When Blur was launched in the fall of 2022, it might have appeared as just another ambitious marketplace that would have to accept its fate of being defeated by the industry giant OpenSea. Surprisingly, the rapid development of its business model has allowed Blur to reach to the top of the market.
While experts are debating about Blur's potential to maintain its dominance in the industry, more and more traders are switching to the new marketplace, attracted by its numerous benefits, while creators deprived of their royalties are also seeking its support. If you have not joined the Blur community yet, this guide will introduce you to the new world of NFT trading created by Blur.
What is Blur and what does it offer?
Blur.io is an Ethereum-powered NFT marketplace that also acts as an aggregator, allowing its users to browse, compare, and buy NFTs from other marketplaces.
"Ditch slow. Execute trades faster and make more money on Blur," promises the platform, which has implemented advanced features for experienced traders.
Here are more details about the ways in which Blur optimizes NFT trading.
Blur was designed to be the fastest NFT marketplace. It claims to be ten times faster than Gem, the aggregator that was acquired by OpenSea. Blur also has significantly faster batch minting options.
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Blur also has an option of bulk buying, making it easier for advanced traders to use the popular sweep-the-floor strategy. NFT sweeping means buying every item from the project’s floor, often with the help of the automated sniper bots seeking pre-mint collections. It’s worth noting that Blur supports sniping as well.
All NFT collections in one place
As an aggregator, Blur allows digital art aficionados to browse collections from multiple NFT marketplaces, including OpenSea, X2Y2, and LooksRare, and showcases real-time prices for digital artworks.
All these features, plus an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly interface, make Blur a superior choice for NFT traders seeking advanced and cost-effective platform.
Blur vs. OpenSea
According to Dune Dashboard charts created and published by the Sea Launch team specializing in NFT data analytics, Blur is a leading NFT marketplace by volume and sales at press time. According to March 8 data, Blur's trading volume stood at 28,572 ETH which was nearly four times more than OpenSea's 7,652 ETH on the same day, with 50,155 trades on Blur compared to 31,376 on OpenSea. Still, there were times when Blur outperformed OpenSea by an even wider margin. For example, on February 2, the number of trades on Blur reached a staggering high of 66,564, while OpenSea recorded just 37,789 purchases.
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Meanwhile, OpenSea still has more unique users. The figures for the same day show that OpenSea had 13,183 unique users, contrasted with Blur’s 8,782.
However, these numbers do not give the full picture of the intensifying rivalry between OpenSea, a legacy NFT marketplace, and Blur, an innovative and ambitious newcomer that took the industry by storm.
When OpenSea was founded by Alex Atallah and Devin Finzer in 2017, it was able to meet the basic needs of NFT traders and creators who did not have too many choices at the time. This brought OpenSea tremendous success, despite it charging a remarkably high fee of 2.5% for each trade. The fast-growing community gave OpenSea an edge over the early competitors.
Not only Blur managed to capture a significant market share with its advanced trading features mentioned earlier, it has also implemented zero fees to solidify its position. To win back the NFT user base lost to Blur, OpenSea had no choice but to reduce its transaction fees to zero and make creators’ earnings optional, which was announced on February 17, but with the caveat that zero fees is only a temporary measure.
Despite all the efforts, OpenSea is yet to reclaim its position — but there are also concerns about the long-term sustainability of Blur’s business model. While the new marketplace has sparked a revolution in the industry, it also relies heavily on the airdrops of its BLUR token to keep users loyal. Indeed, Blur incentivizes its users by paying them tokens for their activity on the platform. On the one hand, this strategy is very effective as it keeps the user base away from rival marketplaces, but also poses a question about what will happen when the stream of generous rewards eventually dries up.
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Blur changed its policy on creators’ royalties shortly after OpenSea’s move to make them optional. Both marketplaces are competing to offer the most lucrative deals for both creators and collectors.
At the beginning of its rise to domination, Blur adopted a minimum royalty fee of 0.5% to reduce user costs as much as possible. This model had already gained traction before Blur, when three other major NFT marketplaces, X2Y2, Magic Eden, and LooksRare, moved to optional royalties.
