OpenSea is the largest whale living deep in our cryptographically decentralized ocean swarmed by digital asset enthusiasts. It thrived in 2021 by introducing a variety of different concepts to the all-new NFT industry, becoming the largest marketplace for unique on-chain art, music, documents and more.
However, we are all aware that being first does not guarantee success for generations or even decades. Let’s take a look at some examples of hard-nosed, innovative newcomers disrupting the incumbent tech giants.
Social media has been one of the ideas that has had great difficulty reaching mainstream audiences, one of the best examples of which is MySpace. In the 90’s and early 2000’s, having and using the internet to surf the web and communicate was like a new power and only those who had enough experience could indulge and enjoy the benefits.
Technological Davids and Goliaths
MySpace was launched at a time when this was still the case – in 2003. Most people were unfamiliar with the new ideas and had only visited a website or two – services like Internet-based banking were not widespread.
MySpace may have come too early, but that’s not the main problem: the site was easy to hack – Samy Kamkar showed this – had a terrible user experience compared to the newer web ventures, and the network of people itself was relatively small.
Now throw all of this into the aftermath of the 2001 tech-market bubble and you could just be in for business disaster. Facebook was founded a few years later when the internet was already populated with users and taking the cake as the fastest growing social media the world had ever seen.
This meant the end for the pioneer MySpace and its smaller competitors.
Different industries, same pattern
Another great example of platform and technology shift is the story of Nokia’s demise. Nokia was the definition of a dominant tech company early in this century, something even progressive, business-centric phone makers like BlackBerry couldn’t come close to matching.
If you met someone with a phone in the early 2000s, chances are they used the Nokia brand. Apple, on the other hand, has been strategizing all along to create a revolution—a touchscreen revolution with the first iPhone.
This introduction of sci-fi-like technology immediately captured the hearts of consumers, leaving no room for push-button phones. The iPhone turned phones into futuristic computers and not just communication devices.
All the Nokia CEO had to say was, “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow we lost.”
Every other manufacturer has been frozen and thrown into an inescapable dungeon of unsold phones and hasn’t managed to unfreeze since the word “iPhone” was first spoken by Steve Jobs.
Apple has done the same thing before, just with computer hardware, taking ideas from Xerox’s first mouse, making them happen, and changing the world. More recently, similar patterns in operating systems have emerged in the software war with Microsoft.
History lesson over, let’s move on to NFTs.
OpenSea, the NFT slayer
If you want to buy unique artworks or other objects on the blockchain that are always verifiable in a public ledger, one option is that you turn to OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace in the world today.
We’ve already discussed that history shows that in the early stages of an idea, it doesn’t equal quality or better proofs of concept.
There is a saying “too big to fail” that is ironic because it has been proven multiple times to be nonsensical and fundamentally wrong. OpenSea is the greatest, that is like Facebook, now meta, if a data failure occurs or someone with some quality exploits manages to take it over, the entire ship goes under.
Lots of troubles along the way
Additionally, a large percentage of NFTs traded on OpenSea are on the Ethereum network, which typically has the highest gas fees, making it almost impossible to participate for anyone just wanting to “play around with the shiny new thing”.
The disadvantage of OpenSea does not end here – users have relatively poor user experience due to clunky front-end design, functionality and number of features is very limited.
These problems, especially when combined, create a platform that is inherently uninteresting and difficult to use for newcomers due to the fairly technical knowledge required.
A limited decentralized environment
The takeaway from all of the above is that however distributed one might be, their size and lack of proper resources that they are unaware of can make the overall user experience and the entire system a few years behind more centralized than expected.
So, do we have viable alternatives to OpenSea, and how much effort do we need to expend to make a move to more decentralized, accessible, and utility-filled systems?
Many other NFT marketplace platform giants like Rarible might not be an option either as the UX/UI doesn’t have much difference from OpenSea. Regardless of whether the platform is funded by a sophisticated company like a16z, if the developments towards access and efficiency are not made, the commission business may not have long life.
New fish in the sea
Funnily enough, a large chunk of innovation is taking place on non-fungible token marketplaces in the EU and UK. Spark is an entirely new NFT platform that addresses almost all of the above issues.
It is the epitome of accessibility, fairness and reward for the worthy. The industry has many disingenuous players who either try to exploit NFT whitelisting or are too inexperienced, causing their audience to suffer terrible misunderstandings and in many cases, members’ fortunes.
Spark goes big and aims to solve the fairness problem – typically in NFT projects, only the lucky few are lucky enough to get in first, without leaving a single bone behind the rest of the members.
Properly designed and structured prediction markets living within a platform focused on long-term profits for its members can seriously take matters into their own hands and make whitelisting fair game.
Another pair of hands to do more
Spark also focuses on things other than access and fairness. It works by scrutinizing every NFT project that joins the platform and doing due diligence to build a stable ecosystem.
This also ensures that there is no lack of information on a specific project and that it is clear to everyone involved what they are getting themselves into.
Many blockchain networks today have gas fees that are just annoying for everyone – who wants to stand in line forever to get their fortune and lose a bunch of money in the process? Spark uses an advanced, well-built, and easily accessible blockchain, Avalanche, to make member transactions seamless and worry-free.
More than a marketplace
Spark’s innovation also lies in the fact that it’s not just an NFT marketplace. The ecosystem is large and contains various parts that hold a number of beneficial features: The $SPRK token and Avalanche, the chain it sits on, enable prediction markets with appropriate reward structures, NFT allocations and staking returns.
It’s a fair all-in-one platform that welcomes any enthusiast who approaches Spark. The path to change is difficult in markets as fast growing as NFT, especially when they are almost entirely controlled by giant marketplaces like OpenSea.
Spark takes risks and bets on user experience and benefits, but such immersive ecosystems are not accessible today.
Technology and its branches, whether they’re phones, hardware parts, computers, websites, or full-fledged Web 3.0 ecosystems, they all share the same patterns as separate branches, whether we’re talking about the business or the technical side.
History repeats itself, and it has clearly shown us all that most monopolies eventually fail, either at the hands of a government or by their own greed.
Technology demands innovation and better solutions every day, and in crypto and web 3.0, it’s time to give NFTs and their owners a chance to be decentralized in reality, not in the empty promises – Spark might just be the solution .
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