In recent months, we have seen a growing number of major crypto exchanges and social networks add NFT marketplaces to their primary websites. Prior to this point, NFT platforms and marketplaces were typically stand-alone, whether curated or open, Ethereum-based or not. Now, with a major wave of NFT marketplaces appearing as add-on features, NFT Land may be set for a power shift as exchanges and social sites join the fray, supported by strong brands and highly engaged user bases.
Stand-alone Marketplaces Formed the Initial NFT Landscape
By the end of 2020, the art and media NFT landscape was already dominated by most of today’s biggest platforms, including OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, and Foundation. Since then, a broad range of marketplaces have launched across blockchains, many with a niche focus, typically as stand-alone endeavors. This process has resulted in a rich variety of platforms for minting and selling NFTs with new entrants continuing to emerge.
Add-on NFT Marketplaces Have Special Advantages
NFT marketplace launches and planned launches by major crypto exchanges and social networks are further diversifying options with NFT marketplaces as features added-on to the sites of established brands. It should be noted that, technically speaking, some of these marketplaces are stand-alone, and connected to a primary domain as a subdomain which can host a totally separate site. So the concept of a ‘marketplace as a feature’ is primarily defined by branding and user experience. When done well and tied to a major brand’s core site, new marketplaces can be immediately competitive with well-established NFT platforms.
Coinbase Leads With a Waitlist
In the case of Coinbase, its announcement of an upcoming NFT marketplace quickly resulted in over a million users signing up for the waitlist. That’s a seriously engaged user base that goes beyond simply having a large number of people with Coinbase accounts. The users of Coinbase and other exchanges could be described as engaged in ‘adjacent behaviors’ which orient them to participation in NFT Land. The same could be said for social networks that begin with the all-important communities that so many NFT projects are struggling to build.
Exchange’s Users Are Crypto Savvy
Starting in June, with the launch of Binance NFT, major crypto exchanges began adding NFT marketplaces. Exchange-based marketplaces include OKEx: NFT Marketplace and FTX US: NFTS with Coinbase NFT on the way. In addition, SushiSwap is developing a stand-alone NFT platform called Shoyu which now seems to be launching in metaverse form. Exchange users develop many basic skills and mental perspectives needed in NFT Land. NFT artists and collectors also already use such exchanges, making them more likely to explore their NFT marketplaces.
Social Sites Have Established Communities
Social sites adding marketplaces include both crypto-community sites, like Cent and Showtime, and major social media brands, such as Reddit and, possibly, Tik Tok, which is beginning with featured artists on an Immutable subsite. Though Facebook’s name-change announcement included a description of a metaverse with NFTs, that launch will usher in a new stage of the game beyond this discussion. For now, exchanges win from the crypto side, while social sites win from the community side. Of course, sites like Cent include many crypto-savvy users and NFT artists are also found on many social networks, creating additional adjacencies that make social sites strong competitors.
NFTs May Help Incumbents Grow
As different approaches to integrating NFTs into established businesses develop, NFTs continue a percolation process that leaves a variety of events, projects and platforms in its wake. Given that it will become increasingly easy to add an NFT marketplace to one’s established web presence, it seems likely that NFTs may often supplement currently leading businesses by expanding them rather than disrupting such businesses by replacing them.
Featured Image by wdreblow0 via Pixabay.