OpenSea vs. Rarible

Stephen G.
Stephen G.
Last Updated on November 11, 2021

If you’ve had your eye on the world of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, you’ve likely already heard of both OpenSea and Rarible. As two of the most popular and diverse NFT marketplaces, they can both seem pretty similar.

What’s more, they both integrate to form one large, interconnected NFT platform that connects audiences of both marketplaces for wider exposure and more collectible options for digital items.

So what are the real differences between these two similar sites? 

What is OpenSea?

The NFT corner of the crypto world sprung to life in 2017, and a year later, OpenSea was born. It’s the Internet’s original NFT marketplace, and it’s grown and improved over the years. Originally founded by Alex Atallah and Devin Finzer, the marketplace was inspired by the original movement from which NFTs were born: the game CryptoKitties.

Converting art into unique NFT token

In this game, users collected and purchased digital cats that could then be traded. The original functionalities of NFTs have grown and changed over the years, and OpenSea has become a huge marketplace for buying and selling all kinds of intellectual property in the form of tokenized digital assets.

It’s well known as a crypto game marketplace and is also a popular site for one of the first NFTs, CryptoPunks.

What is Rarible? 

Although Rarible, founded in 2020, was a little later to the game, it’s caught up in leaps and bounds. Its founders, Alex Salnikov and Alexei Falin hit the ground running with their NFT marketplace.

Only a few months after its inception, Rarible announced the launch of its own token coin, $RARI, and its plans to institute decentralized governance on the platform. Through $RARI, users can participate in the decisions and future direction of the marketplace, much like shareholders. 

In this way, Rarible became one of the first decentralized peer-to-peer marketplaces to institute self-governance for and by its members.

OpenSea vs Rarible: Audience 

These two platforms are built to appeal to similar audiences. However, Rarible has a touch more exclusivity now that it’s self-governed.

OpenSea has been around longer, so it understandably has many more users. It has over 213,000 total users in comparison to Rarible’s 57,000. 

However, it’s difficult to judge a platform based on an estimate of monthly users. Just like cryptocurrency, marketplace popularity can be somewhat volatile and fluctuates greatly. Reports for the summer months of 2021 showed that Rarible was becoming increasingly popular.

This is partly due to Rarible’s self-governance move, which includes platform users as stakeholders and rewards them with $RARI tokens. 

Compared to many other NFT digital art marketplaces, Rarible is also relatively low-priced. While it does sell some extremely high-value NFTs, the average transaction that occurs on the site for crypto sales is around USD 129, making it an affordable option for people who want to jump into the crypto art world.

However, OpenSea’s latest average transaction count looms to over $10,000. This takes into account the gas prices, fees, and costs associated with the Ethereum blockchain network on which it runs.

OpenSea vs Rarible: Supported Currencies

Speaking of the Ethereum blockchain network, this is one of the main differences between these two otherwise similar marketplaces. Most NFT platforms are built on the Ethereum blockchain because of the protection and assurance it provides while completing tokenized transactions.

OpenSea runs on this technology and thus supports the corresponding ether (ETH) currency. However, unlike some other NFT marketplaces, it also supports over 150 other forms of cryptocurrency and tokens. 

However, OpenSea does require that users convert their fiat currency, like USD or Euros, to cryptocurrency off-site using an exchange platform like Coinbase

OpenSea marketplace categories page

Rarible is still also run on the Ethereum blockchain network, but through its own Ethereum token, the $RARI. So this platform can take advantage of the security and immediacy of the blockchain network to complete all its transactions. 

Therefore, Rarible runs on both ether (ETH) and $RARI, making its payments options fewer than that of OpenSea. However, ether is still hugely popular and is second only to Bitcoin in the crypto market.

However, when it comes down to it, both these marketplaces run in the same way. Creators can upload their digital collectibles and tokenize them, a process called minting. During the tokenization process, the item’s corresponding token is created. This can take quite a while to do since the token itself is totally unique and will represent the item both within the purchaser’s wallet and in any subsequent sales.

