The Coinbase NFT marketplace is now open, albeit in limited beta mode, offering hundreds of thousands of NFT community members another platform for buying and selling their collectibles.
About six months ago, Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the United States (by volume), told the public that it would soon be launching an NFT marketplace but gave very few details about the rollout. Finally, Coinbase NFT was launched on Wednesday, albeit in beta mode.
Coinbase’s marketplace will be accessible to “a small set of beta testers who’ll be invited based on their position” on its waitlist. Coinbase will curate and showcase several NFT collections on its marketplace, including Azuki, Doodles, and World of Women, in this beta phase. It is also likely that Coinbase will try to onboard established players in the space by adding social features such as a comment system with upvotes and downvotes and an algorithmic feed.
More Details about the Marketplace
In a press conference, Alex Plutzer, NFT product lead at Coinbase NFT, said users can access any Ethereum-based collection on the marketplace, with “more [blockchains] available soon.” He continued, “We’ll cycle these [collections] out over time to help introduce people to awesome NFTs on the platform, especially for people who aren’t as familiar with NFTs.”
Sanchan Saxena, vice president of product at Coinbase, said in the same press conference that Coinbase would not be charging transaction fees on NFTs on the marketplace “for a limited time.” However, fees will be implemented over time but will be “low single-digit.” Users will also have the option to use a self-custody wallet they own or a Coinbase wallet to trade NFTs on the marketplace.
“We’ve been able to successfully bring the complexities of cryptocurrencies in an easy-to-use way to the masses,” Saxena said. “We believe we have a similar opportunity to do so for NFTs as well.”
Looking at the user profile interface of the Coinbase NFT marketplace, you would think you’re looking at an Instagram feed but with NFTs instead of aesthetic pictures. In some profiles, users can highlight their collections to entice other users to become followers.
There is also a discover feed, which according to Coinbase, would recommend NFTs to users “based on what you buy, what’s trending, who you follow, and more.” Like other marketplaces like OpenSea, Coinbase’s NFT marketplace likewise allows users to “favorite” NFTs.
Finally, users will find a “Shop” tab from which to purchase NFTs. At present, the marketplace only supports the Ethereum blockchain. Eventually, though, Coinbase said it would start accepting MasterCard, although prices currently only reflect ETH.
Is the Timing Right?
Almost everyone knows Coinbase as a major player in the cryptocurrency exchange space. However, some wonder whether the timing for launching an NFT marketplace is right. As Bloomberg pointed out, the NFT market is showing some signs of weakening.
For instance, as shown by DappRadar’s NFT marketplace tracker, the past month has seen a universal decrease in the number of traders and trading volume on the top marketplaces. OpenSea, touted as the largest NFT shop, traded 67% fewer this month than in March and 23% fewer traders. Even search interest in NFTs, which was highest between October 2021 and January 2022, has since declined to normal levels.
At any rate, Coinbase is undaunted and even plans to add more features to the marketplace, including NFT drops, minting, and token-gated communities. A plan to collaborate with NFT artists around the world, who will do collection drops on Coinbase NFT, is also in the works to bring more users to the platform.
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