A glance at DappRadar, an analytics platform for decentralized applications (dApps), shows a 24-hour trading volume of $17.17 million for Blur – an NFT marketplace. This figure tops every other popular NFT marketplace, including Opensea, which has long since been widely considered to be the home for trading non-fungible tokens. As anticipation grows for its token launch next week, the upstart NFT marketplace continues to outstrip incumbent OpenSea. Yet, it does not end there. Blur is also the 5th most-used protocol on Ethereum currently.
The protocol is backed by famous investors, including Paradigm, Cozomo Medici, Zeneca, OSF, MoonOverlord, Deeze, Andy8052, eGirl Capital, LedgerStatus, 0xMaki, and Keyboard Monkey, as a competitor to Opensea.
How Blur Currently Compares To Fellow Marketplaces
OpenSea, launched in December 2017, has historically dominated the NFT segment. Blur still lags behind OpenSea based on several trades rather than by the monetary value of trade volumes, as data from Dappradar tells us.
Like Opensea, Blur is an Ethereum-based protocol geared toward seasoned traders. Blur was launched on the 19th of October, but what is shocking is that though it’s been a mere 112 days since then, Blur has come to surpass Opensea in daily trading volume, luring a wave of NFT enthusiasts and traders away from Opensea and other popular marketplaces like X2Y2 and LooksRare. It currently boasts a 46% slice of the total weekly market share against OpenSea’s 36%. Blur has topped daily trade volume across the NFT sector every day throughout February so far, averaging roughly $14.3 million compared to OpenSea’s $11.3 million, per a Dune Analytics dashboard. Blur’s trade volumes also eclipsed OpenSea throughout early January and most of December.
Volume Traded in ETH
What trick does Blur have up its sleeve? For the most part, it looks like Blur has gotten its marketing right.
Incentivization always goes right in crypto, and the Blur team clearly understood that assignment. A two-pronged reward system that includes zero-fee trades and an airdrop scheme from an impending token launch has fuelled NFT trading activity on the platform. Before this token launch on February 14th, users who have actively traded NFTs on Blur earned airdrops marketed as “care packages.” These care packages will be swapped for BLUR tokens after launch. The “care package” airdrops are distributed periodically, and this has been done twice, incentivizing traders to list and trade NFTs on Blur. Since traders do not know when the next airdrop will happen, they are “forced” to keep trading in anticipation of the occasional gifts. This approach was used in both the first and second airdrops. Blur’s final airdrop, which has run from early December, is pegged to distribute more than twice the number of care packages this February. Users will earn reward points based on their NFT bidding activities and no longer airdrops.
The team’s reputation behind any project is very important, and Blur has done well. The team consists of individuals from Y Combinator, Twitch, Square, Citadel, MIT, Brex, and Five Rings. With this strong and credible collective portfolio, they were able to gain investor trust, raising $11 million from a host of aforementioned big names. They then leveraged this credibility to invite traders to their platform. No one would doubt a solid team like this would not know what they are doing.
Influencers as Investors
By raising money from notable NFT and crypto influencers, Blur quickly put the word out that “it is here!”. Blur had investors cum influencers like Ledgerstatus, Zeneca, MoonOverlord, Cozomo Medici, OSF, Deeze, Andy8052, 0xMaki, and Keyboard Monkey. Zeneca, particularly was one of the early advocates for the marketplace featuring Blur updates in comment sections and on the timelines of his over 317,000 followers on Twitter. In no time, Blur invited him to join the board as the Chief Zen Officer. These influencers with impeccable reputations have a collective 1.61 million followers, so it was easy for Blur to leverage their influence to onboard the first users to the platform.
Blur as an NFT Aggregator
NFT Marketplace Blur combines an aggregator with its marketplace. You can study and buy numerous NFTs simultaneously from various marketplaces using aggregators. By offering an NFT all-in-one marketplace, they intend to keep NFT traders within their platform, which has yielded amazing results. Genie.XYZ and Gem.XYZ is Blur’s main competitor in this regard. OpenSea purchased the latter in April last year but has let them operate independently, while OpenSea itself plans to incorporate some of Gem’s capabilities into its marketplace.
Nonetheless, Blur is crushing it. It allows users to trade NFTs on various platforms via a single portal, including its own. Both Blur NFT Marketplace and aggregation services are primarily intended for professional traders. Pro traders frequently floor sweep, which entails buying all NFTs at their floor price. This use case necessitates acquiring many NFTs in a single transaction. Whales and experienced traders typically do this before the anticipated significant momentum of a project. NFTs must be purchased in bulk if this is to be done quickly. High transaction speed is essential in addition to a fee reduction.
There hasn’t yet been a thorough comparison of the various NFT aggregators that Blur is a part of. According to data from transactions in the private phase, Blur claimed that their transactions were ten times faster than Gem’s. According to a recent tweet from their official account, they are the top volume aggregator.
Blur built interesting features, including;
- Floor Sweeping
Since Blur is also an aggregator, it lets traders sweep floors of NFT collections. Floor sweeping entails a trader buying all NFTs within a particular collection.
- Reveal Sniping
When a collection is revealed, fast traders can often buy rare NFTs that owners had already listed on the marketplace before these owners knew of its rarity. So, you have successfully reveal-sniped if you can snipe a rare NFT before the owner realizes its worth and changes its listed price. Blur provides this as a feature.
- Optional Royalties.
The Blur NFT Marketplace devised a rewards program that encourages users to pay royalties in exchange for more BLUR tokens, even if it follows the current trend of optional royalties to draw users. Blur offers an optional royalty program, a tactic common among NFT markets (Magic Eden on the Solana blockchain recently switched to it). Some NFT traders do not like paying royalties, and Blur is finding a way around that – by incentivizing them to pay. This way, they are treading the thin line where NFT creators allow their collections to be listed on Blur, and traders get rebates for trading them.
Even recently, Blur fell out with Opensea on the back of this tactic and was subsequently blacklisted from having access to permissioned NFTs by Opensea. However, Blur has chosen to enforce royalties on permissioned NFTs using Opensea’s Seaport. This announcement came after Opensea, in a tweet, suggested that it would turn off royalties on new collections that don’t block optional royalty marketplaces like Blur.
Outlook of The NFT Marketplace Sector
As the broader markets rebound from the deep recesses of the bear market, NFT trading volumes have seen an uptick this year. That is expected to continue into the year, even as there might be periods of low volatility within the fungible tokens market. It is with little accuracy that one can predict end-of-the-year certainties; however, key factors that might determine winners of the current NFT marketplace battle will likely include;
- Integration with other Blockchains; Marketplaces that can integrate or expand to more blockchains outside their native blockchains will have an advantage over the others.
- Exclusive Partnerships with Successful Brands or NFT Projects; Marketplaces that can partner with successful NFT brands to exclusively list their collections on their platforms will be able to harvest more activity and potentially more market share from the rest.
Exciting times are ahead as the crypto industry will always welcome all forms of healthy competition. As long as competition for the NFT market share stays healthy, players within the sector will continue to innovate to build products and services optimized for user satisfaction. Expect more freebies along the road. What a time to be an NFT enthusiast.
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