This is where gas fees come in. The long process to create tokens takes up space and data within the blockchain network, generating fees that fluctuate day to day based on the value of the cryptocurrency.

It works much in the same way that automobile gas does, which earns it the term gas fee.

OpenSea vs Rarible: Supported Wallets

When it comes to wallets, both platforms require users to have a pre-existing, third-party wallet ready to link when creating a marketplace account. One perk that both these platforms offer is that they integrate, making their list of supported wallets nearly identical.

This inter-platform integration lets both Rarible and OpenSea users expand their community and their options for collecting. For Rarible users, it means their original work and second-sale collectibles reach a far wider audience than they would on the Rarible marketplace alone.

This also comes into play for collection storage. When you purchase an NFT, it will show up in the collection section of your third-party wallet. OpenSea and Rarible allow you to link your wallet to both, meaning that any item you purchase on one platform will be available for storage and selling on the other as well.

It’s important to have a third-party wallet that supports the Ethereum blockchain, as that’s the main commonality between the two platforms in terms of wallets. The most popular options are MetaMask, MyEtherWallet, and Fortmatic as well as dapps supported by WalletConnect.

OpenSea vs Rarible: Other Differences

Since both these marketplaces are integrated, they share a lot of similarities in how they run and the kinds of NFTs they offer. Both platforms allow varying levels of exclusivity for NFTs. Using both ERC-721 and ERC-1155 token standards, both OpenSea and Rarible offer totally unique NFTs as well as small-batch NFTs.

This means that one-of-a-kind NFTs are up for sale, probably at a far higher price, and some NFTs are available in a small number of duplicates. However, due to the Ethereum blockchain, these duplicates are still secure in that they cannot be forged or copied, making them a still-valuable and good investment for collectors.

Both these marketplaces are relatively open and easily accessible for users. Since they cater to a diverse crowd in terms of the types of NFTs they offer (both sell games, music, gifs, art, crypto stamps, and much more), the respective communities are large. 

Rarible explore page

Over time, since these platforms cooperate to some degree, they’ve both adopted similar standards. Both Rarible and OpenSea allow so-called “lazy minting”, which saves creators in gas fees when they upload their digital assets for sale.

They both have comparable fees: around 2.5% of the transaction for both buyer and seller. For both platforms, the fees are imposed for the use of the Ethereum blockchain. They also both allow for commission or royalty fees for creators, using smart contracts that persist with every subsequent sale, second sale, and so on of their digital art.

The main takeaway is that, while both these platforms have similar fees, accessibility, and processes, they each have their niche even if only slightly. Rarible is a friendlier place for new NFT collectors or ones who want more reasonably priced NFT options, as these are readily available on the Rarible marketplace.

OpenSea, while it attracts a larger crowd and offers more payment options, is still better known for pricier sales and has been a large part of the NFT world since its very beginning. It’s a highly trusted site that is not currently self-governed but is still reliable thanks to its Ethereum blockchain network. 

OpenSea vs Rarible: Conclusion

Within these two platforms, it can be hard to discern any real standout differences that might raise one above the other. Each has its own nuanced pros and cons, and at the end of the day, the biggest benefit is that you don’t have to choose: you can use them both in conjunction.

The biggest difference between the two is that Rarible is pursuing self-governance using its $RARI token. Users can get $RARI for participating in transactions and then use the token to contribute to decision-making and voting for the future of the platform. 

This makes the community exclusivity on Rarible slightly different in terms of its atmosphere. Although it caters to the same kinds of NFTs and the same crowd as OpenSea, it fosters a bit more of a collective vibe for its users.

OpenSea, on the other hand, is the oldest and perhaps most well-known NFT marketplace. It got its start in games, which are still some of its most important and popular NFTs. With a larger audience and higher transaction volume, there are simply more fish in the sea.

However, Rarible offers collectors lower-priced options. So if you’re just starting out with NFTs, Rarible might be the perfect place to start before integrating with OpenSea.