OpenSea is an online marketplace on which users can purchase, sell, and trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The company, which is headquartered in New York City, was founded in December 2017 by Devin Finzer (CEO) and Alex Atallah (CTO).
Users on OpenSea can acquire some of the world’s most in-demand projects including Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks, and others.
The marketplace itself supports NFTs that are built on blockchains such as Ethereum, Polygon, Klatyn, and Solana.
OpenSea has become synonymous with the rise of NFTs and is now considered the leading marketplace in the industry. In 2021, transaction volumes on the platform surpassed $14 billion, up 646x (!) from the year prior. OpenSea monetizes its platform via transaction fees.
Investors certainly liked what the company was doing as well. They poured a combined $427.2 million into OpenSea, which is currently valued at $13.3 billion. Over 800 people are now employed by the firm.
However, the firm has also been subject to criticism. For instance, its employees have been caught trading on insider information. Additionally, OpenSea has already been hacked multiple times, causing owners to lose their precious NFTs.
The methodology with which competitors of OpenSea are ranked is based on a variety of publicly available information. Data such as revenue, trading volume, valuation, the number of employees, and anything else in between will be taken into account.
This analysis only looks at pure-play marketplace competitors. NFT-based games such as Axie Infinity or NBA Top Shot will therefore be excluded.
It has to be noted that this analysis should not be seen as an endorsement of either service. It is merely a summary of the competition that OpenSea faces as of today.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 7 competitors of OpenSea.
1. Magic Eden
Headquarters: Mountain View, California Founder(s): Zhuoxun Yin, Jack Lu Year Founded: 2021
Magic Eden is the leading pure-play Solana-based marketplace – a feat that is surprising considering that it only was launched back in September 2021. Half a year later, in May 2022, Magic Eden even topped OpenSea in daily transactions.
The firm’s founders have worked at companies such as Google, Boston Consulting Group, Coinbase, FTX, Uber, and Bain, among others. Assembling a rockstar team enabled them to raise close to $30 million in funding out of the gate.
For now, Magic Eden’s founding team remains hyper-focused on the Solana blockchain. As a result, it offers substantially more wallet connections (such as Solflare, Exodus, or Solet, among others) compared to OpenSea. However, it is very likely that Magic Eden will eventually add support for other blockchains such as Ethereum.
In total, Magic Eden has already facilitated close to $1.5 billion in trading volume since it was launched. The platform employs close to 100 people while taking a cut of 2 percent from every transaction.
Headquarters: Los Angeles, California Founder(s): Alexander Salnikov, Alexei Falin, Rhoniel Gabay Year Founded: 2020
Rarible calls itself the community-centric NFT marketplace. For instance, interested buyers can connect with creators via the Rarible Messenger or simply follow them. The increased social interaction among members fosters trust, one of the key issues in the space.
One key distinction to OpenSea is the fact that Rarible is not privately owned but functions as a DAO. Members can use its native RARI token to vote on new features. Income-wise though, Rarible also makes money the same way OpenSea does: by taking a cut of 2.5 percent.
Another underscoring of its creator-first approach are Rarible’s royalty fees. Creators can earn up to 50 percent for every secondary sale while the ones on OpenSea (and many other platforms, for that matter) are capped at 10 percent.
Rarible has raised $16 million in venture funding thus far, allowing it to hire around 150 people. Its RARI token currently has a market cap of $20 million.
Headquarters: San Diego, California Founder(s): John Crain, Jonathan Perkins Year Founded: 2018
SuperRare, as the name indicates, focuses on promoting NFTs from more exclusive artists that are often not available on any other marketplace. In fact, its goal is to bridge the world of traditional art galleries with selling digital items.
To that extent, only a few selected artists are added to the platform every month. Currently, Ethereum-based projects are solely traded on SuperRare. One key differentiator is the fact that SuperRare charges a whopping 15 percent for primary sales and 2.5 percent on all secondary transactions.
It justifies those fees by allowing creators to sell their work at a much higher price. In fact, the average NFT on SuperRare is auctioned off for $8,500 – substantially higher than the $640 an average NFT on OpenSea sells for.
Investors have supported SuperRare, which employs close to 100 people, with $9 million in funding. Close to $250 million worth of NFTs have been sold and traded on the platform thus far.
