Which Chain to Launch Your NFT Collection On

Cover Image for Which Chain to Launch Your NFT Collection On
Zach Rosen, Co-Founder
Zach Rosen, Co-Founder

Prior to a year ago, the “which blockchain is best for X” question was irrelevant. If you wanted to build something on chain, you built it on Ethereum. Fees were insignificant, liquidity was highest, and development was the best documented. Solana, Terra, and the rise of Layer 2 networks has changed this.

Now, founders have a huge decision to make. Do I go where the liquidity is? Or where fees are the lowest? Maybe somewhere in the middle?

Let’s dive in.

What Are My Options?

Every blockchain functionally supports NFTs. Only a select few have tangible NFT volume. As of May 2022, these are:

  • Ethereum
  • Solana
  • Avalanche
  • Flow
  • Polygon
  • WAX
  • Binance Smart Chain

Where do most collections launch?

Here’s a chart of NFT sales volume from the past 30 days, pulled from our friends at Cryptoslam and TheBlockCrypto. Short answer: Ethereum.

BlockchainSales (Millions USD)# Txns

Ok, do I just launch on Ethereum too then?

Not quite. While Ethereum has the largest NFT ecosystem as of now (May 2022), there are a few points to consider, principally cost.

The rise of nearly every non-Ethereum blockchain above can be traced to Ethereum’s core flaw: scalibility. For everyday users + developers, this manifests into high transaction costs. Network congestion leads to an increase in cost to get a transaction confirmed. Kinda like how Uber’s surge pricing works.

As an example, an NFT sale on Opensea Ethereum costs $36.27 in fees as of time of writing. Feasible for a high-value NFT, but eat those fees on a $300 NFT sale and you’re paying a whopping 12% in transaction fees.

Minting is correspondingly expensive.

This concept magnifies if your NFTs have built in utility, like interacting with an on-chain game or functioning as an event ticket. Every time your users call one of your NFT’s functions, they’ll incur a substantial gas fee.

This is backed up by the stats shown in the below “Average Sale Price” table. Blue chip (read: high-value) collections tend to launch on Ethereum. Cheaper collections launch everywhere else.

BlockchainAvg Sale Price

Ok, Ethereum is expensive. What about the others?

Gas fees are comparable across the non-Ethereum networks we’re looking at.

The next order priority is ease of access. What’s the use of cheap fees if nobody’s around to buy your NFTs?

This comes in two forms: ease of user access and ease of developer access.

Let’s start with users. Courtesy of the below DeFiLlama chart, we see that more than half of all targetable (read: non-Bitcoin) crypto liquidity is on Ethereum. For context, the next biggest chain on our list (BSC in yellow) comprises 6% of the pie.

DeFi Llama TVL Pie Chart

So, it’s probably a good idea to choose a chain easily accessible from Ethereum.

Next, developers. Less than 0.5% of the world’s developers have built a smart contract. Of that 0.5%, the overwhelming majority work in Solidity. Avalanche, Polygon, and BSC are run on Solidity. It’s just flat out easier to find a good Solidity dev than a Rust (Solana) dev.

So, the perfect chain offers 1—cheap transactions, 2—easy user access, and 3—easy dev access.

So, which do I choose?

Choose a chain specific to your use case.

Releasing a high-value NFT and targeting users who aren’t price sensitive? Launch on Ethereum.

Targeting the rest of the market? Avalanche, Polygon, or BSC are your best fit.

Unbothered by Rust development? Solana is where it’s at.

Want to get the best of both worlds by launching on one chain and accepting tokens from all the others? Check us out at Brydge!

Happy launching!

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