OpenSea buys Gem 💎
Metaversal is a Bankless newsletter for weekly level-ups on NFTs, virtual worlds, & collectibles.
Dear Bankless Nation,
OpenSea is where most NFTs are listed for sale.
Yet lately a growing number of people have been actually buying their NFTs through the marketplace aggregator Gem, which makes it easy to purchase batches of assets from across OpenSea and beyond.
Now, OpenSea has consolidated by acquiring Gem, and it’s a move that’s generated no shortage of discussion and debate across the NFT ecosystem.
For today’s Metaversal, let’s get you up to speed on the big ideas of this huge acquisition.
A Gem in the OpenSea
This week OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace, announced its acquisition of NFT marketplace aggregator Gem.
Gem is an NFT marketplace aggregator, i.e. a platform that makes it easy to buy and list NFTs across multiple NFT marketplaces simultaneously.
Gem launched to the public in Jan. 2022, and afterwards the platform quickly became a darling among NFT veterans and novices alike for its slick UX and gas efficiencies. The project currently supports NFT trading across OpenSea, Larva Labs, LooksRare, NFTX, and X2Y2.
The big picture
Beyond being the most used NFT platform, OpenSea announced its $300M Series C funding round (raised at a whopping $13.3B valuation!) in Jan. 2022. Accordingly, OpenSea has incredible social inertia and also a major war chest of value, and it will continue to use the latter to boost the former. The Gem acquisition is thus OpenSea’s latest muscular move to further consolidate its juggernaut status in the NFT ecosystem.
What they’re saying
Devin Finzer, OpenSea co-founder and CEO said:
“Gem has built an amazing product with the leading feature set for pro users, growing seemingly overnight in community engagement and enthusiasm. [...] The acquisition will provide Gem with resources to accelerate their product vision and roadmap. It will also allow us to learn from Gem’s expertise and intuition about the advanced NFT community – and bring the best of Gem’s features to OpenSea.
After the acquisition, Gem will continue operating independently from OpenSea as a stand-alone product and brand. The Gem you know and love won’t change; and over time, we’ll bring key Gem features to OpenSea to make buying NFTs seamless and delightful for every experience level.”
Vasa, Gem co-founder and lead dev said:
“Gem will still operate as a separate product and brand. We will not change the way we work with all the marketplaces we support and we'll make sure that we remain un-biased and transparent in the way we operate. Rewards/Tokens are not out of [the] question.”
Vasa also added:
“We are working on analytics and marketplace integrations (Zora, SudoSwap, MakersPlace and 3-4 more :)) in coming weeks.”
Why an acquisition
Some have posited that OpenSea’s Gem acquisition will ultimately be a “catch and kill” affair. And while I think it’s too early to rule that possibility out in kind, I also think the buy-up makes a lot of sense according to multiple traditional acquisition strategies. For example, I could see OpenSea continuing to lean into Gem to accelerate market access to OpenSea’s deep troves of NFT listings.
What about a GEM token?
Before the OpenSea acquisition news, many considered it a foregone conclusion that Gem was going to launch a GEM token for its community. Plenty of people have veered the other way and are now considering it a foregone conclusion that Gem won’t launch one post-acquisition per OpenSea’s lack of token plans to date.
Personally, I do think it’s likely at some point that the OpenSea ecosystem releases a token in some form, and as Gem co-founder Vasa has asserted that “Rewards/Tokens are not out of the question,” the possibility of a GEM token appears to still be in play. On the flip side, it’s all but clear that fellow NFT marketplace aggregator Genie will release a GENIE token at some point, but watch out for scam tokens that try to capitalize on the pre-hype buzz in the meantime.