Mad Lads brings renewed optimism to Solana NFTs

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Mad Lads, a new NFT project on the Solana blockchain, has successfully amassed over $15 million in trading value despite extortion threats and DDOS attacks during its launch last week. It has also brought renewed optimism that Solana can bounce back from the setbacks it has faced in recent times.

Solana developer, Coral co-founder and Mad Lads CEO Armani Ferrante shared in an interview with Decrypt this week that the Solana community has been struggling since the collapse of FTX. Ferrante described the community as being in a “very dark, very crazy kind of place” and “had its soul-forging moment” during the period.

Ferrante also emphasized the significance of NFTs for the network. He noted that the departure of DeLabs’ DeGods to Ethereum and y00ts to Polygon created a gap in the Solana community.

“There was this void where the heart and soul of the NFT space needed to kind of have a new heartbeat, basically,” Ferrante said.

He maintained that part of the enthusiastic response to Mad Lads may have been due to coincidental timing, as it was launched not long after other notable projects left Solana.

However, Ferrante attributed much of the project’s success to the reputation and community goodwill he and his team built over the years. He believes many people saw Coral as a credible team that could execute and genuinely cares about the ecosystem.

Significance of Backpack and xNFTs

Mad Lads marked the first major release linked to Backpack, a wallet application centered on the Solana xNFT standard. This approach differs from using NFTs as entry passes to gated content on external platforms or sites. Instead, it makes it possible for NFTs to carry experiences and exclusive content that can be accessed through Backpack.

Last June, Backpack had its first major release with the Mad Lads mint. Ferrante said that xNFTs allow “creators to build new stories and create a new meta where the artwork is no longer just a piece of artwork.”

Ferrante believes that NFT project creators also have the potential to trade valuable screen “real estate” within their apps and direct collectors to specific trading platforms, allowing for leverage with marketplaces.

Coral’s long-term plans

Currently, Backpack is available in a public beta for mobile and web users. According to Ferrante, the long-term goal is to open it up to the community so that anyone can build on it once they are confident in the security.

He promised that more announcements about Backpack, including Mad Lads-related content and experiences, are coming. In the long run, Coral plans to make it available across multiple chains, with Ethereum currently supported via the Wormhole cross-chain bridge.

Ferrante wants the community to assist in adding more protocols, such as Bitcoin and Ordinals, to have every blockchain and protocol within a single user interface.

“One of the big ambitions for Backpack is to have every protocol and every blockchain inside of a single user interface,” he said.

According to the Coral co-founder, Mad Lads’ rise to dominance in the Solana NFT space and the market-wide sales charts over the past few days signals a rebirth for the Solana community. Ferrante believes it is undoing the damage caused by the FTX associations and the resulting narratives, as well as the departure of DeGods and y00ts.

“It’s got a super organic NFT community that hasn’t gone anywhere. I think that DeGods and y00ts kind of sucked the life out of the NFT space, but I think it’s totally back now,” Ferrante said. “And it’s not going anywhere. It’s honestly more exciting than ever.”


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