OpenSea, a prominent NFT marketplace, is currently developing a platform upgrade known as OpenSea 2.0. According to Devin Finzer, the CEO, this upgrade aims to enhance user experience and better differentiate NFT categories as their use cases continue to evolve. Currently, OpenSea and other platforms display NFTs uniformly, regardless of whether they are gaming tokens or event tickets.
Finzer stated, “We really want to have a marketplace interface that can be better customized to suit each type of use case.”
What Upgrades Are Coming to OpenSea 2.0 Platform?
As part of the upgrade, OpenSea is working on displaying ticket NFTs on a calendar and sorting them by date, providing a more tailored experience.
In response to the growing popularity of platforms like Blur and Tensor, which offer professional trading experiences, OpenSea’s upgrade aims to make it easier for users to access its pro trading platform. The enhanced interface will allow users to seamlessly switch between a collector view and a more advanced view. Additionally, OpenSea has improved its detection of fake NFT collections and harmful URLs, addressing security concerns prevalent in the industry.
While Finzer did not comment on the termination of required royalties for NFT creators, he did not disclose whether OpenSea plans to reintroduce a mandatory royalty program in the future.
Regarding emerging trends, Finzer noted the increasing usage of the Solana blockchain for NFTs and the growing popularity of Ordinals, NFT-like assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. Despite these trends, he remains optimistic about Ethereum being the preferred blockchain for NFTs, particularly with the improvements in transaction cost and speed facilitated by its layer-2 chains.
Finzer does not see Bitcoin, even with the recent ETF craze, as a major NFT option moving forward. He remarked, “I really do think that the sorts of applications that you can build on Bitcoin will probably be limited to art-type use cases as opposed to more diverse stuff.”
Navigating the Challenging NFT Market
Global sales of nonfungible tokens (NFTs), representing unique ownership of assets on the blockchain, witnessed a significant 63% decline to $8.7 billion last year, according to data from CryptoSlam. This decrease comes despite a notable increase in volume, reaching $918 million between October and November. In contrast, the cryptocurrency market bellwether, Bitcoin, experienced a substantial surge of almost 160% in 2023.
The decline marks a notable contrast from the crypto bull market in 2021 when multi-million dollar NFT sales played a defining role. NFTs, popularized by collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club, were initially celebrated as a fun and accessible way for mainstream consumers to engage with crypto, also serving as a status symbol for those investing significant sums in unique digital assets. However, the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) recently ceased support for NFT profile pictures.
Devin Finzer, the CEO of NFT marketplace OpenSea, emphasizes a broader perspective on defining success for the NFT industry and his company. He highlights the need to move beyond viewing NFTs solely as collectible images and focus on building compelling use cases for these tokens.
OpenSea, based in New York, was a dominant NFT marketplace during the crypto bull market, reaching a valuation of $13 billion after a $300 million funding round in January 2022. However, the onset of the recent crypto winter impacted the startup negatively.
In August, OpenSea faced challenges, including the conviction of its former head of product for insider trading and criticism for eliminating mandatory royalties for NFT creators. In response, the company laid off 50% of its staff in November. Newer entrants like Blur, OKX NFT Marketplace, and Magic Eden have displayed higher trading volumes than OpenSea over the past 30 days, according to crypto data tracker DappRadar.
When questioned about this shifting trend, Finzer emphasized that trading volumes might be misleading as some marketplaces incentivize activity using their own tokens as rewards. He stated, “We tend to not focus too much on kind of the short-term, marketplace dynamics.”