NFT – Meaning and Definition
If you’re as patient and proficient in the economy as a rhinoceros with a concussion and an allergy to grass (in other words, like me), the whole NFT hype may seem absolutely unjustified and perplexing. And I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. I, too, have had trouble cottoning on.
NFT stands for non-fungible token. And before you start wondering what fungi have to do with tokens and how it all relates, fungible means replaceable with an identical item. Therefore, NFTs are digital tokens that cannot be that easily replaced. Usually, NFTs are quite unique (on rare occasions, there may be limited runs of the same) and can be bought and sold.
But what are NFTs? Simply put, so that even our concussed rhino can get it, NFTs are digital goods like art, music, or videos that can be bought and sold for crypto money. They are encoded similarly to cryptocurrency and use the same underlying software. If you’re not into IT that much, the good news is that you don’t need to bother with coding to use NFTs – that part is already done for you.
NFT Art – The Whole Point
NFTs are essentially unique art pieces. Some are completely original; others are digital replicas of artworks that already exist elsewhere in real life. For example, someone could make an NFT of ‘Gangnam Style’ and sell it in exchange for cryptocurrency. The crucial feature of NFTs is their ‘non-fungibility’. In other words, these are not your everyday files that you can copy, paste, download, and send per email. They come with a special certificate of purchase and a unique ‘barcode’ that you cannot replicate (unless you’re a spectacular hacker, but that’s not entirely legal).
How Do You Create NFT Art?
If you have an artistic flare, like toggling various settings on art software, or have been playing with the idea of getting a graphic tablet to draw on, you’re already on the right track. NFT is digital, which comes in many shapes and forms – from digital illustration to videos to sound mixing. Creating NFTs could expose you to a large audience and jump-start your art career, along with the benefits of ongoing royalties.
To create NFT art, you should:
- Get some money and a wallet to store it in. For instance, Ether is the cryptocurrency of Ethereum, one of the biggest and prolific NFT art markets. Coinbase is one of the most reliable places to exchange and store your cryptocurrency. To store your currency, you should also have a wallet – it’s easy to use, and you can connect it across platforms to have easy access.
- Choose your market. I’m not gonna lie; the NFT market is just as saturated as any other out there. Depending on what kind of NFTs you’re creating, you can look at various online platforms, but OpenSea seems to be a good place to begin or enhance your digital art turnover. There are some niche markets, too, like Rarible (mostly visual art), SuperRare (concept art), or Axie Infinity (digital pets).
- Connect your MetaMask wallet to the collection. Once you’ve chosen your marketplace (again, Opensea is a good start), you should connect your wallet to it (profile settings) and start your collection. If you toggle with your customisation features, you’ll find you can connect multiple wallets and devices, although this increases the strain of maintaining them.
- Create NFTs. Pick your art poison and upload it to the marketplace. Your chosen platform should support a number (all) of extensions – JPG, PNG, GIF, etc. You’ll get a preview page, and if you’re happy with the results, you can proceed to sales where you specify the price of your NFT before releasing it into the world. Make reasonable use of tags and descriptors to increase visibility.
Be careful with your money. You need to pay some fees to get your NFT published. Therefore, it’s better to work with bundle publishing options unless you have money to burn. Plan ahead and create a stash of NFTs.
Marketing Your NFT Cryptoart
NFTs are entirely speculative items – you sell them with the hope of making a return on your investment, but the process is not as straight and narrow as people assume. Setting up a successful NFT art business requires a lot of time, so you need to consider how you’re going to market and popularise what you have to offer.
If you’re a successful artist and have a followership smashing that like button on your social media posts, commissioning art, and buying your prints, migrating into an NFT marketplace is slightly easier. Offering your fans an opportunity to hold the rights to your art might be a prosperous venture. In this case, you need to announce your new platform and ensure your followers have easy access via your homepage.
On the other hand, if you’re starting with your NFTs, marketing and self-promotion should be your top priority. Mobilise your social media (and good friends who don’t mind sharing) and spam, spam, spam. Don’t just write one vague post about NFTs; post your art (with watermarks!), have people share it, or even pay for a marketing boost. Unless people see your art, they won’t buy it!
