In the interview for The Verge, Keanu Reeves couldn’t resist laughing out loudly and saying that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are “easily reproducible” which is a diplomatic version of the word “trash”. One of the biggest icons in modern pop culture declared NFTs useless. End of story. No guide on NFT marketplace development. Go and spend your time on something more valuable.
The authority of Keanu Reeves is undoubtedly strong enough to claim almost anything in the world to be pointless. But… the numbers show us a different situation. The NFT market size is already worth more than $41 billion, while OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, has increased its trading volume by $3 million, that is 800% higher than in the previous year. On top of that, the trading volume of the entire NFT industry for just the last 24 hours is $15.22 million.
It looks like people are ready to spend a lot of money on “nonsense” like NFTs, so building an NFT marketplace does make sense today. To fight against Keanu Reeves’ statement on NFTs, we invited a person who really knows a lot about the NFT industry and how marketplaces work today. Please, welcome Ivanna Ostapchuk, the NFT artist who trades her works at OpenSea marketplace. Together with the JatApp team, Ivanna will shed some light on how to create an NFT marketplace that will be profitable, whatever celebrities say.
One of Ivanna’s works at OpenSea marketplace. Yes, that’s a downloaded copy. You still can get the original.
It’s just another marketplace, but with some nuances
Any NFT marketplace is actually an online platform, where NFT artists can place their works for users to buy, while the marketplace earns by charging fees from every purchase at the platform. The entire ecosystem is powered with a blockchain infrastructure to ensure transparency of transactions and validity of an NFT’s ownership.
In general, the main purpose of an NFT marketplace is to provide both artists and consumers with secure experiences of selling and buying NFT items that can be of different formats, like digital images, videos, audio, and any other media imaginable. Since NFT art varies that much, we can single out different types of NFT marketplaces such as:
- Open marketplaces. If you have an open NFT marketplace, it means that anyone can sign up and place their NFT art or come to buy one. Such marketplaces are easy to use, but they seldomly elaborate upon premium features that strengthen NFT community experiences. What’s more important, there is no vetting process for artists and their works. Ivanna commented:“It’s really nice that you can just sign up and publish your art. On the other hand, there are so many imposters who try to sell rubbish or even works they’ve stolen”.
- Closed/Premium. A closed NFT marketplace provides access only to its subscribers or users who received an invitation code from another user or artist. Creating your own NFT marketplace as a closed secret community makes sense when you want to create a space, where truly valuable NFTs are sold. But don’t give access to Keanu Reeves under any circumstances.
- Curated. Any art exhibition has a curator, a person who is responsible for validation of the concept and artistic merit of works to be presented. That is why a curated NFT marketplace involves some sort of artists and their works’ validation process to make sure that they really offer genuine digital art rather than a bunch of downloaded images from Shutterstock. “There must be some unique idea behind each NFT image or collection. Many people just try to create something similar to popular NFT collections just to make money. I believe that marketplaces should pay more attention to the artistic value of NFTs that are going to be published” — said Ivanna.
- Non-curated. It looks like the purely artistic value of NFTs isn’t always a priority, so you can make your marketplace a free space for anyone willing to share their digital art and earn money.
- Collectibles marketplaces. You can create an NFT marketplace that is devoted to a series of NFT art. Such type of marketplaces intend to provide consumers with so-called generative NFT art that is usually a set of collectible pictures that share some common concept. A well-known Bored Apes Yacht Club NFTs is a good example of a marketplace that offers digital images as a series of collectible items that have a common theme, apes chilling at the yacht club in this case. Ivanna added that “Collecting all items or even just unique pieces out of the entire collection is the whole point of generative NFTs. It’s like collecting post stamps or Pokemon cards”.
- Gaming/metaverse marketplaces. NFTs are successfully penetrating the realm of video games and metaverses. Building a marketplace that sells unique NFT gaming items is likely to become a separate domain within the NFT industry. However, we need to warn you that you should bother yourself with finding a partner amongst NFT gaming companies to agree upon integration of your blockchain with their web3 infrastructure. That’s a hefty task, both in terms of effort and money, but revenues from gaming projects multiplied by NFT hype can pay off a lot.
Collectible items in Axie Infinity, an NFT-powered game
What we can recommend here is that you don’t need to copy big marketplaces like OpenSea or CryptoPunks NFT. If you’re going to create a space comfortable for buying and selling NFT art, make it laser-focused on a particular target audience. Ivanna elaborates on this thought by saying that “Big marketplaces decrease chances of artists to sell their artworks. With small but accurately segmented marketplaces, both artists and consumers can find what they really want”.
Creating an NFT marketplace from A to Z
Whichever type of an NFT marketplace you’re going to develop, you have to consider a number of building blocks that we’re going to discuss in detail. Get yourself a cup of your favorite coffee or tea and enjoy the next sections!
Your blockchain architecture is the very core of your NFT marketplace. NFTs are powered with blockchain, which is why this technology is an integral part of your NFT marketplace. There are two ways you can build NFT marketplace architecture: get connected to a blockchain provider, or build your own network.
If you’re not interested in developing an NFT marketplace with your own blockchain infrastructure, you don’t have to worry about architecture that much. There are enough blockchain platforms that offer a ready-made solution: Ethereum, Polygon, Cardano, and others.
We need to warn you though that you should be ready to bring $50K+ upfront to ensure your integration is smooth as Keanu Reeves hair. Yeah, badmouthing NFTs brings that much attention.
The other way is to build you own blockchain, which can be cheaper, but less secure, as you need to have a full-fledged security system like Ethereum does. Still, you can be sure that you don’t depend on any third party.
