In our previous NFT Series article, we took a deep dive into the culture of community in NFTs. NFT Communities are largely unseen by the outside world and thus, largely underestimated. Another common question from NFT non-purveyors is: what does it mean to mint an NFT?
What is minting?
To ‘mint’ an NFT means to record a digital file onto a blockchain. When an NFT is minted, this indicates that it is the first time that the file has ever existed on the blockchain. NFTs are stored on the blockchain forever and are immutable assets; they cannot be deleted. Most commonly, NFTs are correlated to ‘jpegs’ — images that represent the NFT. Technically speaking, the image itself is not the NFT, rather the image is uploaded to a decentralized file storage platform and the NFT points to the image’s storage location.
TL;DR/ELI5: minting an NFT puts it into the world for the very first time. It has never existed before, but now that it does, it can be transferred between owners, traded on NFT marketplaces, or utilized for a multitude of utilities (which we’ll cover in another article!).
What’s the big deal?
The technicality of minting might sound boring, but the lead-up to this event is full of exciting energy, anticipation, speculation, and building. The spectacle of an NFT project launching (aka minting) can be compared to an IDO or a major product launch for a company. It can be thought of as the day your soon-to-be startup’s Kickstarter meets its goal. The main difference being: anyone can start an NFT project. This opens doors that are typically out of reach for everyday people and thus lets us push the limits on how project founders engage audiences and build supportive, rallying communities.
The mint day experience, explained
A typical mint day for an NFT project looks something like:
- Morning of: increased community activity, palpable excitement, and in some cases attempted scams — bad actors pushing out fake minting websites to try and steal your crypto.
- Right before mint: Community lockdown (so as to not crash Discord’s servers!), eager supporters heading to the mint website, getting ready to click the mint button as fast as possible (you can relate this to trying to buy tickets to a popular concert).
- Mint time: Influx of traffic to the mint website as buyers spam click the mint button, sometimes using multiple browser tabs for a chance to mint more than one NFT.
- Mint sell-out: Euphoria in the project’s community, general excitement for the collection selling out.
- Post-mint: Collection gets listed on secondary trading marketplaces, usually with people FOMO buying at a premium price point if they were unsuccessful in minting.
Like most things in NFTs, a mint is something that must be experienced first-hand to truly understand why this has become a major, hype-driven ‘event’ at all. In some sense, it can feel like gambling — when you mint an NFT, you are doing so blindly — you don’t know if you’ll pull a common or rare NFT from the collection. This drives speculation and creates potential opportunities for your NFT to be worth more based on traits it has in the image (explained in our first NFT Series article).
After a hyped mint, projects can see millions of dollars in trading volume from secondary sales. Trading frenzies are fueled by speculation, people flipping for rarer traits, and hoping to accumulate strong projects for potentially low prices. It’s an event — a show — that draws large crowds and captures their attention before they move onto the next big mint. Minting has become a culture; to best understand it, you’ll need to immerse yourself in the activity.
Where can I mint an NFT?
Most NFT projects will host their own mint site. However, some marketplaces have ‘launchpads’ — essentially a mint site hosted by the marketplace where projects come through each day — where you can participate.
Solana’s Magic Eden: https://magiceden.io/launchpad
To find upcoming mints on Solana & Ethereum, join us in discord.gg/nftradar
About the Author
Lauren is the Founder of NFT Radar, one of the largest free communities dedicated to education & research for NFT projects on Solana, Ethereum & other ecosystems. NFT Radar is a great community for NFT newcomers: discord.gg/nftradar