The latest, and quite frankly the most popular craze in the cryptocurrency space today is the rise of NFTs. In Q3 of 2021, NFT sales exceeded $10 billion, bringing many thousands of people into the world of crypto for the first time.
NFTs are unique digital assets with verified proof of ownership, thanks to blockchain technology. They offer creators, artists, musicians, companies, and individuals to produce and sell unique assets that can act as collector's items, as well as community-building tools.
Wondering how to mint an NFT of your own, so you can start creating value and earning an income on your work? Want to learn how to use a platform like OpenSea to share your work with the world?
Read on below for answers to all your NFT-related questions, and to learn how to become an early adopter of a market that is set for explosive growth in the near future.
Cryptocurrency is full of acronyms. BTC? HODL? What is NFT? It can be confusing for newcomers to the crypto space to figure out what is going on.
Assuming you understand the basics of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and how the blockchain works as a distributed, public ledger, verifying transactions without the need for a centralized authority like a bank, understanding NFTs is relatively easy.
What does NFT stand for? The NFT meaning is "non-fungible token." It's the opposite of fungible.
A dollar bill is fungible, meaning that my dollar bill is the exact same as your dollar bill. The same is true for cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin. My bitcoin is the same as your bitcoin. They are interchangeable. Exchanging one bitcoin for another bitcoin isn't accomplishing anything, since they are identical.
But NFTs are digital assets that are not fungible. Each one is unique, and can only be owned by one person. In a way, NFTs are like certificates of ownership.
No NFT is exactly the same, and thus, isn't interchangeable. You can trade them, but each person is getting something different, as opposed to trading dollar bills or bitcoins. In this way, they are more like trading cards than currencies.
But NFTs can be anything. Oftentimes, they are static images, gifs, or video clips. They can also be in-game items used for blockchain-based video games. An NFT can be a plot of land in the metaverse, on platforms like The Sandbox.
Or an NFT can be a digital contract of a physical item, like the deed to a car or a ticket to a concert.
The process of creating and releasing an NFT is called minting. Because the blockchain is decentralized and open, anyone can mint their own NFTs at any time, list them for sale, and earn money.
NFTs offer creators much more control over their work, especially in the digital era. For example, prior to NFTs, artists and graphic designers can get paid to create unique designs. They often sell these one time, and then they don't get paid any more for that design, even if it's replicated many times over.
But NFTs are based on smart contracts. When minting your NFTs, you can program them so that each time an asset sells in the future, you receive a royalty from the sale.
So if you create an NFT, and that NFT sells on the open market 10 times in the next year, you could receive a royalty payment 10 times. Whether you want to charge 1%, 5%, or 20% is entirely up to you.
You can also determine the scarcity of your assets. Maybe you want to create 10 unique items, all of which are one of a kind. Or maybe you create 10 editions of each item, each individually numbered, as they are all unique, even if they are the "same" asset.
And your work will always be attributed to you, even though someone else owns it. Each NFT contains the public key of the creator, which serves as a certificate of authenticity. This allows collectors to ensure they're getting artwork from their favorite artists, and not a ripoff.
OpenSea is the largest NFT marketplace on the internet. It's the easiest place to mint NFTs for the first time. And since OpenSea has the largest userbase, it's the easiest place to sell your items to collectors and fans.
Here's what to do to get in the NFT game on OpenSea today.
Before you can mint an NFT on OpenSea, you'll need cryptocurrency. OpenSea, and most NFTs in existence, live on the Ethereum blockchain.
When transferring assets on Ethereum, such as NFTs, you need the ether (ETH) token to pay for gas fees, compensate those running the network, who verify transactions.
You'll want to create an account on a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase, Binance, Kraken, or whichever exchange is open to users in your region. To set up an account on a centralized exchange, you'll need to verify your identity.
Once complete, you can deposit fiat currency into your account using a bank transfer, debit card, or credit card. With funds in your account, you can purchase some ETH.
To move your cryptocurrency around with ease, you can install a browser extension wallet. The most popular Ethereum-based wallet is MetaMask.
Downloading it, and setting up your wallet address is free and easy to do.
You can use the wallet to store your ETH, which can then be used for gas fees on OpenSea or to make purchases on other crypto platforms. You can also store NFTs in your MetaMask wallet.
You'll need to create a password, and you'll also be given a 12-word seed phrase. This phrase should be kept secret and safe, as it will allow you to access your wallet address and any assets stored on your wallet. Never share this phrase with anyone.
Once your wallet is set up, you can transfer your ETH from your exchange account to your browser wallet.
To do this, head to your exchange account and click on "withdraw." You'll choose the asset you want to withdraw (ETH) and the amount you'd like to send to your wallet.
Then, copy your Ethereum wallet address from MetaMask, which starts with "0x" and paste it into the corresponding field on the withdrawal screen. You'll need to approve the transaction and its corresponding gas fees in MetaMask. The transfer could take up to 10 minutes.
