I paid $50 for a superhero bunny on Coinbase's new NFT marketplace — and saw how it could give rivals like OpenSea a run for their money
I bought Light Super Bunny #2894 on Coinbase's new NFT marketplace. Coinbase
I used Coinbase's new feature that allows you to buy and sell NFTs.
It was designed to take a bite out of the market that OpenSea has long dominated.
But, like OpenSea, the feature made me wonder what the point of NFTs was in the first place.
A new way to buy and sell NFTs is now available to the general public, powered by one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
Coinbase's NFT service is still in beta mode, and the company introduced it to a limited number of select users in April before opening it to everyone.
The launch comes at a precarious time for the crypto giant - in early May, it lost half its value in a week, recently 18% of its employees were laid off and job offers withdrawn, and the market as a whole is of course in the midst of a historic downturn, leading many to to question the fate of decentralized finance.
Needless to say, it's not the best time for the room. But that hasn't stopped the launch of Coinbase's NFT store.
I gave it a try and bought a $50 cartoon from what they call the SuperBunnies Collection, one featuring "rare, brave superheroes sworn to defend the metaverse."
Like the $103 cartoon pig NFT I bought on OpenSea in March, the purchase has me wondering what purpose NFTs really serve, beyond mere speculation.
There is no app yet - you need Coinbase Wallet
The Coinbase wallet app.Coinbase/Insider
There is no Coinbase NFT app per se. Instead, you need to download the Coinbase wallet app (as well as the main Coinbase app where you buy and sell crypto). Luckily for Coinbase, many potential customers are already doing this.
In the wallet app, click on the square icon at the bottom center and you will see a banner that says "Coinbase NFT".
You can also use the website version to read NFTs, which is what I chose - you just need to confirm it's you on your phone.
The first thing I noticed and liked was a toggle that allowed me to scroll through the NFTs and see their prices in USD, not Ether.
NFTs on the new Coinbase.Coinbase/Insider marketplace
There were "Discover" and "Shop" tabs so you can filter for NFTs that are for sale.
I've seen many spin-offs of the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club collection which has grossed about $1 billion. There was Mutant Ape Yacht Club, Crypto Apes, Animated Bored Apes, and Bored Bears to name a few.
One of the most expensive NFTs I found was one from Crypto Punks priced at $15,568.
I finally settled on one from the SuperBunnies collection and admittedly chose one of the cheapest NFTs. Mine, "Light Super Bunny #2894", has "unimpressed" eyes.
As a launch special, Coinbase said it would not charge transaction fees, aka gas fees, for a "limited time." These fees can be significant and add a good bit to the final price. For example, I previously bought an NFT on OpenSea that cost about $50, but I ended up paying a total of $100 because of those fees.
However, the limited special appears to have expired - there were still network fees ranging from $14 to $18, bringing the total cost of the NFT from $32 to nearly $50.
The network fees shown when I bought my NFT.Coinbase/Insider
This friction sounded familiar to me: the need to buy more ether to cover the cost of the fees, wait for processing, and then eventually buy the NFT.
Aside from the NFT hype, Coinbase is now an even bigger player in the game
Proponents typically say that NFTs allow creators to more easily make a living from their work as blockchain technology gives them more direct access to clients.
But at the end of the day, NFTs are largely speculative digital assets that buyers hope will explode in value so they can wind up a windfall.
Still, the $41 billion market has its followers, and Coinbase's foray into the NFT trading space signals that it is likely to remain a major player in the world of defi.
Read the original article on Business Insider
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