NFTs are Non-Fungible Tokens, ranging from single-edition digital artworks and memes to all other kinds of digital content. But where do people trade them online?
Particular websites specialize in NFTs. Some platforms are just there to facilitate basic transactions of these digital collectibles, while others are trying to make their platforms more social for buyers and sellers.
Best Marketplaces of 2021
There are a lot of places to participate in the NFT market, but some places are more reputable than others and have robust platforms that foster growth and creativity in digital art.
OpenSea is a peer-to-peer marketplace where people can trade, buy, and sell NFT ownership. The company markets itself as the biggest and most popular place for all things NFT and has compared its platform to Amazon.com.
OpenSea was founded in January of 2018 and was the first-ever NFT online marketplace established. Since their opening, the company has gained a lot of popularity, and big names in the financial industry, like Mark Cuban, have expressed interest in the company and financial space as a whole.
As of July of 2021, OpenSea raised 100 million dollars in a Series B round of funding, and they hit a 1.5 billion dollar valuation. At present, they have the most cumulative sales of any NFT marketplace.
SuperRare is a marketplace for NFTs similar to OpenSea but with a social twist, almost like Instagram. Collectors and artists use SuperRare not just as a way to buy and sell NFTs but also to socialize and connect with each other.
The platform allows artists to create smart contracts that allow them to collect a fee every time one of their NFTs is sold. The fee can range anywhere between 1% to 10%. It’s tricky to become one of their artists, but you can submit an artist profile to try and catch their attention. SuperRare also has features that enable more robust tracking features of NFTs for authentication purposes.
Some of the Biggest NFT Deals So Far
NFTs can be had for as little as a fraction of a cent, but they can also go up into the millions. These pieces of code are no longer a niche fad; they are becoming high-end investments.
The First Tweet
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, Twitter has become a media giant that is changing the way society communicates. The site was designed in 2006 by two ex-Google employees, Biz Stone and Evan Williams.
Engineer Jack Dorsey would later join the management and help launch an early version of the app in 2007 at a music conference. Twitter was a microblogging novelty in the later 2000s and didn’t start to become the media and news conglomerate until about 2013 to 2014.
By then, Twitter was making a little over $200 million quarterly, and the company went public. Their IPO gave the company’s market value of $31 billion. By 2019, the company hit the $1 billion quarterly revenue mark. As of October this year, the company’s net worth reached over $49 billion.
In March of this year, Jack Dorsey sold the first-ever Tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million. The auction took place on a marketplace called Valuables, and Dorsey didn’t actually keep the money. He converted the value to Bitcoin and then into cash and donated the funds to the African charity GiveDirectly.
The sale of this NFT and the donation that was created from it showed that NFTs could be taken seriously and could be used for good. Although this NFT isn’t exactly a piece of art, it is still a piece of internet history, and it’s apparent that some people find value in that.
Save Thousands of Lives
Covid-19 has devastated India, and one non-profit company needed a way to raise charitable donations quickly. Noora Health is a non-profit company that specializes in training family members of medical patients who have been discharged but still need care at home.
Noora Health was hit particularly hard during the pandemic because most of their work resides in India and only a handful of people in America. A supporter of the organization suggested selling an NFT to raise funds.
Almost 18,000 people viewed the NFT during the bidding window. The NFT went to a supporter of the organization by the name of Paul Graham, who spent over $4.5 million on the image. In an essay written by him, he detailed how the spending of the funds would be used by the organization.
World Wide Web Source Code
An English computer scientist by the name of Tim Berners-Lee created a little thing called the world wide web in 1989 and revolutionized the world. He’s kind of a big deal, and he’ll likely show up in more history classes in the coming years.
He has also played a key role in net neutrality advocacy and has been extremely critical of ISPs and their policies. It’s almost impossible to understate how important his work has been and how influential it still is today.
Without his work, the internet would still likely be a niche way for companies, government agencies, and scientists to store and transfer data. The world wide web was the beginning of the democratization of information. It could be compared to something like the printing press.
