The mania around Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) has only seen a whirlwind spike over the past year, with sales crossing $12.7 billion. Such sales figures have made it the best-performing cryptocurrency sector. In fact, over 73,000 NFT sales worth a whopping $271.5 million have been made in just the past week alone. With an added boost from metaverse activity and celebrity indulgence, the booming NFT market is being supported by an array of different blockchain platforms hosting these tokens.
Among those who jumped on the ‘digital ownership’ bandwagon has been Solana, which hosts a wide range of marketplaces and original NFT collections. The platform is even launching a $5 million fund this year to onboard creators and their fans into its ecosystem. Solana’s dedication towards this segment of the cryptocurrency industry can be linked to the bullish outlook its team has for NFTs.
In a recent interview with Business Insider, Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko remarked that NFTs are in fact the early prototypes of how social media networks will look in the future.
NFTs are unique digital assets that represent ownership. Often NFTs are bought by groups of unrelated people, as was seen in the case of the ConstitutionDAO. Moreover, since most NFTs are either a part of a collection or come as part of a play-to-earn gaming platform, they link up users globally and forge a sense of community without the need for external involvement, much like today’s social media platforms.
Expanding on this further, Yakovenko noted,
“I think these are the early starts of true web social networks that do not rely on ads for monetization, that don’t rely on Google or Facebook to function.”
He further added that,
“They are purely these digital communities that can monetize/self-monetize from their own content without the need of any of these external poison marketplaces.”
NFTs on Solana are undoubtedly contributing towards expanding this vision even further. The blockchain-based music streaming platform Audius recently released new functionality that allows artists and fans to embed Solana NFTs on various blogs and social media platforms such as Twitter and Discord. A 14-year old recently even used the platform to create NFTs that would raise money for Beluga whale conservation.
Even with their exciting use cases and community-centric approach, NFTs have received their share of criticism. Recently, a man claimed to have right-clicked and saved every NFT on the Ethereum and Solana blockchain networks as JPEG files, raising questions about piracy and the actual value of NFTs. He had aimed to educate people who are purchasing NFT art right now that it is “nothing more than directions on how to access or download an image.”
Solana itself has been criticized for copy-pasting NFT artworks that were already available on Ethereum as people claimed that platforms were prioritizing monetary benefits over artistic expression.