The emergence of non-fungible tokens (NFT) has undoubtedly provided creators with greater leeway over how they make, transfer and monetize their creations.
The idea behind NFTs centers on the possibility of creating, trading and owning distinguishable and immutable digital assets. As such. It is no surprise that NFT marketplaces, which provide the tools required to do just that (that is, create and trade NFTs,) are critical to the success of the NFT movement.
Notably, these marketplaces can be categorized based on the openness of their platforms. On the one hand, we have platforms that selectively allow pre-approved artists to list or mint NFTs. On the other hand, there are the more popular options with a more relaxed and inclusive policy regarding the selling and minting of NFTs. In other words, they allow just about anyone to list NFTs on their marketplaces.
Our focus is on OpenSea and Rarible, which, based on their unrestrictive systems, can be categorized as open markets. Here, we will comprehensively compare the features and services of the two platforms.
What is OpenSea?
OpenSea is a peer-to-peer marketplace tailor-made for NFT users. More specifically, OpenSea provides the infrastructure required to mint and trade NFTs. The good thing about this platform is it enables most (if not all) of its operations on the blockchain. Decentralization is a big part of the platform because users do not need the input of an intermediary to create, buy or sell NFT-based digital items.
Another notable strength of OpenSea is its knack for simplifying the intricate processes involved in managing and monetizing NFTs. You do not need to know how to code before you can create NFTs on OpenSea, nor are there any technical requirements for utilizing its trading interface.
Simply put, OpenSea is an ideal option for beginners because all of the core processes are simple enough to execute seamlessly.
Looking at the history of OpenSea, it is clear it has evolved over the years from being a CryptoKitties-focused marketplace back in 2018 to becoming a more dynamic hub for a plethora of NFT collections and projects. The combination of seamless and dynamic services has quickly elevated OpenSea as one of NFT participants’ go-to marketplace. At the time of writing this article, OpenSea had over 600,000 active users, up from the 4,000 active users recorded in March 2020. Notably, the OpenSea website had over 100 million visitors in February 2022.
What is Rarible?
Rarible runs a business template similar to that of OpenSea’s where users are offered a seamless and peer-to-peer gateway into the NFT market. In essence, it offers easy-to-use minting and trading features designed solely for NFTs. Like OpenSea, Rarible boasts a dynamic ecosystem that houses a variety of digital items, including artworks, collectibles, in-game assets and much more.
All the transactions and trades executed on the platform are settled immediately on the blockchain. Ultimately, the incorporation of blockchain-powered trading infrastructure eliminates the need for intermediaries.
Read more: How to Make, Sell and Buy NFTs
That said, Rarible places more importance on decentralization. Unlike OpenSea, the platform's economy and governance are anchored by a native token called RARI. Holders of RARI can automatically vote on policy changes and other critical decisions. Initially, RARI was distributed weekly to active users. However, this was discontinued in January 2022 after the community unanimously voted to allocate the remaining RARI tokens to projects building on the Rarible protocol.
Rarible had fewer than 10,000 unique users in February 2022, according to data from DappRadar.
OpenSea vs. Rarible: How do they compare?
Now that you have a basic understanding of how OpenSea and Rarible operate, let us compare the two based on their services and features.
Services and Features
Around 150 cryptocurrencies
ETH, FLOW and XTZ
Credit card payment
Up to 50%
Monthly unique users
Note that NFT marketplaces almost always tailor their infrastructure to specific blockchains. In essence, users can only interact with NFTs and projects native to the blockchains supported by the NFT marketplace in question. For instance, an Ethereum-based marketplace would support Ethereum-based NFTs.
In an attempt to widen their scope of operations, NFT marketplaces are increasingly incorporating a multi-chain system so users can explore the NFT ecosystems of more than one blockchain. This is true of OpenSea and Rarible, which support three blockchains each.
OpenSea allows its users to mint and access NFTs on Ethereum, Polygon and Klaytn, while Rarible extends its operations across Ethereum, Flow and Tezos. And so, in this section, it is clear that both platforms have been strategic about their blockchain integrations. Both have ensured that users have access to the buzzing NFT economy of Ethereum and two more blockchains with relatively cheaper and more energy-efficient NFT ecosystems.
You will come to discover that certain NFTs place more importance on specific types of NFTs. While this is true, a majority have opted for a more inclusive ecosystem where users can trade and access a wide variety of NFT niches, including digital art, collectibles, in-game assets, fashion, sport NFTs and so on.
