Updated: Jun 7, 2022
There is no stopping non-fungible tokens (NFTs) from disrupting the blockchain space. A flurry of high-profile deals fueled the buzz around this side of the crypto-verse, including Beeple’s US$69 million digital artwork sold at Christie’s, Grimes’ US$5.8 million “WarNymph Collection,” and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first tweet that was auctioned off for US$2.9 million.
For the uninitiated, NFTs are digital assets stored on a blockchain bearing unique codes and data to establish authenticity. These digital assets range from photos, music, and drawings to memes and an AI version of your brain.
The possibilities are far and wide as long as they are within the digital realm. But unlike cryptocurrencies or your dollar bills, NFTs cannot be traded at equivalency as their value is tied to proof of ownership and scarcity.
Want your share of the NFT pie but have an appetite for loss? Here are the top NFT marketplaces for buying and selling artwork.
Headquartered in New York, OpenSea is one of the first NFT marketplaces, and the largest across the world. Its sheer size means it supports more than 150 cryptocurrencies and covers all types of digital assets in the NFT world including music, artwork, sports collectibles, and photos, among many others. One of its top features is Collection Manager, which allows zero gas fee so you can create your own NFTs for free. OpenSea’s interface is straightforward and is a good place to start if you are new to NFTs.
On the flipside, OpenSea has lower royalties compared to peers and does not support fiat currencies.
NFT artwork collection is largely fueled by scarcity — no one else owns what you have. But artists seem to have found their way to circumvent this by releasing different editions of unique NFTs of the same item. Enter SuperRare. This NFT marketplace screams opulence by targeting exclusive crypto art. Reports say it only accepts 1 in 100 artists who apply to its marketplace, meaning its catalogue consists of well-curated and highly exclusive artworks.
SuperRare, however, charges a 15% commission fee on sales across its platform, which is relatively steep compared with its counterparts.
If you are on the hunt for rare media collections, Rarible is your best bet. This NFT marketplace hosts artists selling their collections, as well as media and sports brands. It adopts its own token called RARI when buying and selling on the marketplace. In October 2021, it announced a lazy minting feature that mints the NFT only upon purchase, meaning the buyers are the ones shouldering the gas fee and not the owners. For those concerned about the impact of NFTs on sustainability, this might be an attractive feature as it minimizes the number of transactions that do not get sold.
One downside of Rarible, however, is that you need an Ethereum crypto wallet to make deposits and withdrawals.
Owned by cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, Nifty Gateway is behind some of the world’s headline-grabbing NFT transactions such as Beeple’s and Grimes’. This has also made it the unofficial marketplace for celebrity NFTs. Nifty lets users buy and sell NFTs, called Nifties, directly from their Ethereum wallet. It also supports fiat currency so users can purchase art using a credit card without having to switch to crypto. Nifty banks on exclusivity, meaning unknown artists may have a hard time getting accepted.
Async Art brands itself as a “new art movement” that creates, collects, and trades “programmable art” aka digital paintings split into “masters” and “layers.” The former refers to the NFT as a whole, while the latter refers to the various components that make up the digital art. Each master and layer have their own token and can therefore be owned by different artists or collectors. This results in rare dynamic artworks that get altered over time under various artists.
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