Can I buy NFTs with an Our Price voucher from 1985?
Is it possible to mine bitcoin on a Nokia?
What would happen if eBay became self-aware?
I don’t know, I just click buttons, some magic tokens go somewhere and then a picture appears in my wallet. Not my actual, folding, leather wallet, I mean the other wallet that’s kind of a plug-in on my browser, displayed on a screen that projects photons of light down the void in the centre of my eyes, so my brain can construct a simulation of reality to be viewed by me, but then who am I, and where do I reside?
Sorry, wrong post. This is about NFTs.
If you think about NFTs, you’re in a small minority–0.003% of the global population own an NFT1–but, if you do think about them, then you probably associate them with the Ethereum network.
The problem with the Ethereum network, though, is the prohibitively expensive gas fees2. Don’t get me wrong, Ethereum, at the moment, owns the NFT space. Its marketplaces work. The UI/UX is all good. It has reach, users, volume. And it has cachet: the kind of prestige that accompanies first mover status and some famously astronomical sale prices.
Those gas fees, though. Yeah, don’t like those. And for anyone dipping a toe into new tech they’re not yet familiar with, fees like that don’t beg you to enter.
I can imagine, in the future, that Ethereum NFTs might always have that special status, along with a status-appropriate price tag. But then again, perhaps not, as it’s likely that marketplaces will evolve to support multiple blockchains, and differences will be forgotten.
Either way, with anything blockchain-related, there is always a competitor, a copier, a second, third and fourth mover, doing it faster, cheaper, better, more scrappily, more honestly, more scammily, in Eastern Europe, or Costa Rica, or Korea, twenty-four hours a day, while you’re sleeping.
And it seems they’re all looking at NFTs now.
The three main alternatives to Ethereum, for minting and trading NFTs, are Cardano, Solana, and Tezos.
Tezos is arty. Have a look at the Hic et Nunc marketplace to get an idea. I’ve heard you can buy low-cost pieces there by artists who sell at far higher prices on Ethereum platforms. There are some amazing-looking projects, and I’m sure there’s a lot worth picking up.
NFTs on Solana I just haven’t looked into deeply. It seems there’s a strong community, and it’s expanding.
The place in which I’ve found myself most deeply immersed, though, is the Cardano ecosystem, and in particular, the boho/otaku quarter where its CNFTs get forged and circulated.
The Cardano NFT world feels, at the moment, a lot smaller than its Ethereum counterpart. Over here, it’s early, still, so it’s a little rough around the edges, and the UX on the main marketplace is a work in progress. A lot of the NFTs in circulation were minted before Cardano introduced smart contracts. Rarities are sometimes still figured out on Google Docs spreadsheets passed around Discord.
But the features you want, they’re coming. You can feel it, the whole environment, it’s warming up nicely. Where it all goes, we’ll see, but right now it’s developing constantly, and it moves so fast that if you’d been participating just a few months ago, you’d be a CNFT OG.
There’s a lot going on, but this is just a brief account, for now. So to wrap up, here are some projects of interest.
Psychedelic and mysterious
AI generated and mind-blowing
Just very cool
Big hitters that don’t need pointing out, but anyway
Disclaimer: if I recommend anything, it’s absolutely because I’ve stuck in a bunch of money I can’t afford, and am now shilling with neither shame nor honour.
- This is a made-up number.
- Transaction fees to get something done on the Ethereum blockchain, basically.