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November 1, 2022

NFT Minting Process Explained: The Hows, Whats and Whys

Do you want to launch an NFT collection? In this post we talk through the different ways to mint NFTs, plus how to make the most of your first mint.

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11 Jan 2022
5 min read
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An NFT (non-fungible token) is a digital piece of art that is stored on a blockchain ledger. Every NFT is unique with its own values and identifiers that distinguish it from the rest. (Check out our NFT guide for a more in-depth explanation.)

In this post, we’ll explain the NFT minting process: why it is done, the different ways it can be done and how to make the most out of your first mint.

But First, What Is “Minting”?

NFT minting is the process of creating your own digital art then deploying it onto the blockchain to be sold and traded. When you store unique digital media on the blockchain it is permanent, with minimal chance of modification or tampering. This is because every participant on the blockchain shares the same transaction history, meaning everyone would need to be in consensus if you wanted to change a single transaction.

Blockchain's inherent resistance to malicious attacks are part of what makes it attractive to people and brands looking to offer proof of ownership.

The two main routes for minting an NFT are:

  1. Self-service or “DIY” mint – you create the smart contract (i.e. the program that runs on the blockchain) and deploy it.
  2. With a minting partner (e.g. an NFT agency) that handles the creation of the smart contract and deployment onto the blockchain.

Once your NFT is minted onto the blockchain, you can create a marketplace to list it on, or go through an existing one. Some of the most well known marketplaces are:

  • Opensea – the first and largest NFT marketplace
  • Rarible – a marketplace that hosts projects from five blockchains
  • Solsea and Magic Eden – two of the biggest marketplaces in the Solana blockchain

How Does NFT Minting Work?

NFT minting works by storing a unique digital file onto a distributed ledger (blockchain). Each NFT has metadata which describes its essential properties, like:

  • A description of the NFT
  • The date and time of the mint
  • How many people have previously held the NFT
  • Specifications and/or data that characterize the NFT

When your NFT is minted, it’s stored on systems like the IPFS (InterPlanetary File System). This system lets your NFT be stored across a decentralized network of computers, which follow the same set of rules. As a result, once minted, the metadata cannot be changed or replicated. 

Minting: What You’ll Need to Get Started 

Before you mint your first NFT you will need to have the following.

  1. A crypto wallet (e.g. Metamask, Coinbase).
  2. The native token for whatever blockchain you’re deploying on (e.g. ETH for Ethereum, AVAX for Avalanche, MATIC for Polygon).
  3. A marketplace to list your NFT. This could be on Opensea or even your own individual website storefront.
  4. A digital file (mp4, gif, png, membership, ticket, etc).

Why Mint Your Own NFT Collection?

Artists and individual creators have enabled brands to see what’s possible with NFTs. We’re now seeing big names launching their own collections. For example, Adidas with their Adidas original capsule collection, or Taco Bell with their ‘Transformative Taco’. Here are a few reasons why people find NFTs so alluring. 

Build a Loyal Community

Minting an NFT can extend the relationship you have with your customers. Due to the blockchain and smart contract nature of NFTs, they allow for an open community where holders of similar NFTs can come together. NFTs are an intuitive way for your community to be able to recognise each other and interact. 

Communities and brand advocates are a powerful marketing tool for any business. Research by Salesforce shows that 70% of customers are influenced by a company’s community involvement. 

Reward Customers & Create Brand Advocates 

NFTs bring new ways to reward customers, which in turn helps with customer loyalty, advocacy and retention. Through utility-based NFTs, holders of the NFTs can get real-world benefits like:

  • Gated access to special events – your NFT can act as a pass to get into virtual and in-person events. 
  • Reward tokens – which can be earned and used to redeem specific items and services. 
  • Early access – acts as a beta pass for customers to test out your new launches of products or services.
  • Ticketing – easily verify ticket authenticity and ownership.

The ability to authenticate NFT holders encourages businesses to invest more into their reward schemes as they can target incentives toward individuals holding particular NFTs. By utilizing NFTs with utility, brands can offer exciting and engaging rewards which may have not been possible with previous reward schemes. With NFTs being stored on a public ledger, it’s possible to track real customer engagement and usage of products and services. 

