A Beginner's Guide To Minting Your First NFT
Find out how to upload art onto the blockchain with this step-by-step guide
Cryptocurrency can sound intimidating. But with all the hype about NFTs, one may start to consider dipping their toes into the blockchain. As the world becomes more and more involved in the digital realm, artists are now migrating their works to accommodate investors, traders, and buyers online. One such way is through the creation or the minting of NFTs.
But what is an NFT? A non-fungible token simply means something that is irreplaceable and or unexchangeable. Compare it to real-life art: though there are copies of the famous Mona Lisa, only one true work of the Mona Lisa exists. It's much like that in the world of NFTs.
"NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique tokens that work in the same way, except virtually—they are basically electronic proof that you own an authentic digital asset," explains Myla Pilao of Trend Micro. "This is essentially what people are buying when they purchase NFTs, proof of ownership of the digital file and certification of authenticity."
So how does one go about minting and creating their own works to sell? Find out below.
Choose a blockchain
The first step to minting NFTs is choosing a blockchain or a marketplace that will support or host your NFT. Perhaps the most popular site for this is Ethereum, though Binance Smart Chain and Polkadot are also popular. Filipino artist, Bjorn Calleja, personally recommends Tezos.
"Minting on Tezos is quite easy and affordable compared to Ethereum, we would just need a Tezos wallet (Kukai or Temple is good), minting fees are low; 1XTZ (around US$2.90) can mint you more or less six to eight NFTs," he shares.
Read up on which marketplaces you feel will be most beneficial for you and always keep in mind that different blockchains have different fees, rates, and niche buyers. Consider which will be best for the kind of artwork you wish to mint and sell.
Connect your blockchain wallet to your blockchain account
Minting an NFT costs money. This is mostly due to fees needed to power the blockchain (such as gas costs, which also fluctuate depending on demand). So before one can mint an NFT, one must already have cryptocurrency (which you can purchase with currency) readily available. For this, artists must set up a crypto wallet, which they can do for free. Popular apps include Binance, CoinBase, or Wallet. It's easy to buy cryptocurrency online to fund your wallet; but before that be sure to know the difference between a hosted wallet and a self-custody wallet. Hosted wallets function like a bank wherein a third party oversees funds. In many ways, it is more secure than self-custody wallets, which gives the user complete control over funds and the way it is spent. However, self-custody wallets allow more freedom to crypto functions for more advanced traders.
Select the work you want to mint unto your blockchain account
What some people may not realise is that anything can be an NFT! "Most people are using them to sell ownership of digital art, video clips, and music. But we saw the founder of Twitter sold an NFT of one of his tweets last year, and there are actually NFT TV shows being developed right now," Pilao points out.
At this point, all an artist has to do is upload their work unto the blockchain through their account.
Pay the fees
As mentioned before, there are fees involved in minting NFTs. These can vary per blockchain and even on the time or day one decides to mint their work. Therefore, it's always a good idea to have capital set aside in the blockchain wallet so that the transaction goes smoothly.
Use or sell your NFTs
After paying the fees, one is now the proud owner of an NFT. Naturally, the next step might be to sell it. Once uploaded onto the blockchain, there will be digital proofs of who the creator is, and who the owner will be. Though the blockchain is an exciting space to keep an eye out on, always remember that minting NFTs also comes with a certain amount of risk.
"All in all, the NFT market is a space that people should be cautious dipping into," says Pilao. "There are still many kinks in this type of virtual trading that need to be worked out, from securing digital assets to the influx of opportunistic scammers. Since the market is evolving so fast, there are few, if any, regulations that can protect those who have been targeted by scammers. And, like many new online financial ventures, the platforms being used are still vulnerable to threats like phishing and hacking. So, while we see many people profiting from it, it is still a risky venture."
NFTs are not necessarily a way to make a quick buck. Not all NFTs sell, and those that do don't always go for the record-breaking prices we see not the news today. "My guess is not every NFT art/artist/project will have cultural and monetary value in the future, but I am pretty hopeful that it's not going to be just a trend, instead a platform for exhibiting and marketing digitally native and new media art," says Calleja.
For those who are looking for alternative uses to their NFTs, Colin Goltra, chief operating officer of Yield Games, advises, "I personally buy and hold (rarely sell) NFTs, but I don’t necessarily recommend this for everyone, there are a lot of people who might not be ready for the volatility in the NFT or broader crypto market. It’s much better to, instead of investing, use NFTs—play NFT games, create NFT Art, or develop other use cases for the technology."
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