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Open as an unlocked safe.

By Chad
October 12, 2021
Image: OpenSea

Last week, we discussed the divide between Web 2.0 and 3.0 in terms of user friendliness and security. OpenSea, like any good bastard child of capitalism, is a triumph in the former. Its art-by-way-of-eCommerce interface is familiar and comforting for those who find Etsy too basic and Artsy too bougie, and its the go-to choice for established and emerging artists, off traffic and name recognition alone.

But is it the best? The biggest talking point around OpenSea is its lazy minting system — unlike other platforms, gas fees on OpenSea are paid by the buyer, not you. If you don’t self identify as Crypto Native or have a picture of a bodily-fluid-gargling lion on your Twitter profile, this probably seems like a no-brainer — use the platform where you don’t have to pay $100+ just to make a damn listing.

However, the tradeoffs for this convenience raise the same privacy and security concerns as the big data businesses Web 3.0 claims to make obsolete. OpenSea is hosted not on IPFS (InterPlanetary File System, a decentralized blockchain protocol) but on a centralized server, and their smart contract is not made public. Add in the increased likelihood of data loss and rugpull economics, and OpenSea has more in common with Web 2.0 gatekeepers than the disruptive technology it cosplays as.

That’s not to say it isn’t worth experimenting with a few free listings if you’re new to the NFT scene. But it’s definitely worth knowing the full picture — especially when there are some excellent alternatives out there.

  • Rarible is another large marketplace favored by serious artists and collectors alike, secured on IPFS, with all the features — editions, unlockable content, custom contracts — you’d expect from an NFT platform. (Gas fees included.)

  • HEN (hic et nun) — the Yeezy of NFTs — is a slick platform perfect for artists with smaller budgets, as it is backed by Tezos, cheaper than Ethereum in value and gas fees.

  • Foundation and KnownOrigin are IPFS-backed, community-curated options — they allow for collaboration on a single NFT, but you need invites from existing contributors to join.

  • Async is more of an interactive art project in itself than a platform, pushing the boundaries of what it means to create an NFT. Any Master listed on here also comes with Layers — components able to be purchased and edited by multiple owners. In essence, it’s the blockchain equivalent of a bar bathroom wall.

  • Mirror is another platform on the experimental side — a blogging platform in the vein of Medium and Substack, but each post is written permanently into Arweave (an alt IPFS) with the option to sell additional editions as NFTs.

Having just reviewed 5 platforms we like for the SEO boost, it’s worth getting to the lede — there are always options, including the many, many more detailed here. Like eBay, Amazon, or the little piggy markets before them, OpenSea is best considered a relic from the era of middlemen; a marketplace to hawk your wares, not create them.



Cas Stone is a story told in essays, posts, ads, audio, visuals, podcasts, novels, someday, naturally, stories.

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