Cardano is one of the leading blockchains in the world. Due to its transaction speed and environmental friendliness, the blockchain hosts some popular decentralized applications (dAPPs) and NFTs. The blockchain also has some of the biggest NFT marketplaces where users can trade NFTs and other digital assets built on Cardano. This article will take you through a list of Cardano’s top four NFT marketplaces. You can also explore the upcoming Cardano NFT drops and pick your favorite before someone else does.
What is Cardano?
Cardano is a decentralized Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain that uses a staking mechanism to validate and confirm transactions. Computers (nodes) that validate these transactions get rewarded in the blockchain’s native token, ADA. This consensus mechanism makes Cardano one of the most environmentally friendly blockchains in the web3 ecosystem.
Cardano was founded in 2017 after two years of development by Charles Hoskinson. Before creating the blockchain, Charles co-founded Ethereum, the second-largest blockchain in the world, and at some point, served as its CEO. A conflict of ideas with co-founder Vitalik Buterin led to Charles leaving the company to develop Cardano.
While Cardano offers exciting features and infrastructure, the blockchain’s growth has been slow over the years. It is currently the ninth-largest blockchain in the world, with a market capitalization of over $8.9 billion. Even though the market cap is enormous, compared to Ethereum’s $149 billion, it shows that adoption has been slow.
Nonetheless, the blockchain is home to several NFT projects and decentralized applications, which per the blockchain’s features, are unique compared to other NFTs and dAPPs on different blockchains. They enjoy features such as low gas fees and quick transaction completion.
What makes Cardano different from other blockchains?
As mentioned, Cardano is a PoS blockchain that is cheaper to run and has a low carbon footprint. One of the criticisms against NFTs is their energy consumption and massive carbon footprint. In addition, the excessive gas fees users have to pay to mint new NFTs have discouraged many from entering the NFT ecosystem. The absence of these issues in the Cardano ecosystem is a significant difference between the blockchain and some other blockchains.
In recent times, several blockchains have transitioned into proof-of-stake. The most recent example is Ethereum, which transitioned from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchain to a PoS blockchain. PoW blockchains require computers to solve complex mathematical equations to validate transactions and get rewarded. This consensus mechanism makes the PoW blockchain slow and prone to network crashes and high energy consumption.
On the other hand, Cardano, as a PoS blockchain, validates transactions through staking. Computers (nodes) who act as validators use their stakes in Cardano to confirm the transactions. The more they hold, the higher their chances of verifying these transactions and getting rewarded. As a result, Cardano can execute a million transactions in a second. However, that hasn’t been put to the test. For instance, earlier this year, Ethereum crashed during Otherside by Otherdeeds release. As a result, users could not mint the NFTs even after paying exorbitant fees.
What are the best Cardano NFT Marketplaces?
Like other blockchains that host NFTs, Cardano has an array of NFT marketplaces where users can trade their NFTs. To do this, a user must have a Cardano wallet to store digital assets like NFTs and cryptos.
Much like how Ether is used on Ethereum, buying and selling NFTs on Cardano marketplaces is done using the blockchain’s native token, ADA. Since ADA is a top cryptocurrency, users can easily buy the token on centralized and decentralized crypto exchanges and transfer it to their wallets.
Not all types of crypto wallets are supported on Cardano. Some popular wallets used on Cardano are Nami, Yoroi, and Eterni. These wallets are where users store their ADA tokens and, upon purchasing an NFT, keep their NFTs.
4 best Cardano NFT marketplaces
Without further ado, let’s dive into the list of the top Cardano NFT marketplaces.
Created in July 2021, CNFT is the first NFT marketplace created on Cardano. However, the identity of the team behind the marketplace has yet to be discovered, as they have stayed anonymous ever since. Currently, CNFT is the biggest and most used marketplace in the Cardano ecosystem. The blockchain records a large bulk of NFT trading volumes due to its status as the largest marketplace.
The marketplace has some exciting features to assist users while using the marketplace. One of those features is an NFT minting platform called Explosif. On Explosif, users can mint anything from avatars to songs, videos, photographs, and much more. Also, the marketplace has a launchpad to assist creators in creating, minting, marketing, and successfully launching projects.
In addition, the marketplace also features an analytics tool that comes in handy when reviewing NFT performances. Through the analytics tool, users can follow price trends, compare NFT performances and check whether a collection is legit.
However, registration on CNFT requires a bit of KYC (Know-Your-Customer) requirements. That means users must give personal information about themselves to the platform. Also, CNFT takes a 2.5% commission on all NFT transactions.
If the KYC isn’t an issue for you, then CNFT could be an excellent start to trading on Cardano. The marketplace features over 30,000 NFTs and several popular collections like Pavia.
2. JPG Store
JPG Store is one of Cardano’s most popular NFT marketplaces, perhaps second only to CNFT. The marketplace is unique and offers users the thrill of using decentralized platforms.
JPG Store is also rated as one o the most carbon-free NFT marketplaces in the world. The marketplace also donates 1% of its generated revenue to supporting environmental causes and fighting climate change. It is not a surprise that the marketplace is the first choice for many users in the Cardano ecosystem.
