How I Grew My NFT Marketplace From Solo To An 18-Person Company

Published: August 28th, 2023
Bruno Škvorc
Founder, RMRK
from Zug, Switzerland
started April 2021
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
growth channels
Organic social media
best tools, engine, Flaticon
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
35 Pros & Cons
6 Tips
Discover what tools Bruno recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Bruno recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi, I am Bruno, the founder of RMRK and

RMRK is a team behind an advanced set of NFT standards that uniquely make the decentralized metaverse (and many more things) possible. In 2020 our journey began as a one-man experiment and is now an 18 people company.

We build the infrastructure for the next generation of NFT users - those who will care about more than just images and static media and will build entire systems and games on top of this, to be censorship and downtime resistant.

To facilitate this, we also build and maintain - to date the first and only NFT 2.0 marketplace, but we hope to see other marketplaces follow suit and adopt advanced standards soon.

The marketplace uses our token $RMRK rather heavily, but does not depend on it - it is merely there as a currency for cheaper operations, a discount, and a sort of “stock” in our company.

The NFT standards we developed don’t make money on their own - we make money by innovating in the NFT space by using these standards instead. We feature the work built on these standards on the Singular marketplace and collect a commission there.

So we do our best to launch extremely creative and complex NFT projects that are otherwise impossible without serious compromises (centralization, reliance on middlemen or third party middleware, etc.).

An interesting recent experiment we launched on the Moonbeam network is the Crescent Codex - a set of NFTs that evolve with sub-components based on how much and how often you interact with the marketplace. A sort of reputational reward for your activity, which may translate into other perks later.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

A year and a half ago we launched the Skybreach land sale. As a reminder, Skybreach is a metaverse project in which we expect to demo every single piece of RMRK technology in a massive user-evolvable world that requires no centralized components and is therefore eternal and immune to the team disappearing.

The land sale was a rousing success, and the map - if I do say so myself - looks darn interesting. It is also the most complex metaverse land sale map ever created - Decentraland and Sandbox included! Check it out.


Otherwise, the past two years have mainly been all about building. We needed to rewrite our technology in a new stack to reach a much wider audience, and as such have created new official smart contract standards: ERC6059, ERC6220, ERC5773, ERC6381, and ERC6454!

This sounds cryptic, I know, but all it means is that now our code is available and free to use in a standardized way on any chain that is EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible.

And what that means is that advanced NFT 2.0 technology can now be used on any blockchain like Ethereum, Base, Polygon, zkSync, BNB, Moonbeam, and more without issues. This expands our tech’s reach dramatically.

However, this has been a rather long bureaucratic process - one which is still not 100% complete - and as such our exposure to the wider markets in the past two years has been limited until the launch in July 2023. Since then, we have seen a non-modest uptick in created collections.

A very popular one was the game Evrloot, which for a while dominated all transactions on the Moonbeam blockchain, and to this date remains in second place - second only to the most used decentralized exchange on that chain.


We also used the opportunity to launch a fully on-chain application to drop reactions on anyone’s NFT at The most emoted-on collection, Snake Soldiers, is an upcoming game based on the RMRK standards, and has collected already over 10000 emotes to date, distributed like so:


Our EVM team launched a no-code-but-code wizard for developers to more easily tackle building on our standards over at, but even simpler UIs are coming soon!


Another launch was the - a UI that lets people who own legacy 1.0 NFTs upgrade them to 2.0 for added functionality and utility on top of their static jpegs.

Finally, we launched GBM auctions on - a style of auction where a user bidding on an NFT will either win it or profit if they are outbid. This unique bid-to-earn model encourages true early price discovery and participation and has already yielded some very interesting results, even with the limited audience of the current crypto ecosystem.

Our employee churn has admittedly been high - we have found limited to no success in marketing and BD, and have closed those departments. Contrary to industry standards, we have refused to bribe influencers to talk about us - ultimately perhaps at our financial peril, but I believed (past tense, explained below) that some ideals had to stay uncompromised.

This new push into EVM chains has increased our reach severalfold and our focus to bring in more “retail” remains steadfast. What is left now is to build interesting and appealing things that weren’t possible before because this technology we just shipped did not exist.

Your business will not go under if you don’t look at your phone while eating dinner with your family. Learn to relax.

What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

The biggest challenge for the company was for sure marketing, especially in the face of growing delays with shipping our marketplace’s new version.

Not being a marketer at heart and considering all common marketing tactics sleazy (influencer bribes, paid placement in crypto media, under-the-table deals with analysts…) I strongly vetoed all such approaches, which made the rest of our marketing efforts incredibly difficult.

We saw competitors with vastly inferior tech step into the limelight because they did not have these ideals, and it has been hard to deal with this cognitive dissonance of knowing we need this, but not wanting to do it.

Add to that the fact that no one has ever built an NFT marketplace as complex and feature-rich as ours, It is no surprise that it took so long, but it also harmed our public image in that people had very little to do on our platforms during that time.

