What are NFT marketplaces?
NFT marketplaces are digital platforms where people display and trade NFTs for either cryptocurrency (like Ether) or fiat currency (like US dollars).
NFT marketplaces look very similar to many eCommerce sites, where you can browse different NFT categories and search for specific authors or themes.
There are 2 options for an NFT sale: to buy or sell an asset at a fixed price, or as an auction.
If you are looking to buy an NFT, there are a few considerations before jumping into one of the marketplaces.
Interacting with an NFT marketplace requires a Web3 wallet, while users obviously all need the corresponding cryptocurrency to acquire or list NFTs.
On the Ethereum blockchain OpenSea is the biggest and most popular NFT marketplace.
However, there are plenty more options available such as Rarible, SuperRare, and Decentraland Marketplace.
Each of these platforms offer different features and advantages for users looking to buy or sell their digital assets.
You can read full reviews of the marketplaces above along with the reviews and ratings real users like you have left them.
Now, before moving on, let's quickly look at what an NFT actually is.
What is an NFT?
The term NFT stands for non-fungible token. A fancy way of saying that the item is unique and cannot be replaced.
If we’re talking about a piece of art, people might be able to make copies that look the same, however, there will always be one unique item which the copies are based on.
Much like the Mona Lisa. You can buy postcards and posters of the artwork, but there is only one original.
And the original is worth vastly more than the copies.
NFTs bring that functionality to digital assets. They allow creators to tag one piece as the original of their work. Which, if it’s a popular piece, makes it more collectible and valuable.
NFTs can represent anything from artwork to collectibles, game items, or even real estate.
Every blockchain has its own NFT marketplace, some of which specialize in a certain niche while others embrace every type of NFT on the market.
The question is how can you buy, sell, or trade your NFTs on NFT marketplaces?
Best NFT marketplaces
I'll explain more in time about how to choose the best NFT marketplace for you.
Obviously, if you want the absolute best and to do detailed research into where to focus your attention, then you should look through the user reviews further up this page.
However, if you're looking for a quick and dirty guide, here are the most popular NFT marketplaces that are great fits for different use cases.
The best NFT marketplace for beginners
There is no one size fits all answer to this question as it depends on your individual needs and preferences.
However, some of the best NFT marketplaces for beginners include OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, and Foundation.
However, I believe that opensea is probably the all around best for newbies to the space. They have the simplest on-ramps for both collectors and artists and they have a lot of features that make navigating the collections they list incredibly easy.
All of these platforms have easy-to-use interfaces and offer a wide selection of NFTs to choose from. They also have good security features in place to protect your assets.
Additionally, they are all carbon conscious and take steps to offset their gas fees. Finally, they all provide excellent customer service so you can get help if you need it.
Best NFT marketplace for artists
If you’re an artist looking to sell your work as NFTs, then the best NFT marketplace for you is likely SuperRare.
As soon as you land on the SuperRare site it's apparent that this NFT marketplace was built specifically with artists in mind. From their tagline to the demo listing on that front page it's obvious this is the marketplace for serious artists.
SuperRare offers a wide selection of art from established and emerging artists alike. It also has a great user interface that makes it easy to browse and purchase artwork.
Additionally, SuperRare has a strong focus on security and takes steps to ensure that all transactions are secure. Finally, they offer excellent customer service so you can get help if you need it.
Best NFT marketplace for photographers
If you’re a photographer looking to sell your work as NFTs, then the best NFT marketplace for you is likely MakersPlace.
MakersPlace was built specifically with photographers in mind and offers a wide selection of photography from established and emerging photographers alike.
It also has a great user interface that makes it easy to browse and purchase artwork.
While it was built for photographers, you'll note that over time a lot of other artwork has made its way onto the site. This isn't a bad thing, but just don't be surprised when not every listing is a photo.
Also, I believe these guys have great customer service.
How do NFT marketplaces actually work?
I'm sure you understand how the user side of things with the marketplaces work. If you've bought anything online before you'll be familiar with the basic workings of NFT marketplaces.
