The new Versum marketplace has been available for about a week and a half now. Aside from the usual difficulties one can expect when launching an NFT marketplace, it's been a relatively smooth experience and it's quickly becoming one of my favorite places to browse and collect from. Here's why.
In terms of the aesthetic that Versum offers, there's been two consistent things that I keep coming back to. The first is that it feels like I'm browsing a more refined version of Hic et Nunc. It's minimal, inoffensive, but most importantly doesn't eschew all the expected design choices and functions that we've grown to expect from our marketplaces, like Hic et Nunc did.
The second thing I have to say about the look and feel is about how artwork is presented on the website. It has a very Foundation-like vibe to it, and what I mean by that is that there's a distinct focus on how the work is displayed. The art is number one, and everything else feels like it's there to support that notion.
Aesthetics are pretty subjective but I think Versum has done things the right way in this department. My only suggestion would be to display the price of the token in a way that saves us from having to actually go to the token page.
There's a number of pretty great features built into the platform. Some of them haven't been seen on other markets before, some of them have, but nothing has felt this streamlined before.
The first detail I'd like to bring attention to is the collaboration feature. akaSwap and your HEN mirror of choice have both had collaborations available for a while now, but this seems to be the most straightforward and easy to understand implementation. You can add other creators to split the primary sales with, but you can also split the royalties as well. It's laid out quite easily and shouldn't be overly confusing for anyone.
The next thing I want to mention is Versum's idea of "verified" accounts. Some will probably complain about this in one fashion or another, but it's not gatekeeping or really all that exclusionary. They look at some of the different decentralized identity providers like tzprofiles and TezID in order to determine if you are verified or not. Their docs probably make more sense than I do.
The reason you'd want a verified account is so that you can mint NFTs on the platform. If you're a collector, then the incentive is that if you resell someone else's work, your funds don't have to sit in escrow for 2 weeks. The other potential reason to get verified is that it's possible to only let verified accounts collect an NFT - this should help out with bots and other types of unfair behavior.
Tangentially related, there's also a "max number of editions per wallet" setting that you can use, which I haven't seen implemented before. This feels like a very elegant solution for a lot of problems we've experienced on other marketplaces. While this may not eliminate all bad behaviors, Versum is shaping up to be extremely tedious and impractical to use bots or other forms of automated collecting on.
Materia (bcd/tzkt) is Versum's token that is required in order to mint anything. It currently costs 0.01 MTRIA in order to mint an item, so it's roughly equivalent to a normal tez transaction fee. I'm sure we'll see some other use cases for it eventually, but as of right now it's only used for minting. I would compare it to Hic et Nunc's hDAO, or Kalamint's KALAM token.
I'm still relatively undecided on how I feel about Materia. Overall, I think it's a positive thing. The distribution of the token is still ongoing and they've already made tweaks to it. None of the actual math or calculations have been properly revealed yet, but they seem to be making efforts to make it actually fair to artist and collector both. It's still too early to make a meaningful judgement on it though.
Regardless of how you feel about it though, you should login with your wallet and see if you have any to claim. They have a Materia section in their docs as well.
The last point I want to touch on briefly is the community around Versum. They've managed to attract a lot of the biggest names in the Tezos space to their platform and most people have been very receptive to it. From what I understand the team behind Versum was heavily involved with aspects of Hic et Nunc's development early on before branching out. That's probably why I got such HEN vibes when using the website.
It's not just the artists though. The team has been phenomenal in their communication and responsiveness. As I alluded to earlier, there have been some post-launch difficulties with Versum, but every time something has come up, they've been very communicative and have set expectations quickly. It's refreshing to feel like communication is a two-way street again and it gives me a lot of confidence that Versum is going to solidify itself as a top marketplace for creatives on Tezos.
That about wraps up my thoughts and feelings on Versum. But what do you think? Let me know!