As the metaverse draws closer to reality every day, the non-fungible token (NFT) space has also evolved along with it. It may have started out as a money-making playground or a money-laundering scheme, but that’s just noise in the grand scheme of things.
The truth is that it is a cultural shift that transcends the limitations of what we call property or assets. Today, web3 natives are starting to seek communities of like-minded people, who have the same values and could vibe with them online. It’s no longer just about “number go up” anymore, although realistically, a lot of people are still trying to make money.
But with several dozens of layer 1 blockchains that support NFTs, newbies find it difficult to know where to start, and which network is right for them. Even those with previous crypto knowledge are having trouble wrapping their heads around this NFT phenomenon.
That’s why we’ve made a list of today’s top blockchains for NFTs. This will help you determine the right ecosystem to dive into. As a newbie, we recommend picking multiple blockchain platforms to see where you fit. Don’t just pick one and stay there forever.
Blockchain ecosystems have similarities, but they also have a ton of differences that make each a unique experience for users. Ethereum people are obviously the OGs and command most of the market share, while Solana is the hot new rising star. Cardano is a cult of sophisticated people, as always. And there are far more of them out there.
So get ready to find your new blockchain for purchasing NFTs!
Ethereum is a proof-of-work (PoW) and open-source layer-1 blockchain that houses thousands of decentralized applications (dApps) for NFTs, finance, gaming, and many others. It is currently the world’s second-largest blockchain, only preceded by Bitcoin, and boasts 9,523 nodes, making it one of the most decentralized and secure networks in the world. Its proof-of-stake transition, called The Merge, is expected to roll out on Q3/Q4 of this year.
Ethereum is home to the top 10 NFT collections in market cap (meaning the top 10 largest NFT projects are all on ETH), making it the largest NFT network in the world. In fact, roughly 80-90% of all NFT activity happens on Ethereum. It is indeed a far cry from the rest. If you already have an established brand or following, ETH is likely the right choice due to its size and network reach.
The Ethereum community generally values network decentralization more than most blockchains. The fact that it took no shortcuts in transitioning into PoS is a testament to that.
NFT sales in the last 30 days: $555,552,921
CryptoPunks is one of the network’s first NFT projects and currently ranks as the world’s number one NFT collection by sales volume. Bored Ape Yacht Club, meanwhile, rose to become one of the prime communities in the NFT sphere and is currently the fourth largest collection by sales volume. VeeFriends, which is the brainchild of sensational Internet entrepreneur and influencer Gary Vaynerchuk, is one of the most special projects as it currently experimenting with multiple use cases of NFTs for intellectual property by partnering with brands like Johnnie Walker and UNO.
Solana is a high-capacity Layer-1 blockchain network that combines proof-of-stake (PoS) and proof-of-history (PoH) to deliver an eco-friendly and secure operation. The network boldly aims to deliver the elusive trio benefits of decentralization, security, and scalability, as most blockchain platforms are limited to delivering only two of these three solutions.
What sets the Solana ecosystem apart from other networks is the level of support NFT projects get. From the founder of Solana, Anatoly Yakovenko, down to Solana Labs, right down to various builders across the different SOL communities, nearly everyone is sporting a Solana NFT pfp (profile pic) across Twitter. This culture of using NFTs as pfps allows projects to easily go viral on Twitter if they have a strong community.
And Solana has probably the second most vibrant and innovative NFT community to date. You just need to get past the degeneracy that is a lot louder here relative to other networks. But once you’re used to it, you can navigate your way through and find some of the best communities.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $56,111,61
Top projects: Degen Ape Academy, DeGods, Solana Monkey Business
Degen Ape Academy and SMB are hailed as the top OG NFT collections of Solana, paving the way for projects like Cets on Creck and DeGods to flourish. DeGods is currently the market leader among Solana NFTs thanks to all the innovations and value it has brought to the ecosystem.
- See Solana Deep Dive
Cardano is a PoS blockchain created by Ethereum’s co-founder Charles Hoskinson and bills itself as a” third-generation” decentralized platform. Its major focus lies on sustainability, scalability, and interoperability.
The blockchain, which Hoskinson calls “an updated version of Ethereum,” has two layers called the settlement layer (CSL) and computational layer (CCL), which play a critical role in the blockchain’s efficient transactions.
