An NFT, or non-fungible token, is a special type of crypto asset that has soared in popularity in recent years. For those of you that are still unfamiliar with NFTs, the main thing that you need to understand is that each NFT is unique. As the term “non-fungible” insinuates, each token has unique identifiers that establish its one-of-a-kind rarity, which is one of the primary drivers of their value.
As a result, even if two NFTs represent the same digital file and appear visually identical, their distinct on-chain properties enable us to tell them apart and identify the original. Of course, these characteristics are ideal for use in the art world, allowing designers, artists, and creators to digitally stamp their work and verify their originality.
Thus, we can track down the conception timestamp of an NFT, the original designer/artist, the current owner, and other unique identifiers thanks to blockchain’s immutability and transparency (these details are recorded on a public ledger and cannot be changed).
As the owner of an NFT, these features allow you to easily prove your ownership, and since nobody can tamper with your NFT, you can hold or sell it for a profit. As the creator or minter of an NFT, you can determine the scarcity of your artwork and earn royalties every time it is transacted. You can also sell your NFT across various marketplaces or peer-to-peer networks, allowing you to turn a profit in the process.
Minting NFTs: What Does It Mean?
Note: For the sake of this article and the upcoming step-by-step guide, we will discuss the process of minting NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s important to note that there are several other blockchains where it is possible to mint NFTs, however, since Ethereum is the most straightforward and widely used blockchain, that is what we will focus on.
Let’s assume you want to convert a piece of digital art into an NFT. In that case, minting an NFT is how your digital art becomes a part of the blockchain, which is effectively an unchangeable and tamper-proof public ledger.
NFTs are “minted” tokens once they are created, in a similar fashion to how metal coins in the real world are minted and floated into circulation. Thus, your digital artwork is represented as an NFT, allowing it to be purchased and traded in the market, as well as digitally tracked as it is resold or collected in the future.
Got your head around that part? Good! Now, let’s take a look at how to mint an NFT.
How To Mint An NFT: Step By Step Guide
Fortunately, the process of minting an NFT isn’t as difficult as it sounds, especially if you are familiar with the cryptocurrency industry and hold coins already. With that said, the following guide will take you through the process from the very beginning, assuming that you are a complete stranger to the crypto world. Let’s get into it.
Open an account with a crypto exchange
First things first, we need to get our hands on some Ethereum. This is because Ethereum is the blockchain on which the vast majority of NFTs are created, so let’s follow the crowd, for now, to keep things simple.
And since we are going to be using the Ethereum network, ETH is the currency that you will use to pay our fees. (As mentioned earlier, it is possible to use other blockchains, such as Polygon, where the process is very similar)
To purchase Ethereum, you need to open an account with a crypto exchange and fund it with FIAT currency (such as $USD, £GBP, or €EUR). With most exchanges, you can purchase ETH directly on your credit/debit card without depositing FIAT, which saves you a bit of hassle.
Some of the most popular and reputable crypto exchanges include:
Which one you choose is up to you since they all offer Ethereum. So do some quick research to see which exchange is available in your region so you can be sure you won’t run into any issues when withdrawing/depositing.
Once you’ve got your exchange loaded with your currency of choice, it’s time to execute a trade and purchase some ETH. Simply find the appropriate trading pair and choose how much ETH you want to purchase.
So, how much ETH do you need to buy? Well, that all depends on the current gas price, as this will dictate how much you need to pay in transaction fees. The gas price is determined by how busy the network is. In general, the gas fees for creating an NFT usually ranges between $5 and $50.
Set up a crypto wallet
Now you’ve got your ETH, you need to store it on a crypto wallet compatible with one of the NFT marketplaces. While you could opt for a vast array of wallets, your best bet would be to download and install MetaMask since it is by far the most popular and robust wallet around.
Send Ethereum to your crypto wallet
Send/withdraw your ETH to your new MetaMask wallet from your exchange account. To do this, you will need the public address of your new ETH MetaMask account, which you can find at the top of the MetaMask popup when you click on the plugin icon.
Sign up for an NFT marketplace using your wallet
Next, it’s time to sign up for an NFT marketplace. These marketplaces are the gateway to participating in the purchase and sale of these digital assets, as well as where you can mint your very own NFT. OpenSea is by far the most popular NFT marketplace around, so it’s advised that you stick with them since this is the place where you will be able to find the best support, and they also offer the most diverse range of offerings.
To sign up for OpenSea, simply visit their website and click on the profile icon in the top right-hand corner. Then all you need to do is follow the steps to connect your MetaMask wallet, where you will be subsequently guided through the account creation process.
Mint your NFT
It’s showtime. Now the hard work is done, the only thing left to do is finally mint your NFT. If you’re using OpenSea, simply head to your profile and click “Create.”
From here, you can upload and name your file, where you will also have the option to write a description of what your NFT is. Once you’ve entered all of the details correctly, the only thing left for you to do is to hit the “Create” button, and Bob’s your uncle.
Congratulations, you’ve just minted your very first NFT! Now let’s hope it’s a digital masterpiece that will sell for millions…
NFT Minting Fees and Costs: Is It Free?
When creating an NFT, you will typically have to pay a gas fee. This is a payment that you must make every time you submit a transaction on the network to compensate for the computing energy required to process and validate transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. So technically speaking, the NFT creation is in fact free, you just need to have enough ETH to cover the transaction (gas) fee
In addition to this, you have to pay a small fee if you want to sell your NTFS on the marketplace. On OpenSea, this is 2.5% of every transaction (buying and selling).
Lazy Minting: How To Mint An NFT Without Paying Gas
After the meteoric rise in popularity of NFTs, developers have been hard at work trying to figure out a way to lessen the gas fees for creators, designers, and NFT artists. Fortunately, the blockchain boffins were able to come up with a genius solution: lazy minting.
With lazy minting, there is no need to pay a gas fee when generating the NFT. It works by effectively producing the NFT’s metadata without actually creating an instance of the NFT.
When someone buys that NFT, it is officially minted, and a gas fee is paid. Typically, the fee is incorporated into the cost of the NFT. In other words, the buyer pays the gas fee, not the person who created it.
OpenSea employs the ERC-1155 standard with their lazy minting service, which allows for the generation of several instances of an NFT, as opposed to the industry-standard ERC-721, which only supports single-instance items.
Minting NFTs on Other Blockchains
As mentioned earlier, this article discusses the creation of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain (since it is the most commonly used blockchain in the world). However, there are alternatives.
If you do feel like going against the crowd, the easiest option would be to mint your NFT on the Polygon network, since OpenSea has built-in functionality for that. To use their service, you need to “bridge” your ETH onto the Polygon network, which will cost you a gas fee.
Some other blockchains that support NFT minting include:
- Bitcoin cash
Many people assume that minting your very own NFT is a difficult and convoluted process; however, that simply is not the case. In reality, you can mint an NFT for free using one of the many online marketplaces as long as you have a compatible cryptocurrency wallet loaded with the appropriate coins (i.e., the blockchain currency that you wish to mint your NFT on).
If you already have a wallet funded with ETH, for example, the whole process shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes after opening an account.