Headquarters: unknown Founder(s): anonymous Year Founded: 2022
LooksRare has only been in business since January 2022 but has already risen to become the second-highest-grossing NFT marketplace with a lifetime volume of over $23 billion. Unfortunately, if it sounds too good to be true, it often is.
The reason why LooksRare is ranked further below is the fact that allegedly 95 percent of its trading volume is users selling to themselves (called wash sales). They are incentivized to do that because LooksRare rewards both buyers and sellers whenever they complete a transaction by handing out its native token (LOOK) as a reward.
So, users simply sell to themselves and then collect the token as reward. LooksRare currently charges 2 percent for every successful transaction on the platform.
The identity of the founders is currently unknown, which is nothing uncommon in the crypto industry. They call themselves Guts and Zodd.
5. Nifty Gateway
Headquarters: San Francisco, California Founder(s): Duncan Cock Foster, Griffin Cock Foster Year Founded: 2018
Nifty Gateway was founded by the twin brothers Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster. It, therefore, wasn’t particularly surprising when, in November 2019, crypto exchange Gemini announced that it had acquired the exchange for an undisclosed amount.
After all, Gemini itself is led by the Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler. The company itself says that it “will not rest until 1 billion people are collecting NFTs.”
It aims to reach that goal by offering a variety of distinctive features not available on other marketplaces. For example, users can actually purchase NFTs using USD and will thus avoid Ethereum-related gas fees.
The platform also has its own dedicated Collector Advisory and Collector Support teams that are there to assist both buyers and creators during the process. Its guided approach has, for instance, allowed the platform to sell NFTs worth close to $92 million – in one weekend alone.
Overall, the company boasts a lifetime transaction volume of more than $400 million (based on December 2021 numbers). Around 70 people are currently employed by Nifty Gateway.
Headquarters: Singapore Founder(s): Zach Burks Year Founded: 2018
Mintable, apart from art collectives, also promotes NFTs in industries such as music, videos, and even utilities such as domain names or eBooks.
One of its key differentiators is that it provides (former) college athletes with the option to monetize their work. For example, it has worked with former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (now Jacksonville Jaguars) as well as NHL player Matthew Tkachuk to create digital collectibles.
It also offers a variety of marketing services for creators. They can purchase a variety of packages that grant them exposure via email marketing or press releases, among other channels. Its Sellers University provides creators with the necessary information to get started creating and selling NFTs.
The marketplace even made news in February 2022 after it recovered three previously stolen OpenSea NFTs. Investors have rewarded the firm’s good deeds with $13 million in funding thus far. Mintable itself currently employs around 50 people.
7. Binance NFT Marketplace
Headquarters: none Founder(s): Binance Year Founded: 2021
When the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange decides to enter the world of NFTs, it is automatically a force to be reckoned with. Binance launched its namesake NFT marketplace back in June 2021 to capitalize on the hype.
Being supported by the wider Binance ecosystem enables the company to offer substantially lower minting fees. On the other side, creators will only earn 1 percent in royalties for any secondary sale, a far cry from the 10 percent many other platforms like OpenSea provide users with.
Nonetheless, the lower royalties didn’t scare creators away at all. Within six months of launching, Binance onboarded 1,000+ creators who created a total of 2.5 million NFTs.
One of the platform’s key distinctions are the so-called Mystery Boxes. These allow buyers to collect surprise NFTs that come with varying degrees of rarity. More than one million mystery boxes totaling $360 million have been sold thus far.
The NF market is expected to grow by over $145 billion from 2022 to 2027. As a result, there is a multitude of other platforms gunning for OpenSea’s lead.
For once, established exchanges have gone on to launch NF marketplaces to widen their offering. Coinbase, for example, launched its marketplace back in April 2022. Unfortunately, adoption and volumes have been lackluster thus far.
Similarly, FTX has launched its own marketplace for ETH and SOL projects. However, is only available in about two dozen states as of now.
There is also a variety of other pure-play NFT marketplaces that didn’t make the cut, simply because their volume isn’t big enough. Examples include NFTrade, Foundation, Fractal, or Tom Brady’s own marketplace called Autograph, among many others.
And lastly, as previously mentioned, various play-to-earn games can technically be considered NFT marketplaces as well.
This is because they all rely on the same Ethereum token standard, called ERC-721, to mint their NFTs. Some of the most prominent play-to-earn games include Axie Infinity, NBA Top Shot, Sorare, and such.