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MetaMask Institutional unlocks solo ETH staking marketplace

MetaMask Institutional has introduced a new staking marketplace to give institutional users access to solo Ethereum staking.

MetaMask Institutional is set to be an avenue for the creation of new Ethereum (ETH) validators after announcing a new staking marketplace for its institutional clients.

Institutions that make use of MetaMask’s institutional-grade wallet and custody service will be able to manage ETH staking through four vendors, including ConsenSys Staking, Allnodes, Blockdaemon and Kiln. The marketplace aims to simplify access and management of solo staking, allowing institutions to become Ethereum network validators.

MetaMask Institutional (MMI) has been live since October 2021, providing a platform that offers a wider set of controls and functionality more suited to organizations and businesses. As Cointelegraph previously explored, MetaMask’s retail wallet was no longer suited for users or institutions that were managing millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies.

The service’s new staking marketplace will look to simplify the complexity of institutional staking, which features varying fees, terms and conditions, rebates and reporting standards.

Johann Bornman, MMI product lead at ConsenSys, told Cointelegraph that the firm had seen a shift from liquid staking to 32 ETH staking, which he believes is not only driven by Ethereum’s ‘Merge’ in 2022 but the looming Shanghai/Capella upgrade.

Shanghai will unlock deposit withdrawals for Ethereum validators, allowing solo stakers that have staked the required 32 ETH to withdraw their tokens and have access to accrued staking rewards. Up until this point, only LP pools allowed users to deposit and withdraw smaller amounts of ETH.

Related: ‘Multichain future is very clear’ — MetaMask to support all tokens via Snaps

Bornman said the upgrade has the potential to prove the ‘rewards profile and time horizon’ for staking ETH, which influences confidence in Ethereum staking:

“We believe this staking rate has the potential to increase rapidly in the ensuing years. Over the near term, we have seen a marked increase in ETH2 staking by institutions over the last several months, and this trend will only continue, given the recent upgrade.”

As a result, MetaMask Institutional rolled out its Staking marketplace to provide institutions with a direct avenue to becoming Ethereum validators by staking 32 ETH.

“Our focus is to solve for ETH2 staking given how important we believe data validation of Ethereum is today and will be in the future. We have designed the service to be able to simply and seamlessly expand onto on-chain ETH staking solutions. “

The launch of the staking marketplace will coincide with the roll-out of an advanced MMI dashboard, including institutional controls, portfolio management, digital asset monitoring with built-in profit-and-loss and performance analytics as well as transaction reporting.

MetaMask Institutional rolled out access to ETH LP pool staking through the popular Lido and Rocket Pool protocols in January 2023, giving institutions initial access to DeFi pool staking.

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Magic Eden launches marketplace for Bitcoin Ordinals

It’s one of the first major NFT marketplaces to join the Bitcoin Ordinals fray.

Nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Magic Eden has launched its own “fully audited” marketplace for Bitcoin Ordinals, leveraging the surging interest in “Bitcoin NFTs.” 

The newly launched marketplace allows Bitcoin (BTC) NFT traders to buy and sell Bitcoin Ordinal collections, giving users a similar experience it offers for Polygon, Ethereum, and Solana-based NFTs.

“Just as we have expanded into other chains, we now aim to bring our expertise in building marketplaces to the nascent, yet flourishing Ordinals ecosystem,” the firm said in a March 21 statement

The new Ordinals protocol was introduced in January 2023 by former Bitcoin core contributor Casey Rodarmor. Since then, the popularity of Bitcoin Ordinals has surged.

According to data from Dune analytics, between Feb. 1 and March 1, the total number of Bitcoin Ordinals inscriptions surged from 679 to 240,000. As of March 21, a total of 567,087 have been inscribed.

Graph showing the daily and total Bitcoin Ordinals inscriptions. Source: Dune Analytics

“We paid close attention to the release of Ordinal Theory and the lightning pace of adoption that soon followed,” said Magic Eden, adding it built the new marketplace in less than a month:

“Our marketplace was built within a month, culminating in a hackathon in California with over a dozen devs.”

Currently, the marketplace only supports secondary sales of Bitcoin Ordinals. The marketplace said it is also looking into future tools that would allow creators to more easily mint or inscribe Bitcoin NFTs, such as its Launchpad which it offers for other chains.

In order to enable permissionless swaps, it uses partially signed Bitcoin transactions (PSBT) — a Bitcoin standard that allows multiple parties to sign the same transaction — rather than smart contracts.

The marketplace launched with over 70 collections. Source: Magic Eden

Meanwhile, Magic Eden says there will be no royalty support for the marketplace, but said it is “actively looking” into this, adding there is “very little tooling and no secure and trustless enforcement solutions.” 

