Our Take On LooksRare
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Founded in 2022, the LooksRare NFT marketplace joined a growing parade of online platforms where buyers and sellers can trade NFTs. What’s so rare about it? Well, for one thing, the platform distributes its trading-fee revenue to people who stake the LOOKS token. LooksRare also recently released V2 with 75% lower fees and loads of goodies. Overall, LooksRare offers compelling cost-saving features for users — combined with potentially outsized price risks for LooksRare token holders.
- LOOKS token rewards for buying and selling
- 0% royalties by default to reduce acquisition costs
- Reduced fees to 0.5% on Version 2 platform
- Swaps to buy NFTs with ERC-20 tokens
- Only supports the Ethereum network
- Volatility of LOOKS token brings price risk to stakers
- Reports of wash trading
- Limited search and sort features
Full LooksRare Review
|Staking Yield (LooksRare Token)
|Top NFT Projects
|0.5% protocol fees + ETH gas fees
|0% royalties by default; buyers can add an optional royalty to support creators
|Variable, currently 20.23% APR or 22.10% with auto-compounder; rewards paid in LOOKS and WETH
|Azuki, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, Azuki Elementals, DeGods
What Is LooksRare?
LooksRare is an NFT marketplace founded by an anonymous team in January of 2022 where sellers can list NFTs or NFT collections, and buyers can shop for NFTs. The platform is unique in that it rewards both buyers and sellers for transactions, paying rewards in LOOKS tokens. These tokens can then be staked to earn a healthy yield from protocol fees, which go directly to stakers.
In effect, LooksRare is an NFT platform that pays you to use it (and even pays passive staking income). Is that bundle of goodies enough to put LooksRare on top? In some ways, yes. But it’s also missing a few seemingly basic features.
In this LooksRare review, I’ll explore the platform, discuss the pros and cons, and let you know who LooksRare is for — and where it might not be a perfect fit.
- NFT Collection Analytics: See trends and sales volume for your favorite NFT collections.
- Collection Floor Sweeps: Choose your traits and grab the lowest cost NFTs in a collection in bulk.
- Integrated NFT Listings: Blur and OpenSea listings complement the native LooksRare listings, giving you more buying options.
- Bulk Listings & Bulk Buys: LooksRare V2 lets you bundle listings and purchases to save on gas fees.
- Transaction Rewards: Earn LOOKS tokens for buying and listing on LooksRare.
- Staking Rewards: Get a piece of the protocol pie by staking LOOKS tokens to earn from user fees.
LooksRare V1 had protocol fees of 1.5% to 2%, with the higher fee taking into account a 0.5% payment to collections. V2 drops the protocol fee down to 0.5%, making LooksRare one of the most attractive ways to buy NFTs from a cost standpoint. Optimizations to the contracts also reduce gas fees significantly, bringing gas fee savings of up to 50% compared to Blur.
|Variable based on network demand
|0%, optional royalty available for buyers
Expert Review Of LooksRare
First, don’t go to the .com version of the domain name. These are not the NTFs you are looking for. The NFT platform is at LooksRare.ORG. Now that that’s sorted, let’s connect a wallet.
Connecting To LooksRare
Connecting to a crypto wallet is a snap, and the most common wallets are supported, including MetaMask, Coinbase Wallet, and Phantom (Ethereum only). I used the Browser Wallet option to connect Frame Wallet, which went without a hitch.
There’s also a mobile app so you can do your NFT thing on the go, but it has some limitations versus the web app. More on that in a bit.
Buying NFTs on LooksRare
The browsing experience on LooksRare seems great at first glance. The images are clear, and the design is bright and modern. Rifling through the top collections and drilling down by price, features, or rarity rank proved super intuitive.
However, it helps to know what you’re looking for on LooksRare. If you want to find NFTs in a certain price range without choosing a collection, there’s no way to do that. This missing feature makes the site less suitable for casual browsers with a limited budget.
That said, if you know you want to check the market on Pudgy Penguins wearing a backwards red hat, that’s easy.
LooksRare pulls in listings from Blur and OpenSea, giving you the ability to compare or buy a broader range of NFTs. Of the for-sale listings above, only one was listed through LooksRare. You’ll also see other NFTs that match your query, even if not available for sale.
Clicking through to an NFT that catches your fancy brings you to a detail page that’s similar to what you’ll find with top competitors like Blur. You can view the rarity of each trait, as well as activity and offers, and LooksRare is a bit easier on the eyes than Blur.
If you need to message a seller, LooksRare offers the option to send a private message through Blockscan Chat, a free (centralized) service provided by the folks at Etherscan.
Note: The NFT owner may or may not reply, and they might not see the message at all.
Of course, you can buy from the listing page as well, assuming the NFT is listed for sale. While comparing listings for a specific NFT on different platforms, I found I could buy the NFT through Blur or LookRare. However, OpenSea only provided the listing details with no way to purchase the NFT.
