Comparison of Major NFT Marketplaces: Blur, LooksRare, X2Y2, Rarible, and SuperRare — Ratings & Analysis
The development of blockchain technology has led to the birth of NFT, and as the market matures, NFT marketplaces have emerged. In this article, we will rate and analyze 5 major NFT marketplaces, including Rarible, SuperRare, LooksRare, X2Y2 and Blur. We hope to provide some useful information to help our users to choose the suitable NFT marketplace.
A Quick Overview
Similar to OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, LooksRare, X2Y2, and Blur are all Ethereum-based NFT marketplaces that provide order book trades for NFTs in ERC-721 and ERC-1155 formats. However, each marketplace has its unique focus on NFT trading.
Rarible was one of the first established NFT marketplaces. It went live in April 2018. Rarible supports all categories of NFT and charges a 2.5% fee on all transactions (same as OpenSea). In addition to Ethereum, Rarible has also been deployed to smart contract platforms including Solana, Polygon, and Immutable X. Additionally, Rarible has developed an open-source NFT development tool called Rarible Protocol, which supports custom NFT creation.
SuperRare started in 2020, and mainly focuses on the artwork category. It is designed to help artists earn a fairer income through royalties. SuperRare charges a 15% transaction fee for primary market trading and a 3% fee for secondary market trading.
LooksRare launched in January 2022. It is one of the new-generation NFT marketplaces. LooksRare hopes to challenge OpenSea by distributing fees to the community. It charges a 2% transaction fee on all transactions and distributes the revenue to LooksRare’s native token stakers.
X2Y2 went live in February 2022. Similar to LooksRare, X2Y2 also distributes transaction fees to its native token stakers. However, it only charges a 0.5% fee on NFT transactions.
Blur officially launched in October 2022. Compared to other NFT marketplaces that mainly focus on retail users, Blur places more emphasis on serving NFT traders. Specifically, in addition to the original order book NFT trading, Blur also provides batch shelf and floor-sweeping. Meanwhile, it also integrates NFTs from other marketplaces for buyers to select and purchase. Furthermore, Blur does not charge any transaction fees. (Related Reading: What Is Blur? NFT Marketplace for Pro Traders — Ratings & Analysis)
Underlying Technology & Security
Among these projects, except for Blur, all the remaining projects have made their code base publicly available on GitHub. The open-source code includes project smart contracts, SDK, token smart contracts, and other related technical documentation. In terms of GitHub performance, Rarible has the highest number of Stars and Forks. The GitHub performance of X2Y2 and SuperRare, on the other hand, is relatively poor, with the number of Stars and Forks being almost 40 times lower than Rarible’s.
In terms of code auditing, all projects have publicly disclosed audit reports for their smart contracts. Among them, LooksRare conducted the most audits and completed 3 code audits in 2022. According to the audit results, SuperRare had the fewest security issues, with only one low-risk security issue exits. LooksRare and Rarible had relatively more security vulnerabilities. They both have high-risk vulnerabilities existing in their codes. Additionally, except for X2Y2, all projects have launched bug bounty programs.
As of Feb 28, 2023, except for Rarible, none of the remaining projects have experienced any security crisis events. According to the news, Rarible and OpenSea suffered a hacker attack against their NFT API in January 2022, with stolen assets worth about $1 million.
In terms of token utility, according to the publicly disclosed information, $LOOKS, $BLUR, $RARI, $X2Y2, and $RARE are all used for decentralized governance. Rarible’s users can stake $RARI to obtain benefits like transaction fee deduction, private Discord access, etc. Users of LooksRare and X2Y2 can respectively earn transaction fee rewards by staking $LOOKS and $X2Y2. However, $BLUR and $RARE have no additional utility other than decentralized governance at this time.
In terms of token allocation, the percentage of $LOOKS, $RARI, and $X2Y2 allocated to the community is over 70%, indicating a relatively low level of centralization. However, the percentage of $BLUR and $RARE allocated to the core team and investors is close to 50%, indicating a relatively high level of centralization.
In terms of vesting plans, the Rarible team has not disclosed a detailed vesting plan for $RARI. The vesting plan for $LOOKS and $X2Y2 is similar, with the share belonging to the core team and investors fully unlocked within 2 years, unlocked every six months. The $RARE tokens allocated to the core team and investors will be locked for 1 year and linearly unlocked in the following 2 years. $BLUR will be unlocked in a decreasing manner over 4 years, with 40% unlocked in the first year, 30% unlocked in the second year, and so on.
According to TokenInsight’s data, it can be seen that Blur, as a dark horse among the recent NFT marketplaces, has the best secondary market performance among all projects. Although its token has just been listed and the date is less than 15 days, it has already been listed on 24 exchanges, and its 24-hour volume is the highest among all tokens, about $150 million.
Based on historical data, the highest 24-hour volume of $BLUR reached an ATH price of about $440 million on Feb 16th. This is almost unheard of among new projects launched this year. Compared with other NFT marketplaces, as of February 27, 2023, the 24-hour volume of tokens from other projects has not exceeded $5 million. Although this is related to the relatively high market cap of $BLUR, its market cap is nearly 3x of $LOOKS and $RARE, but their 24-hour volume is nearly 30x.
