In 2021, the world woke up to non-fungible tokens from now-famous generative NFT collections like CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) selling for hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars apiece. By the end of the year, “NFTs” — unique, blockchain-based tokens that prove ownership and provenance over digital assets — had become a 25-billion-dollar market and earned a spot as the most searched word of the year, according to Collins Dictionary.
And now, even with the current bear market in crypto, we’re seeing brands, businesses, celebrities, cities, and even countries investing in Web3, the metaverse, and NFT technology.
With all the hype surrounding the nascent technology, you might be wondering how you can create or “mint” your own NFT. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. The good news is you don’t need to have expert coding skills or be a tech nerd to mint your first NFT. In fact, minting an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain can be done by following a few simple steps.
In this article, we’ll review some of the key technologies involved in minting your first NFT, how to choose a crypto exchange and crypto wallet, and additional steps to take to mint your NFT on the Ethereum blockchain and put it up for sale on the most popular NFT marketplace OpenSea. Let’s get started.
What is Ethereum?
Non-fungible tokens were born on the Ethereum network, and despite stiff competition from rival blockchain technologies like Solana, Ethereum remains the most popular blockchain for minting NFTs. It’s also the second largest blockchain by market cap after Bitcoin.
Founded by programmer Vitalik Buterin in 2013, it is a decentralized, open-sourced blockchain that runs smart contracts, which are pivotal for the creation of NFTs, decentralized applications (dApps), and decentralized finance (DeFi).
Today, most NFT projects use ERC-721 tokens, which are unique tokens that create token standards for NFTs. Because most of the action in the NFT world is still dominated by Ethereum, minting on Ethereum gives you exposure to a larger market than other blockchains. To get started minting your first NFT, you will have to hold ETH (Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency) in your crypto wallet. But first, let’s review minting.
What is minting?
NFTs are unique, verifiable digital assets that can be created from a myriad of digital files, including digital images, audio files, video files, artwork, and even physical assets. The process of minting refers to converting a digital file into a digital asset or digital collection that is stored on the blockchain and cannot be altered in any way.
The term minting is taken from minting coins, and to mint an NFT most simply put means to create a digital asset and store it on the blockchain. During the minting process, NFT creators can input royalty rates, a commission of funds they will receive each time their work is sold. With Ethereum, some minting fees are associated with minting an NFT.
Now, let’s get started minting your first Ethereum NFT.
Choosing a Crypto Exchange Account
To mint your first NFT on Ethereum, you must hold ETH in your cryptocurrency wallet to pay for transaction fees. These fees are called “gas,” and the amount of gas you pay depends on the busyness of the network at the time you mint your NFT.
Although you can purchase ETH directly from a crypto wallet, it’s not recommended because of the high fees the transaction can incur. Instead, it’s easier and more affordable to choose a crypto exchange to purchase ETH and then transfer it to your crypto wallet. A reputable crypto exchange will make the process of buying, selling, and storing cryptocurrencies safer and easier.
Two of the most popular exchanges are Coinbase and Kraken. To sign up for an account on either platform, visit their website or download the app on your mobile phone. You will have to enter information to confirm your identity, and once your account is set up you can purchase ETH using a debit or credit card. The next step is to setup your crypto wallet.
Getting a Crypto Wallet
Once you’ve set up a crypto exchange account and purchased ETH, now it’s time to download a cryptocurrency wallet. Your crypto wallet will be used to store your crypto and is compatible with different NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, and others.
Your Web3 crypto wallet can also help you manage and transfer NFTs, easily purchase or sell an NFT, and view your NFTs in your wallet. In other words, a crypto wallet is indispensable for minting a non-fungible token.
The most popular digital wallet for minting or purchasing Ethereum-based NFTs is MetaMask. The MetaMask browser extension was released in 2016 and became the go-to wallet during the NFT craze in 2021. It currently has over 10 million active monthly users.
