Everyone involved in NFTs is aware of the technology behind them. Blockchains act as the driving force for NFTs; these blockchains are used to store data and verify ownership. Unlike cryptocurrencies, the NFT is unique with no other version, where each coin is the same. Numerous blockchains allow NFT transactions to take place. These include Ethereum, Cardano, Flow, Solana, and Tezos. Ethereum accounted for over 97% of the NFT transactions of all the blockchains by the end of 2021. Layer 2 solutions for Ethereum that support NFTs are available with Immutable X and Polygon.
There are numerous reasons why Ethereum accounts for the vast majority of NFT deals. In the short history of cryptocurrencies and blockchains, Ethereum is an early pioneer. It has developed protocols and standards that lead the way. Ethereum is an open-source, decentralized blockchain with innovative contract features to ensure a secure platform. Such capabilities allow the recording of high-accuracy transactions.
The popularity and the size of Ethereum have led many developers to work on the platform; its capabilities continue expanding. Many NFT collections utilize Ethereum as the choice of blockchain for NFT project development.
But its popularity has led to setbacks and issues. Due to the enormous demand, congestion within the network is an issue causing a high transaction fee (called the gas fee).
It's not unknown for the gas fee to cost more than the NFT itself! This issue has led to NFT projects looking at alternative blockchain sources to execute and store digital data. Unless Ethereum can address the problems, its market share will fall in the future.
The popularity of the Ethereum blockchain has meant the existence of many secondary marketplaces to cater to Ethereum NFTs. For those running NFT projects, Ethereum opens up more marketplaces to trade and promotion opportunities. There are other costs involved with Ethereum NFTs after the initial purchase. People need to pay gas fees for listing and auction sales on the secondary market.
Polygon is a side chain secondary network residing above the Ethereum blockchain network - the primary layer. Polygon cannot complete the transaction on its network; it uses bridging to connect to the Ethereum network and use smart contract features. Polygon aims to alleviate and address the issues faced by Ethereum. It's less popular than Ethereum and does not face congestion problems. The secondary network has the infrastructure to ensure transactions are faster and more efficient.
The most significant advantage Polygon has over Ethereum is the low gas fees. Transactions occur quickly on Polygon, with no need for the same mining power leading to nominal transaction fees. Less congestion also contributes to lower expenses.
Polygon network is less secure than Ethereum. It opens the door for assets to become lost. For the sake of speed, there are fewer checks and balances in place.
Ethereum is the second biggest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, and the coin associated with Polygon (Matic) is in the top 15. New people entering the market are more likely to purchase on the Ethereum blockchain than Polygon as they have a greater familiarity.
Purchasing Ethereum NFTs on marketplaces such as OpenSea is not tricky. But to buy Polygon NFTs, extra steps are required to bridge the Ethereum and Polygon network. For people without tech know-how, the process is not straightforward. People concerned about crypto scams going through lengthy processes may discourage participation. There are fewer marketplaces that cater to Polygon NFTs.
Ethereum is the premier blockchain for NFT transactions; it's the preferred option for most projects and individuals wishing to buy NFTs. Ethereum is perfect for high-value transactions as there is less likelihood of the NFTs becoming lost in the system.
Polygon acting as an intermediary has its use for low-cost NFTs and the budget-conscious. It is a good choice for smaller artists not wishing to pay high gas fees to list their NFTs and people wanting to buy inexpensive NFTs with low transaction fees.
The high demand for Ethereum NFTs has created congestion and high gas prices, which has seen the emergence of Polygon. The situation may change with the launch of ETH 2.0, which intends to solve the current problems faced by Ethereum. But the last 18 months have seen Polygon become significant, and the trend is set to continue in the near future.