NFTs have become crypto’s most mainstream arm, with endorsements from celebrities and record-breaking art sales bringing them firmly into the public consciousness.
If you’re looking to get in on the action, it is imperative that you sign up with a reputable NFT marketplace. This guide runs through the five best options for buying NFTs in 2023.
OpenSea – Best Overall
SuperRare – Best For Fine Art
Foundation – Best For Artists
Rarible – Best For Collectibles
Async Art – Best For Living NFTs
Solanart – Best NFT platform for speed and price
Different marketplaces have different features, different collections available to buy, and different curation focuses. In this section, we dive into the features of each marketplace to help you work out which is best for you.
OpenSea is arguably “the” definitive NFT marketplace. All NFT collections built on Ethereum, Polygon, and now Solana (as of 2022) can be viewed and traded on OpenSea, and users can even create and sell their own NFTs directly from the marketplace.
The platform’s API is what enables virtually all crypto wallets to interact with NFTs—this certainly goes quite some way to cementing the platform as a central pillar of the NFT ecosystem—and the OpenSea brand is virtually synonymous with the NFT space.
Fiat payments enabled through MoonPay
Access virtually every collection, big and small
Great UX allows for a pleasant viewing and trading experience
The most trusted brand in the metaverse
Collection verification appeals to mainstream audiences
Support for multiple blockchains
Little curation—the sheer volume of NFTs listed can be overwhelming
Exploits and security breaches have occurred in the past
Bloat due to having all NFTs listed
We chose Opensea because of its relative longevity in the NFT space. Established in 2017, it has had a few bumps in the road in the form of hacks and site downtime. This has negatively impacted its reputation and trustworthiness among many NFT traders. However, it still retains the lion’s share of the NFT market and is the most widely known NFT marketplace today. Opensea also supports a number of blockchains, in addition to Ethereum, notably Solana, Polygon and Klaytn.
Popular NFTs on Opensea include: World of Women; Mutant Ape Yacht Club; Bored Ape Yacht Club; Okay Bears; ENS: Ethereum Name Service; Azuki; Farmland Pixels; Doodles and more.
Visit OpenSea now >
SuperRare is a highly curated platform where selling NFTs requires you to complete a lengthy application, with the goal of reducing the “bloat” of throwaway NFTs that fill many open marketplaces.
This leads to a much more high-brow affair than places like Rarible and OpenSea, where the number of NFTs available is the main draw. The exclusivity of SuperRare allows users to much more easily find high-quality art, for both aesthetic and investment purposes.
Only high-quality work accepted
Lack of bloat makes for a pleasant browsing experience
Strong editorial content goes beyond just buying and selling NFTs
Curated to help everyone find something they like
Only art – no collectables or gaming NFTs are available
Curation means the total selection is smaller
Only Ethereum blockchain supported
While all doors are open on most NFT marketplaces, SuperRare is a little more circumspect when it comes to who it lets in. While this is seen as a bad thing by people who want to mint the next 5000 cartoon apes, for serious artists selling a very limited number of individual pieces, it’s a blessing. In a world where there is a surfeit of ‘NFT noise’, SuperRare provides a place of refuge for digital artists who like to focus on one piece at a time.
@deekaymotion; @manoloide; @archannair; @jakethedegen; @trevorjonesart, and more.
Visit SuperRare now >
Foundation is a marketplace centred around the artists that give life to the NFT space: to quote Foundation themselves, “In web3, artists are taking back ownership and control over their creativity. All collections on Foundation are creator-owned smart contracts that will stand the test of time.”
It also allows for simple revenue splits and automatic royalty payments, making Foundation a great choice if you are an artist looking to venture into the world of NFTs for the first time, or if you are dissatisfied with the service elsewhere.
Artists get to own their smart contracts – this is extremely rare
Revenue splits and royalties take care of technicalities
Artists are empowered to create while Foundation manages the business side
Good selection available for collectors/traders
Great curated home page
Not all collections can be traded
Visit Foundation now >
Rarible is an NFT marketplace focused on collectables. This includes famous “profile picture” collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club, .eth domain names, “trading card” collections, and in-game items from various different ecosystems—Rarible supports Ethereum, Flow, Tezos, and Polygon blockchains.
Rarible also allows users to mint their own NFTs, and the non-Ethereum options can be very cost-effective. The marketplace is semi-curated via the homepage, making it a nice middle ground between OpenSea and SuperRare, with a good range of items combined with improved browsability.
