Market MakingVenture CapitalAbout Us

What is the NFT Marketplace?

Mar 22, 2023
/Table of contents

Aut accusam


Whether you're a collector or creator in the NFT industry, an NFT marketplace is an essential part of your journey. These platforms serve as a core pillar of the NFT space, providing a hub for buyers and sellers and supporting the engagement and community structures that are central to the ecosystem. The NFT market is expected to progress at a CAGR of 34.2% over the next few years, and NFT marketplaces will see corresponding growth. This imminent movement is a compelling argument for understanding NFT marketplaces to maximize their use and even consider creating one yourself.

NFT Market Projections 2019-2030 (Source: Emergen Research)

NFT Marketplaces Explained

Like any other market, the NFT sphere has its key components and NFT marketplaces are one of them. Explained very simply, NFT marketplaces are online platforms where people can buy, sell, and trade non-fungible tokens.

So How Do These Marketplaces Work?

Typically, an NFT marketplace acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers of NFTs. As the products, non-fungible tokens form the foundation of the NFT market. Creators provide these products while investor participation drives liquidity and defines the demand for non-fungible tokens. NFT marketplaces meanwhile are where all of this actually occurs. NFT marketplaces allow creators to upload their digital content and sell it as an NFT to interested buyers. Meanwhile, buyers get to browse through the marketplace's offerings and purchase NFTs using crypto.

OpenSea Create Page (Source: OpenSea)

Types of NFT Marketplaces

NFT marketplaces come in various types, each with its unique features and benefits. These types include:

Curated marketplaces

These are highly selective, and they only allow top-tier creators and high-value digital assets to be listed. These marketplaces often require an invitation to join and focus on quality over quantity, ensuring that the NFTs listed are of the highest quality.

Open marketplaces

Unlike curated marketplaces, these marketplaces, as the name implies, are open to anyone who wants to buy or sell an NFT. They have a wider range of digital assets listed, but the quality may vary. They often have lower listing fees and are more accessible to a broader range of creators and buyers.

Fractional marketplaces 

Fractional marketplaces allow multiple investors to own a fraction of a high-value NFT, enabling smaller investors to participate in the market. These marketplaces break down the ownership of an NFT into smaller pieces, allowing investors to purchase a portion of the NFT's ownership.

Building an NFT Marketplace

In creating your own NFT marketplace, there are a few things you need to consider, but the most important one may be exactly what you’re offering customers. 

NFT Marketplace Functionality

The NFT marketplace is a hybrid platform that combines features of an auction, online shop, and blockchain technology. It allows users to create and sell their own unique non-fungible tokens. To attract and retain customers, it's important to offer additional features that enhance the user experience. When developing your own NFT marketplace, consider starting with these essential elements. Here’s a list of some features that should be available to a potential user whether a client or collector. 


Buyers browse the offerings and search for non-fungible tokens by category, creator, price, or other criteria, using a storefront/dashboard for comprehensive information on each asset. Data such as the owner, title, price, and description among other details should be available to aid the buyer’s decision.

Nifty Gateway Storefront (Source: Nifty Gateway)

Advanced Search Options

The storefront should include advanced search options, such as filters by category, payment method, due date, and listing status, to make it easier for users to locate the assets they want. This will really come in handy given the abundance of similar assets in the NFT sector. 

Wallet Integration

NFT users need a wallet for NFT tokens and cryptocurrencies. Popular cryptocurrency wallets like Metamask, MyEtherWallet, Coinbase, and WalletConnect can be integrated if they support your NFT protocol.

Waller integration request (Source: OpenSea)

User Accounts

Accounts provide an immersive marketplace experience, allowing users to track purchases and sales, view bidding history, and manage settings. Registration typically requires email, phone, or social media accounts, as well as cryptocurrency accounts.

Customer Support

Reliable and responsive support services are critical, with call centers or email assistance and information platforms such as FAQs, tutorials, and guides available to help users.

Additional functionality to provide a robust user experience includes;

  1. Wishlist
  2. Notification settings
  3. Portfolio management
  4. Social media integration 
  5. Analytics and Reporting

Top NFT Marketplaces

Looking at other leading platforms can help you paint a clear picture of what it is you want. 


OpenSea has made a name as the go-to platform for NFT enthusiasts around the globe as it features a vast collection of digital assets ranging from art, gaming items, music, domain names, and more. It is built on the Ethereum blockchain and offers a user-friendly interface with a powerful search engine as well as support for over 150 cryptocurrency payment tokens. 


