On Wednesday, crypto exchange Coinbase launched the beta version of its much anticipated non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace. Furthermore, it has allowed a small number of users from a wait-list of 3 million to use the platform first.
With the Coinbase NFT marketplace, the company is planning for a “progressive decentralization.” Certain features will begin centralized, but eventually, Coinbase will move them on-chain.
For instance, one such feature is user comments, where threads will initially be stored on Coinbase servers but eventually be moved to the blockchain. Another is a user’s “follower graph,” which they can use across multiple platforms.
Besides the official Coinbase wallet, the Coinbase NFT marketplace will support “all sorts of self-custody wallets.” According to the crypto exchange, this decision is made to build “an open NFT environment for everyone.” Moreover, users can also purchase NFTs using fiat currencies via credit cards.
Coinbase NFT will allow users to showcase their personal profiles and follow other accounts. Visually similar to social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok, the content appears in a “For You” feed. Similarly, users will also be able to “like” and comment on each other’s posts.
Coinbase is trying to distinguish its new marketplace by creating the culture and look of a social media platform. The company wrote in their blog, “We’re building a place that’s far more than just buying and selling. We want Coinbase NFT to be a place that helps creators and collectors build and engage their communities.”
“You can engage with the creator. You can engage with the collector. And you can engage with fellow collectors from a community around that NFT. This is an important piece of our strategy.” While a social media-focussed marketplace is a novel goal in the current NFT space, it can become the norm with the influx of more players.
Launched back in 2017, OpenSea is the go-to NFT marketplace for most in the NFT space. According to DappRadar, it has seen over $23 billion in total sales volume since its launch. According to Dune Analytics data, in January alone, OpenSea witnessed more than $5 billion in total trade volume.
However, Coinbase isn’t worried about breaking through. A Coinbase spokesperson told Fortune, “Unlike other NFT marketplaces, Coinbase NFT is about much more than a transaction,” he added, “[W]e’ve created a web3 social marketplace to empower people to create, collect, and connect.”
In March, Meta (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced bringing NFTs to Instagram. However, details on the NFT integration remain unknown. Irrespective of social-media focus, any new Ethereum NFT marketplace would have to take a direct shot from OpenSea. According to DappRadar, OpenSea has hosted 95% of all Ethereum-based NFTs in the last 30 days. Therefore, the new Coinbase NFT Marketplace is up for tough competition.