In brief

  • NFT artist pplpleasr appeared on the latest episode of Decrypt’s gm podcast.
  • She spoke about the battle between NFT marketplaces, including leader OpenSea.

In terms of marketplaces, OpenSea has been the biggest winner of the NFT market boom, skyrocketing into pole position with billions of dollars’ worth of trading volume each month since last August.

Founded in 2017, OpenSea arguably has benefited significantly from being among the first in the space, but the firm’s upswing hasn’t come without hitches. OpenSea has faced stolen NFT exploits, backlash to proposed NFT minting changes, an employee “insider trading” scandal, and user frustration over reported plans to pursue an IPO.

OpenSea is first right now, but with notable rivals like Coinbase NFT and popping up, that advantage could fade—especially if influential artists aren’t very keen on the platform.


On the latest episode of Decrypt’s gm podcast, noted NFT artist pplpleasr (aka Emily Yang) cited the marketplace’s “first-mover advantage,” and told hosts Dan Roberts and Jeff Roberts that OpenSea has used its position to amass a sizable number of NFT listings and users. It’s where the people are—but her praise stopped there.

“Beyond that, I cannot say that OpenSea has anything else that's super appealing about their interface,” she said.

Pplpleasr likened OpenSea’s success to that of social photo-sharing app Instagram, noting that if “everybody's using Instagram,” then people aren’t going to “use another app that nobody's using.” She also compared that first-mover advantage to Ethereum wallet app MetaMask, which has surged despite complaints about its interface and ease of use.

An NFT works like a blockchain-backed receipt for an item, including digital artwork, profile pictures, and video game items. Pplpleasr shot to prominence in the space early last year after creating NFT artwork for DeFi protocols, including Uniswap, and later designing a Fortune magazine cover (with NFTs), launching an interactive NFT video platform called Shibuya, and more.


Which NFT marketplaces does she prefer? Pplpleasr pointed to Rarible, an OpenSea competitor that has charted a different path than its chief rival.

Rarible handles significantly less trading volume, but has leaned harder into multi-chain expansion while implementing interesting new features and embracing community governance via the RARI token. It’s the first platform that pplpleasr ever minted an NFT on.

“I definitely feel like Rarible is sort of the underdog, where not a lot of people talk about it,” she said, “but literally since the summer of 2020, they've been doing things more correctly than other marketplaces.”

She pointed to Rarible as the first marketplace to allow creators to mint NFTs on their own smart contract—that is, the code that powers NFTs—as opposed to using a platform’s in-house tools. That provides NFT creators more control and customization over their own work, and doesn’t bind them to using a platform’s own minting process.

It's a trend that has caught on more recently as firms like Manifold—which has powered pplpleasr’s projects, along with those from Steve Aoki, Mad Dog Jones, Micah Johnson, and others—have popularized the idea of creators using their own (or sovereign) NFT minting contracts.

On the topic of user interfaces and user experience design for NFT marketplaces, pplpleasr said that “most of them just have a lot of polishing to do,” and said that they typically don’t compare to Web2 experiences. The one exception she called out is NFT platform Foundation, which she described as “the most polished-looking site,'' and that the “whole experience is very smooth.”

Ultimately, pplpleasr acknowledged that the battle of the NFT marketplaces is a “multi-horse race” that she’s watching with piqued interest. “I luckily just have the position where I can just sit on the sidelines,” she said, “and be like, ‘Oh my god, who’s running in front?’”

Listen and subscribe to the gm podcast wherever you get your podcasts.


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