Introduction: Solana – A Rising Contender To Ethereum’s NFT Landscape?

Solana has recently gained traction amongst Ethereum NFT traders due to an OpenSea support activation, a fast-growing user base, and a vastly expanding DeFi framework. Not to mention, the Solana network also offers fast transactions, low network congestion, and low fees – solutions to the scalability and prohibitively high gas issues that currently hold Ethereum back from reaching its full potential. As a result, many suggest Solana is a much better current alternative for retail NFT investors/speculators, given that entry prices are generally more affordable and gas fees are much lower than on Ethereum.


Relative Performance

Solana is the 2nd largest blockchain by NFT volume, ahead of Avalanche, Flow, and Polygon, yet still far behind Ethereum, averaging ~9% of Ethereum’s volume monthly. The overall Solana NFT volume has recently taken a hit due to external macro conditions, which coincides with the activity happening inside the Ethereum NFT landscape, implying a correlation in volumes between both chains. However, we’re starting to see a potential first divergent pivot point between both markets, with Solana starting an uptick while Ethereum dips a bit.


Getting Started

If you’d like to get started trading NFTs on Solana at any point in this article, you just need to set up a Phantom wallet (the MetaMask equivalent for Solana) by downloading the chrome extension. Next, simply buy and send some $SOL over to your Phantom wallet through an exchange such as Binance, FTX, etc., and head on over to the “OpenSea” of Solana, Magic Eden, to trade.


A Different Landscape

With hundreds of new NFT projects launching weekly on Solana, most are low-quality PFPs or derivative projects with unknown teams. Therefore, it’s important to note that as NFTs are already an extreme asset class in terms of risk, SOL NFT traders typically seek short-term profits much more frequently than on Ethereum. As a result, you’ll most often find capital rotating between projects quicker than usual.

However, even with this in mind, I remain largely optimistic about the overall trajectory of Solana’s NFT space. I believe several significant investment opportunities exist for existing collectors and new entrants amidst a fast-growing and promising ecosystem, and in this report, I’ll help separate the signal from noise and analyze what I believe to be the top 10 NFT projects on Solana.

NOTE: Market stats are in $SOL, compared over a 30-day period, and fetched from solanafloor.com.

#10: Boryoku DragonZ

A sleeping giant?

Supply: 1,111 | Total Volume: 129K | Floor Price: 210 (-8.7%) | Listed: 19 (-5%) | Unique Owners: 48% (+1.3%

Boryoku DragonZ is an exclusively small collection of pixelated PFP dragons that takes pride in adding value to its holders with daily token airdrops, a breeding game with token-burning mechanics, and a multi-chain community that elevates a simple PFP offering.

Initially, the collection gained massive traction as a result of what many considered perfect execution in terms of sustaining its relevance after mint. Within just 27 days, the team over-delivered on every single pillar of their initial launch roadmap, gaining the utmost trust and conviction of all its holders at a very early stage. Since then, Boryoku Dragonz’s Genesis collection has established itself as one of the highest-valued projects across the SOL landscape in terms of floor price.

However, the project has recently seen a significant decrease in relevance & evaluation. And even though the team has teased plans for its coming metaverse, Dragonzverse, they will have to innovate beyond the standard blueprint for NFT projects to get back to where it once was. Yet, I remain confident that with its execution track record and its elevated PFP offering ethos, they’ll find new ways to bring Boryoku DragonZ top of mind again.


#9: Portals

The leading Solana metaverse

Supply: 5,000 | Total Volume: 238K | Floor Price: 51 (+23.7%) | Listed: 97 (-10.2%) | Unique Owners: 59% (-3.1%)

Portals is Solana’s answer for a centralized metaverse platform. It’s a browser-based luxury Metaverse project that enables users to customize personal spaces in a digital city environment, creating and visualizing an immersive social space. The Portals metaverse has already gained the presence of major platforms such as Binance, FTX, Magic Eden, and Raydium, which have all already established their respective metaverse headquarters in the project’s locales.

The team also boasts incredible track records across different sectors with ties to Disney, Blizzard, Riot Games, and Microsoft and has done a great job developing an upscale, elegant, and classy high-quality metaverse that is actively attracting more and more attention from outside speculators.

Given Portals’ exceptional performance thus far and its relative market capitalization compared to successful land projects across other chains, I think that Portals is a worthwhile store of value as Solana continues to grow overall. For further context, Portals’ market cap ($31M) is currently ~1/24 that of Sandbox’s ($755M.)


#8: Aurory

An ambitious all-star team capable of becoming the future Epic Games of blockchain

Supply: 10,000 | Total Volume: 291K | Floor Price: 52 (+81.2%) | Listed: 598 (-37.8%) | Unique Owners: 46% (-3.1%)

Aurory is a turn-based tactical RPG game currently being developed on Solana. It has quickly cemented itself as one of the most ambitious upcoming Play-to-Earn games as it aims to set a new standard by not just creating an innovative game, but by also building a long-term triple-A blockchain game studio that will ship multiple games within the industry. Thus far, Aurory has already shipped its underlying NFTs, its native token ($AURY), and most recently, staking, which have all been gaining massive traction amongst gamers and retail investors alike.

