Coinbase is getting into NFTs.
The cryptocurrency exchange announced Tuesday that it would open a marketplace where users can mint, collect and trade NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. Users can sign up for early access to the feature on a waiting list, the company said.
NFTs are unique digital assets designed to represent ownership of online items such as rare works of art or trading cards. They’re not fungible, which means you can’t swap one NFT for another like you can with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The sale of such tokens is booming this year. According to DappRadar, a company that tracks data related to crypto-based applications, the NFT market exceeded $ 10 billion in transaction volume in the third quarter of 2021.
Notable purchases include the nearly $ 70 million someone spent on a digital collage by Mike Winkelmann, the artist named Beeple, and the nearly $ 3 million someone else paid for the very first tweet .
Coinbase said its NFT marketplace, called Coinbase NFT, would include “social functions” and tap into what is known as the “creator economy,” a term used to describe the world of people who make money by watching videos and other content publish online.
Proponents say NFTs are a way to adequately compensate artists whose income has plummeted due to the widespread availability of media on the internet. Critics, on the other hand, see it as another speculative bubble in the crypto market that is waiting to burst.
Still, switching to the NFT space could be a way for Coinbase to tap new revenue streams – the company is currently heavily reliant on switching fees. It would also pit the company against other crypto startups like Gemini, Binance, and OpenSea, backed by early Coinbase investor Andreessen Horowitz.
Last month, OpenSea admitted that its platform was insider trading. According to DappRadar, the company is by far the largest NFT marketplace.