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Are You Ready To NFT?

Are You Ready To NFT?

The Non-Fungible Token (NFT) industry can be traced back to the early days of the internet. The first NFTs were digital collectibles created on forums and message boards. These tokens were simply images or text used to represent a unique asset.

However, it wasn't until the development of blockchain technology that NFTs really began to take off. Blockchain provided a way to securely and permanently store data on a decentralized ledger. This made NFTs much more secure and trustworthy than traditional digital collectibles.

Since then, the NFT industry has exploded in popularity. Millions of dollars worth of NFTs have been sold, and the market is only getting bigger. With the help of blockchain, the NFT industry is revolutionizing the way we think about digital ownership.

This article discusses NFTs, including where they came from, important milestones, and what to expect in the future.

The Origin of NFTs

The first-ever known non-fungible token (NFT) was created in 2014 by Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash. It was called Quantum and consisted of a video clip of digital art created by McCoy’s wife, Jennifer. Originally, the technology was called “monetized graphics,” and Quantum was registered on the Namecoin blockchain and sold to Dash for $4. Today, it’s on sale for $7M.

In October of 2015, three months after the launch of the Ethereum blockchain, the first NFT project, Ehteria, was launched and demonstrated at DEVCON 1 in London. Most of the 457 NFTs went unsold for more than five years until March 13, 2021, as interest in NFTs was renewed. These remaining pieces sold out in 24 hours for a total of $1.4M. At the time of their launch in 2015, their cost was only $0.43 each.

Increased public awareness began in 2017 when an online game CryptoKitties monetized cat NFTs. During 2020, the value of the NFT market exploded, tripling to $250M. During the first quarter of 2021, more than $200M was spent on NFTs.

Or Was the Origin in 2012?

There is another origin story out there on NFTs worth discussing, known as Colored Coins. Colored Coins, created in 2012-2013, are made of small bitcoin denominations–known as a single satoshi–which can be used to represent a multitude of assets and have multiple uses, including:

  • Coupons
  • Property
  • Issue shares of a company
  • Ability to issue your own cryptocurrency
  • Digital collectibles
  • Access tokens

Unfortunately, the whole Colored Coin system carries several flaws. But, they played a significant role in laying the groundwork for NFTs. You can learn more about them here in the “Overview of Colored Coins.” 

Counterpoint: “Counterparty”

Another early consideration for the creation of NFTs is Counterparty. Counterparty is a peer-to-peer financial platform and distributed, open-source Internet protocol built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. It allowed asset creation and even included a trading card game and meme trading, where Rare Pepes originated.

Rare Pepes

In October 2016, “rare pepes” were issued along the Counterparty platform. A rare pepe is a meme featuring a frog character that has developed an intense fanbase. Besides being incredibly quirky, the uniqueness of these images makes them such desirable NFTs. 

How the NFT space has evolved

In simple terms, an NFT is a unit of data stored on a variety of digital ledgers called a blockchain, which can be sold and traded. But, what started as a simple video clip has evolved into many use cases across various industries. But, perhaps none is more compelling than the art industry.

The History of NFT Art

Art is perhaps the most common way to use NFTs, as auctions from high-profile NFTs have made the biggest splash in public attention. Currently, the most expensive NFT ever sold was at an auction price of $91.8M–work by artist Pak, entitled The Merge.

The merge

The Merge is both a single piece of artwork and a series of artworks. When it launched, buyers could purchase an NFT, called a mass, for a set amount of money ($575). However, for buyers who purchased more than one mass, instead of receiving another NFT, their current mass actually increased in size. The price of a mass NFT grew throughout the sale, and buyers who bought a lot of mass were rewarded with free mass. 

It sounds a little confusing, but if you can picture a tiny ball of mercury as one mass, then add other tiny balls of mercury to it, you can see how each comes together to get bigger and bigger. That’s what The Merge is and was before the sale was brought to a close. Now, even though the launch is over, buyers and traders can still sell or trade their NFTs to grow their mass bigger, making their NFT more valuable. 

In the end, more than 28,000 buyers spent over $91M on what has been one of the most compelling NFT art concepts to date.

Everydays: The first 5000 days

The second most expensive (at $69M) was a piece of artwork by Michael Winkelmann–known as Beeple–called Everydays: the First 5000 Days.

Beeple is a graphic designer and motion artist from South Carolina who is well-renowned in the digital art world. However, his rise to fame reached a new height with his NFT collage created from 5,000 images created daily for 13 years. The images were put together and formed one NFT unit that sold for almost $70M making it the third-most-expensive piece of art ever sold.

