As the crypto space continues to grow, so does the market for non-fungible tokens, more commonly known as NFTs. The explosive momentum of blockchain has turned this emerging form of art into a billion-dollar industry.

If you're an NFT artist, the internet is your oyster. A slew of new marketplaces have popped up in recent months, catering to the needs of creatives who are looking to tokenize their work on the blockchain.

Top NFT platforms compared

Choosing a marketplace is a bit different than having your work curated in a gallery. Some platforms are exclusive and require artists to submit an application, while others are open to everyone. Some platforms focus on specific mediums like music or photography, while others are open-ended.

Not sure where to start? Fortunately, the nature of blockchain makes it easy to move between marketplaces so feel free to experiment before making a commitment.

Here are the top five NFT marketplaces, based on all-time transaction volume.

1. OpenSea

The OpenSea collection interface

OpenSea is known as the eBay of NFT marketplaces. They curate and sell digital art from almost every other platform. You can also mint your NFTs and NFT collections directly on the platform with no upfront fees (also known as lazy minting).

Blockchain(s): Ethereum, Polygon, Tezos (coming soon)
Token support: ERC-1155, ERC-721
Supported currencies: ETH, WETH, DAI, USDC, MEME
Wallet Support: MetaMask, WalletConnect
Fees: Lazy minting (no upfront fee) + 2.5% marketplace fee for each sale
Smart contract import: Yes
Type of sales: Auctions, Dutch auctions, fixed price, open offers
Creator royalty on secondary market: Configure up to 10%
Collaboration/split payment support: No
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Open

2. Rarible

Rarible's creation interface

Rarible is similar to OpenSea, but the biggest difference is that the gas fees are paid upfront (though lazy minting is coming soon). Rarible also has its own governance token, RARI which can be used on the platform.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum
Token support: ERC-1155, ERC-721
Supported currencies: ETH, RARI, WETH, DAI, ATRI
Wallet Support: MetaMask, Fortmatic, WalletConnect, Coinbase Wallet, MyEtherWallet, Torus
Fees: Gas fees (lazy minting coming soon) + 2.5% marketplace fee
Smart contract import: Yes
Type of sales: Auctions, fixed price
Creator royalty on secondary market: Open-ended
Collaboration/split payment support: No (coming soon)
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Open

3. SuperRare

SuperRare is an exclusive NFT platform. You must submit an application and be accepted in order to list on the marketplace. Right now, there's a backlog of artist applications, so get your application in soon if you're hoping to mint there.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum
Token support: ERC-721
Supported currencies: ETH
Wallet Support: MetaMask, Fortmatic
Fees: 3% minting fee + 15% marketplace fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Auctions, fixed price
Creator royalty on secondary market: 10% to creator, 3% to platform
Collaboration/split payment support: No
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Application required

4. Foundation

Like SuperRare, Foundation is exclusive. But rather than submitting an application, you must be invited by an existing Foundation creator. If you've got a healthy Twitter following, you also can rally your community to vote you on to the platform.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum
Token support: ERC-721, proprietary
Supported currencies: ETH
Wallet Support: MetaMask, Torus
Fees: Gas fees + 15% marketplace fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Auctions
Creator royalty on secondary market: 10% on Foundation or OpenSea only
Collaboration/split payment support: Yes
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Requires invite from existing creator or community vote

5. KnownOrigin

KnownOrigin is another exclusive NFT Platform. Right now, KnownOrigin applications are closed to new creators due to an abundance of applications. We'll update this if that changes.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum
Token support: ERC-721
Supported currencies: ETH
Wallet Support: MetaMask, Portis, Fortmatic, WalletConnect
Fees: gas fees + 15% marketplace fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Auctions, fixed price
Creator royalty on secondary market: 12% to creator, 2.5% to platform
Collaboration/split payment support: Yes
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Application required, note: KnownOrigin applications are currently closed to new creators.

Uncover your biggest opportunities in managing your crypto payments.

Other NFT marketplaces

While the industry leaders might be more visible, there are certainly other fish in the sea. Some of the newer and smaller platforms have innovative approaches and much to offer their creators, so don’t be so quick to dismiss them based on transaction volume.

Mint Gold Dust

Launching soon, Mint Gold Dust is the brainchild of blockchain industry pioneer Kelly LeValley Hunt. Along with its marketplace, Mint Gold Dust plans to release interviews and in-depth content about its artists and their creative process.

