The rise in NFT technology has marked is one of the most successful projects in the decentralized ecosystem. It is backed by the effectiveness of smart contract-based blockchain networks, enabling content creators to design provably unique digital tokens with a wide and varied range of use cases. Several active blockchains are equipped with smart contract functionality to suit NFT creation, with some providing specific benefits for those that interact with them. This guide is an extensive look at the best blockchains for creating, trading and interacting with NFT technology. Read on to find out the top blockchains for NFTs.
1. Ethereum Blockchain
The Ethereum blockchain is a solidity-based network conceived by Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer, in 2013. The open-source network was co-developed with Gavin Wood and released on July 30, 2015. Ethereum is the premier blockchain with smart contract functionality; it introduced the smart contract concept to the decentralized landscape, making it the OG of the technology. Since then, the Ethereum network, whose native token is $ETH, has been a sanctuary to several decentralized developments that birthed projects like DeFi, the Metaverse, and NFTs.
As the premier blockchain for smart contracts, the network tops the list of reputable blockchains for NFTs with its ERC-721 and ERC-1155 token standards. ERC-721 is the token standard for NFTs created on the network, while the ERC-1155 is a multi-token standard for creating fungible and non-fungible tokens.
As one of the most secure networks, it began with a PoW (Proof-of-Work) consensus mechanism to validate transactions. However, it adopted the current PoS (Proof-of-Stake) consensus mechanism in its technical upgrade dubbed “the Merge” in September 2022. The merge increased the network’s scalability from 30 TPS (transactions per second) to 100,000 TPS and reduced its energy consumption by approximately 99.95%.
Ethereum has recorded almost $38 billion in sales volume and has completed over 32 million transactions with over 2.8 million buyers. The top NFT collections on the Ethereum network include BAYC, CryptoPunks, MAYC, Art Blocks, Otherdeed, and Azuki.
The Ethereum network currently hosts over 30 NFT marketplaces, including OpenSea, Rarible, Magic Eden, Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, LooksRare, and Blur.
The Solana blockchain is another open-source blockchain network, and is written in the RUST language. It was proposed in November 2017 and co-founded by Anatoly Yakovenko, Greg Fitzgerald, Raj Gokal, Eric Williams, and Stephen Akridge. The Solana network became operational in 2020 when its first block was created on March 16, with $SOL being its native token. The network runs a comprehensive PoS consensus mechanism dubbed “Tower BFT” to mitigate network cost and latency. The Tower BFT uses Solana’s Proof-of-History (PoH) as a reminder before consensus, making it the first blockchain to use PoH.
This PoH was instrumental to Solana’s scalability; it helped reduce the time required for reaching consensus on transactions, making it scale more transactions quickly. Solana has a theoretical scalability of up to 50,000 TPS and can practically process over 3,000 TPS at a lower transaction fee (with a $1.5 average mint cost). It has smart contract functionality, making it a sanctuary for NFT creation.
According to SOLSCAN, there are over 33 million NFTs with 274,693 collections across 20 marketplaces on the Solana network. According to Cryptoslam, Solana has recorded over $3.7 billion in sales volume in almost 22 million transactions. The top NFT collections on the Solana network include DeGods, Aurory, GGSG, y00ts, SolPunks, Degen Ape, Primate, and Solana Monkey business. Top marketplaces on Solana include MagicEden, OpenSea, Solsea, TensorSwap, HadeSwap, Exchange Art, Solanart, Form Function, and HyperSpace.
The Polygon network is a layer 2 blockchain that processes transactions for the Ethereum network. Formerly known as Matic, it is an eco-friendly network that has adopted the PoS consensus mechanism with $MATIC being its native token. The Network was originally launched by Mumbai software engineers Jaynti Kanani, Mihailo Bjelic, Anurag Arjun, and Sandeep Mailwa in 2017, with its first block created on June 1, 2020. The Matic Network was later rebranded into Polygon in February 2021.
Being A Layer 2 network to the Ethereum network, Polygon addresses the low scalability and high transaction fees on the Ethereum network, which provides security for the Polygon network. The Polygon network is developed to achieve up to 7,000 TPS with an average transaction cost of $0.017. As a smart contract-compatible network, Polygon can interact with Dapps, DeFi, DAOs, and NFTs.
Furthermore, Polygon has partnered with reputable brands like Disney (July 2022) for onboarding into AR, NFT, and AI, Indian Police in Firozabad (in October 2022) for crime reporting, and Shemaroo entertainment (in February 2023) to launch its maiden NFT marketplace.
According to Cryptoslam, Polygon has recorded over $740 million in sales volume in over 5.5 million transactions from 1.04 million buyers. Its highest sales volume of over $285 million was recorded in February 2022, with over 237k transactions. According to DappRadar, the top NFT collections on the Polygon network include Zed Run, Aavegotchi, Decentral Games ICE Poker, Chicken Derby, and The Sandbox. The top marketplaces include OpenSea, Rarible, Floor, NFTify, NFTrade, OKX NFT Marketplace, Jump.trade, and Refinable.