CryptoPunks

Perhaps, the most well-known NFT digital art pieces are the collection of CryptoPunks, which is credited with starting the NFT craze of 2021.  

CryptoPunks is a series of 10,000 unique collectible characters stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Each character is created using an algorithm and no two are identical. The images are 24x24 pixels and feature some combination of guys, girls, apes, zombies, and aliens. While some of the images share attributes, the rarest ones feature the fewest attributes. For example, on the current marketplace, CryptoPunk 5822 is on sale by the owner for $34.89M. It features one attribute–a bandana–which is only shared by 481 punks. 

Perhaps the wildest part of CryptoPunks is that initially, they were all free. One simply had to claim them. Now they sell for hundreds of thousands to multi-millions of dollars.

CryptoKitties

In the 90s, we had Tomagotchi–a handheld digital pet that you could feed, love, and–if neglected–kill. In the 2020s, we have CryptoKitties! CryptoKitties are digitally created breedable and collectible cats. Each is one-of-a-kind and cannot be replicated, taken away, or destroyed.

It turns out that breeding digital pets is big business for at least a short period of time. While CryptoKitties was the first widely recognized blockchain game and featured astronomical growth, the popularity was short-lived. In fact, it reached its peak on December 10th, 2017. But, by the beginning of 2018, the game’s popularity fell by 90% of users. However, for those that were fortunate during that short time. One CryptoKitty fetched $1.3M, another $566,000, and the third most expensive CryptoKitty was sold for $107,000.

Bored Ape Yatch Club

Similar to CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a collection of 10,000 unique, algorithm-created images. Except instead of aliens, zombies, and humans, BAYC features images of–you guessed it–apes. In March of 2022, sales of BAYC made up more than a third of total NFT sales. In January of 2022, BAYC surpassed $1B in total sales.

Who Can Create & Purchase NFTs?

The easy answer is that anyone can create or purchase NFTs. Some companies help guide you through the process of creation, connecting your content through blockchain, and getting the proper paperwork done to develop your own NFTs. Purchasing is also as easy as connecting with an online marketplace and working with vendors to purchase or acquire the NFTs you want.

You can launch your NFT collection in seconds with Mantial. We assist everyone, from entrepreneurs to celebrities and large companies throughout the whole process of conception, sales, and management of NFT collections.

In Conclusion

The future is wide-open for the NFT industry. As it becomes more and more popular, creators and even NFT experts are still exploring the possibilities of this technology and how it collides with our everyday lives. While the exact future of NFTs is uncertain, the market is expected to continue growing, and NFTs worth millions of dollars today could be worth billions in the future. 

And, when money like that is involved, everyone will want a piece of the action.

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The Walking Dead

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Rick’s NFT

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The Walking Dead

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Michonne’s NFT

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Key points:

  • If you already have some level of fame, building a following among NFT collectors won’t be difficult.
  • If you’re not well-known, you’ll need to build up a social media following before you launch an NFT catalog.
  • Patrons and supporters can help kickstart a career in the NFT market.
  • If you’re not sure how crypto works or how to convert your work into the required format(s) for minting NFTs, you’ll need to do some research prior to minting NFTs. 

The news of more and more NFTers becoming rich seemingly overnight is prompting millions of artists, media creators, game developers, and businesses to consider whether or not to get into the NFT market. 

Are you ready to go down the rabbit hole into NFT Wonderland? Here are a few things to think about as you consider jumping into the market.

Does fame matter?

Do you have to be famous to sell NFTs? Although it would certainly help, being famous doesn’t guarantee that you’ll sell NFTs. In order to move your work on NFT marketplaces, you need to be famous among a very specific demographic of consumers. That is NFT collectors. 

You could be the biggest rockstar artist in the world, but if you’re not yet beloved by NFT collectors, then you’ve got some work to do.

However, if you’re famous enough to enjoy a large social media following, then you might just need a fraction of a percent of your followers to start buying your NFTs in order to get your catalog bootstrapped. All you need to do — aside from learning the ropes and creating NFTs — is to start pounding away at the idea that you are selling NFTs. Tell your followers every chance you get. 

Building NFT fame

In all likelihood, if you aren’t NFT famous and thus haven’t been selling NFTs, then you’ll have to start building up an audience in social spaces. The larger your social media following, the more success you’ll have selling your NFTs. And that basically means rocking social media — YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Discord, Instagram, Facebook, and the like. Some metaverses are also becoming great places to build a following.