Earlier this year, Tim himself minted a copy of the source code of the world wide web in the form of an image as an NFT for sale. The bidding started at $1000 and eventually sold for $5.4 million.
The reason it achieved such a high price was the fact that the founder minted the NFT himself. The digital artifact was sold by an art collection company called Sotheby’s.
There are only 10,000 CryptoPunk art pieces in circulation, and they were all made in 2017 by Larva Labs. The little blue alien NFT called CryptoPunk #7523 sold for a whopping $11.8 million at the Sotheby’s auction house earlier this year.
CryptoPunks are digital collectibles on the Ethereum blockchain, so transactions are done with Ether (or ETH). Once they are bought, they’ll appear on that person’s Ethereum wallet. The creators at Larva Labs actually previously worked on the popular cell phone, the Sidekick.
Gary Vaynerchuk, a popular business guru and entrepreneur, recently just bought a CryptoPunk NFT for $3.7 million. This is currently the fifth-highest price anyone has paid for one of these crypto collectibles.
The lowest price you can pay right now for a CryptoPunk NFT is about $415,000. Talk among industry leaders suggests that fractions of NFTs will be able to be for sale in the same fashion that a fraction of a Bitcoin can be bought and sold.
Everydays: The First 5000 Days
In March of this year, a record was set for the highest price paid for an NFT. Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, has been at the forefront of the NFT craze, and the value of his work has only been going up.
The price for The First 5000 Days? $69 million for a digital file and some rights to display the collage. The reason for the sheer projected value of this piece is threefold. Beeple has attracted a large fanbase and has millions of online followers on social channels.
Christie’s art auction house has recognized the value that NFT technology is bringing to the art world. And finally, Beeple’s art is just really good. These high prices for art and other things have legitimized NFTs as a way to trade digital items.
Hottest NFTs to Collect
CryptoPunks are, of course, super collectible and interesting. However, it’s not exactly casual crypto purchases if you’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a “cheap” one.
CryptoKitties are… weird. They are based in Ethereum and are digital pictures of cats, and all have unique visual attributes. You can breed them to create new CryptoKitties and advance further through the game by performing tasks like solving puzzles. Dapper Labs is behind this particular NFT.
As far as collectibles go, CryptoKitties seem strikingly similar to Beanie Babies but act a little more like a trading card game like Pokemon. Unfortunately, CryptoKitties has seen a slight decline in popularity thanks to the influx of new Kitties and breeding.
One of the main selling points to a digital asset like cryptocurrency or NFT is scarcity, and CryptoKitties seems to be struggling with that aspect of the market. Breeding and making new cats is baked into the core of the idea, but it looks like it’s going to be its downfall.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
The current king of the NFT world is still CryptoPunk, but a new contender is quickly rising and looking to dethrone CryptoPunk; Bored Apes. These NFTs depict apes with varying expressions and have shifted over $400 million in volume so far.
Just like CryptoPunks, there are only 10,000 collectibles that went through official minting, and they are going for crazy money right now. The owners of these NFTs often make the Apes their Twitter profile pictures as a status symbol.
The perks are what make the Ape NFTs unique. A Bored Ape owner gets access to the private Ape owner discord to chat with the Bored Ape owner community. Owners also get complimentary NFTs like Mutant Apes and others.
The most interesting perk is exclusive access to merchandise drops specifically restricted to owners only. Buying a Bored Ape NFT acts almost like a membership card and goes beyond just bragging rights about owning a piece of code. These NFTs have real-world effects on their owners.
Should you look into one of these platforms and invest in NFTs? Maybe.
It’s impossible to tell if these fragments of cryptocurrency will go up in value or not. So, a good strategy might be to buy cheap NFTs with the kind of money you can afford to lose or make NFTs as a digital artist and try to make some money off of them.
And the NFT marketplaces mentioned above aren’t the only ones out there. In fact, Dapper Labs announced in September 2021 that they’ll be creating their own, as well as MekaVerse and Coinbase.