The world of NFT (Non-Fungible Token) art is a new and exciting one, that has a lot to offer to many different kinds of people. Whether you want to be an NFT artist, an NFT collector, or an uninvolved connoisseur of the latest internet phenomenon, this is how you can begin.
Do you want to be an NFT artist?
If you are still a bit uncertain about what NFTs are or don’t know for sure what profile does an NFT digital artist fit, you can start by checking the articles “This is how you become an NFT digital artist” and “7 skills you need to be an NFT digital artist”.
If you already are a digital artist with a defined aesthetics and a solid work ethic, you can jump directly to the steps that lead to having a place in an NFT market.
Your first task will be to set some money apart from that you’re willing to invest in this project; it doesn’t have to be much, but minting NFTs is not free either.
To mint an NFT, you’ll have to pay a gas fee, whose price will vary from market to market and from time to time. It is the same kind of investment a traditional artist does in materials and canvases in order to be able to sell paintings or that a digital artist does in the software needed to produce digital artworks.
Once you have that sorted out, you must create a crypto wallet (the MetaMask app is one of the most common options). Make sure you can access it from all the electronic devices you use to work the most, such as your smartphone and computer.
Crypto wallet apps will offer you an extra password (in case you lose your own) called “a seed phrase” that you absolutely must save outside of your digital devices.
The whole concept of crypto wallets relies on people believing in the safety of storing digital money in them, so they won’t make it easy for you to recover your account like any other app or website.
Take care of your seed phrase as you do of your bank pin code. They’re pretty much the same thing.
To fund your digital investments, you’ll have to link your bank account to your crypto wallet and purchase as much Ethereum as you can with the amount of dollars that you’re willing to spend.
Cryptocurrency is more volatile than regular fiat currency (generally speaking), so if you decide to invest 200-400 dollars (which should be more than enough for the first experience around NFTs), don’t be startled if the amount of ETH that you can buy with that varies from one day to the next.
Btw…it is also normal if the transaction takes around an hour until the funds appear in your crypto wallet.
Each NFT marketplace has its own rules, aesthetics, and public. Some are more exclusive and consistent, others more democratic and random.
In real life, you can start selling your prints at a fair stall or apply to an established art gallery; the digital market is no different.
If you want to access the more sophisticated sites, you’ll have to earn your way in through an application process. The most open market is probably OpenSea, followed closely by Rarible. But the most expensive NFTs are primarily being sold in Nifty Gateway and SuperRare.
Starting in an open market has little to no disadvantages in the long run because everything you achieve in them can be used as an entry ticket to the closed marketplaces.
The most important thing is building an audience around your brand and getting some loyal collectors. This article goes into detail on how to achieve just that:
Whatever marketplace you choose (and/or chooses you!), you’ll have to connect your crypto wallet to it to access your profile as an NFT seller. Once you’re connected, you can start creating. You’ll have to decide the number of copies your original NFT artwork will have; it can be one or many.
If you choose multiple editions, all originals will be equally valid, but overall cheaper, just as it is with engravings and serigraphy in real life.
You will also be able to choose whether people will be able to bid for your work or if they’ll have to pay a fixed price. It is also a good idea to come up with a few perks that collectors will get if they buy your NFTs (such as a physical print or a custom digital thank you note) to encourage them.
These benefits can be added to the description of each NFT. Both the title and the description are essential fields that should never stay empty because the history and the concept behind each NFT are part of its artistic and economic value.
The collector should always know the properties of the file that he or she will receive.
But what is it exactly that a collector gets when buying your NFT?
A digital artwork in the form of a file, linked to a highly secured digital certificate of authenticity and ownership over the piece.
The copyright will still be yours (they can’t duplicate or copy the art and re-sell it), and that is why you’ll get royalties every time the NFT gets resold. In most sites, you can choose the percentage you want to receive from each exchange, and a reasonable percentage varies between 10 and 20% of the earnings.
Check out this important article on NFT copyrights fro more details.
Once you’ve completed all these steps, you’ll be able to create your Non Fungible Token. This is when you’ll have to pay the gas fee (remember the price of it can vary in a while!) and then your NFT will be published on the marketplace.
Like any other artwork for sale, it demands the artist to get a buying audience around it to actually be sold. As you land your first sale, it might happen that after the initial moment of excitement, you’ll be asking yourself, “Okay, but now how do I make this into actual money in my actual wallet?”
The largest cryptocurrency exchange platform to achieve that is Coinbase, so you’ll again have to download the app and link it to your bank account. Coinbase Pro has lower exchange fees than the regular app, which by default will take about 20% of your funds as a gas fee.
Luckily enough, you can try to adjust and minimize that percentage in the advanced options. The first time you have to take these steps can be confusing, but it will be easier to get familiar with the different platforms.
Always remember there’s a big NFT community out there that’s willing to help you! You can always contact other artists or clear your doubts in a forum or Discord.
