Blur is a new NFT marketplace that caters to expert and high-volume traders.
The platform introduces several highly-requested features such as sorting NFTs by trait floor price and real-time price feeds.
However, Blur’s many features and detailed dashboard may make it daunting to use for more casual NFT buyers.
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Blur takes NFT trading to the next level with a host of new, innovative features.
What Is Blur?
A new NFT marketplace is making waves on Ethereum.
Blur is a community-driven NFT marketplace and aggregator designed with pro traders in mind. It introduces many new features and quality-of-life updates over other leading marketplaces, making the NFT trading experience more streamlined and intuitive.
The platform aggregates NFT listings from leading marketplaces like OpenSea, LooksRare, and X2Y2, while also allowing users to list their assets natively on Blur. Unlike many other NFT marketplaces that charge a commission on trades, Blur maintains 0% fees for selling NFTs.
The marketplace was first announced in March 2022 and attracted a strong social following by encouraging those who found out about the in-development platform to refer friends to a waitlist. Those with the most referrals and a few select community members were given access to test Blur in closed beta before it launched to the public on October 19.
Crypto Briefing took a look at Blur to see if the latest development in the world of NFT trading has been worth the wait. We’ve judged it in five key areas: ease of use, features, team and backers, tokenomics, and how much traction it has generated so far. Here’s what we thought.
Ease of Use (3/5)
Getting started with Blur is simple. After navigating to the platform’s landing page, users are prompted to connect their Web3 wallet (it currently supports MetaMask and WalletConnect wallets) and start exploring the various NFT collections on the site.
Collections are listed in order of their one-day trading volume by default and are presented in a way that shows key data points such as floor price, number of owners, and various price and volume metrics at a glance. Users can also see all the Ethereum-based NFTs in their wallet via Blur’s portfolio tab. Here, it’s easy to track listed NFTs, their rarities, estimated collection value, and even a rough lifetime profit and loss statement.
Blur’s interface is very customizable. Users can switch between several views, such as lists and tiles, when looking through collections, depending on their preference. Unlike OpenSea, where users need to switch tabs to see sales history or other analytics, on Blur displays everything on a single page, making it easier to access and compare all relevant collection data. Other small accessibility features, such as dark/light mode, gas fee trackers, and an ETH price feed, also come as standard.
However, while Blur’s interface isn’t lacking in detail, the amount of data shown on screen can be daunting for less experienced users. The platform feels like it’s targeting advanced users and is more reminiscent of a Bloomberg Terminal than the user-friendly interfaces of eBay or Amazon. With so much information on the screen at one time, navigating the interface can take a bit of getting used to. But for those willing to take the time to get used to what Blur has to offer, the benefits over other NFT marketplaces are clear.
Overall, while Blur isn’t difficult to use, it could definitely be made more welcoming. Additionally, though the platform’s retro wave aesthetic gives it plenty of character, the harsh orange tones and clashing monochrome palette may make the user experience abrasive for some.
What Blur may lack in accessibility, it more than makes up for with its abundance of innovative features.
The platform claims that it runs up to ten times faster than other NFT aggregators, showing pending transactions on NFTs in less than a second, and updating listings every four seconds. The lightning-fast pending transactions display, combined with near-instant metadata updates on collection art reveals, gives Blur users a huge advantage in sniping NFTs. Additionally, Blur’s gas priority presets help users outcompete those buying NFTs through other exchanges or aggregators by getting their purchase transactions processed first. The cherry on top is that Blur’s contracts are more optimized than other marketplaces, saving users up to 17% on gas fees.
Another widely-praised feature is how Blur’s interface clearly displays the rarity of different NFT traits and even allows users to see the floor price for specific attributes. Instead of trawling through listings and past sales to accurately value your above-floor-price NFTs, Blur does all the hard work for you by finding the lowest listings for each individual trait and presenting the data in an easily digestible format. This feature helps users accurately value their own assets and can also aid those looking to snipe NFTs with undervalued attributes.
Blur also excels ahead of its competitors by offering tools to help users “sweep the floor”—slang for buying multiple of the lowest-priced NFTs from a given collection. All collections feature a floor depth chart showing how many NFTs are listed at various intervals above the floor, helping prospective sweepers visualize how their purchases will impact the market. Sweeping on Blur also includes a couple of important quality-of-life updates, such as skipping NFTs that already have pending transactions (again, helping save gas) and skipping over NFTs marked as suspicious or stolen. And when it comes to reselling those swept NFTs, Blur has users covered with its gas-optimized bulk listing and delisting functions.
The only real criticism of Blur’s features is that they are currently only available for Ethereum-based NFTs. However, the Blur team has hinted that it plans to integrate NFTs on other chains such as Polygon in the future.
Team and Backers (4/5)
In March 2022, Blur raised $11 million in its seed round led by leading crypto venture capital firm Paradigm. As one of crypto’s most successful VC firms, Paradigm’s investment in Blur should not be underestimated. The firm has previously backed many winners in the NFT space, with marketplaces OpenSea and Magic Eden also holding spots in its portfolio.