Fees: 15% platform fee
Creator royalty on secondary market: 10-20%
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Curated by Eleonora Brizi

Illust Space

Illust Space is a boutique NFT agency, specializing in augmented reality (AR) art. Illust Space is known for its recent collaboration with late rapper MF DOOM to produce signed AR mask NFTs.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum
Token support: ERC-721
Supported currencies: ETH
Wallet Support: MetaMask
Type of sales: Auctions
Creator royalty on secondary market: pre-determined royalty to creator, 5% to platform
Medium focus: Augmented reality (AR)
Exclusivity: Minting is not currently open to the public, reach out to Illust Space if you're interested in collaborating with them.

Nifty Gateway

Nifty Gateway, owned by the Winklevoss brothers, aims to make NFTs (or Nifties) accessible for everyone to collect—though if you're hoping to mint on the platform, you'll have to submit an application. At Nifty Gateway, fiat is king so if you're an ethereum/DeFi purist, you might not be too keen on this one.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum
Token support: Proprietary
Supported currencies: Credit card primarily, with prepaid ETH for some transactions
Wallet Support: Fiat only
Fees: 20% marketplace fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Auctions, silent auctions, fixed price
Creator royalty on secondary market: 5%
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Application required

Ephimera

Launched in November 2020, Ephimera is an NFT marketplace catering to photographers and videographers.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum
Token support: ERC-721
Supported currencies: ETH
Wallet Support: MetaMask
Fees: gas fees + 10% marketplace fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Auctions, fixed price
Creator royalty on secondary market: 10%
Collaboration/split payment support: Yes
Medium focus: Photography, videography, lens-based work
Exclusivity: Application required

MakersPlace

MakersPlace was founded to allow artists to protect and sell authentic and unique editions of their digital creations via blockchain technology. MakersPlace doesn't want to be ETH and MetaMask mastery to be a barrier to entry, so they've also enabled credit card purchases via Stripe.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum
Token support: ERC-721
Supported currencies: ETH, credit card
Wallet Support: MetaMask, Portis, Fortmatic, WalletConnect
Fees: gas fees + credit card fees, 15% platform fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Auctions, fixed price
Creator royalty on secondary market: 10% to creator, 2.5% to platform
Collaboration/split payment support: Yes
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Application required

Valuables by Cent

Have you ever loved a tweet so much that you wished you could own it? Well, now you can. Valuables by Cent tokenizes tweets on the blockchain. You can make an offer on any tweet. If your offer is accepted by the tweet author, Valuables by Cent mints the NFT as a 1-of-1 ERC-721 token with the tweeter's signature.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum
Token support: ERC-721
Supported currencies: ETH
Wallet Support: MetaMask
Fees: gas fees + 5% marketplace fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Dutch auctions
Creator royalty on secondary market: 2.5% to creator
Collaboration/split payment support: No
Medium focus: Tweets
Exclusivity: Open

Cargo

Cargo is a NFT platform with seemingly infinite possibilities. In addition to art, you can use Cargo to create, manage, display, and sell tradable blockchain gaming items, secure tickets, access tokens, and other digital items to support your business or project. They also accommodate split payments for up to fifteen accounts. Cargo is particularly developer/advanced user friendly and offers an API to interact with Cargo through your own application. Like Rarible, Cargo has a governance token called Cargo Gems.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum, xDAI, Polyon (MATIC)
Token support: ERC-721, ERC-2309
Supported currencies: Cargo Credits (purchasable with ETH, xDAI, MATIC)
Wallet Support: MetaMask, Fortmatic
Fees: lazy minting
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Auctions, fixed price
Creator royalty on secondary market: up to 15%
Collaboration/split payment support: Yes
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Open

Mintable

Mintable calls itself "The only DAO ran by NFTs" and highlights the ability to mint NFTs without gas fees, known as lazy minting. Similar to Rarible and Cargo, The Mintable DAO has its own governance token, MINT. Creators and collectors can earn MINT by trading on the Mintable platform.

Blockchain(s): Ethereum, Zilliqa
Token support: ERC-721
Supported currencies: ETH
Wallet Support: MetaMask
Fees: lazy minting (no upfront fee) + 2.5% (if you pay gas), 5% (gasless), or 10% (printable) platform fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Auctions, auctions with a "buy now" option
Collaboration/split payment support: No
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Open

Dapper Labs

Among the earliest players in the NFT space, Dapper Labs is known for its blockchain-based games like Cryptokitties, NBA Top Shot, and Cheeze Wizards. Dapper Labs now operates on its own blockchain called Flow.

Blockchain(s): Flow
Supported currencies: ETH, Credit Card
Wallet Support: MetaMask
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Fixed price, sales, marketplace
Medium focus: blockchain games
Exclusivity: Highly curated

Screensaver

Screensaver is the first digital marketplace built on the Ethereum Layer 2 chain Polygon. The benefit of Polygon is that cost of minting and bidding is virtually nothing. For those concerned about the environmental impact of Ethereum's current PoW (proof-of-work) system, Polygon runs on PoS (proof-of-stake) which uses much less energy than the Ethereum mainnet. Screensaver's interface is very dApp-y, which might be intimidating if you're new to DeFi and Web3.

