Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin announced that it intends to launch a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace.
According to a Nov. 16 press release, KuCoin’s liquidity trading platform Pool-X will launch the NFT deposits today, while the withdrawal for those assets will launch on Nov. 20. The firm claims that the move makes it “the first major crypto platform to support the deposit and withdrawal of NFT assets.”
The announcement follows a similar announcement in early October by competing crypto exchange Coincheck. Notably, the firm is collaborating with the NFT creator behind Cryptokitties and digital NBA collectibles.
The NFT business is attracting big money. In October, an art collector spent $130,000 for a work that included an NFT. Nor are NFTs just for artwork. In September, the Telos blockchain backed NFTrees, a project that allows investors to pay for a tree to be planted and then gain rewards based on the carbon dioxide it removes from the atmosphere over time.
KuCoin CEO Johnny Lyu said that the firm is paying close attention to the NFT market and “although NFTs don’t have enough market attention at present, the potential is great.” He also noted that such assets have “application scenarios in insurance, bonds, options and other fields.” He explained that all of this is the reason why the company decided to facilitate the exchange of such crypto assets:
“So, we launched the NFT Trading Board to facilitate users’ participation in investing NFT. And we donated 100,000 KCS [KuCoin Shares tokens] to Dego.Finance to help its development. In the future, we will do more to solve the problems encountered in the NFT field and to build a prosperous NFT world.”
KuCoin for now supports just the NFTs that are part of the Dego.Finance decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, but the exchange intends to “continuously contribute to the NFT industry in the long term.” Furthermore, the announcement points out that the launch of NFT deposits and withdrawals is part of the preparation for NFT trading features.
KuCoin said that NFT volume spiked to $230 million in the first half of 2020 according to NFT data analyst site NonFungible.com. That’s an increase of nearly 300% year-on-year with nearly 80,000 users. The press release explains that the firm sees much need for a centralized NFT trading service:
“At present, trading NFT assets is difficult for users because many of them are unfamiliar with on-chain transactions. The centralized trading platform will greatly reduce the threshold of trading NFT in an easy and user-friendly way. The centralized platforms will also become an important channel for the popularization of NFT concepts and the improvement of NFT liquidity.”
NFT trading is not without its pitfalls. On Nov. 5, a distracted NFT investor lost $25,000 by selling an NFT based on leading YouTubers PewDiePie from the AR game Wallem from 1 ETH shortly after buying it for 60 ETH.