How to Make, Mint, and Sell NFT Art: A Guide on Becoming NFT Native
Making, minting, and selling an NFT has found its way to the top of the “learn how to do this” list for many creatives, running the gamut from artists, musicians, designers, writers, and varied hobbyists.
As NFT art grows in popularity, attracting high-profile owners and lofty price tags, blockchain technology has given countless tech-savvy creatives a new channel to build a revenue stream, career, or at times, empires.
But what if you’re not very in the digital weeds? It might feel like NFT sprang about overnight, but it’s not too late to get up to speed. It’s remarkably simple to make and sell NFT art.
We use the term artwork loosely– NFTs like Jack Dorsey’s first tweet (that sold for more than $2.9 million) and other digital memorabilia often fetch high prices. Remember, an NFT is simply a catchy abbreviation for “non-fungible token,” which solely describes the technology being used. Anything can be an NFT– art is just one small use case.
The wide application of NFTs has brought about growing legions of collectors clamor for NFTs of video game items (exclusive attributes or releases), sporting event clips, trading cards, and other collectibles. Memes, domain names, digital real estate, and what can only be termed miscellaneous items are also sold as NFTs.
Creators and investors alike aren’t that ‘digitally hesitant’. NFTs have emerged with greater legitimacy and traction than Bitcoin ever dreamed of more than ten years ago, a unique and inevitable evolution of digital life.
The following guide will explore how to make, launch, and sell NFT art; note, we won’t be going into the creative process of designing and utilizing your creative talents– that’s on you.
Making NFT Art: The Basics
There’s a reasonably sizeable gap between the traditional world of creatives and those that have become digitally native, but it’s far from impossible.
Most of turning your art into an NFT comes down to the available tools on the market. The good news is that most of these tools are free.
You picked an excellent place to start learning how to use these tools; but note, this process isn’t entirely “free.” You may have to pay network fees since you’re interacting with a blockchain network.
To start, some primary education won’t hurt–check out our guide on NFTs and digital art.
Then, let’s identify some of the key players in the NFT ecosystem.
NFT marketplaces are where NFTs are bought and sold. Popular NFT marketplace OpenSea is a place to “discover, collect, and sell extraordinary NFTs.” Billing itself as “the world’s first and largest NFT marketplace,” it is. Like an “eBay for purchasing digital assets,” OpenSea is a generalist and likely the latent digital equivalent of Walmart in land-based stores.
NFT creation platforms are tools where you upload your artwork file and turn it into an NFT.
Some NFT marketplaces also have NFT creation platforms and the lines between strict minting-houses and strict hosting galleries blur. It’s worth doing lots of homework to understand where platforms fit into the NFT ecosystem (see further down below－Popular NFT Minting Platforms and Marketplaces).
You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with crypto basics, such as having a wallet like Metamask (Ethereum) or Phantom (Solana), cryptocurrency tokens to pay for network and listing fees, and the proper crypto security hygiene to not fall prey to hackers.
Creator platforms tend to be highly specialized (they might make pixel art only, for example), and creators will ideally find a platform that enables their form of creativity, its registration, and (crucially) its storage.
You don’t necessarily need a creator platform if you’re very blockchain-savvy– think of it as bowling with the bumpers on; you’re protected from the downsides while having a clear path to your intended goal of making, launching, and selling your NFT art.
NFT platforms (both marketplaces and creator platforms) also have built-in security mechanisms, an additional safeguard.
You might ask, what’s up with all this security talk– can my NFT be stolen? Since an NFT is just a token, NFTs can be stolen. Common hacks include users being tricked into transferring assets or by hackers exploiting an NFT platform or an online community’s latent security vulnerabilities.
Ergo, security is paramount on NFT platforms.
Step 1: How to Make, Mint, and Sell NFTs: Minting Basics
Before any digital art becomes an NFT, it must first be “minted.”
Minting (verb): The process of tokenizing a digital file to record it on a blockchain.
Most popular NFT marketplaces will assist with the minting, turning your JPEGs, MP3s, tweets, pics, or 3D artwork into an NFT on their blockchain and listing it for sale. OpenSea offers lazy minting, where a user can upload any digital assets for a display to the market while still unminted– to interact with OpenSea and mint the art, you need a MetaMask.
Lazy minting is a nifty invention because you don’t have to pay gas fees until the asset is minted. When the item is transacted, whoever accepts or completes the asset’s trade pays the gas fees.
Because NFT sales are recorded, creators minting their intellectual property (their original art) can also make money whenever the NFT is sold through a royalty agreement.
NFTs can be tracked on the blockchain, enabling NFT provenance (origins) alongside proof of the original creator and current ownership. NFT exists on the platform blockchain with unique identifiers proving that ownership and the asset’s singular status.
Two great resources for investigating NFTs are Etherscan.io and CryptoSlam.io. When you’re looking to verify an NFT transaction where you bought or sold, Etherscan.io will give you that reassurance. A typical architecture for NFT helps sites like these allow you to search by transaction hash, token, address, or block. For an NFT’s sales history, rank, market data, and specific project details, CryptoSlam.io is a great platform.
