What are the Three Types of NFT?: A Beginner's Guide to NFT Development

The success of NFT projects is influenced by its blockchain ecosystem. Read this guide to determine the perfect fit for your NFT initiative.

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Introduction to nonfungible token blockchains

Nonfungible tokens (NFTs), one of the most popular applications of blockchain technology, are widely used to display and trade ownership of real and digital objects, as well as intellectual property. But how exactly do NFTs work?

The use of metadata, which allows NFTs to uniquely represent themselves, distinguishes an NFT from a digital image. Unlike digital images, the metadata in NFTs aids in the bestowal of unique properties and identifiers that can be used to represent ownership, rarity, and other attributes pertinent to modern digital or physical art and property.

The process of creating NFTs entails uploading this metadata (or a data string linked to this metadata) as a unique cryptographic token over an active blockchain, also known as minting. This article will walk us through the various blockchains that support the NFT ecosystem's underlying infrastructure.

NFT blockchains vs. NFT marketplaces

NFTs lose their inherent property as immutable, verifiable, unique identifiers in the absence of blockchains. As a result, the NFT has found applications as a tool for determining and validating ownership legitimacy in a variety of sectors, including artwork, intellectual property, real estate, and a wide range of collectibles.

NFT marketplaces are open to the public and allow users to mint (create), buy, and sell NFTs. While most NFT blockchains have their own marketplaces, third-party marketplaces are also an option for users who want to reach a wider audience.

In the sections below, we'll look at some of the top blockchains that are powering the exciting world of NFTs.

Ethereum blockchain for NFTs

In 2014, the Ethereum blockchain pioneered the concept of NFTs. However, with the adoption of the ERC-721 standard, NFTs evolved into a smart contract-based tool with financial applications in gaming, art, tangible assets, and music, to name a few.

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In 2017, as the NFT ecosystem took off, Ethereum introduced ERC-1155 as an official smart contract standard to support widespread NFT adoption. For each type of token, older token standards, such as ERC-20 and ERC-721, required the creation of a new smart contract. This meant that in order for each NFT to be transferred, the network would need to create a smart contract for each NFT.

ERC-1155 is a multi-token standard that introduced a smart contract interface designed specifically for transferring multiple token types at once, reducing transaction costs. In terms of hosting NFTs, the Ethereum blockchain accounts for more than 90% of the market. However, as a result of hosting the vast majority of NFTs, the Ethereum network has reached saturation and now charges exorbitant gas fees to mint and trade NFTs.

Several other blockchains have launched as alternative NFT ecosystems, gradually relieving congestion on the Ethereum network. Furthermore, Ethereum 2.0, the next iteration of the Ethereum blockchain, aims to improve network performance and reduce costs by introducing elements such as staking and the merger of the BNB Beacon Chain.

Solana blockchain for NFTs

The Solana (SOL) ecosystem has emerged as one of the most promising blockchain ecosystems for hosting and trading NFTs. In comparison to the NFT market leader Ethereum, the Solana blockchain offers high throughput and low fees.

The Solana blockchain leverages its in-house Metaplex brand umbrella to provide a variety of tools, smart contracts, and NFT development services. Solano, unlike the Ethereum blockchain, implements stateless smart contracts as well as provisions for faster and cheaper transactions. The Solana blockchain employs a hybrid of proof-of-stake (PoS) and proof-of-history consensus mechanisms.

One of the key features that attracts NFT artists and traders to the Solana marketplace is the platform's promise of censorship resistance and nearly non-existent transaction fees.

All NFT smart contracts on Solana are stateless, allowing nodes to validate their validity without storing local validations. Third-party accounts can also access newly deployed smart contracts and store data on the Solana blockchain. Solana enables lower transaction costs for NFTs by eliminating the need for internal storage.

Polygon blockchain for NFTs

The Polygon blockchain, formerly known as Matic, serves as the secondary layer (L2) that sits on top of the Ethereum mainnet. As a result, the ecosystem allows users and developers to connect portals and transfer assets from the mainnet to Polygon.

