Coinbase announced Monday that it plans to sell, trade, and mint NFTs in an expansion from the marketplace’s cryptocurrency-based roots. Details on how “Coinbase NFT” will do all of that are slim, but the company sees an opportunity. “Just as Coinbase helped millions of people access bitcoin for the first time in an easy and trusted way — we want to do the same for the NFTs,” Coinbase vice president of product Sanchan Saxena writes.
The big idea seems to be social engagement. Coinbase wants to “curate your personal feed” of NFTs and display the NFTs you own on your profile so you can make connections with like-minded fans of digital cats, punks, apes, and beyond.
At launch, Coinbase NFT “will support Ethereum based ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards,” all NFTs will be on-chain, and there are plans for multi-chain support “soon after” launch. Besides whatever curated feed the company plans to introduce, Coinbase NFT seems similar what competitor OpenSea offers as the current NFT marketplace du jour.
As TechCrunch notes, what seems to be missing from Coinbase’s plans is any kind of Layer-2 scaling integration, the popular method for reducing the costs and environmental impact of minting and trading art on the Ethereum blockchain. NFTs are criticized for the way they replicate some of the inequitable and speculative parts of the real-world art market, but they also carry plenty of environmental concerns because of how much energy is required to run the Ethereum blockchain.
Coinbase’s plans are early and could possibly change, but if another NFT showroom/trading floor sparks your curiosity, the company already has a waitlist for early access you can join.