This piece does not enlighten you about what an NFT is. However, if you have been interested in reading about NFT minting & some hands-on experience of first time NFT minters, then definitely give it a read
Entrepreneurship Education is not just about class lectures but also includes hands-on exercises, teamwork, real-life interactions, and thinking outside the box in many other ways to provide an immersive learning experience to the students.
During the Monsoon Semester 2022, for the Metaverse Decoded course by Jaspreet Bindra, the course participants were given a unique team-based assignment. They had to create a piece of art – painting, drawing, music, video, photograph, or collectible. Mint it as an NFT (non-fungible token) on any platform/marketplace/site and put it up for sale.
In this blog, we shall share with you how two teams went about the assignment. Below are mentioned excerpts from their assignment reports. A unique feature of the assignment was that the individual contributions of the team members had to be enlisted along with learnings from the process of minting NFTs.
Team 1: DeFi.Nomists
Context for Team Name: The core of this assignment is Decentralized Finance (DeFi); Nomists comes from the Greek word nomos, meaning law or principle (as used in Economists).
Group Members: Ankit Sharma, Harsha Mini, Nidhi Munot, Pranav Wali, Reeya Gupta, Samarth Jain, Twinkle Madke, and Vansh Jogani
The Process: We divided ourselves into four sub-groups, minting one NFT each. We wanted to mint different types of content into NFTs to see the differences in the minting process if any and test out the different platforms to check if they influenced the NFT’s performance. The wallets used were MetaMask and Metasky (which were created for free).
1. Harsha and Samarth (physical artwork):
Mintable– a gasless store was a viable option that allowed us to mint without paying gas fees upfront. This made minting the NFT free of cost since additional fees were only factored in once the NFT was sold. The reselling of the NFT on the platform provides a 10% royalty to primary owners, creating a revenue stream from future transactions.
We took a picture of Harsha’s physical artwork called “Parallel Realities” and minted it on the Ethereum Blockchain. We opted for the listing to be auctioned instead of choosing a fixed price because, without appraisal of the NFT, we were unsure of the price to assign to the piece. The minimum bid was 0.01 ETH (around $14.96), with it now priced at 0.013 ETH. The NFT received a total of 31 views.
NFT Link: Parallel-R… NFT for sale at Mintable.app
2. Nidhi and Reeya (digital artwork):
Since digital art pieces are one of the most popular types of NFTs that have a growing market of both buyers and sellers, we decided to mint and sell a digital art piece made by Nidhi on the OpenSea platform. A Metamask wallet was created to try tokens besides Ethereum MainNet, which otherwise are expensive.
We used the Polygon Blockchain Network and the Matic MainNet token. We then used a thematic supply faucet to generate some funds; a free site that provides small amounts of free tokens. We linked the wallet to an OpenSea account and minted the piece titled ‘Sunset at Sea Link’, which we listed for sale at a fixed price of 1 ETH. The NFT received 5 views.
The caveat with OpenSea is its large number of undifferentiated verified sellers, which would at least partially explain the low number of views.
NFT Link: Sunset at Sea Link – reeya-gupta Collection | OpenSea
3. Ankit and Pranav (video):
Apart from digital and physical art, we also wanted to explore mp4s/gifs as NFTs. To sell a video NFT, we realized we needed something of sentimental value or something buyer-interest-centric. So we chose a clip from the Ashoka Premier League (Ashoka’s annual intra-university football league) of a last-minute goal in the finals.
We looked at the best websites for mp4s/gifs and uploaded the NFT titled “freekickapl” on OpenSea. The NFT was publicized through social media and word of mouth to create hype and generate traction among the Ashokans. A fixed price of 0.0004 ETH (around 0.62USD) was set and we received an offer. Alternatively, an auction might have been set up given that the NFT holds value in the Ashokan context. However, it might not have generated enough participation from the general Ashokan body, owing to the lack of knowledge/interest in DeFi. We marketed this to the goal-scorer, who was willing to pay the gas fee only if we made this a series. We are currently looking to mint it on arbitrum in order to save gas fees while still maintaining Ethereum which is a great ecosystem.
NFT Link: freekickapl – Glorious freekicks | OpenSea
4. Twinkle and Vansh (whitelist):
Curiosity made us attempt whitelisting—an NFT minting mechanism which allows a list of individuals guaranteed early access to mint. Whitelists are created by organizations to reward early and consistent supporters, prevent gas wars and stop spam by fake accounts.
