Back to News

Ethereum, Polygon, Solana and Multi-Chain NFTs: Minting Costs

The NFT landscape has expanded vastly from its humble beginnings. Leading smart contract blockchain Ethereum remains the most popular network for minting and trading non-fungible tokens. 

However, multiple blockchains now boast similar functionality. These networks have become the homes of thriving NFT platforms, with some offering far lower gas fees than Ethereum. Creators now have more choice than ever before when it comes to minting an NFT to represent a unique digital asset.

What Factors Need to Be Considered For Minting NFTs?

Before choosing a network to mint NFTs on, there are a few key considerations to consider. Depending on the network you mint on, the markets and costs associated with your NFTs will differ.

  • Gas fees are a vital consideration. These are transaction fees charged by blockchains to ensure network sustainability. Gas fees are highly volatile as they’re directly dependent on a network’s activity at any given time.
  • 3rd party services charge minting fees for creating NFTs on their platforms. Creators who mint NFTs on Opensea and other generic NFT marketplaces are a prime example of this structure. 

Ethereum NFTs

The Ethereum blockchain has played host to some of the most venerated mints in the NFT space. CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Pudgy Penguins all minted on Ethereum, catalyzing the sector’s mammoth growth. 

The cost of minting on Ethereum has become notorious for its high barrier to entry. Paying close attention to the Ethereum Gas Tracker allows creators to identify periods of low activity to minimize minting costs.

As of late February, congestion on the network has evaporated, with an average transaction cost of ~$2-$7. Minting costs, however, can be far higher, often requiring gas fees ranging from $20-$100. When it comes to 10,000 item NFT collections, total mint costs could range from $5K to $1M, depending on network activity.

It’s important to keep in mind that Ethereum fees soar exponentially in times of severe congestion. During 2021’s bull run, individual transactions on the blockchain eclipsed $400 at times. This volatility makes it difficult for both individuals and large scale projects to mint on the network without incurring significant costs.

Lazy minting has emerged as a workaround for such projects. Under this design, gas fees are incurred by minters, rather than the project itself. While this saves projects a significant amount of capital, passing on minting costs to end users is less than desirable.

Despite the prohibitive costs, minting on Ethereum gives creators access to a far larger audience than those found on other networks. Ethereum is also the most secure smart contract network at present.

For these reasons, Ethereum is likely to remain the leading network for NFTs.

Polygon NFTs

Polygon has emerged as a novel hotbed for NFT innovation. Web2 brands like Starbucks and Reddit have utilized the network for large scale mints due to the far lower transaction fees. 

The layer-2 network is an Ethereum scaling solution, allowing users to benefit from rapid finality and low costs.

Polygon allows users to create NFTs for free, using the aforementioned Lazy Mint design. When the NFT is sold, the platform charges a 2.5% service fee deducted from the selling price. This offers a perfect entry for first time NFT creators.

Polygon at the top of a pyramid with Ethereum serving as the foundation.Polygon’s Layer 2 solution built on Ethereum (Render)

Solana NFTs 

Solana emerged as the prime challenger to Ethereum in 2021. The Layer-1 network utilizes a Proof-of-History (PoH) consensus mechanism. This system allows for high throughput and incredibly low fees. 

While Solana previously charged a mere $0.21 to mint an NFT, the current cost sits at $2.16. 

It’s vital to note that Solana’s thriving NFT landscape has faced major setbacks. The network suffers from a lack of security and significant downtime, which are strong deterrents for potential investors. Further, the collapse of FTX and its close ties to the Solana network have seen a mass exodus from the blockchain in recent months. 

Cross Chain NFTs

Many single-network marketplaces have implemented support for minting and trading cross chain NFTs. Opensea is now a cross chain NFT marketplace, supporting NFTs built on Solana, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and more. 

Following the collapse of FTX, Solana’s leading NFT collection DeGods moved over to Polygon. This was done to provide users with a more secure NFT trading experience for their digital art.

Cross-chain bridges introduce a fresh layer of competition for smart contract blockchains. The race to produce the most efficient NFT platform is in full force. When platforms are forced to adapt and innovate to retain market share, there’s always one winner – end users.


Yasthiel Devraj