NFT Marketplaces Battle For Pole Position

NFT Marketplaces

A slew of partnerships and acquisitions

Established NFT marketplaces have been flexing their financial muscles this week. OpenSea has acquired Dharma Labs, an Ethereum-based wallet service that allows users to transfer funds between bank accounts and decentralized exchanges. While Coinbase partnered with MasterCard. Both platforms are eying up fiat onramps to simplify the buying experience of NFTs. 

With all eyes on NFT marketplace LooksRare right now, many have missed the mammoth moves by OpenSea and Coinbase. They have partnered with services that allow users to access their platforms more quickly and start trading NFTs. Today, users first need to open a crypto wallet, buy crypto, and then purchase an NFT from an online marketplace. For many, this is a mountain too steep to climb as the user experience isn’t seamless.

Coinbase making NFT moves

The partnership between Coinbase and MasterCard sees the two companies letting users buy NFTs via Mastercard cards. This could potentially open the floodgates to NFT admirers worldwide, allowing anybody to start trading or collecting digital assets. 

Coinbase announced the upcoming launch of their NFT marketplace back in October 2021, with the NFT trading platform expected to go live in Q2 2022. Potentially giving Coinbase’s 73 million registered users access to a new NFT marketplace. The platform will let people mint and buy NFTs. The company also opened a waiting list for users to join, with more than 1 million people signing up initially. 

Coinbase has provided many with a simple onramp into the world of crypto. Once launched, MasterCard payments for NFTs could offer the perfect on-ramp for admirers to take their first steps into the industry moreover, deeper down the crypto rabbit hole.  

OpenSea acquires Dharma

OpenSea has been keeping a very cool head lately amidst an all-out attack from LooksRare. Maybe that’s because while LooksRare is playing games, heavily incentivizing users with LOOKS tokens, OpenSea has been busy acquiring Dharma. This acquisition not only adds a wallet service to the leading NFT marketplace but also a deep understanding of bridging fiat into Ethereum. 

Dharma’s mission has always been to make crypto easier to use and more mainstream-friendly. They believe that NFTs have provided ‘the tip of the spear’ for mainstream crypto adoption. Dharma will bring knowledge, expertise, and technology to OpenSea to power a mainstream-friendly way to buy, sell, and mint NFTs. 

As part of the acquisition, Dharma’s co-founders, Nadav Hollander and Brendan Forster will be stepping into leadership roles at OpenSea. Hollander will be OpenSea’s Chief Technology Officer, with an initial mission to improve the technical reliability and uptime of OpenSea’s products. In addition, he will build web3-native mechanisms for engaging with and rewarding OpenSea’s early and loyal community. Brendan Forster will be OpenSea’s Head of Strategy, injecting a web3-native perspective into the product, business, community, and marketing.

Scaling up for mainstream NFT adoption

While OpenSea has been operating for years, it isn’t in a position to rest on its laurels. Strong competitors are chasing the platform, all vying for the crown. Acquiring Dharma, along with its strong leadership team and speaking about rewarding long-time users of the platform, is just what the OpenSea community wants to hear. 

Despite the increasing competition and the high gas fees associated with the Ethereum blockchain, OpenSea holds its position. Of course, as NFT collectors continue searching for the next big hit, secondary marketplaces are enjoying a lot of activity. Additionally, OpenSea benefits from an already established brand and level of popularity as one of the most successful NFT marketplaces out there. 

Coinbase could arguably mount a severe challenge to OpenSea. At the same time, the marketplace may provide an entry point to less savvy users and NFT admirers who then ‘graduate’ over to OpenSea once they feel more comfortable. 

As always, the blockchain space is moving at lightning speeds. One moment It’s wash trading—the next, its acquisitions and mergers of mammoth proportions. To stay ahead of the curve, make sure to subscribe to our weekly news and bookmark the blog. 

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The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your research. The writer holds ETH, BTC, AGIX, HEX, LINK, GRT, CRO, OMI, IMMUTABLE X, ENS, GALA, AVASTR, GMEE, CUBE, RADAR, FLOW, FTM, BNB, SPS, WRLD, ATOM, and ADA.

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