We got whitelisted for the record label AZRV’s NFT on the NEAR Blockchain, which uses less energy compared to other blockchains, making it easier and more efficient for minting. With this NFT, we obtained early access to their upcoming music, live tour and community-only art events along with exclusive access to the discord channel with other AZRV NFT owners. This channel provided regular updates on the label and its artists. It also gave us a platform to interact with like-minded supporters of the label. However, although the NFT comes with multiple perks, we are not allowed to sell it yet.
- For Mintable, the categories and subcategories were very broad. The reach of the piece could have been improved with more specificity. Sellers had the option to add tags, but buyers could not search for them in the dropdown while searching for NFTs.
- OpenSea doesn’t allow filtering. If the feature were present, it would have added more relevance to the listing. Additionally, there were no tags that could be attached to the listing to increase reach.
- The dearth of an NFT appraisal mechanism led us to highly overvalue or undervalue our NFTs.
- Gas price fluctuation resulted in constant changes in pricing; this causes lower-valued NFTs to have lower saleability.
- Uncertainty about which platform had better reach and a relevant buyer market for the listed NFTs.
- The consequence of being a new and unverified user was low viewership of the listed NFTs.
- Creating a utility of the NFTs beyond the resales.
- We could have used “boosts” to increase the visibility of our NFTs on the platforms. However, we didn’t as it requires payment.
- We could have created a collection of NFTs, which would provide greater utility and value when compared to NFTs sold individually. In the Ashokan context, if we had created a collection of NFTs related to the campus, Ashokans would likely assign greater value to those NFTs. We could also attach intangible benefits to this collection (e.g. priority access to slot-sign-ups for the piano room).
- Platform Visibility and Relevancy: To better understand which platform works best for a particular type of NFT we could have compared the visibility of different platforms by listing similar pieces of content on different platforms with similar tags, and then comparing the reach. Offer prices could also be a metric for comparison.
Team 2: Built to Mint
Group Members: Abhirup, Abhiir, Anusha, Megha, Nikhil, Prabhav, Zorawar
We all contributed to the initial brainstorming, discussions, and final report writing process. In addition to this, our contributions are:
Abhirup: Compiled 21 NFTs to create 3 distinct collections on OpenSea and contributed 6 NFTs of my own – photography, digital art and composed the music NFT ‘Voyage’ (https://opensea.io/BuiltToMint) – Combined ~ 200 views.
Abhiir: Uploaded wildlife-specific NFTs, explored other platforms like Rarible, and marketed collections through Instagram stories.
Anusha: Created a piece of GenArt (via code), and minted it on Mintable (GenArt) to explore that platform (~50 views). For the Ashoka-themed collection – clicked pictures of the sky from different places around campus.
Megha: Created ‘The Ashokan Artist’ NFT portfolio https://opensea.io/The_Ashokan_Artist to showcase original digi-art made by students from the University.
Nikhil: Attempted to create an NBA NFT equivalent by minting moments from Ashokan Sporting Tournaments (Ashoka University – Sports – Collection | OpenSea) – Combined ~50 views.
Prabhav: Found satirical content in Ashokan and non-Ashokan contexts to create 6 NFTs; marketed all collections through a campus-wide email.
Zorawar: Drafted the campus-wide email.
When Built to Mint was given the task of minting an NFT, we were initially apprehensive about it. None of us had any experience in this domain and were puzzled about how to actually ‘mint’ an NFT and makes it perform well. What this project showed us was that creating NFTs and crypto wallets is far simpler than we had thought and that there are a lot of factors that determine an NFT’s price, popularity, and ultimate value.
The Minting Process
Our apprehensions regarding NFT marketplaces being complex were debunked when we realized that minting an NFT takes less than 5 minutes! All platforms allowed us to simply choose and upload whichever item we wanted.
We realized early on that getting a random piece of art to gain traction would be challenging. On every major platform, the NFTs that seemed to be doing well:
- Had been uploaded by a verified user.
- Had a story woven around them in a way that made the artwork significantly more appealing to the audience.
