NFTs: the basics
It’s hard not to have heard about NFTs during 2021: Beeple’s record sale, Art Magazines, Sotheby’s auctions or maybe from one of your artist friends, a lot of information has been circulating and also a lot of misinformation.
If you are an artist and want to use NFTs to sell your digital creations, there are several options, but before discovering them, there are some basic notions to keep in mind.
- NFTs are 100% digital tokens that exist on a blockchain.
- They contain several immuable information: date of creation, number of editions and wallet of the author.
- The metadata are the properties of the NFTs: name of the author, name of the work, link to the content…this metadata may or may not be immutable.
A confusion therefore often occurs between the blockchain verification and the metadata that can be edited afterwards.
Choose the right blockchain
Before thinking about the platform that will allow the creation (mint) of your NFT art, it is important to know which blockchain it uses. Depending on the consensus that the blockchain uses, a balance must be found between several elements:
To date, there is no blockchain that has found a perfect balance between these three elements, many projects are working on it but to say they have got there would be a lie.
For example, thanks to Proof of Work, Ethereum is very secure and decentralized but cannot support many transactions. Proof of Stake blockchains allow faster and a greater number of transactions but are more centralized and less secure.
Recently, ecological concerns related to the electricity consumption of blockchains have taken on a lot of momentum. Taking into account this parameter when choosing your blockchain requires additional verification on how the electricity that powers the project has been produced.
Now that we’ve seen the fundamentals of blockchain, how do you create your first artistic NFT?
Craft your first NFT artwork
It has become very easy to mint your first NFT. Let’s see how to do it in three steps on the most used platform : Opensea.
First steps to mint an NFT
Opensea will ask you to authenticate through your web3 wallet. Several choices are offered such as Metamask, Coinbase Wallet or Venly.
On mobile devices, the Trust Wallet and Opera Touch can be used as well.
It’s time to choose what your NFT is going to be! Several formats are supported: image, video, GIF or audio within a limit of 100Mb. Next, fill in the basic properties like the name as well as a link to the project.
The following steps will be to add the metadata to your NFT:
- A description
- The collection to which it belongs
- The properties. This can be hair color, eye shape, etc.
- Levels, which can determine a grade for example
- Stats, used to specify the generation number, ranks or serial number
It is also possible to add unlockable content (a code, a better quality image…) and specify whether it is explicit or sensitive content.
Then comes the number of edition of your NFT.upply. Determining the number of editions is essential especially for artworks. Is it an unique piece? Or is it several editions of the same work?
The choice of blockchain is also crucial. The fees on Ethereum are currently high and therefore the transfer of the NFT will be expensive. Other solutions should emerge in the future to leave more choice to the creator.
If you want to learn more about the technical part, do not hesitate to consult the technical documentation of Opensea!
It is because this method has become so simple that today there are so many NFTs, like any artistic creation. It is important that the meaning behind the work is reflected beforehand. Even more so on the blockchain, because the ultimate goal is to make your digital creation immortal.
It can be a free expression or a political message, an existing landscape or an fictive universe, a still image or programmable art… thanks to digital tools, digital art pushes back every day what is possible to create.
For the moment, the link between the physical and virtual universe has not yet found an adequate formula in terms of automating exchanges. For example, NFT certificates of authenticity in a painting must be transferred manually at the time of purchase.
In the art sector, it is therefore important to think 100% digital when you want to create your first NFT.
Create your community from A to Z
One of the most underrated aspects of popular artists in Web2 is to think that his community will follow them into Web3, except that one of the main values conveyed by NFTs is real ownership.
This is in direct contradiction with most of the conditions of use of social networks that retain almost all the rights of use of the media hosted on their platform.
The popularity acquired on Web2 therefore ultimately has little value within Web3. Unless you are already recognized worldwide, one of the first things that you will have to be built is a strong community, who also own crypto..
Collectors of art NFTs do not buy randomly! They like to know the history of the artist, his motivations and his reasons for coming into the ecosystem. They may, of course, simply be attracted to the aesthetics but usually other things play a part in their decision to purchase.
Ultimately, the roots of public blockchains have eminently political origins and to deny this aspect is a mistake. Decentralization is not just technical, it is also the rock that everyone brings with them to build the web of tomorrow.