Having remained quite niche for years (sporadic success stories like CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties notwithstanding), NFTs finally had their breakout moment in 2021, with demand surging and trading volumes skyrocketing throughout the year. In light of the recent boom, we decided to take a look at some of the NFT marketplaces facilitating all that trading and providing people with a convenient gateway to the world of non-fungible tokens.
The following list contains what we believe to be some of the best places for trading NFTs out there. Let’s take a look.
While this isn’t a ranked list, we just had to kick things off with OpenSea. It’s by far the biggest player on the scene, generating trading volumes that dwarf the other NFT marketplaces on this list. In August OpenSea posted a record monthly volume of $3.5 billion and it has since continued to enjoy strong trading activity. According to data from DappRadar, OpenSea has a lifetime trading volume of over $10 billion. Of course, the vast majority of that has been generated this year. We’ve already talked about some of the biggest sellers on the platform. Interestingly, some competing NFT marketplaces like Rarible also offer the option to trade their items on Opensea
OpenSea works with Metamask, but it also supports a number of other wallet options, such as Coinbase Wallet, Fortmatic and Dapper.
In addition to trading, OpenSea also offers an easy to use tool for creating NFTs.
The second item on our list just happens to be the second largest NFT marketplace by trading volume. We promise you, this isn’t a ranked list! According to DappRadar, Axie Infinity has generated a total trading volume of $2.83 billion since its launch in 2018.
Axie Infinity takes an idea first pioneered by Dapper Labs’ CryptoKitties and runs with it. It is a blockchain game centered around collecting and trading digital pets called Axies. Like CryptoKitties, the game comes with a breeding mechanic that allows players to create unique creatures. However, Axis are not just a visual treat – they are fierce warriors that players can use in PvP battles for the opportunity to earn token rewards. The game comes with a built-in marketplace, where players can buy and sell Axies.
NBA Top Shot
Since we mentioned CryptoKitties, it’s only fitting that we continue our list with Dapper Labs’ next big hit – NBA Top Shot. The follow up to CryptoKitties actually turned out to be even more successful than the digital pets dApp. Top Shot is an NFT marketplace for video highlights from the world’s best basketball league – the NBA. Even though it’s still in beta, the marketplace has already generated a total trading volume of over $700 million. Following the success of NBA Top Shot, Dapper Labs has started working on developing similar products for the UFC.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Top Shot is that it runs on a proprietary blockchain protocol called Flow. The network congestion caused by CryptoKitties in the days after its November, 2017 launch made Dapper realize that Ethereum was just not yet capable of supporting the blockchain-powered virtual worlds that the company envisioned. That’s why the Dapper team developed Flow – a scalable protocol designed to support digital asset and blockchain games. You can read more about Flow in our examination of the technology.
Another marketplace that relies on an alternative to Ethereum, Solanart runs on the Solana protocol (the name gives it away, doesn’t it?). Like NBA Top Shot, Solanart is still in beta, but has already seen impressive levels of trading activity, with DappRadar putting its total trading volume at just over $500 million. The marketplace offers a curated list of NFT collections.
Solanart is one of several Solana-based NFT marketplaces that have enjoyed success recently, which reflects Solana’s growing popularity in the blockchain space. The protocol is emerging as one of the more prominent Ethereum challengers, boasting significantly higher throughput and lower transaction fees than Vitalik Buterin’s invention.
Although not exactly in the same category as OpenSea, Rarible is another very successful Ethereum-based NFT marketplace. On top of NFT trading, the platform also offers a way for minting digital assets. According to DapRadar, Rarible’s total trading volume currently stands at over $250 million.
As mentioned above, Rarible items are also tradable on OpenSea.
If we ever get to have a fully realized Metaverse, Decentraland might become one of the most influential NFT projects ever. Running on Ethereum, the game is already starting to change our perception of digital property and assets. The Decentraland marketplace offers a variety of items, including plots of virtual land and digital accessories for player avatars.
Earlier this year, British auction house Sotheby’s opened a virtual replica of its London headquarters in Decentraland.
We already talked about Cryptopunks and why it’s such an important and influential project in our Top NFT Collections piece. Additionally, DappRadar has it as the third most successful NFT marketplace, with a total trading volume of over $1.5 billion. So even though we consider it more of a collection than a marketplace, we still felt that we needed to acknowledge it in this article. Importantly, while you can buy (wrapped) CryptoPunks on other platforms, the characters are also available for purchase on the project’s official website, as long as you have Metamask installed.
Binance NFT Marketplace
Binance’s NFT marketplace is a fairly new project and has still a long way to go to be able to challenge the platforms listed above. Nevertheless, its significance cannot be overstated. That’s because Binance is the largest crypto exchange in the world and as such can help expand the reach of NFTs considerably. In addition, the platform last month added multi-chain support for NFT deposits and withdrawals, enabling users to transfer non-fungible tokens to and from Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and Ethereum networks.