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Breakpoint 2023: Compressed NFTs - 'Bubblegum goes Brrr'

Metaplex unveils highly efficient compressed NFTs, revolutionizing the digital asset space on Solana

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


At Breakpoint 2023, the Metaplex team introduced a groundbreaking innovation in the digital asset space: compressed NFTs on the Solana blockchain. This new technology, known as Bubblegum, has significantly reduced the cost of minting NFTs, making it incredibly affordable to create digital assets on a large scale. With over 100 million NFTs minted using Metaplex and 14 million unique wallets, the team elucidated how compressed NFTs are not only cost-effective but also sustain the ideals of decentralization and offer various new use cases across gaming, loyalty programs, community building, and more.

Key Points:

Compressed NFTs and Their Impact

Metaplex Foundation's latest offering drastically lowers the cost of minting NFTs on Solana. Compressed NFTs can be minted at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional NFTs and even to lesser costs than other Layer 2 solutions. For instance, 100,000 NFTs can be created with only four Sol, and a billion NFTs for 500 Sol - a stark contrast to the staggering $31 billion it would cost on Ethereum. This makes Solana's new cost structure unique in the crypto landscape and potentially unlocks new use cases, including higher volume collections and microtransactions in digital applications.

Technical Aspects of Compressed NFTs

Breaking down the technicality, the Metaplex team explained that compressed NFTs work under the Bubblegum program on Solana through a process involving SPL account compression and a Merkle tree structure. This process creates a 32-byte hash 'leaf' for each NFT, maintaining the metadata integrity and supporting efficient transfers. In addition, a reference Digital Asset Standard (DAS) API has been improved to handle these assets effectively. Despite misconceptions, the data is always on-chain and decentralized, and users aren't locked to a single indexer, showcasing the robust nature of Solana's blockchain infrastructure.

Applications and Potential

Metaplex's new NFTs are not just about reducing costs—they cater to a variety of real-world applications. They can reshape loyalty programs, provide secure means for content distribution, and enhance community experiences online. Particularly in gaming, compressed NFTs serve as ideal assets due to their flexibility and efficiency. The Solana blockchain acts as a globally distributed, reliable back-end for such applications, suggesting future growth in multiple sectors powered by these digital assets.

Facts + Figures

  • Compressed NFTs on Solana reduce minting costs dramatically, unique to the blockchain industry.
  • Metaplex Foundation oversees the second largest NFT ecosystem in the world.
  • Over 100 million NFTs minted across 14 million wallets, generating over $1 billion for creators.
  • Cost comparison: 100,000 NFT minting costs four Sol; a billion would cost 500 Sol.
  • Ethereum's equivalent cost for a billion NFTs stands at an unrealistic $31 billion.
  • Compressed NFTs are also termed Bubblegum NFTs and are marked by their soaring adoption.
  • The SPL account compression utilizes a Merkle tree structure for data integrity.
  • Multiple RPC providers, such as Helius and Triton, contribute to the robustness of the indexing.
  • Compressed NFTs are proving highly adaptable, fitting into various industries.
  • Solana blockchain has upheld a 100% uptime in the past year, contributing to a stable NFT infrastructure.

Top quotes

  • "There's not really any other chains that compare to this new reduction in cost."
  • "It dramatically reduces the cost of minting NFTs."
  • "We believe that this will unlock use cases that are truly only possible on Solana."
  • "Compressed NFTs or also known as bubblegum NFTs."
  • "The blue nodes in this...represent the path for this particular NFT in this diagram."
  • "If everybody indexes all that data, you can switch between RPCs and get the same data."
  • "The best part of working out on any sort of DAP project is integrating with Solana."
  • "It is a inherently decentralized service."
  • "Compressed NFTs can do pretty much everything."
  • "The sky is the limit."

Questions Answered

What are compressed NFTs on Solana?

Compressed NFTs on Solana represent a new, highly efficient method of creating digital assets, where the cost and data requirements for minting NFTs are significantly reduced. They utilize the Bubblegum program and a specialized form of SPL account compression with a Merkle tree structure to ensure data integrity and ease of transfer. This innovation makes it feasible to mint vast numbers of NFTs at a much lower cost than traditional methods, potentially leading to novel digital asset applications.

How do compressed NFTs differ from traditional NFTs in terms of cost?

Compressed NFTs are significantly less expensive to mint than traditional NFTs. For example, creating 100,000 NFTs costs only four Sol on Solana, while minting a billion NFTs costs 500 Sol. In contrast, the same amount of NFTs would be prohibitively expensive on Ethereum, reaching an unattainable $31 billion. These savings are a game-changer for creators and businesses looking to leverage NFT technology.

What use cases do compressed NFTs enable?

Compressed NFTs open the door to a multitude of new opportunities that were previously constrained by high costs. They can be used for large-scale digital collections, loyalty programs, gaming items, community tokens, and much more. With lower costs, creators can experiment with broader distribution methods and apply NFTs to novel sectors.

How do compressed NFTs maintain decentralized integrity?

The decentralized integrity of compressed NFTs is preserved through the data stored on the blockchain in the form of a Merkle tree. Each NFT is represented as a hash "leaf," ensuring that the data can be verified without requiring the entire dataset. This method upholds the values of decentralization and transparency inherent in blockchain technology.

Are there any misconceptions regarding the centralized nature of compressed NFTs?

A common misconception is that compressed NFTs rely on centralized nodes and that the data could be lost if a provider goes down. However, as explained by the Metaplex team, this is not true. All data is stored on-chain within the Solana ledger and can be replayed or recovered as necessary. The infrastructure allows users to switch between RPC providers without losing data consistency, maintaining a truly decentralized nature.