Coinbase announced on Wednesday that its NFT marketplace is now in beta and accessible to “a small set of beta testers who’ll be invited based on their position” on its waitlist. The company is looking to take on established players in the space by adding social features, like a comment system (with upvotes and downvotes) and an algorithmic feed.
Visually speaking, 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 which other people can follow) as well as a discover 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 favoriting NFTs, as do OpenSea and other marketplaces.
Of course, there’s also a “Shop” tab that beta testers can visit to purchase NFTs. Currently, the marketplace only supports the Ethereum blockchain, and beta users log in using a wallet like the one Coinbase offers or MetaMask. While the company has said that Coinbase NFT will support Mastercard in the future, prices are currently only listed in ETH.
While Coinbase is a major player in the crypto exchange world, it does feel like it’s getting into NFTs a bit late. As Bloomberg points out, the market is showing some signs of flagging: DappRadar’s NFT marketplace tracker shows that trading volume and the number of traders on the top marketplaces have almost universally decreased in the past month. OpenSea, the largest NFT shop, has around 67 percent fewer trades compared to what it had in March and 23 percent fewer traders. And while search interest in NFTs rose between October, 2021, and January, 2022, it’s since declined back to around normal levels.
The company announced its NFT marketplace in October and says that there are a variety of 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 purchase the tokens with your Coinbase account or credit card are all currently planned for the “coming weeks and months.” It’s also, of course, not accessible to everyone right now. The company says it’s going to work through the waitlist, where people are ranked in part by how many others they’ve gotten to join the waitlist.