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Crypto

Minting your first NFT

So, you’ve decided to “ape” into an NFT project. You’ve seen the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cryptopunks, everyone and their dog is talking about NFTs and how they paid off their mortgage with a fucking jpeg. Since you’re new the the NFT space, without further ado, I want to share with you a few things:

What the fuck is an NFT??

Glad you asked, my friend. NFT stands for Non-Fungible-Token. What this means is that a Token is different from another. Take a classic example, Bitcoin. If you have one bitcoin, it is worth the same amount as a a Bitcoin that Tom has. It’s fungible.

Now take a painting by Vincent van Gogh for example. They are all paintings made by an equally troubled artist, albeit different degrees throughout his life. Some paintings at different points of his life are worth more than others. “Starry Night” (~$100,000,000) is worth a lot more than “Orphan Man” (~$400,000)

Vincent van Gogh, Orphan Man (September-December 1882) Courtesy of Sotheby’s
“Orphan Man” – Van Gogh 1882

So in the context of cryptocurrencies, NFTs are a digital certificate of authenticity that you own a specific “token” in most cases today, associated with some pieces of digital pictures, animations, videos, or sounds.

Still here? Great. So when you “own” the token to an NFT, this now means that you can transfer ownership of it to someone else, and in most cases, sell it for some amount of cryptocurrency.

Price Of Tulips During Tulip Mania? – Amsterdam Tulip Museum
Tulips were great until they weren’t.

The fact of the matter is, I couldn’t tell you if the current state of NFTs are going to maintain and hold their value long-term in the future. The idea of NFTs is certainly viable, as the market is proving that out. However, zoom out 10 years into the future and whether these early projects are going to have some sort of benefit of being early projects, and we are all going to be displaying our virtual art that we own in our virtual homes for guests to enjoy, or if we will look back and be like “wow that was a lot of speculative mania going on” is yet to be determined. Do your own research, don’t invest more than you can afford to lose, and keep in mind tulips happened before.

So which NFT should I buy?

Well, that certainly depends on a lot of things. Ask yourself:

  • How long do I want to hold this NFT for?
  • How much money do I want to spend?
  • What blockchain network is the NFT on? (more on this later)
  • What additional benefits do i get from being an owner?
  • Who is the artist, and do / I see a future for their work, popularity, and therefore demand?
  • Most importantly – How does this piece of work make you feel. Art is a subjective experience, and if it can invoke an emotion response for you, it might do the same for others.
Art Blocks Brings Big Money to Artists Who Paint With Code – Texas Monthly
Art Blocks “Fidenza” by Tyler Hobbs. Worth _millions_

There are people who purchased the collection above, only 1000 originals of which ever exist, for around 400$ at the time in June 2021. They now receive offers for over $500,000 regularly, so yea, they did pretty well on their purchase. I could see myself hanging one of these on a wall, and they have a timeless appeal which can be appriciated by most people who view them.

Shameless plug: I’m writing this article because I am launching an NFT with some friends, based on the work of a graffiti artist I met in Miami, ZeFlorist. The project has been an absolute blast to work on, and has had a ton of magic created as a result of it, including an unexpected reunion of Z and his daughter, who lives in another state and joined our Discord chat.

With that being said, because of the sheer amount, its hard to be able to determine the signal from the noise. I would recommend you take it slow, find some trusted sources / notable collectors, and get deep into the community so you can find out what will be best for you! If you have a trusted friend like me that can help you learn, that might be the best method!

There are a million projects out there for you to discover. There are a ton of platforms which you can purchase them on, include OpenSea, Rarible, Nifty Gateway, Foundation App, just to name a few. They even hold in-person auctions by auctions houses such as Chisties and Sothebys. For the next section, were going to focus on how to mint from our project, however these methods and tools can be used for any project as well!

How to buy one SAFELY??

In the spirit of this blog, you wanna have fun staying rich of course. This space is a fucking minefield with tons of scammers looking to steal money from you. You can go deep down the rabbit hole and do a million things to protect your privacy, security, and wealth. Since this is your first NFT, however, I’m just going to cover the bare necessities to make your first purchase, and stay safe!

