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Metaplex Revolutionizes Solana NFTs with New Inscription and Engraving Programs only Possible on Solana

Metaplex has launched a new Inscription program for on-chain storage of NFT data on Solana, with the upcoming Engraver program set to enable genuinely immutable NFTs, marking a significant advancement in asset security and integrity.

January 17, 2024 by Sheldon

Metaplex has announced the launch of their new Inscription program, with the promise of an even more innovative feature, "The Engraver," set to follow soon. This marks a significant advancement in the world of NFTs, particularly in terms of asset immutability and on-chain data storage. The original motivation behind inscriptions is the Popularity of Ordinals inscriptions on Bitcoin, which has started a trend across blockchains to make the NFTs immutable and stored fully on-chain. This demand for inscriptions on Solana after the great success of Libreplex lead Metaplex to develop inscription and engraving.  


To grasp the importance of these new programs, it is essential to understand two key concepts:

1. Immutability on Solana: Unlike common belief, inscriptions on Solana have been mutable, subject to change by the creator or the program used for creation. This has been a limitation for NFTs on Solana, as even those labeled "immutable" were vulnerable to changes if the underlying program was upgradeable.

2. On-Chain vs. Off-Chain Assets: Traditionally, many NFTs have relied on off-chain storage solutions like Google or AWS for their images and metadata. This dependency raised concerns about long-term accessibility and purity of data. In contrast, on-chain storage, also known as inscriptions, ensures data remains within the blockchain, independent of third-party services.

Metaplex's Inscriptions and the upcoming Engraver program are set to transform the Solana NFT landscape: Inscriptions were Released today. This program allows for the on-chain storage of NFT data, reducing reliance on external storage services like IPFS or Arweave. It ensures that assets exist as long as Solana does, enhancing their security and permanence. Engravings are coming soon. Awaiting audit, this program will enable the creation of genuinely immutable NFTs on Solana for the first time. The Engraver will be an immutable program capable of assuming ownership of any Solana account, making engraved NFTs impervious to changes by their creation programs.

Metaplex's offerings differ from Libreplex in several ways, such as multi-threading for improved transaction success, enforced royalties for inscribed pNFTs, thorough audits, and a unique inscription rarity set. The cost of inscriptions is relatively affordable, with tools available for calculating expenses based on image and JSON sizes, advanced compression options in the Inscription UI, and a CLI tool for bulk inscription cost analysis.

Top NFT marketplaces like Tensor and Solsniper have already announced support for Metaplex inscriptions, indicating a trend toward widespread adoption in the Solana NFT ecosystem. This move by Metaplex represents a significant shift towards more excellent data permanence and security in the NFT space, promising a new era of asset integrity and innovation on the Solana blockchain.

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