Quick Overview Of The NFT Ecosystem - Zima Red


This is my newsletter subscriber growth from October 2019 to now, starting almost exactly one year ago. As you can tell, interest in NFTs is going parabolic. I thought now would be a great time to write an overview of a few categories in the NFT ecosystem. It would be possible to fit all NFT-related projects into a single blog, so please do not be offended if I didn’t mention your project!


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  • OpenSea - The #1 NFT exchange and the king of the ecosystem. It’s an overall one-stop-shop that allows users to trade NFTs, create NFTs, view data, and inspect other wallets.
  • Mintbase - A marketplace to buy, sell, and mint NFTs. Mintbase’s major differentiator is that it offers NFTs that are not commonly found on other platforms. For example, Mintbase covers niche NFT categories like music, memberships, services, tickets, news, and photography.
  • TokenTrove - A marketplace to buy and sell Gods Unchained, Cryptovoxels, and Crypto Space Commander NFTs.

Art Marketplaces

  • SuperRare - One of the oldest and most dominant NFT art marketplaces. Artists must apply to start selling on SuperRare and there is a long waitlist.
  • Nifty Gateway - Launched earlier this year, Nifty Gateway is an NFT art platform that has become an extremely important player in the NFT scene. It is wholly owned by Gemini, the crypto exchange started by the Winklevoss brothers.
  • Rarible - The first NFT art marketplace to implement a token that incentives trading. This is a big brain move, which I believe many will follow.
  • Async Art - Allows artists to create multiple NFTs from one piece of art. Interestingly, these NFTs can then change their “state.” For example, an art piece can change from a sunny island scene to a stormy island if someone changes the state from sunny > stormy.
  • MakersPlace - Successful art platform where artists can tokenize and trade their work.
  • KnownOrigin - Platform where artists can mint and trade crypto art. Having launched in 2018, they are another OG in the NFT art scene.
  • Cargo - Cargo is new to the scene and currently focuses on NFT art. Their website states, “Your place to create, share, sell and buy digital collectibles,” so I assume that they will eventually add other types of NFT assets to their platform.
  • Blockparty - Another new platform that focuses on NFT art. Similarly to Cargo, I assume they will introduce other non-art related NFTs in the future.


  • Nonfungbile - The NFT ecosystem’s Coingecko/Coinmarketcap - aka the best place to find everything related to NFT data.
  • NFTBank - Platform with a great NFT portfolio tracking and analytics tool. Just copy and paste an ETH address and the tool will return all of its NFT trading data.


  • NFTfi - The first platform for NFT collateralized loans. Users can earn a yield by lending out ETH or DAI loans to users who put up their NFTs as collateral. Or Users can receive ETH or DAI loans by placing their NFTs up as collateral. NFTfi has already seen impressive growth after launching just this year and I expect big things from the platform going forward (Note: I am an investor in NFTfi, so I’m very biased!)
  • NIFTEX - The spot to fractionalize your NFT into “shards.” These shards are ERC20 tokens that can be traded in a much more liquid manner compared to NFTs.
  • yinsure - Platform where users can create tokenized insurance contracts.


I categorize collectibles as assets with little to no functionality. You can think of them as similar to baseball cards, but because they are digital they can do much more.

  • CryptoPunks - The first NFTs issued on Ethereum. They are a set of 10,000 pixelated collectibles.
  • NBA Top Shot - NBA officially licensed NFT collectibles. Note that these NFTs are on the Flow blockchain, not the Ethereum blockchain.
  • CryptoKitties - The first NFT project to go viral and is credited with getting people excited about NFTs’ potential. They are cute cats with different traits and rarity that can be bred to create more cats.
  • Avastars - Fully on-chain generative avatars. The Avastars team is working on many exciting updates, so perhaps I will soon need to move them from the “Collectibles” category to the “Games” category.
  • SoRare - Fantasy football game where users can buy, trade, and play with official digital player cards.


Game NFTs can be categorized as assets with high functionality within their universe/environment.

