Blur: what you need to know about the new no.1 NFT marketplace | by XP. NETWORK | XP. NETWORK

Blur: what you need to know about the new no.1 NFT marketplace

In just 5 months, Blur managed to overtake OpenSea in NFT trading volume, while its BLUR token reached a market cap of $200 million. What is so special about this platform, and can it retain its leadership in the future?

What is Blur, and where did it come from?

Ask just about any casual NFT user which marketplace is the biggest by volume, and they will probably tell you that it’s OpenSea. And so it has been for five years — until the explosive rise of Blur in the past few months. As of March 11, 2023, Blur’s 30-day trading volume was $1.74 billion, while that of OpenSea was $477 million, or almost 4 times less.

What makes this result even more impressive is that Blur supports only Ethereum, while OpenSea features NFTs on 5 blockchains. So how did this happen?

To understand what Blur has that OpenSea doesn’t, we need to make a distinction between two types of NFT buyers: retail collectors and pro traders.

1) Retail buyers purchase NFTs because they like the art and often hold them for a long time. They can sell if the price goes up a lot, but for many, it’s about collecting rather than trading.

2) Serious NFT traders are professionals if such a thing exists in the NFT space. They don’t choose NFTs for the art and don’t plan to hold them for long. Instead, they “flip” them: buy low, sell high. Pros often “sweep the floor”, buying any NFTs in a certain collection if they are listed at the floor price. Then the trader sells those NFTs once the price rises. Flipping is pure speculation, not collecting, and it can involve large sums of money. Pro wallets tend to generate a lot of transactions and high monetary flows.

Blur is aimed at the second category of users. It offers them two key advantages:

1) Speed — something you need when you compete with many other traders eager to snipe cheap NFTs as soon as they are listed. A single second can make a difference.

2) Sweeping across different marketplaces. Blur displays the best deals on OpenSea, X2Y2, and LooksRare, apart from those listed on Blur itself. There are other NFT aggregators, such as gem.xyz, but Blur apparently displays new listings faster.

A couple more features make this platform appealing to experienced sweepers:

Simplified design: Blur doesn’t display individual images because, to pro traders, they don’t matter. They buy based on the price, not because they like a picture. Without the images, a page loads faster.

Analytics: the basic page for a collection features the 1-day and 7-day floor price change and volume, recent activity, the sales chart, and the top bid for each NFT. You can even sort the list based on the rarity (top 1%, 10%, or 25%). Everything is designed to help traders make informed decisions.

Zero fees: whereas OpenSea charges a 2 on each trade in the secondary market, Blur charges nothing. However, if you use it to buy NFTs listed on a different marketplace, you’ll pay that respective platform’s administrative fee.

Optional royalties. On Blur, traders can choose not to pay royalties. Nevertheless, they receive additional token rewards if they do (more on these rewards below). Every trader can choose what’s important for them: saving some money on each transaction or earning extra in BLUR tokens.

Blur in facts and numbers

The marketplace launched in October 2022 with the backing of Paradigm, one of the leading Web3 venture funds. Thus, Blur has been around for just 5 months.

At the start of the article, we mentioned that Blur’s 30-day volume was $1.74 billion (as of March 11) versus OpenSea’s $477M. The difference in 7-day volumes is almost as impressive: $325M vs. $94M, or 245% more.

On the surface, it can seem like the old leader has been supplanted. But, rather than just the volume, we should consider the number of users. High volume in itself doesn’t mean that a platform is popular: after all, it can have bots trading NFTs back and forth to create an illusion of activity (similar to what centralized exchanges do with Bitcoin trading).

Blur manages to attract 7–9 thousand users daily, while OpenSea has 11–14 thousand. Therefore, the average trading volume per user on Blur is much higher than on OpenSea — just as you would expect from a pro platform.

Indeed, on-chain analysts on Twitter noted that half of Blur’s volume is generated by only 300 wallets and that a few blue-chip collections like BAYC account for most of the activity.

Another issue we have to look at is the sharp rise in volume in February. The following chart from Dune Analytics shows how the trading volume stayed more or less constant in December and January, then skyrocketed. What happened? The answer is the launch of the BLUR token.

BLUR airdrop: a major reason behind the platform’s success

On February 14, the marketplace launched its own token, BLUR. Its main source of utility (for now) is to reward marketplace users. In the near future, it will also start working as a governance token, allowing traders to decide Blur’s future.

The airdrop was executed in three “seasons”: first, those who had tested the platform’s beta; then those who listed NFTs on Blur; and later also, those who placed bids. Moreover, users who listed their NFTs exclusively on Blur received more tokens. The average airdrop was almost $3,000 in BLUR.

Through this system, Blur incentivized both buying and selling activity. Another important detail was that those who chose to pay the full royalty rate got increased rewards.

On the other hand, the airdrop scheme clearly benefits the traders with the highest volumes — those few hundred wallets that we’ve mentioned. The rapid increase in trading volume was probably spurred in part by traders’ desire to get more tokens. Out of the 360 million BLUR allocated for the drop, traders claimed 339 million in just 6 days.

As it often happens with tokens before unlocks, BLUR price shot up in the first few hours of trading — then tanked. From the ATH of $5, BLUR fell to $0.47 in just a month. However, its market cap remained at a solid $188 million by mid-March.

In conclusion

Blur is a very innovative platform from the technological point of view, but it’s geared at a narrow audience that generates most of the volume through NFT flipping (speculation). These users’ desire to maximize their BLUR airdrop rewards further pushed up the volume in February.

In other words, Blur is not a platform for the masses (at least not yet), and when it comes to retail demand coming from NFT collectors, OpenSea still retains leadership. It’s also the biggest cross-chain marketplace, supporting BNB Chain, Solana, Avalanche, and Klaytn, in addition to Ethereum.

We at XP.NETWORK are convinced that the future of NFTs is multichain and that retail will play a major role in this future. Just like mass crypto adoption relies on regular users, NFT adoption will rely on the spread of new use cases and not on speculative trading. For this reason, we are sure that OpenSea isn’t going anywhere.

That being said, it’s good to have some healthy competition in the space. Hopefully, the success of Blur will make the market as a whole more efficient and fair. Meanwhile, remember that any NFT purchased on Blur can be bridged to 25+ other networks using XP.NETWORK. Try it and tell us what you think!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *