Ethereum, the cryptocurrency in which most NFTs are coined, fell $ 1,800 on Friday, its lowest value in more than a year. It is far from peaking at $ 4,000 last November.
With the fall, mourning began, even among a cryptocurrency accustomed to weathering asset volatility. NFT platforms, however, are not going through the five stages of pain before taking action.
In rapid succession, major NFT platforms such as Foundation, SuperRare and OpenSea have announced major changes in the way they run their businesses.
Although none of these pivots have been explicitly labeled as a market response, the timing and nature of the new initiatives appear designed to make up for the lack of enthusiasm in the market today.
Take the Foundation, for example.
Foundation is an NFT platform known for its high quality and focus on one-of-one or single-edition NFTs (unlike large NFT PFP collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club or Crypto Punks). This was partly possible because, in order to sell works on Foundation, an artist had to be invited by the Foundation or other artists who already used the platform.
In mid-May, Foundation announced that would be to end their invitation-only strategy, which they framed as a shift from the gatekeeping mentality of Web 2.0 (the Internet we have today) to the greater freedom and democracy of Web3 (an internet experience built from decentralized systems). technologies such as blockchain).
However, the close healing of the Foundation was what made it different from platforms like OpenSea, which made a lot more money but was also affected by scams, hacks, carpets and all other risks that come unverified by users. But as the market changes, exclusivity could present itself as a threat to the scale needed to survive.
On the other hand, the Foundation seems to be focusing more on a new operating system initiative called Foundation OS, whose motto is “The Basics for a New Internet.” The operating system, a kind of key service infrastructure, is built on the data sharing protocol that Foundation has created for its market. Relying on infrastructure offerings may seem like a more sustainable aspect of the business than focusing on short-term trading is out of fashion.
Sunil Singhvi, director of business development for the NFT Rarible platform, said that at the moment, having this kind of diversity is key (Rarible has not announced any changes).
“Protocol has always been our business, and the market has been a shining example of what that protocol can build. But we have a number of things we have built alongside the market,” Singhvi said. ARTnews.
Meanwhile, the NFT SuperRare platform believes it has found a way to respond to the changing market without changing the fundamentals of SuperRare’s identity.
“SuperRare stands for trust,” said CEO John Crain ARTnews. However, Crain said the company knew it had to try something new.
“Just having a market is no longer new. Creating an NFT is not something to write about. So this moment is really pushing people to add value and push the boundaries, ”he said.
Like the Foundation, SuperRare was a place to discover artists selling unique works, as opposed to collectible-type NFT PFPs. Plus, SuperRare has never been a secondary market. Now, SuperRare is exploring both PFPs and the secondary market.
In association with Async Art, an NFT platform specializing in the creation of large generative projects, SuperRare has offered its first massive collection called Across the Face, made by Nigerian artist Osinachi. The series is inspired by the famous painting by Rene Magritte The Son of Man (1946) in which a floating green apple darkened a man’s face with a fedora. In Across the Face, a black man’s face is darkened by a variety of objects: a dove, a book, a Rubik’s cube, etc., with randomly combined accessories and colored backgrounds.
SuperRare typically scores 20-30 works a day, a SuperRare spokesman said ARTnews in an email, but working with Async allowed them to handle a much larger load. Async coined 1,000 NFTs and then sold them on the secondary market via SuperRare. The move is one that was tightly controlled, which allowed SuperRare to expand its range of offerings without suddenly flooding its own market. More large collections will be available with Async in the future.
Unlike many NFT initiatives and platforms, SuperRare was in business before most people knew what an NFT was, which meant operating on a shoestring budget for years. For the many platforms that appeared during the 2021 boom, this may be the first time they are operating in a major recession.
“In a bullish market money is easy to get. But venture capital spending on new cryptocurrencies and other things peaked in December,” Crain said. “In this market, investors will probably think twice about how to deploy capital, it’s no longer like ‘Great idea, there’s some money here.'”
Whether or not these summer children’s platforms will survive a cryptic winter is a question no one can answer, especially when chasing the erratic peaks and falls of a market that promises to soar in the near future.
But if there is one platform that is too big to fail, it may be OpenSea. With a valuation of $ 13 billion, OpenSea is arguably the most valued NFT market, but even this giant has been making some changes.
Unlike Foundation or SuperRare, OpenSea was not structured around exclusivity, but focused on getting as many users as possible from the beginning, which helped OpenSea gain market share but also meant sacrificing the quality of its eye service. of many crypto-enthusiasts. At this point, then, OpenSea did not have many options on how to expand. In an incredibly clever move, OpenSea is starting to open its market to NFTs coined in a cryptocurrency called Solana.
Like Tezos, Solana is a cryptographic infrastructure that consumes less energy and is therefore considered better for the environment. The same things that make it greener make its use cheaper, which means that the gas rates in Solana, the fees paid when completing transactions (like buying an NFT) are much, much lower than the gas rates for using Ethereum.
Solana is also valued much lower than Ethereum. Its maximum price was around $ 200 and is now worth about $ 40. By offering Solana NFT on OpenSea, the platform is attracting NFT collectors to continue shopping without having to make the biggest implicit investments in Ethereum-based NFT trading.
Solana’s NFTs in OpenSea are still in beta, so they’re still being tested.
It remains to be seen whether any of the changes that NFT platforms are pursuing will be effective. Maybe the market will miraculously turn around and none of this will matter anyway.
Or maybe not.