Though they are often considered as the new kids on the blockchain, NFTs are quickly becoming OG’s in their niche within the crypto-space, and for good reason. Each bull run has had its own flavour of which cornerstone of the crypto industry took the title of fan favourite. The 2013 bull run had Bitcoin in the spotlight back in the early days before the crypto ecosystem evolved and expanded to what it is today. The 2017 bull run saw many investors make life-changing gains with the explosion of DeFi, with DeFi coins and tokens leading the charge.
The 2021 bull cycle is showing signs of a maturing market so far as it isn’t just euphoric hype fuelling a single niche, but each sector of the blockchain industry is seeing healthy growth. The 2021 bull run has played out with two prevalent trends, while Bitcoin and DeFi are still seeing significant gains, all eyes have been on layer one alternatives to Ethereum such as Solana and Cardano. Incredibly though, even shadowing layer one protocols, the most explosive growth in a single sector came in the form of NFTs.
NFTs were developed as a way to authenticate and store information about a digital asset which is stored on the blockchain. The first, and most obvious use case that people saw for NFTs was a way to revolutionize the digital art world, as artists were now able to create something truly unique, and those who purchased the art were able to verify the artwork’s authenticity and originality.
The reason why this advancement is so important and impactful is easy to understand when we compare NFTs to the value of an original piece of art in the real world. I can print 50 copies of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night on my printer at home, but they wouldn’t even be worth the cost of the paper and ink used in the process. Yet, the original piece itself is worth well over 100 million dollars with one wealthy billionaire recently stating he would liquidate his entire empire and pay a billion dollars to be able to own the original! Wow, a billion dollars for a blurry painting? I got into the wrong line of work.
The use cases for NFTs have already far surpassed the act of simply making and authenticating digital art. We see the concept of NFTs already being used extensively in the gaming and music industries, and even brick and mortar mail delivery and supply chain companies are looking into NFTs as a way to track mail and shipments. The use cases for NFTs are endless and only limited by our imaginations. Anything in the real world that needs to be verified, authenticated, and non-alterable have potential uses to be moved into digital NFT format which is why we are now seeing legal documents, contracts, birth certificates, educational certificates, wedding certificates and even wedding rings being minted into NFTs!
If you are looking for the top platforms to mint NFTs, then you have come to the right place. If you’re not quite up to speed yet on just what the heck NFTs even are, here is the complete guide to NFTs, and even Guy has dabbled into the world of NFTs, and covers why they cannot be ignored here. If you think the whole NFTs craze is a bit silly, well I can’t say I blame you after seeing the CryptoPunk that sold for a whopping $7.6 million dollars. If you still need some further convincing that NFTs are a juggernaut and here to stay, then I definitely recommend you check out the top 10 most expensive NFTs ever sold and then join me bitterly as we stew in the “psssh, I could have come up with something better than that,” club.
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Who Can Create, Buy, and Sell NFTs?
The great thing about NFTs, just as with regular art, is that anyone can be a creator, buyer or seller! Arguably, the barrier for entry to create, buy, and sell NFTs is even lower than real-life art as you don’t even need all the messy art supplies to get started, nor leave your house to buy or sell. We already see artists and musicians converting their work to NFTs, but it isn’t just for the artists. Entrepreneurs, corporations, authors, videographers, educators, supply chain companies, athletes, social media personalities selling minted tweets, even government officials are taking advantage of this technology. The ease in which an NFT can be created, purchased, and sold has come a long way since the first piece of digital art was minted as an NFT back in 2014 by Kevin McCoy, with the process being now more streamlined than ever.
Okay Fine, I Could Not Have Done Better Than That! Image via Sotheby’s
There are dozens of online NFT marketplaces where buyers and sellers can come together to well… buy and sell NFTs. Many of the places where people sell game-related NFTs exist in blockchain videos game marketplaces themselves such as CryptoBlades and Splinterlands. Here is an article that covers some of the highest paying blockchain games around, where NFTs are being sold for some pretty decent cash. Of course, if you are looking for a more general place to buy and sell NFTs of all sorts, then you need to look no further than sites such as OpenSea and Rarible. Here are the top ten sites where artists, collectors, and art enthusiasts come together to create, buy, and sell NFTs, of these ten, I will be covering the top five in more detail.
Okay, now that you know a bit more information about what non-fungible tokens are, why they are valuable, some use cases for them outside of the art world, and even where to go to buy or sell them. Now, how and where do you go about actually creating them? Fortunately, we have covered the “how,” in our How to Mint NFTs 101 Guide, as for the “where,” if you have made it this far in the article and are about to go deeper into the minting process and platforms, then I must tip my hat to you on taking this step.
While myself and many like me are stewing bitterly in the earlier mentioned, “psssh, I could have come up with something better than that,” club, you are actually journeying into the future of digital art, gaming, music, or you name it! While you are looking into becoming the next big thing in this digital revolution, pioneering and paving the way for future generations, I am going to be telling my grandkids about how back in my day, I missed out in buying Tesla stock and minting NFTs, then the grandkids will go home and complain to their mother about how grandpa was telling stories again about how he should have been the one to come up with the CryptoPunks idea. It’s fine, really, I’m not bitter about it at all.
