A Young Marketplace Making Its Mark


Without the Ethereum blockchain, NFTs might never have gained notoriety. From landmark sales to the literal empires that sprung up on ETH, it once seemed Vitalik Buterin’s brainchild would always be the one-stop-shop for nonfungible tokens.

But times have changed since the 2021 token craze, and the NFT ecosystem has expanded far beyond the reaches of a single blockchain.

Now, NFTs are on nearly every major chain, with new marketplaces cropping up almost quarterly. Yet, these platforms aren’t all created equal, and at times, it’s significantly apparent which entities in the NFT space are running a sprint, and which are running a marathon.

Enter Magic Eden: A shiny new marketplace that does far more than facilitate transactions. Complete with a down-to-Earth brand voice and a leadership team fully invested in Web3 tech, this new platform immediately caught the attention of the greater NFT community.

One year into operation, Magic Eden has become one of the strongest competitors in the NFT marketplace race. How and why did this Solana NFT platform achieve so much so quickly? Let’s unpack all there is to know.

What is Magic Eden?

Put simply, Magic Eden is the most popular NFT marketplace on the Solana blockchain. Launched on September 17, 2021, the platform was created by members of the NFT community as a marketplace competitor that could also act as a home base for the best NFT collections on SOL.

Magic Eden is widely heralded for three things: its focus on community, its simplistic tools for creators and collectors, and the diversity of tokens that can be created and collected on the platform. Within the Magic Eden marketplace, users are not only able to engage with a wide variety of NFTs in the art, collectibles, and gaming sectors, but also with an array of digital blockchain experiences.

A screenshot of the Magic Eden website landing page
A screenshot of the Magic Eden website landing page. Credit: Magic Eden

As Magic Eden’s Head of Marketing Tiffany Huang puts it: Magic Eden is best defined as a destination for people to discover NFTs and to share their own self-expression. “We really believe that NFTs are going to be the onramp onto the blockchain and how culture will be created digitally,” Huang said in an interview with nft now. “The role that we would like to play in this [the NFT] space is being able to champion moments and communities and culture on Magic Eden.”

Yes, similar to other NFT marketplaces, NFTs can be bought and sold on Magic Eden. This is, of course, the primary function of an NFT marketplace. But there’s much more to Magic Eden than meets the eye. Although sometimes seemingly just another entrant into the aforementioned marketplace race, what goes on behind the scenes at Magic Eden is what truly defines the platform.

What’s unique about Magic Eden?

In June 2022, Magic Eden raised $130M at a valuation of $1.6 billion. It goes without saying that this is a major feat for any startup, let alone one in the blockchain industry. And the news of the raise was only further amplified by the fact that NFTs and crypto had been on a downward slump for the majority of 2022 when the funding round was happening. As calls for an NFT bear market reverberated throughout the NFT space, it seemed Magic Eden was already in a league of its own.

But what’s so special about Magic Eden in the first place? Why would investors so adamantly support a platform that, at the time, was barely half a year old? It may come down to Magic Eden’s ethos and this aforementioned focus on community, tools for creators and collectors, and diversity. Let’s break these down further.

Community

One of the most important aspects of Magic Eden is its focus on community. Instead of expanding on the transactional nature of the NFT market, the founders of Magic Eden opted to create a user experience centered around the unique needs and desires of the creators and collectors that make up the NFT ecosystem.

As far as Magic Eden’s co-founder and COO Zhuoxun Yin is concerned, one of the main differentiators that sets his platform apart from others is a focus on community.

“There are definitely a lot of things you can do from a top-down standpoint, but I think what’s really important is actually growing that grassroots interest and connectivity in the NFT ecosystem,” Yin said to nft now. “I think that’s something we really do invest a lot of time and resources into. And I think we’re also really good at it.”

How does this focus on community show up on Magic Eden? While the NFT community was surely taken into consideration during the development of the platform’s interface, its community-centric leadership is most prevalent within the Magic Eden Discord server. At 80,000+ members strong, the Discord almost feels to be the hub of operation for the crew behind the influential marketplace.

