NFT Marketplace Development
A guide based on hands-on experience
Since 2020, ScienceSoft uses leading blockchain frameworks to build blockchain-based decentralized apps and NFT marketplaces for trading unique digital assets.
NFT Marketplaces: Quick Summary
An NFT marketplace is a blockchain-based online platform to sell and buy non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The popularity of NFT marketplaces grows worldwide. We now have OpenSea in the US, Nuqtah in the KSA, NFT Stars in Australia, and the list goes on. According to DappRadar, as of August 2023, the top 4 NFT platforms (OpenSea, Blur, LooksRare, Axie Marketplace) have $51+ billion in total sales volume.
Read on to learn about the popular assets to sell as NFTs, explore key steps, costs, and timelines to launch your own NFT marketplace, and discover best blockchain platforms to build the marketplace on.
Did you know?
Despite the short-term fluctuations in the quickly developing NFT field, the global NFT market is expected to grow from $3.0 billion in 2022 to $13.6 billion by 2027. The segment of NFT marketplaces is anticipated to witness a corresponding rise. Skyrocketed prices (as of the start of 2022, the most expensive NFT “Merge” by Pak has been sold for $91.8M) and impressive trade volume of NFTs ($4–16 billion per month) create momentum for startups and established companies to step into NFT marketplace development.
NFT Specifics and Viable Use Cases
An NFT represents a certificate of authenticity and ownership of a unique digital or physical asset. Though often compared to cryptocurrencies that also run on the blockchain technology, NFTs are exclusive 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 leveraging NFT value in the following markets:
Arts and collectibles
An NFT creator and then a buyer owns 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).
A physical property or a piece of land is unique by default. Thus, they can be easily represented and traded as NFTs.
Key points to promote NFTs in real estate can be:
- NFTs provide a single source of evidence to prove property ownership and ensure full traceability of the chain of title.
- Legal terms for buying and selling real estate can be coded in smart contracts to streamline the deal-related transaction management.
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.
- NFT-based tickets are prompt to produce and put for sale.
Gaming and metaverse
NFT marketplaces offer gamers in-game assets like characters, player cards, pieces of virtual land, skins, weapons, etc.
Key points to promote NFTs in gaming can be:
- NFTs are one-of-a-kind, thus give a competitive gaming advantage.
- Gamers can independently trade NFTs they don’t use anymore.
Components and Architecture of an NFT Marketplace
Following ScienceSoft’s experience in end-to-end development of NFT marketplaces, we share an illustrated example of an Ethereum-based NFT marketplace with short explanations of key terms and tools used.
- 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.
Key Features of an NFT Marketplace
ScienceSoft shares fundamental features of an NFT marketplace. Any extra features will depend on the specificity of your business and will require individual consideration.
NFT product presentation
- Storefront where users can buy NFTs or offer their digital assets for sale.
- Product listing that can be filtered by a user’s preferences like collection, price, creator, etc.
- Product page with NFT description, reference to a creator, and the history of bids and purchases.
- Configurable NFT catalogs to showcase the most popular collections, newest NFT products, the most expensive items, etc.
NFT buying and selling
- Flexible pricing enabling NFT creators to list their assets for a fixed price or run a timed auction.
- Fixed marketplace fees charged from the price of an NFT when it’s bought (marketplace monetization).
- Royalty fees charged in favor of the NFT creator every time an NFT is resold.
- Multi-currency payments for NFTs and marketplace services via a digital wallet, a mobile wallet, or with a credit card.
Account management for users
- User authentication via email and password, social media login, digital wallet login, or multi-factor authentication.
- User profile that contains personal information, history of transactions, owned NFTs.
- Seller profile where sellers upload their digital works and initiate the NFT creation process, view their transaction history and royalties received.
- User profile management with a possibility to view and monitor user activity on the marketplace.
- Content management with a handy page editor to upload, edit, and publish informational and promotional content.
- Automated generation of sales reports and calculation of marketplace profit.
- Live chat to help marketplace users solve technical, transactional, and security issues.
Key Steps of NFT Marketplace Development
NFT marketplace development is a way for tech startups and established companies to tap into the rapidly evolving NFT market and generate revenue with an innovative solution.
At ScienceSoft, key steps of NFT marketplace development typically look as follows:
Define a niche for an NFT marketplace
We analyze the needs of your target audience and research the competition to help you define the appropriate niche and possible competitive advantages on the fast-evolving NFT market. Among the most popular niches are artworks, video gaming assets, music, sports memorabilia, and real estate.
Launch the blockchain network
With your unique requirements in mind, we choose an optimal blockchain network to base your NFT marketplace on. If you want NFT distribution and trading among a limited group of people, we may build your own private blockchain from scratch.
