These days, you can’t have the cryptocurrency or blockchain discussion without taking a moment to talk about NFTs. These unique pieces of digital art that live on the blockchain and are traded in cryptocurrency rather than fiat currency have become a valuable, high-demand commodity.

Interestingly, due to the fact that NFTs are so new, Opensea largely has a monopoly as the go-to marketplace to buy these digital artworks. However, the platform has a major competitor that’s expecting to hit the ground running by the end of this year. 

Coinbase Will Launch an NFT Marketplace This Year

News broke Monday that Coinbase, the company known as the go-to source for trading the most in-demand cryptocurrencies, plans on launching an NFT marketplace. While we know that the marketplace is expected to launch by the end of the year, there’s not much else available as to what to expect from the new marketplace. 

The company launched a waiting list, hosted here, that gives users the ability to sign up for updates surrounding the launch of the new service. Although there hasn’t been much information offered surrounding what the service will entail, we can draw a few conclusions by taking a look at the landing page for the waiting list, one that starts with three simple words, “Create,” “Collect,” and “Connect.”

This message prominently displayed on the new webpage suggests that the service will offer much more than a simple marketplace for NFTs. The way I see it, users can expect:

  • NFT Creator. More and more people are becoming interested in making their own NFT collection. Considering the first word in the three word message is “Create,” I’m expecting that Coinbase NFT will come with some kind of NFT creator that makes it simple for users to either create digital art, easily turn digital art into NFTs, or a mix of the two. This would be a key functionality as NFTs created through Coinbase would be sold on the Coinbase NFT marketplace, helping to solidify the company as a leader in the industry. 
  • Secure Wallet. NFTs must be stored by the owner. There are several different websites and even physical gadgets available to secure the storage of these valuable digital collectibles. While Coinbase already offers a wallet for cryptocurrency, I’m expecting that the company will launch a secure version specifically for those that purchase NFTs. 
  • Social Capabilities. Finally, the last word in the three-word message is connect. There are many ways that NFT owners connect. Either through events only accessible to the people that own certain NFTs, or on Discord and a wide range of other social networks. I’m expecting that with the launch of Coinbase NFT, the company will launch either a forum, or a full-blown social network designed to bring the NFT community together. 

While this is great news for Coinbase and the NFT community as a whole, it’s likely to hit OpenSea like a ton of bricks. The company that enjoyed a monopoly of sorts for quite some time will soon have a real competitor to contend with. It’s like being the owner of a fried chicken restaurant in a rural area of the country where options are limited and finding out that KFC is moving in across the street. 

What will be interesting is how OpenSea, the figurative chicken joint in a small town, reacts to Coinbase, the figurative KFC, coming to town. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few new features hit OpenSea’s platform relatively soon. 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is simple. Coinbase’s entry into the NFT space is a major win for collectors, creators, and the technology as a whole. The company has minted itself as a leader in the cryptocurrency industry and with NFT’s becoming so popular, it’s great to welcome such a successful blockchain player to the fray.