The MetaMask extension is a hot wallet for Ethereum, meaning that it stores users’ private keys online. Despite the security implications of hot wallets, MetaMask is easy to use and useful for anyone in the NFT space.
To get started, down the MetaMask wallet and create a password. MetaMask will give you a “Secret Recovery Phase.” This 12-word phrase acts like a key to access your wallet, so be sure to store it somewhere safe.
Other wallets that can be used to mint an NFT on Ethereum include Trust Wallet and Coinbase Wallet. For more information about crypto wallets, check out our in-depth article, Top NFT Wallets.
Transferring ETH to Your Crypto Wallet
Now that you’ve set up your MetaMask crypto wallet, it’s time to transfer some ETH from your crypto exchange to your crypto wallet. To do so, go to your crypto exchange’s “Send” or “Withdraw” page. Then, enter the amount of ETH you want to send and your Ethereum public address for your MetaMask wallet.
Your MetaMask public address is displayed at the top of your MetaMask popup and begins with the letters “ox.” This code is essentially your bank account number on the blockchain, so be sure to enter it correctly or your funds may not arrive.
Signing Up for OpenSea
Now that you’ve transferred ETH to your crypto wallet, you can head over to OpenSea. Although there are several marketplaces in the NFT space, the most popular NFT marketplace is OpenSea. If you’re going to mint an Ethereum-based NFT, OpenSea is a great place to get started.
The price in ETH you need to pay to sign up for OpenSea fluctuates depending on the busyness of the Ethereum network, and the fees you will pay in “gas” can range between $30 and $300.
However, the good news is that since Ethereum is expected to change its consensus mechanism from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake in the upcoming weeks, gas prices for minting Ethereum NFTs should drop significantly. You may consider waiting until after the “Merge” to mint your first NFT.
But if you can’t wait, here are the steps to get started with an OpenSea account:
- Open OpenSea and click “Profile” in the top right corner.
- This will prompt MetaMask to ask for your password. Enter your password and accept the terms and conditions from MetaMask. Click “Sign.”
- Now your MetaMask wallet should be connected, and your “unnamed” profile has been created.
- Enter an email and username to verify your account. It is optional to add more details like social media information.
Now your OpenSea account is set up and you’re ready to mint your first NFT.
Minting Your First Ethereum NFT
Minting an NFT on OpenSea is not as difficult as you might think. In fact, it’s relatively simple. Below are the steps to mint an Ethereum-based NFT on OpenSea:
- First, open OpenSea.io on your web browser.
- Click “Create” next to your profile picture on the top right corner. You can also choose “My Collections” if you’re planning to mint multiple NFTs as part of one collection.
- Next, upload a supported digital file from your computer that you want as your NFT. Several file types are supported, including digital, audio, video and more.
- Write the name of your NFT and a catchy, but brief description of it. If you wish, you can leave the other options set as default.
- Once you’ve uploaded, named, and described your NFT, scroll down and click “create.”
Lastly, you will likely want to list your NFT for sale.
Click “sell” on the top right corner and decide how you wish to sell your NFT. You can choose a Fixed Price or an Auction. If you decide to sell the NFT for a fixed price, then you will avoid paying gas fees up front but OpenSea charges 2.5% commission if your NFT sells. If you choose auction, you will need to pay gas.
Once you’re finished, click “complete listing.”
If this is your first time minting on OpenSea, you will have to initialize your MetaMask wallet and pay a gas fee associated with your first sale. You will also be asked to approve your NFT and confirm your selling price by signing through MetaMask.
And that’s all — your NFT is minted on Ethereum!
Minting an NFT on Ethereum is not difficult and completing the process can give you a better idea about how NFTs are created, stored, and maybe even sold. After all, for many people, the best way to understand how a process works is to participate in it — and minting your first NFT will give you the chance to enter the NFT space in a participatory way.
But keep in mind, just because minting an NFT is easy, it doesn’t mean NFTs are easy to sell. The number of non-fungible tokens in the world are growing each day, so promoting your NFT to make it stand out from the crowd will be a whole new challenge.