It was a weekend of heavy traffic, and I’m not talking about cars. Two major blockchains, Ethereum and Solana, suffered significant disruptions due to a surge of transactions related to non-fungible tokens. The gridlock was so bad that one popular NFT creator has floated the prospect of building its own blockchain—underscoring the urgency of Ethereum’s upcoming shift in how it verifies transactions, a long-awaited process that could reduce such bottlenecks.
It started with a burgeoning area of crypto speculation: virtual real estate. Yuga Labs, the startup behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, on Saturday sold 55,000 special NFTs to verified holders of ApeCoin, the token associated with the collection. Each NFT granted the owner access to a plot of land in Yuga’s metaverse, which it calls the Otherside. It was a blockbuster sale worth about $360 million based on the price of the ApeCoin token at the start of the sale (about $21.50), and each land parcel’s cost of 305 ApeCoins.