Read more: 5 Ways to Earn Passive Income From NFTs
OpenSea and Rarible are prime examples of solutions that support a wide range of NFT niches. On both platforms, you will find NFTs that fall into the following categories:
- Trading cards
- Virtual lands
- In-game assets
- Crypto art
- Domain names
Because the two platforms support a fairly unique selection of blockchains, it is no surprise that they utilize a not-so-similar payment system. In the case of OpenSea, there are up to 150 supported payment options, including ETH, WETH, MATIC and KLAY. In contrast, Rarible allows its users to buy NFTs with FLOW, XTZ and ETH only. In addition, Rarible has started accepting credit card payments in what comes across as an attempt to attract mainstream users.
Lazy or gasless minting
The advent of lazy-minting techniques has made it possible for creators to mint NFT without paying network fees. Note that all transactions and some activities executed on blockchains attract network fees paid to validators that confirm and add the details of transactions into blockchains. Interestingly, minting falls under activities that require network fees before they can be confirmed. For a blockchain like Ethereum plagued by network congestion, network fees, also called gas fees, can rise quickly, such that it becomes a lot expensive to create Ethereum-based NFTs.
Read more: What are Ethereum Gas Fees?
Therefore, it makes a lot of sense that NFT marketplaces are increasingly adopting a gasless fee feature that lets creators mint NFTs without paying any fees. With this feature, it is possible to mint NFTs without worrying about the associated cost as the responsibility of paying minting fees is automatically transferred to the buyer. Interestingly enough, both OpenSea and Rarible have enabled a gasless minting feature.
Apart from the minting fee paid to the network validators, users also pay a percentage of the revenue generated from the sale of NFTs as commission to the NFT marketplace. On OpenSea and Rarible, users pay a 2.5% trading fee. Thus, neither has the advantage over the other when it comes to fees.
Another important element in the NFT world is the establishment of royalty as an added passive income generator for creators. While minting NFTs, creators can include a clause that allows them to claim a percentage of the revenue generated on the secondary market. Hence, whenever NFTs are sold on the secondary market, the original creator receives a predetermined royalty fee.
On OpenSea, the royalty fee is fixed at 10%. In contrast, Rarible offers more leeway since royalty fees can be set as high as 50% by the original creator.
As mentioned earlier in this article, OpenSea and Rarible rely on blockchain infrastructures to enable a peer-to-peer network of users void of intermediaries. While this is a given, Rarible seems to operate a more robust decentralized system. Users are elevated to the status of stakeholders, such that they can actively contribute to the governance and future of the project. Rarible established this type of governance when it launched $RARI, which allocates governance privileges or voting power to holders.
Unlike the more robust decentralized system run by Rarible, OpenSea does not operate a fully decentralized governance model because it has yet to deliver the infrastructure required to democratize the decision-making process. We have witnessed some very questionable decisions taken by the team. For instance, in January 2022 the team momentarily altered its policy regarding minting, only to reverse the decision following a backlash from the community.
In light of this, it is safe to say that Rarible is more decentralized than OpenSea.
Security, reputation and reliability
Security is always a major talking point when dealing with digital assets. The same is true for the nascent NFT world, which is prone to hacks and frauds. Unfortunately, OpenSea and Rarible have had their share of fraud-related scandals. Due to the open nature of these two marketplaces, it is difficult to ensure that counterfeits are not sold and copyright laws are not infringed upon.
However, while fraud has been a recurring issue for both platforms, OpenSea, in particular, has had to weather a lot more security incidents, with the latest being a smart contract exploit that left users prone to NFT theft.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preference and what you are willing to give up in order to access a specific feature or service. For instance, you might be prepared to give up the plethora of crypto payment options available on OpenSea for a chance of using a credit card to purchase NFTs on Rarible.
With this in mind, we have highlighted the strengths and disadvantages of OpenSea and Rarible so you can easily reach an informed decision regarding the NFT marketplace that is the most suitable for you.
Pros of OpenSea:
- It is beginner-friendly.
- The platform supports up to 150 payment options.
- OpenSea features NFTs from multiple blockchains.
- It is home to a vast range of NFT collections and projects.
- It is possible to initiate gasless minting on OpenSea.
Cons of OpenSea:
- It is not very reliable in terms of security.
- The royalty fee is fixed at 10%.
- OpenSea does not run a decentralized governance system.
Pros of Rarible:
- Rarible is a multi-chain platform.
- It has an established decentralized governance system.
- The features and tools available on the platform are easy to use.
- It offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to royalties because creators can set up to a 50% royalty fee.
Cons of Rarible
- Due to the lack of restrictions it is difficult to eradicate fraud completely.
- Rarible does not have a mobile app.