NFT volume, DAOs and the curious case of LooksRare

Like you, I check NFT marketplace volume a few times each day to keep tabs on the burgeoning market for buying and selling digital signatures on various blockchains that point to images and the like. We’re very cool.

Mostly, the data is steady. OpenSea volumes tend to lead the space, with other, smaller NFT exchanges and some crypto games filling in the list. You can take a look at DappRadar’s NFT marketplace data set here, a related list of numbers from NonFungible here, and some great charted data from The Block here, if you want to dive in on your own.

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But recently the data changed, and an NFT marketplace called LooksRare shot up on the charts, quickly surpassing OpenSea’s results and taking the top slot among its competitors in volume terms.

Is OpenSea in trouble? Did LooksRare suddenly surge to the top of the charts thanks to a better model, price list or other business effort? Kinda, but it appears that there’s a lot of bullshit going down to make the numbers look better than they are. So let’s talk about incentives and governance tokens to parse out what’s up with LooksRare and the larger future of the financialization of everything.


The data is pretty funny. In the last 24 hours, LooksRare has seen just under $290 million worth of NFT trades, per DappRadar data. OpenSea’s 24-hour tally is a more modest $131.6 million. Given how far ahead of OpenSea that single data point puts LooksRare, have we seen a new marketplace king crowned? No.