Another major challenge was the same that hit all crypto companies in the past year - the bear market turn which drove away much of retail, leaving crypto a desolate wasteland.

At least for the time being until something new and innovative enough comes up to bring them back (and no, is not it). Since our company depended on users, and there were no users, we were forced to make some hard decisions regarding employees, infrastructure, ecosystem positioning, and more.

Like last year, I kept entertaining the fantasy of hiring someone to replace me as “lead” and being able to go build again but this never panned out. So yes, this is still a desire. That said, ever since a rather disastrous year for me personally, the RMRK team has been functioning well almost completely without me, showing me that I am - ultimately - unnecessary (a truth I believe every founder loves to learn, deep down!)

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

I learned that my ideals might not translate to others, even if I “lead” them, and that compromises sometimes have to be made for the greater good.

If there is a mockchain platform out there that is currently popular because people think it will give them free money in a year if they use it (so-called airdrop-hunting), there is little harm in also co-deploying our technology there. The vast majority of activity there may be bots, but it might result in the conversion of a few actual users.

I also learned that I am too eager to give chances. For a while, I would hire almost anyone for a position, which resulted in extended periods of expensive people in the wrong positions, directly affecting runway.

But more than anything, I learned that my ideals are holding the entire company back, especially as I participate in every discussion and am often asked to approve or opine. My attempts to scale this back have largely failed, but I intend to take more drastic steps to remedy this soon.

More than anything really, I want to build again - not lead. I think I can inspire a new generation of both users and builders by tinkering, teaching, and experimenting, not opining and handling BD calls.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

With the recent launch of our EVM standards, the world is our stage. Anyone can now do with NFTs things no one dreamed of before, and I cannot wait to see people discover collaborative auto-royalty-distributing musical compositions, movies that can equip and trade audio or CGI tracks, game avatars that can have theme songs composed of little parts collected in and out of the game or in other games, game NPCs that can equip fragments of personalities from a “soul” marketplace to evolve their attitude, and so much more.

We are going full steam ahead with launching interesting projects now that the tech is finally available and accessible to all, and this time next year I expect there to be a vibrant metaverse of mutually compatible NFT collections, earning their authors massive amounts of royalties through cross-collection, cross-game and cross-platform trading mechanics that even the AAA studios won’t be able to resist.

Short term, we want to launch collections that showcase our features - In the next 6 months or so we will be launching different things to showcase what’s possible and, hopefully, inspire.

Long term, we want to make Singular support even legacy NFTs. Due to also being the only general-purpose marketplace to support GBM auctions (a new way to participate in auctions in which you either profit or win - bid-to-earn), we expect there to be significant interest and therefore significant conversion of other marketplaces’ userbases.

I expect Singular to be one of the three dominant NFT marketplaces in the next year or two.

I highly recommend maximizing your hormetic stress every morning. A combo of sauna + cold plunge is excellent.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

“The Way of the superior man” actually helped me understand and deal with burnout. The title sounds “ehhhh?”, sure, but it is misleading on purpose.

As usual, Joe Rogan’s podcast has been a wealth of information and knowledge, and I listen to it religiously to learn from all types of people. One of the most beneficial bits of information there was all the content on hormetic stress, which convinced me to give contrast therapy a shot (sauna + cold plunge), and I must say this is truly a life-changing habit. Highly recommended as a daily routine. This has reduced my stress significantly and helped me deal with the past ~500 days.

Business-wise, I find Paul Graham's blog to be timeless. His ideas persist and hold immense value more than a decade after being written, and many of his thoughts apply directly to current situations founders might find themselves. I would recommend anyone with spare time go read a random one each day!

And for some brain food, I think the Abbey of Misrule over on Substack makes for an interesting read. And if you want to understand AI and how it works, look no further than the Understanding AI substack by Tim Lee.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

These are, to some, obvious. But I feel like they are more valuable than business advice which, depending on locale, investors, audience, etc. will vary wildly. These are applicable to all, I think.

1) Do not ignore health and loved ones.

This is first on the list because it is the most important. It affects everything. No one will die (unless you are working on space-related software, car safety, or something similar) if you go and get 8 hours of sleep. Your business will not go under if you don’t look at your phone while eating dinner with your family. Learn to relax.

2) Utilize hormetic stress.

Founders are under immense pressure. Stakeholders (in crypto those are known as wenboiz), hires, market fit… it takes a toll. Being able to not get upset about circumstances, changes, and calamities is extremely precious, and achievable by anyone. I highly recommend maximizing your hormetic stress every morning. A combo of sauna + cold plunge is excellent. In short - not giving a fuck is a superpower. Grow that superpower.

3) Learn to compromise.

Your ideas are yours and yours alone. If someone who’s along for the ride matches them, great! If not, that is fine. Compromise. Ideals can bring down a company. Ship first, regret later. It’s better than never shipping. Or, in movie parlance, shoot first, and ask questions later.

Where can we go to learn more?

We are in telegram at

I am on Telegram as @swader, and on Twitter as @bitfalls.

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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