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What Does Minting an NFT Mean?

By Samuel Becker · September 09, 2022 · 5 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

What Does Minting an NFT Mean?

Minting an NFT, or non-fungible token, is publishing a unique digital asset on a blockchain so that it can be bought, sold, and traded.

NFTs usually take the form of some type of artwork (graphic, audio, or video), or even in-game assets for certain virtual worlds — but they can also represent real-world assets like art, collectibles, and property. Each NFT has its own metadata codes, which are stored on the blockchain, to ensure that they remain unique — and cannot be edited or altered in any way.

NFTs are sort of like digital trading cards, except each is one of a kind. Unlike other digital assets, there’s only one NFT — which contributes to each NFT’s value.

Given the simplicity of the concept, and how easy it can be to create NFTs, it’s not surprising they have gained popularity in the last couple of years.

NFT Basics

What is minting an NFT, exactly? Whereas cryptocurrencies are considered fungible, similar to fiat currencies — one U.S. dollar being exchangeable for any other dollar — NFTs are non-fungible. Each one is a unique cryptographic entity, recorded on the blockchain, and therefore one NFT cannot be exchanged for another NFT.

The Ethereum blockchain started as a leading platform for NFTs, but Solana, Tezos, Avalanche, and Flow are among the many other blockchains that support NFT creation.

While NFTs may exist in the crypto realm, and some are digital-only products, many NFTs represent real world assets: e.g. art, music, collectibles, property, and so on. In that sense, NFTs can help remove the need for intermediaries around the exchange of certain assets.

And because NFTs are truly unique, it’s possible to use these tokens to create new forms of investment. For example: By tokenizing a property or a work of art, it’s possible to sell uniquely identifiable “shares” or fractions of those assets, thus potentially increasing the value of a certain asset.

How Does NFT Minting Work?

Whether you want to preserve an asset of your own creation — like a work of art — or create NFTs to sell or trade, learning NFT minting can be easy with the right tools. One other thing you’ll need: some background in the crypto space or general knowledge of blockchain technology.

Once you have a crypto wallet, and have acquired the funds you’ll need to pay for the creation of your NFT on the blockchain, you need to create your profile. This establishes what you’re selling, and how you plan to sell it.

Then, simply upload the necessary file and mint or create your new token. Once it’s created you can begin the process of selling your NFT. As with all things, there are fees to consider.

How Long Does It Take to Mint an NFT?

Depending on your familiarity with crypto platforms, it can take less than 30 minutes or several hours to mint an NFT.

Remember, that’s just the minting or publishing process. Before you mint an NFT, you have to spend the time to create it. And then there’s the time you need to promote and sell your product. Here are the basic steps to follow.

How to Mint NFTs

While aspiring NFT minters have some decisions to make regarding which specific tools to use, the basic steps of creating NTF are largely the same.

1. Create a Unique Asset

The first step in minting NFTs involves deciding what type of unique asset you want to create. There’s an entire world of digital assets out there, ranging from in-game weapons to digital trading cards to songs, videos, books, animations, and more.

As an example, say you want to create an NFT that is a piece of digital artwork. You will need to turn your digital art into data that lives on a blockchain.

2. Buy Tokens

You’ll need to buy crypto that is used on the blockchain you’ve chosen. In fact, the blockchain will influence the wallet services and marketplace that you choose as well, since some only work with certain others.

In our example, you would buy some Ether (ETH), which is Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency, to pay for transactions on Ethereum. The easiest way to do that is to hit up a crypto exchange.

3. Deposit Crypto Into a Non-Custodial Wallet

You’ll need a hot wallet, connected to the internet, in which to store your funds. A crypto wallet is an application that lets users interact and connect with the crypto network and their account.

For NFT minting, it’s important to get a non-custodial crypto wallet so that you have full control over your funds — with no third-party involvement. You own the private keys to your wallet.

(A custodial wallet is one that may be assigned to you by a crypto exchange. They’re more convenient, but you don’t have control of your private keys.)

4. Choose and Add Assets to an NFT Marketplace

Next, you’ll need to choose an NFT marketplace; there are many to choose from. OpenSea, Mintable, Holaplex, Objkt, and Rarible are all marketplaces suitable for NFT minters.

Some marketplaces charge users minting fees, and there may also be costs associated with firing up your account (for example, Ethereum gas costs), listing an NFT, and transacting on the platform.

5. Add Your Assets to the NFT Collection

While each marketplace has specific instructions for creating an NFT from your account, the gist is the same: Choose the piece of artwork you want to mint, fill in the details (collection name, a description, etc.), and execute the minting process by adding the asset to your collection.

With your NFTs in your collection, you can get started listing, marketing, and selling them.

What Are the Benefits of Minting an NFT?

While each potential NFT minter will have their own priorities, there are generally a few benefits to creating an NFT:

•   Democratize ownership: Creating an NFT allows numerous parties to own a stake in the digital asset.

•   Sell unique digital assets: Not only can you trade, buy, or sell stakes in assets, it’s possible that in the future artists might even receive a cut of the sales.

•   Store and preserve value: You can store the asset’s value in a tangible way — similar to how a physical coin can be minted with a specific precious metal concentration. Plus, preserving value digitally is generally considered safe, thanks to the security of the blockchain and the built-in scarcity of NFTs.

Can You Mint an NFT for Free?

It’s possible to avoid some of the fees associated with minting your NFT (like Ethereum’s gas fee), and there are a couple of ways to do that.

In some cases it’s possible to transfer the transaction fee to the buyer. In others, you may be able to access an NFT marketplace that doesn’t charge these transaction fees for minting (though you may find yourself working with a newer, less established blockchain to do so).

That said, most NFT marketplaces also charge a transaction fee when you sell your NFT. So it’s difficult to create and sell an NFT completely free, but it is possible to minimize minting and other transaction costs by choosing cheaper platforms.

Are There Mobile Apps to Help Mint NFTs?

Yes. These days you can mint an NFT from your phone using one of many different mobile apps. Among them are: GoArt, Mintable, NFT Creator, NFT Game, SuperMe.

Is It Worth Minting an NFT?

If your goal in creating an NFT is to further your existing business or artistic endeavors, it’s probably worth the time and effort to get this next-level exposure.

If you’re hoping to create the next cryptokitties sensation, and reap millions of dollars from a few great NFTs, that may not be realistic. The NFT market — as you can see from the dozens of platforms and services available today — is quite crowded.

The Takeaway

The process for minting NFTs may vary slightly from platform to platform, but the basics are the same: you need a unique digital asset, tokens to pay transaction fees, a non-custodial hot wallet, and an NFT marketplace.

While minting the actual NFT these days may not take very long — there are a number of reliable platforms you can use to get started — the real question to answer is what you want your newly minted NFT to do. Is it part of sharing your art or building your brand or creating buzz for another project, or is there a business or investment angle involved?

Either way, it’s also important to remember that minting an NFT means getting comfortable buying crypto and making crypto transactions. To start that process, set up an Active Invest account with SoFi invest and start trading crypto right from the convenience of your phone or laptop. SoFi doesn’t offer a wallet (which you do need to mint an NFT), but it does offer dozens of crypto, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Solana, Litecoin, Cardano, and more.

Trade crypto and get up to $100 in bitcoin! (Offer is available through 12/31/22; terms apply.)


Photo credit: iStock/photoman

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