On the other hand, the performance of $X2Y2 and $RARI is relatively poor. They are currently only listed for trading on 12 exchanges; the 24-hour volume of $RARI is the lowest among all projects, only 190,000 US dollars.
Regarding the price trends, based on the price comparison chart above, it is clear that $BLUR has the highest price volatility. During its initial launch, the price of $BLUR reached a peak of about $4 but quickly fell afterward. However, as demand in the market grew, the price of $BLUR gradually increased over the next few days, reaching a high of around $1.4. But according to the latest data, on February 27th, the price of $BLUR fell back to around $0.84, a drop of nearly 80% from its all-time high price.
$RARE and $RARI are similar in that their prices have remained relatively stable. On the other hand, the prices of $LOOKS and $X2Y2 have been on a downward trend. Among them, $X2Y2 has been experiencing a continuous decline in price since its launch, and currently has a drop of nearly 60% compared to February 14th.
According to statistics, the initial launch of NFT marketplaces always sees a peak in trading volume, and Blur is no exception. Influenced by airdrop incentives, NFT trading volume on Blur reached $70 million in the third week of its launch, almost on par with OpenSea. After $BLUR went live on February 14th, 2023, Blur’s weekly trading volume exceeded $360 million, 3x of OpenSea for the same week. In response to the competition from Blur, OpenSea announced a limited-time 0 transaction fee plan on February 18th. This move helped OpenSea’s weekly trading volume surge from $100 million to $330 million. However, Blur’s trading volume increased even further to $530 million.
Source: Dune Analytics@jhackworth
After launching in January 2022, LooksRare’s weekly volume quickly soared to $2.9 billion, nearly 3x of OpenSea for the same week. After a significant drop in trading volume on LooksRare, X2Y2 went live and saw its weekly volume increase from $48 million in the first week of April to nearly $200 million in the first week of June, on par with OpenSea’s trading volume for the same week. However, as wash traders left, trading volumes on LooksRare and X2Y2 both saw significant declines. In the final week of 2022, OpenSea’s weekly trading volume was $72 million, while LooksRare and X2Y2 had weekly trading volumes of $27 million and $40 million, respectively. These data better reflect the true usage of LooksRare and X2Y2.
Source: Dune Analytics@jhackworth
With the experience gained from LooksRare and X2Y2, we wanted to gain a better understanding of the real usage of NFT marketplaces. Therefore, we chose to compare the number of unique buyers among these platforms. We found out the trading volume on LooksRare is almost unrelated to the buyers. Since the launch of LooksRare, the number of weekly active buyers has remained between 2,000 and 6,000. Although not entirely positively correlated, the volume growth of X2Y2 and Blur almost always accompanies the growth of their user base.
For example, Blur’s weekly trading volume increased from $10 million when it was first launched to $400 million in the second week of February 2023, with a growth of about 40x. During the same period, the number of weekly active buyers on Blur increased from 6,000 to 30,000, a growth of about 5x. However, in the past week, Blur’s trading volume increased from $400 million in the previous week to $650 million with an increase of over 50%, but the number of buyers only increased by less than 10%.
In terms of community performance, according to TokenInsight’s statistics, as of February 27, 2023, Rarible has the most Twitter followers, nearly 500,000 people. Blur has the most Discord followers, nearly 130,000 people. SuperRare operates most social media platforms. In addition to Twitter and Discord, it also operates Telegram, Medium, Instagram, Reddit, and others.
Based on overall product usage and community performance, Blur has performed the best. Currently, Blur has the largest volume and the most unique buyers, second only to OpenSea. Therefore, we believe that Blur’s high trading volume will not experience a significant drop like LooksRare. At the same time, Blur’s community is also quite active. In addition to having an advantage in numbers, community activities such as AMA and Space are relatively frequent.
In summary, we believe that among the major NFT marketplaces mentioned in the article, Blur and LooksRare have performed better. LooksRare, as one of the new generation of NFT marketplace, made a big splash when it was launched in early 2022 and once had extremely high trading volumes that could rival OpenSea. Unfortunately, this was caused by trading incentives. The homogeneous product and service that LooksRare offered did not bring the same user stickiness as OpenSea. Moreover, the transaction fees of LooksRare were not as attractive as X2Y2, so the trading volume and liquidity of NFT on LooksRare are showing a declining trend. Therefore, we believe that LooksRare’s rating will be downgraded to B or even lower in the future.
In contrast, Blur adopted a differentiated strategy and provided users with products and services that differed from OpenSea, which attracted many NFT traders since its launch. Currently, Blur is in its growth stage, and its trading volume has already surpassed OpenSea. We believe that there are also wash trading on Blur, but they are more sustainable than those in LooksRare. As time goes by, speculators will find better opportunities and leave Blur, and then Blur will show us a more realistic usage scenario. At the same time, along with Blur’s further development, the richer token application scenarios, the more detailed token vesting plan, and the more complete roadmap will further improve its rating result. In the future, we will continue to monitor the development of NFT marketplaces and make timely adjustments and updates to the rating results.