  1. Get a wallet.
  2. Buy some ETH
  3. Pick what you’re going to buy

Get a wallet

Since most NFTs happen on Ethereum (today) you’re going to need a wallet to interact with marketplaces, and mint websites. The most commonly used one today is MetaMask. Heres a great video explaining how to set-up your first wallet, and how to buy some ETH while you’re at it.

VERY IMPORTANT:

  • Write down your seed phrase and secure it with your life.
    • Don’t ever take a photo of this, write it in your notes app or give it to anyone under any circumstance. You might get hacked! This phrase is the keys to your money and your NFTs.
    • I personally use a Ledger Nano X, connect that to Metamask and have my seed phrase hammered into metal plates in case of fire, and put them in a bomb-proof security deposit box. You don’t have to go this far, but the more you own, the more you should secure your keys and your privacy.
  • Use strong passwords!
    • Metamask, your browser, your email address all need strong passwords. You are becoming your own bank vault, so you need to treat your technology like fort knox.
    • I personally use LastPass to generate new, long, random passwords for every site I visit. The only password you need to know to access your entire password list, should be super secure and probably not online anywhere.
xkcd: Password Strength
Good advice for your LastPass master password.

Buy some ETH

You can purchase Ethereum directly in Metamask, or if you want to pay lower fees, Kraken, Strike, Binance or Coinbase are great places to purchase crypto with USD or another fiat.

Since your MetaMask ONLY SUPPORTS ETHEREUM AND ETHEREUM TOKENS, you must only send ETH to your MetaMask address.

Mint, or buy an NFT in a marketplace.

Minting is generating a new NFT from scratch. This usually involves going to your a website Artblocks.io or the website of the project you are looking to buy. You often don’t know what you are going to receive, and sometimes there can be so much demand for a project that it sells out in 10 minutes. (It’s like trying to buy desirable concert tickets during the sale).

For many projects the original mint price is different than buying an NFT second hand. It can go both ways; sometimes you make out like a bandit, and other times you get burned.

You’ll usually have to connect your loaded MetaMask wallet, choose how many NFTs you want to purchase, and then pay the total + gas.

A word on gas (fees)

These days, Ethereum is expensive to use. There is so much demand and transactions on the network that you often need to pay ALOT to be able to make any transaction. There are stories of companies and bots accidentally paying millions of dollars in gas fees, because they chose the wrong transaction options. During mint “drops” you might see the mint cost for a single mint go up to $12000 USD.

To set your gas fees appropriately during a high usage period, read this guide. It will save your life when trying to mint an in-demand project.

Once you make your purchase, you can view the transaction going through on the blockchain. Click the button on the MetaMask transaction so that you can view your request on Etherscan.io

Once your transaction is confirmed, you’re all done! Congratulations, you are now the proud new owner of your first NFT. Hopefully it was one of ours from ZeGarden, but if it was another project, that’s awesome as well!

Some common pitfalls to avoid when you go to mint:

  • People will often message you with random links to minting pages or marketplaces that will steal your money. ONLY USE OFFICIAL LINKS
  • Try to see if you can find out if there are in fact mint availble still for purchase. Trying to interact with a contract where the mints are all gone will cause a failed transaction and could result in loss of gas money.
  • Get into presales for discounts, and to mint at your leisure when gas fees are low. At Zegarden, we are doing a 48 hour presale for whitelisted members who have invited 4 other people to our Discord channel.

Buying an NFT in a marketplace like OpenSea is different because you usually know what you are buying, and you can purchase whatever is available on the market for sale. You can participate in auctions and sell your own mints to other people at whatever price you set. Again, there are gas fees which can be high at times, but if you just wait until the blockchain is less busy, you might be able to do a transaction on the cheap.

Cool I aped into one what’s next??

Now you can enjoy your newly purchase artwork, sell it for more (or less, paper hands!) Sometimes by owning a mint, you will receive more mints or funds from the project in the form of “air-drops”. Some NFTs allow you interact with games online, or display them in virtual gallery.

You can also try to involved with the community, or try to mint your own NFTs of your artwork. The great part of NFTs is that they are fun. So collect if you want, or buy some bitcoin and laugh at all the madness from the sidelines you boomer.