Notably, the Cardano community is even more hardcore about decentralization than the Ethereum community. In fact, the network has a cult-like perception due to the dedication of its members, which competitor networks may view as “toxic”. However, within the Cardano community itself, you’ll find truly supportive individuals that have been sold on the vision of the protocol for a long time. Hoskinson happens to be a marketing genius and has attracted legions of users from many different countries, especially in the African region, which it aims to revolutionize financially.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $14,979,119
SpaceBudz is the first Cardano NFT collection to reach the $1 million sales benchmark, a record-breaker in the ecosystem; and remains one of the premier NFT brands across Cardano. Pavia, meanwhile, is an exciting P2E game/metaverse which allows players to create their avatars, collect rewards, purchase lands, and gain VIP access to exclusive offerings.
BNB Chain is a blockchain created to improve the limitations of the Binance Smart Chain. BNB, which stands for “Build n’ Build,” is a multichain, permissionless, and decentralized platform that delivers increased throughput, on-chain governance mechanisms, and enhanced scaling solutions. It also aims to integrate larger applications such as metaverse, SocialFi, and GameFi.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $15,921,015
Projects to check out: Battle Pets and PancakeSwap NFT marketplace
Battle Pets is a play-to-earn (P2E) game that allows players to collect, nourish, train, and battle adorable-looking pets. Gamers can also engage in group pet battles for more intense virtual fighting. PancakeSwap, meanwhile, is more than just a decentralized exchange platform, as it also offers an NFT Marketplace that hosts a wide range of digital asset collections.
Flow is a PoS blockchain that powers some of the best-selling NFT collections like NBA Top Shot. One of its top features is composability, which allows developers to build on existing infrastructures, and speeds up the creation and rollout process of web3 applications.
Unlike other blockchains that are general-purpose, Flow was built with NFTs as a priority. It was created by Dapper Labs, the same company that launched two widely successful projects: Crypto Kitties and NBA Top Shot.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $15,179,774
Projects to check out: NBA Top Shot and NFT All Day.
NBA Top Shot is one of today’s most successful NFT ventures, which finally allowed basketball fans to own genuine NBA NFT assets. NFT All Day, meanwhile, is an NFT marketplace for football fans that features National Football League (NFL) digital assets.
Immutable X is an Ethereum-based layer 2 platform that uses a method called zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-proofs) to validate transactions off-chain. Furthermore, it offers zero gas fees, 9,000+ transactions per second (tps), and carbon-neutrality, which are ideal features for any NFT creators and collectors, especially those that are environmentally concerned.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $11,562,848
God’s Unchained is an NFT trading card game with an estimated 65,000 players and $25 million worth of assets traded on its platform as of June 2022. Illuvium, meanwhile, is a sci-fi fantasy NFT game that combines the elements of an auto battler and open-world exploration.
Ronin is a sidechain (parallel network) for Ethereum created by Sky Mavis to offer Axie Infinity players a much faster network with more affordable transactions. Ethereum’s slow and expensive transactions have proven to be a hindrance to the widely popular NFT game, so much so that it had to create a dedicated chain.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $4,565,682
Projects to check out: Axie Infinity and Haruka Ronin
Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn (P2E) game that involves collecting, battling, breeding, and raising cute fluffy monsters. It is also arguably responsible for sparking the public’s interest in blockchain gaming, and kickstarting the second half of the 2021 bull run. Haruka Ronin, meanwhile, is a collection of 5,555 anime–themed avatars that aims to roll out physical merchandise, including toys, manga, and more.
Polygon (formerly MATIC) is a layer 2 PoS blockchain platform known for its focus on reducing the cost and complexities of network transactions. It delivers four major offerings: ETH compatibility, robust security, scalability, and smooth developer experience. Moreover, it boasts 19,000+ dApps, 130 million + unique users and 3 million + daily transactions.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $2,747,062
Projects to check out: Hailary Crypto Dollies and Decentraland
Hailary Crypto Dollies is a collection of 3,000 NFTs based on the successful merchandise of an ETSY artist. Collectors who can purchase three NFTs will get a physical Crypto Dollie clay figurine personally hand-made by the artist. Decentraland, meanwhile, is a decentralized metaverse involving digital avatars that could roam around a virtual world, socialize with others, and participate in virtual events. Note that Decentraland is also available on Ethereum.
