NFT Minting 101: Let’s Make You an NFT

Although you can’t exchange NFTs, as they are non-interchangeable, you can at least buy, sell, and, of course, mint (create) them. Anyone can develop NFT collections and list them for sale on prominent NFT platforms. You won’t even have to develop smart contracts from scratch– the entire process is as easy as drawing a smiley face in Paint.
Well, not exactly a smiley face. It’s slightly more complicated than that.

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NFT minting

Illustration: Milica Mijajlovic

A quick reminder: NFTs are unique URIs tied to all sorts of assets, and they exist on public ledgers, aka blockchains. But not all blockchains, no. A blockchain can host NFTs only if it’s programmable and, therefore, capable of hosting programs that support NFT creation.

These tokens consist of unique coding, which is why each NFT is one of a kind, or, in other words, non-fungible, but more about it in this NFT guide.

But, if you already know the NFT basics, let’s step up your game and teach you how to create them.

What Does it Mean to Mint NFTs?

Minting is the creation or production of something, primarily coins. In this case, NFT minting is a term describing the creation of NFT tokens. Blockchains merge records containing cryptographic hashes—sets of characters that uniquely identify a collection of data—with previous documents stored on the network to produce NFTs, making them into a chain of recognizable data blocks. And that’s how NFTs are born.

If that wasn’t palatable, here’s another explanation.

Let’s say you want to create NFTs, list them for sale on OpenSea, and sell your non-fungible tokens to a few collectors. But, for those collectors to be able to find your collection on a marketplace, you first have to make it visible on a blockchain of your choice.

NFT collection

Photo illustration: Freepik

So, NFT minting is essentially publishing that unique string of data associated with your NFT onto a blockchain. This process allows users to buy/sell non-fungible tokens, and it creates a permanent record of an asset ingrained in the blockchain network.

NFT Minting: What Is Needed for NFT Minting?

NFT minting can be too intimidating to beginners. So, let’s go through this mini guide that will shine some light on the NFT minting process.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, here’s how you create NFTs:

Create the asset you want to tie to an NFT

NFT minting begins with the creation of a digital asset you want to be associated with your NFT. NFTs are undoubtedly associated with digital art, but you don’t necessarily have to go in this direction. However, if you want to do this the easy way, it’s advisable to stick to appealing visuals that will attract buyers.

Of course, try your best to utilize your creativity and deliver never-seen-before art. Millions of NFTs are on the market, making it imperative for artists to find ways to stand out from the crowd.

Choose a wallet and a blockchain

I’ve mentioned earlier that for NFTs to be sold and interacted with, they must be recorded on the blockchain first. But not all blockchains are NFT-friendly. Bitcoin blockchain, for example, is all about crypto, while Ethereum is the most popular blockchain for building NFTs.

Blockchain technology

Photo illustration: Freepik

So, you might wonder, what top three blockchains are good for NFTs, and why?

Let’s begin by saying that the following factors will determine the best blockchains for NFT minting:

  • Transaction speed and cost: The blocks on which your NFT are minted should be able to handle a large number of transactions to avoid delayed minting. Transaction cost is also significant because high fees could burn a hole in your pocket. As transaction speed dictates the prices, it’s essential to consider them when choosing a blockchain.
  • Smart contracts: NFTs run on smart contracts or programs that set up terms and conditions of certain blockchain transactions. That said, it would be best to choose a blockchain with well-developed smart contracts that are not only secure but also functional (Ethereum is one of the best examples).
  • Consensus mechanisms: Consensus mechanisms determine security, functionality, speed, and many other blockchain aspects. Still, the environmental impact of a blockchain’s consensus model matters most in this scenario.

Blockchains such as Bitcoin use a proof-of-work consensus mechanism, resulting in high electricity consumption. Proof-of-work (PoW) isn’t environmentally friendly, which is why it’s critical to opt for blockchains that use greener alternatives, such as the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus model.

Now that you know which factors play a role in determining the best blockchains for NFT minting, here’s our selection:

  1. Ethereum: Ethereum is the largest database of NFTs. It uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, and it has the potential to handle roughly 100,000 transactions per second.
  2. Flow: The best alternative to Ethereum is Flow, a relatively new blockchain that has dominated the market since its inception. It’s not as fast as Ethereum, but its prototype achieved 1,000 transactions per second (TPS), which is extra fast for a newbie. Its developers aim for 10,000 TPS, and since Flow is based on PoS, this goal is achievable.
  3. Solana: Low fees are the main reason to choose Solana over other blockchains. Solana uses PoS, and it’s still more sustainable than Ethereum.

When choosing a blockchain, finding a wallet that supports the currency you’ll receive or use to pay for NFT minting is essential. Finding a wallet that allows you to store your NFT collections is also necessary.

Fund your wallet to support NFT minting

Believe it or not, you will likely have to pay for NFT minting. After all, converting digital data into a cryptographic asset forever stored on a blockchain consumes a certain amount of energy. Additionally, most blockchains would need at least one network transaction for minting operations, and it’s the miner’s responsibility to cover these fees.

Luckily, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by using a gas fee calculator during minting.

Connect your wallet to a marketplace of your choice

You should also take into account that different marketplaces support NFTs from different blockchains. So, if you opt for the Ethereum blockchain and a wallet compatible with ETH coins, you will also have to go for a marketplace that supports NFTs recorded on this blockchain.

MetaMask wallet

Source: MetaMask

You don’t even have to ask; here’s how to connect your wallet to an NFT marketplace:

I’ll use the most famous example– OpenSea.

