Crypto

Top Solana NFT projects DeGods and y00ts to leave the blockchain and ‘explore new opportunities’

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Two top Solana NFT projects, DeGods and y00ts, have announced they are leaving the blockchain in 2023, which is stirring up conflicting sentiments in the crypto community.

Over the weekend, DeGods announced on Twitter that it will be migrating to Ethereum, while its sister project y00ts will be moving to Polygon early next year, the teams shared. The exodus will also have DeGods’ DUST token — used to trade and mint NFTs on its ecosystem — transfer to the respective blockchains.

The migration brought conflicting views from community members and the Solana NFT ecosystem as a whole, as some disapproved of the move, while others expressed excitement and one person even referred to it as a “level up.”

“At the beginning of the year, we noticed that much of the creator economy’s attention was focused on ETH and Solana,” Ryan Wyatt, CEO of Polygon Studios, told TechCrunch. “Therefore, we decided to go against the trend and focus on the untapped potential of web3 by onboarding large enterprise brands, DeFi platforms and gaming companies. We did this successfully through ecosystem fund investments and white-glove partnership support.”

Polygon has gone full force into making its layer-2 blockchain a well-known home for crypto projects in the space. Earlier this year, Polygon announced partnerships with Starbucks and Disney, while also having major brands like Prada and Adidas launch NFT projects through its blockchain.

“There’s an argument to be made that [DeGods] has capped out on Solana,” DeGods project leader and y00ts creator, Rohun Vora, known as Frank, said in a Twitter Spaces on Monday. “It’s hard to accept, but it’s been tough to grow at the rate we want to grow. If Ethereum is where we have to go to keep growing, it’s what we have to do.”

Vora’s thoughts are a shift from his collection’s sentiment in October 2021, when the DeGods tweeted, “Solana is just straight up better than Ethereum.”

Vora also noted the migration aims to help “explore new opportunities” and allow its collections to continue to grow. As for why Polygon? Well, Vora said he was influenced by others like Disney, Adidas, Nike and Reddit — which also chose Polygon to launch their projects.

In the past 30 days, DeGods and y00ts ranked as the top two NFT collections on Solana, according to DappRadar. For all-time Solana collections, DeGods is the fourth largest, while y00ts is the seventh largest, DappRadar data showed.

“The details of the bridge will be released when it’s ready & tested. This has never been done before at this scale. We want to make sure that it’s airtight,” DeGods tweeted.

DeGods did not reply to requests for comment from TechCrunch by the time of publication. Solana declined to comment.

In the meantime, the two projects will remain on Solana, but these migrations could have significant effects for Solana and the respective chains gaining these projects.

Following the news, DeGods’ floor (buy-in) price rose to about 500 SOL, or about $5,400 at current levels, which is one of the highest for any Solana-based digital collectible. The floor price of y00ts remained mainly constant around 157.9 SOL, or about $1,700, according to Magic Eden NFT marketplace.

DeGods is held by a number of “Twitter famous” and high-profile crypto individuals, like the co-founders of Solana Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal, as well as the rapper Ice Cube and the co-founder and CTO of Magic Eden Sidney Zhang, according to its website.

Solana is one of the largest blockchains by NFT sales volume, with more than $60 million in sales in the past 30 days and $2.934 billion in all-time sales volume, according to data from NFT aggregator CryptoSlam.

Prior to the announcement, DeGods’ and y00ts’ sales accounted for almost 70% of all Solana NFT sales volume last week, according to data from Magic Eden. So cutting these two projects out of the equation could cause a major hit to Solana’s NFT sales, which are down 18.25% on the month. Its native token, SOL, has fallen from $196 a year ago to about $10.80 at the time of publication, according to CoinMarketCap data.

But the price isn’t the only factor here, as the majority of cryptocurrencies’ prices — including Ethereum and Polygon — have plummeted in the past year.

Polygon’s NFT sales volume has spiked 176% in the past 30 days to $15.5 million, and Ethereum’s has risen 15.1% to $508.3 million during the same time frame, CryptoSlam shows.

Even with DeGods’ and y00ts’ departure, there are still major Solana-focused NFT projects like Solana Monkey Business and Degenerate Ape Academy remaining on the blockchain. But this transition period could signal to other major collections an opportunity to jump ship — or hunker down on the blockchain they believed in in the first place.

Regardless, Solana’s team and community members remain pretty optimistic.

As Solana “unicorns” like Magic Eden, crypto wallet Phantom and DeGods are going multichain, it’s “bittersweet to watch,” Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko said in a tweet on Monday. “It would be awesome for them to 100% focus on Solana. But reality is that these projects want to conquer the world.”

In August, Solana co-founder Raj Gokal said to TechCrunch, “I think within NFTs, everything is just really scratching the surface.” Rather than just thinking about growing the Solana ecosystem, it’s more exciting to watch it grow through developers and creators, he added.

“I think NFTs have 50 different use cases that seem to be lumped into one,” Gokal said at the time. “I think we expect the majority of the [crypto] projects to make use of NFTs.”

Separately, as part of Polygon’s 2022 strategy, the blockchain aimed to identify areas where the creator economy was lacking and tried to improve it, Wyatt said. The chain dedicated effort to improving the crypto wallet and NFT marketplace integrations through partnerships with Magic Eden, Phantom, Coinbase, Robinhood and OpenSea, to name a few.

“We believe that our work in this area has positioned us as the best protocol to participate in the creator economy of PFP projects because we can offer a wide range of resources to creators, including partnerships with big brands, improved user journeys, multiple marketplaces to purchase from and liquidity,” Wyatt said.

Polygon also provided DeGods with a grant from its ecosystem fund to “help other creators find success with PFP NFT projects on Polygon,” Wyatt added. Vora also noted that a number of other platforms provided grant offers, but said Polygon had the best opportunities moving forward.

“We went with Polygon because we see a lot of opportunity on a strategic level, and that’s what excites me and should excite you holders more than anything,” Vora said.

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