Rarible is a community-owned NFT art marketplace that offers a wide range of collections and art pieces. Its decentralized platform is designed to provide a secure and transparent environment for both buyers and sellers. Rarible has worked in partnership with well-known brands to support and promote creative works in the form of NFTs. It also features a social network where creators and buyers can interact with each other and build a community around their work.

Rarible Homepage (Source: Rarible)

Nifty Gateway 

Nifty Gateway is a unique NFT marketplace that features drops from popular artists and brands. You might want to take cues from the platform given its role in the sales of two of the biggest NFT projects which are Beeple's CROSSROAD and Pak's The Merge. 


SuperRare is a curated NFT marketplace that focuses on high-quality digital art. This sets the platform apart as it creates a gallery-like atmosphere within the NFT space. The platform features a strict curation process to ensure that only the best works are listed on the site, indeed only about 1% of artists who apply end up getting accepted. This results in a collection of unique and innovative artworks that showcase the platform's commitment to quality over quantity.

SuperRare Homepage (Source: SuperRare)

Table showing top NFT marketplaces and their specialization

NFT Marketplace



Wide selection of NFTs


Decentralized NFT marketplace for collectors


Best for unique digital collectibles

Nifty Gateway

Top NFT marketplace for content creators

NBA Top Shot

Sports NFTs


Offers participation rewards

Magic Eden

Top Solana marketplace


Fast rising NFT marketplace

How to Create Your Own NFT Marketplace

Here are 5 steps to help you set up your own NFT marketplace

Choose a Niche

Define the scope and objectives of your NFT marketplace. This includes determining the types of NFTs you will support, the purpose of your marketplace, and the features you will offer. This will help you to identify your target audience and create a roadmap for building your platform. You might want to research existing NFT marketplaces and identify gaps in the market that you can fill with your niche.

Settle on a Blockchain Platform

Choosing the right blockchain is crucial for NFT marketplace development, with Ethereum being the most popular choice due to its advanced smart contract capabilities and developer community. Factors to consider when choosing a blockchain include transaction speed, scalability, and gas fees. Multichain marketplaces are also a great option as they let users trade NFTs across multiple blockchains.

UI/UX Design

Once you have selected your development partner, start working on the UI/UX designs for your NFT marketplace. The design should be intuitive, user-friendly, and visually appealing to attract and engage potential buyers and sellers. Your interface should allow users to browse, buy, and sell NFTs easily, and include features like a search bar, categories, and filters.

Front-End Development and Smart Contracts

The next step is to start developing the front-end of your NFT marketplace, which includes designing the website or app, creating a user login system, and integrating payment gateways. Popular payment gateways for cryptocurrencies include Coinbase, BitPay, and CoinPayments. You'll also need to create smart contracts to facilitate NFT transactions and ensure that they are secure and transparent.

Back-End Development

Back-end development is a crucial aspect of NFT marketplace development. The back-end development team will handle the server-side code, including creating databases to store user data, optimizing page load speeds, and ensuring that the platform is scalable.

Testing Phase

Once you have developed your NFT marketplace, you need to test it thoroughly to ensure that it is secure, scalable, and user-friendly. Once you are satisfied with the results, deploy your NFT marketplace on the blockchain.


Finally, you need to market your NFT marketplace. Promoting your platform through social media, content marketing, and paid advertising can help you attract users and grow your community. By following these steps, you can create a successful NFT marketplace that meets the needs of both creators and collectors.

Final Thoughts: Why Build An NFT Marketplace?

As the NFT space continues to evolve, new opportunities are emerging for developers and entrepreneurs. For instance, NFT-based businesses are transitioning to utility-based tokens that shift value from the NFTs themselves to other things they can offer users. By building an NFT marketplace suited to this class of NFTs, you can tap into the rising demand and generate significant revenue. Overall, an NFT marketplace can be an excellent opportunity to enter the world of digital assets as well as a promising venture with long-term growth potential.


How much does it cost to create an NFT marketplace?

The total cost depends on the complexity of the platform and the features included. However, it can range from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How long does it take to develop an NFT marketplace?

It can vary based on the scope of the project and the expertise of the development team. However, it typically takes several months to a year to develop a fully functional NFT marketplace.

How does an NFT marketplace make money?

Transaction fees on NFT sales and other revenue sources like advertising or premium listings.