Few startups in the crypto world boast of the market dominance that OpenSea currently enjoys, but plenty of venture-backed startups are looking to take their lead.
Welcome back to Chain Reaction where we unpack and explain the latest crypto news, drama and trends, breaking things down block by block for the crypto curious.
For our Tuesday episode this week, we spoke to Jack Lu, the co-founder and CEO of the fast-growing NFT marketplace Magic Eden. The venture-funded startup was founded last year and has already achieved unicorn status — with a valuation of $1.6 billion.
The startup has become the standard way for NFT traders in the Solana ecosystem to transact, but as the market grew, the team has shifted its ambitions to take on OpenSea on its own turf – the Ethereum network, for which they have recently started rolling out early support.
The startup wants to differentiate itself within the broader NFT marketplace, shying away from an online art hub and leaning more towards verticals such as gaming.
“We’re not really a general marketplace that plays in every category. We don’t play in one-to-one visual arts, we don’t do usernames or domain names,” Lu tells us, noting that Magic Eden focuses largely on ” collectibles,” including things like avatars and profile pictures, as well as NFTs related to gaming.
It was the gaming portion of Magic Eden’s focus that took up most of the conversation as Anita and Lucas set out to get their finger on the pulse of crypto gaming in the late summer of 2022.
“There’s no such thing as ‘web3 gamers’. People who like to play games don’t go looking for a web3 game, they just want to play a game,” says Lu. “I think we’re going to see a shift where it’s pure game content developers who are masters of self-developing game content and game loops that will come into this space and more into using web3 as a tool…to create a player goal or product goal to be achieved within the game itself.”
You can listen to the full episode to hear Lu’s more comprehensive thoughts on the NFT gaming market, as well as his thoughts on a possible race-to-the-bottom in NFT transaction fees.