Prove Ownership of Physical Assets

NFTs provide a digital way to prove ownership of physical assets. Brands that offer high value physical assets can mint an NFT alongside one of their physical assets. With this NFT, the buyer of the asset now has an immutable and unforgeable proof that they own that physical asset stored on a blockchain ledger. 

StockX recently introduced their Vault NFTs to authenticate and track physical products on the blockchain. Once a person redeems their physical asset, all they have to do is prove they are the rightful owner of that corresponding NFT linked to it and StockX will ship it out to them. 

How to Make the Most of Your NFT Collection

You’ve nearly minted your first NFT collection, how can you help your project to succeed? Here are some ideas. 

Tell People!

There are thousands of NFT collections floating around, how will yours get noticed?

You’ll want to build hype around the launch of your collection. It’s important that people know why you’ve created an NFT and how that NFT could benefit them.

It may be a good idea to have some teasers showcasing your NFT and the utility it will bring before your mint day. This is a great way of gauging your community’s interest in NFTs. Plus, you’ll get valuable feedback that you can take on board before your mint day. 

Stepping into marketing your first NFT can be daunting so consider sourcing some outside help.

Build a Community

Community is everything, even more so in the NFT space. Give people a place to talk and get excited about your project.

Some great platforms for building and nurturing a community are: 

  • Twitter – To give updates about NFT collection, tease utility and NFT features.
  • Youtube – To showcase how your NFT can be used in the real world.
  • Discord – A chat space where community members can congregate, suggest ideas, and give feedback.

Ultimately, it’s the community who will follow, support, and grow your project alongside you. It’s important to be building up, and taking care of, your community from the get-go. Consider recruiting a community manager who can quickly answer questions that potential customers may have.

Giving away allowlist spots or free mints to early supporters is one sure way to repay your community while growing it. Ensuring your community has appropriate places to discuss and collaborate is key in allowing your NFT community to grow naturally. 

Give Your NFT Utility

Lastly, a great way to ensure your NFT collection has some longevity is through providing real-world benefits and utility to the NFT holders. 

An NFT is said to have “utility” when it has applications beyond being just a unique digital asset. NFT utility provides NFT holders with more tangible benefits like, gated access, merch, and in-game rewards. (Check out our post on NFT utility for more detail.)

NFTs really open the doors for you to reward your community with more than just the digital art. Without utility your NFT is purely digital art and there are no real-life benefits to its holder. Although, this may be ideal for creators purely looking to sell their work to people who appreciate the aesthetic. 

Different Minting Routes 

1. Mint It Yourself 

You can mint your own NFT from scratch. This would involve deploying the smart contracts, creating the art, and minting it to the blockchain. 

Doing it all yourself will most likely be the most time consuming, depending on your comfort level in front end tech, smart contracts, and general Web3 knowledge. 

Pros

  • Full control over every aspect of the mint
  • No cap on royalties

Cons

  • Time consuming
  • Skill dependent
  • Costly
  • Not straightforward 
  • No customer support
  • No marketing support

2. Mint with a Marketplace

Opensea is one of the most popular minting services and marketplaces for NFTs. Racking up over $32 billion in sales volume all time. The process is straightforward, but royalties are capped and customer support is limited.

How long it takes to mint on Opensea depends on your comfort level with the platform and Web3. 

Pros

  • Popular and well established
  • No transaction fee minting 
  • Straightforward minting
  • Not skill dependent

Cons

  • Service fee of 2.5% of sale price
  • Royalty fees capped at 10%
  • Lack of customer support 
  • No way of adding utility
  • No marketing support

3. Mint with a Dedicated Partner

Lastly you could opt for a unique, personalized minting service. Partners like PolyientX aim to deliver your dream NFT mint with real-world utility from the jump.  

Pros

  • Personalized, stress-free mint
  • Credit and debit card options
  • Access to customer support
  • Options for utility straightaway
  • Custom features
  • No cap on royalties
  • Marketing guidance

Cons

  • Longer process
  • Costs more upfront
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