NFTs a red-hot right now, there’s no doubt about it.
Even people that haven’t really been paying all that much attention to the world of cryptocurrency or blockchain technology are getting into the swing of things with NFTs (nonfungible tokens) – and it’s not hard to see why!
These digital art pieces are easy to understand, easy to trade and transact, and super easy to collect. They really put a “face” on the more mystifying pieces of the crypto world and crypto tech in general.
But where do NFTs come from? Why do people buy NFTs? How are NFTs created? How much does it cost to make an NFT?
We dig a little bit deeper into those basics below!
Fun Fact: there is a way to defer minting fees to the buyer at the time of purchase, see below.
What is NFT Minting? The Basics
To kick things off, each individual NFT needs to be “minted” on a blockchain like Ethereum – a relatively simple and straightforward process that involves using a cryptocurrency wallet, some crypto, and a little bit of energy.
Most NFT development projects are going to be found on Ethereum, says 101 Blockchains, so it has the most common fees associated with blockchain platforms.
The cryptocurrency wallet that mints the NFT needs to be able to access the blockchain you’ve selected (almost always Ethereum right now), and it needs to be able to sign off on transactions and manage the balance “on-chain.”
A public address and a private key provide access and security (respectively), helping not only to display the NFT for those that have collected it but also providing a secure form of transfer when ownership jumps from one person to the next.
All that’s left to do is actually mint the NFT itself, which can be done with a whole variety of different digital assets.
The process isn’t all that different from uploading something to YouTube or attaching something to an email, really. Just drag and drop the asset into the wallet that you are using and create the NFT metadata that will be permanently attached to that asset on the blockchain.
Now you’re off to the races!
How Much Does NFT Minting Cost?
Just as NFTs have grown in the past few years to cover a range of collectibles from art to audio files and virtual worlds, the cost of minting, or creating, non-fungible tokens can fall into a very wide range, anything from under $1 to over $1,000, according to Slate.
NFT artists have frequently discussed the ups and downs of costs relating to minting NFTs. One NFT creator, Allen Gannett wrote a story published in OneZero outlining how he made four NFTs of famous paintings he downloaded from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (for free) and then had to spend over $1,300 in the minting fees.
Many popular NFT wallets are going to let you mint completely free of charge, though some are going to charge a basic fee of between $70 and $120 to help you hit the ground running.
However, during peak times, costs have risen upwards of $200-300…I’ve even heard that at one time, someone tried to mint an NFT on Rarible for $600.00.
This is why it’s so important to really do your research and due diligence when searching for a new platform to mint your NFT in the first place.
You’ll want to find a system that is easy enough to use, that’s really secure and safe to transact with, but that also isn’t going to soak you when it comes time to get your new NFT up and running.
An Ocean of Different Fees
NFT minters, as Slate notes, often have to pay fees upfront, while some platforms make artists pay a percentage, such as 3%, of the final sale price for an NFT they’ve created.
For other minters, the cost of minting is minimal. Film director Alex Ramirez-Mallis told the New York Post that he paid a one-time fee, $150, to set up an account allowing him to mint an unlimited number of NFTs free of charge on the platform OpenSea. Other platforms, such as Valuables by Cent, also don’t require minters to pay fees.
Others do not charge fees solely to mint NFTs on their platform, but fees come in if you want to put your NFT up for sale.
On the flip side, platforms such as Rarible charge minting fees for NFTs that many have called exorbitant. Super Crypto News reports that on Rarible it can cost nearly $700 just to create an initial NFT collection.
That’s on the high end.
According to Nerds Chalk, an analyst shared that on Ethereum, the most popular host for NFTs, or blockchain, the least you will pay to mint an NFT is about $70. Other cryptocurrency analysts say minting a digital artwork NFT can be often free to cost between $70 to $100, according to The Art Newspaper.
Generally, though, many factors come into play when determining the cost of minting an NFT. They differ on a large number of minting platforms.
