Hello :). I’m a developer specializing in NFT products. I’m aware that my question may seem hard to answer because of price fluctuations, size of SC, complexity and such. But I just need a ballpark estimate. For example one blockchain requires me to lock in approximately $30000 for a SC. Another blockchain has costs of about $7000 for a simple SC. How’s life with Cardano?
I’m not sure if I understand the question correctly since I do not know much about other SC blockchains. But ill give it a shot. On Cardano there are only transaction costs for minting/burning native assets (no need to lock any funds). I think this is the case for almost all blockchains, maybe the locking of funds you describe is needed if you use 3rd party intermediates that mint these NFT’s for you? If you want to develope a NFT project on Cardano I would recommend reading the following tutorial.
Here it is explained how to mint assets yourself. There are also alot of threads on this forum that can help you with your project
EDIT: I would like to add that on Cardano, in contrast to other chains, there is a native implementation of assets that does not require contract (the so called native assets). The Cardano paradigm is that you have assets and contracts that are separate. Contacts use logic to perform actions with assets. In contrast, on Ethereum there is one native asset, only Eth. Then on the Ethereum chain with smart contracts it is possible to program the behavior of assets and their rules how to transact.