Certified flop

Coinbase's NFT marketplace has been a flop so far

And no one can agree whether or not the NFT market is up or down overall.

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Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase opened up the first beta of its NFT marketplace on April 20. In the weeks since then, the platform has recorded fewer than 110 transactions with a grand total of less than $60,000 in sales — a tremendously slow start, even for a beta test.

That beta test is open to anyone who wants to try it out, though Coinbase was still manually letting people into the marketplace from a waiting list until May 4. Bloomberg points out that OpenSea, the world’s most popular NFT marketplace, completed about $124 million in transactions on May 3 alone.

Coinbase hasn’t actually shared any of this data publicly; Bloomberg pulled it from a company called Dune Analytics that tracks NFT sales and other crypto activities. Here’s what Coinbase has said: 2.8 million people joined the waitlist for its NFT marketplace.

Some have suggested that the NFT market is collapsing right now, based on data collected by NonFungible, another blockchain analytics site. Still others — like Dune, actually — say NFT trading volume has actually remained quite steady.

Are NFT sales down? — People are very much still doing NFTs. The Bored Apes are still aping it up. Zuckerberg is trying to bring NFTs to Instagram. Unsurprisingly, though, just about everyone is still trying to figure out whether or not NFTs are actually still in.

If we accept that the NFT market is down 92 percent since September, as The Wall Street Journal suggests, then Coinbase’s flop of an opening can be chalked up to bad timing. Whether or not those numbers are accurate is anyone’s guess, though, because there’s a myriad of approaches to blockchain analytics.

Dune, for example, scrapes its data directly from an Ethereum node, which the company claims helps make its numbers more accurate. Dune’s analysis puts average monthly NFT trading volumes around $3.63 billion, which would actually point to an upward trend.

Another crowded space — A more certain explanation for Coinbase’s NFT flop: there just isn’t that much need for another NFT marketplace right now. OpenSea is just so popular that it’s become nearly everyone’s go-to for NFT sales. Coinbase’s own NFT marketplace doesn’t really improve anything over OpenSea’s model — current OpenSea users wouldn’t really have a reason to switch.

Other popular crypto companies like Kraken are developing NFT marketplaces of their own; it would be surprising if these ventures did much better than Coinbase’s. GameStop is also looking to open an NFT trading site, for some reason.