Four blockchains supported, more than OpenSea
RARI token available for governance
Still slightly bloated due to open access
Different blockchains are displayed together, which can be confusing
Lack of editorial content or “true” curation
We chose Rarible because, unlike many centralised NFT marketplaces, it is owned by the people who use it. It has also emerged as one of the most viable contenders in the space. Peer-to-peer, like Opensea, Rarible’s platform delivers an outstanding user experience making it easy to buy, sell and create NFTs on the platform. Whether it’s decentralised web domains, photography, metaverses or art, NFT enthusiasts are able to do business on Rarible at an affordable price. And perhaps the best thing of all? Rarible is cross-compatible with Opensea meaning that whatever you create on Rarible can be viewed on Opensea, too.
Popular NFTs on Rarible include: Cool Cats; CyberBrokers; Bored Ape Yacht Club; Clone X; Dour Darcels; Invisible Friends; Dippies, Pop Art Cats, and more.
Visit Rarible now >
Async is probably the most unique NFT marketplace. Its main draw is that it offers “layered” art, where different people can own different layers of an NFT, which allows the full composition to be dynamic and change over time.
A unique way of creating art, Async also offers music NFTs that are dynamic. This positions the NFT space at the cutting edge of the art world and allows anyone with a crypto wallet to get in on the action.
A groundbreaking new medium for digital art
Designed with creators in mind
Own art that evolves over time
Niche art — not for everyone
Visit Async Art now >
Despite being one of the cheapest places to buy and sell NFTs, Solanart is equally big on quality with many exclusive collections you won’t find anywhere else. One of the main differences with Solanart, when compared to the other marketplaces mentioned, is users must operate within the parameters of the Solana ecosystem. This means using a Solana-compatible, non-custodial wallet. The best of these is Phantom. If you don’t have it, you’ll need to download it. You can then use it much in the same way you would use Metamask. For any transactions you make, you will need to have Solana’s native cryptocurrency, SOL, inside the wallet.
While Solanart isn’t the only NFT marketplace built on Solana—others include Magic Eden, Solsea and Digital Eyes—it is one of the most popular. With bright and bold collections, there’s a lot to choose from. Solanart also has a new launchpad feature for up and coming projects. So, if you’re looking for a worthy alternative to Opensea, on a non-Ethereum blockchain, Solanart could be for you.
Decentralised and lightning-fast
Very low transaction fees
A wide range of cool NFTs
Offers decision-making rights to SOL holders
Phantom Wallet is arguably better than Metamask
Very new entrant with a lower user base than Opensea
Not as many NFT collections available as competitors
Lots of features still in Beta
We chose Solanart for its vision and ability to engage NFT enthusiasts without charging them the earth. Many people getting into NFTs have found the high gas fees of other platforms a barrier to entry; for them, having a cheaper option has been a breath of fresh air. In addition, Solanart is built on Solana, the world’s fastest blockchain. Solanart also has NFT collections that can’t be found anywhere else.
Popular NFTs on Solanart include: Degenerate Ape Academy; Aurory; SolPUnks; Bold Badgers; FRAKT; and Galactic Gecko Space Garage.
An NFT is a unique digital artefact bound to an immutable code on the blockchain. This means that the original can never be reproduced. For an easy comparison, think Mona Lisa—one original, many prints. And it’s the same for an NFT. The only difference is that NFTs are digital. An NFT can be many things: tickets to a concert in the metaverse, a piece of virtual land or property, photos, a piece of music, a demo tape or items of virtual clothing. What makes these things NFTs is the unique code that binds them to the owner via the blockchain.
And while many people consider NFTs to be a brand new phenomenon, they’ve actually been around since 2012—three years, in fact, before the world’s first altcoin, Ethereum, was created. These first NFTs were called Coloured Coins, one-of-a-kind digital coins created on the Bitcoin blockchain.
In 2015, after Ethereum’s genesis block was mined, developers turned to the new blockchain and started creating NFTs there. The first to be minted was Terra Nullius in August of the same year. And in June 2017, the first-ever CryptoPunk was created. Due to the resurgence in the popularity of CryptoPunks, the total trading value of this crude ‘artistic’ oddity currently sits at more than $2.5 billion at the time of writing.
An NFT marketplace does exactly what it says on the tin: it is a platform that allows creators and collectors to buy, sell, trade, and view non-fungible tokens, which are one-of-one tokens that represent an item (like a piece of art) on the blockchain.
