Before we dive into the mechanics of creating an NFT, let’s review what non-fungible tokens are. An NFT (non-fungible token) is a unique digital item stored on a blockchain. NFTs can represent almost anything, from art, to memberships, to in-game items, and serve as a digital record of ownership.
NFTs operate on blockchain technology. The blockchain is basically a large, digital, public record. The most popular blockchains are distributed across many nodes (read: people’s computers), which is why you’ll hear them described as “decentralized.”
OpenSea is compatible with the following blockchains:
Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source Layer 1 blockchain with smart contract functionality. Its native cryptocurrency is Ether (ETH), and it’s the largest blockchain for NFTs.
Polygon is an EVM-compatible Ethereum sidechain that uses the Proof-of-Stake method of validation. This means Polygon is its own blockchain, but it benefits from and is compatible with Ethereum in a few important ways. Polygon’s native token is MATIC. In 2022, Polygon pledged to go carbon neutral.
Arbitrum is an EVM-compatible Layer 2 blockchain that was designed to help Ethereum scale. OpenSea is compatible with the Arbitrum chain Arbitrum One, which features rapid and inexpensive transactions and uses the Ethereum base chain for security.
Optimism is a layer two blockchain designed to help Ethereum scale. Optimism’s EVM-equivalent architecture is designed to enable Ethereum apps to take advantage of the chain’s cheaper and faster transactions without technical barriers. The Optimism Token (OP) is used as a governance tool and it is not required to use Optimism or pay for gas fees.
Klaytn is an open-source, public Layer 1 blockchain focused on the metaverse, gaming, and creator economy. Klaytn’s native token is KLAY. OpenSea supports Kaikas, a wallet browser extension to buy and sell Klaytn NFTs.
Anyone can create an NFT. Your NFT can be as simple as the media itself, but it can also represent something more. For example, your NFT can simply be a piece of art, or it can be a piece of music represented by a GIF or a photograph.
Some NFTs, like the Chromie Squiggle below, are intended to serve as artwork. According to the artist, Snowfro, each Chromie Squiggle is his “personal signature as an artist, developer, and tinkerer.”
In the latter example, the NFT is the combination of the representation and the digital item it represents. An example of this is the RTFKT x Nike Air Force 1 collection. Purchasing one of the NFTs in this collection grants holders access to a physical pair of sneakers, which is redeemable through ownership of the NFT. In this case, the NFT contains beautiful artwork and also serves as access to a physical good.
In addition to the content for the NFT itself, you’ll need a crypto wallet to create and mint your NFT. “Minting” an NFT is the process of writing a digital item to the blockchain. This establishes its immutable record of authenticity and ownership.
As a creator, minting your work allows you to establish provable scarcity and verified ownership. For the first time, creators can publish limited edition digital works, whose authenticity is validated on the blockchain. Ownership is undisputed and public, allowing creators to build special communities and perks for those who hold their NFTs.
Minting NFTs isn’t just for creators, however. NFT creators will often offer their community or the general public the opportunity to directly mint NFTs from their new collection. When you mint an NFT from a project, you’re the first ever owner of that NFT, since the mint is when it’s written to the blockchain.
Crypto wallets are a foundational tool of web3. Your wallet acts as a private key that allows you to interact with decentralized apps, buy NFTs, and navigate the web3 universe. Each blockchain has specific wallets you can use to transact on them. For example, MetaMask is a wallet used to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. OpenSea is compatible with a wide variety of wallets.
Next, choose a blockchain on which to mint your NFT. OpenSea is currently compatible with the Ethereum, Polygon, Klaytn, Arbitrum, Optimism, and Avalanche blockchains, and each of these blockchains has different gas fees associated with transactions on their networks.
Then, you can create your collection. This is the fun part! Decide what your collection of NFTs is all about. Is it artwork, a collection of profile pictures, sports memorabilia, membership to a group, or something else entirely? Once you decide, create your collection by naming it something unique that represents your work and describing it. You’ll also be prompted to choose a category and provide any relevant links to social media.
Once your crypto wallet is set up, you’ve chosen a blockchain, and your collection has been created, you’re ready to mint your NFTs!
Sometimes. Blockchain transactions, including deploying a smart contract and minting an NFT, require gas fees. Depending on the blockchain, creators will need enough cryptocurrency in their wallets to cover the gas fees for the transaction.
Recently, OpenSea has made changes to the tools we offer to help users create NFTs. Historically, creators used a lazy minting tool to create items that were not on-chain until they were sold or transferred. Creating an off-chain lazy-minted item was free, because it did not involve a blockchain transaction. While this provided an easy way for creators to experiment with NFTs in the early days, we believe that the future of NFTs is one where creators deploy and mint from their own independent contracts, all on-chain. We're letting creators do just that with our new functionality in OpenSea Studio.
We’ve replaced lazy minting with OpenSea Studio. Effective October 3rd, 2023, users won't be able to create new items using the lazy minting tool. Instead, creators now must pay the gas fees associated with deploying their own smart contracts and minting their own collections, but what this change gives them is more robust functionality. Existing items created using the lazy minting tool will still be able to be bought, sold, and transferred, but they won’t be editable going forward. You do not need to do anything in order for your collections with these items to persist.
OpenSea makes it simple and fast to create an NFT using the OpenSea Studio tools.
OpenSea gives creators a smooth, simple, and user-friendly creation process that allows them to create collections that help them stand out. And speaking of standing out, we believe that OpenSea is the best place creators can list NFTs for sale because it distributes them to the largest audience. That’s because we’re the world's first and largest digital marketplace for NFTs. At OpenSea, we pride ourselves on making the NFT creation and minting process easy, intuitive, and friendly for creators because we love seeing our marketplace grow and diversify with each new collection.
Yes! Any completely original item that isn’t interchangeable with another of the same item is non-fungible. So, an original piece of artwork like the Mona Lisa is non-fungible. An item of clothing is also non-fungible because it may be more valuable than another similar item because of who previously owned it or the condition it’s in. But neither of these things is inherently an NFT because a non-fungible token must be recorded on the blockchain. The blockchain functions as a transparent, immutable, permanent online ledger that keeps track of transactions. Therefore, what makes something an NFT is that it is both non-fungible and recorded on the blockchain.
Very likely, yes! Because NFTs are immutable (which means they’re unable to be changed) and offer sole ownership of an item, they’re a natural fit for purchases that need to be trackable like cars. For example, right now when buying a car, the owner received a paper title. In the future, we can see that being replaced by a smart contract on the blockchain. With a public record of ownership accessible to anyone, the owner can easily and clearly prove ownership of their car, transact with agencies like the DMV, and even sell their car later on.
The value of an NFT is in the eye of the beholder, but many factors come into play when we talk about value. In larger collections, the rarity of an NFT can increase its value. Some NFTs have qualities, features, or aspects that make them special and therefore desirable. For reference, those qualities are listed on each NFT’s OpenSea page. NFTs with traits that are one-of-a-kind tend to drive higher value than their more common counterparts. An NFT made by a well-known creator or artist will also drive more value for the same reason an original Monet is worth more than your first grader’s macaroni necklace. No shade to your first grader, by the way. And finally, utility is something that can affect value. If an NFT grants its owner access to something exclusive or desirable, it’s likely to be more valuable. These are just three things that can make an NFT more expensive, but there are plenty of other elements at play that can affect the price and resale value of an NFT.
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