Solana is a blockchain that allows initiating smart contracts, dApps, and NFTs in an open, decentralized environment. Despite launching the network in 2020, it became one of the main Ethereum alternatives due to its colossal bandwidth and extra-low transaction fees. This article will tell you about blockchain’s advantages for creating an NFT marketplace on Solana and its development price.
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Solana blockchain advantages
Sixty-five thousand transactions per second (TPS).
Solana blockchain advantages. Source
During the potential bandwidth test, Solana blockchain proved that it could process up to 65 000 TPS while average load and 190 000 TPS during high peak load. The project team claims that as the network develops, the capability will grow to 700 000 transactions per second.
Transaction cost is as little as $0,00025.
The result of testing Solana’s blockchain bandwidth under laboratory conditions. Source
Thanks to the extra-low transaction fees, Solana is one of the most cost-efficient blockchains thanks to the extra-low transaction fees. The costs are low both in terms of crypto transactions and initializing smart contracts. It’s essential if you plan to develop an NFT platform since creating NFTs employs smart contracts, costing more than regular transactions.
Minting an NFT on Solana costs $0,0004. For comparison, minting NFT on Ethereum costs $18 to $150, depending on the current rate.
Solana is more straightforward and cheap to cost.
This network employs Rust programming language. It is much easier and more popular that Solidity, the programming language for Ethereum smart contracts. It makes finding experienced professionals easier, and the development price will be significantly lower. Furthermore, Solana has a special protocol called LLVM. The protocol allows transferring smart contracts and dApps from WASM networks (Ethereum 2.0, Polkadot, Dfinity, and EOS) to Solana.
Solana has no mempool issues.
Mempool is the wait zone where initiated yet not approved transactions stay. In slow networks like Ethereum and Bitcoin, the load on the blockchain is often higher than its bandwidth. As a result, there is a queue in the mempool. The users have to pay higher transaction fees to move in the line. Hence, the fees on Ethereum in the recent year were often above $40. In May 2022, it skyrocketed to $196 per transaction.
Transaction fee on Ethereum in the first half of 2022. Source
Solana vs. other blockchains comparisons
How to develop an NFT marketplace on Solana
As a rule, NFT marketplaces follow a similar process. First, a user creates an account and links their cryptocurrency wallet used for storing NFTs and as an authorization key on the website. Next, the users can mint their NFTs and attach files (videos, images, GIFs, audios, texts, etc.) they want to tokenize.
The next step in the process s selling the NFTs on the marketplace. A user can pick their sales type (fixed price or auction), preferred payment methods (crypto, fiat), duration (an hour, day, or week), and lot description. The lot must pass a moderation process, namely verifying the correspondence to marketplace rules and then listing it. After it, anyone can buy the asset and at it to their wallet.
Here is a step-by-step instruction for creating an NFT marketplace on Solana:
Step 1: define your niche
General NFT market.
All NFT platforms are typical of two types: general and specialized. General marketplaces offer various NFTs: art, sports, collectibles, video games, music, etc. You can create an NFT marketplace and provide a platform for numerous kinds of NFTs. It will broaden your target audience, yet the promotion will be more complicated since you will have to compete with market leaders like OpenSea, Rarible, and Mintable.
Specialized NFT platform.
Another solution is to launch a niche platform like Valuables that sells famous people's tweets. Using this approach, you can create a personalized design and increase the marketing strategy efficiency.
Here are several promising niches you can pick for your NFT platform:
- Art. It is the most apparent, popular, and developed sector in NFTs. Many beginner and advanced artists sell their digital paintings as NFTs since it's beneficial and popular.
- Video games. Selling game characters and items is the second most popular sector in NFTs. Yet, many markets are just additions to video games (monetization methods). Today, there is no popular NFT marketplace for trading NFTs from various game projects. Perhaps, you could create the first.
- Real estate. This is the most exciting idea for developing an NFT marketplace, as tokenizing such transactions will make them much cheaper, as blockchain will remove many intermediaries.
- Collectibles. NFTs can be utilized to represent digital collectibles in the same way that conventional physical card collections (sports, gaming, philately, and more) do. You may not think this is promising since you can create as many digital cards as you want, but history shows otherwise: on the NBA Top Shot platform in February 2021, the NFT LeBron slam dunk card was sold for $208,000. And it's far from the most expensive sports card.
- Event tickets. Scalping, fake tickets, lack of standards, and high service costs are severe problems in the sports, music, and theater business, and they can all be solved with blockchain and NFT. More on this topic is in the article, "How can NFT ticketing change the ticketing industry?"
- Music. Musicians can now tokenize and publish their work as non-fungible tokens, thanks to blockchain and smart contracts. This will expand the range of opportunities available to artists to monetize and profit from their music, as well as other content related to music and the artist's image.
- Science. In May 2021, the University of California, Berkeley, announced that patents on two Nobel Prize-winning medical technologies, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and cancer immunotherapy, would be sold through NFT. Now such things are sold through auction houses, which is time-consuming and inconvenient, creating an opportunity to launch an NFT platform.
Step 2: select a blockchain developer
As you define the niche, the next step is searching for and hiring a developer that will make your business idea become a secure and functional piece of software. We at Merehead have provided extensive technical support since 2015. We offer software development services in blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFT industries. Not only that, but we will be happy to help you launch an NFT marketplace in your preferred niche.