If you go to the OpenSea official website, you’ll find a wallet illustration at the top right corner of the page. Click on it, and OpenSea will list several wallet options, so select the wallet you want to use for NFT minting purposes (If you have a MetaMask wallet, click on the MetaMask icon, etc.)

I already have a MetaMask digital wallet, so I’ll use it in my example. A click on the MetaMask wallet opens a new tab, allowing users to install MetaMask on their browser.

MetaMask

Source: MetaMask

If you already have a MetaMask wallet, you’ll have to provide the recovery phase. If not, you’ll go through a short wallet setup. In both scenarios, your wallet will be linked to OpenSea at the end of the process.

Then, return to the OpenSea homepage, select your digital wallet service provider again and click on the Next button.

OpenSea and MetaMask

Souce: MetaMask

By proceeding, OpenSea will connect your wallet to the platform. Select Accept and Sign, and you will get access to your wallet via OpenSea. You can now fund your wallet and use that money to purchase NFTs on OpenSea or cover the costs of NFT minting.

OpenSea platform

Source: MetaMask, OpenSea

 And voila, your wallet and the NFT marketplace are connected.

Mint your NFT

Now that the most complicated part of the NFT minting is done, it’s time to complete the process by uploading your work. First, you’ll visit the marketplace of your choice. If you’re uploading on OpenSea, you’ll click on the Create button, upload your digital file, and fill in the necessary details, including supply, collection name, blockchain, and description of your collectible.

Ethereum blockchain

Photo illustration: Freepik

What’s great about OpenSea is that it offers lazy minting. You won’t have to pay gas fees if you select this option. Instead, the gas fee will be charged after transferring your NFT to another account or selling it to someone else. In that case, the collector will be responsible for covering gas fees.

On the other hand, if you want to mint your NFT instantly, the platform will calculate how much ETH needs to be transferred from your wallet to OpenSea. After the transaction is made, your NFT will be minted, or, in other words, your NFT data will be made public on the Ethereum blockchain (that is, of course, if you mint NFTs on Ethereum).

But generally, you don’t have to worry about the OpenSea gas fees. But note that not all platforms offer this convenience.

The OpenSea Collection Manager allows creators to make NFTs without any upfront gas cost, as the NFT isn’t transferred on-chain until the first purchase or transfer is made.

What Is the Purpose of NFT Minting?

One of the most common questions people ask in NFT debates is: “Why can’t I just screenshot it?”

Well, you can.

However, screenshotting an NFT doesn’t make you the owner of that NFT.

If you visit the Louvre Museum and take a picture of the Mona Lisa, do you become the owner of the painting?

Of course not.

You can keep it on your phone, show it to your friends and even share it on Facebook, but you can’t really sell it for bajillions of dollars. You can’t even claim ownership of the painting because everyone visiting the museum knows the lovely Mona Lisa still rests in the Louvre.

The same rule applies to NFTs.

We’ve already established that minted NFTs are stored on a blockchain. The string of data that now resides on that blockchain confirms its legitimacy. And as blockchain data can’t be altered or removed from the network, NFT mining is the beginning of that NFT’s history.

NFT example

Photo illustration: Freepik

Each time a minted NFT is sold, the blockchain on which it resides records that transaction and therefore documents the owner of the collectible. That way, NFT technology can be used as a representation of ownership of unique assets.

Does Minting an NFT Cost Money?

Yes, NFT minting costs money. Whether you opt for a standard or lazy minting, someone will have to cover the cost of gas used in the process of publishing an NFT onto a blockchain.

The only difference between standard and lazy minting is that the latter allows you to avoid fees. As I mentioned earlier, NFT buyers cover the gas fees when lazy minting occurs, whereas the NFT creator is responsible for NFT minting costs if they decide to mint their assets the old-fashioned way.

NFT minting prices vary. As a general rule of thumb, a basic NFT can be minted for somewhere between $1 and $1,000.

How Long Does It Take to Mint an NFT?

NFT minting can take up to several hours. However, in most cases, your NFT will be minted in 10-30 minutes. The time needed to document the NFT onto a blockchain will primarily depend on the platform you’re using for minting. Some platforms offer tools that will speed up the process, allowing you to mint an NFT in a matter of minutes.

However, you must also consider the amount of NFTs you want to mint. For example, minting one NFT will undoubtedly take less time than minting an entire NFT collection.

Additionally, I’d factor in the time needed to create an NFT. If you need ten days to create a digital asset that will be minted onto a blockchain, it doesn’t matter if you can mint it in less than 10 minutes– you’d still invest 10 days’ worth of your time into this project.

Can You Sell an NFT After Minting?

Of course you can– that is, in a way, the purpose of minting. Your digital item will be stored on a decentralized database, and until a collector purchases your collectible, you are the owner. This allows you to do what you want with your collectibles. You can keep it or list it on the NFT marketplace, where it will, hopefully, find its way to a new owner.

NFT collection example

Photo illustration: Freepik

And there you have it– this is the science behind NFT minting. Now that you understand how to mint NFTs and the purpose behind this process, you’re ready to dip your toes into the market.

In the next article, we’ll discuss the difference between creating NFTs via NFT platforms and deploying your unique smart contracts for minting purposes. And who knows— if you stick around to read the following article, you might end up elevating your NFT minting strategy.

Good luck! 

Jelena is a content writer dedicated to learning about all things crypto. Her hobbies are playing chess, drawing, baking, and going on long walks. During winter, she usually spends her leisure time reading books.