Propelled by an explosion of interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), in 2022, OpenSea’s position as the world’s preeminent NFT marketplace was undisputed. But just as quickly, the platform’s upstart rival Blur emerged from behind to snatch the crown in 2023.
Amid fierce competition for users, OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer recently laid out his plans to shake up the platform by embracing the full diversity of NFT use cases. But will the proposed upgrades be enough to revive OpenSea amid a run of Web3 flops that has many pronouncing the death of NFTs?
For many people, NFTs immediately recall collections like Cryptopunks and Bored Apes. These digital collectibles make up the bulk of trading activity on OpenSea and platforms like it.
But, in a recent interview with Bloomberg, Finzer suggested that alternative use cases could drive the sector’s growth.
One concept that has gained traction in recent months is the idea of tokenized event tickets. Compared to traditional ticketing systems, NFT tickets offer several advantages to event-goers and organizers. For example, they can be tied to specific devices to prevent resale. They can also pay out royalties to issuers when they are resold.
Finzer said OpenSea plans to list ticket NFTs on a section of the platform organized in the form of a calendar, with users able to browse events by date.
In contrast with the current model, which doesn’t adjust the user interface for different types of NFT, he said: “We really want to have a marketplace interface that can be better customized to suit each type of use case.”
“One of the things we’ve been most excited about is not necessarily how do you drive the most volume, but rather, how do you build sort of the most compelling use cases for NFTs.”
Besides different types of NFT, Finzer also recognized the different needs of NFT traders versus collectors. He also acknowledged the fact that many people fell into both categories.
Launched in 2023 to compete with the more trading-focused user experience offered by Blur and other rivals, OpenSea Pro is a marketplace aggregator that lets users browse and purchase NFTs listed on any one of 170 different platforms.
OpenSea Pro offers a number of tools and features for sophisticated NFT traders. However, many users still enjoy the experience of exploring NFTs via the platform’s original interface. Indeed, the original version remains a popular destination for first-time NFT buyers..
With the latest planned upgrade, Finzer said OpenSea will make it easier for users to access the platform’s Pro version. He said it would also let them toggle between “a collector view and a more advanced view.”
Only time will tell whether OpenSea’s upgrade will succeed in reversing the platform’s fortunes. “We tend to not focus too much on [the] short-term, marketplace dynamics,” Finzer said with regard to OpenSea’s struggling transaction volumes. Nevertheless, with investors slashing the startup’s valuation by as much as 90%, something will need to change if OpenSea is to be a success.