2021 has been a great year for cryptocurrencies, and the non-fungible tokens (NFT) wave has been nothing short of explosive. The traded volume of NFTs this year reached $22 billion, compared to $100 million in 2020. This impressive growth has attracted several participants, from artists to content creators, gamers to investors. The easiest way to get in on this NFT wave is to participate in their trade, which is only possible through an NFT marketplace. To that end, we shall explore the top 5 marketplaces to trade NFTs in 2022. But first, let’s look at what you need to know before settling on any one of our top picks.

Factors to consider before choosing an NFT platform

NFTs represent ownership stakes to digital artwork, and they may represent different art forms such as pictures, videos, video game collectibles, sports highlights, virtual land, just to mention a few. Thus, to avoid being overwhelmed by infinite choices, you should decide what kind of art you’re looking to invest in. This will be the first step to narrowing down the most suitable platform for you.

Next, you will need to know the types of tokens that each marketplace utilizes. Some platforms will only use a specific proprietary token, while others support a range of cryptocurrencies. Before opening an account with the platform of your choice, you will need to link your crypto wallet. Make sure your wallet is funded with the right tokens before attempting a transaction on the platform. 

Last but not least, you should check to make sure that the platform you choose has adequate security measures for securing your funds and NFTs. There is no shortage of hackers on the internet, and you need to investigate any history of security breaches before investing in any one marketplace. 

NFT platforms to watch in 2022

1. OpenSea

OpenSea is to NFT platforms what Google is to search engines. It is ahead of the rest in NFT sales. In 2021 alone, it has grown to process more daily transactions than it did in the entire year of 2020. In July, Andreesen Horowitz also referred to as A16z, led institutional funding round for OpenSea that raised $100 million, bringing the platform’s valuation to $1.5 billion, which earned it the unicorn status.

OpenSea is hosted on the Ethereum network, and it supports more than 150 tokens. It offers NFTs ranging from gaming items, digital art, event tickets, domain names, and several other assets. It supports several other blockchains, such as Polygon and Klatyn. Ethereum is scheduled to switch to the proof of stake model in the near future, which will significantly reduce the costly gas fees associated with the network. This will definitely be a big boost to OpenSea as an NFT platform.  

2. SpaceSeven

This is a multi-blockchain NFT platform that is hosted on the Concordium smart contract enterprise network. It features low gas fees and transaction speeds up to 10 times faster. It is designed with an identity layer that allows integration with traditional financial models that require user ID verification. This means you can transact on the platform using crypto tokens or credit cards. Its most interesting feature is the Universes, which allows users to access customized NFT galleries.

What’s more, short of a 51% attack, SpaceSeven is a highly secure platform. With its integration with existing financial systems, it ensures full regulatory compliance, transparency, and governance. Further, it uses the proof of stake model, which is way more efficient than the proof of work.

3. BakerySwap

This was the first NFT platform to launch on Binance Smart Chain, the hub of decentralized finance. On it, users can trade tokens, stake, and farm BAKE tokens, play DeFi games, create NFT combinations and play games to earn NFTs. It also has a Launchpad feature on which users can access newly launched projects on BSC. 

Another interesting feature is the Initial DEX Offering, through which players can play Battle pets, where they get to breed, battle, and trade NFT pets. It has an NFT gallery section where users can access the artwork from the most famed artists on BakerySwap. This platform hit 500,000 NFT transactions in June, and by August, this number had risen to 1.4 million transactions plus 500,000 mintings.

4. Axie Infinity

This is the most popular NFT platform, with over 44,000 daily users. It runs a play-to-earn model where people earn crypto by playing games on the platform. Since game characters (Axies) are quite expensive, Axie Infinity has a feature called scholarships. Here, players approach Axie owners and offer to play on their behalf in return for a share of the profits. This way, NFT owners earn passive income while the players earn active income without having to invest large amounts of capital. 

It is estimated that Axie Infinity makes $1.5 billion annually, with a $3 billion market cap. Since it is a Metaverse game, the growing Metaverse hype only works in its favor. Since it provides an alternative way to earn a living, it is very common in Southeast Asia regions, where banking services are hard and expensive to access. 

5. Magic Eden

This is the leading NFT platform on the Solana blockchain. It boasts 350,000 active daily users. Magic Eden’s trading volume grew by 1,168% in just a few months since its launch. Now, it has more than 50% market share on Solana. 

The platform charges very low gas fees and features low-cost NFTs. For this reason, it sees higher transaction volumes than giants like OpenSea. To put this in perspective, the average transaction on Magic Eden is approximately $97, while that on OpenSea averages $1,872.

Conclusion

The NFT wave has seen enormous growth in 2021, and it’s only going to get bigger in 2022. Millions of dollars are being traded on NFT marketplaces, and any investor worth their salt will want to get in on this money-making enterprise. We have analyzed the top 5 picks of NFT marketplaces to watch out for in 2022. Before choosing any one of them, ensure they deal in the artwork you intend to invest in, are secure, and that you have the tokens they support.