When it comes to buying and selling NFTs, you have a pretty extensive choice of marketplaces to do so – as befits the inherently decentralised nature of Web3. To prevent that choice from becoming overwhelming, we’ve prepared a list of the top NFT marketplaces on offer and the benefits each individual offering provides.
We’ll start by taking a look at the marketplaces with the broadest ranges of NFTs on offer, followed by more artist-focused and specialised marketplaces. And if you find you need to brush up on your Web3 jargon while reading, take a look at our Web3 glossary.
Generalist NFT Marketplaces
As one of the oldest NFT marketplaces (opening in 2017), OpenSea comes replete with a broad collection of NFTs, as well as the largest user base among its peers. From virtual land to music, photographs, art and trading cards, NFTs of all types are tradeable via the OpenSea marketplace.
On the creator side of the equation, OpenSea allows artists to create NFTs for free and ensure that they receive royalties after every sale. The marketplace has also introduced a gas-free NFT marketplace on the Polygon blockchain, which it says will allow creators to “earn their way” into crypto.
Operating on the Ethereum, Flow and Tezos blockchains, Rarible allows creators to choose which blockchain to use when minting, allowing them to balance the popularity of each chain with the gas fees incurred upon it.
The community-owned platform is operated by a DAO, with a governance token known as $RARI conferring the ability to vote on changes to the platform.
The Binance NFT exchange is part of the broader Binance cryptocurrency exchange – one of the largest of its kind. It offers all kinds of NFTs on both Ethereum and its own Binance Smart Chain (BSC).
The exchange also prominently showcases “mystery boxes” made in partnership with figures such as Toni Kroos and Mike Tyson, which entitle users to a randomised NFT.
Owned by Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, Nifty Gateway makes use of its parent company’s technology to store NFTs in a secure, custodial wallet, allowing collectors to move NFTs onto the platform without gas fees. The platform also supports fiat purchases and offers curated as well as verified NFTs.
The platform was founded by twin brothers Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, and in a weird piece of cosmic synchronicity, was later acquired by the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, of Facebook lawsuit fame.
Artist-Focused NFT Marketplaces
Opening in 2021, Foundation differentiates itself from the rest by virtue of being artist-run and community-led. Creators access the Ethereum NFT marketplace via an invite from an already established member of the community, while buying NFTs via auction or offers is available to anyone.
That exclusive community of creators leads to an overall higher base quality compared to other competitors. The marketplace says its creators have earned over 57,000 ETH total at the time of writing, or around $200mn.
SuperRare is another invite-only platform, with the marketplace saying it invites artists based on the proportion of collectors present on the website. SuperRare says it is undertaking a path of increased decentralisation which will expand access in the future, however.
SuperRare focuses exclusively on “art” NFTs and includes curated, gallery-like “spaces” for showcasing NFTs. Having been around since 2018, the platform debuted a curation token in 2021 that confers access to the SuperRare DAO which decides the platform’s future.
Invite-only MakersPlace has a reputation for partnering with the mainstream art world, including auction house Christie’s. NFTs are digitally signed by artists in categories such as photography, 3D art and animation, which are then released in limited numbers.
The partnership with Christie’s led to the artist Beeple’s Everydays – The First 5,000 Days selling for over $69mn, though some queries were later raised about whether it actually qualified as an NFT.
KnownOrigin describes itself as artist-driven, and duly features NFTs in a range of formats, from animated 3D pieces to paintings. Artists must be vetted before joining the platform, with art files themselves hosted on distributed storage solution IPFS and given unique provenance identifiers.
It specialises in limited runs of artworks released in periodic timed drops, with the most expensive NFT artworks sold on the platform being The Bull and The Bear by Trevor Jones, sold for 55.55 and 35 eth respectively.
Specialist NFT Marketplaces
Async Art is certainly the most differentiated of all the marketplaces on this list, specialising in so-called “programmable” art. The generative artworks offered on the marketplace are able to evolve over time thanks to being split into layers, which can be owned and altered by different people within the parameters set by the original artist.
These can include swappable elements known as “states”, as well as factors such as colour, scale, rotation and transparency.
Unlike the other options we’ve highlighted, Solanart hosts NFTs on the Solana blockchain rather than Ethereum. While Solana supports cryptocurrencies, decentralized applications, smart contacts and NFTs like Ethereum, it supports a higher throughput with improved transactions-per-second thanks to its proof-of-history feature and proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.
The marketplace hosts a curated set of collections, with some of the biggest examples being Degenerate Ape Academy, Aurory and SolPunks.