Solana NFT Ecosystem’s September Growth Rivals Ethereum

NFT trading volume soared on Solana in September — despite recurring network outages


Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • Solana’s market share of total NFT trading volume rose from 7% to 24% in the last six weeks
  • USD value of NFT trading volume is “still far higher on Ethereum,” per Blockworks Research

Solana kicked off October with an hours-long service interruption — the blockchain’s 12th such outage in 2022 — an especially sour note, especially after a month of surging NFT mints and daily volumes rivaling Ethereum.

Solana’s market share of the total trading volume rose from 7% to 24% in the last six weeks, according to Delphi Digital.

Solana in September posted higher daily trades volumes than Ethereum. The number of unique buyers increased by 34% month over month, according to data from Dune Analytics.

Ethereum NFT volume may have decreased since April, but the newly-converted proof-of-stake blockchain is still the top dog when it comes to NFT sales. It houses — by far — the most blue-chip collections, including Bored Ape Yacht Club and Crypto Punks.

“One thing to keep in mind is that USD value is still far higher on Ethereum,” Blockworks Research Analyst Sam Martin said. “Project creators can wash trade on Solana to artificially pump volume due to low transaction fees, whereas on Ethereum, that would be far more expensive.” 

Solana’s less-than-$200 trades and lower gas fees have enabled “more interaction and participation” than the Ethereum network, analytics platform Nansen reported

“Ethereum’s role in the NFT space will gravitate toward stores of value. In contrast, Solana will become and, to some extent, already is the hotbed for trading, newer collections, and creators looking to access the global market,” Nansen said. 

Solana’s “y00ts: mint t00b” project had the highest 30-day trading volume on both OpenSea and Magic Eden. Dust Labs — the company behind Solana’s most valuable NFT collection, DeGods project — released y00ts at the beginning of September. The design reveal has yet to take place.

The y00t mint ran on Metaplex, an NFT protocol for creators on Solana. More than 4 million wallets have held Metaplex NFTs to date, a sphere of similar reach to Ethereum’s ERC-721 standard, according to the company. One million Solana NFTs are minted every 18 days through the Metaplex network. 

Solana’s growth may well be tied to the rapid pick-up of the entire NFT market, following an end-of-2021 slide that decimated the collective market capitalization of all digital collectibles. 

But the idea that NFTs can become “identity tokens” and foster community — including the especially tight-knit holders of y00ts and Degods, is something worth betting on for Solana, according to Stephen Hess, the former Solana Labs product chief and current Metaplex CEO.

“When you change your profile photo, you’re signaling your membership to a group,” Hess told Blockworks. “You’re kind of constructing your identity online. When we zoom out, we see this as the beginning of decentralized social networking.”

While there may not be a flippening in the cards just yet, Solana is gaining ample ground. The proof-of-stake protocol has racked up 9.89 million cumulative trades worth $1.1 billion, while Ethereum has registered 13.38 million cumulative trades worth $16.5 billion, per data from Flipside Crypto. 

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