“With no royalty standard today, we have decided to launch on Bitcoin without royalty support for now,” said Magic Eden.

“We believe that this is most in-line with the ethos of the ecosystem, and despite this, we are actively looking into the development of an on-chain, permissionless royalty standard and are committed to working with creators and the greater community,” it added.

Related: Bitcoin thought leaders weigh the pros and cons of Ordinals

Other Bitcoin Ordinals marketplaces have already launched, including ORDX and Generative XYZ which launched in February. Earlier this week, NFT platform Gamma.io unveiled its own Bitcoin Ordinals marketplace, allowing users to create and trade ordinal inscriptions in a manner similar to Ethereum NFT marketplaces.

Cointelegraph contacted Magic Eden for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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Formfunction to shutter marketplace amid Solana NFT slump

The platform didn’t disclose the reason for its closure, but Solana NFTs haven’t been having the best run lately.

Formfunction, a Solana (SOL)-based, nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace, has announced it is closing up shop after only 13 months of operation amid a slump in Solana NFT prices and trading volumes.

On March 15, Formfunction announced it was “shutting down” on March 29, saying it “cannot continue to operate.” The decision was reached after “much discussion and careful consideration, it said.

The exact reason for closing the platform was not disclosed in the announcement.

Formfunction’s head of community and marketing, known by their pseudonym “Magellan,” tweeted on March 15 that the cofounders and the team will “pivot to a new direction, likely outside of the crypto [and the] SOL space,” but did not provide further details.

Cointelegraph contacted Formfunction’s cofounders — Matt Lim and Katherine Liu — for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

The marketplace’s shutdown comes after its launch just over a year ago, on Feb. 3, 2022. According to Magellan, over that time it conducted $5 million in sales despite a “brutal bear market.”

Shortly after its launch the platform also raised a $4.7 million seed round in March 2022 led by venture capital (VC) firm Variant Fund and contributions from other VC firms Solana Ventures, Canonical Crypto, Pear VC, Palm Tree Crew Crypto and OpenSea Ventures.

Since Formfunctions launch, the wider Solana NFT space has plummeted in terms of volume and floor prices alongside a drawdown in the price of SOL.

Figures from Solana NFT data aggregator SolanaFloor show its index of the “blue chip” NFTs on the blockchain saw a 75% price drawdown in dollar terms since early February 2022.

The USD price of an index of blue-chip NFT prices on Solana since Jan. 1, 2022. Source: SolanaFloor

The daily number of buyers of Solana NFTs has also seen a slowdown over the past 12 months. According to data from CryptoSlam, daily unique buyers currently hover around 7,000, almost half the amount seen on average at the start of 2022.

Solana has seen a slide in daily unique NFT buyers (blue) since March 2022 and daily sales volumes have also halved to under $4 million. Source: CryptoSlam

SOL’s price has also tanked since Formfunction’s launch. At the start of 2022, SOL traded at around $100; it has now fallen over 80%, at time of writing trading around $19.

The price of SOL took a significant hit in the November 2022 collapse of FTX and has struggled to regain traction since. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was an early investor in the Solana blockchain.

Related: Do ‘Ethereum killers’ have a future? Here’s what the crypto community says

Notable NFT collections first native to Solana are seemingly abandoning the platform also.

In December last year, DeGods and y00ts — two top-performing Solana NFT projects — announced they were bridging to Ethereum and Polygon to “explore new opportunities” and to allow for the continued growth of the collections.

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Galaxy Digital Report Predicts Bitcoin NFT Market Could Reach $4.5 Billion by 2025

Galaxy Digital Report Predicts Bitcoin NFT Market Could Reach .5 Billion by 2025As the number of Bitcoin-based Ordinal inscriptions nears the 300,000 mark, Galaxy Digital’s research team published a report on the subject that says the market size of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) built on Bitcoin could reach $4.5 billion over the next two years. The researchers at Galaxy think that new use cases stemming from the inscription […]

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NFT Sales Surge Over 43% in Past Week, Topping $397 Million

NFT Sales Surge Over 43% in Past Week, Topping 7 MillionSales of non-fungible token (NFT) assets over the last seven days rose 43.97% compared to the previous week, according to statistics recorded on Feb. 18, 2023. The volume of NFT sales reached $397.86 million this week, with 345,716 NFT buyers and roughly 1.62 million transactions. NFT Sales Continue to Rise in 2023, Ethereum Dominates NFT […]

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Opensea Drops Fees to Zero and Announces New Creator Earnings Model in Response to Shifting NFT Landscape

Opensea Drops Fees to Zero and Announces New Creator Earnings Model in Response to Shifting NFT LandscapeThe largest marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Opensea, has announced major changes to its fee structure and policies in response to a shift in the NFT ecosystem. The company detailed that it will drop fees to zero for a limited time and offer an optional creator earnings model with a minimum of 0.5% for all […]

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OpenSea implements 0% fees to win over NFT userbase lost to Blur

NFT marketplace Blur surpassed OpenSea in daily ETH trading volume as users — anticipating greater returns on their NFT investments — are looking for a trading arena that works in their favor.

