I Was Just Added to the Coinbase NFT Beta Test. What I Found There Surprised Me

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Man with glasses looking at laptop.

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Coinbase just rolled out the first phase of its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace.


Key points

  • Coinbase’s long-awaited NFT marketplace is here for some people, and it offers a great user experience.
  • My favorite platform is now Coinbase NFT because most NFTs there are verified with a “blue check” to prevent scams.
  • Coinbase is set to dominate the NFT industry with its community.

Last October, I signed the waitlist to join the Coinbase NFT platform when it was ready to go live, and today I was invited to join the beta test. If you’re interested, here’s the transcript of the email I received:

Welcome to the club

gm! You’ve been selected to participate in the invite-only beta release of Coinbase NFT! We’re thrilled to have you, and can’t wait for you to get started. The beta site is live… right now.

Follow these instructions to create your account using a one-time access code:

  1. Visit nft.coinbase.com.
  2. Click “Sign in.”
  3. Enter the following access code:
  4. XXXXXXXXXXX
  5. Click on “Create account” and follow the steps to connect your self-custody crypto wallet.
  6. Pick your user name, provide an email address, set a display name, choose a profile picture, and write a description of yourself.

Remember: this code is yours and yours alone. You can only use it once to create your account on Coinbase NFT (and then you sign in with your wallet). Sharing the code may lead to you being removed from the beta. No one wants that.

We’re really excited to have you as part of our first group of users, and would love your feedback as you use Coinbase NFT.

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It’s hard not to notice the bit about sharing codes could get you (or me in this case) kicked off the platform. They’re taking this launch seriously, and I want to as well.

Since I already have an account on the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange and a Coinbase Wallet, it was super easy signing up for Coinbase NFT.

My NFT journey prior to Coinbase NFT

I purchased my first NFT — a nifty animated image of Spider-Man — on Aug. 7, 2021 because I had to write an article about the NFT space and knew very little about it at the time. Since then, I’ve purchased 18 more non-fungible tokens on OpenSea, Rarible, and Veve respectively.

I’m not an NFT expert but Veve was my preferred NFT purchasing platform for its tight security, its practice of only selling established NFTs (e.g. Disney, Marvel, DC, etc.), and ease of use. Also, you don’t need cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum to make a Veve purchase because it links directly to PayPal. However, your cash is converted into “gems,” which cannot be converted back to cash and can’t be moved off of Veve. Aaargh!!!

OpenSea is okay to use but its user interface is not all that intuitive or easy to navigate. Also, anyone can post a collection of knockoffs. While writing this, I just entered “Bored Ape Yacht Club” in the OpenSea search field and more than 2.6 million items came up — it’s worth noting the original BAYC project only had 10 thousand initial NFTs. While there might be legitimate derivations of BAYC in that 2.6 million search term number, there are likely many knockoffs as well. OpenSea does have a “blue check” verification on individual NFTs and projects, but its verifications have been criticized for being arbitrary, puzzling, and nonsensical.

Lastly, I used Rarible for one purchase — it was fine — but I wasn’t compelled to come back.

Why I now prefer Coinbase NFT

After spending a few hours exploring Coinbase NFT, setting up my profile, and buying a couple unique digital assets, here are some of the reasons it’s now my preferred NFT trading platform.

First, the overwhelming majority of individual NFT listings are verified with a “blue check” to prevent scams — protecting both content creators and investors. The site also generates a personalized NFT feed based on your viewing habits and history — its specific recommendations become more accurate and precise the more you explore.

Another cool function is that if you connect your Coinbase wallet to Coinbase NFT, and you don’t have sufficient funds to buy a particular NFT, you can easily move funds to the wallet using Coinbase Pay — without leaving the Coinbase NFT website. That may sound confusing, but it’s a really convenient feature, which I used when I bought two “Colonists” NFTs on the site today. Both NFTs immediately populated in my Coinbase Wallet and on my Coinbase NFT profile page, which I can allow anyone to view or hide if I change my mind..

While the other non-fungible trading platforms have similar features as these, the truly unique differentiator for Coinbase NFT is its community building element.

On the home page, there’s a section beneath a sub-heading that reads “Build your community: find and follow creators and collectors” where they currently list a mix of eight crypto influencers and creators. From there I started following Gary “Vee” Vaynerchuk, Paris Hilton, and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.

Here are some of the surprising details I learned about each of these high-profile individuals from their respective Coinbase NFT profiles:

  • Gary Vee joined the platform last Wednesday, April 20, and he has 34 different NFTs listed including multiple Alien Frens, Doodles, and World of Women NFTs. He currently has 1,700 followers, and he is not following anyone at the moment. His bio reads, “@VeeFriends founder & Die Hard Jets fan who loves kindness.” I cried a little inside when I read that bit about the Jets.
  • Paris Hilton joined the platform last Thursday, April 21, and she has hundreds of NFTs posted on her profile page featuring multiple CryptoPunks, Doodles, metaverse virtual land plots, and more. As of this writing, she has 43 followers, and she is not following anyone yet. Her bio reads, “Entrepreneur, Advocate, OG Crypto Queen, Lover of the Digital Art Space, Avid NFT Collector, Citizen and Icon of the Metaverse.”
  • Brian Armstrong, joined the platform Thursday, March 3, and he has 22 NFTs displayed including a CryptoKitties, a Doodle Penguin, and a Michael Jordan ultra-rare animated Chicago Bulls “23” jersey. He currently has 2,600 followers, and he is following 11 people — oddly none of whom are me, which seems odd. Regardless, his bio reads, “Coinbase CEO, helping create more economic freedom in the world.”

The really cool thing was that I was able to leave a comment on any of their respective NFTs — and I did leave a pithy, rather witty (possibly not), singular comment for each. That’s going to solidify a strong community and user base once this trading platform is open to everyone. People will visit because they’re curious but they’ll stay for the community.

Given these features and its unique community experience, it’s a virtual guarantee that Coinbase will be the dominant player within the NFT market space sooner rather than later. Coinbase NFT has found a way to make potential relationships and connections the focus of its NFT ecosystem, rather than just a forum for economic exchange.

Additionally, Coinbase reported that it had 11.4 million active monthly users at the end of 2021. Even though OpenSea is currently the top NFT marketplace, it only averages about 377,000 active monthly users, according to DappRadar — which is only 3.4% of Coinbase’s monthly user base. Coinbase’s NFT ascension will be swift and certain.

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