In addition to the aforementioned platforms, others popular minting facilitators include BakerySwap, Foundation, Nifty Gateway, Enjin Marketplace, Super Rare, Atomic Market, and KnownOrigin — and that’s just a small sampling.
Transaction fees on different platforms vary as well and usually come into play when figuring out the minting cost. When it comes down to it, it depends on the blockchain.
Why Are Minting Costs So Volatile?
After the NFT goes live, however, you’re going to have to pay extra minting costs called a “gas fee” on the Ethereum network.
Ethereum charges a fee to handle transactions and create contracts on the blockchain itself, a fee they call the “gas fee” – a fee that gets transferred directly to miners that are pumping out the computation power necessary to verify transactions in the first place.
Basically, you’re paying for the computer power — the electricity — it needs for the blockchain to create the NFT, says CryptoVantage.
You’ll want to make sure that you have at least a little bit of ETH in your crypto wallet that’s holding your NFT so that you can maintain the “gas fee,” especially if you’re going to be updating prices, listing pieces for sale, and generally just transacting with these collectibles.
Side note: we provided our insight into the top 9 crypto wallets which should be read before picking your wallet.
Knowing exactly how much you will have to spend on the ETH gas fee is a bit of a guessing game until the actual “gas bill” comes due. (Usually, there is a speed option. If you want your NFT minted quickly, it costs more, but if you have patience, you opt for the slower, more affordable option.)
That’s because while the amount of gas required to complete successful transactions on the Ethereum blockchain is a constant number, the prices for each bit of gas can vary wildly from one moment to the next – especially when the blockchain for Ethereum gets congested, or there’s a lot of activity.
Combine that with the fact that NFTs are a much more complicated transaction on the blockchain, requiring more computational power and more “gas,” and this is definitely something that you’re going to want to pay attention to.
Some people wait until 3 am, when traffic slows down, to mint their NFTs at a lower cost. This article goes into further detail, “NFT Gas Fees & How Not to Get Ripped Off.”
At the end of the day, though, diving headfirst into the world of NFTs – especially as a creator, collector, or trader – is becoming a whole lot easier than it was even just a few months ago. If you are brand new to the game, check out our beginner’s guide to NFTs, and if you want to be a serious collector, this article is for you.
Expect tools and platforms for the minting and transacting (not to mention securing) NFTs to become a lot more sophisticated and more effortless (not to mention affordable) to use in the years to come!
Things to Consider Today
Most NFT trading platforms, according to Business Insider, take advantage of these gas fees in order to be more cost-effective while validating blockchain transactions.
Several reports suggest that gas prices for Ethereum are the lowest on Saturdays and Sundays. The network is busiest in the middle of the week, so gas fees tend to be highest on both Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This volatility has led to the development of free tools to help NFT creators, buyers and sellers predict the gas rate of blockchains during different days ad times of the week, says NFT Evening. Some of these popular tools include Ethereum Price, GasNow, and NFT Gas Station.
The gas fee also depends on the amount and type of computations required by the blockchain the verify an NFT transaction, says NFT Evening. It will cost more to mint a more complex NFT.
Fluctuating NFT fees can cut into the profits of both creators and NFT buyers aiming to eventually sell the NFTs they now own. Again, gas fees aren’t the only fees that make the cost of minting an NFT vary wildly.
There are also fees tied to the selling and buying of them, especially when there are conversion fees used between different cryptocurrencies used on the NFT marketplace, such as Ether or Bitcoin.
The level of demand for blockchain transactions causes the gas fees to fluctuate. In June 2021, the average cost of gas was $70, according to 101 Blockchains.
Other Fees Associated with NFT Art
People unfamiliar with blockchains might find it all very daunting, but the way your fees are charged is no different from more mundane ways of buying and selling on places like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.