Like CNFT, JPG Store features a launchpad for creators. Using the launchpad removes the technicalities of creating and minting NFTs on the marketplace. However, the platform is quite restrictive for NFT collection launches. For example, only the best creators are allowed to launch NFT collections. New creators with good projects are given mentorship on creating their first NFT projects. They also get marketing help to ensure their projects reach users on the marketplace.
Another exciting feature is the fully decentralized nature of the marketplace. Unlike CNFT, users are not required to reveal personal information when registering on the platform. All that is needed is a decentralized wallet from a wallet service that the platform supports. Thus, total privacy is given to users while trading on the platform.
Also, JPG Store is a community-driven NFT marketplace. The platform receives feedback from buyers and sellers on their experience while using the platform. The marketplace then, in turn, acts on the feedback received to improve the quality of experience for users on the marketplace.
Tokhun is another popular NFT marketplace in the Cardano ecosystem. It is also dubbed as the most user-friendly platform. While it was initially designed as one of the first minting platforms on Cardano, the marketplace evolved into a smart-contract-driven NFT marketplace.
Tokhun features exciting tools that allow businesses, artists, and collectors to mint, buy, sell and manage their NFTs. One of such feature is the ability to ‘serialize’ multiple NFTs at the same time. This feature allows users to mint up to 20 NFTs simultaneously with a single click. Serializing would come in handy for creators hoping to launch a collection.
However, the platform is a centralized marketplace. That means users registering will be required to fulfill KYC standards like providing information such as name, email address, and much more. Also, the platform charges a commission of 2.5%, which is higher than most other NFT marketplaces.
The platform’s interface is a bit old-fashioned compared to other platforms. But if aesthetics are not something you count as necessary, then you won’t have an issue using the platform. Also, the lack of privacy might discourage many users who wish to conduct their activities anonymously. Asides from that, the platform features a wide choice of NFTs and collections to trade in.
Created in 2021, Cardahub is one of the major NFT marketplaces on Cardano. It is also one of the first marketplaces to offer a fully decentralized smart contract-based minting service. Also, the platform provides creators with one of the best IP (intellectual property) protection to creators.
In addition to buying and selling NFTs, the platform allows creators to create and mint new NFTs and collections. However, unlike most other marketplaces, Cardahub does not charge a fee for minting NFTs on its platform. As a result, users only pay a fee to complete the minting transaction, which could be as low as 0.4 ADA.
Some of the biggest NFT collections include Mocossi, Clay Nation, and Boss Cat Rocket Club.
How to stay safe on Cardano
Scams and fraudulent activities are always close regardless of the blockchain infrastructure or security level. And as seen in other major blockchains, users on Cardano are susceptible to scams and illicit activities, resulting in the loss of NFTs and tokens. It is, therefore, important that users take particular measures to stay safe.
The majority of wallet services give users seed phrases during the registration process. Seed phrases work like master key access to a wallet when a user has misplaced their password. Unlike web2 platforms, there is no way to recover a password once a user has forgotten it. Thus, the seed phrases are like a lifeline to prevent permanent account loss.
As good as the seed phrases are, they could still be used harmfully should they fall into the hands of hackers or scammers. It is crucial that a user keeps the seed phrases in a secured location or copy them down in a written form. Suppose the seed phrases get lost, and the user cannot remember the password. In that case, it becomes impossible to recover that account and everything in it.
Using Secondary Marketplaces
When it comes to NFT trading, doing transactions on secondary marketplaces may be your best bet against fraudulent activities. Through secondary marketplaces, you can quickly sell your digital assets, list them for sale, and conduct transactions with third parties.
If a user asks you to use an alternative they have provided you with, you must exercise caution. One way to do this is to research the option they are providing to see whether it is legit. If it appears dubious, then it is safer you do the transaction over the secondary market.
Connecting to Decentralized Applications
Cardano, like other blockchains, hosts many decentralized applications. These decentralized applications perform various functions. An example of such applications is the marketplaces where NFTs are traded.
However, many decentralized applications with fraudulent activities exist on the blockchain. These fraudulent applications are used by scammers to carry out their activities. If unsuspecting users connect their wallets to such applications, they could lose their digital assets. Therefore, users must follow the number one rule in the NFT ecosystem, DYOR (do your own research).
Illicit actors sometimes build on the success of a particular NFT project to carry out their activities. Where an NFT project is trending or has a large following, they would create counterfeit NFTs with the same resemblance to the original and list it for sale. Unsuspecting buyers without adequate knowledge about NFTs could easily fall victim to these scams.
Most fraudulent activities target users’ wallets. When the wallets become compromised, the scammers can quickly move assets from the wallets elsewhere. However, getting access to the wallet is not easy, so they devise ways to do this. An example is a user receiving fake emails asking users to click a link to verify their wallet.
They often do this under the guise of acting on behalf of an established dAPP. Thus, unsuspecting users can easily fall prey to these scams and lose all their assets.
Cardano is a good blockchain to explore if you are looking for environmentally friendly blockchains. 2022 has been a relatively good year for the blockchain, and the blockchain has recorded increased trading volume in the last quarter of 2022.
However, always remember to do your research on every NFT or project and ensure to keep your wallet safe.