How to Create an NFT Marketplace
A guide based on hands-on experience
ScienceSoft uses leading blockchain frameworks to build blockchain-based decentralized apps and NFT marketplaces for trading unique digital assets.
An NFT marketplace is a blockchain-based online platform to sell and buy non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The popularity of NFT marketplaces consistently grows fueled by skyrocketed prices for NFTs – the most expensive NFT as of the start of 2022 is “Merge” by Pak that has been sold for $91,8 million.
- Steps to launch an NFT marketplace: Setting up a blockchain network, integrating chosen digital wallets, creating smart contracts, building a customer-facing web app.
- Popular assets sold as NFTs: Images, music, videos, artwork, tickets, gaming staff.
- Go-to blockchain platforms for an NFT marketplace: Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, Cardano.
- Cost of NFT marketplace launch: $150,000 on average.
- Timeframes for NFT marketplace launch: 4-6 months.
An NFT represents a certificate of authenticity or ownership of digital assets, like images, music, videos, artwork, tickets. Though often compared to cryptocurrencies that also run on the blockchain technology, NFTs are unique and can’t be traded as equivalents – the way cryptocurrencies are traded.
NFTs are stored on a public blockchain and contain the information about:
- Who and when created an asset.
- Who and when bought the asset.
- At what price the asset was bought.
- Who owns the asset at the moment.
At ScienceSoft, we recommend our customers to leverage NFT value in the following markets:
Arts and collectibles
An NFT creator and then a buyer own a piece of art though can’t prevent the distribution of copies.
Key points to promote NFTs in art can be:
- A sense of ownership is vital for true art collectors.
- Digital artists can claim the ownership of their art and connect with buyers directly, eliminating third-party services (like Spotify).
The ticket information stored on the blockchain confirms the authenticity of a ticket and the identity of an owner.
Key points to promote NFTs in ticketing can be:
- NFTs help combat speculative ticketing and ticket resales at inflated prices.
Gaming and metaverse
NFT marketplaces offer gamers in-game staff like weapons, characters, skins, etc.
Key points to promote NFTs in gaming can be:
- NFTs are one-of-the-kind, thus give a competitive gaming advantage.
- Gamers can independently trade NFTs they don’t use anymore.
- A marketplace app is a web app where users sell and buy NFTs. Normally, it consists of client and server sides.
- A digital wallet is an online service to store digital funds.
- NFT metadata is the description of a digital asset sold as an NFT, specifically its name, creation date, attributes, owner, etc.
- IPFS (Interplanetary File System) is a data storage system for distributed networks (blockchains). IPFSs are used to avoid power-consuming storing of digital assets with the metadata on the blockchain.
- Smart contracts create a unique identifier for each NFT. Smart contracts for NFT marketplaces employ ERC-721 standard to create non-fungible tokens, which differentiates NFTs from fungible crypto tokens.
- Blockchain is a distributed database that stores information about NFT transactions.
Techs and third-party services
- Golang is the programming language ScienceSoft commonly uses for NFT marketplace back-end development.
- Solidity is a programming language for smart contracts.
- LevelDB is a database used for fast blockchain access.
- AWS S3 is a cloud database that offers a range of storage classes for different data volumes.
- Infura.io is a service providing access to the Ethereum blockchain.
- Ethereum is the blockchain most widely used for NFT marketplaces. It stores the NFT identifiers and links them to respective digital assets.
- ETH Gas Station provides information about the cost of Ethereum transactions.
- CoinMarketCap is a price-tracking service for the crypto market.
Where users can buy NFTs or offer their own digital assets for sale.
That can be filtered by a user’s preferences like collection, price, creator, etc.
With NFT description, reference to a creator and the history of bids and purchases.
Via email and password, social media login or digital wallet login (in case of integrated digital wallets).
That contains personal information, history of transactions, owned NFTs.
Where sellers upload their digital works and initiate the NFT creation process, view the transaction history for their NFTs and royalties received.
Enabling NFT creators to list their asset for a fixed price or to run a timed auction.
Fixed marketplace fees
Charged from the price of an NFT when it’s bought and enabling marketplace monetization.
Charged in favor of an NFT creator every time the NFT is resold.
Via a digital wallet, a mobile wallet or with a credit card.
User profile management
With a possibility to view and monitor user activity on the marketplace.
