NFT marketplace OpenSea aims to claw back Blur’s gains with 'Pro' platform, but whales unlikely to go back

Quick Take

  • OpenSea Pro launches as what was once the biggest NFT trading platform tries to regain market share from Blur.
  • The top 1% of NFT traders, the whales, are unlikely to go back to OpenSea, according to The Block research analyst Brad Kay.
  • OpenSea is offering incentives to users including an NFT reward. 

OpenSea’s Pro non-fungible token (NFT) trading platform is finally live after several months of development. Is it too little, too late?

The company that long held the title of the world’s biggest NFT marketplace will see if its new offering can help it regain its dominance — Upstart marketplace Blur recently overtook OpenSea as the leader in total volume as measured by U.S. dollars. Blur offered a tantalizing incentive program featuring low fees, airdrops and token incentives in order to woo traders; the strategy quickly ate into OpenSea’s market share. 

Still the leading marketplace by number of active traders, according to The Block research, OpenSea acquired NFT aggregator service Gem last April. Gem allows traders to buy and sell NFTs across multiple marketplaces.

OpenSea has integrated Gem into its Pro product. Building on previous Gem designs, we’re excited to roll out a vastly improved suite of features that will allow collectors to discover the best deals and insights across 170 marketplaces and access sophisticated tools that meet their need for automation,” the company said in a statement.

The Block research analyst Brad Kay isn't convinced OpenSea’s latest push will be enough to put a serious dent in Blur's gains.

The opportunity cost to switch to OpenSea is way too high,” said Kay, who added top traders, or whales, appear committed to Blur for now. “Seventy percent of the total Blur volume comes from the top 1% of users while OpenSea’s top 1% of users only account for 20% of the total volume.”

The Block research data.


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OpenSea appears it may be taking a page from Blur’s playbook by offering a batch of incentives. First, the company said it will allow holders, during a “promotional period” to list NFTs on Pro without charging any fees. Additionally, OpenSea said it plans to give early adopters of Gem
an NFT reward. It also teased another potential reward for users who swap the regular trading platform for Pro.

“We’re not forgetting about community rewards,” the company said. “We’re charting a different course by featuring NFTs as rewards.”

Disclaimer: Larry Cermak, CEO of The Block, is an angel investor in Blur.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

RT Watson is a senior reporter at The Block who covers a wide array of topics including U.S.-based companies, blockchain gaming and NFTs. Formerly covered entertainment at The Wall Street Journal, where he wrote about Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and the creator economy while focusing primarily on technological disruption across media. Previous to that he covered corporate, economic and political news in Brazil while at Bloomberg. RT has interviewed a diverse cast of characters including CEOs, media moguls, top influencers, politicians, blue-collar workers, drug traffickers and convicted criminals. Holds a master's degree in Digital Sociology.


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