What's an NFT?
If you are here, you most probably have some grasp of what a Non-Fungible Token is. Even so, here is a (super) quick recap:
a non-fungible token is a unique digital asset, usually a certificate of some kind, i.E. ownership, graduation, whatever!
If you need something more than a quick refresh, check our article what is an NFT!
However, you are here for NFT art, right?
When it comes to art, NFTs have been the frontrunners of a revolution. Any artist could certificate its creations on a blockchain, that is, "mint an NFT."
Once that is done, the artist can sell the digital art piece associated with said NFT to anyone. What this means is freedom from auction houses slashing artists' earning, freedom from godfather-like agents, and, above all, financial independence!
Yet, to sell an NFT you still need a place where people will buy it! Enters the NFT marketplace.
What is an NFT Marketplace?
Remember when I said that you don't need any middleman to sell an NFT? Well, that is true up to a certain extent.
An NFT Marketplace fills the gap between NFT collectors and artists. Over the last months, many marketplaces rose to prominence. They are now trying to differentiate each other, some are more about fine NFT art, while others appeal to gamers' aesthetics.
Even though NFT marketplaces carry out the same result, i.e. the minting and selling of a piece of digital art + its NFT, each one has its features.
So, with no further ado, let's review the best NFT marketplaces of 2021.
Below you'll find the most popular and established Marketplaces.
They mostly operate on Ether blockchain, thus, the currency for minting and paying any fee on these marketplaces it's ETH.
Emerged in 2020, Rarible has quickly risen to the ranks of the best NFT marketplaces. Its main strengths are:
The catchy looks, especially appealing to the gamers' community.
The RARI token, a proprietary currency created for protocol governance, effectively making Rarible a community-run marketplace.
The swag, Rarible is the place where you will find the trendiest NFTs in the whole space. Logan Paul, Floyd Mayweather, and many other celebrities all chose Rarible as their NFT marketplace.
Last but not least, on Rarible an artist can get a yellow badge, meaning he/she is a verified artist. A very important feature, as to get verified you need to provide proof of authenticity for the NFTs you are minting.
We can consider Opensea somewhat as an institutional NFT marketplace, it is the one that has been around for a while, and it is not going anywhere. Its main strengths are:
Huge variety of NFTs, no joking here, on Opensea you can find any kind of Non-fungible Token: art, music, domain names, trading cards, virtual worlds, you name it!
The team, Opensea guys are very active, they run a blog where you will find super useful articles. Also, there is a "Stats" section, which allows you to get a glimpse at the top sellers. The Discord channel is very active and the same goes for Reddit.
Even your grandpa can use Opensea. No, it's not a joke, Opensea is very simple, you only need to connect your wallet and then mint your NFT. Items' descriptions are very brief, and collections are displayed in a very basic and clean style.
The latter strength is also one of the major flaws of Opensea, that is, it's somewhat bland, and it lacks a clear and strong identity, as the one Foundation has.
If you already have some experience with NFT marketplaces, you probably noticed that Opensea is a bit bland, and Rarible a bit too childish and/or messy.
Foundation, on the contrary, is like the super-stylish cousin. Its main strengths are:
It's an invite-only platform, which means that to mint and sell NFT on Foundation you need to be invited by a fellow artist or by the platform itself. That allows the marketplace to have a selected range of NFTs and keep overall quality high.
It's an NFT Marketplace and a Social Media at the same time, as an artist on Foundation, you will have your profile, page and gallery. You will also be able to make friends with other artists, comment on their work and much more.
User experience is much, much better compared to other marketplaces, Foundation has by far the better looks in the crowded NFT Marketplace space.
We could think of Superrare as the monomaniac NFT marketplace. Why?
Because it sells single editions, and it only sells NFT art made by selected artists. Its main strengths are:
It's for the few, Superrare is way more exclusive compared to the other marketplaces. This means that the quality is top-notch. They really care a lot about selecting actual NFT artists, whereas some NFT marketplaces mostly care about quantity over quality.
It's for the professionals, on SuperRare you can create your own virtual exhibition, special release, and much more, all in one marketplace.
Their editorial has nothing to envy the best art mags, it is curated by NFT art experts, and it keeps you informed on the latest trends in NFT art.
Of course there are many more NFT marketplaces. I tried to cover the pillars, so to say, of the NFT art community. However, after the recent dip in the crypto market, two newcomers have emerged. One has the cool feature of being hosted on the Tezos blockchain, resulting in the minting of cleaner NFTs.
Hic et Nunc is an NFT Marketplace based on Tezos blockchain. It has a very simple interface, you can only do a few but really good things on HEN. Its main strengths are:
Clean NFTs! Yes, you heard me right, lately Ether blockchain has been heavily criticised for the CO2 emissions caused by minting an NFT. This has caused a lot of environment sensitive artists to migrate to cleaner blockchains. Enters Tezos, a super-scalable proof of stake blockchain whose emissions are incomparable to those of Ether.
Artist have the power, HEN is not crowded by greedy collectors, speculators, or people that couldn't care less about art. HEN has a super-friendly and caring community, where artists collect each other creations and encourage fellow creators by sharing on socials their artworks.
Down to Earth prices and fees, this may sound like a con rather than a pro, but HEN has very fair prices, and it has been immune to price speculations until now. As for the fees, they are ridiculous compared to Ether's infamous gas fees.
Last but not least, NFTKEY marketplace. Like Opensea, it has a wide variety of NFTs on sale. The cool thing is that on NFTKEY you may buy both ETH based NFTs and BSC (Binance Smart Chain) ones. Its main strengths are:
You can buy almost any kind of NFT art and, thanks to a very simple UI, you can filter the kind of digital art you would like to find with ease.
It's an invite-only platform, but it's different from Foundation and Superare. The NFT space is undergoing a less creative stage. Maybe it has to do with the crypto market contraction, but many NFT artists tend to make the same kind of stuff that other artists were making like five months ago and things are getting a bit boring. NFTKEY is trying to find new voices, which brings us to their "Life Collection", a project mixing cellular automata and NFTs, one word: BRILLIANT.
No frills, meaning that NFTKEY has a really simple UI (like HEN), and that is definitely a pro. A lot of NFT marketplaces are over-crowded by flashy graphics, pop-up messages appearing everywhere, crazy fonts. NFTKEY is simple, B/W, and it delivers what it promises.
That's all folks, if you are an artist and find yourself at loss in the vast NFT Ocean, set sail to our NFT Agency harbor and drop us an e-mail!