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Compression NFTs

A new development on the Solana Blockchain has been Compression NFTs.

With normal NFTs on Solana, each token is stored on-chain as a distinct spl-token mint, with decimals of 0 and supply of 1. This mint has some metadata attached to it, as well as a token account representing the ownership of the token. In total, this leads to 4 accounts with a cost of 0.01197616 SOL in rent. Multiplying this by millions of Hotspots leads to not only a high cost but also a large usage of storage space on the blockchain.

Enter: Compression NFTs. Compression NFTs use a Concurrent Merkle Tree to compress millions of NFTs into one 32-byte hash. Clients executing transactions on compressed NFTs can send a cryptographic proof to the blockchain that verifies the NFT and ownership. In other words, instead of sending a transaction with:

pub mint: Account<'info, Mint>,
pub metadata: Account<'info, Metadata>,
pub master_edition: Account<'info, MasterEdition>,
constraint = token_account.amount >= 1,
token::owner = owner
pub token_account: Account<'info, TokenAccount>,
pub owner: Signer<'info>

You can instead send:

pub struct ProofArgs {
pub hash: Vec<u8>, // The 32 byte hash of the NFT
pub root: [u8; 32], // The root of the merkle tree
pub index: u32, // The index of the item in the tree
pub proof: Vec<Vec<u8>> // An array of 32 byte proofs proving that the `hash` is part of the `root`

pub merkle_tree: UncheckedAccount<'info>,

While this can make the transaction size larger, the amount of data stored on-chain is tiny. While this may look difficult, this is all neatly packed in the Metaplex Digital Asset API. This API runs on multiple RPC providers and allows you to hit convenient functions like get_assets_by_owner and get_asset_proof so that you never have to worry about the underlying concurrent merkle algorithm.