The Solana blockchain is shining brightly, and it’s partly down to a growing NFT ecosystem. It’s time, then, to take a closer look… and to see what pixelated, animal-cartoon absurdity is releasing soon.

Just last month, the Solana Foundation, in partnership with music platform Audius and NFT market builder Metaplex, announced the launch of a US $5 million “Creator Fund” to boost Solana’s NFT ecosystem.

The fund is designed to spur innovation on the Solana network from “the next wave of creators”, including artists, musicians, NFT projects and metaverse builders.

It might be too early yet to see the full effect of this initial cash injection, but there’s no doubt the NFT side of the Solana universe is heating up, which may not be a coincidence.

Just take a look at the effect the Degenerate Apes NFT avatar project has had this week, with investors and speculators piling in, sending the price of SOL soaring.


Where, and how, to buy Solana NFTs

While Ethereum has a ton of thriving NFT marketplaces, most notably OpenSea and Rarible, Solana is just getting started, so things are still comparatively limited for now.

That said, Solanart is gaining traction quickly, already providing a marketplace for five NFT collections with two more imminent. And its sales volumes seem to be picking up on the back of frenzy related to SolPunks and Degenerative Apes.

NiftySol will be the next marketplace to launch on Solana, apparently next week, and it will initially be supporting the existing, already popular NFT projects Solarians and Solana Monkey Business.

You can’t buy Solana NFTs using MetaMask at this stage, which is still largely an Ethereum-based transactional wallet that can also be used with Binance Smart Chain and Polygon.

There are Solana-specific wallet options that do the job, however, which include Sollet, Solflare and Phantom. Of the those, the Phantom wallet offers the most Metamask-like experience for swapping and storing tokens and NFTs.

Ledger Live can also be used on some specific collection sites.


Solana NFT ecosystem overview

If you’re familiar with the Ethereum NFT ecosystem, your first impression of the following lists might be that they’re just a bunch of copycat collections.

You wouldn’t be far wrong, but… that’s crypto. It’s an open-source, anything-goes kinda culture that often shamelessly rides the tide of original ideas and projects – sometimes with greater levels of success, sometimes not.

Here are some current Solana NFT collections that have been creating buzz, and some that have imminent launches…

NFT art projects (similar to Ethereum’s ArtBlocks)

  • Abstraticaone-off digital art pieces generated by “deep neural network” AI.
  • Fraktgenerative, uniquely patterned “fractal art”. Maths nerds and art nerds unite. Current floor price: 0.8 SOL (one SOL is worth about US $69 at the time of writing).

NFT avatar projects

  • Solarians 10,000 robot-themed generative NFTs, and the first built on Solana. Current floor price: 18.9 SOL (about US $1,394).
  • Solana Monkey Business5,000 generative monkey avatars. These are currently sold out.
  • ApeShit Social Club2,500 randomly generated cartoon apes, with a social club and charity angle. Current floor price: 4.9 SOL (about US $338).

Launching soon

  • Bold Badger Squad 10,000 generative avatar cartoon badgers. Bold ones, apparently. Keep an eye on their Twitter page and/or the project’s Discord channel for the time of launch. These are set to start minting some time on August 18, which might end up being August 19 AEST.
  • Kaiju Cards – described as RPG GameFi “next-gen NFT cards” on its Twitter. Presale on August 19 at 8pm (6am August 20 AEST).
  • Solbits 3D Meebits-style characters. This was due to launch today, but is delayed due to a “server-related security issue”. Check the project’s Twitter or Discord for updates.