What Is Solible: Solana’s First NFT Marketplace
Key Questions Answered
After showing initial signs of growth in 2020, the non-fungible token (NFT) market exploded in early 2021, when an NFT art piece sold for a record-setting $69 million. While the first NFT marketplaces appeared on Ethereum, other blockchains soon followed suit. Solible was launched in late 2020 and is a NFT marketplace app for one of Ethereum’s key rivals Solana (SOL).
One of Solible’s key features is the collection of NFTs linked to real-world items such as sports apparel and paintings.
What Is Solible?
Solible is an NFT marketplace on the Solana blockchain where users can create customized NFTs based on Solana’s SPL token standard. These NFTs can represent digital items or items linked to real physical assets.
For example, one Solible offering is a set of soccer-themed t-shirts and socks. Another real-world offer on the marketplace is a painting of the Shiba Inu dog that inspired the Doge meme coin (DOGE).
In March 2021, Solible was ported to Solana’s largest decentralized exchange (DEX) platform, Serum (SRM). This opened opportunities for Solible NFTs to be accessible to a wide audience of Serum users.
The NFTs traded on Solible are now redeemable for three fungible cryptocurrencies — US Dollar Coin (USDC), Frontier (FRONT), and Serum’s native coin, SRM. The Solible platform currently supports two Solana wallets — Sollet and Bonfida.
Solible is a product developed by Bonfida (FIDA), a Solana-based crypto project specializing in app development for the Serum and Solana ecosystems. Along with supporting and developing projects for Solana, Bonfida also runs its own DEX platform.
Soccer apparel is among the top NFTs promoted on Solible. (Source: Solible.com)
How Does Solible Work?
Solible is an open-source project. Anyone with an account on GitHub can access the project’s repository and create an NFT. A big advantage of Solible over many other NFT platforms is that listing an NFT is completely free.
You will need to mint your own NFT based on Solana’s SPL token standard.
Solible recommends a user-friendly web interface called “Token Creator” to help you easily create SPL-based NFT tokens.
Once you have minted your NFT, you will need to create a Serum market to trade it on. You will also need a high-resolution and low-resolution image of the item represented by your NFT, and both images must be stored on the Interplanetary Filing System (IPFS).
IPFS, a distributed protocol for secure data storage and sharing, provides the advantage of cryptographic security for item storage. In normal web-based storage, the image representing an NFT may be altered without any change to its URL. In contrast, items stored on IPFS have a unique hash identifier, and any modification to the item results in a new identifier. For that reason, IPFS is optimal for secure and fraud-free storage of unique items. In addition to images, you can also store videos that represent your NFT.
As the final step to listing your NFT, you will need to submit a request to Solible. The request must specify all the details above, such as your NFT’s unique identifier on Solana, the Serum market you created for it, and the unique hash identifiers for your images or videos on IPFS.
What NFTs Are Available on Solible?
Despite being Solana’s pioneering NFT marketplace, Solible remains small. The project’s home page currently lists only 50 or so NFTs. Moreover, some NFTs’ images or videos have loading errors, indicating that the NFT is unavailable. Given the poor usability and minimalist nature of Solible’s website, it is unclear whether these items have been sold, simply removed by the owner, or deleted from IPFS for some other reason.
The top NFTs currently being promoted include SRM Socks and an SRM tee-shirt, both pieces of real-world apparel intended for soccer.
There are also crypto-themed NFTs, such as a painting depicting the famous Shiba Inu dog, Kabo-chan, who inspired the Doge coin. Another crypto-themed NFT, called “Satoshi Closeup,” is a depiction of Bitcoin’s mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
“Doge” and “Satoshi Closeup” are among the crypto-themed NFTs on Solible. (Source: Solible.com)
Who Are Solible’s Competitors?
Solible operates in a somewhat specialized market niche — Solana-based NFT marketplaces. Few of these projects currently exist. However, larger projects in this category that are worth considering include Solsea and Metaplex.