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The Polygon blockchain is a scaling solution that, like other Ethereum-alternative blockchains, aims to significantly reduce transaction costs and time. In comparison to Ethereum's transaction finality speed, which can complete up to six transactions per minute (10 seconds per transaction), Polygon's L2 solution can complete 26.08 transactions per minute (2.3 seconds per transaction).

One of the main reasons why users prefer Polygon to other popular blockchains is that it does not require any upfront costs for minting new NFTs. The network, on the other hand, charges a predetermined amount (usually 2.5 percent) as a service fee for selling the newly minted NFTs.

Cardano blockchain for NFTs

Cardano (ADA) blockchain is a third-generation PoS blockchain platform that aims to address the issues raised by the first and second generations of platforms, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

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On Cardano, NFTs can be mined using one of the native third-party services or by self-minting with the Cardano node, which gives the user complete control over the minted token.

On Cardano, each transaction, including minting, purchasing, and selling NFTs, is subject to a fee, which is currently determined by the size of the file being transacted. As a result, smaller files will incur lower fees when compared to larger files.

In addition, the ecosystem includes in-house marketplaces for minting and trading NFTs, as well as wallets for storing NFTs and DeFi assets.

BNB Smart Chain (BSC) blockchain for NFTs

The BNB Chain is made up of two blockchains: BNB Beacon Chain (previously Binance Chain), which supports staking, voting, and other governance initiatives, and BNB Smart Chain (BSC), which powers NFT projects and has other capabilities.

NFTs on the BNB Smart Chain (BSC) are designed to be compatible with other blockchains. Furthermore, NFT developers choose BNB as their preferred platform for developing an NFT marketplace not only because it is less expensive and faster than the competition, but also because of advantages such as cross-chain and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility.

BSC authenticates token ownership using Ethereum's ERC-721 standard. Investors can trade digital collectibles using BNB coins and BEP-20 tokens on a BSC NFT marketplace. Furthermore, BNB smart contracts are typically written in Solidity, a programming language.

Tezos blockchain for NFTs

Tezos (XZT) is a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain that employs the TZIP-012 standard for storing NFTs on smart contracts, which are commonly referred to as FA2 contracts. FA2 is a proprietary token standard that acts as a unified token contract interface. The Tezos blockchain positions itself as an environmentally friendly alternative to the other leading NFT blockchains.

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Tezos' FA2 standard enables users to create single and multi-token smart contracts while remaining compatible with wallet integrators and third-party developers. The TZIP-012 standard can be upgraded in the future to include backward-compatible support for on-chain views or wrapping. Furthermore, all FA2-compliant contracts must provide contract-level metadata using Tezos' TZIP-016 standard.

Tron blockchain for NFTs

The Tron (TRX) network uses the TRC-721 standard interface set to issue NFTs, which is supported by the TRC-721 and TRC-165 interfaces.

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Tron's NFT standard implementation aims to improve overall network performance through better traffic management. Furthermore, Tron-based NFTs are fully compatible with Ethereum's ERC-721 standard.

However, in order for an NFT over Tron to accept safe transfers, it must also include a wallet interface. To issue TRC-721 tokens, one must first create an account on Tronlink with a minimum balance of 350 TRX.

Once an NFT has been created, users can use Tronscan to compile and deploy smart contracts.

The difference between various NFT blockchains

The table below summarizes the differences between various blockchains for NFTs.

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A checklist to determine the best NFT blockchain

It can be difficult to choose between the numerous blockchains that support NFTs. Fortunately, there are a plethora of alternative blockchains to choose from, each with its own set of appealing characteristics.

When it comes to deciding on an NFT project, however, it all comes down to selecting an ecosystem that comfortably meets the majority of the requirements, including:

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Finding a blockchain that meets the seven requirements listed above will be critical to the success of any NFT project. The more items you leave off the checklist, the less likely the project will be successful in the long run.

Take the plunge and read Cointelegraph's comprehensive guide to creating NFTs.

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