Although NFTs are sometimes regarded with suspicion, it’s highly likely that they will stick around as an integral part of the ever-expanding crypto spectacle, and, ultimately, change the ways in which we transact online.

However, the doubts that surround them are understandable. Some NFT prices appear incomprehensible to those looking on from the outside, and the product itself is easily misinterpreted. This latter point is evidenced when people ask why anyone would pay for a JPEG that can be freely replicated, rather than focusing on the fact that unique digital tokens are being traded, and what that capacity can enable.

Proof of Concept

NFTs in their current form could be seen as a proof-of-concept experiment, but in that case they have now broken out of the lab. Yes, it turns out that the technology works, but what’s more, we now have marketplaces, showbiz tie-ups, and eye-catching events taking root around this early-stage explosion of activity.

And, despite the background criticism, NFTs have captured the public's imagination in ways that other elements of crypto cannot, dragging together programmers, speculators, artists, designers and celebrities, to mention just a few. NFTs are primarily decentralizing not finance, but culture, and alchemizing it into tradable, trackable assets.

Utilization Equals Survival

For a blockchain to survive in a meaningful sense, it must have development and users, and to have users, it must have use cases. While it might not be a truth welcomed by those hostile to NFTs, ecosystems within which strong NFT communities develop are at an advantage. It is notable that during market crashes and bearish periods, NFT spaces have tended to remain relatively active.

As such, it is worth keeping tabs on some of the primary NFT blockchains, as these are likely to be comparatively busy throughout tough market conditions, and stand a good chance of making solid gains when sentiment and circumstances pick up.

Ethereum

Such is Ethereum’s dominance of the NFT space, that it can be considered the default blockchain for NFTs. If a project doesn’t explicitly say that it is using another platform, then it is probably operating on Ethereum.

However, gas fees and an initially uninviting user experience are problems, and may remain so for some time, while competitors make up ground. Ethereum still has a strong first mover advantage, but the likelihood is that its dominance will be less absolute in future.

Solana

Catching up rapidly with Ethereum is Solana. Leading NFT marketplace OpenSea integrated Solana NFTs earlier this year, but Magic Eden, which also has its own project launchpad, remains the primary Solana marketplace. Working to Solana’s advantage are its cheap transaction fees, along with a comparatively accessible user experience for beginners, particularly through the Phantom wallet.

Criticism of Solana is that it is too centralized, and that the network has repeatedly broken down. If crypto were to split off into a purist branch that values decentralization, and a more corporate, VC-led region that strays from founding principles, then Solana would perhaps be in the latter camp. Overall, though, its solid NFT culture enhances the likelihood that it will continue to grow.

Cardano

As a whole, Cardano tends to be of an academic, heavily tech-focused character, with a strong emphasis on decentralization and beneficial use cases. To an extent, the atmosphere of the Cardano NFT space reflects that, coming across as more thoughtful, and arguably less reckless, than what you sometimes find on Solana.

However, that is partly because Cardano NFTs, primarily traded on the JPG Store marketplace, are still playing catch up, and not yet doing the kinds of volume you can find on Solana, let alone on Ethereum. As such, there is significant future potential in Cardano, buoyed by its NFT community, as it offers the low fees of Solana, but with greater reliability, a commitment to decentralization, and genuine belief in crypto as a long-term social good.

Tezos

Very artistic and leftfield, and easy to get lost in, there is the Tezos-based NFT space. Competitors who lay claim to a specific niche often excel, and when it comes to NFTs, Tezos appears to be doing precisely that, becoming positioned as the go-to chain for artists and explicitly art-focused projects.

Critically, the network is growing, with NFT sales volumes up and Tezos marketplaces such as Objkt and Teia gaining increased recognition. What’s more, many Tezos users have made a point of emphasizing the blockchain’s environmental credentials, with reference to clean NFTs and low energy expenditure.

Distinct Identities

Solana, Cardano and Tezos are by no means the only Ethereum alternatives on which there is NFT activity, but stand out through having strong distinct identities. Additionally, NFT communities on these blockchains are particularly vocal in defending and promoting their respective ecosystems. This can come across as excessive, and even, at times, overly hostile towards competition and critics, but this kind of all-in attitude may have played a role in their growth.

After all, the commitment, competitiveness and a focused desire to come out on top are rarely a hindrance in a truly free-market environment, and there is currently no market as stripped down and ruthless as that around crypto.

