So you’re an artist or a designer, and you’ve heard that someone paid $69 million for a digital painting by Beeple. No, you’ll never reach that level of craze (unless you share some connections with the Singaporean ventures of your buyer), but you can still try and mint an NFT that you can call your own. In most cases, you will lose some money in the process, but hey, you will have successfully jumped on the bandwagon, and you’ll be able to brag on Instagram and Twitter about it.
Pick your item
The first thing you have to do is to pick the artwork. Non-fungible tokens can represent any digital file. You can make an NFT of a digital painting, a text, a piece of music, a video. Literally, anything that can be reproduced as a multimedia file. After all, the NFT game is all about turning digital artwork into “unique” pieces in the age of their infinite reproduction.
NyanCat by Chris Torres. Sold for $600 thousands on Nifty Gateway.
Not Forgotten, But Gone by artist WhIsBe. Sold fot $1 million on Nifty Gateway.
The Best I Could Do by Justin Roiland, creator of Rick and Morty. Sold for $1.65 millions on Nifty Gateway.
The first tweet of Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Twitter. Sold for $2.9 millions to Oracle's CEO Sina Estavi.
Crossroads by Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple. Sold for $6.6 milioni on Nifty Gateway.
CryptoPunk 3100 by Larva Labs, sold for $7.58 millions.
Everydays: the First 5000 Days by Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple. Sold for $69.3 milions at Christie's auction house.
Have some Ether handy
Once you’ve chosen your digital asset, it’s time to get some Ether.
You can make NFTs on a bunch of different blockchains, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll consider you’re going to use Ethereum. That’s the most popular one, and the most prominent NFT marketplaces support it.
Minting an NFT could cost money. Therefore you will need an Ethereum wallet with some Ether (the cryptocurrency based on Ethereum) on it. One of the easiest to use is called “MetaMask”. You can download it as a free app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. The price requested to create the NFT is highly volatile. Have at least 100$ worth of Ether, but be aware that the minting process could cost you even more, based on the daily operational price.
If you’ll mint your NFT on OpenSea, though, the process is free because of the type of token the platform will create, but you still have to connect a wallet to create an account.
Choose a marketplace
Now that you’ve got everything in place, you need to pick a marketplace where you will physically (virtually?) create and then list your NFT.
The most popular ones are Mintable, Rarible or OpenSea. For the sake of this guide, we’ll pick the last one because it’s free to join and has no moderation on the content you can list. That means you don’t have to be approved as an artist to be selling on the platform. But this also means that the marketplace is full of digital sundries nobody’s ever going to buy.
On OpenSea, click on the user icon, then on “My Profile”. On this page, you can choose how to connect your ETH wallet to proceed. If you’re using MetaMask, you can connect it to the platform by selecting “Use a different Wallet” and then clicking on WalletConnect. The procedure is relatively straightforward. Follow the platform’s prompts, then confirm the Wallet Connect operation from your MetaMask app.
Create the NFT
Once you’ve connected the ETH Wallet to OpenSea, you can go on and create your first NFT. Click on Create in the top menu, and create a collection. Fill in all the information needed, then save. Now you’re ready to start the actual minting process of a new NFT. Click on New Item, load your artwork, and give all the details you want about it. Once you’re ready to pull the trigger, click create.
Congratulation, you’ve successfully created a token! To sell it on OpenSea, though, you have to open the newly-minted item in your collection and click on the sell button. On the selling page, you will be able to choose the Ethereum tokens you’ll accept as a payment, if you want to sell with a fixed price or at an auction, and the royalties you want to receive from the first and subsequent sales.
So you’ve created an NFT, and you’ve listed it successfully on the OpenSea marketplace. What now? Waiting until someone notices your precious token won’t get you very far. You’ll have to market the object yourself, possibly to an existing community of people that would be interested in your work. That’s the most challenging part, and has nothing to do with the artistic process itself. Yes, it’s precisely as ruthless and selective as the physical art world. Unless you’re the character from a meme or some other internet phenomenon. In that case, congratulations: you’ve probably found a way to make money from that embarrassing picture that people have always used to make fun of you.