Different marketplaces allow for different terms of sale, but all share many methodologies. You’ll need to investigate whether you can sell outright and/or still expect royalty payments when you join a marketplace. You need to be clear on price and terms and then layout those terms when offering your NFT for sale.
Step 2: How to Make, Mint, and Sell NFTs: Launch in 3…2…1
- Your NFT is your artistic expression; be sure that you own the intellectual property rights to whatever it is you’re turning into an NFT! If the rise of NFTs’ legitimacy is great for creatives, it’s also great for lawyers. If you crib someone’s intellectual property, NFTs leave a clear trail that could see you face legal consequences. You’ll figure out what unique item you’d like to render as a digital asset, an NFT. It could be a photograph, a painting, a sketch, or a drawing. It could even be a collectible video game, a song, a tweet, a meme, or a GIF. It will be a unique digital asset as an NFT, with only one owner, you.
- You’ll need to choose a platform (see below) that you feel best suits your particular release. Here, unfortunately, there’s no substitute for homework. The support platforms for NFTs are fairly new, so it might take a while to figure out which platform is best suited to your particular kind of NFT (music lovers might patronize a certain platform, for example, more than others). A bit of trial and error is a great way to become more comfortable.
- You’ll need a digital wallet and some crypto set up to mint your NFT because it will cost a small gas fee. You access your digital assets through the wallet, Trust Wallet, AlphaWallet, Math Wallet, and Coinbase Wallet are among the best and most popular NFT wallets. Metamask reigns supreme, however, and it will give you a seamless experience working on any Ethereum-based apps like OpenSea and Foundation.
Step 3: How to Make, Mint, and Sell NFTs: “Selling Out”
“If you build it, they will come” is perhaps the biggest lie ever told, and it’s certainly not true for NFTs. A lot of an NFT’s exposure hinges on the gallery it’s hosted by, but more so on the pre-launch savvy of creators.
Most NFT creators achieve commercial success due to the marketing and community groundwork before launch. With NFTs, driving the visibility of the project is very important.
Say something, create some exposure, if not buzz, and then launch.
Most NFT marketplaces are run by a mix of human and selective algorithms seeking popularity to show it to the masses in gallery arrangements. Hence, the more visibility you generate around your NFT on all channels before launch, the more likely your digital assets will be well-positioned in the gallery.
Just assume that the marketplace is already incredibly competitive, and let that level of competition dictate your level of marketing around your NFTs.
Popular NFT Minting Platforms and Marketplaces
Foundation is another great platform with live auctions too. Anyone can register to view auctions, although you’ll have to sign up and join the community to enjoy unfettered participation on the site.
NFT marketplaces strive for vibrant communities of creators and high trade volume. Some have particular fortes or niche aspects, and others have the same general focus.
Popular NFT marketplaces include OpenSea, and crypto exchange Binance. Blockparty is a sleek platform with offers multi-chain minting (users can choose on which chain to mint their NFTs), as well as reaching back into the legacy arena by allowing for “Unlockables and Physicals,” meaning that exclusive (unlockable) content or secured physical goods can effectively be offered for sale as NFTs, and are then redeemed by the collector.
Remember that there are many rising creation tools and marketplaces, with lots of overlap and many established interests diversifying into NFTs too, so homework pays!
Final Thoughts: Making and Selling NFT Art
With mainstream auction houses like Christie’s hosting NFT auctions, and brands like Nike, Adidas, Coke, Pepsi, it’s no surprise many creatives are shifting their processes to be NFT natives.
Some serious benefits ensue for creative work on the whole from the emergence of NFTs, and the first is resolving issues of the provenance of digital art. It’s often very difficult to prove your ownership of digital art without NFTs since digital art is so easy to duplicate.
NFTs, bring to digital art a sure method of verifying authenticity, ownership history, and current status because they’re recorded on a public ledger.
Various aspects contribute to an NFT’s value, from the ownership history, the innate historical significance of the NFT, celebrity origins, or specific uses.
The future of NFT creation and selling will look very different in a few years, and you must familiarize yourself with the technology today. Various cryptocurrency platforms like Coinbase and Crypto.com also developed NFT marketplaces, although there has yet to be a distinct leader in NFT storage and security.
Creators looking to mint their NFTs would do well to prioritize type (what you can or can’t do on that platform), security level (110% non-negotiable), and storage.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Moskov is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of CoinCentral. Alex leans on his formal educational background (BSBA with a Major in Finance from the University of Florida) and his on-the-ground experiences with cryptocurrency starting in 2012. Alex works with cryptocurrency and blockchain-based companies on content strategy and business development. He privately consults entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on movements within the cryptocurrency industry.
His writing has been seen in The Hustle, VentureBeat, Yahoo Finance, Harvard Business Review, and Business Insider. His articles on CoinCentral have been cited on publications like Forbes, TechCrunch, Vice, The Guardian, Investopedia, The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, and more.
He also regrets not buying more Bitcoin back in 2012, just like you.
You can connect with Alex on Twitter.