What is the grey market?
Now more than ever, new players are entering the Star Citizen Verse and wanting to get their hands on the biggest and baddest ships.
So, what is the grey market you might ask? The grey market is a player-created market where players can buy and sell in-game items such as ships, weapons, armor, ship paint, and more on and online marketplace just like this one! There are 3 main marketplaces in the grey market, the newest one, the Space Foundry Marketplace, Star Hangar, and the largest of all them all, the Star Citizen Trades subreddit. Now, I am obviously going to be slightly biased between the marketplaces as I created the Space Foundry Marketplace myself back in late February but I will break each of them down later in this article.
Why does the grey market exist? Cloud Imperium Games, the creators of Star Citizen, decided to limit the ships that they sold on their online store. This created lots of players left out and having to wait months and months just for another sale to start. Thus the grey market was born. The grey market allows players to shop any ship at any time.
Is the grey market safe? This is a highly debated question among Star Citizen players. Some players say that they would never take the risk and are happy waiting for the next sale to make their ship purchase while other players find themselves only buying from the grey market. You will find mixed reviews from all Star Citizen players but I ca speak for my marketplace, the Space Foundry Marketplace, and say that we are the safest marketplace of the 3. In general, if you shop from sellers that have lots of sales and a good reputation there is no risk. Only the players who decide to buy a ship listed for 50% off and then it gets removed from their account because it turns out it was duplicated or stolen, go figure. The Space Foundry Marketplace has not had any issue with scam or fraud and I built this marketplace on the most secure eCommerce platform available.
So, what is the difference between the 3 main marketplaces? To start, I will break them down into a table below.
|¹ Buyer Verification||✅||❌||✅|
|² Seller Verification||✅||✅||❌|
|³ Marketplace Fee||11.5% + $0.55||14%||0%|
|⁴ Filter System||✅||❌|
|⁵ Seller Reviews||✅||✅||❌|
|⁶ Founded||February 2020||~2016||July 2013|
|⁷ Org Discounts||✅||❌||❌|
Please note I did not list all of marketplaces.
¹ Buyer Verification requires each buyer to verify that they own an RSI account through a quick process.
² Seller Verification requires each seller to go through a longer process before being allowed to list items for sale on a marketplace.
³ Marketplace Fee is the fee that is added to the products price to cover the marketplace expenses.
- The Space Foundry Marketplace has an fixed 11.5% + $0.55 fee for all sellers which is the only source of money funding the marketplace. With these funds I am able to continue building and expanding the site as well as give back to the community via giveaways.
- Star Hangar has a 14% fee and I have heard that this is not the same for every seller but the 14% is what they publicly display as their fee.
- The subreddit obviously does not have any fees but this comes with a greater risk as it is much easier for anyone to verify their RSI account and try to sell any item.
⁴ Filter System is a way to allow the buyer if find exactly what they need.
- The Space Foundry Marketplace has a very in depth but easy to use filter that allows to filter products down to every detail including upgrade from and upgrade to filters.
- Mr Fats is a program that filters through the entire subreddit marketplace so that you can search for an item. The filtering is not very good but it is a very good tool for price checking.
⁵ Seller Reviews is a way for the individual sellers to build reputation and trust in the grey market.
- Space Foundry and Star Hangar both have review systems built in allowing users to write reviews after ordering at least 1 item from the seller.
- The subreddit does not have a seller review system, instead, they rely on the comments of each seller post and the community to keep sellers in check.
⁶ This is obviously when each marketplace was created.
- I started the Space Foundry Marketplace by myself. I do not have anyone else on my team. I am a 20 college student who set out a goal to create the next generation trading platform and I get work done. I am continuously building and adding new features to the site so if you would like to see something just let me know and I will most likely add it on the site.
- For Star Hangar, I was not sure when the website marketplace was actually created as they are not the most talkative people to me at least. I've heard very mixed things about their passed but it seems like they have a very loyal customer base.
- The subreddit was the first grey market ever for Star Citizen. It was founded just about 1 year after the game began production (7 years later...) and has a great community of people who are always willing to help. I have made great connections in this community with mods, sellers, and buyers.