NFTs have been taking over the art world. And at the center of the $17 billion NFT market is a company called OpenSea.
OpenSea is the Amazon of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. It's an online marketplace that allows people to easily create, sell and buy NFTs. It's one of the largest NFT trading platforms with more than 1.5 million active users, according to Dune Analytics.
This past January was OpenSea's busiest month yet. It recorded a monthly trading volume of nearly $5 billion, surpassing its previous high in August of 2021.
Alongside that explosive growth, however, the platform also has faced scrutiny for user complaints on the platform related to scams and plagiarism. Crypto-related crime soared nearly 79 percent in 2021 year over year, according to data from Chainalysis.
"We've been looking at market manipulation, wash trading and plagiarism and then your run-of-the-mill phishing scam, which is also something that has been coming into the NFT space," Kim Grauer, director of research at Chainalysis, told CNBC. "So, we do see that kind of connection with scamming in the overall market activity."
In an email to CNBC, an OpenSea spokesperson said: "We prioritize the trust and safety of all people on OpenSea, and are working hard to make sure that creators, buyers, and sellers alike feel supported by our policies, tools, and service."
Competition in the NFT space has also been heating up as regulators pay more attention to the crypto industry. So what's next for the world's largest NFT marketplace? Watch the video above to learn more about the rise of OpenSea and what it could mean for the growing NFT industry.