Blockchain(s): Polygon (MATIC)
Token support: ERC-721
Supported currencies: MATIC
Wallet Support: MetaMask
Fees: minting fees + 5% marketplace fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Auctions
Creator royalty on secondary market: 15% to creator, 5% to platform
Collaboration/split payment support: No
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Open

hic et nunc

hic et nunc (which means "here and now") is the first NFT marketplace run on the Tezos blockchain. The interface feels a lot like other DeFi protocols and that's by design. Founded by Rafael Lima and supported by a grant from The Tezos Foundation, hic et nunc has quickly become one of the most popular platforms in the Tezos ecosystem. Like Screensaver, hic et nunc boasts of its environmentally "cleaner" NFT minting.

Blockchain(s): tez
Token support: Editions
Supported currencies: Tezos
Wallet Support: Metamask, Portis, Fortmatic, WalletConnect
Fees: Tezos gas fees + 2.50% marketplace fee
Smart contract import: No
Type of sales: Fixed price sales
Creator royalty on secondary market: Up to 25%
Collaboration/split payment support: No
Medium focus: None
Exclusivity: Open

So which NFT Marketplace should I choose?

When it comes to NFT marketplaces, there's no one-size-fits-all.

Perhaps there's a platform with a novel approach that you appreciate—or you're working with an underrepresented medium with a thriving community on a specific marketplace.

If you only plan on minting a few highly specialized pieces, it might benefit you to work with a smaller curated boutique agency.  If you're planning to do high volume NFT drops, you might want to consider a large platform with lazy minting or Polygon (MATIC) support like OpenSea to save on gas.

And no, you don't have to pick just one marketplace. Mix and match, experiment. Again—these are new waters, so explore freely.

What should I know before minting my first NFT?

Minting an NFT on the main platforms is a pretty straightforward process, especially if you're already comfortable with dApps and Web3 interfaces.

If you're new to crypto and don't know your way around MetaMask, it might be better for you to work with an agency that walks you through the process and takes care of the blockchain stuff for you.

Of course, we highly recommend getting familiar with crypto and Web3 for your own benefit. So if you feel like learning, go ahead. Not just for the sake of minting NFTs, but to open up the world of DeFi (or decentralized finance)—a rich cornucopia of tools and protocols for you to explore. Crypto has a reputation for being prohibitively technical and while that was certainly true in the early days, that's really not the case anymore if you take the time to learn and explore.

The business of doing business with NFTs

Many artists enter the NFT space without seeing themselves as a business—and while yes, there's always art for art's sake—but once you start selling your work, you must pay attention to the business end of it or risk leaving your financials on shaky ground.

If you've sold or purchased an NFT, you probably owe taxes. Beyond taxes, do you know how much you're earning? How are you keeping track of the expenses you've incurred creating and selling your art?

What are your top sellers?
Where do your secondary market royalties come from?
How much are you paying in fees to mint NFTs?
How are you keeping your crypto safe?

Keeping tabs on your profits and expenses is not something you should put off until tax time. Nobody wants to think about accounting—especially crypto accounting, but you'll need accurate financial data if creating NFTs is a serious endeavor for you. Whether you're an artist or collector, neglecting to keep track of your crypto transactions will absolutely come back to haunt you.

View all your wallets and transactions in one place and automatically account for them with Gilded

Trying to log crypto transactions manually with spreadsheets is a time-consuming process and prone to human error. Fortunately, there's no need to rely on spreadsheets anymore. With Gilded, you can view all your crypto wallets and transactions in one place and account for them in QuickBooks and Xero.

Are you an NFT creator or collector struggling with the business side of things? Gilded can make your life easier. Reach out to learn more.

Additional Reading

Accounting for NFTs - 5 Things to Consider
Got NFTs? You’re going to need to account for them. Two crypto CPAs—Joey Ryan and Dr. Sean Stein Smith—detail five of the most important accounting considerations for non-fungible tokens (or NFTs).
Crypto Security 101: A Guide to Keeping Your Crypto Safe
Going bankless? Whether you’re a business or an individual, security is the most important aspect of transacting with cryptocurrency. Here are eight simple ways to keep your company’s crypto safe and secure.

Founded in 2018, Gilded is backed by Techstars and the Association of International Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Gilded helps global companies scale by automating cryptocurrency payments and accounting. In 2020, Gilded announced partnerships with TrustToken, Paxos and Stablecorp to offer the world’s first B2B payment solution powered by stablecoins.

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