Although NFTs are sometimes regarded with suspicion, it’s highly likely that they will stick around as an integral part of the ever-expanding crypto spectacle, and, ultimately, change the ways in which we transact online.

However, the doubts that surround them are understandable. Some NFT prices appear incomprehensible to those looking on from the outside, and the product itself is easily misinterpreted. This latter point is evidenced when people ask why anyone would pay for a JPEG that can be freely replicated, rather than focusing on the fact that unique digital tokens are being traded, and what that capacity can enable.

Proof of Concept

NFTs in their current form could be seen as a proof-of-concept experiment, but in that case they have now broken out of the lab. Yes, it turns out that the technology works, but what’s more, we now have marketplaces, showbiz tie-ups, and eye-catching events taking root around this early-stage explosion of activity.

And, despite the background criticism, NFTs have captured the public's imagination in ways that other elements of crypto cannot, dragging together programmers, speculators, artists, designers and celebrities, to mention just a few. NFTs are primarily decentralizing not finance, but culture, and alchemizing it into tradable, trackable assets.

Utilization Equals Survival

For a blockchain to survive in a meaningful sense, it must have development and users, and to have users, it must have use cases. While it might not be a truth welcomed by those hostile to NFTs, ecosystems within which strong NFT communities develop are at an advantage. It is notable that during market crashes and bearish periods, NFT spaces have tended to remain relatively active.

As such, it is worth keeping tabs on some of the primary NFT blockchains, as these are likely to be comparatively busy throughout tough market conditions, and stand a good chance of making solid gains when sentiment and circumstances pick up.

Ethereum

Such is Ethereum’s dominance of the NFT space, that it can be considered the default blockchain for NFTs. If a project doesn’t explicitly say that it is using another platform, then it is probably operating on Ethereum.

However, gas fees and an initially uninviting user experience are problems, and may remain so for some time, while competitors make up ground. Ethereum still has a strong first mover advantage, but the likelihood is that its dominance will be less absolute in future.

Solana

Catching up rapidly with Ethereum is Solana. Leading NFT marketplace OpenSea integrated Solana NFTs earlier this year, but Magic Eden, which also has its own project launchpad, remains the primary Solana marketplace. Working to Solana’s advantage are its cheap transaction fees, along with a comparatively accessible user experience for beginners, particularly through the Phantom wallet.

Criticism of Solana is that it is too centralized, and that the network has repeatedly broken down. If crypto were to split off into a purist branch that values decentralization, and a more corporate, VC-led region that strays from founding principles, then Solana would perhaps be in the latter camp. Overall, though, its solid NFT culture enhances the likelihood that it will continue to grow.

Cardano

As a whole, Cardano tends to be of an academic, heavily tech-focused character, with a strong emphasis on decentralization and beneficial use cases. To an extent, the atmosphere of the Cardano NFT space reflects that, coming across as more thoughtful, and arguably less reckless, than what you sometimes find on Solana.

However, that is partly because Cardano NFTs, primarily traded on the JPG Store marketplace, are still playing catch up, and not yet doing the kinds of volume you can find on Solana, let alone on Ethereum. As such, there is significant future potential in Cardano, buoyed by its NFT community, as it offers the low fees of Solana, but with greater reliability, a commitment to decentralization, and genuine belief in crypto as a long-term social good.

Tezos

Very artistic and leftfield, and easy to get lost in, there is the Tezos-based NFT space. Competitors who lay claim to a specific niche often excel, and when it comes to NFTs, Tezos appears to be doing precisely that, becoming positioned as the go-to chain for artists and explicitly art-focused projects.

Critically, the network is growing, with NFT sales volumes up and Tezos marketplaces such as Objkt and Teia gaining increased recognition. What’s more, many Tezos users have made a point of emphasizing the blockchain’s environmental credentials, with reference to clean NFTs and low energy expenditure.

Distinct Identities

Solana, Cardano and Tezos are by no means the only Ethereum alternatives on which there is NFT activity, but stand out through having strong distinct identities. Additionally, NFT communities on these blockchains are particularly vocal in defending and promoting their respective ecosystems. This can come across as excessive, and even, at times, overly hostile towards competition and critics, but this kind of all-in attitude may have played a role in their growth.

After all, the commitment, competitiveness and a focused desire to come out on top are rarely a hindrance in a truly free-market environment, and there is currently no market as stripped down and ruthless as that around crypto.