The long-term vision is fueled by one of the most experienced teams across the entire Play-to-Earn ecosystem, with a team of over 45 dedicated people, many coming from triple-A game studios like Ubisoft, EA, Gameloft, Bioware, Eidos, and Warner. Additionally, outside investors such as Alameda Research, Animoca Brands, Solana Ventures, and many more have invested as they see immense potential in the project.

It’s important to note that the sole reason Aurory isn’t higher on this list is that its actual game is still some time away from being released, and many of its details have yet to be revealed. While Aurory undoubtedly possesses all of the elements of a well-rounded game, the duty still rests upon the team to deliver on their future promises and live up to the massive hype that they’ve managed to generate. If successful, I believe the project will yield massive upside moving forward.


#7: Boogles

The holy grail of networking on Solana

Supply: 100 | Total Volume: 8.7K | Floor Price: 1,600 (+14.3%) | Listed: 3 (+50%) | Unique Owners: N/A

Boogles is a boutique NFT community home to some of Solana's most influential and thought-leading NFT collectors. The collection has significant historical value, given that it’s not only one of the earliest PFP projects but also some of the first 1/1 art on Solana. Its primary focus lies in maintaining a high level of scarcity, creating an unmatched intimate environment that allows members to make extremely valuable connections across the chain and grow their brand as they gain instant social credibility by attaching themselves to the collective.

Given its current 1,600 SOL floor price and low supply, it’s needless to say that the networking opportunities and the tight cohesion within Boogles have created a flywheel effect of value. From here, Boogles will continue its regular auctions, of which there are only two left of its total supply. Once fully diluted, the project will allow its incredible community to direct its future through its DAO. I believe this coming leadership and collective mind share will help push the group to elevated heights in the future as more and more experienced traders start partaking in Solana NFTs.


#6: Taiyo Robotics

A second chance turned into a true success story

Supply: 2,121 | Total Volume: 290K | Floor Price: 155 (-4.9%) | Listed: 12 (-20%) | Unique Owners: 47% (+1.7%)

Taiyo Robotics has become a true hero story as it was revived from what was seemingly a distressed project and turned into what many now deem a blue-chip project. The developers had initially abandoned the project as they did not expect the project to blow up the way it did and felt they did not have the experience to deliver on the promises in the timeframe needed. This was when Tom Solport, creator of the Solana NFT marketplace Solport, bought the entire project outright.

Since then, Tom and his team have executed on its pre-existing roadmap that included staking for $SCRAP, a custom marketplace, NFT customization, breeding, and a “dating app” for single Taiyos to breed. Additionally, they’ve also added another roadmap called the “value-add” roadmap, which is the vision of Tom Solport and his team that focuses on how to tie in Solport to benefit Taiyo, featuring an affiliate program and a Solport launchpad.

With a 90x increase in floor price since Tom acquired the project, it’s no secret that Taiyo Robotics has been a major success. With its new and diligent ownership, partnerships with other big projects, and expanded roadmap, I believe that Taiyo is a great long-term bet.


#5: Shadowy Super Coder

A sophisticated bet on Solana's backbone

Supply: 10,000 | Total Volume: 315K | Floor Price: 130 (+75.7%) | Listed: 33 (-23.3%) | Unique Owners: N/A

SSC (Shadowy Super Coder) is founded by GenesysGO, the largest Solana-exclusive infrastructure provider of RPC and Validator services. To put it into layman's terms, these RPC servers are the backbone of the Solana blockchain and GenesysGO powers more than half of the traffic on the chain. Their servers help developers build and scale projects by providing them with Mainnet RPC capabilities and accessible developer support.

In the team’s desire to test their expertise and grow their community, they created the Shadowy Super Coder NFT. From here, they successfully expanded into other endeavors, such as creating an IDO platform and launching a multi-case native token, all while espousing core principles of fair distribution. The next step for their roadmap is “Shadow Drive”; an on-chain ecosystem native storage solution that is set to further optimize RPC requests and improve the speed and efficiency of Solana.

As GenesysGO’s underlying complexity and importance go far beyond the scope of this article, I believe the summarized investment proposition for SSC is as follows: their infrastructure and services are integral to the scalability of Solana at the present moment. With this top-of-mind, combined with the team’s consistency so far in rewarding their long-term holders through bonus emission incentives and token airdrops, I see SSC as occupying a specific niche in the space given their large moat and lack of direct competitors.


#4: SOLGods

First (and only) fine art PFP project dipping its toes into utility cases

Supply: 6,666 | Total Volume: 80.8K | Floor Price: 49 (+188.2%) | Listed: 329 (-40.9%) | Unique Owners: 42% (+10.9%)

SOLGods is a fine-art PFP project inspired by the famous surrealist artist Giorgio de Chirico that aims to provide users with an unparalleled digital identity. With a heavy focus on creative direction and underlying philosophical stances, they’ve created a renowned brand that is seen as one of the most passionate and well-respected in the Solana ecosystem.

