Looking for the best NFT marketplace to suit your art or design work? There are dozens of NFT marketplaces in existence, and many of them have a specific focus or niche.
The popularity of NFTs has skyrocketed in recent years, with the market reaching a $40 billion valuation in 2021. Along with the increasing popularity of NFT, the number of NFT marketplaces has sprung up. There are plenty of NFT marketplaces that can be your options to sell or buy NFT arts, from the most famous OpenSea to the independent and community-based like Hic Et Nunc.
If you want in on the NFT craze, an NFT marketplace is your gateway to participating in the purchase and sale of these digital assets — from art to music to entire virtual worlds. Think of NFT marketplaces as your Amazon of the digital realm.
What are the largest NFT marketplaces? Open Sea is the most popular and largest NFT marketplace. It’s the original peer-to-peer alternative to buy and sell non-fungible tokens online, and it has recently surpassed a trading volume of $10 billion.
In the guide below, we’ve rounded up some of the best NFT marketplaces on which you can create and sell NFTs (or buy and collect them if you’re a collector rather than a creator). Whether you’re buying, selling, or just NFT-curious, one of these marketplaces should suit your needs.
Best NFT marketplaces
OpenSea is one of the oldest and most used NFT marketplaces. It’s also one of the broadest, hosting every kind of NFT, from art to music, photography, and sports collectibles. Think of OpenSea as the Amazon of NFT marketplaces. It really does stock everything. This is supported by its support of more than 150 cryptocurrency payment tokens. OpenSea is easy-to-use and you can set up an account for free and start minting, selling, and browsing in minutes.
OpenSea is the leader in NFT sales. It has all sorts of digital assets available on its platform, and it’s free to sign up and browse the extensive offerings. It also supports artists and creators and has an easy-to-use process if you want to create your own NFT (known as “minting”).
What’s more, OpenSea now boasts that it’s a gas-free NFT marketplace through cross-blockchain support. The marketplace now supports the Polygon cryptocurrency, which means you won’t have to pay fees when making trades. That means artists can “fully earn their way into crypto for the first time,” OpenSea reckons.
2. Nifty Gateway
Nifty Gateway is perhaps the NFT marketplace that sees the most eye-catching big-money NFT sales. It’s where two of the most expensive NFTs yet were sold: Beeple’s CROSSROAD and Pak’s The Merge, which sold for US$91.8 million in December 2021 (that’s still the world’s most expensive NFT at the time of writing).
Besides being a curated platform, Nifty Gateway also hosts any NFTs purchased — meaning the NFTs aren’t stored in your own wallet but are actually stored for you by Nifty Gateway and Gemini. While that may not work for NFT collectors who want more flexibility with their art investments, Nifty purchases and sales also can be made in fiat currency (e.g., U.S. dollars) without making a cryptocurrency purchase first.
Rarible is one of the best NFT art marketplaces for investors, as the platform hosts a vast selection of digital art, along with photography, games, music, domains, and even metaverse items. The platform charges a 2.5% fee to both buyers and sellers, putting it at the higher end of the cost spectrum. However, Rarible does have multi-chain support and can host NFTs built on Ethereum, Flow, and Tezos.
One of the great things about Rarible is that users can buy NFTs using their credit or debit card. Over 190 countries are supported, making it simple to purchase Rarible NFTs throughout the globe, so this is one of the biggest NFT marketplaces. Finally, Rarible also supports a range of wallets, such as MetaMask and Coinbase, ensuring investors can store their assets safely post-purchase.
When deciding where to buy NFTs, our number one pick is Crypto.com. This popular Ethereum NFT marketplace is one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges globally and is used by over ten million people. Aside from its popular crypto-trading services, Crypto.com has recently launched its own NFT marketplace. The marketplace was established in 2021 and offers NFTs from categories such as art, celebrities, gaming, sport, music, and crypto.
Crypto.com aims to make the entire investing process easy, as users can sign up for a Crypto.com NFT account in minutes. NFTs are available via auction or for a fixed price – and users can purchase NFTs using their credit or debit card. Alternatively, NFTs can be bought using cryptocurrency through the ‘Crypto.com Pay’ gateway. The most appealing thing about the buying process is that there is no transaction fee to purchase an NFT with Crypto.com, which is in stark contrast to many other platforms.
Foundation.app was designed as a simple, no-frills way to bid on digital art. Sales are made using Ethereum. Since the marketplace’s launch in early 2021, it has sold more than $100 million of NFTs.
Artists are invited to the platform by the Foundation community, and buyers simply need a crypto wallet funded with Ethereum to start making purchases. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to start creating your own NFTs, Foundation probably isn’t the best place to begin, but the marketplace has plenty of artwork that can be perused in a simple format.
Selling an NFT on Foundation earns the artist 85% of the value, and secondary sales earn 10%. This is lower than some other NFT marketplaces, but you’ll find NFTs on Foundation are priced higher on average and hold their value. Creators tend to be more authentic and genuinely artistic than you may find on some other marketplaces.
