Even if you’re new to the NFT (non-fungible token) space, you’re probably already well aware of the fact that NFT art, digital collectibles (trading cards, “cryptopunks”, etc.), tokenized memes as well as other types of digital goods, such as domain names and books, have become the hottest thing since sliced bread!
You have most likely also heard of some of the NFT marketplaces, such as Nifty Gateway, Mintable, OpenSea and Rarible. But how do you know which one is for you? And where should you start out if you’re a beginner?
To potentially save you weeks (or months) of experimentation and possible frustration, this article aims to provide a detailed comparison of the top NFT marketplaces out there right now.
The Best NFT Marketplaces for 2023
Below is a list of the best NFT marketplaces on the internet right now.
- OpenSea – Best Overall NFT Marketplace
- Rarible – Great Alternative NFT Marketplace
- SuperRare – Best Exclusive NFT Marketplace
- Nifty Gateway – Very High Quality NFT Marketplace
- Atomic Market
OpenSea is definitely one of the most well-known NFT marketplaces right now. It’s known for its ease of use and accessibility for both unknown artists as well as collectors who are new to the NFT space.
Uninformed netizens often mistakenly claim that “OpenSea is free”. Unfortunately this is not the case. The platform does actually require a “one-time payment of two transaction fees” (yes, it’s confusing but this is from their own support page) to get set up and mint their first NFT.
After that, artists can create and list their NFTs for sale. The way they manage to achieve this is by postponing the actual minting of the NFT to the point in time at which a buyer purchases it — and is charged the gas fees for the minting. However this only applies to purchases made on fixed-price NFTs. Sellers who accept offers that are different from the fixed price at which their NFTs were listed have to pay gas fees.
Basically, OpenSea tries to make their platform more accessible to sellers by only charging them to set up a profile once. Thereafter, gas fees are the responsibility of buyers, unless different offers are accepted by sellers.
If you are a digital artist and want to get started creating your very own NFTs, we also have a detailed tutorial explaining the entire process of How to Make an NFT.
- 2x one-time transaction fees to set up account
- No minting fees for sellers after initial setup fees have been paid
- Buyers pay gas fees when purchasing items at a fixed price (2.5%)
- Sellers pay gas fees when accepting offers
*The OpenSea support page does not indicate how much any of these fees are specifically, but the platform appears to charge a 2.5% commission on successful sales.
Advantages of OpenSea:
- One of the cheapest NFT platforms on the internet
- Very easy to use, especially for beginners
- Once artists have set up an account (which is NOT free), they can essentially mint and list NFTs without ever having to pay any fees again
- No restrictions on who can upload NFTs nor on what can be uploaded
Disadvantages of Opensea:
- Can be confusing due to complete lack of restrictions that has resulted in an overwhelming number of NFTs constantly being minted on the platform
- Trying to figure out the fee structure can be confusing
- Some argue that the design and user experience of OpenSea’s interface is too simplistic and boring
Either way, OpenSea is a great place to get started with NFTs, particularly if you are not a rich collector or a famoaus artist and need a place to get your feet wet.
To find out How to Buy NFTs on OpenSea, feel free to read our dedicated tutorial on the subject.
If you want to start selling NFTs right away, we also have a tutorial on How to Sell an NFT.
Rarible is an interesting NFT marketplace as it uses its own cryptocurrency called RARI. RARI is aimed at encouraging active participation on the platform and can be earned by buying or selling NFTs. It is the first governance token to be implemented in the NFT space and makes it possible for the most active creators and collectors on the platform to vote for platform upgrades as well as participate in curation and moderation.
Although Rarible requires artists to submit their artwork for curation and approval, the platform itself allows anyone to be listed, and sellers can even set their own fees. Another cool thing about Rarible is that all NFTs listed on its online marketplace can also be found on OpenSea.
- 2.5% fee for both sellers as well as buyers, i.e. 5% total transaction fee
- Seller can choose to pay the entire fee of 5% of the final sale price
Advantages of Rarible:
- Has its own cryptocurrency (RARI)
- Active users can take part in various aspects of its development by voting
- Allows anyone to create and list NFTs
- Sellers can set their own fees
- NFTs listed on Rarible are also searchable on OpenSea
- Trading is quite cheap compared to many other platforms
Disadvantages of Rarible:
- Policy to allow anyone to create NFTs on its platform has also attracted scammers
- Does not have a mobile app
- The platform does not have a whitepaper or roadmap for its continued development. (*This is perhaps due to the fact that it is moving heavily towards becoming a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), but it does make it difficult to know where it’s headed.)