The Ronin network is an Ethereum sidechain created by Sky Mavis, the company behind Axie Infinity, in February 2021. The PoA (Proof-of-Authority) network was developed for a reliable, fast, and affordable network designed specifically for decentralized games. The Ronin network has its native $RON token, and Ronin crypto wallet to manage transactions.
Ronin is also synonymous with NFT creation; its native Axie Infinity NFT collection ranks Ronin as the second network with the highest sales volume after the Ethereum network, according to Cryptoslam. However, the Axie Infinity collection ranks 1st among its contemporaries as an all-time best-sold collection, with over $4.2 billion in sales volume spreading across over 18.8 million transactions. The Axie Infinity collection is the only NFT currently on the network; since it’s the native chain for the P2E (Play-to-Earn) game, with Axie Marketplace currently being the only marketplace on Ronin.
The Flow blockchain is a permissionless layer 1 network, originally designed for games by Dapper Labs (the brain behind CryptoKitties) in May 2020. Dapper Labs announced Flow blockchain in September 2019 and became operational in 2020. Like the Ronin network, Flow was initially developed to meet Dapper Labs games’ needs and later became public by supporting other dapps. Its fast and affordable transactions, alongside smart contract functionality, extended its use cases to powering dapps and promoting Web3 adoption.
The Flow network uses a modified PoS consensus mechanism to validate transactions and uses SPoCKs (Specialized Proofs of Confidential Knowledge) to ensure that the execution and verification nodes operate correctly. The network processes transactions in 10 seconds at a cost of 0.00001 $FLOW. It has seamlessly processed over 350 million transactions and ranks #2 in NFT transaction volume. According to Cryptoslam, the Flow network has recorded over $1.21 billion in NFT sales, with the highest sales, over $224 million, recorded in February 2021.
The top NFT collections on the Flow network include NBA Top Shot, LaLiga Golazos, NFL All Day, The Football Club, UFC Strike, Doodle 2 Wearables, DGD Mafia, and Metaverse Football League. NFT marketplaces on the Flow network include Flowverse NFT, NBA Top Shot, BloctoBay, VIV3, Epix, Gaia Marketplace, Starly, and nWayPlay.
6. BNB Smart Chain (BSC)
The BNB Smart Chain is another blockchain network with smart contract functionality. The network began as two disparate chains (Binance Smart chain and Binance chain), which were later forged into BNB Smart Chain in February 2022 for optimum decentralization. The BNB chain is the brainchild of Changpeng Zhao, popularly called “CZ,” the founder of the Binance empire.
The network adopts the PoSA (Proof-of-Stake Authority) dubbed “Parlia” as its consensus mechanism. The PoSA consensus incorporates Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) and Proof-of-Authority (PoA). The Parlia refers to its core consensus algorithm built on a network of delegators and validators. The delegators appoint 21 validators every 24 hours through voting; having the highest number of staked BNBs is a significant criterion for being a validator.
According to a recent roadmap released by Binance, the network is gearing towards increasing its scalability through a multi-chain strategy. The strategy will increase scalability from the theoretical 2,200 TPS to 5,000 TPS. Like ERC-721, BEP-721 is the token standard for NFTs created on the BSC network. BSC also replicates the ERC-1155 token standard with its BEP-1155 token standard with corresponding functionality. Gas price varies, depending on the magnitude of data involved, and it is measured in Gwei.
The BNB chain has recorded over $170 million in NFT sales volume with over 1.6 million transactions. The network is home to many NFTs, including MOBOX, PancakeSwap Squad, Pancake Bunnies, Polychain Monsters, and Non-Fungible Apes. The network also hosts marketplaces such as AirNFTs, Element market, BitKeep NFT market, Liquiditfty, Rareboard, NFTKEY marketplace, and NFTb
Tezos is an open-source network capable of deploying smart contracts and minting NFTs. It is an LPoS (Liquid Proof-of-Stake) blockchain network proposed by Arthur and Kathleen Breitman in 2014. The network went live in 2018; its Testnet was launched on June 30, while its Mainnet became operational in September of that year. Its native token is $XTZ, which, unknown to many, is not an ERC-20 token standard. Tezos has its native token standard (TZIP); however, $XTZ is a proto-token created before the chain’s token standard, like ETH.
The TZIP (Tezos Improvement Process) standards reflect tokens’ features and smart contract specifications. The two exceptional standards are TZIP-7 (FA1.2) and TZIP-12 (FA2). The TZIP-7 token standard replicates the notable ERC-20 fungible tokens, while the TZIP-12 incorporates the multi-asset feature of ERC-721, ERC-1155, and more.