The raise also saw participation from several major players in the NFT and crypto scene, such as the pseudonymous collectors 6529, Cozomo de’ Medici, Zeneca, and MoonOverlord. Support from NFT thought leaders like these are also a good sign and shows that Blur’s incentives are likely more closely aligned with the broader NFT community.
However, while the quality of Blur’s backers and investors is high, there is still one important factor that users should understand. The entire Blur team is currently anonymous, choosing not to reveal their real-life identities and instead communicate through pseudonymous online personas. Anonymous teams like Blur are not uncommon in crypto—some of the space’s best and most trusted developers have also chosen to remain anonymous. However, when a team is anonymous, it limits its accountability. It is entirely possible a team member could turn rogue and damage the project in the future. Another concern is that a core team member’s identity could be revealed as someone with a less than the reputable background, as was the case when Wonderland’s 0xSifu was revealed to be the former convict and QuadrigaCX co-founder Michael Patryn.
Although we don’t know the identities of the Blur team, at least some of those who have invested likely know who is behind it. Investors like Paradigm have a good track record of investing in reputable projects, reducing the risk of nasty surprises. Additionally, Blur has revealed that its team members hold experience across MIT, Citadel, Five Rings Capital, Twitch, Brex, Square, and Y Combinator, further adding to the project’s reputability.
There’s not much to be said about Blur’s token structure at the moment. Although the project has announced a BLUR governance token will launch through an airdrop in January 2023, essential details such as the maximum supply and seed investor allocation have yet to be revealed. Still, the fact that Blur has confirmed a token puts it ahead of the leading NFT marketplace OpenSea in terms of decentralization and rewarding its community.
Blur has been very clear about what users can do in the token launch run-up to receive a BLUR airdrop. Firstly, anyone who traded NFTs on Ethereum within the past six months automatically qualifies for at least one care package of BLUR tokens. From here, there are several things users who both did and did not receive the first airdrop can do to earn tokens in a second, larger drop scheduled for January.
According to a Blur blog post, users can increase the amount of BLUR tokens they receive in January by listing NFTs from active collections, using the platform’s various listing tools, such as listing by floor price or trait floor price, and placing at least three sweeps on collections through Blur. Additionally, users who respect collection royalties instead of setting them to 0 will also receive more tokens. Finally, Blur loyalty will also affect the rarity of care packages received, with higher rarities yielding more tokens. To ensure a user’s loyalty stays high, they must list NFTs on Blur at the same or a lower price than on other marketplaces.
In the two weeks since Blur’s public launch, it has generated a good amount of use among NFT enthusiasts. According to the official Blur Twitter account, the platform outpaced Gem as the highest-volume NFT aggregator just three days after its release.
However, it wasn’t until the highly-anticipated Art Gobblers NFT mint on October 31 that Blur’s true potential was revealed. Thanks to Blur’s real-time data feed of NFT sales and listings, those looking to trade the Art Gobblers drop flocked to the platform in droves. Blur recorded a daily trading volume of 8,453.7 ETH, not far behind leading marketplace OpenSea’s 12,275 ETH.
A Dune dashboard created by user takamori shows that the Art Gobbler’s boost pushed Blur ahead of rival marketplaces X2Y2 and LooksRare, placing it firmly in the number two spot behind OpenSea for 30-day trading volume. Additionally, comparing Dune data from users’ sealaunch and rchen8 reveals that since Blur launched on October 19, OpenSea’s Ethereum trading volumes have registered a visible decline while Blur’s increased, indicating that a significant amount of trading volume has left the top marketplace for Blur.
On social media, Blur is also off to a strong start, racking up over 127,000 Twitter followers and 108,000 Discord members. Even if only a fraction of these followers start using the platform, Blur should be able to capture a significant chunk of the NFT market share away from other platforms. However, it’s also worth noting that Blur’s airdrop campaign is likely helping to increase its trading volumes. Many NFT traders will be making a point to use Blur to increase their allocation of BLUR tokens. Whether these users will remain after the January airdrop remains to be seen.
While it’s still early days for Blur, the platform has done very well to capture as much use as it has in such a short amount of time. Blur is clearly on its way to becoming a valuable and lasting piece of Web3 infrastructure. However, as the platform’s target audience is mostly expert traders, Blur may have difficulty growing with newer entrants to the crypto and NFT space. This could limit the platform’s medium to long-term growth if it doesn’t find a way to address this issue.
Blur shows that despite the current crypto winter, there are still active and dedicated teams of developers who believe in the long-term vision of crypto technology. From a technical perspective, Blur blows other NFT marketplaces and aggregators out of the water, and its use during the Art Gobblers mint is a testament to this fact.
Still, although the quality of what Blur offers is not in question, whether it can find mass adoption might be. While there is a dedicated community of hardcore NFT flippers who will likely exclusively use Blur going forward, newer or more casual NFT buyers may not see the features Blur offers a worthwhile tradeoff over the ease of use provided by marketplaces like OpenSea. As crypto and NFT adoption increases, Blur also has the potential to grow its user base. However, if Blur wants a shot at overtaking OpenSea, it will need to find a way to stay true to expert traders while making its platform more accessible and friendly for a broader audience. Overall, Crypto Briefing gives Blur a 4/5 rating.
Disclosure: At the time of writing this review, the author owned ETH and several other crypto assets.
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