There are costs involved in minting the NFT and costs involved in running the marketplace for the company. They will work out how much these costs per NFT, then they will add their profit margin, and you will pay this to have the art minted. You pay this even if it does not sell. However, the general rule is you pay either zero or meager fees when you buy, sell, and trade after that.
A marketplace will take the initial hit of minting the NFT, but they will take a larger % of the sale than above when the art sells. You will also have to be careful of numerous other fees they may add in with everything you buy, sell, or trade. This is not them being shady; they are a business, they are providing a service to you and others, and they deserve to make a profit too.
This is a combination of the above too. A marketplace will charge you a monthly fee to give you the right to sell on their platform rather than charging you upfront for each piece. As they are charging you a monthly fee, the fees per sale should be a lot lower.
You may even find each marketplace will offer combinations of the above to suit your needs, like a standard account, which you can upgrade to a Pro account if you become a regular seller.
Context is everything, and that context will determine which option is best for you. For example, anyone can go onto eBay and sell one of their second-hand hoodies. Placing the item on eBay costs nothing, but they will charge you a selling fee.
However, if you are buying 1000 hoodies from China to sell, then you will need an eBay business account. You pay a monthly subscription fee, but the selling fees are much lower.
NFT marketplaces are new-ish, and they will develop fast, but the way they charge you is pretty standard, and that should not change too much.
If you think you have what it takes to become the next big thing in the NFT marketplace, then I highly suggest you start here and learn how to become an NFT digital artist.
Real world examples
If you are WWE, they can afford to do whatever they want, they can make NFTs of all their best wrestlers, and they will sell. However, they will probably have done a deal with a company that will not be available to the general public like us.
Also, with the NFT success of YouTube influences like Logan Paul, you will find marketplaces will headhunt influencers and celebrities as they already have a brand and followers to “exploit.”
For us normal people, we will have to produce good or interesting art and sell on the marketplaces at their standard rates.
You can open an Opensea account that allows for unlimited editions NFTs for around $100 to $150, which is a reasonable opening cost for most people. Obviously, these amounts fluctuate greatly.
Most recently, I’ve been minting NFTs on Foundation, and the total costs have averaged around $120, but I’ve seen other artists pay up to $400 during a heavy minting time.
So after all these costs do you think it’s possible to make money? Some people do really well, and others have lost tremendous amounts. This little guide on making money with NFTs should help you out, and I should mention you probably won’t get any traction without a solid social media presence, so you must read this.
How to Mint for Free (Kind of)
Recently the mega platform Rarible has implemented a new program called “Lazy Minting.” Essentially lazy minting allows you to upload your NFT onto their platform and not have to worry about minting it right off the bat.
Your NFT will be displayed and when a buyer happens to come along wanting to buy it the minting process will begin and the fee will be added to the total purchase price. Who pays for it? The buyer.
This way it gives those of us short on crypto an opportunity to get into the game with less need for digital cash. The playing field gets more level day by day.
Just an FYI, OpenSeas offers this as well! And I’m sure as time goes on there will be other platforms as well.
If you have a dedicated following on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tick Tock, etc, and have sold things like T-Shirts, Badges, or Books to them.
Then you should definitely try to sell them NFTs. As you are mainly only trying to sell to your know audience, you should look for somewhere that will mint your NFTs for the least amount of money and have the lowest selling fees.
This is because you have a ready-made marketplace.
However, if you are looking at selling to the general public, you will need to find a marketplace that suits your needs. It is not just about looking for the lowest upfront costs and fees… you need to maximize your chances of making a sale.
You are better off selling on a large marketplace, where many people will see your art. Rather than paying potentially smaller fees, but fewer people see your artwork.
Oh, by the way, I should mention that copyright has turned into a big issue with NFTs, and you need to know the basics so that you don’t get into trouble or involved in a lawsuit down the road. Please read this article on copyright before proceeding!
Other than that good luck out there! And if creating NFTs isn’t your thing then perhaps collecting is…this is will get you up to speed quickly.