Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become one of the most popular items in cryptocurrency over the past few years, with billions in trading volume and a slew of celebrity endorsements pushing digital artwork to the forefront of mainstream media outlets.
Non-fungible tokens can be created directly on NFT platforms, allowing you to mint (the process of creating or producing something) and upload your artwork on a blockchain. This guide will detail the steps needed to create your first NFT, including how to upload your artwork, choose the right blockchain, and where to list it for sale.
- Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique crypto assets that are stored on a blockchain.
- Creating an NFT allows users to upload digital media and sell it on an NFT marketplace.
- Multiple blockchains support NFT creation, with Ethereum being the most popular.
What Is an NFT and How Do You Create One?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are cryptographic assets on a blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other.
Unlike cryptocurrencies, NFTs cannot be exchanged for one another, as each NFT is unique. Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is fungible and can be traded with equivalency. It means that the value of each bitcoin is the same, so they can be traded for one another.
NFTs are typically represented by digital artwork, such as pictures, animated videos, or music. They can be bought and sold on NFT marketplaces, typically requiring cryptocurrency for payment.
Creating an NFT can be done on an NFT marketplace or crypto exchange that supports NFT minting. Follow these six steps to create an NFT from scratch.
Step 1: Figure Out What You Want to Create
NFTs are typically tied to a piece of digital art. This may be an image, an audio production (such as a song), or even a short video clip (such as an animated GIF). The goal is to create a unique piece of digital media that can be sold, just like selling a painting at an art gallery.
NFTs provide value to creators by being unique, something that cannot be owned elsewhere. It is especially important to ensure that you own the right to the digital media you are using, as creating an NFT from media you don’t own may have legal ramifications.
Step 2: Choose a Blockchain
There are several blockchains that can store your NFT. This blockchain will keep a permanent record of your NFT, so it’s important to choose the one that fits your requirements.
The most popular NFT blockchain is Ethereum, which hosts thousands of NFT collections. Ethereum NFTs are created utilizing the ERC-721 standard, which stores the metadata of the NFT on the Ethereum blockchain. This standard was developed by the same teams that developed the ERC-20 smart contract and defines the minimum interface—ownership details, security details, and metadata—required for exchanging and distributing gaming tokens.
This blockchain currently operates using the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, making it much more eco-friendly than it used to be. Most NFT marketplaces support the creation of Ethereum NFTs, though transferring NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain may come with high gas fees.
The nearest competitor to the Ethereum blockchain is Solana. Designed as a faster, lower-cost alternative to Ethereum, Solana offers transaction fees of less than $0.01 and a growing list of supported apps for NFTs. In addition, Solana utilizes both the proof-of-history (PoH) and PoS consensus mechanisms and boasts much faster transaction speeds than Ethereum.
Flow is another PoS blockchain designed for NFTs and decentralized gaming apps, and it is host to the popular NBA Top Shot NFT collection. Many other sports franchises have created marketplaces on the Flow blockchain, making it a popular place for sports-focused NFT creation.
There are several other blockchains that support NFTs, each with its own community and decentralized apps (dApps) for creators and NFT owners.
Step 3: Set Up an NFT Wallet
Once you choose a blockchain, you will need a digital wallet that supports that blockchain to store your NFT. To create a wallet, you will need to download the crypto wallet app, provide a username and password, and store your private keys and recovery phrase offline for backup purposes.
There are several popular wallet apps that support multiple blockchains:
- MetaMask: MetaMask is a popular crypto wallet that supports a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, as well as both Ethereum and Solana blockchains. It can be used as a mobile app or added as a browser extension.
- Coinbase Wallet: Coinbase offers a digital wallet that supports ERC-721 NFT tokens, as well as Solana NFT collections. It can be downloaded as a mobile app or added as a browser extension.
- Ledger Nano X: If you want to store your NFT in a secure hardware wallet, the Ledger Nano X supports both Ethereum and Solana NFTs.
