With the popularity of NFTs still growing in the cryptocurrency industry, NFT marketplaces are also spreading widely on the internet. Most of the more well-known marketplaces are on the Ethereum network, owing to that blockchain’s traction. However, the customers of these markets are restricted by high transaction fees, also known as “gas”, which have risen in cost by a factor of 1 to 2 thousand times since this summer, depending on the day’s supply and demand of Ethereum. Which means that, currently, all purchases on Ethereum-based markets cost between the equivalent of US $20 to $50 more that the listed NFT price, just to cover transaction costs — and these fees are still trending upward.

But did you know that it’s possible to pay transaction fees of mere pennies when shopping at either of the two NFT marketplaces on the ICON blockchain network?

Craft Network is the more prominent of the two marketplaces, launched as an “official” ICON product by the ICX_Station accelerator. They have a wide range of NFTs available for purchase, many at good prices.

NFT Bazaar also has a large selection of NFTs at comparable prices to Craft. This marketplace was created by ICON P-Rep team Spartan Node.

Since NFT Bazaar is the marketplace that gets less marketing exposure of the two, we interviewed Spartan Node’s head of business development to learn more about the project.

Comparable quality on a better network

NFT Bazaar has tons of the standard style of JPEG NFTs you can find on Ethereum-based marketplaces across the internet. Audio NFTs are also available. While it doesn’t yet have any famous millionaire-minting NFT collections such as Crypto Punks or Bored Ape Yacht Club, it does have some lower-priced copycats. Visitors can also find original collections such as a Chicano culture-inspired Young Homie collection that is popular right now.

Spartan Node has noticed that cheaper NFTs tend to sell better on NFT Bazaar, with around five to 10 ICX being a sweet spot (the equivalent of around USD 10 to 20, according to average ICX exchange prices on the day this article was written).

You can also buy physical art NFTs. PN Fine Art produces one-of-a-kind gallery acrylics and you can arrange with PN to have the artwork delivered to you. There’s also more to come:

“We built the backend of the Bazaar to be very robust, with expansion in mind from the start,” Spartan Node said. “We’ve been in talks with partners about getting the legalization and transfer of physical items built into the Bazaar. That’s a big aspect of what we’re aiming for the Bazaar to evolve into. We think that physical NFTs will be the most sustainable use case — there’s more to NFTs than JPEGS.”

Spartan Node also points to ICON’s Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP) as another game-changer for NFTs. BTP, launching soon, is the method by which ICON is promising interoperability with Ethereum Virtual Machine DApps, and is one of the biggest advantages to building on the ICON network.

“Interoperability offers a place where you can exchange real-world physical assets with a maximum transferability of ownership. We’re expecting that NFTs from all other platforms will naturally gravitate towards the simplicity of having a single wallet and transacting across networks,” Spartan Node said.

Build it and they will come

NFT Bazaar was actually the first ICON marketplace to be built. Ideation of Craft Network began sometime in 2020, with their final product launching in August 2021. But NFT Bazaar was conceived, built and launched all in the spring of this year.

“We dreamed up the idea for NFT Bazaar in early 2021 when we realized how big of a market there really was,” Spartan Node said. “We were asking the community for ideas and everybody kept mentioning NFTs. We saw and still do see a viable business use-case for NFTs and we had the capacity with loads of community support to get NFT Bazaar built in a really impressive amount of time.”

NFT Bazaar launched at the end of April, 2021. “It took us about five or six weeks from ideation to launch, with a team of four developers. We really hustled on it,” Spartan Node said.

Healthy competition for a healthier market

While Craft Network is their local competitor, NFT Bazaar hasn’t experienced any drop in website traffic since Craft Network launched. Rather, NFT sales tend to fluctuate due to other factors.

“It ebbs and flows with interest. Our sales seem to generally coincide with the NFT hype elsewhere,” Spartan Node said. “We also notice an increase in traffic when a lot of new people come into the ICON community. They like to jump in and play with things, try everything out. And that’s great — it’s what they should be doing.”

Spartan Node sees Craft Network as healthy competition for NFT Bazaar.

“I’d love to see a third and a fourth NFT marketplace open up, personally. Why have moats?” Spartan Node’s Head of Business Development said. “I’d welcome anybody to come into this space. If they have a killer idea, others on the network can emulate it — that’s what the market’s for. More choice is better for everyone.”

That’s not to say that NFT Bazaar is the same as Craft Network. It has a few key differences.

One unique aspect of NFT Bazaar is that they’ve committed to donating one percent of every sale to charity. They choose their charities democratically, based on how their community members vote — charities they’ve donated to so far include Sole Hope and Women Here and Now.

Another difference is that NFT Bazaar artists must use Spartan Node’s own token — LambdaX ($LDX), purchasable in a number of ways — to mint NFTs at a cost of 250 LDX per NFT. Customers purchase NFTs using ICX, however.

“This model allows LDX token holders to vote on and promote the NFTs they feel are the most valuable by backing them,” Spartan Node explained. “LDX is literally a stake in not only the NFTBazaar but also every artist you believe will bring value. It’s a real-time continuous community vote on what you think is the best art. Even if you don’t own it, you own a stake in it doing well. This is incentivized by a portion of each sale and re-sale.”

What’s next for Spartan Node?

As aforementioned, the team has a lot of big plans for NFT Bazaar, and they’re actively working on putting them into action. They’re also pursuing other projects, too.

One of their most exciting upcoming projects is a pilot project in Virginia state in which they will be teaching finance and blockchain to high school students.

“We’re working with Wise county in western Virginia, the 4H club and an organization that deals with a lot of community work in the Appalachian region,” Spartan Node said. “Hopefully this pilot will go statewide, so that all Virginia schools will be getting blockchain and finance education in their curriculums, with a little bit of ICON thrown in.”