The long-term bull-case for SOLGods is that they’ve recently put out a master plan to live up to the reputation they’ve accrued since conception. Their plan includes a native token, staking, gamification, 3D modeling, and metaverse integration alongside an IDO. With this in mind, and given that their priorities include rewarding their holders in all future expansions of their project, I believe it’s a great OG project to gain exposure to.


#3: Degenerate Ape Academy

Exceptional creative direction with immense untapped potential

Supply: 10,011 | Total Volume: 395K | Floor Price: 65 (+5%) | Listed: 1,207 (+7.1%) | Unique Owners: 42% (+2.8%)

DAA (Degenerate Ape Academy) is widely regarded as an OG/top-tier collection that has attracted many outside investors to Solana NFTs. The collection was the first trustless NFT launch on Solana, and owning one is largely considered as owning part of SOL history. The project is led by none other than Monoliff, one of the most dedicated artists in the space who has quickly become an icon for the ecosystem with his constant push to take the DAA brand to new heights. Notably, Rarible has also recognized DAA as one of the hottest NFT projects and has partnered with them to deliver their custom marketplace where 1% of every transaction goes to the DAA DAO.

I believe that DAA has some of the highest upside on this list, given that it has yet to tap into a native token or utility cases. Future catalysts include the reveal of their latest collection, Kindergarten, and animated 3D models that have received incredibly positive feedback from the community thus far.


#2: Solana Monkey Business

The CryptoPunks of Solana

Supply: 5,000 | Total Volume: 1.07M | Floor Price: 188 (-3.6%) | Listed: 417 (-3.7%) | Unique Owners: 51% (-0.6%)

When talking about Blue-chip collections on Solana, SMB (Solana Monkey Business) is considered by many to be a top project. It is largely seen as the “CryptoPunks of Solana” given its pixelated PFP art, its very own native marketplace, and its historical significance as one of the first PFP projects to launch on the chain. Notably, SMB also holds the record for the most expensive NFT sale ever conducted on Solana, at a record price of 13,027 $SOL (~$2M USD at the time of purchase.)

However, the main pull of SMB to outside investors is the community that they offer - more specifically, MonkeDAO (The first NFT DAO on SOL), which is only accessible to SMB holders. The DAO currently boasts a myriad of different committees and is largely considered one of the strongest and most knowledgeable communities that exist on the Solana Blockchain.

With its historical significance and sentiment of being “the OG PFP collection on SOL” and future catalysts in the shape of Metaverse expansion, a native $MONKE token, and a capital fund, I believe SMB to be a great legacy project to HODL amidst a growing SOL ecosystem.


#1: DeGods

An “IDGAF” community powered by fearless innovation

Supply: 10,000 | Total Volume: 415K | Floor Price: 322 (+276.6%) | Listed: 122 (-62.1%) | Unique Owners: 46% (+17%)

What started as a social experiment has since skyrocketed to the #1 market capitalized PFP project on Solana and has created significant ripple waves across the entire ecosystem, with the number 33.3 as its trending denominator. Initially, this number represented “The Paper Hands Bitch Tax,” which was a 33.3% tax charged on people that sold their DeGod under the floor. Almost instantly, the PHBT concept went viral but was unfortunately deemed a failure after two months.

However, the interesting part was that even after removing the tax, most users kept the number in their username as a willingness to let the team fail & try new things until they would work. This is but a mere representation of the community’s conviction behind DeGods and showcases just how much they believe in the team’s ability to innovate and deliver value.

Needless to say, the team has not disappointed as they’ve over-delivered on their promises at breakneck speeds through its well-executed deflationary ecosystem that includes: an impressive native token, a DAO, auctions/raffles, a custom iOS & Android tracking app, and one of the most well-optimized ready ROI mechanisms for its holders through DeadGods.

As Solana NFTs as a whole gain popularity, I expect established 10k supply NFT collections to do particularly well as new entrants will be looking to join rock-solid communities that they can identify with. Of these, DeGods is a clear winner in terms of current sentiment and brand representation, which is why I rank it as the premier Solana project to currently own.


Honorable Mentions

  • Cats On Creck: Explosive beginning, but a lack of historical data makes it hard to position
  • Catalina Whale Mixer: Celebrity-endorsed collection vying to compete in the entertainment space - definitely one to look out for
  • Famous Fox Federation: Mass utility adoption but at the cost of rewarding holders

Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge @DegenSwings, @0xFrisk, @knownasdollar, @not_katarina, @TheOnlyNom, @jemmyjemm, @CMC_VTX, @Crypt0xG, @kohkim, @Thrown_ETH, @asimplenoochie, @omega_eth, and @deathstrike_eth for data, discussions, and valuable feedback on this research.

Share this post