NFTs have become the latest tech trend, with people paying thousands, even millions, to own exclusive pieces of digital art, and you too can take advantage of this trend. However, from the outside the world of cryptocurrency can look mysterious and complex, with lots of strange terms which you may not at first be familiar with.
For example, a Non-Fungible token, or NFT.
I didn’t even know what ‘fungible’ mean before I looked into it.
So what exactly is an NFT?
An NFT is a token built on a blockchain (eg. Ethereum) that verifies guaranteed ownership of a unique digital asset.
It’s similar to owning the copyright for a physical product, but in this case it’s a digital product.
For example, if you were to buy an original canvas painting created by a famous author, you would receive a signed statement of authenticity from the artist and a receipt for the sale.
There would only be one original painting. It would be non-fungible or unique.
However, if any others were sold, they’d be copies of that original and would hold less value than the original. As there would be several of them, they would be fungible, or mutually inter-changeable.
NFTs work the same, only with digital items.
One of the reasons some NFTs are so popular is because, as we’ve seen, they are in limited supply (or non-fungible). Some creators only sell one copy of a digital asset. Others sell a limited supply, making them collectable items. Scarcity is king.
One of the best examples of an NFT is the first-ever published tweet on Twitter. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold that tweet for $2.9 million dollars via an NFT. Crazy!
Another highly popular group of NFTs is CryptoPunks which are 24×24 8-bit-style pixel art images of misfit guys and girls, with each one being different. Here’s an example:
At the time of writing, there are 10,000 CryptoPunks available and collectors are buying them up as quickly as possible.
Bored Ape Yacht Club is another popular digital art collection of 10,000 unique avatars.
NFTs are a lot more than just artwork though.
NBA Top Shot is selling licensed NBA and WNBA videos of some of basketball’s greatest moments.
For example, you can buy a high-quality video of Lebron James’s on-court moments when the LA Lakers played against the Toronto Raptors on August 1, 2020.
Or the video of Derrick Rose of the Detroit Piston’s making the winning shot against the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019.
Another good example of an NFT is (Captain Kirk) William Shatner’s series of personal memorabilia accumulated over his 60-year career span. He sold 120,000 units of NFTs of this group of photographs within 10 minutes of releasing it for sale.
And some musicians and bands are using NFTs to sell prime spot tickets to concerts, merchandise and more.
As you can see, NFTs can be used to represent art, music, trading cards, photographs, domain names, collectables, sports, event tickets and a whole lot more.
NFTs are paid for with cryptocurrency using a crypto wallet program such as MetaMask.io, which is like the middleman connecting purchasers to blockchain-based applications to buy, store, send and swap tokens.
So now you know what an NFT is, let’s look at creating one.
Creating an NFT
Let’s look at how you can create digital assets to sell as NFTs.
If you’re an artist, graphic designer, musician, marketer or, really, anyone, you can create digital products to sell to collectors, digital creators and more. And in addition to the original, you can collect royalties for copies of your art or other material.
As we’ve seen, it’s all about scarcity, so you can choose to sell only the original digital asset or a limited number of copies of that original.
Create or choose the digital product you want to sell an NFT for. This can be digital photos or images, digital art pieces, collectables, audio, video, 3D models, virtual reality items or, in fact, anything that was created personally by you and can be reproduced digitally.
Here are some questions to help you plan your NFT.
- Who is your target audience – Primary (those most likely to buy). These are likely to be people who already follow you, buy from you or that you want to target. Be specific. Not just “music enthusiasts” because that could be anyone who writes, creates, sells, promotes, and listens to music. Narrow it down to those who most likely will buy or those you want to buy. Secondary Target (who else might be interested).
- What are you selling? What will this NFT consist of? What does your target audience want?
- What future NFTs could you also create?
- Which marketplace will you use? Which one best fits your needs and attracts your target audience?
- How much will you charge? Base your price on similar NFTs that are selling in this marketplace. Will you have a Buy It Now option or put it up for auction?
Selling an NFT
You need 3 things to sell your Non-fungible Token:
- A crypto wallet to store your cryptocurrency and process transactions
- Cryptocurrency to mint your NFT and pay the associated feeeees
- A marketplace in which to sell your NFT
Let’s walk through the process. In this example we’ll be using MetaMask as the wallet, Ethereum as the currency and OpenSea.io as the marketplace.
Step 1: Create or open a digital wallet.
There are many different wallets but MetaMask.io is popular. Let’s get you set up by linking your wallet to the marketplace.
- Go to OpenSea.io (the marketplace we’re using) and click the Wallet icon. Select the wallet you wish to you, eg. Metamask.
- Install MetaMask in your browser or download the app.
- Click the Get Started button.
