For a long time, Opensea was the go-to NFT marketplace that NFT traders, collectors and creators naturally gravitate towards. However, there has recently been a massive shift in the NFT ecosystem with the introduction of BLUR, giving Opensea a run for its money. The Web3 landscape is shifting. With the explosive rise of the NFT marketplace and aggregator Blur in recent weeks and months.
What is it that sets Blur apart from other NFT marketplaces? Let’s take a look at the reasons behind its success.
OpenSea mainly appeals to retail buyers. Retail buyers are more interested in buying NFTs for their art or are more likely to buy individual digital tokens here and there, but not in meaningfully high volumes or frequencies.
Blur has made a name for itself by exclusively appealing to that pro-trader demographic.
Blur features pro tools such as:
Sweeping features (bulk purchases)
A sniping tool: placing bids at the last minute to ensure the buy
The fastest aggregator. Compared to Gem, Blur updates listings 12 times faster
One of the biggest reasons pro traders are flocking to Blur is its promise to users that it will reward them handsomely with future airdrops of the $BLUR token, totaling some $300 million during its next “season” of give-outs.
What Blur has done better than OpenSea is incentivize people to pay full royalties on their NFT purchases through token rewards.
Since then, Blur has snatched market share of trading volume from bigger players, overtaking OpenSea in December 2022 and extending its lead each month since then. This is partially due to its play for the fastest growing segment of the market — which is pro trading.
Blur has also incentivized creators and users through its BLUR token, which was also used a way to compensate creators for the missed earnings they would have made from royalties on the platform back when it didn’t support them. NFT traders, on the other hand, receive token rewards for adding liquidity to the platform by listing NFTs. So far, the plan has worked successfully, as Blur’s liquidity has skyrocketed since the token launch.
Tieshun Roquerre dropped out of high school in 2016 at the age of 17 to join Y Combinator’s accelerator program. This led him down the path to MIT where he studied math and computer science. He was awarded the Thiel Fellowship – a prize created by billionaire Peter Thiel, which grants gifted students $100,000 to drop out and pursue things such as research or building a business. Roguerre founded Namebase in 2018, a decentralized domain name tracker that was later sold to Namecheap in 2021.
It was around this time he started trading NFTs. “As we sold the business, I minted a Blitmap and held it up to its all-time high, which was around 30 ETH, and sold it. I was completely hooked afterwards,” he said. Blitmaps are an NFT collection featuring 8-bit drawings of a “sci-fi fantasy universe” which launched in 2021.
Fast forward to October 2022, and he — alongside his co-founder — launched the first iteration of Blur.
$BLUR’s execution was commendable because who doesn’t love airdrops? With Blur's volume share continuing to rise, it has forced OpenSea's hand to respond accordingly. Cutting its own fees on Feb. 17 wasn’t OpenSea’s only major shift that day — the marketplace also dropped enforced royalties to 0.5%. It’s a time-honored tenet of business — slash prices and the customers will come.
Since the boom of NFTs in 2021, OpenSea has been the leading marketplace for both creators and traders. Now a new rival, Blur.io, is challenging the company’s dominance, and has in the process stirred up excitement during a prolonged bear market for crypto and NFTs. But can the excitement last?
If you are an NFT flipper, you don’t mind those extra monies. But at what costs? Behind every NFT is a creator, and revenue streams are disrupted when the royalties are being cut for them. Reducing to 0% fees saw a significant increase in the overall NFT volumes, but that comes at the expense of creators.
If this continues, it does feel like no marketplaces care about founders and creators. They only care about where the ETH goes. Understandably, business decisions had to be made, but sucking dry creators will be unsustainable.
Smaller projects will be suffocated, Imagine getting a pay cut because your company wants to compete with rivals. Not the best analogy, but it will undoubtedly spark anger because livelihood is at stake.
Royalties are the only thing keeping many NFTs alive. When marketplaces shift towards a 0% fee model, NFTs with the biggest backing from VCs will be eventual winners.
On the topic of VCs, we discovered that Opensea and BLUR had something in common. Their lead investor is Paradigm Capital.
Blur has demonstrated it is leaning into token incentives to drive user behavior and growth of its platform. To date, this strategy has paid dividends, but whether its market penetration can last over the long term has yet to be determined.
Marketplaces like OpenSea and Blur have made NFT’s investible and tradeable objects. This is a huge deal: for the first time in history, there is now a global and liquid market for art. The sudden rise of Blur shows that NFT market space is rapidly evolving and not saturated yet.