Sampling the Deluge of New NFT Platforms and Marketplaces
NFT Business News Without the Hype!
LOL: The Above Panel Does Not Have A Clue!
In March we saw a huge wave of mainstream media coverage of NFTs, often in response to celebrity drops, and those two factors were major drivers of the first NFT boom.
Now we're seeing a deluge of new NFT platforms, marketplaces, projects and corporate initiatives many of which are developing on blockchains beyond Ethereum. Some of this activity has cross-chain elements so, while Ethereum has the most developed NFT ecosystem, we are seeing the early stages of a larger ecosystem extended across chains.
A lot of this was likely in the works before the March boom but I think business people are recognizing the opportunity and those already positioned to make moves realize it's time to start moving.
Before I dig into the news deluge, I want to acknowledge that between the platforms that were leading the way in 2020 and the newly emergent efforts, there were three cryptoart platforms and a community project that established themselves as solid contenders with potential staying power.
Prior to the Deluge
Foundation launched in the fall with its first collection in October 2020 and felt like the beginning of a new wave of platforms. Foundation has introduced a large number of talented artists to the scene. It's also doing huge sales.
Paras launched on Near in December 2020 featuring NFT art cards. It's had solid sales and attracted strong artists but also signalled a growing move toward solutions connected to but not on the Ethereum blockchain.
New NFT Art Platforms and Blockchains
hic et nunc is the newest of the three and it has become a crypto artist favorite for its low cost and community vibe. Its uptake signals artists' willingness to move beyond the land of Ethereum that we have not seen in previous phases likely due to the combination of extremely low transaction fees, the sense of community and the more environmentally friendly nature of the POS Tezos chain.
In terms of dates, NFThub could almost make today's overview having officially launched in late April. But it has a prior history as The Goose Nest and has been percolating for quite a while. NFThub is a community-based portal into the world of NFTs and is taking a unique path to that goal. The design is horrid, the intent is as close to pure as it gets in this space and, to quote a recent tweet about something else, its future is so bright you might need sunglasses!
New NFT Platforms and Marketplaces Bloom Like May Flowers
The following platforms, marketplaces, projects and corporate initiatives launched, announced or raised significant funding in May. If you look back, April was almost if not equally active. Plus, many established crypto companies announced the addition of NFTs as a feature and many not so competitive projects also launched.
This list is definitely not exhaustive but intended to give you a sense of the range of developments in the industry indicating that, whether or not NFTs become omnipresent, someone's going to attempt to connect NFTs to every human endeavor!
Instagram Creator Week, June 8 - 10
Just as I discussed in a previous newsletter, Facebook is entering NFT Land via Instagram. The first step is a panel during Instagram's Creator Week which was preceded by outreach to prominent NFT artists. One crypto artist, Sean Williams, spilled the beans and took offense at what he considered a lowball consulting offer.
What's next will be interesting but Instagram was an obvious entry point. I'll share thoughts about the rest of FAANG within the week.
P2P Marketplaces: eBay and Xianyu
eBay CEO Jamie Iannone made it clear earlier this month that the company is not only considering accepting crypto as a payment method but is also looking at how to make it easy to buy and sell NFTs. This interest is based on the fact that NFTs are already showing up on the platform. A simple eBay search for NFT art does bring up some interesting examples and there is also at least one collectibles category, Emerging NFTs.
As it turns out, eBay has been working with a group of employees "passionate about NFTs to help launch the category" for about three months. eBay's senior vice president of North America Jordan Sweetnam points out that NFTs aren't going to disrupt eBay. Instead they provide an "incredible new asset class" from which the company will profit.
In an article for Decrypt, Shuyao Kong shares news of NFT trading on Xianyu, a "Chinese app that provides a second-hand product purchasing platform for the 75.5 million users of Taobao." There are direct sales negotiated by buyers and sellers but there are also services provided including purchasing NFTs on foreign marketplaces and posting Chinese NFTs on platforms like OpenSea.
It's interesting to see users turning marketplaces that are not well-designed for NFTs into NFT sales platforms. Makes me wonder when we'll be seeing them on Amazon!
Binance/Binance Smart Chain
Binance Crypto Exchange to Launch Its Own NFT Platform
Binance is launching its own NFT marketplace, Binance NFT, in June. Other NFT marketplaces are also launching on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and having an official marketplace from Binance should push BSC NFT's to a heightened level of activity. The company announcement says there will be both curated Premium Event drops as well as an open Trading Market.
According to a Coindesk feature, it will also support Ethereum blockchain NFTs which will be viewable in Binance wallets.
Other BSC-based NFT marketplaces in various stages of development include:
Unique Network is an "NFT chain for Kusama and Polkadot" that just raised $4.3 million. It offers a "custom parachain explicitly designed for NFTs on Polkadot and Kusama." Expected to launch "in the months to come," Unique has already developed a minting solution, a marketplace and an NFT wallet.