Create smart contracts
We design and code smart contracts that will be used to mint NFTs and trigger purchase transactions automatically if the required conditions are met. We thoroughly test the smart contract code prior to deployment to ensure it doesn’t contain any vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors.
Implement the NFT marketplace
We develop a web-based marketplace with a sleek and user-friendly UI where sellers can upload their digital assets and buyers can acquire associated tokens.
Set up crypto payment gateways
We integrate the market-available cryptocurrency payment gateways (e.g., BitPay, CoinGate, Coinbase Commerce) to enable marketplace users to buy, sell, and transfer NFTs as well as pay for the marketplace services.
We implement robust cybersecurity mechanisms (e.g., asymmetric data encryption, authorization controls for APIs, AI-powered fraud detection algorithms) to ensure security of the marketplace and protect the sensitive data it stores. In addition, we design effective data backup protocols and draw up cybersecurity guides for platform users.
Though Ethereum is the most popular choice for NFT marketplaces, it doesn’t mean that it’s an optimal option for every company. Small and midsize businesses may find their transaction fees too high. We recommend companies not ruling out the alternatives and help our customers choose the most economically feasible network.
Why Create a Multi-Chain NFT Marketplace
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. 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.
NB! The leading NFT marketplaces (e.g., OpenSea, Magic Eden, and NFTrade) rely on a multi-chain model.
Blockchain Platforms ScienceSoft Recommends
Below we list the go-to blockchain platforms to build an NFT marketplace on. ScienceSoft can employ any of these platforms or go with any other platform of your choice to introduce the full scope of specific marketplace capabilities your target audience needs and ensure high ROI of the solution.
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.
NFT Standards We Work With
The most commonly used standard for non-fungible token development on Ethereum blockchain.
Ethereum’s universal token standard allowing to manage both fungible and non-fungible tokens within a single smart contract.
Allows issuing NFTs composed of non-fungible and fungible tokens and trading them as a single non-fungible asset.
A liquidity protocol enabling non-custodial lending of NFTs (e.g., tokenized unique in-game assets).
Enables creating unique NFT-bound accounts (digital wallets) to manage all NFT-associated assets and transactions in one place.
A new standard allowing traders to turn Ethereum-based NFTs into Bitcoin NFTs.
Binance Smart Chain NFT development standards similar to Ethereum’s ERC-721 and ERC-1155.
Binance Smart Chain's NFT standard designed specifically for GameFi.
Also known as FA2, it is an NFT development standard used on Tezos blockchain.
Tips to Succeed with an NFT Marketplace
Start with a discovery stage. What are the needs of your target audience? Who are your competitors and what do they offer? What are the risks of launching your own NFT marketplace and how to mitigate them? With the answers comes a clear idea of the target market niche and the competitive strategy you need to follow. It also lays the groundwork for designing a winning platform that fully meets customer needs.
Enter the market with an MVP. Don’t invest your whole budget to get an end-to-end solution – starting with an MVP is a way better strategy to avoid costly adjustments. 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.
How Much It Costs to Create an NFT Marketplace
NFT marketplace development cost and timelines can vary depending on your individual requirements. 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
Based on ScienceSoft's experience, the cost of NFT marketplace development is about $150,000–$200,000. A typical NFT marketplace development project runs for 4–6 months from the discovery stage through to the launch.
Want to learn the cost to build your own NFT marketplace?
A Featured Success Story by ScienceSoft
NFT Marketplace Consulting for a US Startup
Customer’s benefits: Prompt NFT marketplace conceptualization. Fast and accurate assessment of the marketplace feasibility and usability. An opportunity to reduce time to market for the solution.
Launch an NFT Marketplace with ScienceSoft
The NFT market is on the rise, and new successful projects are appearing constantly. Every company still has a chance to come up with a unique selling proposition and grow into one of the biggest players on the market. Experienced in building blockchain-based decentralized apps, ScienceSoft provides a set of expert consulting and development services to help you implement a winning NFT marketplace.
FAQs about NFT Marketplace Development
What sourcing models do your offer to create an NFT marketplace?
ScienceSoft can fully take over the development of your NFT marketplace, provide a dedicated team for a part of your project, or augment your in-house IT team with our best NFT development talents.
Will you help me optimize the development cost? How?
In our projects, we always help our clients reveal cost optimization opportunities and drive faster payoff. For example, we rely on iterative development to launch core functionality first and promptly start generating revenue. We also compose the tech stack for higher software productivity and lower maintenance costs and use pre-built components (e.g., frameworks, marketplace logic blocks, OOTB UI elements, open-source APIs) where possible to streamline and speed up development.
What are the ways to monetize my NFT marketplace?
A common NFT marketplace monetization option is taking a commission (a flat fee or a percentage of transaction amount) for each NFT sale made through the platform. In addition, you can generate revenue via fees for premium services, NFT featuring in listings, in-platform advertising, and NFT trading on third-party platforms.
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.