Ahh, the question of which blockchain is the best to deploy NFTs on – a question that nobody was asking just 2 years ago, but is now one of the most commonly asked questions among NFT creators entering the market.
2021 was a big year for NFTs. It was the year that NFTs turned into a $40 billion dollar industry, became the most searched word on Google, and was crowned the Collins Dictionary’s word of the year. With this massive spike in interest around NFTs, it’s not surprising that 2021 also saw the rise of various layer-1 protocols that aim to challenge the supremacy of the Ethereum network.
One such protocol, the Solana network, has been gaining in popularity due to a rapidly growing user base, increased use cases for its native assets and tokens, and a vastly expanding DeFi infrastructure. Not to mention, the Solana network also offers high speeds, low congestion, and low fees – solutions to the scalability issues and prohibitively high gas fees suffered on Ethereum.
In January this year, NFT sales on the Solana network surpassed the $1 billion mark, making it the closest competitor to Ethereum to date. Let’s take a look at how these 2 chains measure up against each other.
|Txn Speed||30 p/s||✅ 65,000 p/s|
|Gas Fees||$30 – $1000+||✅ <$0.01|
|*Unique Buyers||✅ 736,303||145,110|
|*Average Sale Price||✅ $3,064||$1,004|
|Consensus Mechanism||Proof of Work||Proof of History|
Solana – Higher Speeds, Lower Fees, Environmentally Friendly
Solana has lower transaction fees than Ethereum. A batch of transactions on Solana usually cost just a fraction of a cent, while gas fees on Ethereum regularly sit around $100 USD.
Transacting on Solana also is much faster than on Ethereum. The Solana network can process 65,000 transactions per second while Ethereum does around 30 transactions per second.
Solana has higher speeds and lower fees because of its Proof of History consensus mechanism, which builds on the Proof of Stake model and also makes Solana much more environmentally-friendly than Ethereum. We won’t get too technical here, but if you’re interested to know more, here’s a good explanation on how Proof of History works.
Ethereum – More Buyers, More Money, More Security
Though Solana offers higher speeds and lower fees, there’s a larger pool of buyers on Ethereum than on Solana. Over the last 3 months , Solana had 145,110 unique NFT buyers, while Ethereum had 736,303 – over 5 times more. There’s also more money being spent on Ethereum. NFTs on Solana sold for an average of around $1,004 over the last 3 months, while NFTs on Ethereum went for an average of about $3,064.
Is Solana Less Secure Than Ethereum?
High speeds, low fees, and a low environmental impact are very compelling reasons to use the Solana network over Ethereum, but the majority of users still prefer Ethereum. Ethereum is seen as the more secure network because it has been around longer and stood the test of time.
Solana is still a relatively new chain, and there are risks associated with any emerging crypto technology – from volatility to the potential for security exploits. In recent months, the Solana network has experienced some issues with congestion, hacks, and DoS attacks that have cast doubt on its ability to overtake Ethereum as the preeminent blockchain for NFTs even though it offers solutions to some of the biggest scalability and accessibility issues faced by Ethereum.
Most recently, $320 million worth of wrapped Ethereum was stolen by a hacker who exploited a flaw in Solana’s interface with a cross-chain bridge called Wormhole. This is no small sum to lose, and hackers should not be able to so severely compromise any leading network. Still, Solana is still in its early days, and many of the issues they have faced recently are not dissimilar to the growing pains experienced by Ethereum in its early years.
Can Solana Overtake Ethereum?
While proponents of Solana say that it’s only a matter of time before Solana surpasses Ethereum, there’s really no telling how this race will end. As Solana races to fix issues on the network, Ethereum is doing much the same, with an upgrade to a proof of stake mechanism planned for this year, which will make Ethereum more scalable, secure, and sustainable. There’s also an increasing number of layer 2 protocols, such as Immutable X, that address scalability issues on Ethereum. At least for now, Ethereum is still the safer bet.
Solana has lower gas fees, faster transaction speeds, and is more environmentally friendly than Ethereum.
Ethereum provides access to a much larger market, NFTs on Ethereum sell for higher prices on average, and the network is more secure than Solana. Each blockchain offers different benefits, so choose the blockchain that fits your needs best.