With a handy page editor to upload, edit and publish informational and promotional content.
Giving instant access to sales reports and marketplace profit.
If we summarize the experience ScienceSoft has had with blockchain-based marketplaces, we can describe the process of NFT marketplace launch in a number of key steps.
1. Defining a niche for an NFT marketplace. Among the most popular ones are artworks, video gaming content (e.g., online characters), music, sports memorabilia.
2. Choosing an optimal blockchain framework and launching the blockchain network.
NB! Though Ethereum is the most popular choice for NFT marketplaces, its transaction fees can be too high for a smaller company so don’t rule out alternatives.
3. Creating smart contracts that will be used to mint NFTs and trigger purchase transactions automatically if all the conditions of the sale are met.
4. Launching a web-based marketplace where users can act according to their chosen role: sellers upload their digital assets and buyers acquire associated tokens.
5. Setting up cryptocurrency payment gateways to enable marketplace users to buy, sell and transfer NFTs.
When launching an NFT marketplace, you don’t necessarily operate on a single blockchain. Actually, if you do, your marketplace will face the same limitations as the chosen blockchain network (for example, high transaction fees in case of Ethereum). Instead, we at ScienceSoft advocate for multi-chain NFT marketplaces integrated with several blockchain networks and also with various digital wallets. The resulting interoperability increases marketplace sustainability, optimizes blockchain energy consumption, and expands customer reach for your marketplace.
Blockchain Platforms ScienceSoft Recommends
The most popular blockchain to develop an NFT marketplace. Ethereum is often accused of a large carbon footprint driving high transaction costs, however it is reported to be undergoing a series of upgrades and expected to reduce the footprint by ~99.95%.
Binance Smart Chain
This blockchain is compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine, which means that no extra development work is needed for smart contracts to operate in both Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain. Relies on the Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) mechanism that provides for lower transaction fees.
Uses a proof-of-stake protocol, the most energy-efficient protocol for blockchain networks, which explains low transaction fees. Though Cardano started to enable smart contracts only in 2021, there is already a number of NFT marketplaces based on the Cardano blockchain.
Start with an MVP. Don’t invest your whole budget to get an end-to-end solution if you are excited to tap into a trending NFT market, still question the viability of your business idea. Prioritize key functionality with your development vendor to have a run-time version of your marketplace and launch it. Thus, you will get early feedback from users and move further much more confidently.
Employ a test-driven development approach to create smart contracts. When writing smart contracts, you need to identify all possible combinations of conditions that enable or fail a smart contract. Running test cases before writing code allows verifying requirements at early stages of development and save time on re-coding.
According to ScienceSoft’s experience, an NFT marketplace development project lasts 4-6 months from the discovery stage through to the launch. Its average cost is about $150,000. The cost can vary depending on individual requirements of your project. As a rule, factors having the greatest impact on the cost are:
The sophistication of the marketplace design
The number of integrated blockchain networks
The number of integrated digital wallets
The number and complexity of smart contracts
Experienced in building blockchain-based decentralized apps, ScienceSoft provides a set of expert consulting and development services for your NFT marketplace project.
NFT marketplace consulting
The goal of our consulting involvement is to fully plan the development part to get a well-functioning marketplace compliant with your requirements. Specifically, we:
- Research the competition to help you define your unique selling proposition and possible competitive advantages on a fast-evolving NFT market.
- Examine potential regulatory risks.
- Define the technology stack of a marketplace, choose blockchain platforms and digital wallets to integrate.
- Provide an elaborate specification for the architecture and functional design of the NFT marketplace ecosystem.
- Prioritize features for the MVP (if you go for it).
NFT marketplace development
To cover end-to-end development of your NFT marketplace, we:
- Create an MVP or unfold step-by-step development of a full-fledged marketplace.
- Set up chosen blockchain networks.
- Create smart contracts.
- Design a storefront of the NFT marketplace.
- Integrate the marketplace with the blockchain networks and digital wallets.
- Implement security controls.
ScienceSoft is an experienced IT consultant and software development provider headquartered in McKinney, TX. We enthusiastically use blockchain to create innovative business models and help our clients step into a growing NFT trading market by developing a sleek NFT marketplace. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified, we guarantee the highest service quality and unfailing security of your customer data.