August’s NFT resurgence was largely dominated by Ethereum, the leading blockchain network for crypto collectibles, including CryptoPunks and Art Blocks. But amidst the billions in trading volume on Ethereum, plus the skyrocketing transaction fees and congestion alongside, a competitor emerged: Solana.
Solana’s native SOL cryptocurrency boomed in value throughout August and into early September, although it’s down currently on the back of this week’s network downtime. SOL’s rise has been attributed in part to the growth of NFT collecting on the platform.
An NFT is a type of token that functions as "proof of ownership" over a digital item, and they've become all the rage among art collectors and crypto natives in search of the latest, trendy set of JPEGs to flex as their social media PFP (that's profile picture, for the uninitiated).
On Solana, collections like Degenerate Ape Academy, Aurory, and SolPunks have collectively generated hundreds of millions of dollars of trading volume in recent weeks, and one Degenerate Ape even sold for more than $1.1 million worth of SOL last weekend.
As you might’ve guessed, you need SOL to purchase Solana NFTs. And no, leading Ethereum wallet MetaMask can’t be used here. Here’s a quick look at how to set up a Solana wallet, load it up with SOL, and where you can then buy leading Solana NFTs.
1. Get a Solana wallet
As mentioned, your usual Ethereum wallet won’t work for buying Solana NFTs. We’ve seen some anecdotal tweets about people attempting to transfer SOL into MetaMask and other wallets that would have ended disastrously—that’s a big reason why we’re writing this quick walkthrough, actually.
just saved another so(u)l 🤝 pic.twitter.com/8P9j3rF7NM
— 🧊 icy.tools - nft tracking (@icy_tools) September 9, 2021
Luckily, you have some good options when it comes to wallets—whether they’re browser extensions or dedicated apps—designed specifically for Solana.
Phantom is a popular option for an in-browser extension for Chrome (and Chrome forks like Brave). It has hundreds of thousands of users, and you can add it via the Chrome Web Store. Solflare is another attractive-looking Solana wallet that you can access via web or a Chrome extension, plus the multi-platform Trust Wallet and Atomic Wallet also both support Solana.
We’ll stick with Phantom for the purposes of this tutorial. Simply add it to your browser via Google’s Chrome Web Store and then open it. When setting up a new wallet, Phantom will give you a 12-word seed phrase to write down or store somewhere, in case you need to restore your wallet at some point. Set a password, confirm, and then you’re in.
(Note: This seed phrase is the key to unlocking your funds. Anyone with this phrase can access them, so keep it in a safe place and don’t share it with anyone who you don’t want accessing your wallet.)
2) Get some SOL
You’ll need SOL to purchase NFTs at Solana-based marketplaces, and with Phantom, there are a few different ways to get the coins into your wallet.
One option is simply to purchase Solana at an exchange and then send it to your wallet. For example, if you’re in the United States, you can purchase SOL at Coinbase or FTX.US and send it over to your Phantom wallet. This should take less than a minute.
Phantom also offers direct integration with cryptocurrency exchange FTX, making it easy to deposit funds held within that exchange. Additionally, you can transfer USDT stablecoins from an exchange or wallet into your Phantom wallet, and then exchange them for SOL and other Solana-based tokens within Phantom (as seen below).
3) Hit the marketplaces
Once your wallet is set up and filled with SOL, then you can purchase a Solana-based NFT by browsing one of the marketplaces and using the wallet. Solanart is a leading marketplace that currently offers an array of collections, including the aforementioned Degenerate Ape Academy, Aurory, and SolPunks, among others.
Solanart, though, isn’t an open market like leading Ethereum marketplace OpenSea. Rather, it is a curated set of collections, and NFT projects must apply to be listed, so your buying options here will be limited.
Moonrock Capital just acquired the 13th rarest @DegenApeAcademy NFT for 5980 $SOL ($1,109,170.40) pic.twitter.com/STkwJetRl1
— Moonrock Capital (@MoonrockCapital) September 11, 2021
DigitalEyes Market is another alternative, and it’s where you’ll find Solana Monkey Business, the NFT collection favored by comedian and TV host Steve Harvey. This platform also offers Degenerate Ape Academy, fractal artwork series Frakt, and many other collections.
While DigitalEyes also adheres to an application process for “verified collections,” there is a much wider selection of NFTs on this marketplace compared to Solanart. DigitalEyes also hosts an “unverified” section, in which individual sellers can list just about any NFT at all, similar to OpenSea.
To buy with either marketplace, you’ll simply connect your wallet to the site, click to purchase something, and then approve or deny the transaction in your wallet. If you’ve ever purchased an NFT on Ethereum, then you’ll probably notice right away how much faster transactions are completed—and how much lower the fees are.
Also, Phantom lets you see your NFT collection from right within the wallet, which is handy. Beyond NFTs, your wallet can also be used within the growing world of Solana-based decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, including Saber, Raydium, and Mango Markets.
The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.