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Coinbase NFT: Building a Community-minded Marketplace

Coinbase has released its flagship NFT product in beta to a select group of users.

Over the past couple years, Coinbase has become synonymous with the crypto industry.

The crypto exchange platform company now has millions of users and is gearing up for its next big product launch: Coinbase NFT, a user-friendly secondary NFT marketplace. The platform launched in beta Wednesday morning to a select group of users, and the last time we checked, the waitlist was nearly four million people long.

Coinbase is betting on itself big time and rivaling popular secondary NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, Rarible, and Nifty Gateway. Ahead of its NFT marketplace beta launch, Coinbase held a private press event on April 19 to share what users should expect from its flagship NFT marketplace and explain why now is the perfect time to launch it.

“We’ve been able to successfully bring the complexities of cryptocurrencies in an easy to use way to the masses, Sanchan Saxena, VP of product at Coinbase, said during the exclusive press event. “We believe we have a similar opportunity to do so for NFTs.”

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Saxena said Coinbase’s vision for its NFT marketplace differs from its competitors. The crypto company isn’t just building a place where people can buy and sell NFTs, Saxena explained. It’s building a “web3 social marketplace.” There’s more to NFT marketplaces than just running transactions for the industry; the NFT industry has a strong community, and Coinbase wants to leverage that.

“We’re building a marketplace where, of course, you can buy and sell, but more importantly, you can engage,” Saxena said.

Coinbase wants to foster collaboration between creators, collectors, and community members surrounding NFT projects. The company plans to do this by balancing its commerce and social strategies on its NFT marketplace.

Coinbase NFT is available only for US users right now, but the company has plans to take the platform international. We asked Coinbase how many users from the waitlist got access today, but the company hasn’t shared that number just yet.

Key Features

Think NFTs meet OpenSea, meets Instagram.

Alex Plutzer, Coinbase NFT’s product lead, ran a live demo of how the platform works. Coinbase NFT’s main value proposition is “Create. Collect. Connect.” This slogan is the first thing you see when you get onto the platform. Plutzer said the homepage would evolve as Coinbase continues to roll out the platform, but for now, it features curated NFTs, collections, and profiles to follow that will refresh over time.

“Any collection on Ethereum is accessible on Coinbase NFT with more chains coming soon,” Plutzer said.

The platform’s signup seems pretty straightforward and won’t require users to log in using the traditional email and password method. All you need is your self-custody wallet to access Coinbase NFT. Again, the platform is in beta, so users can’t get access without an invite code. There is also a verification process for users to get that blue check.

“You can see that my wallet address is my unique identifier, but I can also authenticate Twitter where I actually logged in, so users can make sure it’s me, and I have another way of proving my identity beyond being verified,” Plutxer explained.

Photo from Coinbase.

The platform will feature profiles for every user on the platform and showcase all of the NFTs they have bought, created, and sold. Users can create usernames, display their real names, select profile photos, and pen short bios.

“Profile is super easy to navigate; really, really easy to use,” Plutzer said. “We want it to feel familiar to people.”

Users can even hide NFTs to keep them private from their followers — yes, profiles will also have the following features. This social approach will be Coinbase NFT’s bread and butter in entering the NFT marketplace game.

“This is important because people are not just buying NFTs to hold them; they are buying NFTs to showcase them,” Saxena said. “They want to tell the world that this NFT is an extension of them, it represents the beliefs that they have, and it represents the community that they support.”

Users can also browse NFTs for sale with the platform’s discover feed, called For You. Coinbase NFT will suggest collections users may like based on their interests. The more people that users follow, the more engaging their personalized feeds become.

Photo from Coinbase.

Coinbase NFT will drive engagement by allowing users to like and comment on collections and hold discussions with each other. Like many social platforms, users will also see trending collections and “accounts to follow” suggestions as a sidebar.

Shop NFTs

Photo from Coinbase.

As for buying, minting, and selling NFTs on Coinbase NFT, the platform features an all-in-one Shop tab. Users can sift through NFTs by collection or price range. Saxena explicitly said users could purchase NFTs on Coinbase NFT by using “any self-custody wallet” like Coinbase Wallet or MetaMask.

Like most secondary marketplaces, users can see the entire history of an NFT from the day it was minted to its current owner.

Plutzer explained that each purchase requires “gas” and is not a fee from Coinbase but a network fee that Coinbase pays to the blockchain to push transactions through. For a limited time and as a promotion, Coinbase won’t be charging any transaction fees on the marketplace. When those fees kick in, they will be a low single-digit fee.

During the demo, Saxena made an important note: If users buy an NFT on the marketplace, they can still take it with them anywhere via their crypto wallets. Just because users display them on their profiles doesn’t mean they have to live there forever. And when it comes to royalties for creators, Saxena said creators would benefit from the NFTs they create and sell from day one.

Coinbase NFT has a growing list of launch partners, including artists, musicians, celebrities, and brands. Those partners include Deadmau5, the Chicago Bulls, LaMelo Ball, and Boardroom’s parent company, Thirty Five Ventures. Coinbase is also partnering with notable NFT collections such as RTFKT, Doodles, Boss Beauties, World of Women, VeeFriends, and Azuki.

Coinbase NFT is also launching a secondary NFT marketplace, but Saxena said users could expect exclusive NFT drops from its partners soon.

Laying Down the Law

How will Coinbase keep NFT fakes and hackers off the platform?

One tactic Saxena said Coinbase will use is to simply depend on the community to report any bad behavior or funny business. The company also has a small team dedicated to catching scams, fake profiles, and duplicate NFTs.

“A combination of proactive and community-driven approach is what we’re going after,” Saxena said.

As far as content moderation on the platform goes, Saxena said Coinbase’s philosophy is following the lay of the land by allowing all legal activities and banning any illegal happenings on Coinbase NFT. That may sound broad, but Saxena said Coinbase would not be deciding what to censor on the platform behind following fundamental law. Read more about Coinbase’s philosophy on removing accounts and moderating content in this blog post.

“Our purpose is to give the artists and the community the freedom to express themselves in the ways they deem is the right representation of them and their art,” he said. “We’re not in the business of judging what’s right [or] what’s wrong. As long as it’s legal by the laws of that country, we will abide by that.”

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