sell them to others for cryptocurrency or money. Some NFT marketplaces also allow users to mint their NFTs on the platform itself.
In exchange for a fee, the NFT marketplace will typically handle the transfer of an NFT from one party to the other.
Each NFT marketplace has its own system for how it operates. The types of NFTs available, fees, payment options, permitted blockchains and other rules will depend on which one you use.
How Do NFT Marketplaces Work?
When you create an account with an NFT marketplace, you can browse through all their available options for sale. You can also add a payment method, and some require you to link a crypto wallet to pay with crypto, while others allow you to use a credit card.
Some sites let you buy NFTs directly for a fixed price, while others will use an auction. If you complete the transaction, the NFT marketplace will record it on its blockchain showing the change of ownership.
What Is Minting?
In the world of NFTs, minting refers to the process of creating new NFTs on a blockchain, most commonly Ethereum.
When you mint an NFT, you’re recording data that comprises a new NFT in a new block that’s then added to a blockchain.
Minting an NFT typically comes with fees. For NFT systems that use the Ethereum blockchain, this cost is paid in gas, a crypto token used to perform functions on the Ethereum blockchain.
More and more, NFT marketplaces are becoming creative about how, when and to whom minting fees are charged.
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