Top 5 Platforms to Mint NFTs
Remember when I mentioned that the whole NFT process has become a lot more streamlined since the first-ever NFT was created? Well, you will be happy to know that the marketplaces I mentioned earlier for buying and selling NFTs are also the go-to place to mint your NFTs. Talk about the ultimate convenience!
There is one clear winner in the NFT space when it comes to minting, buying, and selling NFTs of all sorts, spanning across multiple different genres. Talk about a one stop-shop as OpenSea contains the widest variety of available NFTs for any taste and any aspiring artist, collector, investor, or art enthusiast.
One of the benefits of choosing OpenSea to mint NFTs is that creators can actually mint their digital art for free here, with no gas costs associated if you choose to mint your NFT on the Polygon network as opposed to the Ethereum network. It is important to know that OpenSea will charge a one-time fee for account registration before creators can sell on the Ethereum network, and there will also be a fee if the NFT that you want to list on the market was minted outside of OpenSea. If Ethereum is your network of choice, there will be recurring ETH network fees for any transactions associated with the NFT as well, so be sure the get familiar with the fee structure on OpenSea before getting too involved with Ethereum minted NFTs as those gas fees can be nasty. If Ethereum Gas fees are getting you down, be sure to check Guy’s tips and tricks to save on gas fees. In order to get started with OpenSea, the first thing you will need to do is connect a wallet such as Metamask. From there you can go straight into the area where you can choose to mint a stand-alone NFT or create a collection.
A great feature here is that artists can add a category for the type of NFT or collection they are creating, whether it is art, trading cards, collectables, sports, or utility, and artists can add links for their collection to all of their social media handles as well to promote their art across all of their different social networks.
The creator of the NFT can also select their royalty fee up to 10%, this is the fee that the creator will earn every time the NFT is resold. The NFT creator can choose which digital assets can be accepted for paymentas well, and how many copies of the NFT can be allowed to exist, and even choose how many to release at one time. OpenSea should definitely be on the radar for anyone wanting to get involved in this space.
Another great place where a community of NFT enthusiasts meet up to buy, sell, and create NFTs is Rarible. If nothing you see on OpenSea is striking your fancy, then take a wander over to Rarible and see if that is a little more your style. Before you head over to Rarible, be sure to check out our Rarible deep dive review here.
Like OpenSea, Rarible is also powered by the Ethereum blockchain and works in a similar way. At the time of writing, Rarible does not offer gas-free minting or a cheaper alternative to Ethereum as the platforms OpenSea and Mintable do, so fees on Rarible can be a bit higher than their competitors, at least until the highly anticipated Ethereum 2.0 upgrade is rolled out.
Just like with OpenSea, to get started with Rarible, you will need to connect an Ethereum wallet such as Metamask to interact with the platform. When choosing to mint an NFT on Rarible, artists can choose if they want to create a single collectable or multiple, which is useful if a musician wants to create audio NFTs that multiple users can enjoy. With Rarible, users can choose to select a set price or allow buyers to bid on their product with the purchase going to the highest bidder. The creator of the NFT can also choose to have additional features or files unlocked once the NFT has been purchased if they want to include any add-ons or extra features. Artists can choose the percentage of royalty payments up to 30% that they want to receive each time the NFT is resold. All of these customizations are done on the minting page, which makes the whole process really straightforward and user friendly.
SuperRare is the third most popular NFT platform in terms of the most active users, and also built on the Ethereum network similar to OpenSea and Rarible. The main difference with SuperRare is that it aims to be more like a social network for art creators and collectors, connecting like-minded individuals. This platform was created with the idea that collecting is a social activity, so collectors should be able to come together and collect in a social environment with one another. The way that this social atmosphere is able to exist is that, unlike the other platforms, SuperRare is not joinable by everyone. Anyone is able to purchase NFTs on SuperRare, but only artists who are invited by existing members can upload artwork on the platform. Once invited, artists need to fill out an application form with the requirement that all artwork created for SuperRare must be original, digital, and not available anywhere else on the internet.
As with all the other platforms, the first thing needed will be an Ethereum wallet to connect to the platform. Once this is done, all artists wanting to get involved in the SuperRare ecosystem will need to fill out the application form and be accepted by the community of Artists on the platform where they will be able to participate and become part of the community.
SuperRare supports artwork to be uploaded in the form of image files, audio files, video files, and 3-D file types, so there is something here for everyone.