While it is safe to regard the TZIP-7 as the fungible standard, the TZIP-12 represents a unified token standard beyond NFTs. Aside from being compatible with fungible and non-fungible tokens, the FA2 standard is also compatible with non-transferable assets (equivalent to the ERC-1238) and multi-asset contracts (equivalent to the ERC-1155). So all tokens created on Tezos bear either of these standards or a combination of two or more.
According to Tezos ecosystem, the network incorporates over 100 dapps, including 6 block explorers, 6 baking tools (staking), 15 communities, 24 DeFi protocols, 19 Dev tools, 33 NFT dapps, 10 gaming platforms, 4 digital identity dapps, and 6 stablecoins. These and many more posit Tezos blockchain as a flexible and comprehensive decentralized network with seamless and forkless upgrade potentials.
Thanks to its recent Mumbai upgrade Tezos has reportedly increased its potential transaction throughput to 1 million TPS with its layer 2 Smart Rollups. According to Cryptoslam, Tezos has recorded over $60 million in NFT sales across over 2 million transactions. Its highest sales volume of $8.47 million was recorded in October 2021 across over 305k transactions.
Top NFT collections on the Tezos blockchain include, TezNouns, The Devils (Manchester United collectible NFTs), McLaren Racing, DOGAMI, web zero, and No Sun-No Name. According to DappRadar and Tezos ecosystem, the top NFT marketplaces on the Tezos network are Objkt.com, Fxhash, hic et nunc, and OneOf.
Cardano is an open-source blockchain network written in the Haskell programming language. It is the premier PoS network to adopt Ouroboros, a peer-reviewed blockchain protocol. Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood co-founded Cardano in 2015 after leaving Ethereum as a co-founder in 2014. Hoskinson left Ethereum over a conflict of opinion with Vitalik Buterin. Cardano became operational on September 27, 2017, with $ADA being its native token.
The Ouroboros protocol highly secures the Cardano network, which prevents the ecosystem from Sybil attacks and other threats. Furthermore, it also securely validates transactions and interactions, making it scalable using side chains, multi-ledger, and parallel transaction processes. According to an official report, Cardano’s Hydra scaling solution can process approximately 2 million TPS. The network has been excellent for various enterprises, including Education, Retail, Agriculture, Government, Finance, and Healthcare, to address bottlenecks in respective sectors.
The Cardano network also has smart contract functionality, making it a haven for NFT minting and transactions. According to Cryptoslam, Cardano has recorded over $485 million in NFT sales volume across over 4 million transactions. Its highest sales of over $62.5 million were recorded in April 2022. According to Cardano Cube, the network shelters several utility projects ranging from wallets, DEXes, DeFi, Infrastructure, Launchpad, Marketplaces, Identity & Data dapps, Payment & Stablecoins, Explorers & Tools, Dev tools, Metaverse, DAO, Meme Coins, and Social dapps.
According to Cardano Cube, the Cardano network also shelters NFT tools and marketplaces such as Jpeg.store, Book.io, CNFT.io, Dropspot, Galaxy of Art, and Dramz Auction House. According to DappRadar, the top NFT collections using the Cardano ecosystem include Chilled kongz, The Ape Society, Clay Nation, SpaceBudz, and Chains of war.
WAX (Worldwide Asset eXchange) is a purpose-built decentralized ecosystem for NFTs and Web3 games. It was co-founded in 2017 by William Quigley and Jonathan Yantis and used DPoS (Delegated Proof-of-Stake) as its consensus mechanism. WAX is a robust decentralized network with blockchain tools to facilitate the creation of dapps, NFTs, and marketplaces. On WAX, users can develop NFTs and Games for free. It uses voting rewards to incentivize participation in block production and proposal submission.
The WAX native token is $WAXP, an ERC-20 standard token that can be exchanged with other tokens on its ecosystem through the WAXP-Ethereum Bridge. As one of the leading gaming and NFT ecosystem, WAX has a super-fast transaction speed, producing a block every 0.5 seconds. According to Cryptoslam, WAX has recorded over $466 million in NFT sales across 25.4 million transactions. Its highest sales of over $142.6 million were recorded in November 2021, with over 1.1 million transactions.
Top NFT collections on WAX include Funko, Alien Worlds, Nickelodeon Cartoons Series 1, Farming Tales, Blockchain Brawlers, and Dungeon Items. As gaming-cum NFT blockchain, WAX also shelters games like The Forge Arena, R-Planet, Splinterlands, Clash Dome, Cosmic clash, and Mecha World. The top marketplaces on the WAX network include AtomicHub, NeftyBlocks, NFTHive, Collectables.io, Myth.Market, Waxplorer, and Waxstash.