All in all, Rarible is a fairly balanced all-round platform for buying and selling NFTs. The fact that it uses its own token (RARI) is also a unique advantage that it has over other platforms, provided you hold any that is.
Superrare is a so-called “curated” platform, meaning that it focuses on marketing artworks created by a small number of digital artists. While anyone can submit artwork for curation and approval, it’s quite difficult to be accepted as an artist on its marketplace and you probably won’t receive a reply unless you are accepted.
Fees on the platform are 15%, which is higher than on some other platforms, but artists receive a 10% royalty for each subsequent sale of their NFTs. This means that artists on Superrare can potentially earn a passive income to the extent that their creations continue to be traded.
Although it’s certainly not the kind of place that just anyone can join, the very fact that it is so exclusive has made it very popular among both buyers and investors.
- 3% transaction for all purchases – paid by buyer
- 15% commission for primary sales (creators receive 85%)
Advantages of Superrare:
- Exclusive and curated – NFTs tend to be of fairly high-quality
- 10% royalties for artists on every secondary sale forever
- Design of user interface is very polished and easy to navigate
Disadvantages of Superrare:
- 15% commissions
- Not easy to get accepted as an artist unless you are already quite well known
If you are willing to spend a little more on NFTs — and preferably know a fair bit about NFT art — Superrare is a very good place to find good quality crypto art created by well-known artists.
Acquired by the Winkelvoss twins in 2019, Nifty Gateway is perhaps the most exclusive NFT art platform out there. But don’t expect a reply from any of its curators unless you are already a very well-known artist, particularly in the digital art world (believe me, I’ve tried).
On the other hand, if you are a top-tier digital artist, or a (preferably wealthy) crypto investor that also knows quite a lot about art, you’ll probably love Nifty Gateway. The platform boasts a huge number of celebrities in the NFT space, including the one and only Beeple (Mike Winkelmann), Grimes, Kenny Scharf, deadmau5 and Steve Aoki.
It also allows artists to set their own royalties without limitation and only charges 5% of each sale (including secondary sales) regardless of artists’ commissions.
Nifty Gateway Fees:
- 15% fee (10% to artist + 5% to Nifty Gateway + 30 cents for transaction fees)
Advantages of Nifty Gateway:
- Wide range of extremely exclusive NFT artists
- Artworks tend to be of very high quality
- Buyers can make purchases using credit cards
- Artists can set their own royalties on secondary sales
- Easy to use even for beginners
Disadvantages of Nifty Gateway:
- Extremely difficult to get accepted as an artist unless you are already very well-known
- NFTs tend to be quite expensive, so you may have to look around for quite a long time before you find anything you can afford
If you’re really into highly sought-after and trendy digital art and high-quality NFTs with a high resale value, Nifty Gateway is a good place to look.
Foundation is an NFT platform that is focused on “building the future of digital culture” according to its own website. Creators have to be invited by members of the Foundation community, after which they will be allowed to create an artist profile on the platform and start uploading their creations to IPFS (the “Interplanetary File System”).
Creators receive 85% of final sales prices, which they get to set themselves. NFTs resold on OpenSea or Rarible earn a 10% royalty for the artists that originally minted them regardless of how many times they change hands.
- 15% commission on sales
Advantages of Foundation:
- Artists receive 10% royalties on resales of their pieces forever
- Fairly easy to use for beginners
Disadvantages of Foundation:
- 15% fees on sales
- Not as popular as some of the other exclusive marketplaces
Foundation has a good mix of features and is not particularly difficult to use if you’re a beginner. You may also appreciate the fact that it’s not quite as crowded as some of the other popular marketplaces out there.
MakersPlace is perhaps most well-known for its minting of the famous NFT artwork “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”, a collage of digital images that were made by Mike Winkelmann (better known as “Beeple”) over a period of 5000 days. The piece was sold by Christie’s for $69 million and is now immortalized as the first purely digital piece of art sold by a major auction house.
MakersPlace is also focused on being a user-friendly platform for beginners to get into NFT art.
To join the platform as an artist, you require an invitation from somebody that is already a part of the MakersPlace community.
Unlike highly exclusive platforms, such as Nifty Gateway, it’s also much easier to get your bid accepted on MakersPlace, and you can buy NFTs using either ETH or a credit card.
