The Top 5 NFT Marketplaces Compared
As the NFT space has taken off and expanded, so too have NFT marketplaces. There is now a wide selection of platforms where you can go to pick up JPEGs, from established leaders, to niche operations, to newcomers bringing disruptive new approaches.
That in mind, here is a comparison of the current top 5 NFT marketplaces by trading volume, as identified by DappRadar over the last thirty days.<h2 id="opensea“>OpenSea
This is the number one NFT marketplace. It has first-mover advantage and network effects on its side, and many NFT collectors remain content to stick with what they know.
Established back in 2017 (before most people had even heard of an NFT), OpenSea had a slow start. By the beginning of 2021, monthly active users were still below 10,000, but by the beginning of 2022 that number had soared to over half a million.
Most of 2022 has gone on, of course, to be a tough time for crypto, but OpenSea still clocked in with around 285,000 active users last month, despite bear market conditions and increased competition.
As OpenSea has grown, it has expanded its features, and in addition to Ethereum, it now also supports Polygon, Klaytn, Solana, Avalanche, Arbitrum, Optimism and BNB Chain. It recently implemented rarity rankings on some collections, and it has multiple payment options.
That all said, while OpenSea is still the primary NFT platform, competition is catching up and, despite the implementations mentioned above, OpenSea catches criticism for, according to some users, not being innovative enough.
One current glitch is that when using the analytics feature, you can only get a view up to the last thirty days, meaning you’ll need external tools to view the entire history of a collection, but overall, OpenSea is reliable, easy-to-navigate, and still the default NFT marketplace.<h2 id="blur“>Blur
Launched in October this year, Blur’s investors include famous names from the NFT space such as Cozomo de’ Medici, Zeneca and Punk6529, and the platform is clearly moving away from the much-imitated format set by OpenSea.
As soon as you land on the site, the aesthetics set it apart, with a retro, early-computing vibe in tune with the style adopted by many NFT projects.
In terms of features and performance, the marketplace is aimed at more experienced NFT traders, and while OpenSea offers a relatively user-friendly shopfront experience, Blur may be confusing if you’re approaching NFTs for the first time.
It functions as an aggregator, meaning it brings together and lets you purchase NFTs listed across different marketplaces, and it’s focused on speed and sweeping (meaning buying several NFTs from a collection all at once).
Blur also has more advanced portfolio functions than other marketplaces, for example giving you a running indicator of your realized and unrealized profit-and-loss (which may or may not make for enjoyable viewing).
Gas costs are optimized and there are no trading fees so Blur should be cheap to use, and it has also pulled in new users through its rewards system. The platform has implemented three airdrops, with the first based on prior (pre-Blur) NFT trading and the second based on listings placed on Blur in November. The third airdrop is yet to happen, and will be based on bids made on Blur.
All airdrop packages will redeem the upcoming $BLUR token when it launches in January.<h2 id="magic-eden“>Magic Eden
Over the past year, Magic Eden has risen to become the OpenSea of Solana, establishing itself as the go-to NFT platform for trading on the alternative Layer 1 blockchain. Magic Eden operates similarly to OpenSea, but also implemented its own launchpad for new NFT projects.
Not only is the launchpad a good place to find out what’s coming down the line, but it also created a degree of security when the NFT space (and Solana in particular) was overrun with rug pulls and shady operations.
Magic Eden has subsequently implemented support for NFTs on Ethereum and Polygon, making it a direct competitor to OpenSea, and it’s notable that–despite OpenSea adding Solana support–it’s Magic Eden that has continued to gain ground on OpenSea, rather than OpenSea opening up the gap from Magic Eden.<h2 id="x2y2“>X2Y2
If you’re familiar with OpenSea, then X2Y2 should be easy to get to grips with, since it uses a similar format to the original market leader.
However, there are also some key differences. Launched in February 2022, X2Y2–unlike OpenSea–created and airdropped its own token, and implemented a profit-sharing scheme, with earning enabled by staking the X2Y2 tokens.
More recently, X2Y2 launched a peer-to-peer NFT loan function, allowing lenders to earn a profit, and borrowers to access liquidity using their NFTs as collateral.
With its own token, loan facilities, and trading fees set at a low 0.5%, X2Y2 is worth exploring as a direct but more function-loaded alternative to OpenSea.<h2 id="looksrare“>LooksRare
Launching in January 2022, just before X2Y2, there was LooksRare. This was the first big threat to OpenSea, setting itself apart with its own token, which was airdropped to OpenSea users, and could be earned through trading, offering a significant incentive to ditch OpenSea.
The $LOOKS token can be staked to earn rewards, offering the potential to make some passive income, although the price of the token remains flat.
Also on the negative side, since $LOOKS is earned through trading, wash trading was incentivized, something that many users have claimed occurs frequently. On the whole, though, LooksRare, like X2Y2, is worth keeping in mind as an alternative option.
There really are a lot of NFT marketplaces out there, so here are just a few others to check out.
Arguably the most prestigious, well known NFT collection is CryptoPunks, and it also happens to have its own dedicated marketplace.
If you want to treat NFTs more like fungible altcoins, then take a look at Sudoswap, which utilizes a DeFi-like approach to NFT trading.
If you’re in it for the art, then you need to visit Foundation, SuperRare, and–on Solana–Formfunction.
For Cardano NFTs, you should go to JPG Store, and for NFTs on Tezos, take a look at Objkt and fxhash, the latter of which specializes in generative art.