The phenomenal rise of non-fungible tokens and innovative developments in the NFT landscape have encouraged many people to mint their own NFTs. Solana blockchain has emerged as a popular solution for minting NFTs with its Metaplex platform. The Metaplex is a Solana-based protocol that helps in creating NFTs and auctions. The Candy Machine Metaplex protocol serves as the primary foundation for minting and distribution of NFT collections

As of September 2022, around 78% of all NFTs powered by Solana had been minted by using the Metaplex protocol. As the use cases of non-fungible tokens explore new domains, it is reasonable to assume profound growth in demand for NFT minting protocols. The following discussion offers an introductory overview of the Metaplex protocol and its important components. 

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What is the Candy Machine Protocol?

The Metaplex Candy Machine protocol is a Solana-based program for minting and distributing new NFT collections on the Solana blockchain. It offers credible benefits of security and customizability by helping creators represent their assets on the blockchain network. The popularity of the Metaplex protocol is also evident in the share of NFT projects minted on Solana by using the protocol. Interestingly, the Metaplex protocol served as the foundation for multiple popular NFT projects within the Solana ecosystem. 

The effectiveness of Candy Machine protocol on the Solana-powered Metaplex engine is one of its foremost highlights. You can find some significant benefits for NFT minting with the following features in Metaplex protocol.

  • Support for payments in NFTs, SOL, or any other Solana-based token. 
  • Limits for the launch through start/end dates, third-party signers, mint limits, and other parameters.
  • The Candy Machine, V2 Metaplex protocol, also safeguards new NFT launches from bots through configurable bot taxes alongside gatekeepers, such as captchas.
  • Creators could develop multiple minting groups featuring distinct sets of rules. 
  • NFT reveals following the launch alongside offering facilities for users to verify information about the new launch. 
  • The Metaplex protocol could also help in restricting minting privileges to a specific list of wallets or particular NFT/token owners. 

In addition, you can also explore many other features for NFT minting and distribution with the Solana-based protocol.

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Working of Candy Machine

The features of NFT minting and distribution protocol powered by Solana blockchain offer a clear glimpse of its potential. Before you seek the uses of Candy Machine CLI, it is important to learn how it works. As the name implies, the Metaplex protocol is a temporary structure developed by creators from which buyers can unload the desired NFTs. 

  • Developing the Machine

The first step of using the protocol involves the creator developing a new Candy Machine alongside incorporating desired configurations. The new machine would maintain track of its settings, which can explain the process of minting NFTs from the machine. 

  • Loading NFT Data

However, the creation of the machine does not facilitate the option of minting NFTs. Creators have to load the machine with their NFTs or items to ensure that it is functional. The items for the machine should have two distinct parameters, i.e., the name and the URI. The ‘name’ parameter refers to the name of the non-fungible token, while the ‘URI’ parameter indicates the URI, which points to the JSON metadata of the NFT. 

It is important to note that the JSON metadata must be uploaded through on-chain or off-chain storage service providers. The other NFT parameters in Metaplex Candy Machine V3 protocol would have to be shared among all NFTs. Therefore, the parameters are directly evident in the settings of the protocol to avoid concerns of repetition.      

  • Minting NFTs

Even after loading NFT data into the machine, you don’t have any real non-fungible tokens. The data is only useful for guiding the machine for on-demand NFT creation at the time of minting. You can find answers to “How does Candy Machine work in NFT?” by reflecting on the next step after loading NFT data. 

Once you have loaded the machine with NFT data and it complies with the specified conditions and parameters, users can begin the NFT minting procedure. At this point in time, the machine would develop an actual NFT on the Solana blockchain. Prior to the minting procedure, some users must follow the additional verification steps, such as sending a Merkle Proof or doing a Captcha check. 

After minting NFTs from the Candy Machine, creators could delete them to free up storage space on the blockchain. At the same time, you can also claim back some of the rent you had to pay for storage space.

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What are Candy Guards?

The introductory overview of Candy Machine, V2 Metaplex protocol, shows a comprehensive outline of how it works. At the same time, it is also important to learn about the different ways in which creators could safeguard the mint process of their machines. Developers could find effective ways to customize the mint process through Candy Guards, which help in adding different features to the machine. The Metaplex protocol features Candy Guard as an additional Solana program, available with around 16 default guards. 

The additional program in the process through which Metaplex creates Candy Machine could help in forking the default Candy Guard application. Advanced developers could leverage the facility for creating custom guards alongside using the NFT minting and distribution machine. Creators could enable and configure the Candy Guards according to their preferences, alongside picking the relevant features. Without any active guards, creators essentially allow anyone to mint their NFTs for free. Some of the popular Candy Guard examples include the following,

  • Mint Limit, which ensures a specific NFT minting limit on a wallet. 
  • Sol Payment guard requires that the minting wallet should pay a specific amount of SOL tokens to a destination wallet with desired configurations. 
  • Bot Tax guard is a specialized guard for changing the behavior of failed mints so that they can prevent bots from minting new machines. 

The facility of 16 default guards alongside custom guards helps creators in adding desired features to their NFT minting machine. 