Solsea is an NFT marketplace that allows asset owners to embed copyrights in their tokens. For every NFT, Solsea calculates a “rarity rank” indicating the item’s uniqueness. This marketplace also gives NFT creators an option to make their listing private, i.e., not available for viewing by the general public.
Despite being newer than Solible, the Solsea platform already boasts 50,000 NFTs — a much larger offering than Solible’s. The Solsea platform also features an easy-to-navigate website where NFTs are divided into key categories, such as 3D, Painting, Photography, and Trading Cards. This is in stark contrast to Solible’s simplistic website, which has hardly any structured organization or categories.
With a much larger NFT collection and a well-organized, functional website, Solsea seems to offer NFT creators and buyers a much richer user experience than Solible.
Metaplex is a marketplace that lets NFT owners create their own branded storefronts and run online communities. The platform also lets multiple NFT owners collaborate and share communities they run.
While Solible uses IPFS for asset storage, Metaplex’s storage platform is the blockchain-based Arweave protocol.
A number of specific NFT-based community projects are run on Metaplex. These include Audius, a project enabling NFTs for music streaming; Aurory, a play-to-earn gaming project; and Degen Ape Academy, a large collection of ape-themed digital art.
Similar to Solsea, Metaplex contains tens of thousands of NFTs, a vastly larger offering than on Solible.
Who Is Behind Solible?
Bonfida, the outfit behind Solible, was founded in 2020 by Bonfida CEO David Ratiney, an active contributor to the Serum project.
The Bonfida project raised a total of $4.5 million in a single seed funding round from eight investors. Besides Solible, Bonfida’s products include a decentralized naming service, the first Solana-based perpetual swap platform, automated crypto trading bots, and a DEX. However, given Solible’s barely functional website and the extremely limited collection of NFTs, it is likely that Bonfida does not currently prioritize this project.
What Is the Future of Solible?
Solible’s future is highly uncertain. Despite being the first Solana-based NFT marketplace, the project has failed to develop into anything other than a very small NFT platform with minimal offerings and options. Solible’s website features no more than a few dozen NFTs, a far cry from the tens of thousands of items listed on marketplaces such as Solsea and Metaplex. Additionally, the Solible website’s numerous errors and lack of systematic organization likely limit its appeal to potential users.
The minimalist NFT collection and website suggest that Bonfida may not be allocating significant resources or attention to Solible at the moment. The platform’s porting to the Serum DEX earlier this year represented a great opportunity for growth, but this opportunity has so far failed to materialize.
If Solible remains in its current minimalist state, it is hard to imagine how it may carve out a market share for itself in the presence of diverse offers from the likes of Solsea and Metaplex. In addition to these leading Solana-based marketplaces, a number of fast-growing NFT platforms on Ethereum are also contributing to competition in this niche.
These are projects such as OpenSea, Axie Marketplace, Rarible, and others. With diverse offers and active user bases, these platforms further dwarf Solible’s statue in the NFT niche. Moreover, when Ethereum completes its planned upgrade to a Proof of Stake (PoS) version, it will feature transaction speeds faster than those on Solana. This will give the Ethereum-based NFT marketplaces a further competitive boost against Solana-based projects, including Solible. The upgrade’s completion is planned for some time in 2022.
Solible is the first NFT marketplace created on Solana. Launched in late 2020, Solible was connected to Solana’s largest DEX, Serum, in March of this year.
Creators use Solana’s SPL token standard to mint NFTs, which are redeemable for three cryptocurrencies — USDC, FRONT, and SRM. The assets representing NFTs are stored on the IPFS distributed storage platform.
Despite being the first Solana-based NFT marketplace, Solible has so far failed to achieve substantial growth, offering only about 50 items — much fewer than other Solana-based marketplaces like Solsea and Metaplex.
The future of Solible is quite unclear given its current minimalist nature and the presence of other much more active NFT marketplaces, both on Solana, Solible’s native platform, and on Ethereum. The platform’s owner, Bonfida, will need to devote more attention to this project if it hopes to turn Solible into an actively used platform.