Creating NFTs and minting them are technically not the same although they are used interchangeably quite often. While minting an NFT refers solely to the process of transacting a digital file to the blockchain, the process of creating an NFT also includes the creation of the file itself.
An NFT is minted on a decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality, usually Ethereum, to establish its uniqueness and functionality. The immutability and transparency of blockchain, allow the original creator, the current owner, and other unique identifiers of any NFT to be traced. All these details are available on a public ledger and cannot be manipulated.
These properties allow it to be used as a proof-of-ownership of digital assets. As an owner of an NFT, you can easily prove that you own it, no one can tamper with it, and you can hold or sell it for a profit, also called ‘flipping’, and may even earn the original creator royalties. As a creator or minter of an NFT, you can easily prove that you are the creator, determine the scarcity, earn royalties every time it is transacted, and sell across different NFT marketplaces.
Minting NFTs is a way for digital creators to monetize their work and establish ownership. By minting content as an NFT, the creator has more control over their intellectual property, tangible and digital assets.
Creating and selling NFTs may seem intimidating initially but most marketplaces are completely user-friendly and have interfaces that are easy to navigate. So, in retrospect, minting NFTs is as easy as creating a listing on eBay.
Table of Contents
NFT Minting Process
1.Get a Crypto Exchange Account
Crypto exchanges are where you can easily buy and sell cryptocurrencies. A crypto exchange account is necessary because you will need to buy and transfer Ethereum to fund transactions.
2. Connect your wallet
Custodial vs. Non-Custodial
Most wallets are custodial and although a custodial wallet may be considered less secure than a non-custodial wallet, many prefer them because they don’t require as much responsibility and are usually more convenient.
With a non-custodial wallet, you have sole control of your private key which in turn controls your cryptocurrency and proves the funds are yours. With a custodial wallet, another party controls your private key. Most custodial wallets are web-based exchange wallets.
Choosing between a custodial wallet and a non-custodial wallet comes down to securing your funds. Regardless of your choice though, be sure to always follow the best security practices that fit your needs.
Minting NFTs is as easy as creating a listing on eBay! To mint an NFT you’ll first need to open and then connect a crypto wallet to the NFT marketplace of your choice. You will click either the wallet icon or the “Create” button normally in the top right corner to get started. Most marketplaces will use the prompt to connect your wallet and create a profile.
Depending on the wallet you’re using, such as MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet, and the device you’re working from (desktop or mobile), you’ll be asked to either connect your wallet using a QR code scanner on your smartphone or download your wallet onto your computer. Once complete, your crypto wallet is connected and your marketplace profile is created. Be sure to complete your profile; create a username or display name, add a profile photo or cover photo of your collection, and add links to your social networks, personal blog, web, or portfolio page.
3. Fund Your Wallet
Once your wallet is up and running you will need to make sure it is funded with the estimated gas needed for transactions. You will need your public Ethereum account address, the account number used for sending and receiving crypto from one wallet to another, to send the value of ETH you are needing in your wallet.
Most wallets will automatically generate an Ethereum public address when connected. This address should be thought of as a bank account number and treated with the same security.
Any transaction completed on the Ethereum blockchain will require gas rather you’re buying, selling, or trading NFTs so you will need to make sure your wallet stays funded. Some marketplaces will allow you to purchase crypts directly from your marketplace profile by connecting some form of payment method.
After purchasing ETH from the crypto exchange, you can send the value you choose to your wallet. Keep in mind, there will be transaction fees associated and they vary depending on the wallet. You should be able to view your balance shortly after the ETH arrives.
4.Choose a Marketplace
Although NFT art is the most popular variation, an NFT could contain almost anything as it is a token minted by smart contracts that register asset ownership on the blockchain. With NFT use cases being endless, it’s important to keep in mind that not all marketplaces support all of them. Be aware of the available options when choosing a marketplace to mint an NFT.
Platforms vs. NFT Marketplaces
Even though these terms are used interchangeably at times, there is a slight difference. A platform allows you to mint NFTs; either through creating your own NFT contract or through using the platform’s native NFT contract. A marketplace is where one can buy and sell NFTs.
The majority of NFT dApps, or decentralized applications, are marketplaces that offer users the possibility to mint their work through the dApp’s native NFT contract and put it up for sale directly on its native marketplace. This choice is popular due to the high gas fees associated with a custom NFT contract as well as the complicated user interface if one is not familiar.
Peer-to-peer NFT marketplaces allow users to create NFTs with metadata and post listings to sell them to one another. The marketplace takes a percentage of each sale.
- Most marketplaces are non-custodial.
- All marketplaces are integrated with OpenSea.
- All marketplaces provide secondary sale royalties to artists.
- About half of the marketplaces have their own native contract through which you can mint your NFTs; the other half will let you create custom contracts that you can own. Some offer the option to import custom contracts.
- Most marketplaces are exclusively art-focused, while a handful has a broader scope.
- If you want to mint an NFT in more than one edition, some marketplaces are out of the question, e.g. SuperRare.
- Burn function (=delete your NFT) is found almost everywhere.