Do you want to be an NFT collector?
As a collector, you’ll need a crypto wallet too, and the steps to get one are the same for you as an artist. The differences between your crypto wallet and your physical wallet are that the second one is way harder to steal and that in it, you can store not only digital money but also NFT artworks.
The difference between your crypto wallet and your bank account is the lack of a bank: now you’re the manager, congratulations, and welcome to decentralization.
As the sole manager of your crypto wallet, you decide when, where, and how your transactions occur. But you’re also in charge of the security, so keep your recovery key safe and do not lose your password.
Again, this is not a Facebook profile you’ll gain back through a few emails of verification: if you lose access to your crypto wallet, you lose access to your money.
While not all NFTs belong to the Ethereum blockchain, if you’re new to NFT collection, Ethereum is the most logical cryptocurrency to get.
Ensure to check if your crypto wallet will be compatible with this currency before you make an account. MetaMask and Rainbow are some of the most commonly used wallets in the world of NFTs; they’re compatible with both Ethereum and the most popular NFT marketplaces.
Once you’ve got yourself a wallet, how much Ethereum should you purchase?
Well, there are two ways of determining that. One way is to enter the NFT marketplace of your choosing and check the listed prices of the artworks you’re interested in, then the price of the piece will determine your investment.
Another way is to decide beforehand how many dollars you’re willing to invest, to get the equivalent amount of Ethereum, and to bid for the desired artwork as far as your digital pocket allows it.
Take into account that the value of your ETH will vary more than you’re used to when dealing with fiat currency, so be smart about the offers you make in NFT marketplaces.
While the difference between closed and open NFT platforms is more obvious for the artists, it is just as important for the collectors.
You won’t have to fill an application form to bid in a more exclusive market, but the price range during the auctions is bound to be higher when the artist is more famous and the NFT is more desired.
On the other hand, if you buy from a rising talent in an open NFT marketplace and then that artist gets into a more exclusive market with a better-paying audience, you’ll be able to resell the piece with an interesting profit.
As with everything else, it is important to be aware of what you’re buying.
Do you truly understand what an NFT is and what rights does it give you over the digital artwork? Through that purchase, are you supposed to receive any extra content or just the NFT? Is the NFT a one-of-a-kind or part of a larger edition? Parts of an edition will have a lower price on secondary markets than unique pieces.
It is also important to know where you’re buying. All the digital aspects of it shouldn’t distract you from the fact that you’re spending real money, so make sure you go to trusted sites. Also, you have to check and verify the ownership and creator of the NFT. Many people have been scammed with fake copied NFTs.
The NFT community is wide and active enough for you to always find the information needed to make good calls. Some platforms will only allow you to resell artworks bought on their marketplace, while others won’t have such limitations.
All of them will take some percentage of the transactions made in them as profit.
If you’re interested in exhibiting your NFT collection, you can do so on specialized platforms such as CryptoVoxels, Somnium Space, or Decentraland, or in your good old social media apps.
If you’re interested in reselling your NFTs, then keep supporting the artists you buy from: help them expand their brand and reach a larger audience, share their content, promote them, talk about their work.
Their growth is your growth. Their fame is your gain.
Do you want to be an innocent bystander?
Maybe you don’t have an artistic career or money for collecting, but you’re nonetheless intrigued about all this NFT stuff and what to know more about it.
If you’ve gotten to this blog, you’re already on the right track! Which type of tool you can use to dive into the NFT world depends on what kind of person you are.
If you’re not big on research and you’d rather have the information coming your way instead of having to look for it, there are multiple NFT art newsletters that you can subscribe to, such as NonFungible, Token Smart, Zima Red, and NFT Entrepreneur.
As each newsletter prioritizes different information to share with its audience, you can try to subscribe to a few, choose your favorite, and unsubscribe from the others. It will only take a few clicks, and you’ll be connected to the latest news of the virtual marketplaces.
If you’re an old-fashioned lover of the radio, there are also various podcasts about NFTs that you can listen to. The Nifty Show by Joel Comm and Travis Wright is mostly aimed at NFT entrepreneurs; it explains strategies to gain an audience and sell better but will also keep the general public informed about all kinds of NFTs.
The NonFunGerbils by Luke & George has a different guest from the NFT field every week, so it can be a fun way of discovering just how wide and varied that field can be.
The Matthew and Rizzle Show it’s also based on an interviewing format, and it has excellent ratings in the Apple Podcast app.
Then, of course, you can go directly to the websites of the NFT marketplaces and just scroll down until you find some artwork that appeals to you.
KnownOrigin and Async Art look like digital art galleries: aesthetic, curated, artistic, conceptual.
OpeanSea, Rarible, Foundation, and SuperRare are more chaotic websites full of visual information. All of them have fascinating digital artwork that you can appreciate without having to buy them, and there you can also follow the auctions in real-time.
Good luck out there!