Foundation is another NFT platform built on the Ethereum network that is unique in the sense that it facilitates live auctions for digital artwork. Instead of simply buying and selling NFTs at a set price. Foundation uses an auction process similar to what we see from leading auction sites such as Christies which is known for auctioning some of the worlds most prestigious collectable items. Similar to SuperRare, anyone can register to purchase art on Foundation, but any artists who want to create art for the auction process needs to be accepted into the Foundation community first. Artists can be invited by an existing community member who has successfully sold an NFT, and there is also a voting process that can be done by the Foundation community when considering new artists to bring in.
Once you have been accepted, as always, the first step is connecting your Ethereum Metamask wallet. Foundation provides a very straightforward, and easy process for artists to upload and mint their work. Similar to Rarible in terms of needing to pay Ethereum gas fees in order to go through the minting process, Foundation does not have the option to mint NFTs for free such as OpenSea and Mintable.
It is good to note that the buyer will pay a 15% fee on the acquisition of an NFT which gets paid to the Foundation marketplace for facilitating the sale which is considerably higher than the 2.5% fee charged on the sale of NFTs by both Rarible and OpenSea. Foundation also supports image, audio, video and 3-D rendered files for the upload and minting process.
#5 Binance and FTX
It isn’t just these community-driven platforms available for buying, selling, and creating NFTs either. Major exchanges such as FTX and Binance are getting involved in a big way. They saw the potential behind this digital revolution and didn’t want to be left out, sat on the sidelines so the fifth mention for places to mint NFTs is going to go to both Binance and FTX.
The great thing about being able to mint your NFTs on an exchange is that chances are that you probably already have an account made to do your crypto buying and selling, so this is one less step to take by not having to register for a third party NFT website. Another advantage here is that you don’t need to transfer Ethereum to a wallet like Metamask, you can purchase the funds needed to mint and transact directly from the exchange and use those for the minting, buying, and selling process, saving money on gas fees. Binance and FTX both offer an NFT marketplace where users can go and shop their little hearts out on all things digital art related. Binance has combined both the bid style of NFT purchasing similar to Foundation, as well as the option to just purchase art for a set price.
FTX also has a simple to use interface where users can shop for and bid on their favourite NFTs. The FTX and Binance NFT marketplaces are very similar to one another in terms of functionality, so it really comes down to users using whichever marketplace is owned by their preferred exchange, and which marketplace has the more exciting collection of NFTs.
When it comes to minting on these platforms, both Binance and FTX have made it so easy that anyone can do it. One of the advantages to minting NFTs on Binance is that the NFT marketplace is built on the Binance Smart Chain so users are able to avoid those pesky Ethereum Gas fees and mint their NFTs for a much lower cost. Fees for minting on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) network will need to be paid in BNB, so make sure that you are holding some BNB in your Binance account before attempting to create your NFTs. The Binance NFT marketplace supports image, video, or audio files so they have the bases for media types covered.
Simply choose the name for the NFT and a description, pay the fee in BNB, and you are good to choose if you want to list the NFT and sell it for the highest bid, or a set price. NFT sellers can also choose to accept payments in Ethereum, BUSD, or BNB, with 1% of all sales go to Binance which is much lower than many of the other available platforms mentioned here, though a potential downside here is that the royalty fee for the creator is also fixed at 1% for any resales which is lower than the other platforms mentioned. It is also good to note that all NFT listings will need to be approved by the Binance NFT team before they are publicly listed.
Minting NFTs on FTX works in quite a similar manner to Binance, with the fees being the biggest difference. Once you already have your account at FTX setup, you can navigate to the NFT section and choose to mint/list your NFTs. Creators will need to choose a name for their NFT, whether or not they want it to be part of a collection or stand-alone, how many copies to mint, and if they want to include any additional attributes. Sellers can also choose a set price, or if they want it to go to the highest bidder. Fees for creating NFTs on FTX costs $10 dollars which is paid in USD. This fee can be charged from the user’s fiat or stablecoin account balances. Once the NFT is approved by the FTX team, the NFT will be available for sale on the FTX marketplace. As far as fees are concerned, FTX makes it straightforward with fixed fees with no surprise Ethereum gas fees which can often blindside users of the Eth network. FTX charges a 5% fee to both the buyer and seller when an NFT transaction is completed.
That is about it for the top 5, well actually, top 6 places to mint NFTs as I threw in a cheeky two for one for you guys as I couldn’t decide which was better between Binance and FTX as they are both similarly fantastic options for minting NFTs. While many crypto and DeFi enthusiasts will prefer the more community-driven options such as OpenSea and Rarible, as many feel that centralized exchanges like Binance and FTX are the enemy, almost as bad as those big banks, but like almost everything in the crypto space, convenience comes at the cost of using centralized platforms, so it really comes down to user preference at the end of the day.
The world is so new to the NFT space as well, and new developments are happening quicker than I can finish a cup of coffee, so while most of the top NFT marketplaces currently run on the Ethereum network, I expect some of these top platforms to either adopt, or get bumped in the near future to make way for new contenders as we see really exciting NFT developments rising fast in the Cardano, Solana, Avalanche and even Tezos ecosystems, quickly catching up and becoming fast movers in the NFT space.