On Wednesday, the non-fungible marketplace operated by Coinbase, America's largest crypto exchange, finally unveiled to the public after being in beta testing for two weeks.
"What does it mean to be in open beta? It means we’re still working on adding more features to the product, but eager for you to help us build in public," Coinbase said.
Coinbase boasts 56 million users in more than 100 countries. The exchange lists more than 170 coins on its exchange, according to CoinMarketCap. In April, Coinbase gave 1.5 million waitlisted users access to the marketplace.
It's clear why Coinbase launched the NFT marketplace, given that NFTs now constitute a $41 billion market, despite the growing number of scams. Earlier this year, the Department of Justice appointed the first-ever director for its National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, which will take a closer look at NFT scams.
Last month, Coinbase debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, making CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong’s potential net worth a staggering $20 billion. The company is the first U.S. crypto exchange to list on the Nasdaq.
Part of the runway success of the company owes to the exploding interest in crypto during the pandemic. “I don’t think crypto is here to solve every problem in the world. But it’s here to solve one very important meta-challenge, which is economic freedom,” Armstrong told the Wall Street Journal earlier this year.
NFTs are just one route to help Americans access economic freedom, and connect to each other in the process, according to Armstrong's team: "We learned that people don’t just want better tools to buy and sell NFTs: they want better ways to discover them, better ways to find the right communities, and better spaces in which they can feel connected with each other," said Sanchan Saxena, Coinbase's VP of Product, Ecosystem Products when the marketplace was launched.
However, it's not clear how popular the Coinbase NFT marketplace will become. During its first week of launch, the marketplace logged fewer than 1,000 transactions and only had around 700 users.
Nonetheless, Coinbase is not alone in launching an NFT marketplace, with rival crypto exchanges like Binance, Okcoin, and FTX also recently stepping into the game.