  • Axie Infinity - The most popular crypto game. It features “fierce, fantasy pets that you can battle & collect while earning crypto.”
  • Gods Unchained - Digital trading card game where users can battle other players and buy and sell cards.
  • MyCryptoHeroes - Quick and casual RPG where players collect, train, and battle heroes.
  • CryptoSpaceCommander - Space MMO where users can battle, trade, and build spaceships and items.

Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds can be categorized as an immersive platform where users have ownership over parts, or possibly all, of the world.

  • Cryptovoxels - Known as the “blockchain Minecraft” since users build with blocks, Cryptovoxels was the first blockchain-based virtual world to launch and first became popular with crypto artists and crypto art collectors. Now the world is inhabited by all types of people and teams building awesome content.
  • Decentraland - Decentraland was the first blockchain-based virtual world to raise capital and put together a great team. They were busy building since their ICO in 2017 and launched this year to much fanfare. Even though Cryptovoxels went “live” first I would consider Decentraland being the leader of blockchain-based virtual worlds.
  • Somnium Space - The high-end virtual world for all but especially those who really love VR. Users can enter Somnium Space through PCs or use VR headsets to experience everything in great detail.
  • The Sandbox - Virtual world that is focused on gaming. Although not yet live, The Sandbox has a great roster of investors and supporters. I expect major things from them.

Crypto Art

Crypto art is art that has been tokenized on a blockchain.

I already listed crypto art platforms above, so here I will list a few prominent crypto artists:

This small list does no justice to the huge amount of incredible crypto artists out there. I encourage everyone to explore more art and artists on the art platforms listed above.


This category is massive and very diverse, so I will only list a few things here. I believe the “Other” category will spawn many other entire categories within the next few months.

Domain Names:

NFTs for Physical Collectibles:

There are many more physical collectible NFTs coming out in the near future, so this market should explode over the next 12 months.


  • Ark.Gallery - DAO that is focused on community ownership of NFTs. This is a project that I will be watching closely!
  • Flamingo - NFT-focused DAO that invest in NFTs directly. Brought to you by the people that launched the LAO - I assume Flamingo will quickly become a force within the ecosystem.

NFTs x DeFi

  • Aavegotchi - Enables “DeFi-staked Crypto Collectibles.” They are pushing the boundaries because users can not only collect interesting NFTs, but also earn yield from their assets. I think we will see much more interaction between DeFi staking and NFTs in the near future.
  • MEME - Allows $MEME token holders to stake their tokens and, in return, acquire rare NFTs. This is an interesting project because I personally like it when some method of “proof-of-work” has to be performed in order to acquire a rare NFT. In some sense, the “proof-of-work” provides some sense of intrinsic value. If you want to read more about PoW in the NFT space, check out my blog Exploring "Proof-of-Work" Within The Non-Fungible Token Space.

NFT Content Creators




Tangentially Related To NFTs

Social Tokens

  • Forefront - The Coinmarketcap/CoinGecko for the social token ecosystem, except with more resources like news and asset drops.
  • Quick list of a few social tokens that I have exposure to - $WHALE, $COIN, $JAMM, $SWAGG, $ALEX. They all can be found here on Forefront.
  • Seed Club - The first social token incubator, Seed Club recently launched their first cohort of social token creators.

Culture Tokens

  • Foundation - “Culture” exchange, meaning a platform for buying and selling all types of limited-edition goods at prices that match demand.
  • Zora - “Everything” exchange, meaning a place where creators can launch products and, through cryptoeconomic systems, capture all of the value they create.

What’s Next?

There are so many exciting NFT-related projects coming out in the near future, so I will likely need to update this post very soon. What I find most exciting is this sudden surge in interest that began roughly four weeks ago. This interest brings capital and, more importantly, brainpower - so I know that there are people and teams out there working on incredible things. Always feel free to drop me a DM!

Also, everyone should check out the Untitled NFT Hackathon. It is exactly what it sounds like - a hackathon focused on the NFT space! I can't wait to see what people build and there will be some exciting prizes.


If you liked this content, please subscribe to my newsletter Zima Red, and give me a follow on Twitter. Stay tuned for more articles on NFTs and all things virtual. 😎