Bitcoin NFTs Mark Shift for NFT Landscape, Says Magic Eden CEO

From Solana to Bitcoin, Magic Eden is betting big on a multi-chain solution to rival OpenSea

By: André Beganski

March 5, 2024

If the early bird catches the worm, it's the multi-chain NFT platform that seems poised to eat everyone's lunch.

While many NFT marketplaces have historically leaned into Ethereum — the network synonymous with pioneering digital collectibles — supporting assets issued across several blockchains is a core element of Magic Eden’s market strategy, company co-founder and CEO Jack Lu said in a recent interview with Coinage.

“We're really proud to be one of the uniquely positioned players to serve all three of these massive ecosystems,” he said. “It's really clear that now the NFT market is empirically just a multi-chain market.”

Solana was home to amazing technology and creators when Magic Eden launched on the network in 2021, Lu said. But, at the time, the most prestigious art collections lived on Ethereum, and Solana was viewed like its “little brother,” Lu said — the former chain boasting big-name NFT collections like CryptoPunks and The Bored Ape Yacht Club, which are both owned by Yuga Labs. 

Since then, however, Solana has grown to become the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, according to CoinMarketCap data. A few NFT collections have racked up lofty floor prices too: The cheapest Solana-based NFT from the collection Mad Lads by Backpack was available for sale on Magic Eden’s marketplace for 189 SOL — or about $25,000 worth of the cryptocurrency — as of this writing. 

With the introduction of NFT-like assets on Bitcoin using the protocol Ordinals, Lu has watched NFTs become increasingly distributed across other chains, he said. Before storied auction houses like Sotheby’s conducted the first sale of Bitcoin-based art, Magic Eden moved to establish its Ordinals marketplace early, planting a flag in the market in March — just a few months after Ordinals’ debut.

Teeming with their own communities of art collectors, Lu highlighted Magic Eden’s support of the Solana-, Ethereum-, and Bitcoin-based collectibles (Magic Eden also supports Polygon-based NFTS). Ordinals’ popularity is relatively new — the protocol launched just over a year ago — yet Lu estimated that Bitcoin has grown to account for 35% of the overall NFT market today.

With Magic Eden’s multi-chain approach, Ordinals’ traction has pushed the marketplace ahead of its competitors within the past week. Magic Eden’s marketplace has done $232 million in NFT trading volume over the past seven days, 80% of which comprised Bitcoin-based assets, according to analytics from Tiexo. For comparison, Blur and OpenSea have seen $178 million and $54 million worth of weekly NFT trading volume, respectively.

Partnering with the aforementioned Yuga, Magic Eden debuted a new Ethereum NFT marketplace last month that enforces creator royalties. As marketplaces like Blur continue to tweak their own royalty policies to stay competitive, Lu said that Magic Eden’s technical solution is about putting creators in the driver's seat.

“There was this basically a crazy period in NFTs where everyone found out that royalties were not protected … and then over time, we actually figured out the solution,” he said. “And this partnership with Yuga is really hinged on a lot of our learnings based on that Solana experience, where we can build and support that technology.”

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