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Coinbase launches NFT platform to cultivate artist communities

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Coinbase, a major US-based crypto exchange plans to launch its own non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace later this year. In an announcement blog uploaded on its official website last October 12, it engaged its users to sign up for the market’s waitlist for early bird access to the platform. 

‘Today, we’re announcing Coinbase NFT, a peer-to-peer marketplace that will make minting, purchasing, showcasing, and discovering NFTs easier than ever, ’stated in the press release by Sanchan Saxena, Coinbase vice president of product and ecosystem.

‘Just as Coinbase helped millions of people access Bitcoin for the first time in an easy and trusted way — we want to do the same for the NFTs,’ she added.

The Coinbase NFT marketplace will allow users to buy and sell their artworks on the Ethereum blockchain using ERC-721 and ERC-115 token standards. 

Control is at the forefront of the exchange’s newest NFT offering, putting the creator first as stated on its blogpost. Users will be able to maintain creative control over their artworks through decentralised contracts and metadata transparencies since all of the NFTs will be on-chain.

‘Creating an NFT should be as simple as tapping a few buttons. Anything more complicated is a barrier to creativity. With an intuitive design built on top of a decentralized marketplace, Coinbase NFT puts the art and artist’s experience at the forefront,’ Saxena said.

This decision followed the announcement of crypto exchange FTX that also plans to launch its NFT platform that functions within a cross-chain trade using Ethereum and Solana blockchains. This will be led by FTX’s US subsidiary company.

Coinbase also plans to add social features to open avenues for conversation and discovery for its NFT users. According to the company, this feature will help grow the creator community exponentially, especially in the NFT sphere. 

‘Coinbase NFT will help creators, collectors, and fans build community,’ the exchange stated in the press release.

The accounts on the marketplace will also be curated according to the user’s feed. This means that all the artworks will be showcased in one place to help connect with other fans and artists to foster collaboration within the platform. 

No other details were presented by Coinbase about the technical details of the project. According to a report by TechCrunch, an online news site, since the exchange is launching the market using the Ethereum blockchain, the marketplace won’t be integrating Layer-2 scaling networks. 

Without the Layer-2 scaling, Coinbase users will potentially be paying for massive gas fees and dealing with scalability issues that the mainnet Ethereum blockchain is currently facing. 

However, this did not stop users from signing up for the NFT marketplace waitlist posted on the Coinbase blog post. The exchange gathered 1 million sign-ups in just a day after it announced the plan.

‘Over 1M people have signed up for Coinbase NFT since we launched yesterday,’ Brian Armstrong, Coinbase chief executive officer, said on his official Twitter account. 

The NFT market has reached a US$10 billion mark in transaction volume alone by the third quarter of 2021, according to crypto data and research company DappRadar. With Coinbase’s 8.8 million active users, its entry into the NFT industry is expected to compete with established NFT marketplaces like Opensea and Rarible, as reported by Cointelegraph. 

In the data provided by DappRadar, OpenSea has a total of US$8.7 billion of transaction volume this year with Axie Infinity coming in second place as the largest NFT marketplace with US$2.5 billion.

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