Step 3: select a project monetization model
The next step of developing an NFT platform requires determining the monetization model. In other words, stating the method, you will use to earn money. There are several models, namely:
- Fee monetization model. It is the most common model for online markets, including NFT marketplaces. The idea is to charge a small fee from 1% to 15% from the deal suppliers that use the platform. Put another way, shop administrators will gain income by charging the sales of platform users.
- Subscription monetization model. If there is sufficient traffic on the platform, one can consider the subscription model that will charge the users once a month, half a year, or a year. This is a rare approach since the platform must have a significant advantage over the competitors, like very rare and popular NFTs available only on your platform.
- Freemium monetization model. According to this approach, the platform offers both free and paid services. Usually, anyone can trade on the platform, yet there is limited access to free functional; for instance, only ten deals a month, or free product cards will look worse than paid ones.
- Lead reward model. This is the most common monetization strategy for online markets offering services. Here, NFTs suppliers pay a fee for each visitor to their shop likewise context advertisement payments.
- Listing fee model. It is also a widely used monetization model, where there is a fee charged for any NFT listed on the marketplace. Moreover, the fee is charged regardless the lot was purchased or not.
Step 4: specify the marketplace function
This page will attract the users to your NFT platform and nudge them to register and buy assets. For this reason, the showcase must be as appealing as possible and have a typical design so the users can figure out how to use it at first glance. Furthermore, the NFTs on the platform must contain all info: price, owner, description, and preferred payment method.
The showcase on the Rarible NFT marketplace.
Integration with wallets.
Wallets are dedicated applications that allow managing cryptocurrency assets, including NFTs. You must have several integrations with cryptocurrency wallets at your marketplace so that the users can pick their preferred option. Metamask, Coinbase Wallet are popular solutions. Also, wallets like AlphaWallet, Enjin, TrustWallet, PillarWallet, MathWallet, and Binance Chain Wallet are common.
Minting NFT assets.
Your NFT marketplace must also offer to create new tokens. The process must be fast and straightforward since the NFT market brings mostly newbies without experience in using blockchain, smart contracts, and NFTs. In a perfect case, the process must be as simple as publishing advertisements on Craiglist, OLX, or Amazon.
NFT minting process scheme. Source
Creating an NFT doesn’t list it automatically on the marketplace. It requires the user to do the following steps: writing a description and stating a payment and sale method. Next, the moderator will verify the lot, and if it corresponds to the platform rules, it is listed on the marketplace.
Creating and selling an NFT on the OpenSea.
Smart search function.
NFT platform should allow recording, storing, and displaying users’ history, including trading data, transaction history, created, listed, and sold NFTs. Apparently, the platform must have a search system to allow users to find the information they need.
Developing an NFT marketplace with advanced filtering options will help users find the right NFT of their choice quickly. This will make your marketplace more attractive to all users and increase the speed of selling NFTs.
Ratings and feedback.
It’s not a necessary function, yet today it is essential. Users are used to looking at other people's reactions, and when they don't see it, they start looking elsewhere. This creates conditions for traffic leakage from the site, which is worth avoiding. It's also helpful in building trust and preventing fraud on your trading platform.
Most popular NFT assets on the OpenSea.
In addition to selling NFTs at a fixed price, you should also offer your users the option to sell the item through an auction. This will be an added advantage for users when determining the cost of an NFT. Also, an auction makes bidding more interesting.
Based on a user's transactions and search history, the platform may be able to send alerts and messages to users. For example, if their favorite artist's token appears on the market or some obscure activity occurs with their account.
This function can bring more users since it allows NFT creators to gain income on the resale of their tokens.
All NFT trading floors should include a comprehensive customer support system via text chat, live call, or Knowledge Center to ensure that all user concerns are addressed and all their queries are adequately answered.
Step 5: designing an excellent interface
The next stage of the NFT marketplace development is to decide what its user interface will look like. Optimally, if it will be both similar to the design of other popular NFT platforms and at the same time somehow stand out.
Technical stack of the NFT-marketplace interface:
- Programming languages for web: Angular.JS, React.JS, and Vue.JS.
- Programming languages for mobile: Java, Kotlin for Android, and Swift for iOS.
- Architecture: MVVM for Android and MVC, MVP, MVVM, and VIPER for iOS.
- IDE: Android Studio and Xcode for iOS.
- SDK: Android SDK and iOS SDK.
Step 6: develop smart contracts
The logic of how your NFT platform interacts with the Solana blockchain will be set up in smart contracts (Solana calls them "programs"). They will be responsible for minting NFTs and buying and selling them on your trading platform. The Solana network uses C, C++, and Rust for smart contracts.
Step 7: develop the server part
Despite smart contracts, your platform requires a backend development that will be responsible for storing and processing massive data volume outside the blockchain.
Technical stack for the server part of an NFT marketplace:
- Frameworks: Spring, Symfony, Flask.
- Programming languages: Java, PHP, Python.
- Databases SQL: MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, MS SQL, Oracle.
- Databases NoSQL: MongoDB, Kassandra, DynamoDB.
- Search engines: Apache Solr, Elasticsearch.
- DevOps: GitLab CI, TeamCity, GoCD Jenkins, WS CodeBuild, Terraform.
- Cache: Redis, Memcached.
Step 8: test your product
This step helps developers identify and fix critical bugs, security issues, or glitches. In addition, it is imperative to verify the correct operation and security of smart contracts, as they are the main target of hackers who want to steal your users' money and NFTs.
Step 9: launch the NFT marketplace