Updated: May 17
NFTs seem to be everywhere and for artists and creatives it’s definitely worth dipping their toes into the still untamed seas of the Metaverse. However the avalanche of unknown terms, acronyms, apps and software can be overwhelming. But in the end it’s not that complicated at all and after a few initial set-ups you’re ready to set sail.
Speaking of terms: Here's a helpful explanation of 36 common NFT terms. It's always good to get in touch with the language of a new world before starting the journey. It helps navigating and interacting.
Reading the Map: What are NFTs?
NFT is an acronym for “non-fungible token”. Technically speaking an NFT is a non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger, that can be sold and traded. A NFT can be anything digital: photos, videos, audio. Each token is uniquely identifiable, that’s why NFTs differ from blockchain cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Owning an NFT provides a public certificate of authenticity or proof of ownership.
There are Millions of NFTs out there from illustration to photography to music and animated files. Among the NFTs that kicked off the momentum for collectible art were the Crypto Punks , CryptoKitties and Bored Ape Yacht Club. They were setting the tone for a kind of art that focuses on rarity and exclusivity and that is visually inspired by games. In March 2021 “Everydays: the First 5000 Days” a digital work of art created by Mike Winkelmann, known professionally as Beeple, was sold for $69.3 million at Christie's - a move that finally catapulted NFTs towards more popular awareness. Today the range of artistic work that is available as NFT includes portrait, street and nature photography, illustrations and animations, music and video - there are no limits.
Benefits and Added Value for Artists and Creatives
There are basically three main aspects that are important for digital creators:
Claiming ownership and copyright in the digital world.
A new distribution and sales channel for art.
Receiving royalties through secondary sales - meaning whenever a piece of art is sold again, the creator receives royalties - usually a percentage of 3 -10% which the artist can set when initially publishing the art work.
Getting the ship ready: This is what you need to enter the Metaverse
Set Up your Wallet
A wallet is the place where you store your crypto currencies and the device you need for any transaction. There are two main providers on the market: Coinbase and Metamask. Both work on your desktop and on your smartphone. Download the app and follow the instruction guides. It's pretty straight forward. You initially should then get some crypto in your wallet which you can transfer from your bank account or from your credit card to the wallet. There are plenty of crypto currencies out there and while Bitcoin might be the most prominent one, when it comes to NFTs Ethereum seems to be the most relevant right now.
Once you have a critical amount of crypto currencies and NFTs in your wallet it’s worth thinking about security and adding a hardware wallet to your setup. Storing your assets on a hardware wallet makes it impossible for hackers to get access to your digital belongings. Ledger provides two hardware wallets that currently are the industry standard.
Planning your route: Choose a platform
Now that you have a wallet you are ready to choose the platform aka. marketplace on which you want to sell your art. Which platform you choose depends on what kind of Metaverse sailor you are, a beginner or an advanced pirate.
For artists who start their first cruise into unknown territory
For your first steps, OpenSea might be the easiest platform to start with. It’s the biggest market place out there currently. You can easily create a profile on OpenSea and connect it with your wallet. OpenSea is very accessible and the use is for free. Once you sell a NFT, OpenSea keeps 2.5% of the sales price. The platform also supports a large number of different crypto currencies which is convenient. However, on OpenSea you are just one sailor among many.
For artists who know the currents of the Metaverse
Especially with more unique art collections that are aiming to attract a more refined community of collectors, some more curated platforms can be a good opportunity to sell your art on a higher level. Rarible , SuperRare, Foundation , Mintable all focus more on the quality and exclusivity of art and artist and see themselves as platforms where artist and collectors create a community. The number of supported crypto currencies is usually limited on these platforms but they all support Ethereum. For example on Foundation, creators are invited to join Foundation by members of the community. Once you’ve received an invite, you’ll need to set up a wallet with ETH before you can create an artist profile, deploy a smart contract, and mint an NFT.
Setting Sail: Create your collection on OpenSea
Uploading your art is in the end the easiest task. On OpenSea you start with creating a collection - you need a name and ideally a written intro that provides some context about your collection. Once you’ve done that, you can upload your NFTs and add them to the collection - again you should provide a title for the artwork and ideally a blurb that tells the story of the artwork.
By then your NFTs are public and visible on OpenSea and you can share them. However there are three important steps before actually selling art.
Set your royalties:
As mentioned above, for each NFT you uploaded you should set a percentage for the royalties you’ll receive through secondary sales. 3 - 10% is the usual percentage.
Freeze your metadata:
Freezing the metadata basically means that the identity of your artwork will be stored on the blockchain forever. Once you’ve done this, you have no chance to change anything on your artwork or the title and description - meaning: Think before you freeze! Freezing metadata requires you to pay gas fee. Gas fees are extremely volatile and dynamic. They can be very high and go low within hours. Gas fee trackers can help you to figure out the ideal time to freeze your metadata. If gas fees are low, you should expect to pay around 15-25$ for each freeze.
Start the sale:
Now you can finally start selling your NFTs. Pick a sales price and for your first item you will again have to pay gas fee but only for the first one. Once that’s done listing your other NFTs for sale is for free.
Catching the Fish: Think about how and where to promote your work
No potential collector will find your uploaded NFTs accidentally - or let's say: It's very unlikely that this happens. So it's crucial to actively promote your art. While Instagram seems to be the most visual platform, it's in fact Twitter that has become an important platform to find and promote NFTs of all kind. The same counts for TikTok. Facebook and LinkedIn don't seem to be ideal for promoting NFTs for now. Once your NFTs are listed on a market place, make sure to frequently promote them on the social media platforms of your choice. Also try to connect with other NFT artists on these platforms, there are plenty of groups and currently the general attitude is friendly and open.
To learn more, get on our Discord channel, and connect with artist, collectors, learn more about NFTs, and our upcoming NFT group show.