- 15% commission on all successful purchases in Ether
- Additional transaction for credit card purchases
- 12.5% of each secondary market sale (2.5% goes to MakersPlace and 10% goes to the artist as a royalty)
Advantages of MakersPlace:
- Very easy to use
- Has good variety of genres, styles and aesthetics
- Good selection of approved artists
- Supports both ETH as well as credit card payments
- Generally quite easy to get bids accepted
Disadvantages of MakersPlace:
- Charges 15% when you make a sale, plus additional 2.9% for credit card purchases
For ease of use and a good balance between variety and curation, MakersPlace is the ideal place to start if you’re new to NFTs or just want an even mix of content.
Mintable is very similar to OpenSea and Rarible in terms of how it works. The main difference is in the fees that it charges.
Like OpenSea, you don’t need to go through any approval process to become a seller on the platform. It’s super straightforward: Just connect your Ethereum wallet, click “Mint an item”, enter some details about your NFT, and create.
- 2.5% on normal items
- 5% on gasless items
- 10% on printable series
Advantages of Mintable:
- Completely free to mint items for sellers (no setup fees — nothing)
- The only real option if you want to start creating NFTs but don’t have any Ethereum
Disadvantages of Mintable:
- Sometimes loads very slowly
- Very simple user interface (even simpler than OpenSea)
- Support pages and interface seem to be incomplete (missing buttons, etc.) in some cases
- Very low rate of activity compared to other platforms
The main advantage of Mintable, when compared to other marketplaces, is that it provides a way to mint NFTs at no cost whatsoever. Other than that, it doesn’t have any particularly special features.
Atomic market is an original new NFT platform and ecosystem running on the WAX blockchain. It focuses on proving originality and authenticity of digital artworks and game items for both collectors as well as gamers.
This NFT marketplace provides users with a unique advantage in that they can list their NFTs without actually having to upload them. Once a listing has been made, a trade offer is released to the marketplace. If a buyer purchases a listed NFT, the offer is then accepted.
The Atomic marketplace also offers shared liquidity, meaning that everything listed on one marketplace is also listed on all other markets. Genuine NFTs are marked with a verification tick making them easy to spot. Any items that seem to be fake are blacklisted.
Atomic Market Fees:
- 2% flat fee on all transactions (min. Transaction size is $10)
Advantages of Atomic Market:
- Offers comprehensive scrutiny of NFT authenticity
- Very easy to identify genuine artworks thanks to conspicuous verification indicators
- Can trade (swap) NFTs for FREE
- Offers shared liquidity on all marketplaces
Disadvantages of Atomic Market:
- The notification system for trade offers seems to be broken, so the only way to make a trade offer is by actually talking to NFT owners on Discord
- Does not work with MetaMask
Atomic Marketplace is a fully functioning NFT art marketplace built on the WAX blockchain. All you need is some WAX tokens, which you can buy on most crypto exchanges, and the WAX wallet. Fees are extremely low compared to Ethereum-based platforms, and your transactions have practically zero environmental impact.
There are of course a number of other NFT marketplaces and dApps, most of which focus on some unique aspect of NFTs.
Here are some special mentions:
Decentraland is an entirely virtual world in which you can tokenize digital artworks, have conversations with other inhabitants, and even hold virtual conferences in real time! You can create your own profile or play as a guest right from its homepage. If you are interested in making money, you can also buy and sell virtual real estate within the various zones of Decentraland or build your own structures and art galleries down to the smallest detail! Definitely worth checking out.
Axie Infinity is a complete game built on the Ethereum network. You can breed and raise “Axies”, which are in-game monsters, as well as buy and sell digital items and then sell them for Ethereum. It’s currently extremely popular, and there are even full-time players earning a living in it according to recent reports.
Known Origin is an NFT art marketplace that focuses on only selling extremely rare and exclusive art by fully verified artists. It’s currently closed to new artist submissions, so you can only buy NFTs on it. However, if you’re really looking for the rarest of the rare in NFT art, KnownOrigin is one of the best places to look.
Types of Marketplaces
There are basically two types of NFT marketplaces: exclusive and non-exclusive.
Exclusive NFT Marketplaces
Exclusive NFT marketplaces, such as Nifty Gateway and Superrare, are platforms that provide ways for highly sought-after artists to mint and list NFTs of their digital art pieces.
As such, the types of art that can be found on exclusive NFT marketplaces is usually quite expensive and popular among experienced art collectors. The quality and rareness of this type of NFT art also means that it’s usually more likely to go up in value over time, which is the main reason why exclusive NFT marketplaces are so popular.
