Few startups in the crypto world boast the market dominance that OpenSea currently enjoys, but numerous venture-backed startups are looking to chip away at their lead.
Welcome back to Chain Reaction, where we unpack and explain the latest in crypto news, drama and trends, breaking things down block by block for the crypto curious.
For our Tuesday episode this week, we talked to Jack Lu, the co-founder and CEO of fast-rising NFT marketplace Magic Eden. The venture-backed startup was founded last year and has already reached unicorn status -- raising at a $1.6 billion valuation.
The startup has become the default way for NFT traders in the Solana ecosystem to transact, but as the marketplace has grown, its team has refocused its ambitions to take on OpenSea on its home turf -- the Ethereum network, for which they've recently begun rolling out early support.
The startup is looking to differentiate itself inside the broader NFT marketplace space, shying away from being a hub for online art, and leaning more into verticals like gaming.
"We're not really a generalized marketplace that plays in every category, we don't play in one-of-one fine art, we don't do usernames or domain names," Lu tells us, noting that Magic Eden largely focuses on "collectibles," which include things like avatars and profile photos, as well as NFTs related to gaming.
It was the gaming part of Magic Eden's focus that took up the bulk of the conversation as Anita and Lucas looked to get a finger on the pulse of crypto gaming in late summer 2022.
"There is no such thing as 'web3 gamers,' people who like playing games do not go looking to play a web3 game, they just want to play a game," Lu says. "I think we're going to see a shift where it's pure game content developers who are masterful at developing game content and game loops themselves that are going to come into this space and are more into using web3 as an instrument... to realize some player goal or product goal within the game itself."
You can listen to the full episode to hear Lu's more expansive thoughts on the NFT gaming market, as well as his thoughts on a potential race-to-the-bottom in NFT transaction fees.