Avalanche is a multi-chain open-source network known for its sustainability, transaction speed, and cost. It is a PoS network that began in May 2018 as a protocol that solves consensus in a network of undependable machines with Byzantine or crash fault failures. In March 2020, Avalanche became an open-source network co-developed by Emin Gün Sirer, Maofan “Ted” Yin, and Kevin Sekniqi, and its native token, $AVAX, was issued in September of the same year.
As a layer 1 network, Avalanche aims to achieve optimum decentralization, security, and scalability. To accomplish these three essential features of decentralized networks, Avalanche delegated tasks to different chains on its network. Avalanche is a multi-chain consisting of three blockchain networks, the X-chain, C-chain, and P-chain.
- The X-chain (Exchange Chain) is used to create NFTs, stablecoins, new tokens, etc. It is also used to create and trade Avalanche-based digital assets, with $AVAX being the acceptable transaction fee.
- The C-chain (Contract Chain) is primarily for developers. It manages Avalanche’s smart contracts, which are used for dapps creation by developers. Avalanche’s smart contracts are EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compliant so developers can use Ethereum smart contracts on Avalanche.
- The P-chain (Platform Chain) is used by validators for staking AVAX, allowing validators to stake their AVAX on the P-chain to earn rewards. The P-chain can also be used to develop layer 1 or 2 blockchains, popularly called “subnets” in the Avalanche ecosystem.
The architectural design of Avalanche allows the network to connect to sidechains and support layer 2 solutions. Avalanche can process up to 6,500 TPS, which can be infinite with its subnets. The Avalanche ecosystem is home to over 300 decentralized projects ranging from DEX aggregators, DeFi protocols, Multi-chain, CEX, Infrastructure, Gaming, Bridge, Nodes, Explorers, NFTs, and Wallets.
According to Cryptoslam, the Avalanche network has recorded over $400 million in NFT sales across over 865k transactions. Its highest sales volume of $152.1 million was recorded in January 2022 across 157,930 transactions. According to DappRadar, the top NFT collections on Avalanche include Castle Crush, AvaPepes, Midgardian Generation Zero, Pixel Pops, The Vintners, and Navy Seal Game. The top marketplaces on Avalanche include NFTrade, Element, OpenSea, NFTKEY, and OKX NFT Marketplace.
ImmutableX is a magnificent open-source layer 2 blockchain network for Web3 games and NFTs. It is the first NFT scaling solution on the Ethereum network that addresses the expensive NFT minting and transaction costs. Its massive scalability (up to 9,000 TPS) ensures instant trade confirmation at $0 gas fees. Founded by James and Robbie Ferguson in June 2018, the network uses the Volition process, which involves choosing between Zk Rollups and Validium during transactions.
ImmutableX allows everyone to create their NFTs, marketplaces, decentralized games, and other dapps with instant trades and zero gas fees. According to an official source, ImmutableX has minted over 63 million NFTs in 2023. Furthermore, over 11.3 million NFT trades have been recorded, with over 4 billion kWh of energy saved due to its 100% carbon neutrality. Its native token is $IMX, an ERC-20 token. Immutable X is the best choice for freeing NFTs (not lazy minting).
According to Cryptoslam, ImmutableX has recorded $347.5 million in NFT sales across over 12.9 million transactions. The top NFT collections on the ImmutableX network are Illuvitars, Cross The Ages, Gods Unchained, Kira Genesis Collection, D1SK, Guild of Guardians Heroes, and Ember Sword. Top NFT marketplaces on ImmutableX include Immutable X, GameStop, Rarible, Kinguin, Cross The Ages, and Mintable.
12. XRP Ledger
XRP Ledger is an open source, decentralized public blockchain that allows anyone to connect and engage with peer to peer transactions. It is a layer 1 blockchain that operates uses a Federated Consensus mechanism in order to validate transactions. The XRP Ledger was conceived in 2011 by a trio of software engineers – David Schwartz, Jed McCaleb, and Arthur Britto – and has operated continuously since January 2013.
Thanks to its unique consensus mechanism, the XRP Ledger currently operates through 150 validators located all around the globe. These are operated by universities, exchanges, businesses and individuals, and can be set up by anyone anywhere, but cannot make any decision independently.
The XRP Ledger can support 1,500 TPS with a confirmation speed of around 4 seconds, and operates on a true carbon neutral basis, with very low transaction fees.
The blockchain has recently introduced NFTs into its ecosystem running on the XLS-20 token standard. Top marketplaces on the XRP Ledger include, onXRP, XRPNFT, xrp.cafe, and xMart with prominent collections including XPUNKS, TERROR TEDDIEs, and Bored Ape XRP Club.
There are several smart contract-based blockchains across the decentralized landscape. They all have their respective functionalities and perks that rank them ahead of their contemporaries. However, these decentralized networks are outstanding in delivering their great functionalities. Aside from the above-highlighted decentralized networks, other blockchains suitable for NFTs include
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