OpenSea acquires NFT aggregator Gem to expand ‘pro’ user experience

OpenSea acquires NFT aggregator Gem to expand ‘pro’ user experience

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Nonfungible token marketplace OpenSea has acquired Gem, an NFT aggregator service, the company said today as part of a bid to provide more features for “pro” users.

NFTs are digital assets that use blockchain technology to represent the ownership of virtual items such as collectible artwork, music, video or in-game items. NFT owners can use blockchain wallets to prove ownership of NFTs by showing that they have the cryptographic key associated with the collectible.

OpenSea operates a marketplace where people can create NFTs by “minting” them, buy, sell and trade them. In 2021, the market for NFTs rose dramatically to $41 billion in trade volume, up from $100 million in 2020.

Gem’s product lets users buy bundles of NFTs across multiple marketplaces with a single, low-cost transaction. Using its tool, users can save up to 42% on gas fees when using its service when committing a series of automated purchases.

Currently, it is not possible to buy multiple NFTs at checkout on OpenSea. Users must either buy pre-packaged bundles or single items at a time. Integrating Gem’s aggregation capabilities would provide this capability directly on OpenSea.

For pro users, it would also enable capabilities such as large bulk purchases allowing what is called “floor sweeps.” This is when a pro user is seeking to buy a large amount of the NFTs in a collection at the lowest price possible on a marketplace for the purpose of investing in rising interest in that collection. This activity is normally done by bots and human users can get left out.

Another useful feature that Gem provides is rarity-based rank purchasing where the user could choose to pick up collectible items at their lowest cost based on rarity. Some collections release in bundles where certain pieces are common, uncommon, rare and extremely rare. These rarities change the value of the collectibles, and within Gem’s marketplace, it’s possible to sweep multiple NFTs across different collections of the same rarity in one transaction.

“As the NFT community grows, we’ve recognized a need to better serve more experienced, ‘pro’ users, and offer more flexibility and choice to people at every level of experience,” said Devin Finzer, co-founder and chief executive of OpenSea.

The companies did not release financial details of the acquisition but did reveal that Gem would continue to operate independently as a stand-alone product and brand. Finzer added that Gem would not change and that over time OpenSea would “bring key features to OpenSea to make buying NFTs seamless and delightful for every experience level.”

Finzer also cited allegations against Gem co-founder Neso, which is the pseudonym used by Josh Thompson, a once-popular video game streamer known as MethodJosh. It was recently revealed by BuzzFeed that he had been accused of rape and sexual harassment by multiple women in 2020. Finzer noted that Thompson exited the company before the deal closed and was never associated with OpenSea.

“During the course of our diligence, we learned about, and immediately surfaced, some deeply concerning allegations against a now-former member of Gem’s leadership team who operated under the pseudonym Neso,” said Finzer. “Upon investigating the allegations, the employee was immediately exited prior to the close of this deal. This individual has never and will never be affiliated with OpenSea.”

This acquisition comes after the company raised $300 million in venture capital led by Coatue and Paradigm on a $13.3 billion valuation in January.

OpenSea has continued to build out the features of its market and has remained the market leader in NFT sales during 2021, according to DappRadar, and exceeded $6.86 billion in NFT trade volume in January 2022 according to data from The Block Research.

Image: OpenSea

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