The Wormhole NFT Bridge connects Ethereum and Solana with a way to transfer assets between the competing blockchains. It’s a bi-directional bridge that can send assets in either direction, effectively “wrapping” the original NFT asset to make it fully compatible with the other platform. Until yesterday, it was impossible to buy Solana NFTs on OpenSea or use the popular MetaMask wallet.
The total value locked (TVL) in the decentralised finance space has skyrocketed to nearly $170 billion, climbing towards the $192 billiopeaksak earlier this month. This growth in TVL continues to grow as more and more layer 1 blockchains gain traction, driving this demand for cross-chain bridges.
Hendrik Hofstadt, the co-founder of lead Wormhole contributor Certus One and now Director of Special Projects at Jump Crypto, told Decrypt.
“The Wormhole NFT Bridge solves this and allows users to acquire new NFTs that were previously inaccessible or tap into the liquidity of other chains’ marketplaces.”
An NFT acts like a deed of ownership to a rare digital item, such as an image, video clip, or interactive video game item. Ethereum is the leading platform for NFTs, including such popular projects as CryptoPunks and Art Blocks, and Ethereum-based marketplace OpenSea generated more than $3.4 billion in transaction volume in August alone, per Dune Analytics.
NFTs are currently the most vibrant sector, representing material activity on Ethereum, as seen in the daily number of ERC-721 transfers that increased by over 10x from the beginning of 2021 to today.
NFT marketplace OpenSea, meanwhile, is the economic hub of NFT activity on Ethereum, which grew at a staggering pace this year. In August, OpenSea registered more than $3 billion in total volume while unique buyers peaked at 35k the same month.
Ethereum is currently in the lead at $118 billion, followed by Binance Smart Chain (BSC) at $16.23 billion, then Solana at $8.74 billion, Terra $8.05 billion, Polygon at $4.1 billion, Avalanche $3.16 billion, and Fantom at $1.24 billion, according to DeFi Llama. Just like different layer 1 blockchains are cropping up and ruling the cryptocurrency market, non-fungible tokens (NFT) are all the mania right now as well.
Besides attracting new users and generating recent economic activity, NFTs also congested the Ethereum network and started growing on other blockchains, which offered cheaper and faster alternatives.
The launch comes following rapid growth for Solana’s ecosystem, with rising use across DeFi and NFTs, as well as an explosion in value for the SOL cryptocurrency. It skyrocketed in price from about $35 at the start of August to an all-time high above $213 earlier this month, according to data from CoinGecko. However, last week’s Solana network crash may have slowed that momentum: SOL has been down 21% over the past few days.
“Solana offers users cheap and fast transactions which allow dapps to deliver almost web2-level experiences, enabling a new group of users to get into the space,” Hofstadt commented. “I think this is a valuable component in a cross-chain world where different chains serve different use cases, and adoption highlights that.”