WHAT ARE NFTs?
NFTs or non-fungible tokens have two parts in it. First let’s understand tokens – tokens or a crypto is basically a unit in a blockchain network that can be used to transfer a certain value, eg. Bitcoin. A token, by itself is fungible – meaning if you trade in a Bitcoin for another Bitcoin – you essentially have the same thing. Each Bitcoin constitutes exactly the same value.
Now the non-fungible aspect of NFTs mean that these are non-replaceable, or rather it is the only unique token on the entire blockchain. There can only be one of that NFT and no more. There can be a collection of related ones, but each one in that collection is completely unique and only that unique one can be attributed any value. Another way to understand it is to think of it as a one-of-a-kind trading card.
For example, one of the biggest and the most valuable NFT collection is arguably the Bored Ape Yacht Club, or the BAYC. It is essentially a collection of bored looking apes, each of which are distinctly different from each other and represent different things. Many huge celebrities ranging from Snoop Dogg to Justin Bieber own a bunch of these NFTs which give them access to a club of influential people and a suite of other benefits that come along being in such a company.
HOW NFTs WORK?
Thanks to Ethereum being the most common blockchain to build a smart contract on – naturally it has become a home to some of the largest collections of these NFTs. Of course other blockchain networks like Solana, Terra and others have had collections completely unique to their ecosystems – Ethereum takes the top spot.
Just like ETH is a crypto, and transactions done in ETH are tracked over the blockchain, transfers of these NFTs are also tracked over the same blockchain and thus a decentralised form of ownership of that asset is maintained and publicly viewable to all.
Additional Read: How to Assess the Value of NFTs
HOW TO CREATE AN NFT?
Looking at the success people have had in the recent past and the explosive growth in the industry – this is a question that might have popped up on many minds.
How do I create an NFT for Free?
Well, in the world of blockchain – NFTs are not created, rather they are minted. It is the technical word that people like to use. So typically – NFTs are minted on platforms that facilitate the trading of these NFTs – also called NFT marketplaces. Some of the biggest and the most popular NFT marketplaces in the world are probably OpenSea and Rarible as of now. OpenSea has recently even touched a trading volume of over $20 billion, thanks to its multi-blockchain support and a very large catalogue of hugely popular NFT collections to choose from.
Now, once that is cleared up – you’ve just got to follow a few steps to mint your very first NFT.
- Step 1: The very first step of minting an NFT would require you to create a crypto wallet compatible to the blockchain network you’ll be minting it on. Say for the purpose of example, you want to mint the NFT on Ethereum, you can create an account with Metamask – one of the most popular Ethereum wallet. Then you will need to fund your wallet with a some amount of ETH which will be needed for gas fees.
- Step 2: Now, once you have this wallet account, you can use this wallet to log into a popular NFT marketplace where you want to sell your NFT – say for example – OpenSea.
- Step 3: Once the registration is complete, you will need the digital file of the art that you want to sell to convert it into something that can be sold on the market. So for that, you will need to upload a digital file of your art to the NFT platform. It could be any of the well known files types – PNG, JPG, GIF, MP3, or MP4 and then list it for sale on the platform! It is quite similar to the process of listing your product on Amazon or Ebay or uploading your music video to Youtube or Spotify.
- Step 4: Technically speaking you’re done here – but nobody would be interested in buying your art unless they come to know about it. So now its your job to advertise it, make it known, write a description, set up royalties and eventually sell it!
Typically for step 3, every major NFT platform will have their own how-to guide laid out for you to follow and mint your NFT. You even have the option to choosing whether to create a single NFT (BEP-721) or a collection (BEP-1155). BEP-721 and BEP-1155 are essentially blockchain protocols for minting NFTs.
Additional Read: How to Mint NFTs
FEES RELATED TO MINTING NFTs
Fees? Say what?
Oh yes, minting NFT is a process that requires you to pay a certain amount as gas fees. And if you’re doing it on the Ethereum blockchain, you’re probably well aware of the skyrocketing gas fees that the largest blockchain network by market cap is notorious for.
So therefore, you will need to pay a certain amount as gas fee, which is common to all crypto transactions. Additionally, you may also have to pay some amount to the platform, or the marketplace you’re selling it on, as their cut for providing you with this service.
Fees are a problem, if viewed from the perspective of NFT creators. This is because say if the creator wants to give away a few of their NFTs for free to create some hype and build a reputation – someone will still have to pay for the gas fees. It can either be paid by the artist who is giving the NFT away for free or by the person receiving the NFT. Either ways it is a problem, unless it is a hugely popular NFT that is already worth a couple of hundred thousand in dollar terms. Then paying another $100 is still digestible.
