FTX US Aims to Take On OpenSea—First With Solana NFTs, Ethereum Only ‘Weeks Away’


The U.S. division of cryptocurrency exchange FTX today launched its new NFT marketplace. Initially offering NFTs minted on the Solana network, FTX NFTs will soon add support for Ethereum —the leading blockchain for NFTs —as it attempts to steal some of OpenSea ’s thunder.
Unlike OpenSea and decentralized Solana marketplaces like Solanart and DigitalEyes , FTX NFTs lets users buy and sell collectibles in U.S. dollars using credit cards or funds brought in from an ACH bank transfer or wire transfer. Users can buy and sell with cryptocurrency as well.
Like the centralized FTX US exchange itself, the NFT marketplace is regulated in the United States, which means users—from the U.S. or elsewhere—must undergo know-your-customer ( KYC ) identity checks. That’s a key difference from those aforementioned exchanges, but the ability to buy NFTs with USD and credit cards could help boost mainstream adoption.

“NFTs right now is a very niche market specifically because it has grown up as a DeFi product,” FTX US president Brett Harrison told Decrypt .
“We hope by providing a centralized marketplace for NFTs where we let people fund their account with a credit card or with a wire transfer,” he added, “it will bring a lot more liquidity in general to the marketplace, and result in better price discovery and fair markets.”

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— FTX – Built By Traders, For Traders (@FTX_Official) September 30, 2021

An NFT acts like a deed of ownership to a rare digital item. The NFT market exploded in 2021, with $2.5 billion in transaction volume in the first half of the year, per DappRadar—an enormous leap from $200 million across all of 2020. After a summer lull, the market surged to new heights, with $10.67 billion worth of trading volume in the third quarter of 2021 alone.
“The crypto community right now is very interested in NFTs, and so are we,” said Harrison. “We think it’s a natural fit for us, given that we’re so plugged into blockchain technology and all the requirements of being able to support an exchange with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of users and simultaneous auctions.”
How it works
Initially, FTX NFTs will support the Solana blockchain, which has seen rising NFT trading volume from top collections like Degenerate Ape Academy and Solana Monkey Business . Both collections have seen single-NFT sales in excess of $1 million, along with millions of dollars’ worth of total respective activity each week.
Users can transfer their existing Metaplex-compatible Solana NFTs onto the FTX NFTs platform to sell them, and owners can transfer them away as well. Furthermore, users can mint and create their own NFTs on the platform, which are subject to approval before listing.
Unlike Solanart, FTX NFTs will not take a strictly curated approach to listing collections, however, there are stipulations that come with being a centralized, regulated exchange. For example, Harrison said that they will not list projects in which the NFTs act like a security rather than purely artwork or a collectible—such as projects that provide royalties from secondary NFT sales as a reward back to other holders.

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