Coinbase announced Wednesday that its NFT marketplace is now in beta and open to “a small range of beta testers who are invited based on their position” on the waiting list. The company aims to include established players in the space by adding social features such as a comment system (with upvotes and downvotes) and an algorithmic feed.
Visually, the screenshots Coinbase includes in its blog post look like a cross between Instagram and OpenSea, one of the largest NFT marketplaces. There are profiles where users can show off their collections (and that other people can follow), as well as a discovery feed that Coinbase says will recommend NFTs to you “based on what you buy, what’s trending, who you follow, and more.” The marketplace also supports favorite NFTs just like OpenSea and other marketplaces.
Of course, there is also a “Store” tab that beta testers can visit to buy NFTs. Currently, the marketplace only supports the Ethereum blockchain, and beta users log in with a wallet such as Coinbase’s or MetaMask’s. While the company has said that Coinbase NFT will support Mastercard in the future, prices are currently only quoted in ETH.
While Coinbase is a major player in the crypto exchange world, it feels like it’s coming a little late in NFTs. if Bloomberg points out that the market is showing some signs of weakening: DappRadar’s NFT marketplace tracker shows that trading volume and number of traders in the top marketplaces have declined almost everywhere over the past month. OpenSea, the largest NFT store, has about 67 percent fewer trades compared to March and 23 percent fewer traders. And while search interest in NFTs increased between October 2021 and January 2022, it has since fallen back to roughly normal levels.
The company announced its NFT marketplace in October, saying there are some seemingly essential features that aren’t in the current beta. Minting, NFTs on other blockchains (OpenSea has preliminary support for Polygon and Solana), and even the ability to buy the tokens with your Coinbase account or credit card are all currently planned for the “coming weeks and months”. It is of course not accessible to everyone at the moment. The company says it will go through the waiting list, ranking people in part by the number of others they’ve got on the waiting list.