NFT fever breaks out on Cardano, projects and sales explode

  • Several projects are using a smart contract-less mechanism to mint NFTs on Cardano by leveraging the native token features.
  • Creating an NFT on Cardano costs as little as $2, compared to hundreds of dollars on Ethereum.

In a post on Reddit, stake pool operator ADA Technology Management (ATM) claimed to have minted the first NFTs on Cardano. While the post was already posted on the Cardano Subreddit 3 days ago and while the publication has already been deleted, the post has triggered an initial pre-smart contracts NFT hype.

ATM is one of many projects that has minted non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Cardano. CardanoKidz, Spacebudz, and CardanoBits are others just as prominent and with materialized sales, as Project Catalyst advisor Daniel As he tweeted, Spacebudz, and CardanoBits put the Cardano network to the test, confirming the capabilities.

CardanoBits reported about a massive interest from the community, rushing to participate in the sales to acquire one of the pieces of the collection. Due to this, the team behind the project reported a “crash” on their servers. In less than an hour CardanoBits managed to sell all 1,496 NFTs available. As the image below shows the increase in network activity was massive.

The enthusiasm was similar for the other NFT projects and collections. At the Spacebudz sale, over 10,000 NFTs were sold, worth an average of ADA 50 each. Remarkably, these were resold on an alternative market for thousands of dollars.

How does minting an NFT on Cardano work?

One of the Spacebudz team members, developer Alessandro, posted a proposal for an NFT standard on Cardano’s forum. Dated January 28, Alessandro explained what the process for minting NFTs on Cardano looks like and its differences from Ethereum.

The developer stated that attaching metadata on Cardano is not possible because it lacks smart contracts, and as it operates with native tokens and utilizes a UTXO based ledger. Therefore, Alessandro proposed taking an alternative:

Cardano has the ability to send metadata in a transaction, that’s the way we can create a link between a token and the metadata. To make the metadata unique to the token, they should be appended to the same transaction, where the token forge happens.

In a separate post, Spacebudz’s team provided further details on how they were able to mint NFTs without smart contracts by using a “time-based minting” policy. The process costs about 2 ADA. In comparison, creating an NFT on Ethereum can cost hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, the team also faced the challenge to distribute more than 10,000 NFTs. They used the following solution:

(…) tokens can be created on the fly in a transaction and can be directly sent to the target address. The buyer himself was basically covering the minValue, when he made the payment.

The popularity of NFTs on Cardano is a testament to the community’s enthusiasm for accessing these assets. Once the Plutus platform for smart contracts is deployed with the “Alonzo” hard fork combinator, the projects hope to add new features and grow a sector that is already in a mania phase.

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