Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are traceable, transferrable digital assets that act as proof of ownership over digital representations of various media content or physical items and can be bought and sold freely on a number of marketplaces throughout the overarching Metaverse.
While one could refer to the NFT marketplace as a whole entity or economy, it’s important to understand there isn’t just one universal platform where you can find NFTs. There are a few different marketplaces out there, though not all of them support NFTs found on every blockchain. Different NFTs are coded with different protocols, and some are confined to the blockchain network on which they were minted (created for the first time). However, this doesn’t mean NFTs from different blockchains can’t be traded across different marketplaces. For example, one site called NFTrade bills itself as “chain-agnostic” and allows users to buy and sell NFTs across several different popular blockchains including Ethereum, BNB, Polygon, and Avalanche. Conversely, there are also NFT marketplaces such as Magic Eden which currently only support one blockchain’s network (Solana in their case). While buying and selling are the primary features of these kinds of platforms, there are a few others available which we’ll get into shortly.
First off, NFT marketplaces let users browse and discover all kinds of NFT collections that are made available on the site as well as view statistics about them such as their floor price (the current lowest price a token in a collection is selling for). Users can find and buy NFTs that are minted directly to the site by project teams and individual artists (more on this later) or see those that had been minted elsewhere and are being listed for sale by their owners. When it comes to selling NFTs that have already been minted, users have the choice of listing their NFTs for sale either at a set price or in the style of an auction where other users must place bids before the timer on the item expires. Note that some marketplace sites take a small percentage of the sale price from items sold on their platform, so you may not always get the full amount your item sells for.
For those who wish to mint NFTs of their own, some popular NFT marketplace platforms including OpenSea and Rarible allow users to mint custom NFTs at a very low cost using what’s called lazy minting. This feature works by letting creators upload the media file(s) for their NFT(s), as well as all its details such as its properties/traits, its description, and any exclusive unlockables accessible by holders and then storing all its data in a decentralized storage protocol (most often IPFS) while still listing it for sale on the site. This lets the NFT remain off-chain but still be ready to mint once a buyer is found, and only then once purchased will it be officially minted on the blockchain. When it’s been paid for and minted, only the buyer has to pay the gas fee required to have it created, making it an easy and inexpensive avenue for creators who wish to sell their own NFTs but may not be able to afford the costs of traditional blockchain minting on their own.
Lastly, there are certain NFT platforms like NFTTrader that are made specifically for securely and privately trading one NFT for another between two parties (also known as peer-to-peer, or P2P), even for assets across different blockchains. While you could still use a competitor like OpenSea to transfer an NFT from your wallet to another, these types of sites let you facilitate trades between a variety of different NFTs using a secure trading link without having to pay the high fees found on secondary markets.