A non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace is a place that allows buyers and sellers to connect and exchange NFTs. In many cases, marketplaces offer a variety of NFTs, including artwork, videos, and other digital assets and require payment in cryptocurrency.
Here’s a closer look at what NFT marketplaces are, how they work, and the best NFT marketplaces to check out when creating, buying, or selling your NFT collection.
What Is An NFT Marketplace?
NFT marketplaces enable people to buy and sell NFTs online. Traditional NFT marketplaces require using a Web3 software wallet that’s connected to your web browser. Using this wallet, anyone worldwide can participate in an NFT marketplace.
The biggest marketplaces work somewhat like a cryptocurrency version of eBay, where the only items sold are digital assets. While graphic images, such as Bored Apes, have caught the most headlines, gaming NFTs for collectible, metaverse, and RPG games are also hot commodities.
What To Look For In An NFT Marketplace
As with any other place you go shopping online, it’s important to do a little due diligence to ensure that what you’re buying is authentic and that the website is legitimate. Top NFT marketplaces filter out fraudulent listings, but there are still plenty of digital tricksters looking to make off with your crypto, NFTs, or both.
After security, the next place to look is what type of NFTs are supported. You may find marketplaces that focus on a specific blockchain, like Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, and EOS, and marketplaces that support multiple blockchains.
You’ll also want to see which NFTs they support specifically. You can often sort and filter by cost, category, creator, and other characteristics.
Some marketplaces also offer rewards for listing on their marketplace. Depending on what you're selling, it could be a nice way to profit even more from something you'd normally do.
The Best NFT Marketplaces
Now that you know what to look for in an NFT marketplace, here’s a deep-dive looking at the top NFT marketplaces today:
Founded in 2017, OpenSea is the biggest and best-known NFT marketplace. It allows anyone to create (mint) and exchange NFTs. More than 80 million NFTs are listed on the site. Its 600,000 users have done more than $20 billion in transactions on OpenSea.
Opensea was defacto the marketplace leader for years, but now they are facing some tougher competition.
Rarible is another major player in the online NFT space. The exchange has more than 100,000-lifetime traders who have transacted $300 million in NFT sales. It offers a huge mix of NFTs and enables minting new NFTs as well.
Looksrare is an up-and-coming marketplace where users can earn rewards for using the platform.
Looksrare supports a staking system and pays rewards for trading and listing new NFTs from eligible collections. While the platform claims over $22 billion in sales volume, analysis from several sources indicates that 95% of volume comes from wash trades, likely with the aim of earning more rewards.
Nifty Gateway is part of the Gemini exchange. It’s a marketplace with a focus on more high-end Ethereum NFTs.
This is a centralized NFT exchange where Gemini acts as custodian for your collection. You can pay with debit, credit, a Gemini balance, or ether. Because it’s centralized, there are no gas fees.
NBA Top Shot
NBA Top Shot doesn’t require using a Web3 wallet. Instead, you have to sign up for an account on the NBA Top Shot website, which is the only way to access your NFTs. Here, each NFT is a short video clip from an NBA game. This is, in many ways, a modern version of collectible basketball cards.
Mintable is another big Ethereum NFT marketplace. It allows users to mint new NFTs on the blockchain for free, making it attractive for newer artists.
Investing in NFTs may not pay off, but it’s a fun way to get involved with the cryptocurrency community and learn more about Web3, blockchains, and related technologies. Most people are lucky to break even with NFTs, let alone make a profit.
However, if you buy and sell right, you could find yourself sitting in your penthouse, sipping on your favorite cocktail, scrolling through your Bored Apes, and checking in on your metaverse land. Then your biggest concern will be your crypto taxes. And it’s only possible thanks to your profitable NFT strategy.
Eric Rosenberg is a financial writer, speaker, and consultant based in Ventura, California. He holds an undergraduate finance degree from the University of Colorado and an MBA in finance from the University of Denver. After working as a bank manager and then nearly a decade in corporate finance and accounting, Eric left the corporate world for full-time online self-employment. His work has been featured in online publications including Business Insider, Nerdwallet, Investopedia, The Balance, HuffPo, Investor Junkie, and other fine financial blogs and publications. When away from the computer, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, traveling the world, and tinkering with technology. Connect with him and learn more at EricRosenberg.com.