Ready to budget out your NFT project with cost averages? Multiple sources provide average cost estimates to mint and sell NFTs across different platforms and blockchains. There are others that provide cost tables for specific platforms and for specific processes employed to mint the NFT. However, the data can be hard to understand.
In this article, we will review the different drivers of costs and how they may apply to a particular transaction involving NFTs as of Q1, 2022.
It must be noted that NFTs are a recent, emerging, and constantly evolving marketplace. As a result, the cost of minting and selling NFTs changes quite frequently as the technology evolves and competing marketplaces and blockchains make better offers.
For this reason, reviewing costs at an average level by platform often makes more sense as a point of reference – the cost of a specific transaction could be significantly different depending on the circumstances.
Average Costs of Buying, Minting and Selling NFTs
As we will show below, there are a number of factors involved in minting NFTs, selling them, and maintaining the marketplace overall.
There are two ways to track average costs:
By Average Dollar Value per NFT Bought
- The costs/prices of NFTs are spread across a broad range, starting as low as $1 per transaction to highs of $900 or more
- Specific marketplaces display different averages costs/fees based on their characteristics and types of transactions, such as:
- Mintable $900 per NFT and transaction
- OpenSea $500 per NFT and transaction
- Valuable $150 per NFT and transaction
Expressed as a Percentage of a Transaction
While we reported some average costs of an NFT with transaction fees by platforms above, most major marketplaces will list the costs to transact NFTs as a percentage of the value of the transaction.
There are a number of them that will offer free minting services but charge the percentage; others may ask for a $50 to $150 advance, in line with the Upfront Fees mentioned later in this section.
We outline some examples under the “Costs on Some Popular Platforms” section below.
Before we get into that, let us distinguish between minting and selling as two aligned but separate types of transactions.
Minting vs. Selling NFTs
First off, the cost of minting an NFT is calculated separately from the cost of selling the NFT. As we will see below, there are some common drivers (prominently gas fees), but other factors can come into play as well depending on whether a new NFT is being minted or an existing NFT is being sold.
In order to create a “unique” piece or series of unique pieces, the minting process will require the use of a blockchain element and/or must be hosted on a blockchain (such as Ethereum or Solana) where it is encrypted with a unique code that then allows for a personalized ownership of the asset.
The underlying technology utilizes a cryptocurrency wallet native to the blockchain used, along with other crypto-assets that are used for validation and for transaction (gas) fees. If you are looking for a crypto wallet, here are 9 suggestions.
Personally, I use MetaMask and Coinbase the most.
Holding, Accessing and Selling
The crypto wallet that had been used to mint acts as a gateway through which each NFT can access the blockchain and keeps track of transaction history. Meanwhile, the NFT item is held securely using a private key and a public address.
During a sales process, the marketplace involved has to be maintained in order to be a viable trade platform. Additionally, there are multiple validating nodes involved in processing and clearing a transaction whose fees must be paid.
Drivers of Costs
The drivers of costs for minting NFTs include, but may not be limited to, the following factors:
- Different fees based on the blockchain that are utilized for the minting
- Within the same blockchain, differential costs may be driven by the following factors, among others:
- Quality of the product being minted
- Data Size
- Transaction speed
- Gas fees
- The rarity of the NFT
- Utilty of the NFT
The costs of selling NFTs will include variations of the above, with specific amounts charged for processing the listing and the sale.
In addition, there are fees charged by the validating nodes that help process and complete a buy-sell transaction.
The same holds true from the perspective of a buyer or reseller, with the rarity of the item likely playing a significant role in determining the price.
Also, I do need to note that there is a fee to transfer ownership of an NFT and to destroy an NFT as well, but that is discussed in these two articles:
- How to Transfer Ownership of an NFT.
- How Much Does It Cost To Burn & Destroy An NFT? (Complete Guide)
Three Tiers of Fees
Most marketplaces will charge three tiers of fees in varying amounts:
- Upfront fees, for example which is the cost per minting transaction
- Subscription fees, an ongoing fee often charged monthly to maintain the marketplace
- Price Per-Sale, an amount used to mitigate charges for the validating nodes per sale or trading transaction
Some Factors are More Important than Others
The rarity of the NFT impacts the cost and the ultimate price of the NFT significantly. While more of this specific impact may fall on the sale price, the minting costs will also be impacted.
