OpenSea is a revolutionary decentralized marketplace for purchasing and selling NFTs. If you’re wondering what NFTs are, they’re unique, collectible digital things like in-game assets, avatars, trading cards, and art.
OpenSea recorded well over $3.5 billion in NFT trading volume in August 2021 alone. Given that it only had $21 million in importance for the entire year of 2020, the 12,000% increase in trading activity indicates success.
Investors such as Mark Cuban, Kevin Durant, Ashton Kutcher, and crypto powerhouse a16z have helped push OpenSea’s valuation to over $1 billion, seemingly overnight elevating the young NFT platform to unicorn status.
NFT collectors, artists, investors, and traders praise OpenSea, but it can be challenging to navigate if you’re new to the platform. This OpenSea beginner’s guide provides a straightforward explanation of NFTs, what OpenSea is, and how to use it, as well as some of the best NFTs on the market.
First of all: What is an NFT?
Understanding NFTs before diving into OpenSea will save you time and confusion later. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. That doesn’t tell you much, and there’s a lot to unpack, so let’s begin at the beginning.
A fungible token is a digital coin, such as Bitcoin, that can be traded interchangeably. Because fungible tokens are not unique, a Bitcoin is always equal to another Bitcoin. The same is true for traditional currency. For example, because dollar bills are interchangeable, neither of you loses anything if you trade them.
A non-fungible token, on the other hand, represents a one-of-a-kind digital good. For example, consider CryptoPunks profile pic avatars, Axie Infinity in-game collectibles, and original digital artworks. As a result, if you own a CryptoPunks NFT and a friend also owns a CryptoPunks NFT, they are not interchangeable in the same way that currencies are because they are different digital objects.
NFTs have captivated digital creators of all stripes because they enable provable ownership of digital objects for the first time. Furthermore, they allow creators and collectors to deal directly with one another, which is what OpenSea’s peer-to-peer NFT market is all about.
So what’s the OpenSea NFT marketplace
OpenSea bills itself as the first and largest NFT marketplace in the world. In other words, OpenSea is like eBay for digital objects and collectibles.
Alex Atallah and Devin Finzer founded OpenSea in New York City in 2017. Soon after, they applied to the renowned Y Combinator startup accelerator and received a $2.7 million investment.
Early on, the OpenSea team had a lot to prove. Apart from early fads like CryptoKitties, NFTs had yet to catch on before 2021. Finally, however, the team’s prediction that people would soon value digital objects as much — if not more — than physical ones began to come true. So here’s some context to help you understand what OpenSea is.
Trading in cryptocurrency tokens laid the groundwork for the current NFT boom. People around the world trade digital currency and utility tokens around the clock. They are at ease with digitally owning items they cannot see or feel, indicating that the digital native era has arrived.
People are increasingly interacting with digital objects as they live their lives online. However, in the early days of the web, people attempted to bring the physical into the digital. The current phase is all about digital-first creations, such as good memes, games, and interactive experiences.
This is also why people are moving away from using selfies as profile pic avatars on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. Instead, penguins, pixelated punks, and jaded apes with laser eyes take over as avatars.
In a broader sense, all of these indicators point to the birth of the metaverse — a shared virtual space that we all create and own together and in which NFTs play an essential role. So, while it’s tempting to think of OpenSea as the eBay of digital objects, it’s much more than that.
It is yours when you purchase an NFT, like groceries are yours after payment. But what if you want to transfer it, sell it, or look for others like it? What if you’re going to buy an NFT but view its ownership history easily?
There was no easy way to do any of these things before OpenSea. Yes, OpenSea is a peer-to-peer NFT marketplace, but it is also the user interface layer between the blockchain and everyday consumers, making NFTs accessible to everyone.
Features of the OpenSea NFT Marketplace
On OpenSea, you can do a lot of cool things. Of course, the most common actions are trading, selling, or buying various NFTs. However, you can also use the platform to learn more about the NFT market and new projects.
Create NFTs with Ease and Start an NFT Collection
Without any prior experience, OpenSea allows you to create your own NFTs. To get started, you must first create an NFT collection. After that, you can begin uploading NFTs in supported formats. Finally, if your NFT project is going public, include information about it, such as Twitter/Telegram.
Support for a Variety of NFTs On the blockchain, NFTs can represent any object, whether physical or digital in origin. That’s pretty broad, isn’t it? Thankfully, OpenSea has narrowed the scope to useful categories that capture the most popular NFTs today.
Art, music, domain names, virtual worlds, trading cards, collectibles, sports assets, and utility NFTs such as membership passes are all available.
Consumer and Developer NFT Marketplaces
OpenSea has the world’s largest inventory of NFTs for sale. As a result, it has become the de facto marketplace for retail users purchasing NFTs, as well as an important venue for developers.
Developers can use OpenSea to quickly create custom NFT marketplaces for selling in-game items, crowdfunding projects, creating airdrops for users, and more.
Support for multiple blockchains, including Polygon and Ethereum
For NFTs, Ethereum is the most important blockchain in the world. NFT artists, developers, and collectors have already given Ethereum the crown, as have decentralized finance projects.
As many people are already aware, the Ethereum experience is fraught with difficulties due to its lack of scalability. Due to high gas fees, transactions involving NFT sales and transfers are notoriously expensive.
Given Ethereum’s current shortcomings, the Polygon integration from OpenSea is especially welcome. Polygon is a blockchain that allows Ethereum tokens, such as NFTs, to be transferred quickly and cheaply. Indeed, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin recently urged NFT projects to migrate to Polygon.
On OpenSea, switching between Polygon and Ethereum networks is as simple as clicking a button — a nice user-friendly touch that is simple for beginners.
NFT Analytics and Statistics
In comparison to decentralized finance and other crypto sectors, the NFT market is relatively new. It can be difficult if you don’t know where to look for statistics and analytics on specific NFTs and more significant NFT trends.
OpenSea has made this process much easier by simply compiling its marketplace data and making it available for anyone to sort based on rankings (by sales volume) and activity (most recent sales).
The OpenSea fees are reasonable.
The deal is that OpenSea provides the NFT marketplace infrastructure for free, and users pay a 2.5% fee on each NFT sale to cover the platform’s upkeep.
Given that eBay fees start at 10% and rise from there, OpenSea’s flat-rate sales fee is entirely reasonable. The fee paid to OpenSea is the same whether your NFT sells for $10 or $10,000,000.
What currencies does OpenSea accept for the purchase of NFTs?
Purchasing NFTs can be perplexing when thousands of different cryptocurrencies are available. To make matters even more complicated, the same NFT is likely to be priced in multiple currencies, including ETH, DAI, and USD.
ETH is the most commonly used base currency for purchasing and trading NFTs. It’s also the most common currency on OpenSea. But there is one thing you should be aware of: OpenSea employs a wrapped version of ETH known as WETH (wrapped ETH).
Make sure you’ve converted some ETH to WETH before bidding on an NFT auction. The simplest way to convert is in your OpenSea wallet. Once there, you can select wrap for the specified amount by clicking the dropdown.
You’ll need a little ETH to pay for gas to finish the job, but once done, you’re ready to place bids on OpenSea.
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