This articles explains the different ways to mint Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). When it comes to NFTs, minting is another word for create. NFT creation is an important process for both creators and investors to understand. The way in which NFTs are created may impact that NFTs perceived market value, or affect the way it can be traded online.
Currently there are two main methods when it comes to minting NFTs. Lazy minting and smart contract minting.
What is Lazy Minting?
A lazy mint means the digital asset only becomes an NFT when it is sold. This is currently the default method used on the popular NFT marketplace platform, Opensea. When someone uploads a digital creation via NFT marketplaces such as Opensea, it is not actually an NFT until someone purchases it. However, there are many successful creators who have used this method. And the majority do. It provides creators with a lot of flexibility to edit descriptions and traits for their creations, also known as metadata. Also, it does not cost the creator anything (such as gas fees) to upload the images to Opensea. A gas fee is the cost for a digital asset to be added to a blockchain, by people known as miners. So, the main advantage of lazy minting is that costs for gas are paid when the NFT sells. The person paying the gas at the time of sale will depend on the NFT marketplace and blockchain type. The main disadvantage of lazy minting is that your digital asset will not be on the blockchain until it sells. Also, most lazy mints do not have a smart contract for the whole NFT collection. If you don’t have a coded contract for your collection, then buyers will just have to trust what you say. For example, if you say your collection will be limited to 5000 NFTs, then they will need to take your word for it. Whereas a smart contract means it is impossible for them to create over 5000, if that is how the contract was coded.
What is Smart Contract Minting
A smart contract is a coded set of rules which say how a digital asset is to be traded online. For example, the contract could be coded so only 10,000 NFTs could be produced for a collection. A famous NFT collection known as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) minted their collection via a smart contract.
Smart contracts are written via a coding editor platform such as Remix IDE. This platform can connect into blockchain networks (such as Ethereum) using Web3 technology. Once the contract is written it is then deployed to a particular blockchain such as Ethereum. Once on the blockchain the contract can then be accessed by the person who created it, or anyone who is allowed to access it. NFT tokens are then minted (created) from such a contract. So smart contacts can be NFT generating machines, which follow strict rules. Smart contracts can be used for many other applications, but they are currently very popular amongst 2D and 3D artists, and gaming creators. Below is an image showing part of an NFT smart contract from NFT artists Crypto Dreams. They created this smart contract for their Seal of Approval ERC721 NFT collection on Opensea. The smart contract has been coded so there can only be a maximum of 100 NFTs minted for this collection. They done this to limit the supply on purpose, so that it creates a natural demand. This means if all 100 NFTs are owned by someone, no one else can own an NFT from that collection until someone sells.
The Bottom Line
The two different ways to mint Non-Fungible Tokens have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some NFT creators use a combination of both methods, and apply them to different NFT collections they have. The method you choose ultimately depends on your goal for that NFT collection, and your budget.