The ICON network has a thriving NFT ecosystem.

And at the heart of that ecosystem is Craft Network.

The community-owned NFT marketplace currently tracks 47,000 NFTs, 16,000 of which are currently for sale. Over 3,300 unique addresses have minted NFTs so far.

Lucas of Staky, one of the early contributors to Craft Network, said the marketplace was a team effort.

Craft Network was born from the initiative of several teams and contributors of the ICON ecosystem,” he says. “We wanted to offer a marketplace that would allow artists, builders and community members to enjoy the benefits of ICON technology such as low fees and of course BTP technology for later.”

Driven by the community. And interoperable (soon)

There are plenty of NFT markets in the crypto space. But what sets Craft Network apart, says Lucas, is that the ecosystem is “community-driven.” He says the marketplace puts the community at its heart with the $CFT governance token, which lets users earn some of the fees generated by Craft and access other features of the platform.

Lucas also says Craft Network aims to be one of the first NFT marketplaces to focus on true cross-chain interoperability. “But that will be when the BTP technology is ready,” he said.

Building ICON’s dominant NFT market wasn’t always easy.

The main challenges were defining an optimal browsing and exchange experience to make a place for ourselves in the NFT market,” he says. “Today, we continue to iterate on these points and on fixing various bugs and performance issues that can impact the platform.”

He adds, ”We are also focusing on the CFT token, and how we can go further in its interaction in the Craft marketplace.”

Lucas praises the community response so far, pointing to recurring names in Discord discussions, constructive feedback and the overall community surrounding the marketplace.

He takes particular pleasure in watching artists join the crypto space.

I would say that one of the most satisfying things is to see artists who got into NFTs without knowing the world of crypto-currencies being completely converted to this world thanks to Craft,” he says. “We are not yet at the point of having completely changed the lives of some artists but it would be a nice goal.”

Look for communities

Lucas is hesitant to discuss his favorite artists, but he’s happy to point people in the right direction to discover great artists.

In particular, people should look for Crafters who are trying to build communities.

He says, “Whether it’s artists or developers creating collections, the projects that stay in the long run and increase in value are the ones that manage to create a community around their work.”

Not just a bubble

NFTs might be hot, but some observers doubt the sustainability of the market, calling it a “bubble.”

Lucas is neither pessimistic nor pollyannish, adopting a very level headed view.

The crypto-currency world is made up of bubbles, NFT’s are a very broad field and don’t just concern art or collectibles, and it would be an exaggeration to say that the whole market is overvalued,” he says.

He predicts a “big purge” when the bull run ends, drawing a distinction between projects with real value behind their NFTs and those created simply to make a quick buck.

Even more to come

Lucas is looking forward to ICON 2.0, which will bring significant performance gains for the underlying blockchain network.

What really has his attention, however, is BTP and the interoperability it promises to bring to the network.

He says, “I would say that it is rather BTP technology and interoperability that has a real interest for Craft, so that we can find our product market fit not only within ICON but within the crypto ecosystem as a whole.”

That’s not all. To quote “Dune” — the latest adaptation of which this writer will be seeing tomorrow, in IMAX, no less, albeit stuck in a front row corner — the Craft Network has plans within plans.

We have a lot of ideas for Craft,” says Lucas.  “We have established a roadmap to prioritize features. We are planning to add an auction system, better navigation, multi-currency support, wallet bridge integration and a feature that I find particularly interesting: an automated system allowing any artist to deploy a smart contract and launch a NFT presale for large collections, and all without needing technical knowledge.”