In brief

  • SuperRare, a leading NFT marketplace, is decentralizing its model with the launch of a “curation token” and DAO governance.
  • Token holders can vote on new community-run galleries called Spaces. SuperRare is currently airdropping 150 million RARE tokens to artists and users on the platform.

SuperRare, one of the leading marketplaces for NFT artwork tokenized on the Ethereum blockchain, announced today that it has undertaken measures to decentralize the project. To do so, SuperRare has launched a new RARE “curation token” for community governance, as well as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) alongside it.

Up until now, artists that drop NFTs on the platform have been chosen by SuperRare staff. With the new RARE token, SuperRare will empower token holders to vote on new community-operated Spaces, which will allow a wider array of artists to join the platform.

Each SuperRare Space acts much like a custom storefront for operators chosen by the community. Space operators will onboard artists, sell their work through the dedicated gallery, and then take a cut of the sales. SuperRare is calling the ongoing voting process the “Space Race,” and will launch two new Spaces per month during the first year of the project.

The newly-formed SuperRare DAO will then put token-holders’ votes into action and manage the growing treasury of both RARE and ETH. SuperRare has established a genesis governance council to initially lead the DAO. Additionally, the NFT marketplace will allow artists to mint their artwork using custom smart contracts—that is, the code that powers NFTs and performs set instructions—through a new feature called Sovereign Minting Contracts.

“Decentralization has been at the center of the SuperRare ideology since day one,” reads today’s announcement post. “During the early stages of platform development, it was practical to keep governance decisions internal, driven by the vision of an agile founding team. However, our baby is now all grown up, and ready to face the world on its own. As the expression goes: if you love something, set it free.”

To get community governance up and running, SuperRare will airdrop 150 million RARE—or 15% of the total supply—to artists and collectors who have already used the platform. The amount of RARE tokens awarded to each user depends on qualifiers like sales volume and number of marketplaces that collectors have interacted with, and tokens must be claimed within 90 days. Full details are available in SuperRare’s post.

Launched in 2018, SuperRare shot to popularity as the NFT market exploded earlier this year. NFT marketplaces logged $2.5 billion worth of transaction volume in the first half of 2021, per data from DappRadar, and SuperRare played hosts to notable drops from TIME Magazine and leading NFT artist Beeple. An NFT acts like a deed of ownership to a digital item, including still artwork, video files, and plenty more.

According to today’s announcement, SuperRare has now handled more than $90 million in trading volume since launch. SuperRare raised $9 million in Series A funding in March in a star-studded round that included participation from billionaire investor Mark Cuban, SamsungNext, and Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures.

The NFT market has recently seen a resurgence in activity and trading volume, following a late spring and early summer decline after the early-year boom. Rival marketplace OpenSea, which acts as a secondary market for the sale of popular NFT collections like CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club, is leading the recent surge with more than $830 million in trading volume so far in August alone, per Dune Analytics.

SuperRare is far behind with just over $13 million in volume so far this month, but it leads the pack in highest average price per NFT sale. According to Dune, the average price per NFT sale this month is more than $17,000 on SuperRare, compared to about $10,850 on average for OpenSea sales. SuperRare only sells single-edition NFT artwork pieces, whereas competing marketplaces may sell higher-quantity open editions or support large-scale NFT collections.

Competing Ethereum-based NFT platform Rarible also has a governance token called RARI, which it launched in July 2020. However, rivals like OpenSea and the Gemini-owned Nifty Gateway are more centralized and do not offer a token or community governance.