SuperRare: An Exclusive, Curated NFT Platform
SuperRare is an exclusive NFT art marketplace that has hosted some of the most expensive, high-profile NFT sales in crypto history.
Updated December 10, 2021 • 5 min read
SuperRare is an exclusive crypto art marketplace that bills itself as “Instagram meets Christie’s,” and lists a curated array of digital artwork produced by prominent NFT artists and up-and-coming creators. The SuperRare NFT marketplace originally began as a centralized platform that vetted artists through its core team, but in 2021, the platform introduced its RARE governance token – kicking off its transition into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) led by a community of creatives and collectors.
What Is SuperRare? NFT Art Redefined
SuperRare is an exclusive crypto art market for buying and selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This NFT marketplace lists a curated array of digital artwork produced by prominent NFT artists and up-and-coming creators, billing itself as “Instagram meets Christie’s.” Its focus on quality over quantity has earned SuperRare a relatively upmarket reputation within the NFT platform space.
The SuperRare NFT marketplace was founded in 2018 and is focused on art-oriented NFTs, meaning it generally does not list NFTs related to digital gaming assets, domains, or music. SuperRare has listed works that span a broad spectrum of artistic styles ranging from photorealistic illustrations to psychedelic and conceptual art. While SuperRare originally started off as a high-end art gallery that only listed exclusive NFT collections from prominent artists vetted by its core team, in 2021 the platform introduced its RARE token to facilitate the platform’s governance, transitioning into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) led by its community of creatives and collectors. SuperRare has several prominent investors including Samsung Next, Mark Cuban, and Ashton Kutcher.
How SuperRare Works: NFT Marketplace Functionalities
The SuperRare crypto platform uses the Ethereum blockchain to mint, transact, and verify NFTs listed on its platform. Like most NFT marketplaces, SuperRare is non-custodial, which means that a seller’s NFT is locked in a smart contract when listed and doesn’t leave its wallet until it is sold. Similarly, a buyer’s funds remain secured via a smart contract when used to bid on an NFT, and are only transferred if and when a user’s bid is successful.
Like other NFT platforms, SuperRare primarily operates on a timed auction model. Auctions can either be set up with a specific reserve price that bids need to meet, or initiated with a simple start and end date and no reserve. A user’s SuperRare NFT purchases are automatically displayed in their NFT collection, and users can customize their displays and showcase specific NFTs from their favorite creators, which adds a social element to the platform’s curation process. Additionally, the SuperRare Offers system enables a secondary market for NFT art by allowing any user to make an offer for any NFT they see on the platform — not just those currently being listed for an auction. Users can scout the platform for potential artwork to purchase using SuperRare’s Market tab, and filter their search using different pre-programmed criteria.
During SuperRare’s first three years, those who wanted to list their artwork on the platform were required to enter a submission that would be reviewed by the SuperRare Labs team for approval. The application itself was fairly simple, but required artists and potential sellers to commit to certain standards. Additionally, each entry had to be completely original, created by the owner of the application account, and not tokenized anywhere else. Every NFT listed in this manner was directly minted on the platform after the creator was screened and approved. As a result, every piece of art listed on SuperRare was one of a kind and represented a unique piece of digital art. However, in the summer of 2021, SuperRare introduced its RARE token in an effort to democratize the platform’s governance processes (including how the platform selects new artists) and to cede overall control of SuperRare to its community over time.
SuperRare’s RARE Token
In 2021, SuperRare began airdropping RARE tokens as a reward to users who have contributed to the platform’s success, as well as creators who have generated artistic outputs over time — regardless of the financial value of their actual NFT sales. RARE is an ERC-20 token with a total supply of 1,000,000,000. 40% of all total RARE tokens are allocated to a community treasury.
The SuperRare DAO and RARE token are designed to give the platform’s community of collectors and artists the ability to shape the future of SuperRare. RARE is used to vote on proposed improvements to the SuperRare crypto platform, shape future curation decisions, and help decide how to allocate funds from the community treasury.
SuperRare has established a Governance Council made up of elected SuperRare community members to oversee the funds stored in the SuperRare DAO and to help enact decisions made by the wider RARE token-holder community.
SuperRare Spaces are independently curated storefronts overseen by RARE token holders instead of the core SuperRare Labs team. SuperRare Spaces are central to SuperRare’s push to create a more diverse art ecosystem, and unlike SuperRare’s initial artist vetting process, these Spaces can list any artists’ work that the community agrees on. Decisions regarding SuperRare Spaces are made by the SuperRare DAO with the help of the Governance Council.
Additionally, SuperRare is evolving into a multi-contract platform that enables artists to create custom NFT minting contracts known as “Sovereign Smart Contracts.” These Sovereign Smart Contracts allow artists on SuperRare to mint their own artist- or project-branded tokens that have customizable token tickers.
How Is the SuperRare Crypto Platform Different?
SuperRare has several high-profile NFT drops under its belt, including a 2021 auction where TIME Magazine sold three NFT magazine covers, as well as a $2,000,000 USD sale of a “DΞSTINATION HΞXAGONIA” NFT in partnership with the EDM musician Don Diablo, which was accompanied with a physical hard drive containing the only copy of the music file delivered in a hand-crafted box. The SuperRare NFT art marketplace has hosted some of the biggest sales in terms of per-item dollar value, including XCOPY’s “Some Asshole” (which sold for 1,300 ETH) as well as “All Time High In The City” and “Death Dip” (which sold for 1,000 ETH each).
Additionally, creators receive a 10% royalty for every peer-to-peer (P2P) sale of their creation on SuperRare in perpetuity, which helps provide artists with passive revenue from their artwork no matter how many times their creations change hands. SuperRare has also implemented a collector’s commission that pays 1% to the first collector when they sell an NFT. Unlike the artist commission, this collector commission is reduced over time, with its percentage value decreasing by 40% with each subsequent resale until it is fully exhausted. There is also a secondary collector's commission that starts at 0.5% on subsequent sales, decreasing on the same scale as the primary collector’s commission.
These collectors’ commissions are drawn from SuperRare’s network fees, which are replenished by the 15% seller's fee and 3% buyer's fee that SuperRare charges on all transactions. This seller’s fee is higher than what marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible charge, and SuperRare’s 3% buyer’s fee is also higher than Rarible’s and OpenSea’s. Additionally, it’s worth noting that SuperRare only accepts ETH for payment, while some other platforms accept multiple cryptocurrency payment options.
The SuperRare NFT platform was established to push back against the influx of lower-quality NFT drops and offerings in the crypto space while offering collectors a curated array of high-quality digital masterpieces. With the launch of the RARE token and SuperRare DAO, the team behind SuperRare is ceding its control of the platform with hopes that its community will become responsible, forward-thinking tastemakers in their own right.
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