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NFT Marketplace Development: First Steps

What is a crypto NFT marketplace

Get the most out of digital transformation by launching your own NFT marketplace

NFT is a relatively new phenomenon in the digital world. It stands for non-fungible token and allows the trading of intangible goods. 

Artists and public persons use NFT to sell intellectual property on special NFT marketplaces. For example, artist Mike Winkelmann received $69 million for his NFT painting, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $2.9 million.

Given the increased demand for buying/selling NFT assets, more entrepreneurs are becoming involved in NFT marketplace development. If you also want to create an NFT marketplace, but don't know where to start, check out our post to learn about NFT essentials and more.

What is a crypto NFT marketplace, and how can you earn from it?

An NFT marketplace is an adaptive online platform that provides access to offers for the sale and purchase of non-fungible tokens. In simple terms, this is an online store where you can buy ownership of digital art instead of clothes, cosmetics, or gadgets.

From the point of income generation, NFT marketplaces are no different from the usual sites frequented by sellers and buyers. They raise profit as the client base grows and earn on transaction fees or royalties.

Some examples of successful NFT marketplaces are OpenSea, Rarible, Mintable, Nifty Gateway, and others. They charge a service fee for every individual sale. Additionally, some marketplaces charge a separate fee for gas-free NFTs and printable tokens.

Seven must-have features of NFT software

The development of an NFT marketplace, like any other software, is a creative process. However, some features, listed below, are a must for a comfortable user experience:

Storefront. Any online store has a catalog of products together with their description. An NFT marketplace is no exception. You can decide for yourself what information to display; however, users usually want to see the origin of files, bids, owners, previews, price history, etc.

Filters. Search filters simplify site navigation, especially if you plan to create a marketplace for a large number of assets. By adding the filter function, users can select items by payment method, listing status, category, and collection.

Categories. Different NFT marketplaces offer diverse NFT assets. Some, like OpenSea, are of general nature. Others have a narrower focus specializing in K-pop, anime, or J-culture. By breaking down the catalog into categories, you simplify product search and improve the user experience.

Listings. When creating an NFT marketplace, developers must consider two types of users: buyers and sellers. The latter ones fill the store with products and want to do it in a few simple steps. It is vital to make the uploading of files both clear and intuitive. Also, you should provide sellers with status updates as buyers view, bid, or make an offer during an auction.

Purchases. NFT development solutions may provide different ways to purchase NFT items. Users can buy them at a specified price or bid through an auction. The auction requires more effort from the backend developers compared to regular purchases. However, by providing both options (purchase and auction), you will attract more buyers to your platform.

Wallet. An NFT marketplace must have a wallet to allow users to store, send, and receive non-fungible tokens. The easiest way to implement this is to make use of NFT crypto wallet integration. Coinbase, Formatic, and MyEtherWallet are some examples of popular wallets. However, you can also develop a crypto wallet from scratch.

Ratings. Honest ratings and reviews help responsible sellers and buyers find each other. They increase the trust of both parties and minimize the chances of abandoning a transaction before a smart contract enters into force.

Features of NFT marketplace
Features of NFT marketplace

How to create an NFT marketplace: step-by-step guide

An NFT platform development is a complex technical task that requires knowledge of blockchain, smart contracts, special programming languages, databases, and frameworks. You will have to hire experienced domain experts to create an NFT marketplace. Following are the steps your project will go through.

Step 1. Creating the product concept

At this stage, you will work closely with the development team to determine:

  • product niche

  • target audience

  • token protocol

  • tech stack

  • monetization model

  • distinctive features of your product

After creating the initial concept and specification, the development team draws up a product roadmap to provide a rough timeline for the project. After that, the actual development begins.

Step 2. Developing UI/UX design

Interaction with the NFT marketplace, like with any other software, takes place through the user interface. Considering the complexity of NFT technology and the fact that users may not fully understand it, it is very important to ensure a seamless user experience. Among other things, UI/UX designers should pay attention to 

  • intuitive navigation

  • simple uploading of files

  • comprehensive listing information

  • instant status updates

  • effortless user journeys

When creating an NFT marketplace website, it is essential to make it as simple as possible. Anyone with even the slightest familiarity with Amazon and eBay should quickly figure out what's what.

Examples of NFT marketplace design
Examples of NFT marketplace design

Step 3. Working on backend and frontend

The backend enables the operation of the internal (server) part of your NFT software services. It controls app architecture, database functionality, and program logic. Additionally, the following should be done on the backend side:

  • blockchain work

  • smart contracts integration

  • crypto wallets integration / development

  • auction mechanism development

The frontend enables the software-user interaction. It forms user requests and passes them to the server. The main goal of the frontend is to provide a smooth experience for the marketplace customers. For this, NFT developers must select technologies that best suit a given project.

Step 4. Performing testing

At this stage, QA engineers perform various types of testing, including installation, usability, configuration, security, and access control testing. Particular attention is paid to load testing because the NFT marketplace involves a constant customer flow. Additionally, QA engineers check how software behaves under stress conditions and non-trivial scenarios of using the platform.

Step 5. Implementing deployment

Once the NFT marketplace is tested, it's time to deploy it in the cloud. At Erbis, we usually deploy NFT projects on AWS as we believe their services provide the best price-quality ratio. The following graphic illustrates how to run an NFT app on AWS infrastructure for a production environment.

AWS infrastructure for an NFT app
AWS infrastructure for an NFT app

Technologies you need for NFT marketplace development in 2022

NFT exists on the blockchain. Therefore, when starting to develop an NFT marketplace, the development team first decides which blockchain system to use. Today, the majority of NFT marketplaces run on Ethereum. However, the growing Ethereum fee (gas) is encouraging users to seek other blockchain providers. 

Flow, Tezos, Wax, and Cardano are some blockchain NFT ecosystems widely used now. All of them have different token standards, and NFT developers should take them into account.

Roughly speaking, tokens are smart contracts or code executed by a blockchain virtual machine. And a token standard is a set of functions that should exist in a token contract.

For example, the basic token standards of Tezos are FA1.2, ERC-20, and BEP2. They include the following functions:

  • Transfer to transfer tokens

  • Approve to permit the transfer of a certain number of tokens and view balances 

Wallet and application developers ensure that, when you click the Send button, the wallet calls the Transfer function. If the developer of the token names this function differently, the wallet will not be able to work with such a token.

In general, the technology stack for developing an NFT marketplace looks as follows:

Tech stack used by NFT developers
Tech stack used by NFT developers

NFT marketplace developers: are three people enough?

NFT software development is a challenging task that requires special knowledge and skills. However, to launch a minimal viable product you don't have to hire many IT specialists at once. Backend and frontend developers, under the guidance of an experienced CTO, can create a robust NFT marketplace from scratch in a few months. Further, as the project and the customer base grow, you can expand the team and speed up development. 

At Erbis, we have vast expertise in NFT consulting, development, and deployment. Our mature in-house team works with blockchain, smart contracts, neural networks, AI/ML, and other advanced technologies. Right now, we have available developers ready to start your project. So, if you're interested in quick, good quality IT services, please get in touch.

April 14, 2022