OpenSea is the biggest and most popular platform for straightforward and secure NFT trading. In January 2022, the company’s value hit 13 billion dollars, and the monthly revenue was about 2.5 billion dollars. This article will tell you how to develop an NFT marketplace like OpenSea and how much it will cost.
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How do NFT marketplaces function?
NFT marketplace is a decentralized platform that allows creating, storing, and trading of non-fungible tokens. The platforms focus on selling digital assets, like works of art, animations, videos, music, texts, games, and domains. However, these are not necessarily digital products; NFT marketplaces allow tokenizing physical assets too. For instance, one can create a token for autos, real estate, collectibles, tech products, furniture, etc.
These platforms function just like typical online shops. You register an account, pick up a product, and buy it. However, NFT marketplaces are particular because the smart contracts provide the operation, and all data about the deal is encrypted in a blockchain. Hence, if the smart contract is reliable, security is guaranteed. The idea is simple, yet integrating it into a blockchain is not.
The main difficulties are in the backend of the platform:
- Smart contracts. NFT marketplaces function only by smart contracts. Each time a transaction takes place, a smart contract is initiated between the buyer and the seller to pass the ownership rights for the asset. Furthermore, new data is encrypted in the blockchain. In addition, smart contracts function automatically, and they do not require an intermediary or an institution to validate the trade.
- Cryptocurrency wallets. As NFT transactions take place within the blockchain, you are not allowed to use fiat currency directly to buy or sell something. All deals require the employment of cryptocurrency (BTC, ETH, etc.); hence if you intend to develop an OpenSea clone, you will have two options, to develop its wallet, or to integrate wallets that support NFTs, e.g., Enjin, Metamask, or Trust Wallet.
- Auction system. As the transaction on NFT marketplaces does not require intermediaries, your platform should be capable of offering auctions in a blockchain. Consequently, you will need to develop an automatic system for auctions. Afterward, you should test it thoroughly to ensure that it is reliable, straightforward, and secure.
- Gas Fee. Since NFTs require smart contracts, encrypting transactions might cost a lot (starting at $150 on Ethereum). While developing your marketplace, you should consider this fact and add corresponding functionality to the platform's interface and the smart contract. Furthermore, you might employ a solution for creating NFTs without paying the gas fee; OpenSea offers such an option.
How to develop an NFT marketplace like OpenSea?
If you intend to launch an OpenSea NFT marketplace clone, we recommend starting with the business part. First, you will need to define who is your target audience and what solutions your platform can offer to the users. Next, you should determine the business model and the website's function. After this, you might proceed with the development.
1. Select a niche
As the NFT sector is crowded with various digital platforms, and we do not recommend developing a platform that would directly compete with the market leaders. The best choice is to pick a relatively new niche with fewer competitors, even though it is not that much advertised and famous like the digital art market. This approach will allow you to start a personalized marketing strategy and create a more effective interface design which will save you money and effort to attract and lead users to your NFT platform.
Here are several promising niches for NFT marketplaces:
- Online education. All lessons, lectures, and courses can become NFTs to sell or rent them. Blockchain will benefit you and the creators because they will be able to trace the distribution and usage.
- Investment projects. Your NFT marketplace can function like stock markets, supporting tangible assets and securities trading. It requires tokenization of the asset and permission from the regulators.
- Authentication keys. Non-fungible tokens can also function as access keys to various products and content. You can create a trading platform for this type of NFT asset.
- Luxury goods. Expensive clothes and shoes, jewelry, elite furniture, and other luxury products are often counterfeited. Minting a token for it allows proving the authenticity and the ownership rights guaranteeing that the buyer gets an original product, not a fake one.
2. Hire competent developers
To develop an OpenSea NFT marketplace clone, you will need a strong development team, like Merehead. We can help with the implementation of the technical part of the project. The team should understand blockchain technology and have several projects related to NFT marketplace development in the portfolio. That’s precisely what we are.
In the article "How to choose an NFT development company?", we have described where to search for a team and what criteria to consider while analyzing a candidate. Also, it is worth mentioning that it is better to hire developers from Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Mexico, or Slovakia, since the developers from these countries offer the best price-quality pair, according to Skill Value research.
Skill Value report result, based on 550+ technical assessments. Source
3. Characterize the business model of your website
OpenSea makes money from the payment for services. Each time a digital asset is successfully traded on the platform, it charges a fee. The fee is 2.5%. If an NFT costs $100, Open Sea receives $2.5. The platform charges a fee for gas from both buyers and sellers to cover the cost of the transaction. It became possible to create NFTs on OpenSea for free since the platform started using its blockchain.
Briefly about OpenSea business model. Source
4. Determine the supported blockchains
In a perfect world, your OpenSea NFT marketplace clone should support all popular blockchains. The integration of these blockchains requires a lot of time, money, and effort; hence it is better to pick one or several more appropriate solutions, and then add the others.