Marketplaces have varying focuses, with some intent on curating elite digital artists, some aggregating the sum total of all NFT collectables available, and some offering off-the-wall features like dynamic, layered artworks with co-ownership possibilities.
To use an NFT marketplace, you will usually need to purchase a cryptocurrency (such as ETH or SOL) before sending it to your wallet. You’ll use these funds to buy your chosen NFTs from the marketplace of your choice. Here’s how it works.
Sign up with an exchange to get started. You’ll need to verify your account using your driving licence or passport, as well as some proof of address.
If you need to buy Ethereum (ETH), we recommend eToro. If you need Solana (SOL), Polygon (MATIC), or a smaller coin, your best bet is Binance.
Purchase the coin you need (i.e. ETH for an Ethereum-based marketplace) and send it to a Web 3.0 wallet—we recommend MetaMask. To send it over, head over to the “Withdraw” section of the exchange, and paste in your MetaMask wallet address.
Head over to your chosen NFT marketplace and click on the “Connect Wallet” button. This doesn’t release your funds but simply allows you to access the platform. From here, you can browse collections, purchase art using your newly acquired crypto, and even make your own NFTs.
When choosing an NFT marketplace, you should consider several factors depending on what you require from the platform. Let’s have a look at some of these.
Fees – Different platforms have different fee structures. If low fees are important to you, shop around to find the best rates for the NFT you want.
Bear in mind that any Ethereum NFT will likely attract a hefty gas fee on top of whatever fee the marketplace charges. Solana is the most popular low-gas blockchain and is a favourite of new NFT owners.
Security – OpenSea has suffered exploits in the past, and you should definitely consider this if you plan on using your chosen marketplace regularly. Security concerns are unlikely to matter if you are just planning on a quick purchase, though.
Focus – Are you a gamer, art collector, or NFT trader? Make sure you choose a platform that is aimed at your needs: gamers won’t have much luck on SuperRare.
Supported blockchains – If you are looking to buy an NFT from a particular collection, make sure that the collection is available on your chosen platform. Many marketplaces support multiple blockchains, so this is a less relevant issue as time passes.
Payment options – If you want to buy NFTs with fiat money (i.e. “normal” money like US dollars) rather than crypto, make sure the marketplace you opt for has some sort of payment rail that allows for this. OpenSea offers MoonPay, for example, which enables credit card purchases.
You can store your NFT digital assets in a number of ways. The best and safest way is on a hardware wallet. If you’ve ever bought and held cryptocurrencies on a hardware wallet, the process of storing NFTs is almost identical. Keeping your NFTs in a hardware wallet is the safest way to prevent them from being stolen.
Our team explored the leading NFT marketplaces and put them to the test. This involved signing up for various wallets, such as Metamask and Phantom and then entering the marketplaces and interacting with them. We then assigned each of them a score for general ease of use and attributed them a point-score according to what they were individually best at. We then ranked them in order.
Our overall winner was, unsurprisingly, Opensea. But we also found that many of the new NFT marketplaces, in particular Rarible and Solanart, have their own advantages—not to mention some awesome and exclusive NFT collections. As the NFT space matures in the coming years, these early contenders are well-positioned to take bigger bites from Opensea’s market share.
Find out more on how we test and how we fund our site.
Those new to NFT marketplaces can find them overwhelming, which is why we put together this guide to help navigate the early part of your NFT journey. Before diving into buying NFTs, you should always ask yourself a few questions:
Why do I want to buy an NFT? Are you buying NFTs because you want to speculate and make money, or do you love the projects you’re looking at and want to hold them for the long term? It’s important to make the distinction as speculating on NFTs without the right tools is similar to speculating on cryptocurrencies. Prices can be volatile and you can end up losing money through asset depreciation and fees.
Can I use the NFT? It’s not easy to hang a piece of digital art on the wall, yet, and won’t have the same aesthetic appeal as a piece of physically produced art. If you believe we’ll be spending more time in the metaverse in the near future, places where you can showcase your NFTs in a meaningful way, it might be worth splashing out on the next up and coming Beeple. You’ll also want to think about whether there are other uses for your NFT beyond simple ownership such as, is it possible to stake the NFT and earn a passive income?
Is the NFT project a scam? Not every NFT is as well thought through and executed as The Bored Ape Yacht Club. When you’re looking at NFT collections, research who is behind them and what the ‘big idea’ is behind the project. Anybody can mint an NFT and put it for sale online, but the most valuable NFT projects are those with a team, a clear vision, and a roadmap you can see on their website.