NFTs are the newest thing in the crypto market today. The market sales have surged to $25B by the end of 2021 according to reports. In a data by Statista, in a 30 day period as of Nov. 15, there were 22,811 NFT was sold. Peak number was recorded on Sept. 15 with a total sales of 94, 523. Also, from 2017 to 2021, there were roughly 280,000 unique buyers or sellers. The rapid rise in its popularity highly contributed to the growth in the number of marketplaces for these rare collectible items. “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS”, a digital artwork by crypto artist Beeple was sold at a whopping $69.3M at Christie’s auction. It is by far the most expensive ever sold in history even surpassing that of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” which sold at $450.3 million in Nov. 2017. Vignesh Sundaresan, a crypto investor based in Singapore was the buyer of the most expensive NFT artwork by Beeple. 

If you plan to buy your own NFT collectible, you might be wondering what are the top NFT marketplaces? In this article, we will discuss the leading NFT marketplaces and particularly what collectibles do they sell. 

5 Leading NFT Marketplaces and What They Sell

OpenSea

OpenSea NFT marketplace

 A peer-to-peer marketplace for crypto collectibles and NFTs which includes collectibles, gaming items, and other virtual goods backed by a blockchain. Using the platform, anyone can mint, buy or sell these items through a smart contract. It is so far the leader in NFT sales which has reached a trading volume of $10B. The platform was founded by Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah in December 2017. To date, the marketplace has now facilitated transactions for 634,000 users. 

The core currencies on OpenSea are Ethereum (ETH)/WETH, USDC, and DAI but it also supports other 150 tokens as payment such as UNI and WHALE. Currently, the platform does not support fiat currencies like USD and Euro. 

Using the platform, you can buy any of the following:

  1. Art
  2. Collectibles
  3. Music
  4. Sports
  5. Trading Cards
  6. Utility-based 
  7. Virtual worlds
  8. Web3 domain names

With the OpenSea platform, NFTs can be traded in Ethereum and Polygon, which they have recently added. One of the high-profile investors of the marketplace is Andreessen Horowitz who has also invested in blockchain projects like Uniswap and Maker. 

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity marker=tplace

A play-to-earn model online platform where players can buy, breed, and pit Pokemon-inspired Axie monsters. Users can also buy entire lands and other items, as NFTs for use within the game.  Built on the Ethereum network, it was launched by Sky Mavis in 2018. Only 3 years after its launching,  Axie Infinity is now the leading blockchain gaming platform with 2 million active players according to Aleksander Leonard Larsen, co-founder of Axie Infinity. In September, the gaming platform reached $2B in sales, and in November it has surpassed $2.5B following a price rally as a result of Facebook’s rebranding to Meta. 

AXS (Axie Infinity), is the governance token in the platform while SLP (Smooth Love Potion) is earned as rewards by Axie Infinity players through arena battles or adventures. It is also used to breed new Axie monsters along with AXS (Axie Infinity). 

The cheapest Axie monster is around $200 while the most expensive was sold at 300 ETH or around $620,000 at the time of sale.

CryptoPunks/Larva Labs

CryptoPunks marketplace

Larva Labs was the company behind the creation of Crypto Punks in 2017.  Other NFT projects  Meebits and Autoglyphs developed by the company but Crypto Punks is the most successful so far. It is one of the earliest non-fungible token projects developed on the Ethereum blockchain. In August, Crypto Punks hit $1B in total sales making it the second leading NFT project next to Axie Infinity. 

The first 1000 NFT rare collectibles known as the “Dev Punks” were owned by the creators while the remaining 9000 NFTs were distributed to random users for free. Of the 10,000 Crypto Punks, 6,039 are males while 3,840 are female. 

In June, CryptoPunk 7523 dubbed as “Covid Alien” was sold for $11.7M in Sotheby’s auction. The rare NFT collectible is one of nine “alien punks” in the entire series and is the only one with a mask. Shalom Meckenzie has a net worth of $1.6 billion in a report by Forbes was the buyer of the Crypto Punk. Another buyer with the pseudonym “Gmoney” spent $170,000 for a single Crypto Punk collectible. On Oct. 29, a Twitter bot that monitors Crypto Punks sales announced that CryptoPunk 9998, a not so rare collectible with wild hair and black lipstick was sold for 124,457.07 ETH or a whopping $532,414,877.01 at that time. Larva Labs stated that the sale was not counted though because the buyer and the seller were the same and it was a result of a “wash trade”. The amount used by the owner but his own NFT was from a flash loan acquired from lending protocol Compound. The main goal was to simply increase the value of the Crypto Punk item. CryptoPunk 9998 is now valued at 250,000 ETH or $1,034,655 with ETH (Ethereum) current value at $4,138.62 in data by Crypto.co.

NBA Top Shot

NBA Topshot marketplace

An online marketplace for users to bid, purchase, and sell digital highlights of NBA players. Built on the Ethereum network and launched through a partnership between the NBA and Dapper Labs in July 2019. In May, Dapper Labs’ CEO Roham Gharegozlou revealed that NBA Top Shot has reached more than $700 million in total sales in just less than a year and boasts 1 million users according to a report by Yahoo.

Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Klay Thompson. were among the former NBA players along with current and former NFL and MLB players who invested in the NFT project. In July, NBA Top Shot sales volume declined but in October CryptoSlam reported a 28% increase following a release of a new booster pack series called “Run it Back 05-06”.

Here is a list of the top 5 most expensive NBA Top Shot digital cards and their current value.

  1. LeBron James Dunk on Kings, $1,000,000 
  2. Derrick Rose Reverse Layup, $ 1,000,000
  3. Ja Morant’s Poster Dunk, $475,000
  4. Zion Williamson’s First Career Block, $149,995
  5. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Dunk, $125,000

Rarible

Rarible marketplace

An Ethereum-built platform that supports the creation, sale, and purchase of ownership rights to digital artworks using NFTs such as photographs, games, and memes. The platform was founded by Alex Salnikov and Alexei Falin in 2020. Rarible utilizes two wo NFT token standards, the ERC-721 that allows the creation of one-off unique items, and the ERC-1155 used for the creation of multiple editions of an item.

Rarible was among the top 3 most popular marketplaces by total sales gross in September data by DappRadar with a total sales gross of $212.73 million and 75,969 engaged traders.

Other leading NFT marketplaces include SuperRare, KnownOrigin, Foundation, MakersPlace, and Nifty Gateway. The rise of the NFT market came at a time when the crypto market was crippled by a series of market crashes. When BTC (bitcoin) along with top altcoins like ETH (ethereum), BNB (Binance Coin), XRP (Ripple), and DOGE (dogecoin) tremendously dropped, the soaring value of the market saved the crypto industry from free falling. In a moment of darkness so to speak, the NFT market became a steady light that has provided “hope” for crypto investors. 

In our next article, we will be featuring the top 10 most expensive NFTs ever sold in the crypto space.