You don’t need to be an established artist to succeed – many things nowadays are about marketing. Get acquainted with online promotion platforms and start making your presence known. In the meantime, work on your art skills, take a class, brainstorm new ideas and approaches, and try out different techniques and software.
Finding the Right NFT Marketplace
I’ve mentioned a few names, but it’s always good to know what kinds of marketplaces are available to you as an NFT creator:
- OpenSea. Oldie but goodie, OpenSea has been one of the most prolific (and definitely the biggest) marketplaces where both seasoned artists and beginners can advance their careers. The platform is highly versatile, offering space for paintings, videos, sports collectables, and music in a user-friendly environment.
- Bybit. This is an elite marketplace that provides access to premium and limited collections of some of the biggest artists out there. You can use a variety of tokens and cryptocurrencies on Bybit, but once an NFT is bought for one type of token, it can only be traded for the same type.
- NiftyGetaway. You can buy art from top-class artists here or set up your own art and expose it to broad audiences. The marketplace focuses on works by celebrities and holds the record for the most expensive NFT ever sold (Beeple’s ‘The First 5000 Days’ — $69 million). If you sell art on NiftyGetaway, every time that art is traded further, you get a percentage (like a proper celebrity).
- NBA Top Shop. NBA meets a fan-driven community in a marketplace that sells sports goods exclusively. From the most spectacular moments in the sport to gear, NBA Top Shop is the place to buy your next sports gift or collection.
- Foundation. This is a fairly straightforward platform set up with beginners in mind. If you’re just breaking into the NFT trade, Foundation offers no-frills access and promotes self-expression and creativity in the online art community.
There are various niche markets for specific NFTs, but if you wish to venture into this type of online trade, I suggest starting with the more prominent ones, like the examples listed here.
Curious about the Most Expensive NFT?
Many people have noticed that NFTs are a good way to earn money if you’re lucky enough and willing to devote enough time to marketing your art. However, don’t think you can just join a marketplace and slam a multimillion price stamp on it. But, if you gain wide audiences and your art actually slams, you can make some decent money.
If you were wondering how prices go, here are a few of the most expensive NFTs out there:
Larva Labs’ ‘CryptoPunk #9998’ — $529.77 million. Larva Lab creates these little pixel-punks and sells them at exorbitant prices. This is a good example of how hyped-up prices do not always match the value of the work. There was a bit of a conundrum with this one because the buyer needed to borrow money from three different sources to pay for it (it happens). The unexpected bit: the art was returned to the original address and money came back to the buyer and his lenders. So, basically, it was sold for that sum, but it wasn’t.
Pak’s ‘The Merge’ — $91.8 million. Pak is one of the leading names on the NFT market, selling exclusive arts on SuperRare and NiftyGetaway.
Julian Assange and Pak’s ‘Clock’ — $52.7 million. The clock is a digital counter, telling how many days Assange has spent in prison.
Ross Ulbricht’s ‘Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection’ — $6.28 million. The hand-drawn art called ‘Perspective’ was created by Ulbricht while he was in prison. (He was imprisoned for creating a darknet website for selling drugs using cryptocurrency. Not exactly the kind of person who your mum would want you to look up to, but clearly, he has amassed a big fanbase online.)
Berners Lee’s ‘World Wide Web Source Code’ — $5.4 million. Yes, the very WWW you know from every website you’ve ever seen!
And, of course, Beeple’s piece, which we’ve already mentioned. How you perceive NFTs and their artistic value is totally up to you, but based on some of the items listed here, be ready to be surprised.
Before You Delve into NFT Stocks …
I invite you to consider the stakes you’re playing with. Like cryptocurrency, NFTs are highly volatile and can gain and lose value at extreme speeds. NFTs are mainly a technological indication of ownership, not an asset, and the misinformation surrounding that fact causes intense spikes and drops in value. Creating and marketing NFTs is time and energy-consuming and does not come with a fair return on investment.
Additionally, recent evidence suggests that NFTs are actually harmful to the environment as the creation of a single NFT requires as much electricity as an average household would spend in over a week. Remember, at the end of the day, we still live on this planet and not in metaverses and should do so more responsibly.
Not everything is valuable just because it’s a token. Before you fall for the hype, make sure that what you’re buying has some quality rather than artificial clout. Be careful what you invest your time and money into! Top of the day to ya!