Merit Circle

Building a first-of-its-kind NFT marketplace

Merit Circle is helping revolutionize gaming through Beam, an open-source blockchain.
To provide a platform for gamers to buy, sell, and trade NFTs within the Beam ecosystem, we helped Merit Circle design and build Sphere, a one-of-a-kind NFT marketplace that offers an immersive, discovery-based experience.

Crafting a standout strategy

Working with the team behind Sphere, we started by taking a step back and taking stock of the existing NFT marketplace landscape. Together, we identified several areas for improvement within other marketplaces:

  • NFT collections don’t appear to be fully integrated within the user experience within some marketplaces. As a result, these offerings come across as an afterthought.
  • Many marketplaces alienate new users by catering to crypto-natives, people who have an expert understanding of cryptocurrency and blockchain.
  • Creators’ ability to tailor the presentation of their NFT collections is very limited in existing marketplaces.
  • The world of NFT marketplaces is constantly changing. Adaptability, scalability, and speed are crucial to standing out and staying competitive.

These observations informed our strategy for Sphere and at every stage of the development process, we were determined to create a platform set apart from the rest.

Putting the focus on the games and NFTs

We recognized that,on other platforms, every NFT collection looks identical. To fulfill Sphere’s commitment to gamers, our approach was to offer a more tailored experience.

By blending storytelling with a showcase of visuals and videos that game studios could add themselves to, we created a way to bring more relevance and appeal to the gaming community.

Above all, we strove to make the NFTs and games the focal point of the platform. Using a minimalist design and subdued color palette kept distractions to a minimum and ensured the content got the focus it deserved.

Creating a balanced user experience

Because many marketplaces are built with crypto-native users top-of-mind, users who are less familiar with crypto can feel alienated—often unable to complete the customer journey.

Finding a balance within the customer experience for Sphere was crucial. The platform needed to feel accessible to both cryptocurrency pros and any gamer eager to discover new games and collections.

This meant providing support where needed (without overdoing it) for inexperienced users while giving expert users enough features to choose Sphere over more specialized platforms. We did this by incorporating support in the moments when we felt new users might struggle. For example, displaying information clearly explaining the steps users needed to take to connect their wallet for the first time. 
 
We also implemented feedback pop-ups to ensure users understood what was happening during the transaction. This way, users weren’t dependent on understanding the complicated UI of a supported wallet.

Empowering creators and game studios

On most marketplaces, creators are limited in what they can add or adjust to their collections page. When building Sphere, we wanted to enhance the experience for creators—in this case, game studios—and give them more creative freedom on the platform. 

We created “the collection editor,” a feature that gives game studios the ability to customize their collections’ display on Sphere. Once they add the display assets, the collection editor tool provides a rich set of components to build branded collections. The intelligent design of the collection editor also provides visual feedback and minimizes any potential missteps.

This thoughtful approach not only reduces manual labor for the Sphere team but also helps differentiate Sphere from other marketplaces and creates a more immersive experience for users.

Staying competitive

Within the NFT landscape, Sphere’s unique positioning with the gaming community and its easy integration with Beam sets it apart. However, to stay ahead of the competition in the long term, Sphere needed to be prepared to innovate continuously with its core features and capabilities.

To ensure Sphere was built to adapt quickly and easily, we created a range of third-party integrations with other tools and services. Using third-party integrations prevented us from having to reinvent the wheel on various development challenges, like integrating all EVM-compatible blockchains with Sphere. 

This, in turn, enabled us to put more effort into building features unique to Sphere, such as the editor tool, which provides unheard-of customization within the world of marketplaces.

Looking ahead

Sphere represents just one piece of the puzzle—albeit a big one—for the ecosystem Merit Circle is creating with Beam. 

Through Sphere, gamers can gain access to a global marketplace, and game developers don’t have to build their own from scratch. 

To dive deeper into additional work we’ve completed to help bring the Beam ecosystem to life, explore “Beam for game developers” case study.

Questions?

Business Development Manager, web3

Dominykas Maksimovas

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