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Solana is the most recent blockchain to launch an NFT product. Its MetaPlex marketplace tool is low-cost and flexible for creatives.
Is there a need for another location to obtain NFTs? Solana, a buzzy up-and-coming blockchain, believes so. Despite the buzz around non-fungible tokens (NFTs),
—begins to cool, the Solana team sees an opportunity to develop a new sort of NFT platform that gives artists more flexibility.
Metaplex is the name of the platform. It’s an open-source protocol based on Solana that its designers compare to Shopify, a popular service that allows small businesses to set up an e-commerce site. If you prefer a different model, the team compares their NFT product to WordPress, a famous publishing platform that allows anyone to operate websites without having to know anything about programming.
Metaplex is aimed at creative individuals who will appreciate its versatility and inexpensive cost, according to product manager Stephen Hess. Metaplex, unlike some famous NFT forums such as Nifty Gateway, is decentralised, which means artists will have more influence over when their masterpieces will be released. And since Metaplex doesn’t sit on Ethereum, which is currently plagued by high transaction fees, the cost of offering NFTs is minimal.
“It costs the same as it takes to interface with the Solana protocol,” says Hess, adding that this translates to 35 cents to mint an NFT and $3 to run an auction—a far cry from the world of Ethereum-based NFTs, where costs can run into the thousands of dollars.
Metaplex’s pitch has already resonated with some in the creative community, including Grammy-winning artist RAC and digital sneaker maker CryptoKickers. Both are launching NFT stores built on Metaplex, with RAC’s store, known as ONO, planning to drop its first offering from an artist called BLOND:ISH on Thursday.
If Metaplex obtains popularity, it is possible that more artists and creatives would create their own NFT markets rather than depending on centralised forums. Metaplex also allows marketplace owners to code the NFTs such that the original artist earns royalties every time the NFT is resold, which is a popular feature offered by other NFT platforms.
According to Solana, the Metaplex offering looks to be an attempt to draw attention to its blockchain rather than to gain money. Solana is a proof-of-stake chain that was founded in 2017 through an ICO and has been touted as a potential “Ethereum killer” because to its superior efficiency and cheaper cost.
However, that moniker has been applied to a variety of different projects, and for the time being, Ethereum continues to dominate the market for NFTs and blockchain ventures of all kinds. Meanwhile, Solana isn’t the only blockchain offering a home for NFT projects—Dapper Labs, one of the most important businesses in the NFT sector, has established its own blockchain called Flow, while Binance and Cardano have also made inroads into NFTs.
And, for the time being, as interest in NFTs looks to be waning after peaking in March, Solana and its competitors are expected to focus on long-term infrastructure development.