Palm is an Ethereum sidechain focusing on NFT assets. It was established by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, with an ecosystem that aims to attain three major goals: fast transaction finality, low gas fees, and 99.9% lower energy consumption than the PoW consensus mechanism.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $1,944,283
Projects to check out: ‘The Currency’ and Getty Images NFT project.
“The Currency” was the first NFT project launched in Palm, created by the renowned English artist Damien Hirst. The project comes in two versions: The first is the 10,000 uniquely painted A4 sheet paintings, and the second one is the 10,000 NFT versions of those artworks.
Getty Images, the popular stock photo website, will also launch its collection on Palm. It will select from its millions of images to pick the first set of pictures that will be turned into NFTs.
WAX, which stands for “Worldwide Asset eXchange,” is a delegated PoS blockchain built specifically for trading NFT items in the virtual world and video games. Its ultra-focus on virtual and video game assets should be stressed enough as it aims to migrate players from the usually centralized gaming ecosystem to a new, truly decentralized one.
The people behind WAX are also the founders of OPSkins, which has one of the world’s biggest marketplaces for digital items, with millions of trades and purchases to date. And the team’s expertise (and achievements) in the gaming field is a big boost to the future of the WAX blockchain.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $1,559,448
Projects to check out: Alien Worlds and Farmers World.
Alien Worlds is a P2E game that involves click-mining, staking, and purchasing lands, tools, and avatars. Farmers World, meanwhile, is a test of skills on how players can grow their digital farmlands.
Avalanche is a layer 1 PoS blockchain platform compatible with Ethereum. Apart from PoS, it also uses proof-of-uptime and proof-of-correctness to enhance its scaling abilities and further incentivize validator nodes for honest transactions.
When it comes to speed, it can achieve 4,500 tps and 2-second transactional finality, which is clearly at par with common blockchain platforms. Another plus it has is its significantly lower gas fees compared to Ethereum. To sum it up, Avalanche has three clear advantages: Its eco-friendly consensus mechanism, impressive speed, and low gas fees.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $1,191,332
Projects to check out: Imperium Empires and Chikn NFT Collection
Imperium Empires is a real-time strategy (RTS) and massively multiplayer online (MMO) game which allows players to control fleets of ships to invade various parts of the game’s metaverse. Chikn, meanwhile, is a 10,000 NFT collection of wacky chickens that offers players interesting earning opportunities. Just like real-life poultry owners, NFT collectors can earn from their virtual chickens’ eggs. Moreover, they may feed their chickens to help them grow and gain bigger rewards. Imperium
Arbitrum is a layer 2 blockchain platform that uses a method called ‘transaction rollups” to efficiently transfer computational burdens from the Ethereum blockchain to its layer. Furthermore, it is specifically designed to offer developers a user-friendly platform that can allow them to launch scalable Ethereum-compatible smart contracts.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $644,504
Projects to check out: Stratos and NFT Alliance
Stratos is the biggest NFT marketplace on Arbitrum, which would be a good place to explore for NFT collectors and creators new to the blockchain. NFT Alliance on Arbitrum, meanwhile, is a collective group of people with backgrounds in NFT, defi, and marketplaces, who aim to push the blockchain’s reach and popularity in the web3 space.
Tezos is a PoS open-source blockchain platform that allows stakeholders to govern critical areas such as upgrades on core protocol and amendment processes. It has a feature called “self-amendment,” which allows the blockchain to upgrade itself without the need to fork the network, which prevents disruption and community division whenever disagreement occurs. Moreover, it has a very low annual carbon footprint, equivalent to only 17 people.
Tezos might not shine in terms of size, but the ratio of 1/1 artists and NFT collections here is higher than most blockchains. So if you’re into single art pieces (1/1 of art), this might be in fact the best blockchain for you.
NFT Sales in the last 30 days: $483,385
Neonz is an NFT collection that combines neon and psychedelic elements to produce immersive artworks. The collection, which will soon offer its own game, uses augmented/virtual (AR/VR) technology to increase each NFT’s utility. Dogami, meanwhile, is an NFT collection/AR-powered game that allows users to take care of an adorable 3D dog within a metaverse.
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