- Select to Create a Wallet and follow the prompts given, agreeing to their terms, creating a password, seed phrase, etc.
Note: Make sure your seed phrase is secure and that you will always know where to find it. If you lose it you may not be able to access your funds.
Now go back to OpenSea.io and click the Wallet icon again to connect it with your profile. Create a password and go through the security measures. Your account is now set up. You’ll use your wallet to pay for minting your items and receiving payments when your digital products sell.
Step 2: Buy some cryptocurrency
This will be used to pay a ‘gas fee’ to ‘mint’ (generate) an NFT of your work.
In MetaMask.io, click Add Funds and follow the steps to add the funds.
OpenSea uses Ethereum so click “Buy” then “Buy ETH with Wyre”.
You’ll then be taken to a screen where you can buy ETH with either a debit card or Apple Pay and add it to your wallet.
It’s recommended to have at least $100 in your wallet to start with.
Step 3: Add Your NFT To a Marketplace
There are many different marketplaces for buying and selling NFTs, and the one you choose should be based on your individual needs. Some specialise in certain types of NFTs such as gaming while others are open to all, and you’ll want to consider fees and royalties too. Here are some of the more popular ones;
OpenSea.io is the most popular and by far, the largest marketplace platform to buy and sell NFTs.It’s one of the easiest places to set up your work on too. It uses the Ethereum blockchain. It offers both buy it now and auction style buying and selling. Payments are made with Ethereum Tokens called ETH.In addition to its easy-to-use dashboard, it supports a variety of NFTs and offers a huge number of payment token options. OpenSea costs nothing to sign up and browse through the available digital assets so use it to get a feel for how others are listing their products.
To create an account, click on ‘New Account’ and customize your new account with a username, bio, email address, profile picture and a cover banner.
Mintable is an open NFT marketplace on the Ethereum blockchain and is very similar to OpenSea and pretty easy to use so it’s great for beginners. Mintable supports all types of art, music, audio, video, games, collectables and more. It has a gas-free minting option and offers timed and standard auctions and a Buy It Now option.
MakersPlace is a great place for artists, writers, and photographers who already have a decent sized social media following. As with OpenSea, it resides on the Ethereum blockchain and uses ETH for buying and selling. MakersPlace also offers an escrow service and allows for credit card payments for secondary sales. As part of the registration process, you are required to follow a certain number of existing artists. You’ll also need to request an invitation to join the platform. This can be done directly on the site.
NBA Top Shot Marketplace is where you’ll find those NBA collectible moments and highlights video clips we mentioned earlier. This marketplace was built by the National Basketball Association and is considered a closed marketplace, meaning you can only buy and sell these collectibles here. It also has its own blockchain. Signing up is easy as Top Shot links with your Google account.
Rarible is another good marketplace for all sorts of digital assets. It’s hosted on Ethereum but they also have their own tokens called RARI that one can use to buy and sell on the marketplace. You can earn a verified badge on this marketplace by submitting proof of authenticity.
SuperRare is all about CryptoArt. The developers consider it a social platform as it is more heavily curated than some of the other platforms. It uses the Ethereum blockchain. They focus on quality over quantity and work has to be submitted for approval before being listed in the marketplace. Artists also have to submit an application before joining. In our research, we found a few resources suggesting it’s fairly difficult to be accepted, so you may want to use other sites to start with and save SuperRare for when you have a rockin’ portfolio and a large following.
Foundation.app is a newer marketplace that has gained a lot of popularity. Similar to SuperRare, Foundation is community-curated which means existing creators and collectors invite new artists to join. While it may not be the best platform for a beginner, if your art is wow-worthy and you can gain community awareness, you’ll have a much better chance at obtaining an invite.
Nifty Gateway is a premier marketplace that focuses on top artists, celebrities, musicians, and brands such as Eminem, Cey Adams, Grimes and Paris Hilton. It’s built on the Ethereum blockchain and the NFTs are known as Nifties. Artists can invite other artists to join but the vetting process is said to be tough. You can also get in by participating in the Community Upvote where your work is ranked by community votes. So, like SuperRare, this may be best for those who have unique, top-quality work.
Step 4: Add your art to the marketplace
Now, it’s time to add your digital assets to your OpenSea account. Click Create in the
upper navigation inside OpenSea
If you’re going to be doing a collection of items like the CryptoPunks, you’ll want to create a collection first. Add a name and description of the collection, and upload an image that represents it.
Now create a new item & upload an image of it. You can sell an image, video, audio or 3D model and can choose from a variety of file formats (maximum file size 40MB).
Complete the rest of the required details for your item including:
- Item name
- A link to your website or where viewers can learn more about the item.
