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Coinbase Ventures Into the NFT Market – Trend Setting for Other Crypto Platforms?

Coinbase has announced the launch of its marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Prospective users will be able to join the waiting list to use Coinbase NFT – a decentralised marketplace for NFTs that will make minting, purchasing, showcasing, and discovering NFTs easier for its users.

NFTs offer buyers the opportunity to own digital assets that are stored on the blockchain. NFTs have gained mainstream attention across the art, music and fashion industries, enabling creators to monetise their digital work and providing buyers with a unique and clear proof of ownership.

NFT trading activity is on the rise. It soared this summer, more than doubling between July and August 2021, with roughly 280,000 unique buyers and sellers by the end of August. High profile NFT sales include the £500,000 sale of the ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ NFT earlier this year.

Coinbase NFT will be a peer-to-peer marketplace designed to enable creativity. The initial launch will support Ethereum-based ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards with multi-chain support planned for the near future. The platform has been created to foster community and connect creators, collectors and fans. Users will receive a personal feed that will showcase their NFTs in one place, helping to connect them with like-minded fans or artists.

As part of Coinbase’s overarching mission to drive economic freedom, Coinbase NFT will empower creators and help to raise the ‘creator economy’ from being a smaller subset of the ‘real economy’ into a central driver of economic activity.

The Knock-on effect

Despite using blockchain, crypto exchanges have typically kept their distance from NFTs. In the last couple of years, NFTs have seen an unprecedented level of popularity, setting off alarms for crypto exchanges, making them wonder if it should be something to look at. Coinbase has finally taken the plunge, but what will this mean for the NFT market and how will other crypto exchanges respond?

Barron Solomon, CEO and co-founder of Solo Music said, “While established exchanges like Coinbase and Robinhood [rumoured] have come to the NFT space later than the industry’s most prominent platforms, their arrival is a promising sign for the future of NFTs. Crypto-curious people are likely to feel more comfortable starting their NFT research with entities they know and trust, with familiar platforms. Once they dip their toe into the NFT world, I’m confident that they will become interested in the space and look to platforms new or old that are offering unique NFTs specific to their interests. I think NFTs in the music and entertainment industry in particular will see massive engagement as fans and consumers become more familiar with engaging in the digital space. Ultimately, this will lead to mainstream adoption which benefits the industry as a whole.”

“Coinbase’s Coinbase NFT launch signals that the entire cryptocurrency market has fully embraced NFTs.” said Aubrey Strobel, Head of Communications at Lolli. “For many, Coinbase was their first experience in buying bitcoin and other alt-coins. Now it will be, for many, their first on-ramp to owning an NFT. Next for this industry will be the integration of NFTs into a digital and physical identity across platforms, creating the beginnings of the metaverse.”

On the topic of the digital and physical identity Victor Hogrefe, CBO and Co-Founder at EonLabs, said, “A broader point here about NFTs is that their popularity shows we’re shifting from the real-world economy to the digital economy. It’s about changing how and what we value.

“It may not be a smooth ride for NFTs, though. The tokenisation of traditional assets has met with two massive obstacles:

  • The problem of connecting the asset with the token in a meaningful and secure way, thus preventing double-spending or other types of fraud (If I can tokenise a house, and sell those tokens to overseas investors, what is to prevent me from then also selling the house in a traditional way, thereby double selling the house?)
  • Securities laws. The problems of dealing with securities law, regulatory and jurisdictional issues make tokenisation of assets a pain and tend to erode the benefits of doing so at all.

“The low-hanging fruit of asset tokenisation is assets that already only exist in digital form, and this is exactly what we’ve seen with the rise of NFTs.”

María Paula Fernandez, Advisor to the Board of Directors at Golem Network said, “Coinbase have a proven track record of having one of the easiest crypto onboarding processes in the industry. Coinbase provided many options for getting the best use out of coins, but we never had anything like that for NFTs. OpenSea is good but they are not as widespread as Coinbase – they don’t have the know-how of what a user needs to the same extent, and how to capitalise on an increase of users through word of mouth.

“It would be great to see other crypto platforms follow suit but they would have to be mindful approach towards onboarding new technologies and new users – understanding the risks that come with this.

“I think Coinbase’s expansion is fantastic as we needed healthier competition in the space. No market should be dominated by a singular business. The expansion offers a new alternative for people, to change up what they had previously been used to and not go to that only option in the market.”

Anndy Lian, Founding Member of INFLUXO, said “The announcement that Coinbase is entering into the NFT market, coupled with FTX launching a Solana-based NFT marketplace, suggests strongly that NFTs are going to go mainstream in a big way. While the current dominant NFT marketplace OpenSea has seen up to 80,000 transactions a day its browser based wallet is not super easy to use at times and there have been security issues which have put people off. The Coinbase emphasis on usability, from initial minting to discovery of new and exciting NFTs, is a sign of the growing accessibility of the NFT market. Another sign of taking NFTs mainstream may be what Coinbase describes as a ‘personal feed’, blending social media and NFTs. Following Twitter’s rollout of profile NFTs and TikTok’s launch of its first creator-led NFT collection, TikTok Top Moments, this could be huge, especially if Facebook picks up on this NFT personalization trend and runs with it.

Coinbase’s reach will bring new users to the world of NFTs and whilst they will initially only use Coinbase as a means to trade and mint, the more confident they get, the more likely they will explore other platforms.


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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