A wealth of NFT marketplaces exist for collectors, and the majority of activity is limited to a handful of marketplaces. But why is it that some marketplaces are head and shoulders above the rest? Why are some the go-to platforms for NFT drops?
There is no clear cut answer to this question, and every now and then, a marketplace takes off - perhaps because of the launch of a particularly popular collection or a new free minting feature. Here, we take a look at the most popular NFT marketplaces and the numbers that give a glimpse into their success.
OpenSea is by far the most active NFT marketplace, with a market share dominance of 60% when it comes to volume over the past 6 months. The marketplace was launched in 2017, and this could perhaps be one small reason why it has achieved an unmatched level of dominance. Most other NFT platforms were founded after OpenSea, but it would be wrong to say that the latter’s head start is the sole reason for its success.
To give you a scale of popularity of OpenSea, the marketplace has generated over $31.5 billion in lifetime volume. The number of users over the past 30 months also dwarfs other platforms, at 353,000.
Rarible is second to OpenSea in many regards, but some potent features have led to the platform retaining a strong userbase. Two of those features are decentralized governance and lazy mining, the latter being especially useful for creators. Lazy minting lets creators only pay for NFTs at the time of purchase, not at the time of creation - meaning you can house an entire collection before you have to pay any fees.
Even as one of the closest competitors to OpenSea, its lifetime volume is much lower, at $298 million. Still, it has a healthy number of traders, at over 106,000.
Like Rarible, SuperRare is also a decentralized marketplace for NFTs that has over 2,600 unique artists selling on the platform. SuperRare has a strong focus on being a marketplace for curated NFT collections, but it has moved away from its centralized system of curating NFTs. With the introduction of SuperRare 2.0, the platform will let the community decide what NFTs are featured in “SuperRare Spaces”, all handed by the SupeRare DAO.
SuperRare has one strong statistic going for it, which is telling of its curated nature - the average sale price is $8,450.
With an invite only scheme for creators, Foundation strongly rewards creators, who get an 8% cut of the final sale. Additionally, creators get a 10% cut of secondary sales in perpetuity. It stands as something of a dark horse when placed next to the giants of NFT marketplaces, like OpenSea and Rarible, but the focus on rewarding creators could have a great deal of appeal to creators, especially as the niche grows.
Foundation has experienced a lot of growth in recent months, with the past month seeing a 37% jump in transactions to 54,000. Monthly volume has also been high at $8.1 million.
LooksRare is the most recently formed platform on this list. Founded in 2022, the marketplace has quickly risen to become a top platform - behind OpenSea and Rarible in terms of number of transactions, at 279k since 2020. The platform rewards active participation, with collectors earning LOOKS tokens, and all of the trading fees going towards LOOKS stakers.
The platform’s rewardshave also been the subject of controversy - resulting in some questionable behavior among users. This has made LooksRare a source of wash trading, with as much as $8 billion reportedly a result of it.
LooksRare has a particularly high average sale price at $7,700. On top of that, despite its recent launch, it has managed to generate $1.57 billion in lifetime volume.
X2Y2 is the new kid on the block - launching as recently as February 2022 but already making huge waves in the crypto community. It’s entirely decentralized but has a few features that sets it apart from rival platforms, not the least of which is an OpenSea Sniper feature that allows bundling of NFT purchases. It’s features like this have led it to being the top NFT marketplace in terms of weekly sales - beating even OpenSea during June, where X2Y2 generated $144.1 million.
There has been strong growth over the past few months, with volume sales pearing in June. Things seemed to have settled down a little since then, but it’s still going strong and gaining a userbase, with over 18,000 users added in the past 30 days.
There are a lot of variables that determine how well an NFT marketplace is doing, and not all of it is so clear cut. For example, how much does wash trading factor in? These are challenges that marketplaces themselves are dealing with, and obviously it is even tougher for a collector to factor these assessments into their decisions.
This article was just a brief glimpse into how some of the major NFT platforms have been faring over the past few months. We will offer in-depth looks at each of the marketplaces in the days to come, providing a look at why some have found abrupt success, and why others have experienced dry months. There’s a lot of insight to be had for the ardent NFT enthusiasts, so stay tuned!