An Epic Brief: The Future of NFT Marketplaces
Another series of my obsession to onboard people into Web 3
Hello friends and welcome (My Masters folks will like this).
Senior spring at college is as fun as everyone expects, but I’m still going to find time to write about web 3 of course.
Also- I am all in on the post-grad job search, if you have any opportunities, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Feel free to share if you like!
On April 5th, I was lurking around marketplaces and tweeted this:
After a little bit of positive feedback, I did a few napkin sketches at a bar and transferred those to the Figma mockup (In the solution section). I then shared it with a few smart people and realized a few things…
There is a ton of moving pieces to marketplaces. NFT projects want volume, consumers want a variety of different projects. A very hard cold start problem.
Any new marketplace focused on community metrics could be easily copied if it picks up steam.
It may be hard to build a marketplace from scratch, but I am interested to see how these observations could be implemented into current marketplaces. So, here is an open Epic Product Brief to all NFT marketplaces.
To Opensea, LooksRare, Coinbase, Magic Eden, and the many more marketplaces I am leaving out. Feel free to use this brief in any way you see fit.
Epic Brief: Let’s bring the community behind NFT projects into focus.
Current NFT marketplaces treat NFTs more as investable and tradable assets rather than passes and memberships into communities.
This is reflected mainly through the format of most traditional NFT marketplaces, trading statistics are front and center, rather than information about the project.
NFTs, or at least what I believe to be the future of NFTs will be centered around the community and the utility behind that NFT.
I also want to touch on where Gen Z fits in with NFTs, after all this is a Gen Z newsletter. In my view, the majority of Gen Z will be most enticed by the social club and membership view of NFT collections, not the profile photo-based side. Making the shift toward community focus now could pay dividends in the long run when attracting Gen Z.
Quick sidebar- As I sent this rough draft out to a few friends, Nathan Worden, Host of "The Market" Stock Pitching game and Head of Community at Commonstock, recommended I added more color to the background and wrote up a few sentences that were so good I just have to paste them here…
New mediums always copy old until they realize they can be so much more. This happened when print media moved online— when theater moved to film. People start by copying the same thing onto the new format before they realize the new format enables vastly different and better strategies.
When it comes to NFTs, the marketplaces are currently copying stock exchanges where data about price and volume take center stage. But there is a radical mindset shift that can occur when you realize the most investable information about an NFT is the qualitative community information.
I mean just pure gold.
Current NFT marketplaces treat NFTs as tradable assets rather than passes to the community. Let dive deeper into this by analyzing the product layout of a collection on OpenSea.
Box 1 is front and center. It is what the users see first. Instead of talking about what the project is doing, the community behind it, and the roadmap, marketplaces focus on trading statistics (Items, owners, floor price, and volume traded). Only in the small grey font below can you see the description of the project.
Up in the small box 2, you do get a little exposure to the project, including the website, Twitter, and other social platforms. Again, these icons are small and don’t jump out to the user. They are also external links, none of the information resides on the marketplace.
Let’s scroll down…
On the left, there is still a focus on trading filters (price, payment method, etc) rather than community-driven filters (background colors, attributes, etc). Those filters are all the way down at the bottom.
The activity tab really emphasizes NFTs as tradable assets, showing recent sales along with a history of volume & floor price graph.
The NFTs themselves just list as the identifying # along with the current price. Honestly, don’t see much that will change here in the final solution.
A revamp is needed.
These marketplaces need to shift to accommodate the future of NFTs. This is where my napkin-sketch concept design comes in.
Start by including more background about the project so users can know more about what community they may join. These details can include:
Long term goals
Upcoming roadmap (could show potential upcoming drops like Mutant Serum)
Notable members of the community
Next, changing around the metrics could be cool, but not completely necessary. In my mind it would be cool to know;
Total community members
% listed (shows loyalty to the project)
Community engagement (hard number to gauge but would be cool)
Avg NFTs per wallet
As I said, I think you could keep typical metrics (# of pieces, Floor price, volume, and owners) as long as you expand and shed light on the details of a community and its goals.
There is a chance that including all these community-focused updates can help a marketplace build out a really good customized discovery tool, which will help increase overall volume in the marketplace by surfacing more NFT communities that users could be interested in.
If I’ve learned anything during my time in startups, it’s that many user interviews are needed before making a large product revamp. The most important interview would be with the following:
pfp collections (Doodles)
Membership collections (Premint)
DAO collections (LinksDAO)
Veteran NFT buyers
Newbie NFT buyers
I would be more than happy to help conduct these user interviews if this is interesting to you or your team.
If you need help scoping out the rest of the project too, I would be honored to help there as well!
This was a fun piece for me to write. If you would like to have a discussion about the topic, feel free to comment or reach out to me on Twitter @tdozzi.