• Ariel Sun

I just minted my first NFT digital art piece, here’s what I’ve learned so far

Last week, if you came across catchy headlines such as “A JPG file sold for $70 million”and you paused to dig deeper, you probably know that non-fungible token, or better known as “NFT”, as well as “NFT marketplace”, are all the rage right now.

If you didn’t look beyond the headlines, NFTs are digital files whose authenticity and ownership are stored on a blockchain, and are permanently linked to its original creator. It’s a new way to sell digital assets that have previously been inexpensive and easy to replicate, such as art, illustration, video and GIFs, as collectibles.

NFT Marketplaces such as Rarible, OpenSea, Foundation, to name a few, are places for creators to showcase and list their work and for collectors to discover and bid on them. I signed up for Rarible; since I’m just trying out, I decided to go for one I’ve heard more about and isn’t invite-only.

An NFT marketplace requires both buyers and creators to sign up with a digital wallet, instead of a login, and use cryptocurrency platforms like Ethereum to set up an account. Why do creators also need a digital wallet, you might ask? The answer is: you’ll need “Gas” to mint artwork, which is the step to “tokenize” the piece and pay for the computing energy required to process the transaction on the blockchain, and as a result of that, you’ll see the piece published as an item in your shop.

To sign up, I first transferred around $80 to Coinbase, a digital currency exchange platform where one could buy / sell, send / receive cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The transaction took a few days to process.

In the meantime, I signed up for a MetaMask, a digital wallet specific to Ethereum. To me, it’s like an intermediary between Coinbase, where I purchase Ethereum, and Rarible, the marketplace. Once set up, MetaMask generated a unique 42-character account key for me. At this point, I was able to connect MetaMask with Rarible.

As the funds settled in Coinbase a few days later, I sent them in the form of Ethereum to MetaMask. Now my digital wallet has some crypto that I could later use as Gas should I decide to mint my artwork on Rarible.

The TL;DR version to get set up and ready to mint:

  1. Purchase some Ethereum on Coinbase

  2. Set up your digital wallet MetaMask to get your unique account key

  3. Connect your wallet (MetaMask) and a marketplace platform like Rarible

  4. Upload your artwork to the platform, gas it, and convert it to an NFT

Mint the Artwork

Click the prominent “Create” button on Rarible and Choose “Single” if you want your collectible to be the one and only or “Multiple” if you want to sell multiple copies of a collectible. I chose Multiple, although little did I know the more of a piece of artwork you have in stock, the more Gas fee you’d be charged.

Then you’ll be asked to name and describe your piece and choose the number of copies (the more copies, the more in gas fee), as well as royalties if your work gets resold.

I set the number of copies to 5, and the Gas fee is over 0.031 ETH, or about $55 (the amount can fluctuate based on currency exchange rate).

The Trend

Before I minted my piece, I browsed around Rarible to get a sense of the trending artwork. At first glance, sci-fi illustrations, looping 3D-rendered gifs, pop culture figures, thoughtfully repurposed famous paintings seem to dominate the marketplace.

However, over the course of my experience with Rarible so far, I’ve come to the realization that the majority of those artists who stand out set off with a strong story or compelling narrative that’s unique in the time of history and culture. Other best selling artists are already well-known or up and coming. In either case, their work is valuable in the eyes of the collectors.

Here’s a plug to my own Rarily profile: Let’s add each other!

Overall, I think NFT art is a really interesting and progressive concept, although I’m still educating myself on the climate / associated energy use part of minting. I hear strong arguments on both sides, and I’m curious about your thoughts below. Will you get on the NFT train, or will you avoid it at all costs?

Back to the story at the beginning, Beeple, the artist who made top headlines and almost $70 million selling digital art with NFTs, has created a digital artwork and posted it online EVERY SINGLE DAY for 13 and a half years. And the JPG file was the first 5,000 days of this project collaged together. Was it ever an accident that this piece set a new record in the history of digital art? I don’t think so :)

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© 2014-2020 BY ARIEL SUN.