For years, Opensea has been widely recognized as the leading NFT marketplace in terms of trading volume on Ethereum and other blockchains. However, this landscape has shifted dramatically over the past eight months due to the meteoric rise of Blur.
In this short period, Blur has managed to surpass OpenSea in NFT trading volume on the Ethereum blockchain. Furthermore, its BLUR token has achieved a market cap of $300 million. This accomplishment is even more noteworthy considering that Blur exclusively supports Ethereum, while OpenSea accommodates NFTs on seven different blockchains. What sets this platform apart, and will it be able to maintain its dominance in the future?
Launched on October 19, 2022, Blur is a sophisticated Ethereum-based NFT marketplace and aggregator, offering advanced analytics, exceptional portfolio management features, and the ability to compare NFTs across multiple marketplaces. These capabilities have made Blur increasingly popular among professional NFT traders.
The platform empowers collectors to purchase high-value NFTs through smaller initial payments, akin to a down payment on a house. This financing option enables new buyers to enter the NFT market, making exclusive collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunk NFTs more accessible.
As of June 27, 2023, NFTScan Explorer data reveals that Blur’s NFT Marketplace has achieved an all-time trading volume of $5.7 billion, with a total of 3.5 million unique NFTs sold by 170.2k distinct wallet addresses. This has generated a total gas revenue of 35.8 million, securing a 97.73% share of the entire Ethereum NFT Marketplace.
All this was achieved in the space of 8 months, but it is no match for Opensea, which has been functional for about 5 years and launched on 7 other blockchains with crazy gas fees. And whose data below beats that of Blur’s stated earlier.
Upon examining daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly trading volume data, a different perspective emerges. NFTscan data reveals that within the past 30 days, Blur has achieved a remarkable trading volume of $600 million. In contrast, OpenSea’s trading volume during the same period is a mere $124 million, which is approximately one-sixth of Blur’s volume. The difference is indeed staggering.
The question then arises: how has an 8-month-old marketplace managed to surpass a 5-year-old multichain marketplace in terms of Volume? What sets Blur apart? This leads us to our next discussion point.
Understanding NFT Traders
People enter the NFT space for various reasons, including a passion for art, profit-seeking, exploring new investment opportunities, or even money laundering. However, the primary motivations for venturing into NFT investment can be grouped into two categories: art appreciation and profit generation. This distinction helps identify the two main types of traders in the NFT market.
- Art aficionados or Long term traders: They are deeply invested in the NFT space due to their appreciation for the artistic value of these digital assets. These individuals often hold onto their NFTs for extended periods, treating them as cherished collectibles rather than mere commodities. While they may be enticed to sell if the price experiences a substantial increase, their primary focus remains on the joy of collecting and the emotional connection to the art itself, rather than on making a profit. Bored Ape Yacht Club (BYAC) holders exemplify this type of trader, as they often form communities and share a genuine passion for the unique art pieces they acquire.
- Degen or short-term traders: These are a unique category of individuals who are primarily focused on making quick profits through rapid buying and selling of assets, rather than investing in them for the long term. These traders can also be referred to as “sniping and flipping freaks” due to their aggressive trading strategies.
- Their main objective is not to appreciate or support the art associated with non-fungible tokens (NFTs); instead, they are solely interested in the potential for profit. They engage in a process called “flipping,” where they buy NFTs at a low price and sell them at a higher price, capitalizing on the price differences.
- One common strategy employed by these professional traders is “sweeping the floor.” This involves purchasing any NFTs within a specific collection that are listed at the floor price — the lowest price at which an NFT is available for sale. Once the price of these NFTs increases, the traders then sell them for a profit.
- It is important to note that flipping NFTs is purely speculative and does not involve any genuine interest in collecting or supporting the art. This type of trading can involve significant amounts of money, as short-term traders aim to maximize their profits through numerous transactions.As a result, professional’s wallets tend to generate a high volume of transactions and substantial monetary flows.
Having understood these types of traders, Blur’s secret recipe was for the second category of traders, whose adrenaline was pumping for more profits and adventure, thereby creating more volume and revenue for them. But in order to achieve this, they first have to create an enabling environment for this group of traders to reach their potential. This is where we evaluate the features that set Blur apart from other marketplaces.
Features other marketplaces lack in order to beat Blur
- Fast Transaction: In the fast-paced realm of degen NFT trading, speed is of the essence as traders vie with one another to snatch up attractively priced NFTs as soon as they become available. Even a single second can make a significant difference in this highly competitive environment, where countless traders are constantly on the lookout for lucrative opportunities.
