Heavy Demand for Madlads NFT Breaks Internet, Delays Mint

The Madlads NFT is meant to be the first in a novel spin on digital collectibles from Armani Ferrante and Tristan Yver, two well-known figures in the Solana ecosystem.

AccessTimeIconApr 21, 2023 at 2:43 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 21, 2023 at 2:34 p.m. UTC

One of the hottest non-fungible token (NFT) mints in Solana’s recent history is getting pushed into Friday after a groundswell of interest in the Madlads collection broke the internet infrastructure behind it.

The Madlads collection – a project closely tied to the growing realm of Solana duo Armani Ferrante and Tristan Yver – will open to public minters at 7 p.m. ET (23:00 UTC) Friday, an account tied to the supercharged non-fungible token (NFT) project tweeted late Thursday.

Delaying nearly 24 hours could buy Madlads’ creators time to solve a problem they didn’t think to expect: way too much internet traffic. “Billions” of requests routed through the crypto wallet Backpack (itself a production from Ferrante and Yver) outpaced the platform’s abilities, effectively resulting in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

“This is orders of magnitude more insane than anything we've dealt with up until this point,” Ferrante said on a Twitter Spaces with about 9,500 listeners, explaining why the mint was being pushed back.

New kind of NFT

The delay came after a day of electric interest in Ferrante’s and Yver’s custom take on NFTs. They’re called xNFTs, and they’re more than just a JPEG on a blockchain: They also represent “tokenized code representing ownership rights over its execution,” according to the website of Blue Coral Inc., the duo’s startup that focuses on Solana development.

Madlads is meant to be the first xNFT.

On the Twitter Spaces, Ferrante recounted a cascading series of internet outages that restricted the public’s chance to access the mint, first for an hour, then a day. He said heavy demand knocked out two RPC nodes (access points to the Solana blockchain) and also the user interface on Cloudflare, which, among other things, tries to prevent DDoS attacks.

Popular demand for the collection of novel JPEGs has already likely spelled a signup boom for Coral’s wallet app, Backpack. That’s the only Solana wallet where would-be owners can mint the Madlads collection, and also the only wallet that supports it, given market leader Phantom isn’t playing.

The palpable excitement among Solana’s developer community manifested in unexpected ways as NFT traders searched for any edge that might guarantee them access to the collection.

Some desperate seekers even followed the advice of a Substack post that implied, erroneously, that buying into custom RPC nodes from Solana developer project Helius could benefit would-be minters.

The signups to Helius’ $19.99 “Hacker plan” grew so much Thursday that it prompted CEO Mert Mumtaz to ward off the ill-informed.

“While I appreciate you thinking of us, it's important to understand that this RPC won't actually increase your chances of minting a Madlad all that much, if at all,” Mumtaz posted in Helius’ Discord server midday Thursday.

CORRECTION (April 21, 2023, 03:22 UTC): A previous version of this story misspelled Mert Mumtaz's last name.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Danny Nelson

Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.

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