We expected 4/20 might be a notable day for NFT announcements, and we're off to a fast start.
At 9:15 am ET, Coinbase NFT posted this major announcement and hype video on Twitter:
HERE’S SOME ALPHA:— Coinbase NFT (@Coinbase_NFT) April 20, 2022
we’re in beta pic.twitter.com/HMdTPat5vP
They then followed that post up with a brief summary thread, with these highlights:
- Today kicks off a "full-access experience" for those at the top of the waitlist.
- The marketplace requires an access code to create profiles and buy/sell NFTs for now, but they will be expanding the beta access to more waitlisters over time.
- "ALL THE WALLETS" will be able to transaction and set up profiles, not just Coinbase Wallets. Therefore, self custody wallets like Metamask are usable.
- Coinbase will be waiving their transaction fees "for a limited time." There are no words on NFT collection royalties.
- Launching web3 Social, Coinbase will allow comments on NFTs, create a focus on profiles, and more.
The last bullet seems to be the most important, as an initial view of the public site (without the access code) clearly shows a focus on building an "NFT Social Network."
Let's see how that social media vision is incorporated through various landing pages and templates.
Coinbase Marketplace: Initial Walkthrough
From a quick glimpse of the landing page alone, the user sees multiple hints of the social network vision. The first text, "Create. Collect. Connect. Discover Your Feed" clearly aligns to a community vision and social media-like feed. Scrolling down further, we see their focus on the ability to find and follow creators and collectors and build out one's community.
From there, the user has three tabs to explore: Discover, Shop, and Trending.
On Discover, once again that focus on social media and community comes through clearly. There are three focus areas of this page - sharing NFTs that may interest the user, showing trending collections, and potential accounts to follow.
The Shop page is essentially the NFT marketplace landing page. The default view shows recently listed NFTs that can be filtered by price, listing date and, NFT collection. From there, the user can dive into specific NFTs and get to collection pages.
The Collection pages are fairly limited in functionality at this point. They do have a clean interface, with ability to sort by listing date and price, along with ability to set a price range. But there does not appear to be any trait-based filtering available, a key component of any collection homepage. There also does not appear to be a way to see recent activity for the collection (i.e. sales, listings, etc.).
The Individual NFT pages are clean like the collection pages, and appear to have more functionality at this time. The user has the ability to buy the NFT, explore attributes, launch Etherscan transactions, see underlying details, and see recent activity related to that NFT.
The user can also see and post comments directly on the NFT, creating a "feed" - once again reinforcing that "social media network" vibe. One feature missing from here is the ability to launch attribute-filtered collection pages directly from the NFT page itself.
Last we have the Trending page, which simply shows a feed of the leading NFT collections sorted by 7-day sales volume.
The feed shares limited information and data, only showing the volume numbers, number of owners and NFT collection size. Certainly it would be nice to see other metrics, like percent change in volume and floor price, but perhaps those will come with time. The user does have the ability to navigate to collection pages directly from this tab.
No social media site would be complete without profile pages, and Coinbase certainly put some focus here.
Their profile pages feel similar to an Instagram-like profile page, allowing the user to see the person's profile description, followers and who they are following, and most importantly their NFTs.The follow button is highlighted prominently on the page, and upon initial review, again reinforces the community building vision they seem to be going for.
But social network aside, functionality is fairly limited here.
That essentially completes the initial walkthrough of the primary marketplace pages. Let's move on to some initial reactions.
The resounding takeaway from an initial review is that Coinbase is focused on creating the first NFT social network, which is definitely something we have not seen before.
The ability to comment directly on NFT pages is a groundbreaking feature in this space, and solves the problem of potential buyers being able to contact NFT owners (previously nearly impossible if the owners do not share Discord or Twitter info).
But this feature could certainly backfire if dominated by spam and/or classic NFT shitposting (spend time on NFT Twitter for a day and you'll understand).
The functionality itself appears to be fairly limited still, but not a big surprise for a beta marketplace. The infrastructure seems to be there, and the speed in moving around the site is quite impressive (could be due to lack of user volume).
If the team can ship new functionality in an ongoing fashion (i.e. the LooksRare team) then this concern should go away. But as it stands, the functionality is too limited for any serious trader to spend time using the site.
The ability to leverage any wallet type and not just Coinbase wallets is huge, and will allow for much broader (and faster) onboarding for those who wish to participate. Not much has been shared yet about the Custody concept, so it will be interesting to see how that progresses.
Launching with no fees was somewhat expected at this point, but another nice benefit to see pan out. This will be an extra incentive for users to shop on Coinbase over other marketplaces (though X2Y2 has no marketplace or collection fees for the rest of April), which is by far the biggest problem for CB to solve.
Certainly their leadership should understand this, and it will be interesting to see how they roll out additional incentives over time as they try to gain marketshare.
Reactions from NFT Twitter have been mixed, but we've gathered some below.
quick thoughts on @Coinbase_NFT:— tropoFarmer ∞ (@tropoFarmer) April 20, 2022
👎 major missing/half-baked features (no trait filtering, no timed listings, no activity/sales, profile curation sucks)
👍 0% fees, clean design, comments, non-custodial/non-KYC, Discover has potential
👍👍👍 90 million registered Coinbase users
"Coinbase NFT is bad news for opensea, great news for looksrare - a sizable contender entering the marketplace battle siphons market share from all, but predominantly from the market leader - as illogical as it sounds, the boutique player that offers unique value benefits" - AshChild
Reactions and beta functionality aside, Coinbase launching its NFT marketplace is a win for the NFT community. Competition is great for users! The impacts have already been seen, in the marketplace fee waiving and now with LooksRare offering listing rewards. So we should be welcoming this huge new launch partner (not to mention, their ability to potentially onboard the next wave of NFT collectors).
Will Coinbase be able to win significant market share? Time will tell. We will be watching.