As I write this, many NFT traders are a tad dismissive of Cardano since smart contracts are still in their infancy, and they believe the community is perhaps underdeveloped and unsophisticated.
Ethereum NFTs have indeed been around a lot longer and the volume traded is obviously much higher but ignoring Cardano NFTs (CNFTs) would be a silly oversight because the market is starting to flourish and there is good money to be made.
Let's take a look at what makes Cardano the perfect platform for NFTs.
Smart contracts on Cardano were only implemented in September 2021, and the onboarding of the decentralised applications (DAPPS) that support them has been delayed.
This has had no impact, however, on Cardano's capacity to enable NFT transactions since the Cardano blockchain was designed so that NFTs do not need smart contracts. On Cardano, all tokens are on par with Cardano’s native token, ADA.
In October 2021, SpaceBudz, became the first CNFT project to reach the million-dollar mark in volume traded — a milestone for the Cardano Blockchain.
SpaceBud #9936 sold for a whopping 510,000 ADA which at the time was well over a million dollars.
These 10,000 astronauts were among the first NFTs minted on Cardano. Although it was a stealth drop, the project quickly gained momentum and popularity in the community and is now the premium blue-chip CNFT.
Nonetheless, there are more exciting Cardano collections besides SpaceBudz.
Clay Nation is a collection of 10,000 digital characters with handmade clay qualities that were algorithmically built and stored on the blockchain.
CardanoTrees are an evolutive NFT collection meaning that they alter over time in response to the weather and seasons, some of which bear fruit. The project is mission based and plans to plant a tree for every NFT sold.
Stellar Hood, another early and popular collection, is fully interactive, enabling the user to explore the celestial bodies in the universe. This project is perfectly poised for gamification and there is talk of a pivot in the metaverse direction.
A distinctive feature of certain projects (such as CardanoTrees and Stellar Hood) is that the image and metadata of the NFTs live directly on-chain, as opposed to other NFT projects where just the token resides on-chain but the image is stored on the Interplanetary File System (IPFS).
Rather than creating art, the Unsigned Algorithms project mint code that makes art and puts it into the blockchain.
Art ought to have some tension with its medium/format - for blockchain art to be regarded seriously, it must question the medium/format on which it is being shown.
Like evolutive CNFTs (CardanoTrees), they are beautiful to look at, but they don’t offer social media cred (digital flex) as a profile picture (PFP) like a SpaceBudz or Clay Nation.
Fractano is one of the few on-chain generative collections, and it is the first to integrate the complexity of shapes, size, and aesthetic touch in each item.
Every CNFT has code that creates the picture in the browser, making this a one-of-a-kind procedural NFT art collection on Cardano.
Currently, there are 2,222 pieces total in this collection, which is safeguarded by the blockchain itself, and it does not depend on the security of an image file saved on a distributed filesystem such as IPFS to preserve the information contained in it.
So far, we have seen a lot of phases in the evolution of CNFTs.
We've got ordinary PFPs, evolutive CNFTs, art CNFTs, and now it's all about gaming and metaverse NFTs, which are becoming more popular.
Cardano's metaverse initiatives, in particular Pavia, and the massive play-to-earn game Cornucopias are both currently under development. Due to the recent metaverse craze, it's worth mentioning that many of these original NFT collections are now including gaming functionality to keep their projects relevant and attractive.
Late 2021 witnessed the introduction of Pavia, a metaverse that is being created on Cardano.
Pavia presently has approximately 8,300 landowners but the number will grow when they have their next land sale. Each land parcel has a unique CNFT number assigned based on its coordinates inside Pavia.
According to the company's website, Pavia Corp airdropped 500,000,000 fungible $PAVIA coins, which are native to the Cardano blockchain, in December of 2021. These will be useful both inside the game and as part of the overall metaverse experience.
Cornucopias is a blockchain-based, multiplayer online role-playing game that allows players to Play-To-Earn, Build-To-Earn, Learn-To-Earn, and Stake-To-Earn. The beauty of it is that gamers can own their own land, as well as other NFT-based assets that have genuine real-world worth, which is a bonus. The vastness and complexity of this metaverse must be seen first-hand to be believed.
As part of a larger attempt to accommodate a wide range of fantasy preferences, 'The Island' is separated into various themed zones. These include the Wild West, Farm Life, and the very intriguing Age of the Samurai zone.
Playing together in a safe and secure online environment allows players from all walks of life to interact while participating in a series of mini-games in which they may gain real-world value while exploring, building, and developing in this safe and secure online world.
Transaction costs, known as gas fees on the Ethereum blockchain are skyrocketing due to network congestion and the lack of proper scalability solutions.
Every new block mined on Ethereum has limited room for transactions, and miners are incentivised to accept transactions at greater gas costs because of supply and demand.
But, why should NFT traders be forced into paying exorbitant fees to Ethereum miners because of inherent flaws in the blockchain structure?
Consequently, many projects suffer, particularly when the gas fees are more costly than the NFT itself (which is often the case). You can’t do anything on Ethereum without getting stung with a gas fee.
If you want to cancel or expedite a transaction or merely list an NFT on the Opensea marketplace, you’re coughing up more precious ETH to do it. This really doesn’t seem sustainable.
One of the most important reasons that illustrate why Cardano is a good fit for NFTs is the very low transaction fees.
This is why it is often referred to as the ‘Ethereum killer.’
Around three million NFTs have flooded the Cardano ecosystem, a big portion of them minted before smart contracts were even implemented.
With the introduction of new marketplaces such as jpg.store and the deployment of suitable smart contract capabilities, the trading of CNFTs is expected to go parabolic.
Now is the time for the crypto community to recognise that Cardano is the perfect platform for NFTs in this fast-evolving cryptoverse.
Note: This article also appears on our partner website, The Art Bank.