Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase today announced that its NFT marketplace is officially live in a limited-access beta launch, six months after it officially announced its long-teased plans.
Coinbase NFT is now available to select users added from the waitlist, which has amassed millions of prospective members since October. According to the exchange, it will add users in the order of signup, with plans to add everyone in the “coming weeks.”
The peer-to-peer marketplace has launched with support for NFTs minted on Ethereum, the leading platform for NFT artwork and collectibles, and Coinbase says it plans to add support for other unspecified blockchain platforms in the near future.
Coinbase NFT will aggregate listings from across marketplaces, with a rep telling Decrypt that “any NFT that’s for sale on the Ethereum blockchain will be searchable” on the platform.
Coinbase’s platform will debut with no added transaction fees, although it will still have standard Ethereum gas fees. The marketplace will eventually introduce its own fee, which Coinbase VP of Product Sanchan Saxena described in a media briefing as a “low single-digit fee.”
At launch, Coinbase NFT is only usable with self-custody wallets such as Coinbase Wallet and MetaMask, as well as wallets that support the WalletConnect protocol. That means that users are fully responsible for their own assets held within a wallet, which can be connected to other marketplaces, exchanges, and decentralized applications.
Eventually, however, Coinbase NFT plans to launch optional NFT custody services, and let users buy NFTs with a Coinbase account or a credit card. Saxena described that planned move as part of an effort to “bring NFTs to the masses through this platform.”
Coinbase NFT is focused on more than just buying and selling NFTs. It’s presented as a communal experience, with social feeds that let users easily browse other collectors’ NFT holders and leave comments on profiles and individual NFT pages. It’s akin to an Instagram feed, for example, and users will have dedicated profile pages tied to their respective wallets and can follow and interact with other users.
While some of that functionality—including comments—will exist on Coinbase’s own centralized servers at launch, the company said that it will progressively decentralize such features and gradually transition them to decentralized services in the future.
At launch, Coinbase does not offer the ability to mint NFTs through the platform, but that feature is coming. Furthermore, Coinbase also plans to host new NFT project drops via the marketplace, including some created by its various launch partners.
An NFT is a blockchain-based token that proves ownership for an item, including things like artwork, profile pictures, sports collectibles, and video game items. The NFT market surged to $25 billion worth of trading volume in 2021, led by top marketplace OpenSea, which is arguably Coinbase NFT’s chief rival.
Coinbase NFT has amassed dozens of prominent creators and artists as launch partners, including popular projects such as Azuki, Doodles, and World of Women; creators like pplpleasr, Gary Vaynerchuk, XCOPY, and Pak; and media brands including TIME and Rolling Stone. Actor Bill Murray and rocker Ozzy Osbourne are also on the list with their respective NFT projects.
While the Bored Ape Yacht Club and creator Yuga Labs aren’t listed as an official launch partner in Coinbase documents, the exchange recently announced a collaboration to create a trilogy of short films based on the popular Ethereum NFT collection. Yuga Labs also owns the CryptoPunks and Meebits IPs after a recent acquisition from Larva Labs.