Going full warpath against OpenSea, Blur also started enforcing full royalties for collections that block its rival. Still, Blur kept a minimum royalty fee of 0.5% for creators who do not use any blocks.
In addition, Blur does not prevent collections that block it from trading and offers them a minimum royalty of 0.5% as well.
Blur is trying to strike a balance between the reduction of costs for traders and preserving the right of creators to earn from secondary sales of their artworks. Creator royalties were one of the key features of the early NFTs and they significantly contributed to the promotion of non-fungible tokens. Although Blur is still trying to win the battle with OpenSea, its recent regulations seem less aggressive than those of its main competitor.
Who created Blur?
Blur was launched on October 19, 2022, by two pseudonymous co-founders Pacman and Galaga as well as a dedicated team of ten developers specializing in FinTech. Pacman has recently doxxed himself on Twitter, revealing his name as Tieshun Roquerre. A 24-year-old founder told the community that he had dropped out of high school at 17 to go through Y Combinator, a US-based technology startup accelerator.
Roquerre studied Computer Science and Math at MIT before receiving the Thiel Fellowship, a $100,000 grant created by billionaire Peter Thiel for people under 23 who want to work on innovative projects rather than focus on traditional university education.
With this funding, Pacman founded his first project Namebase, a platform designed to interact with the Handshake blockchain DNS to register names with a coin system. Namebase allows Web3 users to use the Handshake (HNS) token to bid on unregistered names, negotiate name purchases, create decentralized usernames and website names, and sell them. Pacman sold this project to Namecheap and started building Blur.
The identity of Blur's other co-founder, who also uses the name of one of Namco's successful games as a pseudonym, has not yet been revealed. Roquerre has mentioned in his tweet that he met Galaga while he was a student at MIT and that they worked together for more than four years.
Although some NFT enthusiasts have done their own research on Galaga, they have failed to find any evidence that the mysterious second co-founder actually exists.
"Friendly reminder that Blur has a(nother) anon co-founder called Galaga (also a Namco game reference, just like Pacman) who has been referenced exactly 1 time and has no Twitter or general proof of existence! Odd," Twitter user Wirelyss posted in February.
On February 14, Blur unlocked its ERC-20 governance token BLUR, which has been distributed in care packages since October 2022.. The Blur team plans to allocate 9% of its three-billion supply to its multi-sig wallet, hand out 12% to airdrop holders, and delegate the remaining funds to two lock-up contracts.
As a governance token, BLUR aims to promote decentralization and gives its holders the power to influence the direction of the project development by voting. Since BLUR tokens provide users with more voting power, some members of the NFT community are concerned about the concentration of token ownership in the hands of a few large holders, the so-called “whales” in crypto speak. As one user put it, "With a current low circulating supply and very concentrated holders, the BLUR token can be controlled by a few. At some point farmers from the ‘few’ start to exit and so it begins."
According to various sources, BLUR will extend its utility beyond a governance token, but no further details have been revealed yet. So far, Blur has incentivized traders to move to the marketplace with its generous airdrops, which have already been mentioned. Additionally, Blur offers more tokens to buyers who are willing to pay higher royalties to artists.
Unfortunately, Blur's incentive mechanics have created more opportunities for scammers to deceive crypto users, who have recently been actively seeking ways to claim the marketplace's tokens. As per the data provided by the team of the TrustCheck extension, 24 fraudulent websites have been involved in the theft of over $300,000 worth of funds from the users who connected their Ether wallets to claim Blur's rewards since February.
Besides enthusiastic fans of Blur, some members of the NFT community believe that the BLUR team is "no longer supporting a trader's market, but converting it into a farmer's market" with its "heavy incentivization to bid/list/buy/sell with 0," which makes it impossible to trade on the platform.
Undoubtedly, Blur has contributed to NFT trading with the rich functionality of its platform, which offers a lot of convenience to advanced traders. Moreover, Blur has gained a large audience through its generous airdrops and has established a fairer model for creators' royalties.
At the same time, the business strategy of the new marketplace remains unclear. So far, it looks like the marketplace is investing heavily in its users by offering financial rewards and zero fees, but Blur's monetization model has not been revealed yet.