Making an NFT

When it came to creating an NFT (non-fungible tokens), I wasn’t sure how or if I would make the plunge. Even with a tech background, I found the process of creating an NFT intimidating. The hype around NFTs in the art world is tremendous, and my art newsfeed is filled daily with stories of artists of all ages finding success in the blockchain. The potential of new marketplaces made think it was time to mint an NFT of my own. After my first attempt didn’t work, I decided I had a lot to learn about the process.

After a few months of procrastination, I finally added my contributions to the expanding pool of NFTs just to see what happens. I’m happy to report that it went better the second time around with Mintable.

For those unfamiliar with NFTs, here’s a very basic description from Wikipedia:

NFTA non-fungible token is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.

Here are some other terms you’ll run into when creating an NFT:

Gas – Gas refers to the computational efforts required to execute specific operations on the Ethereum network. A fee, paid in ether (ETH, +1.39%), is required to successfully conduct a transaction on Ethereum (coindesk.com)

Mint – Minting is the process of validating information, creating a new block, and recording that information into the blockchain.  (phemex.com)

I have a collection of illustrations I’ve made that seemed to be a good fit for my experiment: a series of black and white illustrations featuring dogs I drew and scanned at high resolution.

My first attempt to create an NFT on Rarible didn’t go as planned. I followed instructions to set up a Metamask wallet in my browser, added Ethereum (for the fees I expected to pay to complete the process) and connected it. Things were going good until I went to mint the NFT. I ran into higher gas fees than anticipated, on top of the one-time $13 transaction fee I had to pay. Once I paid the transaction fee, I didn’t have enough Ethereum for the gas fees due to fluctuating market values. Since it was an experiment, I decided to reject the transaction and postpone making an NFT on Rarible until I could plan things better.

Even though I wasn’t able to mint my NFT on Rarible, it wasn’t a total failure. I had learned something about NFTs. When it came to calculating the costs, I admit I found the process too complex and too expensive.

When I learned about gasless transactions on Mintable, I decided to give minting an NFT another try. Using gasless transactions, I was able to create NFTs in a manner that was surprisingly easy. The Metamask app (or another cryptocurrency wallet) is required to sign within the browser for the creation of the NFT, but no fees are required. It was helpful that I had I created my Metamask cryptocurrency wallet during my first NFT creation attempt on Rarible.

I started the process by selecting Mint an Item on the Mintable main page. For the first NFTs I made, I selected Advanced. Then I chose Gasless, selected Art in the form, filled in a title, subtitle and description and uploaded images. I selected Advanced instead of Easy (because I didn’t know at the time that Easy mode was also gasless). For the fourth NFT I made, I chose Easy mode, and was relieved to learn that it was also the gasless transaction I was looking for.

I decided on a smaller image for the preview and included locked content for the buyer that includes a high resolution scan of the illustration. I avoided the transfer copyright button for obvious reasons, because it seems to represent the creator transferring their copyright with the sale of the NFT.

You can see my results and artwork for sale here. I decided to offer my Dogs of the World pen and ink illustrations for sale, and these pups seemed like the perfect fit. I could make many of these!

In terms of price, I usually don’t know what to charge for my work in the real world, so that was a challenge. When it came to estimating the value of my NFTs, I hadn’t a clue. After browsing the marketplace for similar stuff, I eventually decided to choose a price of about $200 USD in Ethereum (at the time of this writing about .061). Mintable’s built in currency converter was helpful. I just switched on the option to figure out the conversion from USD to Ethereum.

Do I still have a lot to learn? Absolutely, but the technology behind it is exciting. I think it’s amazing that I now have art that exists in the blockchain. The first mistake I made was a typo in one of my titles. Initial information I found stated I couldn’t change the Token ID, contract address, name, title, image or additional metadata on NFTs, so I was worried I would have to live with the mistake. However, I was able to edit titles and descriptions on my NFTs for sale. By visiting my Profile (under My Account in the upper right hand corner), I was able to click on Listing (in the left side navigation) and fix the misspelling. I was unable to edit the price or add additional locked content from the edit page.

In terms of cost and ease of use, Mintable’s gasless transactions have won me over when it comes to creating NFTs. As an artist, I don’t have a large amount of funds for something that may not be viable. I’m interested in creating a Mintable store to put my NFTs in, but at today’s gas fee of $1k, that may have to wait! It’s unclear the benefits of taking such a step beyond potentially more views. As it stands, I have a profile with my NFTs for sale on Mintable. Without a store setup, my NFTs are in the Mintable Gasless store.

One feature I liked was that after each NFT was created, I was able to create a widget by clicking a button in the congratulations pop-up that appears after successful minting. The link appears in the lower right hand corner). It was easy to get the snippet of code to place a widget on my website with my NFTs for sale (scroll down to see my new widget).

If any of my fellow artists have thoughts on NFTs, whether you’ve made one or not, I would enjoy hearing from you!

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