Tiffany Huang, Head of Marketing & Content at Solana NFT Marketplace, Magic Eden has been a key participant in the company’s rapid rise. She doesn’t take its early success as a given. In fact, she recalls those early days of Magic Eden.
“Back then, we had to ask collections to list with our company. Eventually, it flipped and the game changed but we never forget those early days.”
Quotes are condensed and edited for clarity.
Magic Eden’s impressive growth
Since its launch in September 2021, Magic Eden has seen some of the most impressive growth among NFT marketplaces. To illustrate, data from Dune Analytics shows that over 90% of all NFT transactions on Solana, currently take place on Magic Eden. By the same token, DappRadar lists Magic Eden as the number one Solana NFT marketplace, and the 6th marketplace overall by all-time trade volume. Huang attributes Magic Eden’s success to its strong team. She said, “Our first focus, was to build a badass, innovative product. And we had the team .”
” Magic Eden has always been home to a talented team. The Solana marketplace was started by four thirtysomethings who had a lot of tech experience.
The founders – CEO Jack Lu, CTO Sidney Zhang and COO Zhuoxun Yin – were all tech veterans who had previously worked at companies like Uber, Google, FTX and Coinbase.
Magic Eden’s success in the first few months has been due to its credentials. But, it is also thanks to its core team. Huang adds ,
” I believe the team’s chemistry is what has made Magic Eden so successful. We’re nobodies. We’re not famous. We’re a bunch of like 30, 31-year-olds. And it’s very egalitarian.”
Solana vs. Ethereum
To be sure, the Solana NFT ecosystem as a whole has grown over the past few months. Magic Eden was introduced at a time that there wasn’t an OpenSea equivalent on the Ethereum blockchain.
There were some Solana NFT markets, but none that had the same share of users as OpenSea on the Ethereum blockchain. Magic Eden holds a similar share of the Solana NFT space, just half a year later. Huang was asked about the differences between the two largest NFT blockchains. She said that Solana NFTs may attract a different type of NFT collector than Ethereum.
“Our blockchain has lower transaction fees and lower fees for gas, which makes it a much easier platform to enter. So I think that the type of person who’s actually on Solana is probably different from Ethereum – maybe a younger or less experienced NFT collector.”
She also speaks on the relative youth of the Solana NFT space, and how she would like to see it grow into the future. It feels a little crazy that Solana has so much development and hype at the moment. I hope to see the space mature in terms of the types of projects and the way people are making their choices.”
Huang believes that “decentralization” is often misused in Web3
One of the criticisms that people have about Solana in comparison to Ethereum is that it is more centralized. Web3 is founded on decentralization. Many people in the NFT space treat it with a borderline religious fervor. One thing is that OpenSea and other NFT markets are often criticized for their centralization.
With that in mind I asked Huang her opinion on centralization as part a small group that is rapidly building and growing an NFT market place. She shared some wonderful insights about decentralization, people’s expectations and misunderstandings of the concept.
” I think terms like decentralization can be very big and people often misuse them. We are a centralized market because we have a website and host collections there. Although I don’t want to use the term and claim we are a decentralized market, I don’t know what it means.
However, it has become clear from the feedback that the community wants to have a say in how the marketplace grows. We certainly want that too. Which is why I don’t want to ever give people the impression that we’re some Web2 company masquerading as a Web3 company.”
On that note of community feedback, it’s easy to see that Magic Eden’s commitment to that is genuine. It officially launched its Magic Ticket NFT shortly after our conversation with Huang. These NFTs serve as the governance token for Magic Eden’s MagicDAO.
The MagicDAO’s purpose is to collaborate with its community in order to build a stronger Solana NFT environment. Magic Eden can use the MagicDAO to help them reach their goal, while keeping its focus on the marketplace.
As Huang explained, the MagicDAO has three levels, corresponding to different levels of involvement that people have in NFTs. The MagicDAO aims to be a valuable resource for all NFT traders, regardless of their level, so it is hoped that the MagicDAO will provide useful utility. Or, as Magic Eden classifies the levels, OGs, Degens, and Normies.
The Magic Eden team took some valuable lessons from the Balloonsville rug pull
Huang was also willing to discuss openly what was likely Magic Eden’s greatest public challenge to date – The Balloonsville rug pull.
To sum up, Balloonsville was a supposed collection of 5,000 NFTs which generated a lot of excitement leading to selling out. Apparently, the project brought in 17,890 SOL (around $2 million at the time). However, the scheme was a scam. Balloonsville made it worse by revealing that the project was a fraud on Twitter. The platform should have done more to protect users, and Balloonsville blamed Magic Eden.
Huang spoke out candidly about the experience, and did not hesitate to hold Magic Eden responsible.
” The experience was terrible… We should have done more research on the project.
We started scaling the launchpad back in December, and we were overwhelmed by the product’s growth. After that incident, I believe we had to take a step back in order to reevaluate. The criticism is fair .”
Huang says that Magic Eden has learned valuable lessons. The team used the opportunity to improve its methods after the episode.
” We are grateful for the chance to pause. We are making our vetting process more stringent on two levels. One is safety requirements, and the second is project quality standards.”
People must still take their security very seriously in Web3
Even so, Huang adds that NFT traders must remain vigilant and careful. After all, in a space where scams are rampant and constantly evolving, a level of personal responsibility is important.
” We don’t want to be portrayed as someone who can “rug-proof” anything. This assumes that Magic Eden is able to protect you from all the dangers of Web3. Our stance is that Magic Eden will do all it can to protect you from the harms of Web3. We will also be transparent about our actions. But beyond that, this is is a very nascent space and people should be making their own decisions carefully.”
All things considered, Huang is proud of how Magic Eden ultimately responded to the situation. We’re not perfect, but we are very responsive. You can’t make everyone happy but we think we did a pretty good job.”
The future of Magic Eden
Overall, it’s important to note that it’s still early days for Magic Eden. The platform has many future updates.
Huang shared some of his ideas, including the ability to play previews on Magic Eden; the section where users can vote for which collections are featured; the creator hub and even a fat finger check to avoid listing errors.
Huang also believes that Magic Eden will continue to assist newcomers to the NFT space. YouTube tutorials will be available as well as a guide for how to get into Magic Eden. If the company’s growth is anything to go by, it will soon be onboarding more people.
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