How to Mint an NFT
|— In the crypto space, minting means publishing an asset on the blockchain – this allows it to be bought, sold and owned|
— NFT collections may offer the chance to mint a token directly during the initial drop – making you both the owner, and the first person to publish that asset on the blockchain
— But doing this requires some knowledge and research, as well as a few key tools. Here we explain how to mint an NFT
The world of NFTs is full of jargon and complexities; from allow lists and NFT drops, to gas fees and flipping, we’ve likely all spent some time getting to grips with some new words in order to understand how NFTs work.
But occasionally, understanding the space goes beyond simply learning what a term means: it requires you to grasp a whole process. The process of minting an NFT from a new drop is a good example of this in action.
So in this article, we’ll talk you through how to mint an NFT from a new collection. We’ll discuss what it means, how it differs from buying an NFT on the secondary market and the different things you’ll need to consider before you get started.
Are you ready to engage with one of the most interesting aspects of Web3? Let’s get started.
What does minting mean?
Let’s start at the beginning – what exactly does it mean to mint an NFT?
Simply put, minting means publishing a digital asset onto a blockchain network – this means it can be bought and sold, and effectively “owned” via the blockchain. Minting can be thought of as the “birth” of that token.
Artists and creators might mint their work as an NFT, for example. Publishing that work onto the blockchain enables them to display the work on their marketplace profile, and of course, trade it as an asset.
If you’re not a creator yourself, minting might mean something slightly different. When new NFT collections are dropped, minting refers to buyers purchasing a token from that new collection as it launches, directly from the smart contract. This is the process we’ll deal with in today’s article.
What You’ll Need to Mint an NFT
Before you can mint an NFT from a new collection, there are a couple of things you’ll need:
- A crypto wallet (to manage the private keys for your new asset)
- A Web3 browser extension, where your wallet is not smart-contract enabled
- Enough crypto to pay both the asset and other costs such as gas fees
- Alpha on the terms of the drop
Let’s cover all of those now.
1) Choose a Crypto Wallet
As a blockchain based asset owning an NFT really means controlling its private key – and the security of that private key depends on your crypto wallet.
- Hot Wallet
A crypto wallet can either be software-based (a hot wallet), or a hardware device (a cold wallet). Hot wallets secure your crypto private keys within their software, and also tend to be able to communicate with smart contracts. This makes them a popular choice for securing NFTs, since you can easily interact with the token’s underlying smart contract.
However, securing your NFTs with a hot wallet comes with a caveat: since it stores your private key within software on your computer or phone, your key will always be vulnerable to threats deployed via your connection. Your private key may well be concealed, and easy to manage, but it will never be totally safe from hacks and malware.
- Cold Wallet
Using a hardware wallet, such as a Ledger, negates this risk altogether: your private key is stored within the device itself, keeping it completely segregated from your internet connection. This means your private keys are safe from hacks and malware.
Set up an Account Within your Wallet
Once you have a crypto wallet, you’ll need to create an account for receiving you newmy minted token. NFTs exist on different blockchains, so you’ll need to have an account for that blockchain set up on your crypto wallet before minting.
If you’re minting an asset based on the Ethereum blockchain, for example, you’ll need to create an Ethereum address within your crypto wallet. On the other hand, if you’re minting from a different blockchain, such as Tezos or Solana, you’ll need to ensure you have an account set up on that network (and in all cases, you’ll need to ensure your middleware corresponds with the blockchain too).
2) Do You Need a Web3 Browser Extension (Middleware)?
Web3 dApps (and NFTs) are powered by an infrastructure known as smart contracts. Since this is a different ‘scaffolding’ from Web2, you’ll need a special browser that’s equipped to navigate these new options.
Similarly, if you’re looking to own NFTs, your wallet needs to be able to “talk to” their underlying smart contract.
Many hot wallets, such as Metamask, Phantom or Temple, are also Web3 browser extensions. They are equipped to interact with smart contracts and navigate Web3’s architecture. These type of wallets can easily interact with NFTs – but remain unsafe when it comes to securing the private key.
Hardware devices, on the other hand, may not be able to interact with smart contracts automatically. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t be used to secure NFTs.
Here, you can connect your hardware device to a Web3 browser extension that is compatible with the blockchain you’re using, utilizing the extension as a “middleware” so that your wallet can communicate with smart contracts on that network. This means you’ll be able to interact with NFTs, while properly securing their private key – the sweet spot.
To understand how to connect your Ledger with a Web3 middleware, check out this article.
3) Buy Some Crypto
Every NFT mint will have a price – be it fixed in advance via an allow list, or determined by the highest bidders at auction. You may also need to consider gas fees to boot.
However you’re purchasing, there are a couple of ways you can buy the crypto you need. Depending on what crypto you’re paying with, you may be able to visit a centralized exchange, and buy it via your debit card. You’ll then send this crypto from your exchange wallet to your Web3 wallet, ready to pay for your NFT as you mint.
Alternatively, you can buy crypto via an API and receive it directly to your Web3 wallet. If you own a Ledger, for example, you can buy directly from one of our partners, such as Moonpay. This allows you to bypass centralized exchanges altogether, and skip straight to self-custody
4) Find out when the drop happens – and if there’s an allow list
Minting an NFT from a drop can be tricky. Limited supply combined with a lot of buzz means stiff competition – and often a high price for your NFTs since keen bidders may push up the auction price.
For a lucky few, there may also be an allow list – a list of wallet addresses that have been preapproved to purchase an NFT from the collection at a set price, within a set time frame. The use of allow lists varies between collections; so the best thing to do is to check the project’s Discord server or Twitter for specifics. From there, you’ll be able to determine not only when the mint opens, but whether you’ll be entering a bidding war, or buying at a fixed price. These are important factors in understanding just how much crypto you might need.
You Are Ready to Mint an NFT
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations – you’ve now covered all the essential steps for minting an NFT from a brand new collection, and you’re ready to do it yourself!
Web3 can be an intimidating place, full of jargon and processes that may be foreign to you. But it’s also a space packed with new opportunities, assets and options for connecting with communities you feel are important – in short, it empowers YOU to do new things. This is why it’s so worthwhile to understand the space, its architecture, its culture and language.
Knowledge is power – stay curious, and stay secure. See you out there.