NFT this, NFT that, what hasn’t been said about this advancement in blockchain technology that hasn’t been spoken of already? Seemingly ordinary items like music, games, photos and collectibles have been valued at unusually incredible prices thanks to NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
Creators have been heavily developing NFTs primarily in the gaming, collectibles, and, of course, the art sectors. According to CryptoSlate, NFTs contribute to 2% of the entire crypto market, worth about $46.47 billion.
This is roughly double the percentage and market cap compared to six months prior. Which artist wouldn’t want a piece of this massive pie? While we live in exciting and innovative times, there are concerns that NFTs may become a fad.
However, we know now that everyone’s been jumping on the NFT bandwagon for some time, and no artist wants to get left behind.
Even established auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s caught the ‘NFT bug’ a while ago, meaning the demand for NFTs, particularly in art, hasn’t yet subsided. So, let’s go through the precise steps to sell your online art as an NFT.
Firstly, what is an NFT?
The whole idea of a non-fungible token is cryptographically tokenizing something of value or a real-life asset (photos, art, music, in-game items, collectibles, copyright, contracts, licenses, etc.) to prove absolute ownership.
NFTs are created using blockchain technology to represent a unique digital item. When referring to something as non-fungible, we mean it’s non-interchangeable or distinctive.
Thankfully, you don’t need a computer science degree or be a cryptography expert to create an NFT. However, as with any industry, competition is fierce, and there are some fundamental things to know before getting started.
Some key considerations about NFT art
Most digital art enthusiasts will know of the $69.4 million price tag paid for Beeple’s ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ in March 2021, still presently making it the most valuable NFT ever purchased.
Needless to say, this record has attracted thousands of artists wishing to replicate similar success. However, the reality is such exorbitant prices are an anomaly and will not occur with the vast majority of art creators.
Artists like Beeple already had a substantial following of fans and collectors before the NFT boom. Something else worth noting is NFTs are a fee-ridden industry. In short, it can become quite expensive to create and sell any NFT presently.
One of the lingering battles with ‘minting’ an NFT is Ethereum’s high gas fees, which is worth observing as most NFTs are produced using this blockchain. Other costs to consider are the numerous listing and authorization fees that artists will likely encounter when using marketplaces like OpenSea and SuperRare.
Overall, you’ll want to ensure the costs don’t leave you out of pocket beforehand if you stand any chance of selling your work.
Step 1: Choosing the NFT platform to list your art
A ‘mini step’ before choosing the listing marketplace is, of course, having something to convert into an NFT (in this case, art). The critical takeaway is ensuring this artwork is convertible to a supported multimedia file depending on the platform you choose.
As expected, a plethora of marketplaces exists for listing and selling NFTs. Yet, in the art realm, the most popular include Nifty Gateway, OpenSea, SuperRare, Foundation, and Rarible.
Each platform will specialize in specific art types and vary in popularity. However, one of the most important factors to decide on the marketplace to use is the blockchain standard.
The compatible cryptocurrency used on a particular platform will correlate to a specific blockchain. As previously mentioned, most of these use Ethereum-based tokens.
While Ethereum is immensely popular, it tends to have high gas fees. Other platforms also support alternative blockchains for minting NFTs like Binance Smart Chain, Solana, Flow, Tezos, Polygon, Cosmos, etc.
In most cases, you’ll want to stay away from Ethereum-based platforms if possible because of the unpredictable costs.
Along with choosing the listing marketplace is using a compatible wallet (e.g., MetaMask, Fortmatic, Portis, Coinbase Wallet, Trust, Enjin, etc.) to store the supported tokens for listing and selling.
Like any service, artists will want to keep the fees to a minimum and observe any ‘fine print hidden charges.’
Step 2: Minting the NFT
Surprisingly, this step is not so complicated as the listing platform handles much of the technical work. The main observation is having an appropriate file (JPEG, PNG, MP4, etc.) of the work you want to be tokenized.
You’d then have to fill in some information at this stage, such as adding a description to the NFT and taking care of the fees before everything is finalized.
Step 3: Deciding on how to sell the NFT
This section refers to the type of listings you can use for your NFTs. Needless to say, it’d vary widely depending on the service being used. However, most will fall into two broad categories: fixed price and auction (a bit like eBay).
A fixed price listing is where artists decide on a set price to sell their work indefinitely. An auction will have a specific time it can run for where users can make bids until it finishes or when the artist accepts one.
If your work ends up selling, you’ll be charged a set commission which typically varies from 2.5% to 15% of the sale price. Moreover, some platforms may have a royalty fee for secondary sales and additional costs for re-listing auctions.
The verdict is still out whether NFTs are nothing more than a speculative bubble amid the astronomical headline-grabbing prices of NFT art recently. Overall, the industry is largely uncharted territory, and the user experience does need improvement.
Nonetheless, NFTs have unearthed a previously unimagined revenue stream using cryptocurrencies. Moreover, an NFT provides unique immutable and verifiable digital ownership to collectors and artists.
Artists shouldn’t view this sector as a get-rich-quick scheme since it does require considerable upfront cost and research on their part. Moreover, you need to be a fairly known artist with art that’s aesthetically pleasing to your collectors and has some artistic value for someone to purchase it.