5 Questions to Ask When Choosing an NFT Marketplace

Shop non-fungible token selling platforms till you drop

Non-fungible tokens—better known as NFTs—have taken the investment market by storm in recent months. Their popularity is driven by three factors: individuality (they are one of a kind); fandom; and value (consider that Jack Dorsey’s first tweet recently sold as an NFT for $2.9 million).

In a nutshell, an NFT is a digital file whose identity and ownership are verified through a digital ledger using blockchain technology. Anything that lives online can theoretically be purchased as an NFT (if it is turned into one by the owner), including GIFs, images, memes, tweets, music albums, videos, virtual land and virtual accessories. Real-life items like cars and real estate can also be “tokenized” as NFTs.

While NFTs started as a vehicle for artists to sell their work, brands have now gotten into the game. The NBA leveraged NFTs to create NBA Top Shop, a digital trading card market where thousands of fans wait on a virtual line for the opportunity to buy virtual cards. In March, Taco Bell listed five taco-themed GIFs for auction with five editions each. The 25 NFTs sold out in 30 minutes. And Charmin released its own toilet paper-themed NFTs, branding them as the NFTP (non-fungible toilet paper).

While creating NFTs delightful enough to lure investors is crucial, choosing the right platform on which to sell them is just as important.

There are many different NFT marketplaces, and new ones seem to launch every day. Here are five questions you should ask to decide which NFT marketplace is right for your brand.

Is your NFT exclusive or for the people?

Each of these platforms has a certain niche and focus within the NFT space. Foundation, which is focused on digital art, is a “Clubhouse-y” platform, controlled by NFT creators who invite other creators to join. OpenSea has a much broader range of digital goods, gunning to be “the Amazon of NFT marketplaces.”

Does the marketplace’s popularity and reach match your brand priorities?

Picking a marketplace that is well known to potential buyers might seem like a no-brainer, but it depends on how you want to position your brand.

You may want your NFT to be exclusive and competitive. If so, then you might be looking at something like SuperRare, which specializes in single-edition, verified art from vetted creators. It’s known for selling firsts, like the first house and the first concert NFTs. If, however, you want to make your NFT available to the masses, OpenSea or another even more accessible and diverse platform, Rarible, can help you find more potential buyers.

Are you minding the company you keep?

Make sure as a brand that you’re comfortable and in alignment with other brands featured on the marketplace. For example, are you a Sotheby’s-type brand (Nifty Gateway), or more like a Taco Bell or Pringles brand (Rarible), or would you like to be seen with popular sports and media brands like the Golden State Warriors and Bleacher Report (OpenSea)?

Does the quality of NFTs on the platform square up with your brand objectives?

You would think most brands would want to be in a marketplace that features high-quality NFTs. Those tend to be on the more exclusive platforms like SuperRare and Foundation (the invitation-only marketplace run by creators). On larger, more democratized marketplaces, you may find your brand within a bazaar of NFTs, which may be of lower quality given the lack of curation.

Is the marketplace environmentally friendly?

Most sales are conducted through Ethereum, which uses a process called mining to keep a secure record of NFT transactions. Wired wrote that this process “uses energy on the scale of a small country.”

While marketers can’t control the amount of energy used, they can choose marketplaces that have at least addressed sustainability on their sites. Partnering with companies like Native can offset the resulting carbon emissions. Native has helped many others offset work-related travel costs (pre-Covid), and this is yet another way the company can help minimize your footprint while maximizing creativity.

There’s no doubt that creating an NFT that will wow fans and create optimal buzz is important. By carefully considering the marketplace criteria above, brands can better control how they want their NFT to be perceived and the target audience they want to reach so that, ultimately, their NFTs can realize their optimal value.