Gas fees, which refer to the amount paid to the blockchain (e.g., Ethereum) miners to process the transaction (i.e., mint the NFT). The more “gas” one pays, the quicker the transaction gets processed.
The above definition signifies that the transaction speed goes hand in hand with the gas fees and, therefore, the cost to mint an NFT. There are ways to control these specific costs, such as:
- Minting the NFTs during low volume hours, which could be evenings or weekends
- “Lazy” minting – which means that the NFTs are commissioned but not minted till such time that a buy order comes in over the trading platform.
In general, controlling costs means to be aware of certain factors:
- Host/base blockchain driven costs
- Active trading time slots during the week (and avoiding the same except for rush situations)
- Gas fees, and
- Computation processes.
For more details on cutting costs, please refer to this guide: The 3 Cheapest Ways to Mint an NFT: Full Breakdown
Gas Fees Continue to Go Down
One of the major components of costs to mint and sell NFTs are gas fees. In this regard, gas fees if Ethereum was being used to mint have tended to be high given the significant CPU power and electricity required to make changes to the blockchain’s digital ledger. Added to that are the fees paid to the “miners” – that is, the cryptographers who do the work.
Over time, though, alternative blockchain bases and marketplaces have emerged. There are a number of indications that, as a result, gas fees are significantly lower than what they used to be in 2020 and the first half of 2021. The future of NFTs looks bright, and the reduction of gas fees to almost zero is around the corner.
Costs on Some Popular Platforms
As mentioned above, while industry publications (such as Yahoo) track and record the average cost per NFT transaction by platform, it may be helpful to see how the platforms themselves charge fees (and the adjustments/discounts they may offer).
Below are the fees charged by some of the best-known NFT platforms (marketplaces) that are operating as of early 2022, along with the various adjustments or options they offer.
It is essential for artists, craftsmen, designers, users, and buyers to clearly understand the fee structure, which may offer a number of choices. Being hit up by hidden fees is an occupational hazard in this situation.
OpenSea does not charge producers any gas fees to mint and sell their NFTs, except for a 2.5% commission on all transactions. How do they do this? They use a gas-free blockchain called Polygon.
The marketplace also allows a creator to earn up to 10% in royalties (royalty amounts are dictated by NFT creators and stored in the smart contract but, specific marketplaces cap them) every time an NFT is resold.
Mintable has structured a Layer 2 integration with Immutable X, which enables it to offer gas-free and carbon-neutral minting to millions of users. Curious about how much energy is required to mint an NFT? Read this: How Much Energy does it Take to Make an NFT?
Mintable offers the following price slabs based on the type of transaction:
- 2.5% for normal NFTs
- 5% for gasless NFTs
- 10% for printable NFTs
|Type of Transaction||Fees Charged|
|1+NFT Lazy Minting||Free minting, plus fees representing 5% of total transaction value, charged equally to each end of the transaction|
|1+On-Chain Mint||Approximately $55-$205 in advance, plus 5% of the final value as fees, charged equally to each end of the transaction|
For producers selling their NFTs, Rarible charges a commission of 2.5% but no additional fees.
Rarible will also allow creators to charge up to 30% in royalties on the resale of NFTs.
4. Nifty Gateway
Nifty Gateway charges sellers a 5% commission on the value of each transaction and 30 cents on all secondary transactions.
There are 10% royalties that go to the creators of an NFT on secondary sales. It isn’t easy to get accepted as an NFT creator for Nifty.
Overall, the platform charges 15% in transaction fees.
SuperRare charges a 3% commission from the buyer on all sales transactions.
SuperRare also allows 10% in royalties to the original artist on secondary sales, along with 1% in royalties to the first collector of the NFT.
The Last Word
The costs to mint and sell NFTs may be expressed in different ways on different marketplaces. Users should carefully scrutinize the options. Costs are changing daily, and it’s one of the most challenging parts of being a professional NFT artist or creator.
There are several cost-saving options that will be offered. It is essential to understand them and optimize the net profits for each transaction. Now that you know the basics of NFT costs, you may want to upgrade your knowledge with these popular articles:
- Can You Get Sued for Screenshotting an NFT?
- Can You Post Your NFT on Instagram?
- Are NFTs a Pyramid Scheme? The Definitive Answer