A Beginner’s Guide to Solana NFTs: Gasless NFTs on SOL
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute financial advice.
We’re all NFT-obsessed, and we always talk about how there are not enough hours in the day to learn about all the NFT projects out there. But the NFT ecosystem becomes even more vast when you realize there are loads of incredible NFTs out there on other blockchains!
While a majority of NFT transactions are still on Ethreum, Solana is becoming a major emerging blockchain for buying and selling NFTs, as it’s mostly gasless and very environmentally-friendly. Let’s take a look at why Solana is becoming a popular blockchain for NFTs.
What is Solana?
Solana is a decentralized blockchain Proof-of-History (PoH) platform, founded in 2018. PoH builds on the commonly-used Proof-of-Stake (PoS) mechanisms to make Solana much more environmentally-friendly and faster to confirm transactions than Ethereum 1.0 (the current version).
Without getting deeper into blockchain terminology and technical aspects, Solana claims to be the highest-performing blockchain in the world using this innovative PoH method. It can currently handle over 50,000 transactions per second, more than Ethereum and Bitcoin combined. This means it is also highly scalable.
Low gas fees on Solana
And did we mention gas fees? Where Ethereum gas fees can reach over $1,000 per transaction and regularly sit around $100, Solana gas fees are low — and I mean really low. They’re about $0.00025 per transaction.
Solana trades as $SOL on crypto exchanges, and like many cryptocurrencies, is extremely volatile in price. $SOL went from $35 USD on August 1 to $130 USD on August 31, to give you an idea of how fast prices change — similar to other cryptocurrencies.
The Solana NFT platform is still in beta, and the Solana NFT ecosystem is very new. But there are incredible gems out there, with more projects being minted every day. With Ethereum gas wars still ongoing and no end in sight, Solana is a solid alternative to creating and discovering new NFTs without the hassle of gas prices.
How to Get Started with Solana NFTs
Just like setting up your MetaMask wallet for Ethereum NFT purchases, you’ll need a Solana-specific wallet and some $SOL. The most popular desktop wallet is Phantom, but there isn’t a mobile version yet. You can see all the Solana-compatible wallets here. Setting any of these up is as easy as your MetaMask wallet.
Keep in mind that when setting up a new wallet, you’ll get a seed phrase, just like with your MetaMask wallet. Make sure to keep this phrase in a safe place and never share it with anyone.
You can purchase $SOL on many exchanges, including Coinbase. When you send your $SOL to your Solana wallet, triple-check the wallet address to make sure you receive it safe and sound. Here is a thorough guide on buying and transferring $SOL.
Minting NFTs on Solana
Minting an NFT is a little different on Solana than minting with Ethereum with MetaMask.
While on Ethereum you can pay more gas to get a better chance at getting the NFT, with Solana it is first come first serve — no gas throttling. You can also use multiple tabs with multiple Phantom wallet IDs connected to the minting site in order to have a better chance at mint success.
Side note: be sure to not click “auto confirm transactions” on the Phantom wallet when you sign for a transaction!
Many $SOL projects mint between 0.5 SOL to 3 SOL, so keep that in mind when buying and loading your wallet for the first time.
Historical Solana NFT Projects
The first ever Solana NFT project was Kreechures, a generative project minted on March 26, 2021. This shows just how young Solana NFTs are. Since they are so young, people are still learning about how to have a successful mint and public launch. Therefore, some of the top projects actually had somewhat “botched” launches — sound familiar, Ethereum friends?
There is also Solarians, an NFT project of 10,000 robots which claims to be the first generative on-chain NFTs on Solana. As with Ethereum, not all images are stored on-chain, as many projects use IPFS. All Solarian traits and attributes are stored on-chain.
Current Top Solana NFT Projects
A common misconception of Solana NFT projects is that they are all copied and pasted from popular Ethereum projects. While this can and does happen — see SolPunks and SolanaApes, some of the top projects on Solana are highly original, with growing and engaged communities (and growing price floors).
According to Solanalysis, the top five Solana projects by market cap are currently:
- Solana Monkey Business (5,000 mints in collection)
- Degenerate Ape Academy (10,000)
- Galactic Gecko Space Garage (10,000)
- Aurory (10,000)
- Thugbirdz (3,333)
After that sale, a Solana Monkey Business monkey sold for a record $2 million — or 13,027 SOL — a new record for Solana NFTs. The average cost of a Solana Monkey is currently 336 SOL, according to solanalysis.com.
Here are some of these projects converted to Ethereum, shown side-by-side with top Ethereum NFT projects. You can see that they are already approaching classic Ethereum NFT projects in terms of price floor. (Note: statistics are from September 29)
Solana Marketplaces and Tools
While OpenSea does not yet work with Solana NFTs, there are secondary marketplaces out there where you can buy and sell them. There are also tools to analyze Solana NFTs and look for upcoming drops.
Here are some of the most popular tools and marketplaces for Solana NFTs.
Solana NFT Marketplaces:
Solana NFT Tools:
- Solanalysis: Shows sales data of Solana NFTs
- Howrare.is: Shows rarity and upcoming drops
- Solscan: Search Solana transactions
The ETH<>SOL NFT Bridge
Recently, a bidirectional bridge was launched called the Wormhole bridge. It can send assets in either direction, wrapping the original asset to make it compatible with the other platform.
This bridge doesn’t transfer the actual NFT from Solana to Ethereum, or vice-versa. It’s essentially frozen within the Wormhole smart contract, and a new ERC-721 version is minted on the Ethereum blockchain. With this new NFT, you can use it like any other Ethereum NFT. You can also bridge Ethereum assets to Solana, allowing for virtually gas-free fast transactions.
If you want to bridge it back, your NFT becomes unfrozen on the original network it was minted on.
The process to bridge these NFTs takes about five minutes. Wormhole also launched an “NFT Origin Identifier” so users can verify the authenticity of the NFT. You can see all the Solana bridged NFTs on OpenSea here.
While this taps into liquidity on other blockchain platforms for users, this bridge also opens a ton of questions about the NFTs we already own, how the bridges affects royalties, and more. Wormhole has a Discord and Twitter if you want to dig more into the bridge.
Solana NFTs in Conclusion
No matter which blockchain you use for NFTs the most, as the space grows, there is more opportunity to get into NFTs on other blockchains. It can help mitigate the risk of having all your NFTs in one cryptocurrency, help you diversify into other projects, and invest in more artists.
It can also help when you’re simply feeling sick of gas wars, and need to mint something to feel something. We all know how that goes.
You can follow Corporate Trash @corporatetrash1. Disclaimer: This article does not constitute financial advice.