With ETH in your MetaMask wallet, visit the OpenSea website. Click on the "Profile" button in the top right, then click to connect your wallet.
MetaMask should pop up and ask you to approve the connection with OpenSea. Click "Sign" to accept the terms and connect your wallet.
Finish setting up your profile by adding and verifying your email address. Additional information is optional to provide.
With an account on OpenSea set up, you can start creating your first NFT, or an entire collection of NFTs.
To start with an individual NFT, click the "Create" button at the top right.
First off, upload your asset files, such as a JPG, PNG, GIF, MP4, or other supported files. Then, give your NFT a name. These two things are all that's needed to launch your NFT, but you can add additional information, such as a description if desired.
Once it's ready, click the "Sell" button.
You can choose to sell the NFT for a fixed price, which won't incur any gas fees for you, as the buyer will pay the gas fee. Or, you can set the NFT up for auction, to try earning more. But with auctions, the seller pays for gas fees.
And remember, OpenSea charges a commission fee on each item sold, which is currently 2.5%.
Click "Complete Listing" and you'll be prompted to sign a few things in your MetaMask wallet.
Selling for the first time on OpenSea will require you to "initialize" your wallet. Initializing requires a gas fee, which you'll need to approve of. After that, your NFT will be live. You've now minted an NFT and have joined the digital revolution.
Many creators will mint an entire collection of related NFTs. Each asset is part of the larger collection, even though they are entirely unique.
To create a collection, click on your account in the top right. Then click "My Collections." Click "Create Collection."
Give your collection a name, an image, a custom URL, and any other information that would help your items get found. Choose your royalties, blockchain, and accepted currencies.
Select a display style, to give your collection a unique look. Once your collection is set up, you can add your individual NFTs to the collection.
Most NFTs are minted on the Ethereum blockchain, as it provides the ultimate decentralized crypto and NFT ecosystem. However, Ethereum transactions are increasing every single day.
Since each transaction needs to be recorded in a block on the chain, millions of transactions are fighting for the same block space. This "network congestion" causes high gas fees.
Due to these high fees, many creators and collectors alike are looking to other blockchains to mint and buy NFTs.
OpenSea provides support not just for Ethereum, but also for Polygon, which is a blockchain ecosystem built on top of Ethereum. With Polygon, you can mint, buy, and sell NFTs on OpenSea with virtually no gas fees.
To do this, you'll need to bridge your ETH from the Ehtereum blockchain to Polygon. This bridging process requires ETH gas fees. Make sure to bridge as much as you can at one time, since gas fees are the same per transaction, regardless of if you send a lot or a little at once.
NFTs minted on Polygon will show up as available to purchase using "Ethereum on Polygon." It's the same currency, just on a different blockchain, meaning no network congestion or high fees.
OpenSea is just one of many platforms where you can mint NFTs along with buying and selling on the secondary market. Considering that OpenSea accounts for more than 95% of all NFT transactions, it makes sense to keep your NFTs here.
Other reputable platforms include Rarible, SuperRare, Foundation, Mintable, Nifty Gateway, and soon to be many others. Even Coinbase is working on their NFT arm, where you'll be able to mint, buy, and sell, right from your Coinbase account.
There are also other blockchains that offer support for minting NFTs. This includes Binance Smart Chain, Tron, Tezos, Cosmos, and Polkadot.
Solana has also become a big player in the NFT space, with a larger number of creators leaving Ethereum for the lower fees and faster transactions of Solana.
Assets usually cannot be transferred between layer one blockchains like these. However, NFTs can now be transferred from Ethereum to Solana.
Flow is another blockchain-focused on NFTs. Flow comes from the company, Dapper Labs, which created NFT sensations such as CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot.
NFTs can be anything the creator wants them to be. For most people, NFTs are collector's items. They serve no purpose other than the value that they represent.
For other creators, NFTs provide loyalty benefits, such as limited access to events, communities, and giveaways.
Budweiser recently launched an NFT collection, limited to 1936 NFTs, to commemorate the year they were founded. Budweiser claims that each NFT provides its owner access to the "Budverse," which unlocks "unlocking exclusive benefits, rewards, and surprises."
What are those benefits? Only NFT holders will find out. Many of these Budweiser NFTs are now being sold on the secondary market on OpenSea.
As you can see, NFTs provide unlimited opportunities to start new brands or deepen the connection an existing brand has with its customers.
Now that you know how to mint an NFT, it's time to start creating, so you can join the NFT and the metaverse while it's still early.
While NFTs have exploded in popularity in 2021, they aren't quite mainstream yet. Most people have yet to catch on, but the masses are coming. The sooner you get in, the better.
Of course, NFTs are just one income-producing innovation. Want to learn more about making money with cryptocurrency? Check out some of our most popular crypto platform comparisons, to see where you can invest your money for the highest crypto gains.