OpenSea is the most widely known and largest NFT marketplace. It is a peer-to-peer marketplace for NFTs and digital collectibles, ranging from digital art to card games and event tickets. It has the widest audience and highest traffic, and it can be used to create custom contracts or simply mint through its native contract and get directly listed on OpenSea’s marketplace. OpenSea doesn’t charge a fee for minting NFTs but there is a percentage taken from the price your NFT sells for.
Rarible, Mintable, and Cargo are NFT marketplaces that, besides their native contracts, also offer the option to create custom NFT contracts. Rarible is a digital multi-media NFT marketplace and has its own token ($RARI), while with Cargo you can manage NFTs on several blockchains and can mint several NFTs in a single transaction. Rarible, like OpenSea, offers lazy minting where your NFT won’t be officially minted until someone chooses to buy it.
Mintbase is another example of a platform that helps you create your own NFT contract which you can then manually integrate with marketplaces of your choice. Of course, it also has its own marketplace, however, it doesn’t offer the possibility to mint directly through its native contract.
SuperRare, Foundation, MakersPlace, KnownOrigin, and AsyncArt, only allow minting through their native NFT contract as a means to make the process as effortless as possible for inexperienced users and more exclusive for collectors.
5. Create an NFT
Once you’ve chosen your marketplace, from the home page, click on the “Create” button in the upper right corner to create an NFT. From there you’ll be prompted to upload a digital file which can be a JPG, PNG, or MP4 file that’s no larger than 50-100MB, depending on the Marketplace. Give your NFT a name and description. Other fields include a description for your work, an external link such as a website, and which blockchain to base the NFT on. If you are using OpenSea, you will have the option for Ethereum or Ethereum based Polygon. Choosing Polygon will forego any gas fees. The Polygon NFT experience on OpenSea is the same as Ethereum NFT.
This is also where you can set up how much you’ll be paid in royalties if your NFT gets sold again later on. A standard royalty payout is usually 5-10%.
Click “Complete,” or “Mint NFT” and your first NFT has now been minted!
If you are using a non-custodial platform, after you’ve uploaded your digital artwork, your files will automatically be sent to IPFS (InterPlanetary File System).
Since the Ethereum blockchain will be able to store your NFT tokens for quite some time, you will want to make sure that the file is represented by an NFT is being well stored. It makes more sense to store the digital file in a decentralized database, such as in IPFS.
Can I make changes after I mint NFTs?
Once you create an NFT, it exists on the Ethereum blockchain forever. All transactions recorded on the blockchain are irreversible and tamper-proof, this makes the Ethereum blockchain more secure and difficult to manipulate. If you would like to update your NFT, you can burn or delete the token which permanently destroys it.
As with all transactions on a crypto exchange or platform, there is a cost for burning an NFT.
If you need to burn your NFT, you will have to pay gas fees just as you did to mint. The gas fee will depend on several factors, including the time of day of the transaction, the number of NFTs you want to burn, and the currency itself since the price tends to fluctuate.
To avoid the need to burn an NFT, be as careful as possible throughout the minting process as this can become costly.
6. List your NFT for sale
Now that your NFT has been minted, you’re ready to sell it on the open market. Click on the “Sell” button in the upper right corner of your NFT’s description page.
At this point, you are going to choose a type of sale — a fixed price based on your cryptocurrency of choice or a timed auction. The fixed price option is good if you are looking to sell over a period of time and an auction should be utilized more if you are looking to control the sale. You can also set the royalty payout amount and review any related fees for selling.
Next, click on “Complete listing.” The marketplace will calculate the gas fees based on the cryptocurrency network’s activity level at the time of listing and request payment from your crypto wallet. Fees will vary from minute to minute. Once the gas fees are paid, you approve the final terms, and sign the transaction, your NFT will list on the marketplace as available for purchase.
Mint an NFT using an API
Blockchain developers who are looking to create quality NFT dApps and in search of the right tools to help them speed up the development process will benefit from utilizing an API to mint NFTs.
What is an API?
API is the acronym for application programming interface; a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. When minting digital assets withWeb3 an ABI (application binary interface) will be utilized which is the interface to interact with a smart contract.
Web3.js is a library that makes it easy to use the Ethereum API and interact with smart contracts. Besides Ethereum, Web3 can also be used with all Blockchains based on the Ethereum technology like Binance Smart Chain and Polygon.
How NFT Metadata Works
Metadata, the NFT asset or multimedia content of an NFT, is generally stored on an IPFS, Interplanetary File System. The IPFS is a decentralized protocol and peer-to-peer network for saving multimedia files in a distributed file system.
When configuring the metadata for your NFT using an IPFS mintNFT smart contract function takes in a token URL parameter that should resolve to a JSON document describing the NFT’s metadata allowing it to have configurable properties, such as a name, description, image, and other attributes – basically, it describes the NFT.
Minting an NFT using API proves to be most beneficial for developers or institutions relying heavily on the use of a smart contract. Financial institutions, supply chains, programmers, security enforcement, etc. It isn’t a simple process unless coding is second nature, but it does allow for more control of the backend.
When you mint NFTs as a creator or blockchain developer, the process will be inherently different; however, the end goal is the same; more control and unregulated access. Whether you’re an artist looking to create the next trendy collection, a photographer wanting to immortalize moments or a content creator interested in protecting your intellectual property, minting your work as an NFT will prove beneficial to your process and pockets.