• Crypto exchange Coinbase launched the beta version of its NFT marketplace on Wednesday.
  • Coinbase NFT will let users buy and sell NFTs, and follow and comment on other profiles.
  • NFT sales have fallen in recent months due to the crypto sell-off, but have recovered somewhat over the past week.

Crypto exchange Coinbase launched the beta version of its NFT marketplace on Wednesday, letting some users on its waitlist create profiles and buy and sell non-fungible tokens.

A small number of beta testers will initially use it before a wider rollout to more customers on Coinbase's waitlist, the company said.

Coinbase NFT will also act as a social platform, allowing users to follow other profiles, browse and comment on other NFTs, and engage with conversations by upvoting or downvoting them.

"We're building a place that's for more than just buying and selling," Coinbase tweeted. Coinbase NFT will be "a Web3 social marketplace for NFTs," the exchange said separately in a blog.

The largest crypto exchange in the US announced plans to launch Coinbase NFT last October and set up its waitlist, when the NFT market was booming.  NFT sales had a breakthrough year in 2021, thanks to the explosion in crypto adoption and trading, and over the past 12 months, volume has hit $25 billion.

But the months-long sell-off in cryptocurrencies this year has taken a bite out of NFT sales too. Weekly sales have been more than cut in half from their peak in early January of nearly $1 billion, according to data from NonFungible.com.

The past week however has seen weekly sales jump 18% to $246 million from $207 million the prior week. 

The five best-selling NFT collections over the past week, according to NonFungible, were Bored Apes Yacht Club, Cool Cats, CryptoPunks, Doodles, and The Sandbox.

NFTs are unique, irreplaceable, mostly digital items that users buy and sell online. NFTs use blockchain technology to keep a digital record of ownership, similar to cryptocurrencies. They were first launched on the ethereum blockchain and most NFTs can still only be purchased using the network's native cryptocurrency, ether.

Coinbase NFT beta testers will be able to use Coinbase Wallet or others for their profiles. There are currently no transaction fees but these will be added in the future, the company said.

"We want Coinbase NFT to be a place that helps creators and collectors build and engage their communities," the company said.

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