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Expanding Ethereum, Zora Style 🌐

How to use Zora Network, the new Layer 2 scaling solution for NFTs!
William M. Peaster William M. Peaster Jun 22, 20236 min read
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Expanding Ethereum, Zora Style 🌐

Dear Bankless Nation,

I recently covered all the new features Zora’s shipped between January and May 2023.

That span of rollouts was already really impressive!

Yet now the Zora team’s amped things up another level — or rather another layer — with the launch of Zora Network, the project’s own bespoke NFT-centric layer two (L2) scaling solution.

For today’s post, let’s cover all the basics of this new L2 and how to bridge over and start creating and collecting.

-WMP


Zora Network: Ethereum’s 1st Creativity Rollup 🎨


The Zora 101 🎴

Zora is a decentralized creativity protocol that makes it easy to create and collect NFTs. It provides a suite of DIY tools for creators, including Drops and Multi-Editions, as well as a custom DAO deployer known as Nouns Builder. The core of the project, Zora V3, is an optimized NFT marketplace system known for its immutable and universally accessible architecture.

Learn more about Zora’s current features in my May 2023 write-up “Exploring Zora.”

The NFT L2: Zora Network arrives 🆕

One month ago, Zora unveiled plans to launch its own layer-two (L2) scaling solution. The idea? Slash minting and collecting costs for Ethereum creatives.

Little more was known about the effort until yesterday, June 21st, when the protocol’s team officially announced the mainnet launch of the L2, dubbed Zora Network.

Of course, the gas costs of using the Ethereum base layer (L1) for NFTs became a blocker for many people over the past couple years, yet most L2s have struggled to gain significant traction with NFTers so far. Here Zora, with its extensive experience in the NFT sector, is gunning to have a breakthrough with Zora Network.

As for the infra involved, the L2 is built on the OP Stack, the tech powering Optimism and its Superchain vision of many optimistic rollup chains. Accordingly, this foundation has granted Zora a very gas-friendly L2 that’s now integrated with all of its creator tools and +35 industry partners and counting. Additionally, Zora’s also just rolled out support for minting NFTs on Optimism proper.

How to use Zora Network 🖌

To start minting on the Zora L2, you’ll need three things: 1) some ETH for gas, 2) support added for the Zora Network in your wallet, and 3) media, like an image, that you want to publish onchain.

So let’s say you have some ETH prepped on Ethereum and you’re ready to go. Here’s what to do next…

1) Bridging over 🔆

You can start by manually adding the L2 to your wallet using a resource like Chainlist (chain id = 7777777), or you can automatically do so when prompted later in the creation process on zora.co.

Either way, you’ll then need to bridge funds over to Zora Network to proceed, which you can do at bridge.zora.energy. At the time of writing, a bridging transaction here cost ~0.0008 ETH, or ~$1.50 USD.
via bridge.zora.energy

2) Creating an NFT 🧑‍🎨️

Start by going to zora.co and connecting your wallet. Feel free to set up your profile on Zora if you haven’t already before moving on here.

Then when you’re ready with the media file you want to mint, click the “+ Create” button on Zora and click one of the available creator options, e.g. an “Edition.” Upload your file and fill out the relevant collection details before flicking over to “Zora Network” at the bottom of the interface. Here you could alternatively choose Ethereum or Optimism right now.
If all looks well, press “Create” to continue, at which point your wallet will be prompted with a mint transaction.

At the time of writing, a Zora Network mint transaction cost ~0.0015 ETH (~$3 USD) worth of gas. In contrast, the same transaction would cost ~0.015 ETH, or x10 as much, on Ethereum right now. Complete the mint transaction with your wallet, and once it confirms, your new L2 NFT will be live!

Pretty simple, right? At this point you can finish things up by personalizing and sharing your mint page. For example, I created + personalized a commemorative open edition drop, “Optimistic Zorb,” that you can mint for free (minus gas + Zora’s mint 0.000777 mint fee) at any point over the next week.
via zora.co

3) Collecting an NFT ✨

This process is similarly straightforward. If you arrive at a Zora Network mint page and you want to collect, simply click on the NFT’s “Mint” button and complete the ensuing mint transaction with your wallet. At the time of writing, minting cost ~0.0002 ETH in gas, or roughly $0.40 USD at the current ETH/USD exchange rate.

Zora x Bankless highlights 💡

Yesterday, Zora cofounder Jacob appeared on the Bankless podcast for a State of the Nation episode on the Zora Network launch. It’s a banger, so set some time aside to watch the whole thing, but I’ve also curated a few quotes for you from the chat as highlights below.

Jacob re: defining Zora ✍️

“We describe ourselves as the best place to mint on Ethereum, so that's the very tactical one sentence description. A level above that is like, yeah, we want to help bring imagination onchain, and then the question is like well why do we want to help bring imagination onchain? And it's exactly because … we want to help information be free and valuable on the Internet, to essentially reveal the value of everything that we're creating and doing in our daily lives on social media and everything like that.”

Jacob re: launching Zora Network 🌐

"A huge structural inhibitor to growth and accessibility of being able to collect onchain is gas prices, especially in the timed open edition format where … you know … a 20 gwei gas price to mint a free NFT starts to actually get in the way of the collecting experience and puts up a hard barrier. And for us, where we see tons of NFTs minted, we feel like we're kind of reaching the upper limits of Ethereum mainnet as a network. We've spent months exploring all the different options and where we've netted out is that we're going to be launching the Zora L2 built on the OP stack, the Optimism stack. We're going to be adding support for other [L2] networks on Zora as well to give creators the choice … but yeah, for us, we've decided to take the leap and launch the Zora L2 on Optimism."

Jacob re: the “wen token” question 🪙

"At Zora, I think the way we've always thought about a token is, well, first, around the principle of community ownership, it’s one of the huge superpowers of crypto. So of course that's an ideal. Then secondly, I think tokens are amazing if they can help meaningfully decentralize wherever possible … there’s thousands of tokens out there but there's very few working onchain organizations that can utilize these tokens. So I've always paid attention to, well, what are the token models that are pushing us toward a working and meaningfully decentralized organization on the DAO side? … I think for us it's always part of the vision and a long-term ideal and similar to like the [Optimism] Superchain, decentralizing sequencers is a really hard unsolved problem so there isn't a very straightforward way yet to just turn on a token then immediately start decentralizing. That's just not where the technology is at, so I think we're hopeful for that future. I'd say it's probably going to be until more breakthroughs happen, for now we're just going to be heads down building the best possible product and tools we can.”

Zooming out 🧠

Before now Zora’s infra was already popular among many onchain creatives, which is why the protocol has some of the best monthly active user (MAU) stats in all of crypto right now.

Combine this infra and tooling edge with the deep NFT expertise of the Zora team, and there’s no question that the Zora Network has big potential in the NFT space and the Ethereum ecosystem going forward.

Can this new L2 really become the dominant scaling solution for NFTs in the years ahead then? That remains to be seen, and surely more challengers to the mantle will come, but Zora’s got a track record of excellence so far and that bodes very well for the future of Zora Network.
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William M. Peaster

Written by William M. Peaster

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William M. Peaster, Senior Writer, has been with Bankless since January 2021. Immersed in Ethereum since 2017, he writes the Metaversal newsletter on the onchain frontier, covering everything from AI projects to crypto games, as the team’s lead NFT analyst. With a background in creative writing, he writes fiction and publishes art on Ethereum in his free time. He lives in Washington.

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