Top 5 NFT Marketplaces to Buy and Sell Art
Just when you thought Beeple’s $69.1 million NFT art sale of March 2021 was insane enough, another piece has topped this historic event. The Merge, artwork created by Pak, a renowned pseudonymous (and mysterious) artist, was sold as an NFT on Nifty Gateway in December 2021 for a record-breaking $91.8 million.
Interestingly, this piece is owned by 28,983 collectors rather than an individual. Call it a scam, a fad, or just plain ridiculousness, but NFTs have been one of the most influential trends in cryptocurrencies over the past few years, especially those of an artistic or creative nature.
Understandably, this has led many budding fans to buy and sell NFT art for bragging rights, sentimental reasons, or even for investment purposes. Regardless of the intention, you’ll need to navigate a marketplace for such tokens, of which we’ll cover the top 5 in this article.
How to best choose an NFT marketplace
Let’s quickly cover what an NFT is. A non-fungible token is a blockchain-created file or a tokenized version of a digital asset like an image, video, music track, and, of course, an art piece.
An NFT is non-interchangeable or one-of-a-kind and proves immutable and verifiable ownership to its holder. Although there aren’t many marketplaces dedicated to or trading NFT art, you should understand the main factors differentiating the best and weak options.
Fees: Most NFTs are still created using the Ethereum blockchain, which is notoriously expensive. So, an excellent platform should support other less costly blockchains. Aside from the ‘minting costs,’ you should be aware of others such as initialization, listing, swapping, and service fees.
Broad blockchain support: As briefly mentioned, Ethereum remains the most popular platform for NFT creation. So, a great marketplace should support other ones like BNB Beacon Chain, Solana, TRON, Flow, etc. This also ensures wider compatibility for wallets.
Payment methods: While paying with crypto is more decentralized, it can be daunting (especially for newbies) and rarely has the quality of irreversible transactions. Some platforms allow for traditional payment methods like debit/credit cards and conventional e-wallet services.
Verification process: Here, we refer to how a marketplace vets its users. Because most crypto-related platforms don’t follow a KYC (Know Your Customer) process, it is common for impersonators to use NFT sites for forgery, money laundering, and other crimes.
Therefore, a top marketplace should have each user show a bio and link to a verified social media account.
As the name suggests, this service is pretty much an ‘open sea’ for variety, with millions of NFTs on the platform. OpenSea is the first NFT marketplace to exist and was established in 2017.
The service remains the largest by trading volume and deals in a wide variety of tokens such as art, trading cards, virtual worlds, music, and collectibles in over 200 categories. Although OpenSea chiefly supports Ethereum-based NFTs, it’s also compatible with those created by Polygon, Klaytn, and, most recently, Solana.
OpenSea works with 15 wallets, including services like Portis, Coinbase Wallet, MetaMask, etc. This marketplace charges a reasonable 2.5% service fee for every successful transaction (and a 10% royalty fee for secondary sales), making it highly competitive and cost-effective.
Founded in 2018, SuperRare is like the Christie’s of NFT platforms and stays true to its name of showcasing the rarest of artworks on the market. Unlike OpenSea, SuperRare is focused exclusively on trading the top curated single-edition NFT art from some of the world’s most esteemed artists.
The average NFT price weekly is typically a few thousand dollars. Such is the service’s rarity that only invited creators are featured. Moreover, SuperRare’s selection is pretty limited, and the platform charges a 15% selling commission, far higher than its competitors (although lower than real-world galleries).
However, artists receive a 10% royalty fee if their work sells after the initial sale. SuperRare deals purely with Ethereum-created NFTs and works with three wallets: MetaMask, Wallet Connect, and Fortmatic.
Rarible is a relatively new player in the space as it was started in 2020. However, the Moscow-based marketplace has made its name in the NFT world, dealing in a multitude of tokens like games, metaverses, art, music, and domains.
Rarible is a multi-chain marketplace supporting NFTs from the Ethereum, Flow, and Tezos blockchains. The platform levies a reasonable 2.5% service fee and offers creators a 10% royalty fee for consequent sales.
What’s unique to Rarible is its token, RARI, used for numerous utilities, art curation, and governance participation.
Nifty Gateway was founded in 2018 and later acquired by the Gemini crypto exchange the following year. Like SuperRare, Nifty focuses on the crème de la crème of NFTs, consisting of pieces hand-picked by the platform and those from their verified creators.
Moreover, it has a selling fee of 15% and only works with the Ethereum blockchain. Some of the most popular NFT artists like Fewocious, Trevor Jones, and Beeple have sold their work here.
Unlike many NFT marketplaces, Nifty Gateway is custodial or centralized (like Gemini), meaning that private wallet keys remain with the platform rather than the user.
Although AtomicMarket is less user-friendly to navigate, it’s a pretty unique NFT platform. Rather than being a standalone marketplace, Atomic is a shared liquidity facility, meaning that listings on one site show up in others.
This feature results in a massive variety of NFTs where you can never tell what you’ll see. AtomicMarket is secured by the EOS blockchain and, like Rarible, has its own token. What’s also unique about AtomicMarket is developers can build their own NFT marketplace. Furthermore, 2% is Atomic’s service fee, far lower than the average.
Generally, art is not the easiest to invest in, given the level of subjectivity in what’s considered valuable. Fortunately, any digitized art which is aesthetically pleasing is of interest to NFT enthusiasts. Yet, the world of NFTs is anything but straightforward.
Therefore, you should understand the reasons for trading NFT artworks since many risks are involved, especially if you’re participating for long-term investment purposes.
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