Rounding off our breakdown of where to buy NFT tokens is Mintable. Mintable is an NFT marketplace built on the Ethereum blockchain that is ideal for newcomers to the space. The marketplace was launched in 2018 and aims to make the buying and selling process as straightforward as possible.
If OpenSean is Amazon of the NFT platforms then Mintable is Etsy. This newcomer to the NFT marketplace is backed by billionaire Mark Cuban and aims to offer broad content and be easy to use.
In practice, this means you can create an NFT from nearly any digital file – image, gif, video, audio files, a text document, and more – and add it to your store on the platform. It’s very easy and requires little knowledge of NFTs, crypto wallets, or blockchains. While Mintable supports Ethereum as standard, you can also mint using Immutable X for free gas fees. Making life even easier, Mintable University is a free resource on the marketplace featuring handy video courses to get better at NFTs.
NFT marketplaces FAQ
Many NFT marketplaces are trying to make their platforms easier to use, and some even now take debit and credit cards as well as crypto wallets, so creating, selling, and buying NFTs is becoming easier. Below are the answers to some common questions many newcomers to the NFT scene still have.
How do NFT Marketplaces Work?
Due to the digital nature of NFTs, these marketplaces work a little differently than with other assets. As noted above, it’s essential to have set up the best crypto wallet in advance, as this will be required to store your NFTs after purchase. Aside from a crypto wallet, you’ll also need to own some cryptocurrency that is applicable to the NFT you’re interested in buying. Most marketplaces list NFTs in ETH, although some use XTZ, FLOW, or other digital currencies.
In terms of how these marketplaces work, they offer three primary services:
- Buying NFTs: Investors can purchase NFTs through an auction or a fixed-price listing. Once purchased, ownership of the NFT will be transferred to the buyer.
- Minting NFTs: Many NFT marketplaces allow users to mint their own NFTs. This involves turning their creation into a digital asset hosted on the blockchain.
- Selling NFTs: Finally, NFT marketplaces allow sellers to list their NFTs for others to buy. Once sold, sellers will usually have to pay NFT selling platforms a portion of the received amount as a fee – although many platforms offer royalties for sales in the secondary market.
What are gas fees?
This is the charge you need to pay on the Ethereum blockchain to perform a function, which includes the case of creating (minting) an NFT. Gas fees are measured in gwei, and they can go up and down depending on how heavy the use of the blockchain is. On average you’ll be charged 0.0042 ETH per transaction. You can find lower fees early in the morning, between 1 am and 3 am (UTC), or late at night, between 9 pm and 11 pm (UTC).
Can I avoid gas fees?
Yes, some NFT marketplaces are offering gas-free minting. These include OpenSea and Rarible. This approach essentially places the gas fee on the buyer, not the creator, so it will show in the sale (a little like VAT, or the fuel tax added by some airlines). There are some blockchains that have no gas fees or at least lower fees. These include Polygon on Opensea or ImmutableX on Mintable. Before minting or buying an NFT, look into the fees and at which blockchain and token are being used.
What is minting?
Like with physical currency, “minting” is the term used for the process of creating a currency and NFTs on a blockchain. With NFTs, it’s usually on Ethereum. The process of minting records data in a public ledger that is unchangeable and tamper-proof, and which can follow and track the NFT as future sales are made. Minting usually has a cost – the gas fee that we mentioned above. But as we said, some marketplaces are becoming creative about how, when, and to whom the fees are charged.
What’s a blockchain?
Investopedia describes a blockchain as: “a distributed database that is shared among the nodes of a computer network.” The strength of blockchain tech is that it guarantees security and trust without the need for a third party, speeding up data transactions. The data entered is irreversible, ensuring it’s permanent. For NFTs, it means the artist can trace their NFT and ensure a percentage of future sales.
Do I need a crypto wallet?
In most cases, yes. In most cases, you will need to pay in cryptocurrency to mint an NFT, or to buy an NFT. As a result, most NFT marketplaces require you to create a crypto wallet to mint and trade NFTs. A common one is MetaMask, though Coinbase is another secure wallet. Some newer NFT marketplaces, such as Nifty Gateway, have started allowing the use of Fiat currency payments (US dollars, etc) via credit and debit cards, making access to NFTs easier.
Can anything be an NFT?
Yes. Any kind of digital file can be stored as an NFT. Most marketplaces are set up for digital artwork, but more are now supporting video, game assets, and music. Physical items are also now digitized as NFTs, for example, physical limited edition Nike trainers. Expect NFTs to exist on and between the digital and physical spaces in the future.
Are NFTs controversial?
Yes. You can’t escape the fact Ethereum minting has a high carbon footprint, but perhaps not as high as some belief. Yet everyone accepts there is a problem. Ethereum 2.0 should solve this issue, and is due this year.
Are there any energy-efficient blockchains?
Yes, and NFT marketplaces are now offering alternatives to energy-hungry Ethererum with better carbon footprints. These include Flow, Tezos, and Polygon. New blockchain Solana boasts of being carbon-neutral. Check on your NFT marketplace which is being used and opt for one that suits your conscience.