CoinBurp: NFT Trading
UK-based crypto trading platform CoinBurp received $2 million in funding to add both NFT and DeFi services with NFT trading on external NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea and hic et nunc. This is an innovative approach with a wallet that is apparently cross-chain. Their approach seems likely to open up some NFT x DeFi opportunites on down the line. Very worth watching!
Creators and Influencers
Spring. For creators.
Spring, once known as a t-shirt shop called Teespring, evolved into a creator-focused merch platform with custom stores, though the Teespring site is still active. Now they're partnering with Bondly to add NFT minting and sales to expand creator options.
This is a big move putting Spring in the forefront of the development of Shopify-like services for NFT creation. Definitely one to watch!
XCAD Network: Defi Plugin
XCAD Network recently received $3.9 million in funding for its "DeFi Plugin for YouTube" connected to the Zilliqa blockchain. The plugin is intended not only for creators and influencers to create fungible social tokens but also NFTs which can be purchased using XCAD's Creator tokens.
YouTubers MrBeast and KSI are among those who have invested in XCAD Network.
Jellysmack: Video Creators
Jellysmack supports video creators working across platforms. Now it's planning on getting into crypto and NFTs in an "eco-friendly" way with "turnkey" solutions allowing creators to mint NFTs and sell them in a marketplace. To lead these efforts Jellysmack brought on Nathan Guetta as Vice President of Cryptocurrency.
Why "VeeFriends" Is the Next Step for NFTs
Though planned for release on May 5th, Gary Vee's VeeFriends ran into some delays before finally opening shop on May 11th. VeeFriends has three innovative elements that are likely to become trends over the course of this year.
Most obviously, VeeFriends is an early example of an individual celebrity having a solo NFT platform. Celebrities with private social networks or strong media operations on their own websites might well choose to add NFTs as a feature or even start an individual network like VeeFriends. Big brands are already headed this way so small groups, such as bands, and big stars, are likely to follow suit.
Gary Vee's NFTs function as crypto art but also have associated perks such as admission to the next three years of VeeCon. This is in keeping with a broader call for NFTs to have additional utility to distinguish themselves but is a much stronger offering than most other examples.
VeeFriends is built on the nameless platform by nft42. This white label NFT platform solution should be launching to the general public this summer. It is part of a wave of such white label solutions about which I will be writing more in the near future.
Genies: Avatars and Digital Fashions
Late last month, Dapper Labs announced that Genies, a celebrity-driven digital avatars company, would be its next partnered platform on Flow. That news was quickly followed by Warner Music Group's deal to bring its roster to Genies.
Early this month, Genies announced a $65 million raise to not only build out its marketplace for celebrity NFTs but also to include everyday people. Taking the perspective that immersion in the web is the true future of the metaverse as "mindset," Genies could be one of the major leaders in the emerging landscape.
Foodies: Celebrity Chefs
Restaurant.com is partnering with CurrencyWorks on Foodies or Foodiesnft, an "NFT platform for celebrity chefs, brands, restaurants, and personalities." Not much info on this but, as far as I know, they're first movers in a space with a lot of possibilities that has mostly been about NFT drops on other people's platforms by fast food and snack companies.
dotmoovs | Figo vs. Quaresma
dotmoovs describes itself as the first "crypto mobile competitive environment" and I don't doubt that's true. It uses your phone for a mobile analysis of your competitive performance, scores it with the help of AI and rewards winners with $MOOV token which can be staked to earn NFTs.
The company recently raised $840,000 to continue down this innovative path.
Check the video above for a fun example and this article for more details.
Sator: TV Watching
Sator is developing a decentralized app or dapp that one can use on one device to get NFTs and crypto rewards while watching "Sator-activated shows" on another. Viewers will be able to "participate in show trivia, scan QR codes and design/trade/collect NFTs of its characters" among whatever other features are developed.
This approach could clearly be used for streaming services of all kinds from movies to audio. Netflix take note!
Realm: Your Own Microverse
Realm is a cross-chain NFT metaverse platform for the creation of "your own personal Microverse." They're integrating OpenSea, developing AR and VR features and "partnered with Reef Chain to harness the power of Substrate and the Polkadot framework to ensure cross-chain compatibility." Realm just raised $2.25 million and expects to launch in third quarter 2021.
Holoride: In-Vehicle NFTs
Holoride, creators of an "immersive in-vehicle media platform," are adding blockchain-based features such as NFTs and social currency. In particular, NFTs will represent digital collectibles that can be traded or transferred.
I don't know much more than that but I have to say this caught me by surprise more than any other NFT news of late, which is saying a lot! I didn't know what Holoride was doing and I never thought about anything similar to NFTs as part of an automotive media platform. It makes sense but whoa!
So Many Other Great Platforms Launched!
There are many more NFT platforms and projects I wanted to cover but time has run out.
I do have an upcoming piece on an NFT news site about white label NFT platforms. Follow NFT Entrepreneur on Twitter for such news.
I'm also planning an upcoming NFT Entrepreneur newsletter on NFTs and FAANG. If you haven't subscribed, SUBSCRIBE NOW and you'll get that one next.