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Candy Machine Settings

The possibilities for a Metaplex Candy Machine V3 protocol appear quite significant, considering the feature available in the V2 protocol. Beginners must also learn about the settings which affect the machine and its operations. Here are some of the unique settings you must configure in the Metaplex NFT minting and distribution protocol. 

  • Authority 

The first thing you need for creating NFTs with the Candy Machine Metaplex protocol is the definition of Authority. It is one of the most crucial pieces of information for the development of accounts on Solana. The Authority is the wallet you would use for managing the Solana-based accounts. 

While creating a new machine, creators must provide the authority’s address so that it can update, insert items or delete the machine later. In addition, you should also note the requirement of an additional authority known as the Mint Authority for the minting process. The Mint Authority serves as the only wallet capable of minting from the machine when you create a machine without Candy Guards. 

  • Shared Settings

The majority of the Metaplex Candy Machine settings serve useful functionalities for defining non-fungible tokens, which could be minted from the machines. Why? Most of the NFT attributes are similar for all minted NFTs on the machine. Developers load one item in the machine with the shared attributes for all NFTs minted through the machine. Some of the shared attributes of minted NFTs include the following, 

  1. Symbol
  2. Seller Fee Basis Points
  3. Creators
  4. Max Edition Supply
  5. Is Mutable 
  • Certified Collections

The process through which Metaplex creates Candy Machine NFTs should also focus on Metaplex Certified Collections or MCC. Metaplex Certified Collection refers to a special NFT, which helps in grouping minted NFTs together, followed by on-chain verification of information. It is important to ensure that the Update Authority of the MCC signs any transaction for modifying the collection on a specific machine. Therefore, the machine could carry out safe and automatic verification of the collection. 

  • Item Settings

The item settings are also an important aspect of guides on “How does Candy Machine work in NFT?” and their effectiveness. The item settings showcase information about the data items loaded in the machine. You can find the “Items Available” attribute in the settings for showcasing the maximum limit of NFTs, which can be minted from the machine. Developers must also notice the other attributes which help in defining the approaches for loading items in the machine. 

You can choose between Config Line Settings or Hidden Settings for establishing the loading approaches for the concerned machine. However, it is important to note that you cannot switch to the other mode after creating a machine using one of the modes. In addition, the use of Candy Machine CLI settings restricts the capabilities for updating the “Items Available” attribute of the machine.

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How to Mint NFTs on Candy Machine?

The functionalities and settings of Candy Machine, V2 Metaplex protocol, suggest how you can create and control an NFT minting machine. With the knowledge of best practices about setting up a machine and configuring them, you can move towards minting. You can opt for three distinct approaches, such as basic minting, minting by using guards, and minting through guard groups. 

NFT Minting Candy Machine

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  • Basic Minting

Users could mint NFTs from the core Candy Machine program or a Candy Guard application. However, creators must develop specific instructions regarding the development of specific instructions for the creation of empty mint accounts before the mint instruction. Interestingly, SDKs could carry out the heavy wiring work for developers. In addition, the SDKs also recognize the programs they should interact with on the basis of the availability of Candy Guard accounts for the concerned machine. 

The flexibility through which Metaplex creates Candy Machine protocol also translates into the minting process. Developers could mint NFTs by passing the relevant parameters of the machine and additional attributes. You must also emphasize the role of the configured Mint Authority for signing minting transactions. 

  • Minting NFTs by Using Guards

Creators would have to offer additional guard-specific information in Metaplex Candy Machine protocol for using a machine with different Candy Guards. In the case of manual mint instructions, you have to offer guard-specific information in the form of a blend of remaining accounts and instruction arguments. Furthermore, every guard who needs additional information during minting could leverage the protocol’s SDKs for defining the Mint Settings. 

  • Minting NFTs with Guard Groups

You can also seek improvements in the Metaplex Candy Machine V3 for minting with Guard Groups. In the existing version, developers should select the groups they want to use for minting by providing their labels. On top of it, developers could have to specify Mint Settings which would apply to the “Resolved Guards” section in the concerned group. 

  • Minting by Pre-validation

The answers to “How does Candy Machine work in NFT?” would also draw attention to the minting methods with pre-validation. Some of the guards would need additional verification steps before the minting procedure. The pre-validation step involves the creation of an account on the Solana blockchain or rewarding a wallet with a token for proof of verification. 

  • Minting through Bot Taxes

The list of popular guards for a Candy Machine includes the Bot Tax guard for safeguarding the machine. It helps in charging a specific amount of SOL for failed mints. However, the Bot Tax guard also affects the behavior of other guards in the minting process. 

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Final Words

The introduction to the Metaplex Candy Machine protocol emphasizes how it can serve as a flexible method for minting and distributing new NFT launches. Most important of all, Candy Machines are resourceful, as you can delete them after completion of the NFT minting process. The facility of Candy Guards for introducing additional functionalities alongside security for the machines offers effective advantages to NFT creators. 

At the same time, the simple procedure of creating and loading a machine with NFT data followed by configuring the machine help in developing new NFT collections with limited hassles. Learn more about Metaplex and the Candy Machine protocol in detail, alongside the best practices for using it.

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