Magic Eden, the leading Solana NFT marketplace, continued its expansion to Ethereum today by rolling out support for a handful of major collections, including the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Pudgy Penguins, and Otherside. Additional projects will be added in the days ahead.
The “Magic Ethen” push was announced in August as the first step in Magic Eden’s evolution, first revealed back in June when the firm announced a $130 million raise at a $1.6 billion valuation. Rather than launch its own native Ethereum tech, Magic Eden is aggregating listings from other marketplaces and integrating them within its platform.
Magic Eden co-founder and CEO Jack Lu explained the multi-chain strategy in depth on the latest episode of Decrypt’s gm podcast. The wide-ranging interview covers everything from Magic Eden’s own rapid ascent—it launched just one year ago this week—to the volatile NFT market, plus the value Lu sees in NFTs for a wide variety of serious future use cases.
According to Lu, going multi-chain was Magic Eden’s plan from the start, dating back to its earliest pitch decks for investors. However, the company opted to start with Solana, which he said was “seen as a frontier ecosystem” last year. Magic Eden quickly leapfrogged the small, existing Solana marketplaces and became the dominant player in that market.
When it came time to announce Ethereum support in August, Lu admitted that the Magic Eden team was “worried about” the reaction from its passionately SOL-centric audience. However, he doesn’t believe that the markets are as divided as they might seem on the surface.
“There’s actually very high degrees of user overlap between the two ecosystems,” Lu told gm co-hosts Daniel Roberts and Stephen Graves. “It's not so mutually exclusively tribal. Initially, that's what I thought too—it’s like SOL only, ETH only. But actually, as we dug [in] more to learn about it, actually, a lot of the SOL users came from Ethereum.”
Lu said that a lot of the early Solana NFT users had actually come over to the platform after first experimenting on Ethereum. While there are still examples of tribalism amongst notable collectors in both spaces, there are also NFT personalities who have played in both spaces.
“For us to move from SOL to ETH, it was actually very natural,” said Lu. “A lot of those users were like, ‘Oh yeah, well, I've got a MetaMask [wallet] already, I already know kind of about the landscape. It makes sense that a Solana marketplace wants to move to Ethereum, as well.’”
As far as why Magic Eden expanded to Ethereum, there’s an obvious answer: it’s the largest ecosystem in terms of overall trading volume, and holds most of the highest-value projects. There are also likely plenty of users that have only ever collected Ethereum NFTs. But Lu also pointed to “things that we have long admired” over in the Ethereum space.
“There's some very important user motivations,” he explained. “There are amazing NFT communities, NFT collections, and NFT creators and culture in the Ethereum ecosystem.”
Lu said that in expanding across multiple NFT ecosystems—with Ethereum the first of potentially many additions to come—both Magic Eden and the wider Solana NFT space can learn from Ethereum’s NFT culture, and even “port over some of those learnings.”
Listen to the full episode of the gm podcast wherever you get your podcasts, and make sure to subscribe.