These platforms have an algorithm like Instagram where verified profiles with the characteristic blue tick tend to perform better, in terms of views and favourites. Becoming a verified creator takes time, and since it was impossible for us to become one so soon, it was clear that for our NFTs to perform well, they needed to be a part of a larger narrative. Therefore, we chose a close-to-home theme to work with – Ashoka. We created a collection of NFTs titled ‘Inside Ashoka University’ where we uploaded images ranging from the famous Sonepat skies to the infamous Ashokan eating habits.
Secondly, to broaden our horizons, we curated a collection titled ‘A Lil’ Something for Everyone’ consisting of photographs (ranging from satire to wildlife), digital clip art, and an original piano composition titled ‘Voyage’.
We decided to mint all items on OpenSea as it is arguably the biggest NFT marketplace currently. More importantly, it doesn’t charge creators any minting fees (‘gas money’). Creators only pay a small percentage of the sale price, if and when an NFT is sold. Our pricing strategy was to compare the prices and quality of different forms of art on the platform (videos/audio/images), and then decide our price points based on the competition we faced. We ended up setting the prices extremely low, with most of them being around 0.0005 ETH (approximately 65 INR – less than the cost of a sandwich on campus!).
In addition to OpenSea, we experimented and minted some art pieces for free on platforms like Mintable, Rarible etc. For example, on Mintable, we minted the following GenArt, ‘Abstract Colourful Lines’.
To ensure that our Ashoka-specific NFTs perform well, we sent an email to the entire student body with the links to all the account profiles across the platforms we used.
We also shared them through Instagram stories and leveraged our personal connections to boost viewership. Additionally, we got to learn how using listing tags on NFT platforms can be helpful. By using these, our views for the Mintable NFT went up from around 2-3 to 20 within just 2 days.
Of all the OpenSea NFTs, we noticed that the music NFT, Voyage, witnessed the greatest increase in views. As of 5th November 2022, Voyage stood at 38 views, while Abstract Colourful Lines on Mintable at 49 views.
From the NFT minting process, we learned that the story mattered far more than the NFT itself. A digital creation has no tangible value of its own. People assign value based on the creator and the story behind it, not necessarily its aesthetic quality.
Why is it that a pixelated crypto-punk sells for $7,560,000 while a digital doodle of the Northern Lights by an Ashokan student gets hardly any? The former has a story that has captured the collective fancy. It is known as one of the 9 alien punks, making it an extremely rare piece.
Additionally, an exciting insight for us was that through NFT marketplaces, we can potentially monetize and profit from any piece of art in our surroundings as long as it is unique and has a story behind it.
What could’ve been done differently
Looking back, after going through the entire process, we think we could have boosted our NFTs’ performances by:
- Conducting better research into the trends and purchasing behaviours of users in NFT marketplaces to understand which category of art performs the best.
- Starting marketing our NFTs immediately after minting them.
- Exploring NFT forums on Reddit, Discord, etc to increase our viewership.
- Focusing more on weaving a story behind each NFT, to allow users to form personal connections.
Recommendations for Platforms
While minting an NFT is quite simple, purchasing one isn’t. For Indian customers, the first step to owning an NFT from a marketplace like OpenSea is to transfer Ethereum from a popular Indian wallet like WazirX to MetaMask, as OpenSea doesn’t allow direct transactions. This costs significant gas fees. For example, while our NFTs in rupees cost about 80-100 INR, the gas fee is more than 1000 INR. Moreover, even if Indian consumers begin with Metamask, the minimum transaction amount for buying ETH is $30 (≈2500 INR). Such costs disincentivize potential buyers to purchase NFTs, especially low-cost ones.
Another point of concern on OpenSea is that although uniqueness is the defining feature of NFTs, there are no authenticity checks to ensure that an item has not existed on any other platform. Mintable, on the other hand, does run such checks and provides buyers with links to other similar items found on the internet. Therefore, this is an area where OpenSea can improve.
Hope you enjoyed going through the blog and learnt how NFTs can be minted & which platform works best for you. Happy Minting!
By Team DeFi.Nomists (Ankit Sharma, Harsha Mini, Nidhi Munot, Pranav Wali, Reeya Gupta, Samarth Jain, Twinkle Madke, and Vansh Jogani) & Built to Mint (Abhirup, Abhiir, Anusha, Megha, Nikhil, Prabhav, Zorawar)
Edited by Ekanto Ghosh and Charu Veluthoor (ASP’23)