Welcome to Blockchain Digest, a weekly look at the various blockchains used for NFT minting, their ups and downs, and what makes each technology unique. This week, we’ll look at the interesting ways people have been minting NFTs on the Cardano blockchain, despite the fact it doesn’t yet support smart contracts. We’ll also look at the future of Cardano-based NFTs. If you’re a blockchain-nerd, you’re sure to love the wild things these creators have been coming up with, and if you’re a Cardano-nerd, you’re sure to love the upcoming developments planned for Cardano in the near future.
What makes Cardano NFTs unique?
NFTs are typically minted using either the Ethereum, Tezos, or WAX blockchains, because of their robust smart contract capabilities. Smart contracts are typically considered an essential part of creating an NFT, as they keep track of their unique properties, allow for enhanced functionality (such as programmable elements), and even keep track of things like creator-royalties. The Cardano blockchain, however, does not yet support smart contracts. Still, people are attracted to the idea of minting NFTs on Cardano and have found ways to make it work.
According to the creator of SpaceBudz, a wildly popular Cardano-NFT project:
“Tokens on Cardano are native and are on the same level as ADA. Instead of smart contracts, so-called ‘minting policies’ control the flow of a certain token group. NFTs are basically tokens on Cardano with a quantity of 1.”
These 1/1 native tokens are, for all intents and purposes, the same as any other NFT, minus the smart contract.
Why mint NFTs on Cardano?
Cardano-based NFTs offer several advantages over ERC20 tokens. ERC20 NFTs are vulnerable to denial-of-service, or gas-price attacks, whereas Cardano’s native tokens are immune to these kinds of attacks. The fees for transferring Cardano-based NFTs are also considerably lower than transferring those on the Ethereum blockchain.
There may be several benefits to minting on Cardano, but it is still significantly easier to do so on other blockchains; this is both a blessing and a curse for Cardano-based NFTs. The hurdles and do-it-yourself aspect of minting on Cardano is an alluring prospect for many crypto-junkies, and many Cardano-based projects are already wildly successful.
What’s next for Cardano NFTs?
Cardano’s creator, Charles Hoskinson, has been ramping up hiring developers as they get set for the “Alonzo” hard fork in August. The Alonzo fork will introduce smart contract functionality to Cardano and make minting NFTs easier than ever before.
Hoskinson has noted that he and his team are laser-focused on ensuring dapp developers have the support they need so that Cardano’s smart contract release is as value-packed as they can make it. When asked about the Cardano’s upcoming Alonzo fork, Hoskinson stated:
“Over the next 90 days, we’re extremely interested in making sure that those who have viable projects, or the potential for viable projects, aren’t just left to die on the vine. But rather get the support that they need so that they can take those projects to the next level.”
Dapps (or decentralized applications) are an essential part of the NFT ecosystem and range from games like Cryptokitties, to marketplaces like Rarible and SuperRare. It’s unknown as of yet which NFT-related dapps are in store for Cardano.
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