‘Wild west’ as developers MacGyver highly popular NFTs on Cardano

Despite not yet having functional smart contracts on the layer-one, intrepid Cardano developers have recently hacked together methods to mint bootleg nonfungible tokens. These experiments in hosting unique data on the blockchain are reminiscent of the pre ERC-721 standard era for Ethereum — and, what’s more, so far they’ve proven to be enormously popular with token drops routinely selling out.

In a post on Reddit today, ADA Technology Management (ATM), a staking pool operator for Cardano, revealed what they claimed to be two NFT images they’d minted on the chain. In the thread the company said they were planning to offer NFT minting as a service to pool delegators.

The so-called NFTs come with a number of caveats, however. Because Cardano doesn’t yet support smart contracts or have a NFT token standard, in order to create a NFT users mint a native token one-of-one native token.

“Tokens on Cardano are native and are on the same level as ADA. Instead of smart contracts, so called “minting policies” control the flow of a certain token group. NFTs are basically tokens on Cardano with a quantity of 1,” explained Alessandro, the self-described “brains” behind SpaceBudz, a Cardano-native collectibles project and the author of a Cardano Improvement Proposal to establish a Cardano NFT metadata standard.

Developers can then embed in the token metadata a link to an Arweave and/or InterPlanetary File System address where an image is stored. One example NFT shows that the “metadata” section of a mint transaction includes a link to a IPFS address which displays the associated SpaceBud. The end result is a wholly unique token permanently recorded and transferrable on the Cardano blockchain — a NFT by many, if not all, definitions.

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