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OpenSea Realizes: Community is Key

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The NFT marketplace announced this week that it is acquiring, a NFT marketplace aggregator, for an undisclosed sum.

OpenSea said that the move would allow it to better serve “pro” users and offer a wider range of flexibility as its features will be integrated into the marketplace, though Gem will continue operating independently from OpenSea as a stand-alone product and brand.

OpenSea is currently has around 1 million active wallets as of January 2022 and an estimated 85% of the market, but as a marketplace, it is sorely lacking. Rivals, such as LooksRare, offer lower fees and greater usability and feature development.

Rivals such as Coinbase are also muscling into the space, offering an easier on-ramp for prospective users, and integrating social features such as a discover feed, comments, voting, and community building.

Gem offers bulk NFT purchasing across multiple marketplaces in a single, low cost transaction, collection “floor sweeping” (buying a range of its lower end), and rarity-based ranking for collections. The company recently ousted its co-founder for sexual misconduct, an issue that was addressed in OpenSea’s announcement.

Certain users, however, were dismayed with the announcement as it dashed hopes for an airdrop of a governance token for early adopters. Gem’s lead developer Vasa said later that “Rewards/Tokens are not out of [the] question.”

The acquisition signals OpenSea’s recognition that it needs to innovate and build a community if it wants to remain the dominant platform in a crowded marketplace. And in the crypto space, it’s clear that a strong community is key.