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Is Ethereum the Only Choice for NFTs? A Closer Look at Cardano NFTs

With the NFT craze creating record-high volumes of cash and crypto trades for digital artwork, it’s important to keep an eye on the constantly evolving NFT industry. Since the start of the NFT craze, Ethereum has handled 95% of all NFT transactions, dipping down to 80% at the end of 2021.

Who are the new players entering the NFT market? And are their NFTs any different from the ones hosted on Ethereum?

Is it the dawn of a new NFT ecosystem?

The NFT Space

At the start of the NFT craze, the Ethereum blockchain was handling 95% of all NFT transactions. Since then, it has fallen to around 80%, indicating that Ethereum is losing ground to other networks which also handle NFTs. Cardano, coined an “Ethereum Killer” is one such network.

Cardano is an interesting choice for the hosting of NFTs. Currently, Ethereum is bogged down by very expensive gas fees, reaching a peak of $373.80 in 2021. While Ethereum is expecting a proof-of-stake (PoS) update this year which will increase their transaction rates, they are currently sitting at between 15 and 20 transactions per second (TPS) with the current proof-of-work (PoW) system.

Cardano’s Native Assets

More importantly than the specifications of the blockchain network, Cardano runs its NFTs on different rules for ownership compared to Ethereum. The Cardano network has a function built into it called Native Assets. Native assets are a kind of NFT, that are native to the Cardano network. It’s also important to note that native asset NFTs are not ADA tokens, they are separate tokens which are attached to specified metadata, such as a string of text or an image. It is possible to create fungible tokens on Cardano as native assets, in fact there could be millions of them even. These assets would simply be interchangeable tokens without much value added to them though. Native asset NFTs can only be minted one at a time, since otherwise they wouldn’t be non-fungible. This also means that Cardano NFTs are not run through smart contracts and are instead, integrated into the blockchain.

The feature of native assets is a part of Cardano’s mission to host foreign currencies on the platform. Ideally Cardano would like to one day have Bitcoin traded on the network using Cardano fees instead of Bitcoin fees for example. If you know a little bit about using the Cardano blockchain, then you can actually go and make yourself a native asset right now if you wanted to and had the knowledge. The key to native assets is to only make one at a time. Otherwise, they become fungible with something else and are not NFTs.

Differences with Ethereum

Meanwhile on the Ethereum network, NFTs work through smart contracts, which automatically assign conditions to a transaction and automatically complete them. Technically, it would be possible for a smart contract algorithm to “own” an NFT if it’s set up in such a way. Said NFT could be released to an individual upon completion of the contract. In addition, smart contracts can handle conditional events within the NFT itself, such as in the case of NFT games. The upside to smart contract functionality is the guarantee of trust. Cardano NFTs have no smart contracts so you have to trust that the person on the other end is going to send you what you both agreed upon after running the transaction manually. Remember to be careful trading NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

So between Cardano and Ethereum, both have the capacity to handle NFTs, the choice in networks then comes down to which features you want. Ethereum’s smart contracts are likely to work out better for complex games, although these are possible to create on Cardano too. Cardano’s fees are much lower, so if you’re planning to have highly tradable NFTs then Cardano might be the better choice given it’s fees are 37.5 times lower than Ethereum’s.

Current NFT Projects on Cardano

To prove what the Cardano network is capable of, let’s take a look at some of the NFTs projects on Cardano. The first is SpaceBudz. SpaceBudz are your standard NFT collection that you’ve probably seen before in the form of the Bored Apes or CryptoPunks. SpaceBudz are more or less the same NFT art, but hosted on Cardano, so if you want to diversify your NFT assets this might be the way to do it.

Pavia is Cardano’s first answer to the growing Metaverse trend. Pavia is a grid-based world with parcels of land which have since completely sold out, even in spite of being basically a skeleton of a game. This is seen across many NFT games on many varying blockchains that are still in production. What this is indicative of, is investor expectation that Pavia might be the next Minecraft.

Many projects on Cardano are all new and just getting off the ground. 2022 is expected to be a big year for “Ethereum Killers” such as Cardano and Solana. Speculation surrounding whether or not they will live up to their moniker is high, but as long as Ethereum gas prices are high, networks like Cardano are going to appear more inviting to new developers, as well as veteran ones.

If you’d like to purchase Cardano NFTs, you won’t be able to buy them on OpenSea. is the largest Cardano NFT market and is another of the most popular NFT platforms on Cardano. Cardano NFTs are early in development, but if you’re willing to bet that the NFT craze will continue for another year, then this could be the perfect time to buy.

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Michael Brown

About the Author

Michael Brown

Michael Brown is the acting Chairman of community based thought collective, Subcultural Research Lab. His interest in Crypto began while studying industrial engineering in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. His passion lies in geopolitics, social phenomenon, and the exchange of data. You can find Subcultural Research Lab at

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