OpenSea was launched in 2017 by the two sharp minds of Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah, and it is the most considerable marketplace for user-owned digital assets, better known as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), with more than 600 thousand users and 2 million collections of digital items.
Before delving into the specificities of this platform, we will briefly focus on NFTs, a brand new type of digital good characterized by some singular traits, such as (i) uniqueness, (ii) scarcity, (iii) tradability and (iv) usability across different platforms, from gaming to the art world, and more in general in all those fields in which (digital) identification and certification cover a substantial role in assessing the authenticity of the asset.
Along with these intriguing factors, when you hold an NFT, you can basically do whatever you want with it, from using it on a specific gaming platform to gifting it to a friend who lives on the other side of the world or even destroying it! Nevertheless, the most common way of using them is selling them: this is why marketplaces such as OpenSea or others like Rarible or SuperRare, are so renowned nowadays.
But I believe we have already talked a lot about NFTs, so let’s move on to the technicalities of the platform.
Technicalities &… Issues
– Ethereum protocols
One of the most distinguishing aspects of OpenSea is that the platform is based on some Ethereum protocols. These are free and open standards that not only facilitate the digital encounter between demand and supply in integrated marketplaces with a focus on digital assets, but also they are the first step to moving toward a more vibrant (and decentralized) way of thinking about the economy.
Let’s now focus on two protocols that are very much used by OpenSea: the ERC-721 and the ERC-1155.
First, one intriguing feature connected to the ERC-721 protocol is that while most tokens are basically identical to others (i.e., fungible), “ERC-721 tokens are all unique”. Indeed, this goes very well along with the main aim of such a platform, which is certifying the authenticity of a digital asset.
On the other hand, ERC-1155 focuses much more on outlining a smart-contract interface which deals with multiple tokens at the same time, without the need to deploy distinct contracts if you decide to use various tokens for just one single transaction. This functionality reduces those duplicative bytecodes which might be implemented on the Ethereum blockchain, making everything work faster (and smarter!)
One of the features that made OpenSea so appealing to the eyes of the wide public is probably the fact that users pay a one-time fee to get started: then, from that moment on, they can sell an unlimited amount of works of art. Indeed, collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club gained popularity here.
Nevertheless, at the beginning of 2022, the platform decided to implement a new policy limiting the number of collections users can mint to 5, and no more than 50 pieces can be presented in each collection.
Why reverse so much of the free-from-limits and creative culture of the platform? The real problem is that, after careful analysis, OpenSea discovered that more than 80% of the digital assets created and then traded on the platform are the result of plagiarism, spam or fake work. Something unacceptable for a company whose main aim is to implement authenticity in the digital world.
The role of the Luxury world: Dolce & Gabbana as a pioneering brand
The NFTs boom has reached the luxury and fashion industry, too.
Indeed, many luxury brands have launched some unique collections of digital assets on marketplaces such as OpenSea.
An intriguing example is the one proposed by Dolce & Gabbana with its ‘Collezione Genesi’, an exclusive collection of 9 pieces directly designed by Domenico Dolce e Stefano Gabbana for UNXD, one of the biggest rivals of OpenSea, which focuses almost exclusively on high-end brands.
Nevertheless, the most fascinating project is definitely #DGFamily NFT Community, an opportunity to join the Italian brand and access exclusive drops of physical and digital wearables, while becoming a member of the Dolce & Gabbana universe.
Particularly, the brand is planning to launch “DGFamily Boxes”, NFTs that consist both in the digital collectible per se and a membership to the brand’s digital universe.
DGFamily Boxes come in 3 different tiers: Black (4,250 total boxes), Gold (675 total boxes), and Platinum (75 total boxes). Each tier is granted the benefits of its tier as well as the tiers below.
DGFamily Boxes will be sold in a “blind sale” at the price of 1.2 ETH: particularly, with ‘blind’ we mean that you discover which kind of box you bought after a couple of weeks the sale happened. These boxes will then enter the secondary market, through platforms like OpenSea itself.
What do you think about NFTs and their link to the luxury world?