The same holds true if you’re hoping to sell a generative collection with thousands of NFTs or if you’re selling a virtual card game. A project with no following is a project launched way too soon. Although you’ve probably got the moves to make an NFT collection, you have got to get out there and build up some excitement for your project before you’re ready to actually launch.

Entire volumes of books can be written on the topic of building a social media following. Some people are just good at it. They’re naturals. Others need to have a plan and work at it. 

But don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to learn the ropes. Whether you’re an artist, a game developer, or a collectibles brand, building a following on these platforms is a slow process that takes a constant investment of time, energy, and money. 

If you tend to get bored with projects quickly and move on to something else, you’ll end up spinning your wheels. If you want to be an NFT bigshot, then have to have high conviction and stick to the plan for your entire career.

So what, if you’re not famous?

Just because no one knows who you are doesn’t mean you’re not ready to run onto the NFT field. You can study and practice while you work on building that following. You don’t even need to sell your NFTs, just learn how to make them. Most importantly, get into the mind set that building a catalog of NFTs of your work is a a life-long effort. So you might as well get started. 

While you’re just practicing, use a platform with no gas fees for minting. (In other words, don’t use Ethereum.) Several NFT marketplaces offer layer two blockchain minting (Polygon, IMX, etc.) with little or no fees. 

You don’t have to actually list the NFTs for sale until you’re good and ready. You can even delete the early ones if you like and start a new catalog when you’re ready to really rumble. However, consider that NFTs have born-on dates and if an NFT artist becomes successful, their earliest NFTs might be quite valuable someday.

Do you have any patrons?

Sometimes all it takes to get started in NFTs is a leg up from a patron. This could be someone with a bit of money that wants to help advance your career. It could also be a well-known gallery owner or anyone that’s already working in the NFT space. Or it could be an agent or a manager. Or even a partner or family member or friend. 

If you’ve already got a hefty social media following you might be able to drum up an army of patrons using crowdfunding platforms such as Patreon, Kickstarter, and IndieGogo. Offer contributors exclusive NFT airdrops and whitelist privileges. Keep in mind, however, that people don’t generally surf crowdfunding and patron websites looking for someone to shower with money. You have to bring your own following to these sites.   

The point about patrons is that if you have some help — especially some good help with time, money, and knowledge — then you’re ready to jump into the NFT ring. Don’t let opportunities slip away just because you’re a nervous noob. Take the money and run with it. 

Do you Know Enough About Crypto

Do you know enough about crypto?

You might know your art or craft better than anyone. But how much do you know about cryptocurrencies? To the majority, crypto and NFTs are still a bit mysterious. If you’re a total crypto noob, then you have some catching up to do before you launch into minting NFTs.

At the very least, you should have a basic understanding of cryptocurrencies, crypto wallets, and the concept of non-fungible tokens. Most NFT marketplaces have some good educational content, plus there are oodles of how-to articles and videos on sites like YouTube and Medium.com.

Before you can list NFTs you will need to be able to: 

  • Choose and install a compatible crypto wallet on your computing device,
  • Buy some ether or other native coin to pay for any minting fees, 
  • Connect your wallet to an NFT platform, and create a profile. 

It’s also a good idea to do some shopping and actually buy a few NFTs to see how the process works from the other side of the counter before you put yourself out there.

Is your work ready to sell?

Before you can sell any work as an NFT it has to be converted into an acceptable graphical, audio, or video format. 

If you’re a digital artist, photographer, computer animator, or videographer, then you’ve probably got a good idea of how image files work and what things like resolution and compression are. 

However, if you’re a painter or you create some other form of art such as music and you’re not familiar with the best practices related to creating files for NFTs, then you will need to do some learning and possibly buy some gear. 

If you’re work is physical and not digital, even if you are selling the physical work itself with the NFT, you will still have to take a really nice digital photograph of the work. Then you’ll need to edit it and have it converted into the proper formats including a screen resolution format and possibly a high-resolution format that’s suitable for printing. If you’re not handy with these things then you’ll need to get some help. 

We’re here to help…

Learning about creating, marketing, and selling NFTs is a lifelong process that’s going to take some experimentation, trial, and error. This article is just a preview to help you get started on the journey. 

Be sure to check out the other educational articles on our blog, follow us on social media, and subscribe to be informed when we post new content. In an upcoming post we’ll compare the top NFT platforms and present some alternatives for launching your NFT projects.

Bon voyage and good luck on your journey through NFT Wonderland!