The world of crypto can be confusing, especially when all you've heard from the media are the wild success stories of people earning big bucks within hours or the horror stories of savvy investors being scammed out of millions due to smart conmen.
It's a scary but opportunistic world, and if you want to have a taste, you'll struggle to find trust in people due to these crazy experiences.
The same goes for buying NFTs; people tend to get scared of the process due to possibly making a mistake, smarter people have made it and lost millions, but this is due to carelessness and negligence, keep your wits about you, and you'll be fine.
So, in terms of buying NFTs, what marketplaces should you trust and use? We'll walk you through the top five NFT marketplaces.
The world of non-fungible tokens would not be where it is today without the big daddy of marketplaces, OpenSea.
It houses the world's most impressive and expensive collection of NFTs and has gained investment from dozens of reputable businessmen and women such as Mark Cuban, Kevin Durant, and Ashton Kutcher.
With its latest round of funding complete, it brings the valuation of the marketplace to $13.3 billion and has reached a record $2.4 billion in trading volume in January 2022 alone.
To put this into perspective, OpenSea reached just $21 million in trading volume in all of 2020.
You'd be safe to say that this is one of the most reputable NFT marketplaces with some of the best security in the industry, the community is fantastic, and the OpenSea team is always looking for ways to improve the service.
It currently operates on the Polygon network and allows payment in DAI, ETH, SOL, and USDC. However, you'll predominantly find that most collections will ask for ETH as a form of payment.
MagicEden is another reputable service, and we even launched our Homeowners Association NFT collection using their launchpad; it's a direct competitor to OpenSea and operates on top of the Solana network.
Considering that Solana NFTs are cheaper and easier to mint than Ethereum NFTs, it would be a logical choice for someone to use MagicEden as their marketplace to buy and sell NFTs.
And in fact, this played a huge part in the growing popularity over the course of 2021 as more people realized they could get around the Ethereum fees by simply switching to Solana; with that, hundreds of reputable collections have since launched thanks to their launchpad.
MagicEden has also set itself apart from other marketplaces by controlling the majority share of Solana's blockchain gaming ecosystem. By that, we mean that MagicEden holds 92% of the Solana gaming market; if you're into your Web3 games, MagicEden is the place to go.
While most NFT marketplaces serve as generic marketplaces, Origin Story creates branded marketplaces for collectors to browse specific collections. The platform is partnered with various collections, including Pudgy Penguins, Karafuru, 0N1 Force, and The Doge Pound. By using a branded marketplace, users can be assured that the NFT comes from the official source, as other marketplaces are rife with copy-cat, fraudulent NFTs.
Origin Story comes in handy for buyers in particular, as its advanced analytics platform lets buyers view aggregate volumes, floor prices, and notable holders on a per-collection basis. The marketplace aggregates listings from Opensea, Looksrare, and other generic marketplaces, so users can see all NFTs listed in a particular collection in one place. This way, collectors can get the best price for an NFT across different marketplaces without needing to use several platforms.
Another reputable marketplace built using the Solana network; there seems to be a regular theme of the best marketplaces running on Solana.
Solanart has this cool feature that allows you to message the holder/lister of an NFT you want, meaning that if it isn't listed, you still have a chance to make an offer through direct messages.
The main difference between Solanart and MagicEden is the fees you need to pay. Currently, Solanart charges a 3% fee on all NFTs sold, whereas MagicEden only charges 2%, meaning that Solanart has been working hard to provide additional features to make up for this higher rate, such as the messaging feature.
Solanart is the home of some high-ball projects that exploded on launch, including SolPunks and Degenerate Ape Academy, both with a combined volume of 1.5 million SOL.
A more recent launch was the OkayBears collection, which has already beat the trading volume of VeeFriends, a collection created by digital media guru Gary Vaynerchuck.
The Ethereum contender to OpenSea, Rarible, is a true community-first platform, making it a problem for a centralized decision-making marketplace like OpenSea. It was founded back in 2020 by Alex Salnikov and boasts an impressive $16 million venture capital investment from funds like CoinBase Ventures and CoinFund.
Rarible is a DAO-governed and open-source eponymous protocol. It acts as a platform to allow developers and NFT creators to launch their own collections and customized stores. The governance token is RARI and can be used to shape the future direction of the protocol.
Rarible houses some pretty cool NFT collections similar to OpenSea, and considering that it's number two in the NFT marketplace wars and is community-driven, we'd say it's doing pretty well at holding its own in creating a regular user base of 1.6 million.