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Programmable NFTs (pNFTs) Meaning

Mar 16, 2024 | Updated Mar 20, 2024
pNFT is a new programmable asset class in the Solana ecosystem that allows creators and artists to define how their NFTs are used.

What Are pNFTs?

The concept that digital ownership could hold comparable weight, value, and prestige to physical possession was a crucial element behind the NFT craze.  Powered by smart contracts, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) took the internet by storm, boosted by promises to empower (primarily) digital artists and creators with unprecedented control over their work’s distribution and finally give them a path to consistent compensation. 

Arguably the most revolutionary aspect of NFTs was how they allowed artists and  project owners to earn royalties from every subsequent sale of their NFTs. However, creator royalties were at the discretion of NFT marketplaces, which have since gone away from royalties as the industry standard. That’s where pNFTs come in. Programmable NFTs (pNFTs) are a novel Solana NFT standard that defines how an NFT behaves over time or based on specific conditions. This standard, for instance, allows developers to decide how the NFT is traded, used, or interacted with. Simply put, they offer artists and creators the flexibility to configure the lifecycle rules of their NFT collection, such as transfer restrictions on royalties enforcement.

How Do Programmable NFTs Work?

The defining principle of programmable NFTs lies in the capacity to establish the custom rules governing the actions that can be performed on an NFT. As such, creators can enforce conditions such as locking and unlocking the NFTs based on factors like usage and location.

For example, this novel standard enables royalty enforcement, empowering creators to choose the marketplaces and protocols their NFTs can interact with through allow and deny lists. In other words, creators can create rules to prevent their NFT collection from engaging with zero-royalty marketplaces. 

Of course, for NFT creators to enjoy this benefit, they are limited to using NFT marketplaces that have adopted this standard and are thus compatible, which could limit their choices. Similarly, consumers may not be as eager to buy such NFTs, as they can be seen as curtailing ownership rights. That said, NFT creators are free to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and decide for themselves whether to use the pNFT standard, as it is completely optional.

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