SO, HOW TO CREATE NFTs FOR FREE?
Blockchain networks are essentially decentralised networks that, as the name suggests, aren’t owned by any central authority. While that brings about a certain trust in the system – miners and validators who maintain the blockchain and mint creators’ NFTs by using their own computing power and resources, want to earn something as an incentive- which is done in the form of gas fees.
So here’s how you can create your NFTs for free. There are a few roundabout ways you can go about minting your NFT for free and one of the simplest ways is to perform something called ‘lazy minting’.
‘Lazy minting’ is a method to mint NFTs for free where the NFT made available outside the blockchain to be purchased and is only minted on a blockchain network are a confirmed sale. That means the artist won’t have to immediately pay for the gas fees since they will be borne by the buyers instead. This can be done on most of the well known NFT platforms like OpenSea and Rarible.
A slightly newer method to mint NFTs for free can be done by availing the features of another less popular NFT marketplace called Mintable. They allow you to officially mint NFTs for fee with an Easy option that creates gas-less NFTs.
The third way to create NFTs for free would also be using the Polygon network instead of the main Ethereum network to mint your NFTs. Very recently, the Polygon team released a redesigned version of its ‘NFT Minter’ that allows anyone create NFTs with custom utilities and pay zero gas fees doing it!
Polygon’s new NFT Minter has a ton of cool functionalities, including giving artists the choice between ERC-721, ERC-1155 standards, or even. Soulbound and regular NFTs. According to Polygon’s blog, users can also embed utility into their NFTs such as adding social account signature, an option to order physical objects and creating un-lockable content. All of this is completely gas-free, thanks to functionalities provided by the platform called Biconomy.
HOW TO CREATE NFTs FOR FREE ON OPENSEA?
OpenSea is the world’s first and the largest digital marketplace for crypto collectibles and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). As mentioned earlier, it has even touched the incredible milestone of crossing over $20 billion in trading volumes very recently. It hosts some of the most popular NFT collections and thus is a great place to start your journey as an NFT artist.
1. Create a MetaMask wallet account
Head over to metamask.io and sign up on their platform and create your Ethereum based wallet with MetaMask. It is a relatively easy process to do and all you need to do is follow the instructions laid out on their site. This is what their site looks like. You can even consider getting an extension for the browser of your choice.
2. Create your OpenSea account and connect the MetaMask wallet
Here, you need to sign up to the platform you want to sell your NFT on, in our example – OpenSea and connect your wallet to it.
3. Create your unique NFT collection
Follow to steps outlined on the OpenSea platform, add all the essential details regarding your NFT collection and what makes it unique. This is what prospective buyers would look at first when they are considering buying a piece from your collection.
4. Choose Polygon Network
After submitting all the details regarding your collection, while choosing which blockchain platform to host your collection on – make sure to choose Polygon Network instead of Ethereum to avoid paying excessive gas fees on the Ethereum Network. Going with Polygon would make your minting process practically gas-fee-free.
5. Start your minting journey!
You can now begin minting your digital art into NFTs by clicking on the collection, and thereafter on the ‘add item’ option. When you do that, the initial form will open up and now you can upload your digital art piece that you want to convert into and NFT and sell and then click on ‘create’.
You have now completed the minting process. You have minted your NFT on the Polygon Network, thus avoided paying gas fees. Whenever you want to sell this, all you need to do is click on ‘sell’ and proceed!
HOW TO SELL YOUR NFTs?
Once you’re done with minting your NFT, the next step in the process is to sell them. But for that you will need to create awareness, and promote your NFTs. Some of the steps you can undertake to do that is to try and create a loyal community of followers who believe in your idea for the NFT and believe that it has value. Next, you can try and create some hype around it to generate organic interest in your NFT collection and buyers may start to take notice. You can even collaborate with other influencers to generate that hype. Also using social media can be a great way to get your word out as an artist.
Additional Read: How to Sell NFTs?
How do I make mint NFTs for free?
To mint NFTs for free, you can do one of two things - you can either use the lazy minting technique where you mint your NFT only after it has been sold to someone. That way, the buyer pays for the gas fees. The second way is to mint your NFTs on Polygon - which is essentially a Ethereum supported yet gas-free blockchain network.
What is the cheapest way to mint NFTs?
The cheapest, or rather the way to mint NFTs for free is to use Polygon network instead of Ethereum network to avoid paying the gas fees on the network.