A Complete Newbie Learns How To Mint An NFT
After taking part in a seasonal online event, our in-house NFT newcomer continues her journey by discovering how to mint an NFT of her own!
One of the things I’ve discovered as I’ve entered the NFT space is that people come at it from all sorts of different angles.
What was once an arena relegated exclusively to tech nerds has become – dare I say it – relatively mainstream. Enough so that I myself was brought here by a couple of van-dwelling, dreadlocked, craft market hippies – not your typical crypto enthusiasts.
In my NFT travels, I’ve come across the likes of musicians, soldiers, marketers, filmmakers, astrologers, and basically any other type of human you can think of.
That goes not only for collectors but for creators too, and the more I explore, the more I see that this technology has the potential to reach areas that, at first glance, seem entirely unrelated.
It’s this eclecticism that makes me feel a little less strange having entered this space as a jeweller. When my crypto-obsessed partner first started telling me about NFTs, it was with the admonition that I should start creating them, and somehow tie that in with Halfmoon Craft, my jewellery business.
Not knowing what the hell an NFT was, I promptly told him he was crazy and thought that was the end of the conversation. As evidenced by the fact you’re reading this article, it was not.
Once I figured out what he was talking about and started collecting NFTs for myself, I quickly realised he was right.
Not only were these digital assets exciting in and of themselves, but they offered an amazing opportunity to expand my creativity into realms I’d never even thought about – or known existed, for that matter.
And so, one crisp February morning, I set about the daunting task of creating my very first NFT.
I should back up a little bit though. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt here, it’s that the life of a project rests almost entirely upon the community built around it.
It’s all well and good to make an NFT and thrust it out into the world, but if nobody cares about it, it’ll sit quietly in my own wallet for the rest of time, gathering virtual dust.
In a bid to avoid such a shameful fate, I created the Halfmoon Craft Discord server to rally the beginnings of a community around my future creations.
Slowly, people started trickling in – some from my jewellery clientele, others from the NFT space – giving me the foundations of what I might one day dare to call a fanbase.
With that accomplished and my confidence boosted, we return to me wrapped in a blanket in the chill of my unheated living room trying to figure out how to make an NFT.
I decided to start small, with a simple little promo sticker for the early members of my server. I wasn’t yet brave enough to try selling something, so what better way to dip my toes into NFT creation than with a giveaway?
Everyone loves free stuff, and I wanted to thank my members for being there from the very beginning – despite my only credentials in the NFT space being that I have no credentials in the NFT space.
So, off to Photoshop I went to whip up a little something. As someone who’s been creating things her whole life, you’d think the process would be almost banal by now, but there’s always a jolt of nervous excitement when putting something new into the world, and this was no different.
Even though it was little more than my business logo, the knowledge that it would be released into a previously unexplored space gave me a feeling somewhere between butterflies and a rock in my stomach.
Overwhelmingly though, the WAX space has been incredibly welcoming, and it was with that knowledge that I headed to AtomicHub to mint my very first NFT.
I’d flirted with the platform’s NFT Creator once or twice before, clicking through to read the whitelisting requirements and casting an eye over the various how-to guides and explanations. The big ‘Create New Collection’ button was ever-alluring, and it was with nervous glee that I finally clicked it and began the shift from NFT collector to NFT creator.
Immediately, I was met with what one might expect – a form asking for my 12-character collection name, a picture, my website, and a description, along with what percentage of secondary market sales I would reap in much the same way a recording artist might receive royalties. Happily, I filled out these fields, feeling confident and pleasantly surprised at how self-explanatory it all was.
“This isn’t so scary after all”, I thought.
The next page invited me to create a schema, at which point I crumbled. “Oh no”, my thoughts went. “This is scary after all”.
My problem was that I’d only skimmed through the how-to guides, and most of that time I’d been daydreaming about the bright future of my collection rather than actually absorbing the material. Back I went to figure out what a schema was and how to use it.
It turns out there’s a few different levels to how NFTs are categorised. First, of course, is the collection. This is pretty self-evident – it’s an NFT project; assets connected by an overarching theme. A schema, then, groups the NFTs within that collection according to type. In my case, I’d be making a schema of promo NFTs to house this first one and, eventually, separate schemas for stickers, art, and redeemable NFTs respectively.