However, NFT marketplaces make use of blockchain and are decentralized. So how does that change things?
Well, there are 3 key ingredients to a good NFT marketplace.
Crypto wallets are essential for buyers and sellers to work with non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
They're how people will not only store their assets, but also log into the various NFT marketplaces they use.
Think of them like a log-in with your email address.
They're also a form of 2FA that make sure you, the user, consents to the trade before it goes through.
Wallets can be used across multiple platforms, allowing users to easily move their funds from one platform to another without any hassle.
They're way more streamlined than the current system of needing a bank account, email address, phone number, and physical address just for a single purchase.
Auctions and sales
NFT marketplaces generally have 2 forms of sale.
- Fixed price sale
With fixed-price sales, seller set a single fee for the asset. You have to pay that fee if you want the asset.
Auctions are also held on NFT marketplaces.
With an auction, there's not a set fixed price. The value of the piece is derived by the demand for it. If more people want it, the bids build until a higher price is reached.
While it sounds a great way to grab a deal (and it can be), good sellers often have a reserve price on their auctions which, if not met, means that the item will not be sold.
Smart contracts are a key part of NFT marketplaces. They're the code that runs the marketplace and makes sure that all transactions are secure and valid.
Smart contracts also allow for automated payments, meaning that buyers don't have to wait around for their money to arrive in their wallet after they've made a purchase.
The smart contract will also make sure that the seller receives their payment as soon as the buyer confirms the transaction.
This helps to reduce fraud and ensure that both parties get what they want from the deal.
Between these three elements you have a system where you can log in, find and bid on NFTs you might want to buy, and that self-governs the follow-on actions for each and every trade.
Who uses NFT marketplaces?
NFT marketplaces are used by a wide variety of people, from casual collectors to professional investors.
The appeal of NFTs lies in their unique nature and the fact that they can be bought, sold, and traded with relative ease.
This makes them attractive to those who want to diversify their portfolio or just collect something that is truly one-of-a-kind.
Many artists have started using NFTs as a way to monetize their work and gain exposure for their art.
Finally, businesses are also beginning to use NFTs as a way to reward customers and create loyalty programs.
Is there a list of all NFT marketplaces?
There are a few sites that offer lists of the marketplaces available. However, to make a more informed decision you'll need more than a simple list.
ON this page (scroll to the top) we not only have a list of NFT marketplaces, but we encourage users to leave reviews so that they can help other people (like you) who are doing research.
Basically, this list helps people find the best NFT marketplace for their needs.
What's the biggest NFT marketplace?
The biggest NFT marketplace is OpenSea. It's the largest and most popular NFT marketplace, with over 1 million users and more than $1 billion in transactions.
OpenSea offers a wide variety of digital assets, including art, collectibles, gaming items, and more. They also have an auction system that allows buyers to bid on items they want.
OpenSea also has a vibrant community of creators who are constantly creating new content for the platform. This makes it a great place to find unique digital assets that you won't find anywhere else.
Is there an NFT marketplace ranking?
Yes, but it's not as clear cut as "this one is the best".
We've created a list and ranking of the best NFT marketplaces based on user reviews, transaction volume, and other factors.
The list includes OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, CryptoKitties Marketplace, and more.
However, there are plenty of other NFT marketplaces out there hat may not appear on these rankings because they're too new or their users simply aren't leaving reviews for them.
Each marketplace has its own unique features and advantages that make it stand out from the rest. We encourage you to read through our rankings and find the one that best suits your needs.
How to buy an NFT on an NFT marketplace
The first thing you need to do is choose the type of NFT marketplace you’d like to explore. Each marketplace has different focuses and collections, so you need to find the one that better matches your interests and goals.
Once you’ve found your market, it’s time to choose a good crypto wallet.
Once you’ve got a good wallet set up, you’ll need to make sure it’s funded with the right currency. Generally speaking, most of the big NFT marketplaces use the Ethereum blockchain. As such, you’re going to want to head to one of the trustworthy cryptocurrency exchanges and get yourself some ETH.
Just make sure you have enough to cover the cost of the NFT you want to buy.
