With their sudden rise to fame, many quickly associate nonfungible tokens (NFT) with luxury purchases for the wealthy. Consider just how many stories have flooded the news of investors and celebrities buying NFTs for $1 million or more. However, these assets are more than a tool for the rich to get richer. Rather, at their core, these assets exist as a stepping stone to bridge the world into a digital realm, leveling the playing field for artists and providing a foundation for asset ownership for creators.
Much like blockchain was brought into the world to democratize finance, NFTs can ensure top artists and art pieces are properly recognized as pieces by the people, making art something for everyone.
In a recent AMA, Rachel Wolfson, a senior reporter at Cointelegraph, sat down with David Ukryniak, director of blockchain strategy at Tron — the blockchain platform behind the APENFT marketplace. APENFT aims to be the best digital asset marketplace released on Tron. The platform, which was launched in April 2022, is built on the Tron blockchain, with support from one of the world’s most extensive distributed storage systems, the BitTorrent File System (BTFS). Together, the platform can apply zero transaction fees at the initial stage of the marketplace and enable creators to earn extra royalties on subsequent trades. The exchange contains 62,869 NFTs as of April 29, 2022, with some of the most well-known collections, including InvisibleTronFriends, Cools Cats Tron and TronBullClub, among others.
To provide some background, Ukryniak kicks off the AMA by sharing some more in-depth details about the project’s beginning. “APENFT started out as the gallery of Tron. It was the first effort to bring traditional artists onto the platform and the blockchain as well as bring new digital native artists, give them a place to show their work, so now that’s evolved into the APENFT marketplace, which enables buyers and sellers to connect,” he shares.
However, more so than its basis as a marketplace is the technology on which the platform is founded. When asked more specifically about using Tron as a foundation for their platform, Ukryniak continues, “Being built on Tron is extremely low cost for anyone to develop on in addition to being extremely scalable with great speed. It’s also very decentralized, particularly now that Tron has become a DAO.”
Strength in design
As the discussion progressed, many of the audience's questions circulated on the competitive advantage the APENFT marketplace provides compared to other offerings.
David calls the BitTorrent internet protocol as one of them, stating that APENFT may be the “first NFT marketplace that leverages this file system.” As a result, with BitTorrent, APENFT can “create a significant level of safety for storing NFTs.”
There are a number of costs associated with minting and interacting with NFTs on blockchains, but APENFT differentiates itself with zero transaction fees for creators. Although you need Tron’s native TRX token to mint your own collection and make purchases on the marketplace — with no transaction fees — the team at APENFT is focusing on attracting more artists to publish their work and keep more of their earnings for themselves.
Ultimately, these lower fees are designed to encourage creators to produce projects by lowering the previously common barrier that larger marketplaces have noted.
Rounding out the benefits of APENFT, an audience member asked how the zero-fee platform compares to other offerings, including Nifty Gateway and Coinbase NFT. Ukryniak circled back on the topic of BitTorrent to answer this question, explaining, “All these platforms are primarily Ethereum-based. In comparison, when users build on Tron and bridge through the BitTorrent Chain (BTTC), they can be on Ethereum, Tron and BNB Chain simultaneously.” He then posed the question to creators, asking, “Why would you limit yourself to being on one chain even if it’s Ethereum, which is quite large, when you could open yourself up to a much broader audience by being on multiple chains?”
Since the world is largely moving toward a multichain future, it makes sense that users are addressing their total audience to ensure chains are connected properly.
Supporting mainstream NFT adoption
As the AMA drew to a close, talks of multichain and interoperability lead to questions about how platforms like APENFT can continuously support mainstream NFT adoption. The ability for creators to earn resale commissions is one of the main components, which can be achieved on Tron using a standard function in the smart contract responsible for minting NFTs. Using this method to mint an NFT also allows creators to verify their published artworks via TronScan while giving purchasers a sense of security with the ability to personally audit source contracts for NFTs they are interested in purchasing.
With a question left on the table as to how this will unfold, Ukryniak concluded the AMA session by sharing some of the things that APENFT has in store as the next steps. In his words, “The biggest thing you’re going to see coming from the marketplace at this point will be rapid growth across the categories of NFTs.” Furthermore, Ukryniak proceeded to elaborate on their efforts from an industry perspective by sharing, “In the NFT world, I think you’re going to see transaction costs trend towards where Tron is, suggesting the differentiators in the marketplace will be security, storage, speed and cost.”
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