Global interest in blockchain technology is growing on a daily basis, and with it comes good news for artists: if done correctly, there’s a lot of money to be made in the space. Just look at Mike Winkelmann, a.k.a Beeple, a digital artist who sold his NFT for $69 million in March of last year. What’s more is that there are now alternatives to the often criticized Ethereum blockchain, which are more environmentally friendly, despite the misconception that all NFTs are bad for the environment.
First of all, WTF is blockchain?
The definition of blockchain is “a system in which a record of transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency is maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network”. NFTs are made possible through blockchain technologies, and there are many different blockchains for artists to choose from when releasing their art as an NFT. It’s important to know the differences between each, as well as the benefits and limitations, and decide for yourself individually which one suits you best.
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Here are three of the blockchain biggies that you could consider.
1. How to make NFTs on Ethereum
Ethereum is without a doubt the biggest blockchain in the NFT space. It provides many benefits, namely, a large user base, more developed projects and marketplaces and a set standard across the blockchain. However, with these benefits come some limitations, these include the most notable one: the environmental damage which is caused by every transaction on the blockchain. The reasoning behind this is because Ethereum works on a Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism, however, they look to move to the alternative, Proof of Stake (PoS) which will help this issue massively. Once this happens, there will be less of a concern for the environment, and the transaction fees will also be lower, as at the moment, you could spend $100s on ‘gas fees’ just to mint, sell, or buy an NFT.
To mint your artwork you will need a few things: A software cryptocurrency wallet, like the industry leader Metamask. An account on a marketplace platform for secondary sales, like OpenSea, SuperRare (invite only), Rarible, or LooksRare. SuperRare and Rarible are popular with artists who aren’t producing ‘profile picture collections’, but instead more limited or 1/1 art, similar to traditional art. Finally, a mint website (this is optional, you can also use the marketplace platform to mint).
Several full tutorials on how to mint an NFT on OpenSea and Rarible have been made on YouTube. These take you through step by step how to go through the somewhat complicated process of minting on Ethereum.
2. How to make NFTs on Solana
Solana is argumentally the second biggest blockchain, behind only Ethereum. However, this is still up for debate with others fighting to get that second spot. The main benefits of Solana, despite its problems, are the fast transaction speeds, and minimal gas fees when compared to the premier blockchain, Ethereum. It is more environmentally friendly than Ethereum, as Solana uses proof-of-stake, but doesn’t quite match other blockchains, like WAX, as mentioned below. The main goal of the blockchain is to scale themselves for global adoption. Solana’s main marketplaces are Magic Eden, Solsea, and Solanart.
In order to mint an NFT on Solana, you’ll need a Phantom wallet, which you’ll have to send your funds to from an exchange. The Solana minting process is slightly more complicated than other chains. Cryptopotato released a full, in depth guide of how to mint on the Solsea platform. Solana has been gaining a lot of ‘hype’ recently, so if you’re looking for a way to make sales, whilst avoiding heavy gas fees, Solana may be the option for you. The 1/1 art scene on Solana is less explored than Ethereum, so there’s certainly potential for growth there.
3. How to make NFTs on Avalanche
Avalanche is one of the best options for those who are looking to majorly consider the environmental impact of NFTs. It provides a perfect mixture of popularity, despite not being one of the biggest blockchains, whilst also remaining eco-friendly, which is one of its main benefits. According to a Medium article by Avalanche, and research by Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute, it consumes 35,000x Less Energy Than Ethereum and 200,000x Less Than Bitcoin. An additional benefit to the Avalanche blockchain is the fact that it is backed by the current 12th top-ranked cryptocurrency, $AVAX, which is their token. Moreover, the chain is also lightning-fast and low cost for users. A downside to the relatively sound blockchain at this current moment is the lack of ability to compete with massive blockchains, and their newbie status in the NFT world, only starting to properly integrate the technology in the past few months.
Fortunately, Avalanche also allows for the use of the Metamask wallet, which is the leader by a long stretch in crypto wallets.
To conclude, Solana and Avalanche are two quicker and cheaper blockchain alternatives to Ethereum. Also, Avalanche brings the extra advantage of being more environmentally friendly, so if you’re looking for something less damaging to the earth, then Avalanche or other blockchains like Polkadot, Fantom or WAX are your best options. Ethereum however brings the benefit of mass adoption, it certainly has the most developed marketplaces and a bigger userbase. These are only a few of the blockchains which you could use. Further alternatives include Tezos, Cardano, and Flow.
Something you must always consider when minting an NFT, no matter the blockchain, is that there’s risk involved. If you don’t market your NFTs correctly, or build a good team around you, or a group of people who can support you, you may lose out on some money and struggle to sell your art.