NFTs #2: beginners toolkit

HomeCollecting 101

In the previous article I have explained what NFTs are and how they are created from a technical point of view. They are non-interchangeable digital assets that are minted in the blockchain, which means that an ownership certificate is created, and that digital item is yours. Once you’ve understood the logic it might even look simply, right? Well, not too fast!

Before going on its important to underline that the whole blockchain system is based on the idea that transactions are public, and they don’t go through banks or any other intermediary – this means that every transaction is done by computers, and once it is minted there is no going back!
Having said that, either if you are and artist and you want to sell your art in a digital form, or you are a collector interested in this new frontier of collection, the first thing you need is to have a crypto wallet.

A crypto wallet is a software program or physical device that allows you to store your crypto and therefore sending and receiving of crypto transactions. Basically, it is your digital identity and money. There are multiple wallets that can be used to purchase and sell NFTs, each one with its specific trading characteristics. When choosing a wallet, the elements to take into consideration may be the setup of the interface or the compatibility among different blockchains.

Meta mask is the most popular choice among NFT wallets, it is a software cryptocurrency wallet used to interact with the Ethereum blockchain that allows users to access their Ethereum wallet through a browser extension or mobile app. However, there are other types of wallets such as Coinbase Wallet (top NFT wallet being suitable for beginners) or DeFi (a crypto wallet that allows the user to store multiple different types of crypto currencies).
Note: Creating a meta mask is not for free, because there are many issues regarding sustainability around blockchain transactions.

With a proper wallet, you can start to look around to find the place where all the magic happens - minting platforms - the digital places where NFTs are created and sold; there are many and each one has specificities.
The advice here is to look around the best deal to you, but we will give you some hints on which are the best for us:

1. Abris is a sustainable NFT marketplace that uses Algorand, a green blockchain. It offers creators 90% of the sale price on primary sales and continues to offer them 5% of the selling price on secondary sales perpetually
Note: Since the fee on gas emissions increases the price for every transaction this platform allows Abris to have a lower minting cost.

2. Opensea is the largest marketplace for digital goods. It is a decentralized marketplace with over 4 million products in its portal, where users can buy and sell any kind of blockchain-based digital items. Open for all, the platform allows artists to create for free collections and NFTs, to select the number of copies to sell and the time of release. Plus, artists can receive a 10% fee on their work once it is sold. The only problem with Opensea is that it works with a non-sustainable blockchain.

3. SuperRare is a platform Ethereum-based; but in this case the approach is more similar to a social media - not everyone can access this environment and artists are selected at the entrance. This guarantees a higher quality than Opensea in terms of artworks, and the system resembles more the traditional art market. The artists receive 85% of primary sales, and a 10% of royalties on secondary sales.  

4. Foundation is another top platform to mint and sell NFTs, and similarly to Superare, is not open to everyone. The advantage of this platform is the fact that is incredibly user friendly. In this case artists and buyers are requested to pay a gas fee on the minting process. Collectors, in addition, have to pay 15% fee to the foundation for the mediation on the sale.

To conclude the framework of the digital environment crypto artists and collectors are going to operate in, we have to understand how the artistic marketplace works.

Minting platforms are the place where the art is created and sold, but the transactions can take place in different platforms and websites, since the beginning of this new way of doing art, the art system has been gradually shifting towards this new form of collecting. Big auction houses like Christies and Sotheby’s have developed their own marketplace for NFTs (in 2021, the first two top sales of NFTs were done by Christies), while many smaller businesses and startups have been trying to help “non-tech-savvy” artists and collectors to start collecting digitally.

Since the beginning of Covid, our world, and the art world as well has been shifting towards the digital more and more. Nowadays art exhibition take place in the metaverse, and people can buy and sell art without any physical interaction. This has been changing in particular the role of the art critics. With such democratization and accessibility to making and buying art, which will be the role of the experts in our field in the future?

Written by
Alice Asia Bergagnin