Best NFT Marketplaces

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.

There are dozens of NFT marketplaces in existence, and many of them have a specific focus or niche. What should you look for before deciding which one to use, and what are the top NFT marketplaces out there? Here's what you need to know.

OpenSea is the leader in NFTsales. OpenSea 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").

Tips for choosing an NFT marketplace

First, remember that an NFT (non-fungible token) simply represents ownership of an asset. Before choosing an NFT marketplace, you'll first want to decide the kind of digital asset you're interested in buying, selling, or creating. Just about anything digital -- the written word, videos, video games, art, collector's items, etc. -- can be tokenized on a blockchain (such as Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH), the most common blockchain network NFTs are built on), so narrowing down your interest is a good place to start.

Another consideration is the type of tokens supported in a marketplace. Some support a wide variety of tokens. Others are closed marketplaces and utilize a specific proprietary token. When opening an NFT marketplace account, be sure to fund your blockchain wallet with the right crypto or token required to participate in the site's activity. You'll be prompted to link your wallet to the NFT marketplace once you've opened up an account. Also check to see what kind of security the marketplace has in force and if it has had any issues in the past.

Investing in NFTs

NFT marketplaces are your path to start investing in digital assets, collectables, and art, but there are lots of options out there. Be sure to choose one that suits your buying and storage needs based on the type of NFT you're after and the crypto you're interested in using for transactions. 

Also, be aware that this is a new industry and is highly speculative. Some NFTs may rocket higher in value, but there's no guarantee. The value of digital art and collectables works much the same as physical art and collectables: Value is subjective and determined by factors such as uniqueness and the reputation of the artist who made it. Make a purchase -- if any -- with your overall investment strategy, net worth, and investment time horizon in mind.

How to Find an NFT You Love

With so many projects out there, we know it can seem hard to find an NFT you love. Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind to simplify the process. 

 Consider the purpose of purchasing. Are you buying an NFT you’ll use for a profile photo (PFP)? Alternatively, is it purely for art? Is it something you’d display at home? Maybe you’re looking for virtual land? How long do you plan to own the NFT? Asking these questions will help you narrow down the search as you browse.

Research the project. Start with the official project website. This is a great starting point to understand the motivations and goals of the founder(s). Many projects these days have a roadmap with lots of milestones. Does it seem realistic, or is it overly ambitious? Make sure to also check the project’s social media. 

The founders. Most times, founders drive the vision, future and success of a project. It’s time to introduce two terms: doxxed and undoxxed. Doxxed founders have made their identity publicly known so you are able to research their background/history of success. Unboxed founders have not revealed their identity and often go by an alias. 

Join their Discord. You might buy an NFT just for the art, but you shouldn’t overlook the community. Checking out the project’s Discord is usually the best way to get a sense of the community and meet your fellow collectors. Join the discord and ask questions of the community and moderators. Are they helpful and welcoming?

Research the artist. Artistry takes many forms. Some artists are brilliant and just starting out. Others are accomplished and have a history of other successful projects. At the end of the day, does the art make you feel a certain way? Do you want to support the artist? 

How NFT Marketplaces Work

NFTs are bought and sold in marketplaces, ranging from popular non-custodial platforms like Opensea and AirNFTs to custodial ones like Binance and Coinbase. Here's a brief overview of how each of them works:

1. Non-custodial Marketplaces

Non-custodial marketplaces, as you probably already know, require you to access the platform via a web3-compatible wallet like Trust Wallet or Metamask. Buying one will require you to connect the blockchain network's wallet to your NFT account. For example, to buy an NFT on Ethereum-based marketplaces like Opensea or rarible, you must connect an Ethereum wallet. 

2. Custodial marketplaces

On the other hand, custodial marketplaces require you to trade only after verifying their details and complete in KYC. After buying, your NFT, like other coins, will be stored in a section usually known as “Assets” or “Wallets.”