Every once in a while a trend emerges that completely changes the way in which we interact with things. And by now, you’re probably well aware of the term Web3, NFT, or the decentralized web. In fact, if you use platforms like Twitter and Instagram – it’s quite hard to miss it.
All of a sudden everyone is replacing their profile pictures with computer-generated pixelated characters. Everyone from crypto enthusiasts to actual celebrities seems to have dipped their toes into this trend. These pixelated art collections are most commonly known as NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens.
And in this article, we’re going to talk about NFTs extensively.
Most importantly, we are looking to answer the question, “What is an NFT?”. And, how you can make your own and publish it for sale.
So, let’s start from the very beginning.
What is an NFT?
An NFT, which is short for “Non-fungible token”, is a piece of a digital asset that is stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Non-fungible simply means that each individual piece is unique and cannot be replicated.
If you or someone else creates an NFT – you’re automatically assigned a token for your individual asset. And, this token is the only way to verify that you are indeed the owner of that particular piece.
The tokens are stored entirely on the Blockchain and are visible to everyone. This helps to create a strong sense of ownership, which can then be validated by those interacting with your digital assets. The application of NFTs is simple enough to understand. But their usability in real-world scenarios is much broader than just a crypto asset.
Let me explain this in more detail.
Why are NFTs popular?
There is no denying that people are having a lot of debate over the usability of NFTs in real-world scenarios. But, in saying that, it’s hard to deny the fact that the idea of decentralized ownership is appealing.
In recent months, projects like Royal have begun to streamline NFTs by onboarding word-class musicians like Nas on their platform. By brokering a deal with Nas to publish his music on the blockchain, fans are able to purchase a piece of the music and own the rights to it.
So, whenever someone listens to Nas’s songs and he gets paid for it, you can also get a share of that revenue. This is appealing because it creates a deeper connection between the artist and his fans. In fact, it puts artists back in the driver’s seat of owning their art.
By comparison, artists signed with agencies generally tend to receive a nominal fee of the total revenue. But, by publishing their work on a decentralized platform – not only do they get full ownership, but they can also involve fans to help and boost the popularity of their art.
There are plenty of platforms where you can track cool NFT projects.
What is Minting?
In layman’s terms, to “mint” something on the blockchain is the equivalent of creating a document that proves your ownership of that something.
The only difference is that this document will be your crypto wallet address. And, it will be available for everyone to see. This approach of “smart contracts” helps to eliminate fraudulent activity and suspicious claims.
Though, it can also create problems on its own. If you ever lose access to your crypto wallet, you will also lose your ability to verify ownership.
So, now that we got the basics out of the way – let’s explore the process of creating an NFT of your own.
Can you mint an NFT for free?
One of the first things people ask about minting an NFT is, “Can you mint an NFT for free?”. And the short answer is, yes. It is possible to mint an NFT for free, and many platforms provide this service.
The long answer is slightly more complicated, and important to understand. While it is possible to create and publish an NFT for free, at some point someone will have to pay gas fees (transaction fee), and if you don’t want to do it yourself – the person who buys your NFT will have to.
Here is a definition for gas fees:
The term Gas refers to the amount of Ethereum required for anyone to interact with ETH Blockchain. The Gas fees are the associated costs that come with having miners verify transactions. This is helpful because it provides stronger security by eliminating bad actors from spamming the network.
While it is helpful for security reasons, the gas fees aspect of Etherum is largely seen as a bad thing. There are plans to improve the Etherum network by introducing a consensus layer – but this is still a work in progress, and might take some time to come into effect.
How to Create (Mint) an NFT
In order to simplify the entire process, we are going to be using two platforms for this tutorial. First, MetaMask for creating a crypto wallet on the Etherum blockchain. And second, OpenSea – the most popular NFT marketplace in the world.
Just with these two platforms, you can go from never having created an NFT to having it listed for sale!
First things first, how to create an Etherum wallet?
Creating an ETH wallet with MetaMask
MetaMask has close to 25 million users. The platform provides an effortless means to create your first Etherum crypto wallet. Most importantly, you will need MetaMask to interact with the OpenSea marketplace.
In fact, it is impossible to publish an NFT on OpenSea unless you have your Etherum wallet ready. You can download MetaMask for Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Edge, and iOS and Android devices.
Once downloaded, you will be taken through a step-by-step tutorial on creating your first crypto wallet.
The onboarding process introduces you to some basic security principles. Most important of which is the Secret Recovery Phrase. This secret 12-word phrase is the only way to truly secure your wallet. As such, you should make sure that you have stored it somewhere safely alongside your password.
MetaMask generates the phrase automatically, and you should immediately store it somewhere safe. A lot of people prefer to store it in a password manager, but doing so in a physical location can also be a wise idea.