Smart contracts allow sellers to list on or prohibit sales on certain platforms. The takeaway: You might need to use more than one platform to shop for NFTs.
Blur wins this one with its ability to show bids, indicating the true NFT floor price on collections. But LooksRare still offers a great way to analyze the NFT market for a given collection, including candlestick charts for the technical traders out there.
NFT Floor Sweeps On LooksRare
Much like on Blur, you can sweep the floor on collections, including narrowing the field by specific traits. Want to grab all the Doodles with Aviators and a socially unacceptable smoking habit? Easy, assuming you have the 26 ETH budget.
You can sweep up to 30 NFTs in one fell swoop, depending on availability.
Pro tip: Check your site settings first to toggle on OpenSea warnings. This will alert you to potentially stolen NFTs that can’t be traded on OpenSea.
Uniswap And Moonpay Integration
If you don’t have enough ETH in your wallet to buy that must-have Pudgy Penguin you found, LooksRare offers some ways around the dilemma.
- Uniswap: You can swap other tokens, including LOOKS, WBTC, USDC, and more, to ETH on Uniswap without ever leaving the LooksRare website. Fees on Uniswap are famously low, typically just 0.3%. But keep an eye on the exchange price if you’re trading a less common cryptocurrency.
- Moonpay: Moonpay lets you buy ETH with a credit or debit card. Again, check the exchange rate. Fees aren’t disclosed on the quote page, but you can expect to pay about 5% or more.
If you need to swap WETH for ETH, you can do that for free on LooksRare. Gas fees apply.
Integration with Uniswap brings the possibility of buying NFTs with other ERC-20 tokens, as hinted at in the V2 announcement.
LooksRare Token (LOOKS)
The LOOKS token is at the heart of the protocol on LooksRare, with 75% of the LOOKS tokens held by the community. Buyers and sellers earn rewards paid in LOOKS tokens, available to claim daily. You can also stake LOOKS to earn a yield, currently about 20%. A day ago, the yield was 13%, so expect some fluctuation.
At this stage, staking rewards are paid from protocol revenue and paid out in LOOKS and WETH. However, that will change in the future. Eventually, all staking rewards will only be paid in ETH.
In the interim, you have the option to use an auto-compounder smart contract on the LookRare website to convert your WETH to staked LOOKS tokens and increase your yield by about 10%.
The yields are great, but volatility presents a conundrum: To cash in on the yield, you have to hold a token that has fallen from a high of nearly $6 shortly after launch to under $0.06 today.
LooksRare also just launched a new incentive centered on the GEMS token. GEMS are awarded for various activities on the site, including listing NFTs. Activities are measured during a “season,” similar to what Blur does with its airdrop seasons. At the end of the season, you can convert GEMS to LOOKS tokens.
If you just want to get in on the staking action without jumping through flaming NFT circus hoops to earn tokens, you can get LOOKS tokens on Uniswap or on exchanges like OKX.
Many NFT creators have enjoyed passive income from royalties, fees paid to creators each time an NFT changes hands. Today’s competitive market puts those ongoing royalties in doubt. LooksRare has set creator royalties at 0% to stay competitive, although buyers have the option to add a royalty when they make a purchase.
Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is for the market to decide, but if you’re a creator, it’s a trend to be aware of and certainly a consideration on LooksRare. The platform had been sharing 25% of protocol fees with creators who provided a payment address, but that’s been “suspended” for V2 of the protocol.
Listing On LooksRare
The protocol fees of 0.5% are plain to see when you list an NFT for sale on LooksRare. You’ll get much of the fee back in LOOKS tokens, which you can redeem (or stake) the following day. This makes the already low fees on LooksRare even more attractive. Gas fees apply, but LooksRare has optimized for this as well.
I didn’t find an option to cross-list to other platforms like OpenSea and Blur. You can import your listings from these competing marketplaces in the site settings.
LooksRare Mobile App
If you’re doing your NFT thing on iOS or Android, there’s an app for that. The LooksRare app is handy for browsing, checking your earnings, or tracking your portfolio, However, it’s a watch-only app that can monitor any public address on the Ethereum network. You can’t trade NFTs through the app.
Listings within the app offer a link to the LooksRare mobile website, where you can connect a wallet and make purchases, list NFTs, and access other features available in the desktop web app. It works fine and is cleanly designed, but I found myself just using the mobile site.
Ways To Earn With LooksRare
Sure, you can buy and sell NFTs for profit (no guarantees in this market) on LooksRare, but you can earn in several other ways as well.
- Buying and selling: Buying and selling both provide transaction rewards. This has the potential to almost fully offset protocol fees in many cases.