Magic Eden Magic Tickets NFTs
The three different types of Magic Eden Magic Tickets NFTs. Credit: Magic Eden

Anyone can join the Magic Eden community, and, once joined, can also become a part of the conversation surrounding the platform’s management, initiatives, and more. Enthusiasts are further incentivized to participate in decision-making by collecting one of Magic Eden’s Magic Ticket NFTs. These NFTs live in a collection featuring more than 30,000 tokens and grant holders access to Magic Eden’s Discord-based DAO, MagicDAO — where community leaders deliver interconnectivity via social programs and rewards.

Usability

Another major aspect of Magic Eden is its usability. Now, while the platform endeavors to exceed the expectations of any other NFT marketplaces (for example, quick processing time, solid security, and more), Yin says that he and his team spend a lot of time ensuring that Magic Eden’s features remain unique and unavailable anywhere else.

“We aspire to be the first doing things. But that’s not just to create a headline and say we’re the first to do something. Innovation is still happening. And whoever is going to support new use cases really well is going to stand to benefit,” says Yin. And this desire to be at the bleeding edge of innovation within the NFT space is echoed throughout Magic Eden’s operability.

NFTs are, of course, at the forefront of the Magic Eden marketplace, the platform’s team has aimed to focus the user experience around exploration and discovery rather than price indexes. As a marketplace, users are empowered to trade NFTs, but also interact with the Magic Eden ecosystem without having to spend money.

As Yin puts it, creating an immersive NFT experience is a top priority of Magic Eden. “In the product experience of Magic Eden, you should be able to experience NFTs in a way without necessarily having to buy and sell them. It shouldn’t have to be a trader-focused mentality,” said Yin. “We let people discover content, play games on magic Eden… We want to be a discovery portal for the best Web3 content.”

Diversity

Finally, it’s the diversity of Magic Eden that gives it a leg up on the competition. Mainly, this comes down to the variety of NFTs and experiences available on the platform, and the ability to collect items cross-chain on Ethereum and Solana.

In terms of content hosted on Magic Eden, the platform excels in both PFPs and gaming. As PFP NFTs continue to maintain popularity within the NFT market, a range of these types of collections continue to dominate Magic Eden, with Okay Bears being among the most successful.

On the gaming side, Magic Eden is a great place for users to not only collect blockchain gaming NFTs, but to play games as well. With a growing roster of tokenized games, the platform is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for gaming purchases and activities.

Despite already achieving admirable robustness, these experiences are also constantly evolving. And in August 2022, Magic Eden announced that it planned to add and integrate Ethereum NFTs into its platform.

While we’ve seen other marketplaces like OpenSea add support for a range of NFT blockchains, Magic Eden could be one of the first to implement a cross-currency trading product to allow users to browse and purchase both Solana and Ethereum NFTs using SOL, ETH, or credit cards.

According to Huang, this move is all part of a grand vision to bring the Solana and Ethereum collector communities closer together by way of Magic Eden. “I think if you fuse these two communities together, you’ll realize it’s not really about SOL vs. ETH , but that there’s just a giant group of people who love NFTs. And we can deliver them cross-chain experiences that there are actually meaningful for them,” said Huang.

For projects on Ethereum hoping to launch a collection on Solana and vice versa, Huang says Magic Eden is the place to be. “When people realize that you’re not really constrained by a blockchain — based on the transaction currency that you use — then it’ll unlock a whole set of new experiences and potential.”

Magic Eden for creators

So, how do creators get started on Magic Eden? Well, there are a few different methods. It’s important to note, though, that you’ll need a Magic Eden account to both create and collect NFTs on the platform.

To set up an account on Magic Eden, you’ll need a Solana wallet. We recommend checking out Phantom, which is one of the most popular software wallets for collecting NFTs on SOL. Once you’ve created a wallet or already have one, watch Magic Eden’s video on how to connect it to their website.

And when it’s time to mint an NFT, creators can simply list their collections on the Magic Eden platform. Yep, it’s as easy as that. Whether you’ve already launched a project or have a mint coming up, you can head over to the Magic Eden Creator Hub, follow a few prompts, and submit your collection for verification. Watch the video below for an in-depth look at how this process works.