Nevertheless, security in blockchain is actually something that is in the eye of a beholder. Ivanna underlined that security at NFT marketplaces is a huge problem today:
“I know artists who got blocked forever because some fraudsters copied their credentials and published their works at the same marketplace. The support team didn’t manage to recognize that something was wrong and blocked the artist for plagiarizing his own works while scammers kept making money with the stolen art.”
Big platforms like Ethereum undoubtedly have enough technical capacity to secure data, but you won’t ever be sure that your network is accessible by you and your users only. For that reason, we’re more supportive of the second way to build your own architecture from scratch. On top of that, Ivanna added:
“There are much more scammers than you can imagine, which means artists expect from marketplaces to bring more certainty in the security of their art”.
You can run an extra mile and create a multi-chain NFT marketplace that will be the most secure solution that is connected to a larger number of users. Although, going for big rocks, we mean revenues, implies more investment of resources from the very start of your project.
NFT marketplaces are still a novelty in the tech world, and it’s hard to predict where they are pivoting to. That’s why the following list isn’t exhaustive, and you can (and even must, we may say) come up with unique features to bring NFT buying/selling experience to the next level. Okay, onto top NFT market features:
- Store. That’s an exhibition hall where all NFT artworks are hanging. In fact, it’s just the same as any e-commerce website. Your customers should be able to see all the works published while NFT artists need to get all instruments necessary for uploading their digital art securely and hassle-free.
- Search and filtering. Your customers need to be able to search NFT artworks by their title and filter them according to price, rating, date published, specific subject or category, and so on. Again, this feature is very much the same as filters at various e-commerce stores. Ivanna Ostapchuk mentioned that “It’s really hard to become popular with a random passerby as you promote yourself on social media first, and then your target audience looks for your works at the marketplace”. If you have an idea how you can leverage the power of social media to help NFT artists promoted with your marketplace, we insist you should try it.
- Item listing and status. Both your artists and customers need to see whether a particular item is approved for selling, trades at the auction at the moment, or whether it is sold and getting an individual token assigned.
- Notifications. NFT artists should be notified whether their artworks are sold, went to auction, or somebody just left a comment. In such a way, your marketplace will build trust with NFT artists who want to be sure that they’ll get paid for the artworks they created. “I appreciate that I get an email when some of my works are sold” — Ivanna noted. We also would like to mention that you surely need a mobile app for your marketplace, ideally for both iOS and Android, to ensure your users and artists get notified wherever they are.
- Bidding. We’ve mentioned that NFT artworks can be sold during an auction. The principle is simple to Ebay marketplace, where people leave their offers for the artwork within a particular time frame. Original NFT artworks are scarce enough, so heating up the interest in various pieces of digital art can be not only an element of community experience, but also an additional revenue gear. Enthusiastic crypto collectors may splash out on an NFT picture at the auction just because they realize someone else can buy it. Don’t call us pragmatics with a broken ethics compass, that’s just how auctions work in general.
- Cryptowallet. Beyond a doubt, your NFT marketplace should include a wallet that allows customers to pay for NFTs with cryptocurrency via smart contracts and for artists to withdraw their earnings.
- User authentication and profile management. Your NFT artists should undergo a verification process to prove that they’re real persons who have unique digital art to sell. Likewise, customers need to have their profiles, where they can access their crypto wallets, purchases, favorite artworks saved for later, and other things typical of a user profile at the online marketplace/e-commerce shop.
If you’re going to create your own NFT marketplace with building a blockchain network from scratch, you have to be ready to spend around $150,000. In case you want to integrate a big blockchain like Ethereum, add extra $50,000 to the NFT marketplace development cost you already estimated.
As for the timeline, the project is likely to last 4 to 6 months, but you need a tech team that will be able to cope with all the tasks, which means you should hire a project manager, user interface/user experience (UI/UX) designer, backend developer who is a strong blockchain expert, frontend developer, and quality assurance engineer.
Community plays an important role in the NFT world, which is why having a great one at your marketplace is an advantage that is hard to underestimate. First, by involving your customers in some kind of closed community, even though you have an open marketplace, increases chances of customer retention. You can offer them discounts, special offers, and other community member benefits.
“Gathering and managing a community means a better promotion of artists. Making announcements of collections/single works to come out, making special offers, and just spreading the word of mouth are important. It would be great if marketplaces will take that burden on their shoulders” — that’s how Ivanna commented on the importance of community management at an NFT marketplace.
Second, establishing a community of NFT art geeks means that your marketplace will keep evolving. Needless to say, anything in the world can become an NFT art, and artists may not know for sure what their target audience expects. A strong community presence means that important trends arise from public discussion, while active community members will provide you with constant feedback about your marketplace.
People interested in NFT art need to exchange their experiences and get a direct communication channel with artists. Your efforts directed at community building will certainly bring positive results for your NFT business, artists, and well… community!
Technology comes before the hype
“Let’s leave Keanu Reeves alone with his right-clicker mentality” — finally recommends Ivanna, our host NFT artist. And we can’t agree more with her. Instead, we encourage you to start your NFT marketplace development. But if you’re going to build a profitable product, robust technology should come first regardless of digital masterpieces your marketplace will offer. Ivanna nods with a smile.
JatApp can provide you with a team of software developers who will take care of building a blockchain platform for the NFT marketplace. Our company has successfully completed more than 200 projects, which include blockchain-based solutions like a content management system for the Dubai government, and 99% of our clients were satisfied with the quality of work we delivered.
Overcome your NFT marketplace development challenges with JatApp. Just contact us, and we’ll reach out to you as soon as possible.