Double-check the preferred currency of the exchange before you pay gas fees to purchase crypto.
Whilst ETH is the most common cryptocurrency used on NFT marketplaces, there are some which operate on other chains and use different currencies like SOL.
With your newly acquired crypto funds in your wallet, you’re able to head back to the NFT marketplace that has your preferred NFT.
Let's imagine we're going to buy an NFT on Opensea (as it's one of the largest NFT marketplaces).
How to buy an NFT on OpenSea
Head to the OpenSea site and look for the wallet symbol in the top right.
You'll be asked to log in with your preferred wallet. Simply follow the steps to sync your wallet and log into the marketplace.
Once you've synced your wallet you'll be logged in and you can search the marketplace for your NFT.
Now, before buying one we recommend using a good research tool to know what it is you're getting in to.
A good NFT research tool will help you understand the prior value and actions associated with any specific NFTs.
Alternatively, you can just go to the platform and either browse or search (please make sure you do your research first).
Let's imagine that, after some research, I decide I want to buy a BAYC.
I'll search for it and see the below page which gives me...
- Some details on the value of the collection as a whole including floor price, total volume etc.
- A few ways to segment the search
- A list of the NFTs for sale
Scroll through to find the one you want.
When you've found it, you'll see two large buttons. Add to cart or make an offer.
Choose what you want to do and click.
From here, OpenSea will check your wallet for funds and action your request.
You'll have to sign a transaction in your wallet for this to go through.
And just like that, you've bought an NFT from one of the best NFT marketplaces.
It really is that simple.
How to sell on NFT marketplaces
NFT marketplaces also allow you to sell your collection or asset to other collectors.
You’ll first need to mint your NFT on a specific NFT creation platform. Bear in mind that some of the larger, more established NFT marketplaces like Opensea have a minting feature built in for creators to use.
However, some don't.
If you're serious about this, we wouldn't;t recommend using a platform to create an NFT or collection. We'd recommend using a specialist platform to make sure everything is as you want and need it to be,
Once you've created your NFT, the platform will have an option to list your collection and or add it.
Head to the main navigation bar and look for an option that will be something like...
From here, follow the prompts to outline the basics of your NFT/collection.
once that's done, you'll need to add more detailed elements including...
- Type of listing (auction, fixed price etc.)
- The cost of the piece
- Add a relevant description and information
- Paying the listing fee to list your NFT
With the listing setup, you now just need to head out and promote your listing to get people to purchase it on the NFT marketplace.
How much does it cost to buy an NFT?
There’s no one answer to this as the price of the NFT itself will differ vastly based on the collection and asset.
For example, you might be able to get an NFT from an up-and-coming collection for less than 1 ETH.
Or you could purchase a well-established NFT for hundreds or thousands of ETH.
Factors that determine NFT value
There are a couple of factors that either inflate or deflate NFT value.
1. Rarity – The rarer the NFT, the more valuable it is likely to be.
2. Demand – If there’s a high demand for an NFT, its value will increase.
3. Quality – The quality of the artwork or asset associated with an NFT can also affect its value.
4. Utility – Some NFTs have utility and can be used in games or other applications, which increases their value.
5. Popularity – If an artist or collection is popular, their NFTs will be more expensive than those from lesser-known creators or collections.
Fees associated with buying an NFT on an NFT marketplace
Whatever the cost of the NFT you buy, you’ll generally have to consider the below costs…
- The cost of the actual NFT
- Gas fees which can swing wildly depending on the time of day
- Any fees for purchase imposed by the NFT marketplace (often this is billed to the seller)
Just make sure that you credit your wallet with enough funds to cover all 3. Otherwise you’ll end up paying more in gas fees to keep transferring funds back and forth.
How much does it cost to sell an NFT?
Again, this depends on the NFT marketplace you’re selling through.
The fees are obviously far lower than buying an NFT. You’ll generally have to consider the below costs when selling an NFT…
- The cost to mint
- The NFT marketplaces fee (often a percentage of the final sale price or flat listing fee)
How big is the NFT market?