- A description of the item
If this item belongs to a collection, you’ll have additional things to fill out including properties, levels, stats and more. You’ll be able to choose whether to include unlockable content and note whether the item is explicit or sensitive.
When you’ve filled in all the details, click Create. Your listing is now created and ready to sell.
Step 5: Put your item up for sale
When you are ready to sell, click your profile image in OpenSea and then click Profile.
From your wallet, select the NFT you want to sell. Select Sell in the upper right corner of the listing page. When the listing page opens, enter the price you want to receive for the item and the type of sale you are looking for – either fixed price or through a timed auction. You can choose the duration of the sale from 1 day, 3 days or a week.
Next, confirm the sale by signing a transaction. If this is your first listing, you’ll now be required to pay your minting fee and any other fees involved. This fee creates a personal trading smart contract for your wallet so you can receive funds. You only have to pay this gas fee once, no matter how many items you decide to sell, unless you ask to be paid in a currency other than ETH in which case you may have to pay a small gas fee the first time for that as well.
Once all fees are paid and the listing is completed, you can view your listing by going to the Activity tab on your profile page.
That’s it! Your first NFT is now available to purchase on OpenSea.
Marketing Your NFT
Just like any other product you might want to sell, once you have your NFT set up you still have to market it so others will see it.
Yes, people will view the marketplace, but to reach the maximum number of viewers possible, it’s important to promote your NFTs elsewhere. Here are 15 ideas to do so.
- Post in your social media accounts – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Those who already follow you may turn into your biggest buyers so don’t skip this step. In fact, if you have a big following, you can even plan a week or two in advance to start promoting the upcoming drop. This will generate buzz and build excitement in your followers.
- Start conversations on BitcoinTalk, Reddit Bitcoin Community, Bitcoin StackExchange to get to know others who may be willing to promote your drops.
- See if there are any conferences, events, meetups in your area of that you can attend. Look at places like Bitcoin.org, Bitcoin Meetup Groups, Bitcoin Meetups on Wiki.
- Participate on places like Quora, Reddit, Askfm, Yahoo Answers, Stack Exchange, Blurtit, Experts Exchange and other Q&A type sites to spread your knowledge, increase awareness and obtain new followers.
- Talk about it ahead of time. If you have a mailing list or a blog, talk about NFTs to educate your readers. Keep them updated on the progress of your newest creation. Post teasers to pique interest. You can also do all these things on social media.
- Add your drop to NFT Calendar. This place lists new drops from a variety of marketplaces so visitors can see everything that’s new in one location. It’s free and easy to list your new art drops.
- If you have a mailing list, social media followers, podcast subscribers, etc. Ask them to share your NFT details or drop dates with others.
- Create a drop countdown calendar on your blog or social media accounts. Some marketplaces offer these countdown calendars or release calendars for featured drops. Check with the marketplace(s) you are using to see if they offer such features.
- Create posts or pages on your blog about each of your NFT drops, including photos, descriptions, stories and more.
- Look for paid promotion opportunities. Do any of the marketplaces, crypto platforms have newsletters or mailing list? Do they have advertising options? Don’t forget about the paid ad options on social media sites as well.
- Reach out to influencers you regularly interact with. Check in with those you’ve collaborated with previously to see if they’d be interested in spreading the word about your upcoming drop.
- Once you’ve got a few NFTs created and sold, or you have a large list that may entice other sellers, look for ways to collaborate with others selling similar or complimentary NFTs. When you team up everyone wins.
- Look for other places where you can talk about NFTs such as on podcasts, webinars, in-person speaking opportunities and even guest blog posts.
- Hire an NFT Marketing Agency. If you are selling high-dollar items, it might be worth hiring a professional service to help spread the word.
- Take advantage of media and public relations companies. Create a press release to submit to various brick and mortar news agencies. Use online press release sites such as newswire.com, prnewswire.com, and prweb.com.
Buying works in a very similar way except that you have to have a wallet and add funds to it. You would then connect to your choice of marketplace and search for NTFs you’d like to buy.
NFTs can be free, cheap or cost thousands of dollars. Some are sold via auction while others have a set price with a ‘buy now’ option.
Even if the item is free, you may still be required to pay a gas fee for the transaction. These fees fluctuate based on how busy the marketplace network is.
If you’re planning to purchase, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have enough ETH or funds to cover the cost of the item and the fees already in your wallet so you can quickly buy if you see a rare item.
Once you purchase the NFT, you can access it via your crypto wallet. That’s where it will reside until you decide to sell it.
Hopefully this article will have given you a good understanding of NFTs and how to buy and sell them. It’s a very exciting new market with a very bright future, so the sooner you enter it, the more fun you will have. Be creative, look out for opportunities, and reap the rewards.