“Wilder West” as developer MacGyver very popular NFTs on Cardano

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Although working smart contracts don’t yet exist at the first level, intrepid Cardano developers have recently hacked methods to forge non-verifiable tokens. These experiments at hosting unique data on the blockchain are reminiscent of the pre-ERC-721 era for Ethereum – and they have proven extremely popular so far with token drops that routinely sell out.

In a post on Reddit today, ADA Technology Management (ATM), a stakeout pool operator for Cardano, revealed two NFT images they had minted on the chain. In the thread, the company said they plan to offer NFT coinage as a service to pool delegators.

The so-called NFTs, however, have a number of limitations. Since Cardano does not yet support smart contracts or has no NFT token standard, users mint a native token as one of a native token to create an NFT user.

“Tokens on Cardano are indigenous and are on the same level as ADA. Instead of intelligent contracts, so-called “coin guidelines” control the flow of a specific group of tokens. NFTs are basically tokens on Cardano with a quantity of 1, ”explained Alessandro, the self-described“ brain ”behind SpaceBudz, a Cardano-based collector’s project, and author of a Cardano improvement proposal to establish a Cardano NFT metadata standard.

Developers can then embed a link in the token metadata to an Arweave and / or InterPlanetary File System address where an image is stored. An example for NFT shows that the “Metadata” section of a Mint transaction contains a link to an IPFS address in which the associated SpaceBud is displayed. The end result is a completely unique token that is permanently recorded and transferrable on the Cardano blockchain – an NFT by many, if not all, definitions.

Thriving community

Despite the additional frameworks developers have to jump through to create them, the NFTs have proven extremely popular with users.

According to Alessandro, SpaceBudz sold all 10,000 NFTs in just three days for a price of 50 ADA each, and there is already an eager secondary market that has sold particularly rare SpaceBudz for up to $ 40,000.

Even before SpaceBudz, CardanoKidz was already working on NFTs from Cardano in August 2020. According to Zac, a member of the CardanoKidz marketing team, several rounds of advance sales were sold out “within a few hours of the start”. A Satoshi-inspired kid sold for 32,000 ADA even before the tokens were minted, and the NFTs themselves went online in late March.

Zac credits tools like a community developed token and coin policy tracker to make life easier for developers. Cardano’s official developers, IOHK, also seem interested in the new industry, as senior engineer Polina Vinogravoda gave a brief tutorial on how to mint NFTs in the chain on Tuesday.

A variety of other projects round off the burgeoning ecosystem, including CryptoPunk-inspired CardanoBits and the CNFT coin platform. The NFTs on Cardano are still rudimentary, but also cheaper than those on Ethereum: Minting a native token costs around 2 ADA or USD 2.50.

While the developers working in this emerging community have done it so far, they ultimately enjoy smart contracts that make their lives easier.

“We can’t wait for smart contracts to come in for more functionality, but we ONLY had enough tools and experience to get NFTs working on Cardano,” said Zac. “It’s been an incredible journey so far.”