Additionally, you might want to consider one of the options outlined in our crypto security measures article.
Once you get past this, you’re done. Whola! MetaMask has just created your very own Etherum crypto wallet on the fly.
The address can also be verified using Etherscan. Keep in mind that you can use your new wallet to interact with virtually any blockchain-based service that supports Etherum.
So, now that we got a wallet – it is time to create and list our first NFT on the OpenSea marketplace.
How to publish an NFT on OpenSea
OpenSea is home to some of the largest crypto collections in the world.
On any given month, the platform processes more than 3$ billion worth of digital assets. And due to its popularity, it is much more likely that you’re going to attract a sale for your new NFT. Also, OpenSea makes it incredibly easy to submit your artwork for a public listing.
If you go to the OpenSea Create page, you’ll be met with this screen:
Because we have a MetaMask wallet already, we can simply click on the MetaMask option. This will trigger an automated service to connect your MetaMask wallet with the OpenSea infrastructure.
You have to accept some basic terms but nothing else beyond that.
And, as soon as you’re done – OpenSea will present the Create a New Item interface. Like this:
On this page, you can choose the actual digital asset you wish to mint. OpenSea supports images, videos, audio files, and 3D models. And the maximum file size for each is 100MB.
You can also include details like the name of your NFT, an external page explaining what it is about, and a description. Alternatively, you can choose between Etherum and Polygon as the blockchain on which to publish your new NFT.
At this point, you can simply click Create and you’re done. You will automatically be redirected to your new NFT listing:
I have to admit, it’s not my proudest piece of artwork. But, for the sake of an example – I think it does a pretty darn good job.
At this point you have two choices:
- Leave as is. This means your new NFT is listed on the OpenSea marketplace and is available to see for organic buyers. Individual buyers can make offers on your listing and you can either accept or deny them.
- Sell. To sell means that you have a price in mind and wish to publicly sell the NFT instead of waiting on an offer. You can choose from a Fixed Price or go with Auction style listing.
You might also decide to simply leave the artwork alone.
But, for a lot of people – the main attraction of NFTs is the ability to sell or trade them with others. For some, it’s about prestige while for others it’s about social proof.
Of course, there are those who are in it for pure profit, also. So, the question is – how do you sell your digital asset if you have never sold one before?
How to sell an NFT?
For a lot of the early crypto adopters – owning an expensive digital art piece is a status symbol. The floor price for Bored Ape Yacht Club is about 93 ETH at the time of writing this. This translates to roughly $230,000 USD but can go up as far as $500,000 depending on Etherum's price.
That’s a lot of money to pay for a digital asset. And it certainly has garnered plenty of attention from people who also wish to be a part of the trend.
But, not everyone is going to sell their newly minted art for thousands of dollars. And jumping into this trend blindly would be ill-advised.
As such, here are my top 3 tips for accelerating the sales process.
Use your creative skills
Whether it is an image or a song you are trying to sell on the blockchain, it’s important that your project stems from creativity. With so many people getting onto the bandwagon, it takes some careful planning to stand out from average listings.
If you don’t know where to start, I recommend exploring the projects that people have already published. Talk to people who have sold their artwork for 1 or 2 Etherum, and ask them – how did they do it?
One thing that’s notable about Web3 and NFTs specifically, is the community aspect. People are open to talking about their successes and their failures. And it never hurts to ask.
Joining a like-minded community is the easiest way to promote your art and other digital assets. Most notably, these are Twitter, Discord, and Clubhouse. If you don’t keep up with the latest trends, you might be missing out on potential customers for your art!
Sites like NFT Calendar showcase upcoming drops. This can be your starting point to see who is publishing the drop, and what their community links are. My personal favorite is Twitter.
You can follow one or two people in the space and in a week's time, you will know at least 100 other people who are passionate about this space.
Intention is everything
If you fail to show genuine interest in the Web3 movement, it can feel like an absolute bore to try and sell your NFT. As such, it would probably help if you spend time learning about crypto in general.
Are you passionate about the idea of a decentralized web? Would you like to live in a future where artists can involve their fans in their creative process?
Even though the movement is still new, there is a lot happening behind the scenes. And showing an intent to learn and understand can quickly attract like-minded people into your circle. These might also end up being the people who will gladly acquire one of your art pieces!
For how complicated Blockchain can be to understand, creating an NFT seems to be a non-issue. In this article, we have learned that minting a simple digital photo on the blockchain takes less than a few minutes.
It’s also free to do, though as we learned – gas fees are a thing.
Other than that, I think we have covered the absolute basics of it all.
Last but not least, there are always more things to learn about, namely – how to create an NFT collection similar to the ones of CryptoPunks and others.
Want some free crypto? Here are 7 ways to earn free cryptocurrency.
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