- Zero fees: Blur boasts a highly appealing fee structure that caters to traders, as it does not impose any transaction fees for users on its platform. In contrast, OpenSea levies a 2.5% fee on each trade conducted in the secondary market. However, it is important to note that if you utilize Blur to purchase NFTs listed on an alternative marketplace, you will be subject to that platform’s respective administrative fee. This user-friendly approach to fees makes Blur an attractive option for traders seeking to maximize their profits.
- Advanced Sweeping Mechanism: Setting itself apart from other marketplaces, Blur provides batch shelf and floor-sweeping transactions in addition to order book NFT transactions. By showcasing the best deals on OpenSea, X2Y2, and LooksRare, apart from those listed on Blur itself, the platform enables traders to execute batch operations with greater convenience (purchasing the lowest-priced NFTs in one go). Buyers can not only browse NFTs on Blur but also explore other NFT marketplaces and place orders directly through Blur, benefiting from instant liquidity.
- Royalties are optional. At Blur, traders have the option to forego royalty payments, although a specific percentage is required for secondary transactions on other marketplaces. Blur suggests a default royalty rate of 0.5% for purchasers, but this rate can be tailored to the user’s preference, even allowing for a 0% rate. Despite this, traders can earn additional token rewards if they opt for royalty payments (more details on these rewards will be provided later). Each trader can prioritize their preferences, whether it is saving money on transactions or earning supplementary BLUR tokens.
- Simplified design and analytics: As previously mentioned, degen traders are not primarily focused on the art aspect, which is why Blur does not showcase individual images. These traders make purchases based on price rather than personal preference for a particular image. By omitting the images, page loading times are significantly reduced. The fundamental page for a collection highlights the 1-day and 7-day floor price changes and volume, recent activity, sales charts, and the highest bid for each NFT. Additionally, the list can be sorted according to rarity percentages.
These features were specifically designed to assist degen traders in making well-informed decisions, ultimately facilitating a seamless and stress-free trading experience.
Blur Airdrop: A Massive Growth Catalyst
On February 14, Blur introduced its own token, $BLUR, primarily aimed at rewarding marketplace users. In the near future, it will also serve as a governance token, enabling traders to influence Blur’s direction.
The airdrop was carried out in three “seasons”: initially for those who participated in the platform’s beta testing, followed by those who listed NFTs on Blur, and finally, those who placed bids. Notably, users who exclusively listed their NFTs on Blur received a larger number of tokens. Season 2 of the airdrop is already underway, with over 300 million $BLUR tokens allocated for those with loyalty, bidding, listing, and lending points, which determine the airdrop rewards.
This system encouraged both purchasing and selling activities on Blur. A crucial aspect was that users who opted to pay the full royalty rate received increased rewards.
However, the airdrop structure primarily benefits high-volume traders. The surge in trading volume was likely driven, at least in part, by traders’ eagerness to acquire more tokens.
NFTscan data reveals a significant uptick in user activity during February, following the airdrop frenzy.
Are Blurs Trading Volume Real?
Based on the analysis presented in this article, one might argue that Blur surpasses Opensea and similar platforms in terms of Volume and user activity. However, it is essential to consider the number of active users rather than focusing solely on trading volume. High volume alone does not necessarily indicate a platform’s popularity.
At the outset, it was mentioned that Blur has a total of 170k unique addresses that have engaged in trading on the platform. A more detailed examination of the all-time user wallet data from NFTScan reveals that the majority of these numbers were accumulated during the airdrop frenzy. This observation is reasonable, as the allure of potential rewards can be a powerful motivator.
Upon closer examination of the weekly timeframe, the data tells a different story. On average, only 400 out of the purported weekly 53.64k unique addresses contribute to the majority of the daily trading volume.
A plausible explanation for this discrepancy is the presence of bots trading NFTs back and forth, creating an illusion of heightened activity. One possible motive for this could be the anticipation of the upcoming Season 2 on the platform, which may provide an opportunity for sybil attackers to take advantage. This phenomenon is currently observed in other potential airdrop-focused blockchains, such as Zksync.
At present, Blur is not a platform designed for widespread adoption, and OpenSea continues to hold its position as the leader in attracting retail demand from degen traders. OpenSea also stands as the largest cross-chain marketplace, supporting six additional blockchains besides Ethereum. However, the landscape could shift dramatically if Blur decides to expand its approach to incorporate multiple chains.