The other option for minting on Magic Eden is the platform’s launchpad. Billed as a more exclusive section of the marketplace, Magic Eden only accepts 3 percent of all Launchpad applications in an endeavor to feature only the best genuine and innovative projects.

Through the launchpad, creators can expect the greatest exposure and widest reach on the Magic Eden marketplace, more potential for secondary trading, and a hassle-free mint with dedicated development support. Again, this is a more exclusive section of the Magic Eden marketplace, and only a select few make it in.

Regardless of which avenue you travel, there are always fees associated with minting NFTs. And while you likely won’t lose out on too much SOL while creating a collection, Magic Eden employs a two-percent sales fee on the final sale price of every transaction. The platform also allows NFT creators to set their own royalty percentages — if you’re into that kind of thing.

Magic Eden for collectors

Launching an NFT project on Magic Eden can feel a bit daunting, but collecting on the platform couldn’t be easier. If you’ve already been collecting NFTs on Ethereum or Tezos, getting started with Magic Eden and Solana should be a breeze.

Like other marketplaces, it only takes a few steps to create an account on the platform and set your collection journey in motion. Of course, as is the case with creating NFTs, you’ll need a Solana wallet and will need to connect it to Magic Eden. Once that’s done, the process is the same as it is anywhere. Select an NFT, click “Buy now” or “Make an offer” and then follow the prompts.

Popular collections on Magic Eden

Unsure where to start once you’ve set yourself up to collect NFTs on Magic Eden? Here are some of the most popular collections on the platform. These should give you a sense of what the marketplace has to offer:

Okay Bears is a PFP collection that has easily become one of the most successful NFT projects on the Solana blockchain. The project has continued to solidify its place on the list of top 50 NFT projects of all time and has provided a collection similar to BAYC for enthusiasts to identify with.

DeGods is another Solana PFP success story. Second only to Okay Bears on Magic Eden, the collection has had its ups and downs but is revered as a global community of creators, developers, entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, experimenters, and innovators.

Genesis Genopets is one of the first-ever “move-to-earn” NFT games. Featuring a playable collection of 3,218 limited-edition NFTs, Genopets is the highest earning of any Magic Eden game.

The Remnants is a post-apocalyptic survivor game featuring 8,000 PFP-esque NFTs. As a play-to-earn game, The Remnants offers trading, crafting, and battling mechanics unique to the Solana blockchain.

Nyan Heroes is an NFT battle royale third-person shooter featuring cats and robots. Although the game itself is still under development, the project’s philanthropic mission to save one billion cats supercharged its path to success on Magic Eden.

The need for platforms like Magic Eden

When NFTs first started to become popular, collectors often used OpenSea for everything. Whether for minting, collecting, trading, or auctioning NFTs, more often than not, the “world’s first and largest” NFT marketplace was the hub for it all.

But when OpenSea, sometimes called BrokenSea, would crash or otherwise go offline, there were only a few significant alternatives for most NFT endeavors. Users were forced to choose between Nifty Gateway, Rarible, MakersPlace, and a handful of other niche platforms. And the centrality of it all left NFT enthusiasts begging for more options.

In the absence of options, platforms like Magic Eden became a sight for sore eyes to those who had grown tired of jumping through hoops to trade NFTs. Yet, as the need for more NFT marketplaces has subsided, the desire for more usability and operability has grown.

A single-method approach to creating, buying, and selling NFTs does not exist, making top NFT marketplaces like Magic Eden — which focuses on a plethora of more features than simple transaction facilitation — invaluable for the long-term health of the NFT ecosystem. And this idea of longevity truly does seem to be front of mind for Yin and the rest of the Magic Eden team.

“If we are successful, and if the NFT ecosystem is successful in the future, one of the things that I really hope for us to be is not only a big voice and influence but also, I hope that our product can be a central focal point for a lot of really interesting content,” said Yin. “In crypto, there’s always a spirit of innovation, and there are quiet periods and growth spurts. So we’re prepared for whatever environment that comes.”





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