What is KnownOrigin?

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You may or may not have heard of KnownOrigin, but you might start hearing a lot more about it. Recently acquired by eBay, the NFT marketplace is an OG in the space, having been founded in 2018 by Andy Gray, David Moore, and James Morgan. In the past, KnownOrigin made headlines for partnering with industry giants such as Adidas, Netflix, and Adobe.


KnownOrigin is an NFT marketplace that allows users to discover, collect and invest in rare, limited edition digital artworks from some of the world’s leading artists and creatives.

What is KnownOrigin

KnownOrigin is one of the first NFT marketplaces and is built on Ethereum. The platform has chosen to focus on the selling of digital art, as opposed to offering the sale of music or in-game items.

Artists are able to mint tokens as well as editions*, list collaborators for splitting fees, and list tokens specifying a multitude of auction types, pricing, and other parameters.

Because KnownOrigin focuses on art, it has more robust functions that serve artists and cultivate a talent base on its platform. For instance, artists must apply to have an artist profile, presenting a portfolio and summary of their work as a part of the application process.

As it works to serve its artists, KnownOrigin also features things like a trending tool that highlights artists, as well as promoting artists through featuring them in drop events.

Auction Types

Tokens can be sold through Buy Now, Bid, 24hr reserve auction, and stepped sale type listings.

Buy now offers instant purchase, while bidding is a classic auction style. A 24hr reserve auction is an interesting setup in which a single edition has a 24-hour timer that is only set off once a reserve price is matched or beaten by an instigating bid. The highest bid of an auction is locked in until beat, fostering a more competitive bidding environment which has the potential to realize a higher fee for the seller.

Stepped sales are meant to reward buyers who get in early, raising the price by a predetermined amount after each edition in a series is sold.

*Editions on KnownOrigin

An edition refers to a collection of a set number of tokens. The way KnownOrigin has chosen to do this is through minting on demand, which means that not all tokens in an edition are created upfront. The advantage here is that gas costs are reduced. Artists can also easily burn unsold tokens and control the price without having to go in and change each token individually.

Unlockable Content

One of KnownOrigin’s newer features, unlockable content allows NFT holders to access extra or higher resolution content once they purchase a given piece of art. This has the potential to increase the value of an NFT, as it can be anything from additional content to instructions on how to claim a physical item.

How do artists on KnownOrigin get paid?

For a primary sale, artists collect 85% of the original fee of a sold artwork, while the remaining 15% goes to the platform. Secondary sales garner 85% for the seller, 12.5% for the artists, and 2.5% for the platform.

How to join as an artist

Users that wish to join the platform as an artists must go through KnownOrigin’s application process. This includes presenting a portfolio and the reason one would be a good addition to the platform. There is an approval process, and artists are enabled in weekly batches.

How to buy an NFT on KnownOrigin

As is the case with other NFT marketplaces built on Ethereum, buyers can use ETH from a linked wallet to purchase art. In addition, users can buy art with a linked credit or debit card.

Purchasing an NFT depends, of course, on the type of sale, so buyers may be able to buy outright, or place a bid to secure a given NFT.

The sale to eBay

In June of 2022, it was announced that KnownOrigin had been acquired by e-commerce company eBay. This was a part of eBay’s move towards digital collectibles, as just last year it enabled NFT sales on its own platform.

While eBay’s own NFT sale feature is quite limited- it has a bid maximum, only allows buyer’s and seller’s to be in the same country, etc.- this acquisition signals a broadening of capabilities.

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