And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
– Iris, Goo-Dolls
We read a lot about minting an NFT and different platforms and capabilities. But, what does it mean to mint, and why do we use that term, other than one like create or make?
So, to start out, with — let’s define minting. It’s the act of making an NFT for the first time. It’s similar to the act of ‘minting’ a coin or currency. The original mint is just like it sounds — purchasing or receiving the thing from how it is made. But, for NFTs, the mint is different than for a coin or currency. First, the most obvious difference is that there is no physical thing — no gold, or nickel or tin — it is minted entirely electronically, in most cases on a crypto blockchain. So, how does it happen?
It is effectively the deployment of a contract onto the blockchain. The contract is deployed by sending it off to the miners/validators and paying the gas fee (typically Eth on the Ethereum L1). The contract has certain parts to it if it complies with the NFT standard (generally ERC 721), which are quite technical, but generally include:
– methods to transfer possession
– a symbol
– a name
– the number of NFTs to be created
– a metadata pointer which includes the data on the thing that is being made
This metadata itself may have parts to it, including name, a hash, and other data to indicate the thing (for example a jpeg image or audio file).
If this sounds complicated, there are platforms that can do a lot of this for you. The most popular one on Eth is OpenSea. It’s easy to mint on there and a lot of the technical parts are abstracted away. In fact, give it a shot. You can easily make your own NFT for any image, screenshot or other data file that you have.
To do this, you link your wallet (I like MetaMask) and then click on Create. There is a simple web app, which can get more complicated, but it lets you create an NFT and include some fields that OpenSea can read and use for listing your NFT. When you do this, you can easily see the NFT in your wallet, under your OpenSea profile, or with any wallet which or connected app that lets you view your NFTs.
What’s so special about this? Well, you’ve created something that cannot be destroyed and will live as long as the Eth L1 lives. In addition, the ownership can easily be transferred and verified, and the owner can enjoy all of the use cases of having an NFT, which we have covered in other other blog posts. If you’re interested, there are similar sites and methods for creating NFTs on other L1s, such as Solana, Tezos and more. They all have generally the same structure. There are even more advanced NFT standards if you’re interested, such as ERC 1155, which allow for multi-state NFTs (like coupons which are unused/used). But, the core of them is the same. They can easily be created — and even multiple NFTs at a time can be created in more sophisticated collections.
So, start minting, or try to get the original mints. Bored Ape Yacht Club original mints went for about .08 ETH and are now selling for 120 ETH. When it’s good, it’s good.