OpenSea is the undisputed king of NFT Exchanges, but having suffered from multiple hacks and recently been the target of an email leak, many are turning to other platforms for answers. But what exactly is out there, and are they really any better than OpenSea?
Trials and Tribulations of the Biggest Name in NFTs
OpenSea —there’s no disputing that it’s the big kahuna in the world of NFT Exchanges, and in a recent report by Jason Wise of Earthweb , the popular platform surpassed 1 million users in 2022. However, in spite of its meteoric rise to success, OpenSea has been racked by a series of hacks and, more recently, an email leak (FYI, if you’re a user, prepare yourself for phishing emails if you haven’t had them already).
And there’s more. In an article by Steve Anderrson of The Coin Republic , Alex Atallah, co-founder of OpenSea, is leaving the Exchange to focus on other crypto developments. So does this spell doom for OpenSea? Nah, that doesn’t seem very likely at this point. What it does mean is that OpenSea has its fair share of issues and politics, and due to the security concerns many users have, they’re seeking some feasible alternatives to OpenSea.
And What Are Some Alternatives?
So what else is out there? And are they really any better than OpenSea? In all truth, there are several NFT Exchanges out there, but three we’d like to share with you today include:
Rarible has proven to be a popular NFT marketplace that has somewhere in the region of 2 million active monthly users. In addition, it allows users to buy and trade NFTs on a couple of blockchains, namely Ethereum , Flow and Tezos . Like OpenSea, Rarible is friendly to beginners and has a simple UI that’s easy to navigate. It also allows artists to set royalty fees of up to 50% (though this might discourage buyers looking to purchase and sell their NFTs on the secondary market).
Unfortunately commissions on Rarible tend to be higher than some of its competitors, and they don’t have a mobile app (which isn’t that big a deal, but some NFT fans like using apps to browse and buy their favorite picks). And sadly, Rarible isn’t without its own issues (yup, it ain’t just OpenSea after all!) A security vulnerability was recently discovered in Rarible’s core code, and famous Taiwanese singer Jay Chou actually fell prey to the scam, losing an NFT to an attacker who then proceeded to sell said NFT for $500,000 on the marketplace!
Oops! While the vulnerability has been addressed, this just proves that OpenSea isn’t the only NFT platform with its share of problems or being targeted by hackers. Could attacks happen again in the future? Well, yes. It is a possibility. However, this is why it’s important to be careful with what you click on, who you talk to and what you do on NFT platforms and in other online spaces. In most cases, if you’re just careful and do your due diligence, you should be totally fine. And if in doubt, just ask!
Another contender in the NFT space is LooksRare. Much like Rarible, it’s a ‘community-first’ NFT marketplace, but a lot of its popularity arises from the fact that any users that buy or sell NFTs on the platform earn LOOKS tokens. What is cool about LooksRare is that 100% of all the platform’s fees are earned by LOOKS stakers, and creators immediately receive royalty payments the moment a sale occurs. Pretty sweet!
So LooksRare is just great then, right?
Uh well, not exactly. You see, back in February, the LooksRare team decided to cash out big on LOOKS tokens (somewhere in the region of $30 million worth of ETH), crashing the price and leaving the community furious, and rightfully so. Oof!
In addition, another article appearing on Fortune by Olga Kharif points out that somewhere in the region of $18 billion of the trading volume on the platform (about 95% of the total activity) can be attributed to ‘wash sales’ in which users pretty much sell tokens to themselves so that they can earn more rewards. While this isn’t exactly ‘illegal,’ it’s a major gray area in terms of crypto regulation and ethically questionable to say the very least.
To call LooksRare entirely reputable would be a little generous then, but in spite of the behavior of its core team and many of its users, it’s still a popular site. So should you use it? That’s entirely your call, but whatever you decide, just be aware of the attendant risks and what’s going on with this platform.
Finally we have X2Y2, a relatively new NFT marketplace that launched in February 2022. In spite of the fact that it’s still a new kid on the block and has only a fraction of the Twitter followers OpenSea does, X2Y2 has enjoyed a lot of attention and features trading fees (at least for the month of July) of only 0.5% (much less than OpenSea’s 2.5% fee). We don’t need to tell you that this fact alone means users save thousands of dollars whenever they buy an NFT. It’s a big deal, and these savings are attracting users to the platform.
X2Y2 also allows users to list and buy NFTs in bulk, saving them money in the process. The platform also claims to be the first in which profit-sharing is a feature: users who stake their X2Y2 tokens on the platform receive a percentage of the fees for all NFT trades proportional to their share. So it seems that these guys definitely have a focus on the community and adding value to the experiences of end users.
So what’s the dirt on these guys? Well, owing to their newness, there isn’t all that much. However, in a controversial move, X2Y2 delisted and then relisted Ryder Ripps’ knockoff BAYC collection , which caused some grumblings, particularly among BAYC fans. But, beyond this, the platform seems to be performing well, even outpacing OpenSea in sales in recent weeks. Now that really is impressive!
And What’s the Final Verdict?
What’s abundantly clear is that most, if not all, NFT marketplaces have their drawbacks and downsides, but are they all equal? Absolutely not.
Of the aforementioned marketplaces, you might think X2Y2 is the logical alternative to OpenSea, and that may indeed be true. However, remember that it’s still relatively new and that any dormant issues that may exist might only surface in the coming weeks or months. That said, it’s done pretty well for itself in its short lifespan, and we’re definitely interested to see how X2Y2 performs in the future.
And does this mean the other marketplaces are trash? No, not necessarily. A lot of people use these platforms—you just may not agree with everything they do there. Or, maybe that kind of thing is your cup of tea? Whatever the case, you should have a better idea of what’s going on with OpenSea and some of its competitors.
But if we really want people to buy into and participate in NFTs, several roadblocks need to be removed, and any concerns or stigmas will need to be duly addressed. The platform that’s able to achieve these ends may very well become the dominant player in the NFT space and bring much-needed security, transparency and participation to this relatively new class of digital assets.