Step 4: Choose an NFT Platform
An ever-growing list of NFT platforms allows you to create an NFT, but the best ones offer a full-service marketplace to list and sell NFTs. Here are a few of the most popular NFT platforms:
- OpenSea: The most popular NFT platform by far is OpenSea. With more than $20 billion in trading volume since its launch in 2017 and more than 2 million NFT collections listed, OpenSea is the top platform for Ethereum-based NFTs. OpenSea launched support for Solana NFTs in July 2022.
- Solanart: As the Solana-based NFT platform, Solanart hosts some of the most popular Solana NFT collections, with a slick user interface and a simple application process for minting.
- Crypto exchanges: Several crypto exchanges support NFT creation, such as Binance Exchange. You can create your NFT directly on the platform, choose which blockchain you prefer, and mint or create the NFT directly.
Step 5: Create the NFT
Once you have chosen a platform, creating an NFT is pretty straightforward. Here is an example for creating an NFT on OpenSea:
- Connect your wallet: In the OpenSea menu, select the wallet icon and choose which digital wallet you’d like to connect. This will require you to sign a verification on your wallet app.
- Select the “Create” option: This brings up a menu for the NFT creation process, including an upload section, NFT features, properties, and blockchain.
- Upload your media file: This is the picture or other media that you will be selling. You can upload directly or link to an externally hosted media file.
- Fill in the details: You will need to name your NFT and fill in a description. You can optionally add unique properties and additional perks like unlockable content, such as an invite to a private Discord channel or discount codes to merchandise. You can also create a limit on how many can be minted (typically just one, unless you are making a full collection).
- Select your blockchain: This will be the blockchain on which your NFT resides, and it cannot be changed once minted.
- Create the NFT: Once you have filled in the details of your NFT, simply select “Create.”
After hitting “Create,” your file will upload, and the NFT will be created. But the NFT is not listed for sale just yet, and the metadata is technically changeable until you list your item for sale.
Step 6: List the NFT for Sale
Listing an NFT for sale is simple, and most NFT platforms allow you to do this for free. Once your NFT is created and in your wallet, you can simply hit the “sell” button on the platform of your choice and choose the price you wish to list it at and how long you want the sale to last.
Once the details of your sale are filled in, you can create the listing. This will require you to sign a few transactions in your digital wallet, which may include paying transaction fees on your chosen blockchain. Solana transactions are tiny, typically less than $0.01, while listing an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain can cost much more, depending on the network fees at the time of listing.
How Much Does It Cost to Sell an NFT?
Once the NFT has been listed, it should have a unique URL you can share with others. Sellers pay a nominal fee to the NFT marketplace when a purchase is made, for example, Binance charges a 1% platform fee as well as other fees while OpenSea charges a flat 2.5% of the sale price.
When you create the NFT, however, you can add in a royalty fee that pays you a percentage of the transaction each time your NFT is subsequently sold. Creators can earn up to 10% for every transaction.
Can I Create a Non-fungible Token (NFT) for Free?
Yes. Most non-fungible token (NFT) platforms allow you to create and list NFTs for free. However, selling an NFT does typically come with a transaction fee. In addition, some NFT blockchains charge to mint NFTs to their blockchain, charging network fees to users. Ethereum charges a gas fee, which is a base fee per work unit plus a tip, and the fees fluctuate based on blockchain and network activity. However, the Polygon blockchain charges no fees for single mints but does charge a nominal fee for batch minting.
How Do I Create an NFT Image?
NFT images are simply digital images uploaded to an NFT platform. Most platforms support multiple image formats, including JPEG, PNG, and even animated GIF images. These images can be created in several ways, but the NFT platform must support the upload format to create the initial NFT image.
Are NFTs Protected by Copyright?
Yes, unless they are subject to fair use laws. Copyright is granted as soon as an image, soundbyte, video, document, or other original work is created. The creator is the copyright owner. Purchasing an NFT does not convey copyright ownership; that still lies with the creator. However, as of July 2022, there are congressional discussions on how copyright protection and NFTs should be interpreted.
The Bottom Line
The creation of NFTs requires knowledge of a few concepts, such as minting, blockchain, crypto wallets, marketplaces, and gas fees. Once a creator understands how NFTs work, it's easy to get started with them.