- GEMS: The new GEMS rewards are given to users who perform certain activities on the platform. Incentives may vary by season. At the end of the season, you can convert your GEMS to LOOKS tokens.
- Staking: By staking LOOKS tokens, you can earn a healthy yield fueled by protocol revenue, which is the 0.5% collected on NFT transactions.
- Providing liquidity: Lastly, you can earn a yield by providing liquidity to swap pools on Uniswap. You provide tokens, others trade from the pool of tokens, and you earn a percentage on each swap.
Who’s LooksRare For?
- People who want an easy NFT experience: Assuming you know the basics of using a crypto wallet, LooksRare is subjectively easier to use than OpenSea and miles ahead of its trader-centric competitor Blur in terms of ease of use.
- People who want to buy NFTs with other tokens: If you don’t have enough ETH, you can make a quick swap on Uniswap without ever leaving the site.
- People who want to save on gas fees: The combination of bulk listings, bulk purchases, and optimized contracts make LooksRare a powerful way to save money on gas fees. That means you’ll have more ETH to buy even more NFTs.
- People who shop for popular NFT collections: You’ll find all the big names with a keyword search, but if you’re looking for a cheap NFT profile picture (PFP), scrolling endlessly to find a suitable NFT becomes a drag. There are better options, like OpenSea.
You won’t find many NFT platforms as easy to use as LooksRare. But if you need a helping hand, you can get support through their Discord server. The Discord serves as a gathering place with over 50,000 members, access to team members, announcements, and more.
LooksRare has its advantages, but other platforms offer compelling features as well. Here’s how LooksRare compares to other popular NFT marketplaces.
LooksRare Vs. Blur
Blur brings more detailed market data, but LooksRare is much easier to stare at while sifting through JPEGs for an extended period of time.
|0.5% + gas fees
Low gas fees
|Gas fees + royalties (minimum 0.5%)
LooksRare Vs. OpenSea
OpenSea supports an ocean of crypto networks. However, the simple UI on LooksRare is easier to use.
|0.5% + gas fees
Low gas fees
|Typically 2.5% + gas fees, limited time offer of 0% through OpenSea Pro on most collections
|Ethereum, Polygon, Klaytn, Solana, Arbitrum, Optimism, Avalanche, and Binance Smart Chain
LooksRare Vs. X2Y2
X2Y2 matches the low fees of LooksRare while bringing a unique feature: NFT loans.
|0.5% + gas fees
Low gas fees
|0.5% + gas fees
Buy with a credit card
LooksRare Vs. Rarible
Like OpenSea, Rarible supports multiple crypto networks. You’ll pay a bit more in fees, but you’ll gain access to lower-cost NFTs on Layer 2 networks like Polygon.
|0.5% + gas fees
Low gas fees
|1% seller, 1% buyer _ gas fees
|Ethereum, Tezos, Polygon, Immutable X
|Follow user profiles
Is LooksRare Safe To Use?
Under the hood, NFT marketplaces like LooksRare are a pile of smart contracts wrapped in a cloak of HTML and CSS. All smart contracts bring risks of exploits, and LooksRare is no exception. Smart contract audits can help mitigate the risk by having third-party auditors dig through and test the code.
LooksRare has had several audits, with the most recent being an audit of the newly released V2 code completed by Spearbit. Previous audits include an audit done by Trail of Bits and two audits done by Peckshield for the rewards protocol and auto-compounding contract.
It’s also worth noting that LooksRare was founded by an anonymous team. This isn’t unusual in the crypto world and may be benign, but it might also play a part in the decision to use the platform.
To Sum It Up
Blur, which we reviewed recently, is a more powerful trading platform. OpenSea offers a wider NFT selection due to its support for multiple networks. But LooksRare carves out a comfortable space for itself with low fees and rebate rewards — and it’s much easier to use compared to other popular options. If there’s one thing missing, it’s the ability to sort and search by price throughout the platform. This missing feature makes LooksRare a better fit for people shopping for NFTs from larger collections.
Frequently Asked Questions
LooksRare only supports transactions on the Ethereum network.
OpenSea offers a wider selection of NFTs, largely due to its support of multiple crypto networks like Arbitrum and Polygon in addition to Ethereum. LooksRare provides some unique features, however, including protocol fees paid to stakers of the LOOKS token.
The LooksRare marketplace was founded by anonymous founders in 2022. The community holds 75% of the LOOKS tokens, which can be staked to earn fees from the protocol. In this regard, the community owns most of the LooksRare protocol, while the anonymous management team implements changes and improvements to the project.
LooksRare is often described as decentralized, but this is only partially true. Transactions on the platform use smart contracts, removing intermediaries, which is one aspect of decentralization. However, the governance of the project still remains in the hands of an anonymous team (with input from the community). The project’s documentation suggests a planned move to decentralized governance with voting rights for LOOKS token holders in the future.