NFT transactions on the Solana network are at an all-time high, surpassing 1M in the week ending Sept. 12 for the first time ever and 900,000 in the week ending Sept. 19.
A blockchain created to address Ethereum’s high transaction costs and slow speeds, Solana has been having a moment.
In the past two weeks, its native token, SOL, has dropped less than 2% despite a widespread selloff in the markets. Ether has fallen more than 20%.
Other measures of NFT activity have recently hit or are near all-time highs.
NFT sales volume hit an all-time high in the week ending Sept. 12, approaching 1.5M SOL, or almost $50M, according to Nansen. The number of Solana users interacting with NFTs that week was the highest since late June.
Ethereum’s high transaction fees are a barrier to entry for the average user, but they also limit wash trading, a practice in which someone transfers an asset between multiple wallets he or she owns in order to create the impression that the asset is in-demand and frequently traded, thereby inflating its value. Some took to social media to suggest Solana’s recent NFT surge was driven by such trading.
But Javier Gonzalez, a software engineer on Nansen’s NFT team, said data he’s seen suggests the growth is organic.
The action has been broad-based, with both large and small NFT collections seeing a bump. And it’s not just the latest ones, as old projects are also seeing renewed interest.
“Sometimes you could see it’s this one project taking a lot of volume, or maybe it’s people wash trading that project, but that’s not the case here,” he said. The current surge “looks like it’s either is very well orchestrated, which is unlikely, or really there is more volume everywhere in Solana.”
The surge has been driven by returning buyers rather than brand-new buyers, Gonzalez said, and was likely kicked off by the debut of the ABC and y00ts collections on Aug. 22 and Sept. 6, respectively.
Ethereum remains the most popular blockchain for NFTs.
Although NFT trading volume on Ethereum has cratered since hitting an all-time high in May, it topped 330,000 ETH — almost half a billion dollars at Thursday’s prices — in the past 30 days, according to Nansen. Despite its September surge, Solana recorded a more modest $126M in NFT trading volume in the past 30 days.
Nevertheless, it has established itself as a leading blockchain for NFT artists and collections.
“It seems like Solana has some iconic collections,” Gonzalez said. “Solana should be able to claim, ‘We are the second chain for NFTs.’”