Non-Exclusive NFT Marketplaces
Unlike exclusive NFT marketplaces, non-exclusive platforms are generally much easier to get listed on as an artist, regardless of whether you are well-known or not. This is because they typically don’t vet any of their artists (although they may screen artworks for approval before listing them).
Not having to undergo scrutiny means that it’s much easier for individual creators to list their NFT art, but it also means that non-exclusive marketplaces tend to easily become flooded by low-quality artworks and scammers.
Different NFT Networks
Although Ethereum is currently the clear leader when it comes to NFTs, there are already a number of competitors on the horizon. This, in addition to the fact that currently Ethereum’s gas fees are frankly much too high for simple transactions, such as simply sending Ether, minting NFTs, or writing smart contract conditions to the blockchain, has also resulted in a number of these new rivals gaining a lot of attention — as well as market share — over the past few months.
Bear in mind that Ethereum 2.0 is also on its way and is scheduled to go live somewhere around the end of 2021 or in 2022. Once this happens, it will no doubt be much more powerful than it is in its current version considering the fantastic new features that it will be implementing.
New features that Ethereum 2.0 will have:
- PoS (Proof-of-Stake) consensus mechanism as opposed to PoW (Proof-of-Work)
This means that Ethereum will reduce its energy requirements by 99%, according to Vitalik Buterin, its co-founder. More than likely, it will also solve the problem the network is having with its exorbitant gas fees right now.
Basically, sharding refers to “shard chains”, which can be thought of as additional channels that will be used to spread the Ethereum network’s workload. Ethereum 2.0 will comprise 64 new shard chains, meaning that both the speed as well as the number of transactions that can take place simultaneously will be increased dramatically.
- Beacon Chain
The Beacon Chain is the core of Ethereum 2.0. It is responsible for coordinating the shard chains as well as storing and managing the proof-of-stake protocol itself. The Beacon Chain went live on Dec. 1, 2020, but is still undergoing testing.
Ethereum 2.0’s new features are definitely exciting. But there are some equally impressive new innovations being developed by Ethereum’s competitors for dominance in the smart contract hierarchy. Here is a list of the main ones right now.
Without a doubt, Solana (SOL) is Ethereum’s most significant competitor. The Solana project is focused on establishing a DeFi ecosystem that’s immune to censorship and scrutiny. Despite the fact that Solana was launched as recently as April of 2019, it has already become the sixth-most valuable cryptocurrency on the planet right now, meaning that it is already more valuable than Dogecoin (DOGE) and Ripple (XRP).
Solana vs Ethereum — What’s the Difference?
- Solana is MUCH faster than Ethereum
Solana already has the capacity to process 50,000 transactions per second (TPS), whereas the Ethereum blockchain is currently only capable of processing 15 to 45, which is incidentally the reason why NFT transactions tend to take so long, even if you are willing to pay the notoriously high gas fees that are currently charged on the Ethereum network due to congestion.
- Proof-of-History (PoH)
Solana also boasts its trademark “PoH” (Proof-of-History) computation sequence. The technology provides a way to cryptographically verify the passage of time between events.
Founded in 2017 by Ethereum’s co-founder, Charles Hoskinson, the development of the Cardano project was supervised by the Cardano Foundation in Switzerland.
Unlike Ethereum in its current iteration, Cardano already uses a PoS (Proof-of-Stake) protocol, meaning that it’s far more scalable and safer than Ethereum.
The platform uses its own cryptocurrency, “ADA” to fund and carry out transactions on its blockchain.
Cardano vs Ethereum — What’s the Difference?
- Cardano has its own PoS protocol
Whereas Ethereum currently still uses a Proof-of-Work consensus protocol, Cardano uses Ouroboros, which is a Proof-of-Stake protocol developed by the Cardano team. Ouroboros was the first PoS protocol that was proven to be secure and is aimed at determining the order of incoming blocks by means of tagging each block with a timestamp.
- Cardano development is headed by scientific researchers
The Cardano project comprises specific planned development phases. These development phases incorporate peer-reviewed insights with evidence-based methods. The result is a very strong foundation upon which progress is made gradually for both the Cardano blockchain network itself as well as the ADA token.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best place to buy NFTs?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to browse a wide variety of NFTs from potentially unknown artists, a non-exclusive platform, such as OpenSea or Rarible is your best option. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced collector or want to buy NFTs primarily as a way to earn a profit on your investment by reselling them at a later date, an exclusive platform, such as Nifty Gateway or SuperRare would be a better choice.
What is the largest NFT marketplace?
OpenSea is both the largest as well as the fastest-growing NFT marketplace at the moment.