FTX.US Launches Collectibles Arm in Boost to Solana-Based NFTs

The exchange will allow users to trade, mint, auction and authenticate Solana NFTs. Plans to support Ethereum NFTs are in the works.

Oct 11, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 11, 2021 at 5:56 p.m. UTC

FTX.US is moving into the non-fungible token (NFT) business with a trading platform for digital collectibles on the Solana blockchain.

On Monday, the U.S. wing of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire said its new marketplace, FTX NFTs, will allow users to trade, mint, auction and authenticate Solana-based NFTs. It plans to soon support NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, the home to the bulk of non-fungibles trading.

The exchange’s prioritization of Solana instead highlights two realities: Bankman-Fried is heavily invested in the Solana ecosystem; and that ecosystem, while host to a handful of so-called “blue chip” projects, doesn’t yet have a juggernaut marketplace for NFT trading.

Instead, it features a scattered array of lesser-known marketplaces sometimes hosted by projects themselves. Solanart and Solsea both charge 3% sales fees. FTX.US says its new platform will charge 2%.

The choice could bolster Solana’s bid for a bigger slice of the NFT business. The blockchain is faster and cheaper to use than Ethereum’s is. That hasn’t been enough to convince the vast majority of NFT traders to move over, however.

FTX said it will support all Solana NFTs that follow NFT protocol Metaplex’s standard. It won’t allow users to list revenue-sharing projects and is capping artist royalty schemes at 40%.

FTX’s offering will be different from those found on Ethereum’s top NFT marketplaces, such as OpenSea. It is open only to users with an FTX account linked to their real-world identity, meaning an anonymous crypto wallet address won’t be enough.

The marketplace will also support credit card purchases and bank transfers, as well as crypto.

“If you look at every NFT marketplace, they’re all trying to achieve” a more seamless buying experience, said Fanny Lakoubay, who runs an NFT advisory service in New York.

Supporting traditional payment rails – just as DraftKings does through its tie-up with Polygon-based Autograph – is one part of that recipe.

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Danny is CoinDesk's deputy business editor. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.