Overview of NFT marketplaces available on Solana with trade ideas for niche markets
Hi, folks. Sherpa here again with another dive into NFTs. It’s been on my mind a lot, recently, that a lot of people may not know what NFT marketplaces are available in the different ecosystems. And, sure, you could do a search – but how many phishing sites are you going to encounter? How many scams? How many look-alikes? So I decided to start a series showing a brief overview of NFT marketplaces available, by ecosystem, and propose some ideas to anyone looking to trade these niche markets.
This week we’ll begin with Solana, as that’s where a lot of new NFT projects are popping up, right now. In fact, there are days when a glance at “Upcoming Drops” in RaritySniper’s discord or other places – will only be populated by new Solana mints. New generative projects on Ethereum are finally starting to wane due to the high cost of gas. So this is the perfect time to become acquainted with new & emerging markets. That said, let’s dive in…
Solanart is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, forays into NFT marketplaces on Solana. The UI is fairly easy to navigate, after a lot of development and refinement. It isn’t quite as easy as OpenSea, but it’s usable. The issue with Solanart is frequently the fees. You’re looking at a bit of Sol to list or unlist, every single time, because you’re not just signing a gas-free message in your wallet before you sign – you’re actively transferring the NFT to/from an escrow contract, which also excludes you from receiving most airdrops the project might do.
Related: Making Millions on NFTs
This seems to be an issue with every Solana marketplace, though, which can be a good reason to “wait and see” vs. listing & relisting as often as you might on other chains. On top of any tx fees paid, though, you’re looking at a 3% commission Solanart receives on every sale – in addition to any royalties set by the creators/project. This is something to keep in mind, as your break even is that much higher, right off the bat.
Digital Eyes reminds me a lot of the old altcoin exchange, “Cryptopia”, which you’d usually call “Craptopia” because the joke practically writes itself. The UI is clunky, finding worthwhile projects with any volume among the heaps is a fool’s errand – and the “featured” listings are almost always collaborations that pump & dump with such alacrity you’d think that was the use-case. Sorting options are minimal, although this is an issue shared by most SolNFT marketplaces.
That said, it is also the easiest place for projects to get listed, in a lot of cases – so it can be a good place to scoop up solid NFTs that are doing the “five-seconds-after-mint” dump that most projects inevitably do. The fees are somewhat more reasonable, although you’re paying a flat .1 SOL for listing – which can be a real kick in the teeth as Solana’s price rises. On the back-end, you’re paying 2.5% once the NFT sells, so you’re at least shaving 0.5% off the commission vs. using Solanart.
Magic Eden is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The UI is a nice middle-ground between the refinement of Solanart & the jumbled degeneracy of Digital Eyes. Sorting options are a lot better than most marketplaces, and this feels like the most “usable” platform for “gem-hunting” NFTs, in my opinion.
Their “launchpad” also seems like an easier solution for onboarding projects & artists, although a lot of NFTs seem to mis-time launchpad listings vs. estimations of when their mints will sell out, which can really hurt their chances of succeeding. Because then they end up with 40-50 SOL of volume on secondary markets before their mint has actually sold out; this can put a real damper on any community. Magic Eden also boasts the most reasonable fees I’ve seen, with no listing fee & just 2% commission, which is a significant savings over trading at DigitalEyes or Solanart.
SolSea feels like the closest to an “OpenSea” experience, with a very similar user interface. They make NFT creation easy with integrated minting for single NFTs or entire collections. For the average user or aspiring artist looking to dabble in NFT creation on Solana – this is by far the easiest solution, and all-in-all not a bad marketplace. The fees are on-par with Solanart, at 3% commission on sales, but if you’re a creator that probably means less than if you’re an active trader.
Okay, so those are the markets. In the interest of not going over-long with this article, I’ll toss one new idea out there for my readers to examine & test: NFT arbitrage.
Arbitrage. Now, with coins, tokens, or whatever else – arbitrage would generally entail having the ability to buy into “asks”, on one market, and dump into “bids” on another – either simultaneously or close enough that it doesn’t make a difference. You do this because prices vary between markets, and arbitrage is a healthy, natural function of those markets that helps to equalize prices.
With NFTs, though, you generally don’t have a stack of folks “bidding” to buy one piece or another from a collection at an agreed “floor” price. So arbitrage is more about finding those vast inequities among the various markets, and attempting to capitalize on them. If you know a white background Trippy Bunny Tribe NFT is going for 15 SOL on DigitalEyes, but 18 SOL on Solanart – then after calculating all associated fees, commissions, and royalties, you see if that arb would result in a profit. If so, you buy on one market & list on the other, and if volume & demand are agreeable – you make some easy money.
This isn’t financial advice. This is just a niche to examine as you browse all of these new markets. As always, DYOR, and have fun exploring.