Major nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea announced a massive structuring around lower platform fees and greater creator earnings as competing marketplaces continue to drain away its once dominant user base.

On Feb. 18, NFT marketplace Blur surpassed OpenSea in daily Ethereum (ETH) trading volume as users — anticipating greater returns on their NFT investments — are looking for a trading arena that works in their favor, shows Nansen data.

Daily trading volume of major NFT marketplaces. Source: Nansen

As a reactionary measure, OpenSea announced three major changes to win back its migrating customers. The measures include a 0% fee for a limited time, introducing optional creator earnings and leniency on other operators.

OpenSea admitted losing users to other “NFT marketplaces that don’t fully enforce creator earnings,” and the new measures are an attempt to revitalize its dominance in the space, adding:

“Recent events – including Blur’s decision to roll back creator earnings (even on filtered collections) and the false choice they’re forcing creators to make between liquidity on Blur or OpenSea – prove that our attempts are not working.”

OpenSea believes that it defended creator earnings on all collections while reiterating its support for Operator Filter — a function that was aimed at helping creators secure their revenue for the resale of their work. However, this filter proactively blocked recommendations of marketplaces that sported the same policies.

OpenSea's plan of action to counter falling market dominance. Source: OpenSea (via Twitter)

Blur’s daily trading volume supremacy can be attributed to its new royalty policy showcasing differences in royalty payment options between its platform and OpenSea. It read:

“OpenSea’s current royalty policy prevents collections from being able to earn royalties everywhere. They have cited various reasons for this (see FAQ), but the end result is that creators are limited to earning royalties on only one platform at a time.”

Amid the royalty war between the two marketplaces, community members highlighted the importance of competition in the industry. If it wasn’t for zero royalty marketplaces, bigger players like OpenSea would eventually increase fee structure, which would have a negative impact on creators and collectors.

Moreover, OpenSea plans to continue testing the model and identify what works best for the community and the organization. Community members speculate that OpenSea would probably increase its platform fees in the future if it successfully manages to amass its lost customers — a predatory move often noticed in industries with less competition.

Related: eBay NFT platform KnownOrigin launches creator smart contract

YouTube’s appointment of new CEO Neal Mohan was perceived as a win for the crypto community considering Mohan’s inclination to use NFTs and Web3 as revenue streams for creators.

As Cointelegraph reported, Mohan — while serving as YouTube’s chief product officer — outlined tentative plans in February 2022 to integrate features such as Metaverse-based content experiences and content tokenization via NFTs.

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NFT Marketplace Blur Launches Native Token, BLUR Price Drops 85% in a Matter of Hours

NFT Marketplace Blur Launches Native Token, BLUR Price Drops 85% in a Matter of HoursThe Blur non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace launched its native token this week, and users who were awarded token allotments received “care packages.” Blur tokens began trading at noon on Feb. 14, reaching a high of $5.02 per token. However, the coin has since dropped more than 85% against the U.S. dollar. BLUR Token Launch Records […]

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Moonpay and Looksrare Partner to Bring Convenient NFT Purchasing to the Masses

Moonpay and Looksrare Partner to Bring Convenient NFT Purchasing to the MassesOn Thursday, the fiat-to-crypto onramp business Moonpay announced a multi-year partnership with the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Looksrare. According to the deal, Looksrare will allow marketplace users to buy and sell crypto assets through Moonpay’s services. Moonpay and Looksrare Join Forces to Streamline NFT Transactions Moonpay, the fiat-to-crypto service founded in 2019, revealed that it […]

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Nearly $13 Billion in Sales: Breaking Down 5 NFT Collections by Sales Volume 

Nearly  Billion in Sales: Breaking Down 5 NFT Collections by Sales Volume Non-fungible token (NFT) assets have existed since at least 2014, but interest in them began to rise in January 2021, according to Google Trends data. Approximately one year later, the search term “NFT” reached its highest score on Google Trends. During that time the top five NFT collections, in terms of all-time sales volume, have […]

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