Okcoin, a San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange and one of the largest such platforms in the world, on Tuesday revealed it will debut a zero-fee, uncapped royalty NFT marketplace. And alongside brand advisor Randi Zuckerberg, the company, which recently committed $1 million to supporting women in crypto, hopes its new venture will empower crypto for all.
While NFT marketplaces are growing more crowded, with big fish OpenSea being challenged by rivals like Nifty Gateway and Rarible, Okcoin’s zero-fee policy stands out. “We’re launching a free market for NFTs where prices and profits will be determined by supply and demand, more so than anywhere else,” chief executive Hong Fang said. In contrast, OpenSea charges a 2.5% transaction fee on every trade, and competitor SuperRare takes a 3% cut.
But beyond the fees and mint prices, NFT creators can really cash in—or lose out—on proceeds of their work with royalties, which many leading marketplaces cap between 0 and 10%. Especially given the speculative nature of the nascent industry, many NFT collections have massively traded up in secondhand sales, including most blue-chip projects.
For example, when the Bored Ape Yacht Club first dropped last spring, each ape’s mint price was just 0.08 ETH (roughly $190 at the time). Now, of course, the cheapest ape costs 113 ETH (roughly $353,540). The project’s developers Yuga Labs have since been able to fund lavish parties, a merchandise line, a forthcoming metaverse, and even a Hollywood film trilogy with 2.5% royalties on future trades in perpetuity (plus the initial mint of roughly $2 million).
Meanwhile, the Asian American artist who hand drew the monkey with its iconic expression—she goes by “All Seeing Seneca” online—told Rolling Stone that her compensation for the project was “definitely not ideal,” and presumably, she did not receive royalties for her work.
It’s those stories that Okcoin would like to rewrite, by encouraging platforms, and the community at large, to reward creators by giving them as much ownership over their work as possible. According to the company, it will be the first regulated marketplace without a cap on royalties.
“In the same way that blockchain technology empowers financial freedom with cryptocurrency, it empowers creators with NFTs,” said Fang. “Web3 is about restoring economic power to the people, and at Okcoin, we’re doing our part by granting as much sovereignty to individuals as possible when it comes to their money, and now, their art.”
In particular, it hopes to put those profits in the hands of more diverse Web3 creators, including demographics traditionally marginalized in tech and finance, like women and BIPOC. As of now, crypto is largely dominated by white men.
“Okcoin’s work in making crypto more accessible is vital, and I’m thrilled to be working with them to elevate more projects led by underrepresented groups,” said Zuckerberg, who recently released a series of music video parodies hyping women in crypto, including a version of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” but with the crypto cult slogan “We’re All Gonna Make It.” Okcoin, which is led by a former female executive at Goldman Sachs, will highlight projects from such groups, and will launch with an array of top collections including Bored Apes, World of Women, Boss Beauties, and Crypto Punks.
The waiting list for the marketplace opens today, and will offer free crypto and NFTs to early members.