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Once upon a time, AOL was king of onboarding people to the "internet." Then up rose a host of other services and you could take your pick how you wanted to surf the worldwide web. As the internet matured, social media started to emerge. And there was a time when MySpace was the darling of how you could have a personal presence online. Then along came Facebook with its fresh out of the dorm room energy, ambitious wizard coders and prestigious VC funding and hype.
If history has taught us anything, it's that internet platforms can rise to power overnight. Conversely, they can go away just about as quickly.
Flash forward to the present day. In the NFT space, 2021 was undeniably the year of OpenSea. The NFT marketplace where all the major transactions took place. They created the first user-friendly way to navigate, buy and sell NFTs. The blue verified check on the platform became one of the early badges of honor in the space. If you weren't on OpenSea, you didn't really have any skin in the NFT game.
However, being the only show in town had its pros and cons. OpenSea maintained a platform first control over the paying out of creator's earnings. As they built their rocket ship while it was catapulting toward the moon, everything didn't always work perfectly. But, being the only option of such scale, users just had to sit tight through the turbulence.
Yesterday, a challenger entered the NFT platform space, with the arrival of LooksRare. They created quite the splash on NFT Twitter, as they initiated a so-called "vampire-attack" on OpenSea users. They offered their newly minted platform tokens, $LOOKS, as airdrops to OpenSea users based on their spending on the platform. Overnight, NFT collectors were rewarded for using OpenSea by a completely different platform. NFT Twitter was shook. $LOOKS is unproven, but as a marketing move, everyone in the space now knows about LooksRare and their ambitions.
Digging into their information and roadmap, a generous amount of $LOOKS tokens will be distributed to the community. And in fact, even the 2% fee taken by the platform, will be re-distributed to the holders of the token. They bill themselves as a "Community-first NFT marketplace with rewards for participating." It's a Robin Hood kind of ethos that stands out amid the recent rush of press around the billions of dollars valuation of OpenSea. With the rise of DAOs, LooksRare seems to be offering an NFT marketplace that caters to creators and values participation.
After a solid year of marketplace dominance, many have felt the need for an OpenSea competitor to arise. And honestly, the more democratic positioning of LooksRare does fit nicely into the democratic, participation is valuable evolution we have been tracking in the space. As many wait on OpenSea to initiate their own airdrop or governance tokens, other players are proving more nimble and beating them to the punch. It's crazy to think that in a space as new as NFTs that there could be an establishment already, but that's precisely what OpenSea has become.
This development should bode well for creators. Not just with LooksRare, but with seeing innovation and marketing coming from new players in the space. Eventually, creators may be able to pick different platforms to share their work on, considering which pro and cons work best with what they have to offer.
LooksRare made a splash with their "fair play" move of rewarding users on a different platform. It fits with the web3 vibe of openness and not really seeing others as competition. WAGMI as they say. Some have argued that platforms like OpenSea are simply taking a web2 and centralized platform approach to web3. If LooksRare or another entity can emerge and prove themselves to be natively web3 and win the support of the NFT community at large, there is a large slice of the pie to be enjoyed. And with the free dealing of bonuses to those who participate, that could mean there is a whole lot of pie to go around.