Armed with that information I typed in ‘hlfmoonpromo‘ as the schema name and hoped for the best.
My next challenge was setting attributes for my collection, and, once again, I found myself consulting the documentation to decipher what that meant.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit how long it took me to understand this. I must have consulted five or six different guides, as well as bugging my partner at least four separate times to explain it in terms I could understand.
Eventually, I went back and properly watched the first how-to resource video in the NFT Creator and, with the help of Crypton’s sneaker allegory. I understood both what an attribute was and how much of my partner’s time I had unnecessarily wasted.
Attributes, it turns out, are the characteristics (or properties) of an NFT schema.
For my simple promo sticker, I needed nothing more than a name, an image, and a text description, and my NFT would be free to roam through marketplaces and wallets alike. Should I ever add another promo NFT to that schema, the types of attributes can remain the same, while the content of them, that is, the names, images, and descriptions themselves, will be different.
I’d overcome the second hurdle and was ready to move on, but yet more challenges lay ahead.
Now for the penultimate stage of the NFT creation process – creating a template. Once again, I consulted my notes and was relieved to find that this one was fairly straightforward. A template, I found, was pretty much what it sounded like – a way to pre-set the contents of the attributes I’d just created in order to make as many copies as I want of a particular NFT.
If one day, I decided to make more of these early members stickers (which wouldn’t make any sense, but bear with me for the sake of the example) I could go back and recreate the exact same NFT, with the exact same name, image and description. Creating a template wasn’t mandatory, but I decided to give it a whirl for the sake of practice.
One of the great things about templates is that you can set a maximum supply – meaning you can limit how many NFTs will be created through that template. This is a good way to secure the rarity of a particular NFT, visible to anyone inspecting those assets at any point in the future.
For my promo stickers, this was the perfect way to tell the world; “these NFTs are special and limited!”, so I typed in the number ‘50’ whilst dreaming of their bright futures as rare collector’s items…
With that done, I clicked ‘Create Template’ and admired my work for a moment before realising I’d forgotten to name it. “Oh, I’ll just fix that”, I thought, adding the name ‘Early Coven Member’ before clicking ‘Create Template’ once again. To my horror, I had accidentally created an entirely new template, and given the nature of the blockchain, there was no way to undo it. My newbie blunder will now be recorded in the annals of the WAX blockchain until the end of time.
It was only with this error firmly under my belt that I discovered the AtomicHub testnet – as it turns out, these sorts of teething problems have been foreseen. If you know that episode of The Simpsons in which Marge stops Homer from eating Maggie’s birthday cake with the caveat “I made a special cake for you to ruin,” it’s a bit like that.
If I hadn’t rushed ahead before doing the proper research, I would’ve realised this is where all these mistakes are supposed to be made.
Even though it was too late, I set up a test wallet anyway, just to see what could have been. To my simultaneous delight and chagrin, it was remarkably easy. I relived my template creation all over again, this time in the safety of an impermanent collection, authored by a wallet that didn’t really exist. Finally, I felt ready to mint my NFTs for real.
Back on the mainnet – that is, the place where all these things actually exist in their immutable forms – I uploaded my image to the Mint Asset form with a newfound sense of properly-placed confidence.
I selected my Early Coven Member template, typed in the number 50 under ‘Number of Copies’, and with bated breath, I signed the smart contract responsible for minting my very first NFTs and… nothing.
Ah. I didn’t have enough RAM.
After throwing a bunch of money at my resources, I tried again… but now, I’d exceeded my CPU and I would have to wait an hour to try again.
Frustrated, I scribbled some designs for upcoming NFTs in the meantime. When the hour was up, the butterflies returned, and I clicked the ‘sign contract’ button with eager anticipation… only to get the same message. I must have done this three times before I finally clocked what that error meant, and tried minting only half of the assets at a time.
After all that faffing about, I was hardly prepared when the action was accepted and my brand new NFTs appeared there, shiny and new, in my WAX wallet.
All of a sudden, I’d become an NFT creator!
It was a harder-than-necessary road to get there, but after all that, the sense of achievement left me glowing, and I eagerly began to distribute my very first blockchain-backed digital assets to my burgeoning Discord community.
I, a tech-luddite jeweller with an apparent reading impairment, had somehow figured it out and stepped into the wonderful world of NFT creation.
Next time, though, I’ll be sure to pay attention to the instructions first.