Solana NFT Compression went live just over a month ago and we’ve already seen ~2.5M mints take advantage. Enabled by Metaplex’s new standard Bubblegum, NFT Compression allows creators to mint thousands, even millions of NFTs at a fraction of the cost. A good tl;dr which I’ll use from this Helius blog are that “NFT compression lets developers & creators store the bulk of NFT data off-chain (which is much cheaper than on-chain storage) while storing the digital fingerprint of that data on the Solana blockchain in the form of a Merkle Tree. If the off-chain data is tampered with in any way, the digital fingerprint of this data won’t match the fingerprint on-chain — thereby guaranteeing data integrity.”
If a user ever wants to store the entire data of their NFT they can, reverting the NFT to a standard metaplex NFT if the user so desires. This opens up the ability for businesses, brands, or creators to create and issue NFTs at a fraction of the cost they could otherwise. Exactly how much cheaper? For 1M NFTs 2,400x cheaper, for 1B NFTs 24,000x cheaper.
This has been used by projects like DRiP who drop free artwork weekly, Grizzlython with sticker packs during their hackathon, recently migrated Helium who uses them for identity of their hotspot owners, and also recently migrated Render who will use them to tokenize scene graphs for GPU rendering. For important metadata that needs to be on-chain you’ll still want to use standard NFTs, but compressed NFTs can be used for a variety of use-cases that benefit from issuing NFTs at scale.