Browse the most popular NFT marketplaces
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are used for storing and trading many different kinds of digital files, game items, collectables, and almost anything else you can imagine. To be able to buy, sell, and trade them, you’re going to want to visit one of the most popular NFT marketplaces.
The largest marketplace by both volume and sales is OpenSea. Beyond being the most popular, OpenSea also supports a few different blockchains – the largest and most popular (and most expensive) by far being Ethereum. However, the organization did just have their first releases of NFTs on the Solana blockchain. The marketplace itself is decentralized, so there is an extra layer of safety. Trading on OpenSea happens through a smart contract, meaning no central authority ever holds custody of your items.
The purchase categories available on OpenSea are:
- Domain Names
- Trading Cards
- Virtual Worlds
The second-largest marketplace, Axie Marketplace, is a bit different than other marketplaces in this list, as this is tied to the NFT-powered video game, Axie Infinity. Axies, the exclusive trading avenue on the marketplace, are cute, Pokémon-like digital pets to buy, sell, and trade.
You can also create new Axies via the game’s built-in breeding mechanics to trade and sell. Unlike art NFTs, which are really just collected for collecting’s sake, Axie Infinity’s NFTs can be used in-game to battle, earning tokens to put towards breeding new creatures. This system has worked so well that players are actively making a living through breeding and trading them.
However, Axie Infinity is one of the most complex and most expensive NFT services for new users, as you’ll have to jump through a number of hoops to begin to play the game – set up a MetaMask wallet, set up a Ronin wallet, deposit ETH to Ronin, purchase a team of (at minimum) three Axies from the marketplace, which can cost multiple hundreds of dollars. Not ideal for casual passersby, but it is definitely in the realm of possibility for a seasoned crypto veteran.
Larva Labs are the creators of (arguably) the first NFT project on Ethereum called CryptoPunks. The original series was 10,000 randomly generated characters with various unique attributes with a pixel art aesthetic. While CryptoPunks were originally given away for free, they are now some of the most expensive NFTs on the market.
The majority of CryptoPunks sales occur on the Larva Labs marketplace, where the current lowest-priced Punk is listed at 72.50 ETH ($217,000). The most expensive CryptoPunk (#5822, only 1/9 aliens out of the set of 10,000) was recently sold in February 2022 for 8,000 ETH – $23.7 million at the time of purchase.
NBA Top Shot Marketplace
One of the first NFT series to gain traction from the mainstream public was NBA Top Shot. NBA Top Shot is a set of digital trading cards featuring NBA highlight clips. You can purchase a pack to either view in your encrypted blockchain wallet or sold on the NBA Top Shot Marketplace.
Much of the mainstream public success of Top Shot was due to creators Dapper Labs making the sign-up process so simple – linking your existing Google account. Not only is sign-up easy, but unlike many other NFT marketplaces, you can purchase NBA Top Shot packs with a credit card.
One of our favorite marketplaces due to the special nature of the art on the platform is Art Blocks. Art Blocks is unique in that all the art is programmable, generative content that is stored immutably on the Ethereum blockchain. Example art in the style of the project is shown before a new piece is minted, but the content is randomly created by an algorithm so it is impossible to know the final outcome until the button is pressed.
The resulting piece might be a static image, 3D model, or an interactive experience. Each output is different, and there are endless possibilities for the types of content that can be created on the platform.
Projects fall into these three main categories:
Curated projects are carefully chosen by the Art Block Curation Board and are chosen for their technical innovation and aesthetic beauty as the group of projects that best represents Art Blocks’ vision as a platform.
Playground projects are allowed by those artists who have previously been chosen for the Curated Collection. There is a quality standard that is strictly enforced, but experimentation is encouraged in the Playground.
Factory projects are for those who do not wish to wait for approval from the Curation Board or are not selected. The requirements are more relaxed when compared to the Curated Collection, but Factory projects reflect the innovation, creativity, and artistic beauty associated with Art Blocks.
No matter what you are looking for, whether it be art, collectibles, game pieces, or real-world content, there is a marketplace out there for you. These marketplaces also range in complexity, from super simple for the mainstream public or first-time foray into crypto, to very expensive and complex platforms for advanced users.
Determining the best marketplace for you will depend on your risk tolerance, willingness to learn a new system, and style of art. But, rest assured, doing some research will find one that perfectly suits you.