Here is the comparison of the most popular blockchains for NFT minting:
5. Define the function of the NFT marketplace
Any trading platform has at least two types of users: administrators and buyers/sellers. The administrators manage the platform, work on the settings, and solve issues. The sellers and buyers use the platform to trade assets and services. Hence, while developing your NFT marketplace you will need to think about what functions you will offer to your users.
Here is the list of functions for the users on an NFT marketplace:
Indispensable functions for all NFT trading platforms. Source.
Here is the list of functions for the administration of the NFT marketplace:
- Showcase. This is the face of your trading platform. The users here receive detailed information on the trading lots, naming, owners, bets, price history, interface, etc.
- Online auction. Basically, all trading platforms sell virtual assets on auctions employing a system of automatic bets, as eBay does. This function, like the showcase, should show information on the name, seller, bets, images, time remaining, the participants, etc.
- The search engine and filters. A decent search engine should offer filters for lots that will help the users to find the goods they need easier. Furthermore, it is common that a recommendation system and issues autocorrection are integrated into the search engine.
- User wallet. The trading platform must have a wallet that will help to receive, store, and send NFTs and cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH. Your platform should either have its own wallet or offer integrations with other wallets. The second solution is better since it provides more freedom to the users and makes the website more secure.
- Popular collections. NFTs can attract more buyers and get a higher price if they are presented in the section ‘Trending collections’. Also, your NFT marketplace should also have a section, where it will show the most promising trading lots.
- Listing. This function allows the artists and sellers to create their NFTs and put them for sale. The more straightforward and intuitive is this function, the more NFTs will be minted on your market. Furthermore, consider the option of allowing the creation of NFTs for free, like it is possible on OpenSea. It will boost the quantity of the NFTs minted on your platform significantly since the artist is not willing to pay before selling the product, since no one guarantees someone will ever buy it.
- Payment method. A decent NFT marketplace should offer various payment methods, such as debit/credit cards, bank transfers, internet banks, or popular cryptocurrencies. The payment system should offer the most popular methods in a certain region or country of residency of the users. It goes without saying that the payment methods should be secure.
- Notifications. Your trading platform should have the function of instant notifications, that will send all important information to the users via email or push notifications. These can be messages on the purchasing of a lot, increasing the bet, a new offer from a favorite seller or artist, a private message, a notification on an update, or other essential things.
- Support. Your NFT market should offer a client support team. It has a critical impact on
- Information panel. It helps the administrators to track the currency state of the website. They also receive notifications on the issues, and signals on possible problems in the future. For example, if the traffic will be bigger than the bandwidth of the platform.
- Managing the website’s users. The administrators should have instruments that will allow them to manage the users’ profiles: deleting, blocking, changing, etc. These instruments should also grant access to important private data (private keys, logins, and passwords to the wallets).
- Platform management. These are instruments that help to set and manage critical elements of the platform, namely, user interface, content, payment system, marketing, monetization, support, etc.
- Automatization. If dealing with a huge volume of traffic, suppliers, clients, and thousands of goods, a human cannot trace them all; hence these processes must become automatic. This will enhance the effectiveness of the administrator's work.
- Reports. The reports help to analyze the work of the platform. The reports should tell of the traffic, users, sales, incomes, etc., so that to help make well-grounded management decisions.
6. Develop the prototypes and the design
While creating an NFT marketplace design, UX/UI has an influential meaning, since they will define whether the users like your platform or not. Furthermore, it will determine whether they will use your platform to buy and sell non-fungible tokens, or they will prefer another.
Developing a design starts with prototyping. This is a process when the designers experiment, they do brainstorming to come up with ideas and concepts for the design. Then they test them on potential users. As a result, they will have prototypes of the user interfaces, and an informational structure of the upcoming platform.
An example of an informational structure of BigFan — a marketplace for sports NFTs.
7. Create a Minimum Viable Product
After developing a user interface design, you might proceed with the development of the marketplace, namely coding. As a rule, a Minimum Viable Product is created at this stage. Hence, it allows trying the concept, and enhancing the usability of the product with minimal investment. Furthermore, MVP helps to enter the market relatively fast, which is super important for launching a product in such a young sector as NFT.
The programmers create the MVP or the entire platform with the means of programming languages and instruments. It is worth mentioning that frontend (user interface) and backend (server) employ different sets of programming languages and instruments.
Here is an example of the technological stack for backend development of an NFT marketplace
- Blockchain: Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain.
- Token Standard: ERC721, ERC1155, BEP-721, BEP-1155.
- Smart contracts: Ethereum Virtual Machine, BSC Virtual Machine.
- Frameworks: Spring, Symfony, Flask.
- Programming language: Java, PHP, Python.