The XRPL has been the leader in blockchain payments, but is gradually emerging in other areas such as DeFi and NFTs. These changes are coming quickly, and future additions such as the EVM sidechain will only accelerate the development of new initiatives. Now, the NFT community is also starting to grow; as of October 2023, over 3M NFTs have been minted on the XRPL.
This piece will take a closer look at XRPL NFTs, which have a fundamentally different design than Ethereum or others. For one, they’re built into the network itself. Other key characteristics include low-fees, higher security, automatic royalties, and more.
I’ll also be covering the XLS-20 NFT Standard, adoption, and existing NFT Marketplaces on the XRPL.
The XLS-20 NFT Standard
There was originally an XLS-14d proposal that dictated the issuance of a unique XRPL token that would represent NFTs. It was to be a tiny fraction of a fungible token (that couldn’t be divided any further) that possessed non-fungible attributes. This design ultimately led to issues on the XRPL DEX (such as rounding errors) and the XLS-14d proposal has not been carried forward.
The XLS-20 standard was then introduced and has taken a different approach, creating an entirely separate token type called NFToken. This initially required changes to the underlying XRPL system but this has been completed, and developers have been able to access essential NFT functionalities like minting, trading, burning, etc. since October 2022.
Some features include:
- Automatic Royalties: while platforms like OpenSea can bypass royalties, on the XRPL they’re enforced.
- Trading / Minting / Burning: similar to other networks.
- Authorized Minter: you can choose another party to mint NFTs and run day-to-day operations, while you remain the NFT owner and continue to earn royalties.
A challenge has been that many XRP holders believe that XRP is only for Ripple, rather than for the XRPL network as a whole. While many XRP holders may hold NFTs elsewhere, on XRPL they’re nascent. Many of the existing projects are also only known within the XRPL community which poses a challenge in terms of getting them on the broad crypto stage. This is a challenge for the community as a whole and a potential opportunity for early innovators.
What can help this?
One is partnerships. Famous car brand Ducati announced a digital collection on the XRPL which helped bring visibility. Given the XRPL brand’s recognition and reach, hopefully, other mainstream attention can be brought to the space.
Another thing that can help is advocacy – those in the XRPL community helping to bring attention to what’s going on, whether it be NFTs, DeFi, or anything else.
I expect that as the market rebounds as a whole moving into 2024, this will help bring attention over to the XRPL’s NFT community. The benefit is that the Ripple brand already has a huge following, so it’s much easier to shift eyes to the XRPL than it otherwise would be for a brand new ecosystem.
Let’s take a look at two marketplaces helping to bring forward adoption.
XRP Cafe won a grant in January 2023 as part of the XRPL’s Wave 4 grants program, and have been swiftly building. Vet on their team is particularly active in the community.
From speaking with community members, it sounds like the UX and UI is especially great, and they have features like bulk listings and wallet integrations. They also have an especially strong presence in Asia.
Based on on-chain data from both Bithomp and dAppRadar, it appears that they lead in recent NFT marketplace sales (~80%), but not in all-time sales. This might signal growing traction in recent times.
Some of the most popular projects in the past month include:
- Zerpmon: a creature collecting and battling game on the XRPL. It reminds me of Pokemon of sorts, and is focused on being easy to play.
- Bored Apes XRPL Club: an XRPL version of BAYC. They also created HOGs, which are ranked #3 for monthly volume.
- Celestial Spirits: created by Moon Studios but without much context.
OnXRP is another XRPL NFT marketplace that has been around since the Devnet launch back in late 2021.
Their users also have commented on their good UI/UX, but whereas xrpcafe has a strong presence in Asia, I’ve been told that OnXRP has a greater presence in North America and EMEA.
Their top projects include:
- CryptoLand: a Play-to-Earn gaming community on the XRPL
- XPunks: an XRPL version of the popular cryptopunks.
- Unixpunks: similar to cryptopunks, but unicorn-themed with 4727 total.
And then both Bored Apes XRP Club and HOGs are also top-5 on their marketplace as well.
For the record, I’m more of a DeFi person and not as familiar with the NFT world, but here are my thoughts. It seems that despite some imitations of mainstream NFT projects like CryptoPunks, they’ve also been able to get new projects building on them.
Some noteworthy projects I’ve been told about include
The XRPL NFT community has been very active on Twitter and I wouldn’t be surprised to see big growth in 2024. For now, it should be a matter of getting new projects building and greater attention on the space – as Ethereum continues to dominate the NFT space, but is not necessarily the only nor best ecosystem out there.
In conclusion, the XLS-20 standard has various unique properties such as enforced royalties and blockchain-level implementation.
There’s been solid growth throughout 2023, and hopefully community adoption, advocacy, and mainstream partnerships can help further bolster NFT adoption on the XRPL. It’s also likely that a market turnaround into 2024 will be helpful all around.
I definitely recommend checking out both NFT marketplaces to learn more about community projects, and to give both XRPCafe and OnXRP follows on Twitter.If you are interested in learning more about building on the XRPL, feel free to book a call with me and we can discuss the process.