50. What Is the Metaplex Candy Machine Protocol? How Does It Work?
Metaplex is a protocol completely based on Solana. It helps to create NFTs. The Candy Machine Metaplex protocol serves as the basis for minting and distributing NFT collections.
Interesting fact: as of September 2022, about 78% of all NFTs powered by Solana have been minted using precisely the protocol discussed today.
In today’s lesson, we will explore the Metaplex Candy Machine protocol and its significance in the non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem.
Metaplex Candy Machine Protocol – Definition
It is Solana’s blockchain-based ecosystem for minting and distributing new NFT collections. It offers many additional benefits, especially in terms of security. The Metaplex protocol is the basis for many popular NFT projects developed in the Solana ecosystem.
The Metaplex Candy Machine offers several advantages that set it apart from other ecosystems. Let’s delve into its key benefits:
- Users can pay for services using NFTs, SOL or other arbitrary tokens created on Solana.
- The protocol protects NFT collections from unwanted bots, through configurable bot taxes.
- NFT developers can develop multiple mint groups with different sets of rules.
- Metaplex limits mint permissions to a specific list of wallets or specific NFT/token owners.
- It allows creators to put their digital assets on the chain in a secure and configurable way.
How Does the Candy Machine Protocol Work?
This protocol is definitely different from the ones we know so far. Let’s now discuss its basic features and how to use it.
- The first step is to create a new machine known as the Candy Machine. In this machine, we input the necessary data to configure the NFTs that will be minted.
- Next, each creator needs to load their NFTs or items into the created Candy Machine, providing it with full functionality. The items in the machine must have two distinct parameters: name and URI. The “name” parameter refers to the name of the token being created, while the URI parameter directs us to the identifier URI containing the JSON NFT metadata.
- Once we have loaded our Candy Machine with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and set the desired parameters, ensuring they meet certain conditions, we can proceed to mint our NFTs. At this stage, the Candy Machine generates actual NFTs on the Solana blockchain. Interestingly, before initiating the minting process, some users may need to undergo additional verification steps, such as submitting a Merkle Proof or completing a Captcha check.
- Another interesting fact is that once the NFTs are minted from the Candy Machine, the creators can remove them! By doing so, they free up space on the blockchain. By doing so, users can reclaim a portion of the fees they paid for occupying the disk space.
Desired Settings of the Candy Machine Protocol
To properly mint NFTs using this protocol, it is helpful to know basic settings. Several of them are really unique and need to be configured before minting and distributing Metaplex NFTs.
The definition of “Authority“: This is the first thing we need to create NFTs using the Candy Machine Metaplex protocol. “Authority” is the wallet used to manage Solana-based accounts.
Another important issue is the so-called shared settings. Most NFT attributes are the same for all minted NFTs on the machine. The group of these common attributes includes: symbol, base charges, creator, maximum circulation, variables, and collections.
It is also important to note that the process of creating the NFT Candy Machine by Metaplex should primarily focus on certified Metaplex or MCC collections.
MCC, or Metaplex Certified Collection, refers to special NFTs that help group the minted NFTs and then verify the information on the blockchain. As a result, it is possible to perform secure and automatic collection verification.
How to Mint an NFT in the Protocol?
You already know the functionality and settings of the Candy Machine protocol. You will easily create and control the NFT minting machine. At this stage, we can choose three different ways to mint non-fungible tokens.
- Basic Minting. Any protocol user can mint NFTs using the basic Candy Machine program or the Candy Guard application to do so. All you have to do is work out the detailed instructions for creating minting accounts. The flexibility with which Metaplex creates the Candy protocol translates 100% into the minting process. Users can mint tokens using the appropriate parameters and attributes only. At this stage, we also utilize a fully configured Mint Authority to sign mint transactions.
- Candy Guards, or minting NFTs with guards, is a feature that requires including additional information put in the protocol. Interestingly, while each guard requires additional information during the minting process, it can also use SDKs to define minting settings.
- Minting using guard groups. This option is available in Metaplex Candy Machine V3. In this version, users select the groups they want to use for minting by specifying their labels. In addition, the developers specify the mint settings that apply to the “Resolved Guards” section of the group.
- Minting NFTs by pre-validation. In this way, some guards would require additional verification steps before the minting procedure. What does the pre-validation step include? Creating an account on the Solana blockchain or rewarding a wallet with a token to confirm verification.
- Minting through bot taxes is another aspect of the Candy Machine protocol. The Bot Tax serves as a safeguard to protect the machines by charging a certain amount of SOL for failed mints. It is crucial to note that each Bot Tax guard has an impact on the behavior of other guards during the minting process.
The description of the Metaplex Candy Machine protocol can be a bit complicated. However, it should be noted that this method is incredibly flexible, both for minting NFTs and their distribution.
Once the minting process is complete, the Candy Machine we created can be deleted, which simultaneously reduces the use of resources on the Solana blockchain. Candy Guards features provide additional benefits for NFT creators.
The simple creation procedure, NFT data machines, and machine configuration all contribute to the ease of creating new collections in a simple and automatic manner. It comes as no surprise that the protocol is gaining popularity, leading to the creation of numerous collections and non-fungible tokens on this specific chain.