The NFT market took a huge hit in 2022 as the bear market settled in.
Honestly, it was needed and expected as the hype around NFTs had inflated the cost beyond anything reasonable.
I mean, within an 18 month period we had some insane NFT sales including Jack Dorsey’s first tweet for a record $2.9 million, which demonstrated the potential of NFTs to be valuable digital assets.
This was followed by Beeple’s Crypto art, which sold for an astonishing $69 million, making it the most expensive NFT ever sold.
Doge, a popular meme in Japan, was also sold as an NFT for $4 million and eventually gave birth to Cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
Things have quietened down since. So where does the market for NFTs stand now?
Are they still a worthwhile investment?
Well, despite the FUD around NFTs in 2022, the trade volume stayed pretty consistent.
In 2022, trade volume of NFTs across major marketplaces was $24.7 billion. A slight decrease from 2021's $25.1 billion.
This shows just how big the NFT market has become and how much potential it holds for investors looking to diversify their portfolios with digital assets.
And that, with the right approach, an NFT trader or creator still has a viable means of making money through NFT trading on marketplaces.
Do NFT Marketplaces have insurance?
At the time of writing, there is no built-in insurance into popular NFT marketplaces.
However, you might still be able to work with a good crypto insurance company to secure your assets.
Be very careful when it comes to getting insurance for your NFTs. Outside of the trusted and established crypto insurance providers, there’s a very small offering for NFT insurance.
However, that’s not stopped people listing actual NFTs names things like “insurance” to scam people on NFT marketplaces.
Make sure that the insurance provider you talk to is legit.
You can use our list of the best crypto insurance providers here as a starting point.
We’d also recommend using the NFT marketplace to buy your assets, but then move to storing them in a good crypto cold wallet for security.
Benefits of good NFT marketplaces
There are plenty of new NFT marketplaces popping up every single week. Being able to identify the good and bad could save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
Here’s what the best NFT marketplaces tend to do well…
- Secure - A lot of people are losing money through security issues and risks. Make sure the NFT marketplace you’re using has good security features
- Transparent - You need to be able to easily understand not only the fee for this purchase, but also the transaction history of the NFT and the collection.
- Are carbon conscious - Global warming is a real problem we’re facing today. The best NFT marketplaces are aware of this and take efforts to offset the emissions from their gas fees.
- Customer service - You wan to make sure that there's good customer service for the NFT marketplace you choose to use. There’s nothing worse than losing money through a scam because the customer service team takes too long to get back to you.
Disadvantages of bad NFT marketplaces
As the desire for NFT collections grow, so too does the number of NFT marketplaces.
The thing is, many of the smaller marketplaces don’t offer the best service. You have to be aware of what to look for in choosing who to trust with your money.
Bad NFT marketplaces tend to…
- Have no focus on security - they may look slick, but they have little to no focus on security and securing your assets on their marketplace.
- Offer no transparency into collections or assets - They don’t give you a historical trading view of the asset or the ability to easily identify the real creator.
- Don’t check for fraud - Even the best NFT marketplaces have been caught out by this. However, many of the better marketplaces are now starting to offer “verified” status to key collections so you know that they’re legit and not scams. Bad marketplaces don’t offer this.
How to choose the best NFT marketplace
In choosing a good NFT marketplace, you need to consider everything we’ve outlined on this list. The recommendations at the top of the page are a great starting point, but you also need to do your due diligence.
As a quick checklist, we would recommend that you should consider the following when choosing which NFT marketplace to go with…
- Does it align with your interests and offer the kind of NFTs you want to buy?
- Do they have a good security feature set?
- Can you easily validate the status and history of an NFT?
- Are the fees something you can afford when factored into the costs?
If you can answer all of the above positively, then it;s likely you’ve found the best NFT marketplace for you.
But also be careful with the NFTs you buy and make sure you keep them safe.
There is no one best NFT marketplace for any single person or any single need.
However, the information on this page and the rankings of NFT marketplaces in the above list should help you make an informed decision when choosing which NFT marketplace to list your item or buy from others.