NFT (short for Non-Fungible Token) refers to a digital certification that attests to the originality and authenticity of a particular piece of media content. Whether photos, illustrations, videos, songs or even works of art, an NFT certifies the uniqueness of that particular content and its not being exchangeable with others (e.g. a bitcoin is a “fungible” token, as it can be exchanged with any other bitcoin without affecting its value; an NFT is not, as it is unique and has a specific value). And in fact, this peculiarity has made its way into the hearts of collectors and fans of digital art, as well as fanatics of the latest trends, increasing the popularity of this technology.
But how do you create an NFT? These certificates are nothing more than strings of code, a series of bits placed inside a file to mint it in case of sale. Why yes, these NFTs are sold on a regular basis every day and in particular cases come to cost hundreds of millions of dollars (although in reality, in most cases they have much lower costs). These transactions are regulated through blockchain-related technologies and through the use of decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, which is the virtual currency of choice when it comes to buying and selling NFTs.
And it doesn’t end there! As time goes on, the hypothetical spread of NFTs could bring up some interesting new use cases. For example, a ticket to a particular show or concert could be minted and resold as memorabilia; a certification applied to a video game or content available in it (e.g. a skin or an object) could drastically reduce piracy; or even an NFT that could function as a digital ID card, and so on. Not to mention the future implications in the metaverse so dear to Meta (the company behind Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp).
Creating an NFT, however, is not an operation within everyone’s reach, at least for the moment. In most cases, the minting of a Non-Fungible Token in fact requires the payment of a fee for gas emissions generated, in order to pay the energy expenses incurred by the blockchain. This is a fee in the hundreds of dollars for each individual NFT to be minted. An affordable investment for established artists, to the detriment of newbies. However, there are platforms that can carry out this legitimization at no cost. In the course of the next few lines I’ll show you everything you need to know about how to create an NFT for free, starting from the basics up to the tools you need to approach this new technological trend firsthand.
How to create NFT to sell
First of all, you need to create a content to turn into NFT and then sell. As mentioned before, the range of media content in which these NFTs can be minted is very wide and therefore has several methods to be developed.
Regarding images and photos, if by chance you’re wondering how to create NFT in Photoshop, know that you can make a photomontage (obviously with images of which you hold the rights of use) and illustrations as you normally would and then turn your work into an NFT, as I’ll explain later. In case you need help learning how to use Photoshop, see my tutorial on the subject. As an alternative to Photoshop, you can always opt for other programs to create images, perhaps free, such as GIMP.
Obviously, for each content there is also a specific program that can satisfy your artistic vein. Don’t panic, in my site you already have several guides on the best video editors, best audio editors and for programs to create games, although in the latter case the development of NFT is still a bit ‘too cumbersome.
How to create a crypto wallet
Well: you’ve created your first piece of work destined to become an NFT, but you’re still missing something to actually get started. Since this is content that can be purchased via blockchain, you can’t buy NFTs with traditional currency and you’ll need at least a crypto wallet to be able to access the buying and selling platforms and be able to manage any earnings you’ll get from selling your works.
For this tutorial I’ll take MetaMask as an example, one of the most used crypto wallets in the NFT field and not only. The peculiarity of MetaMask is its offline nature, allowing you to access your account at any time and ensuring the highest possible level of security.
To download MetaMask, connect to the official website and click on the Download button to view the platforms compatible with this crypto wallet. MetaMask is available on smartphone operating systems such as Android and iOS, as well as being installable as an add-on for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge browsers. In the latter case, since the extension requires very high permissions in order to work and, therefore, could potentially read all the activities you perform in your browsing program, I recommend installing it within an alternative browser to the one you usually use, so as to zero any potential privacy risk (the service is reliable and very popular, but you know, caution is never too much!).
Once installed, all you have to do is set up a secure email address and password for your account, memorize the secret words dedicated to account recovery on a piece of paper (in case something goes wrong) and finally log in to MetaMask to move on to the next step. Alternatively, if you’re not convinced about using this solution, I suggest you take a look at my guide on the best crypto wallets where you can find many good alternatives.
How to create NFT for free with OpenSea
You have your artwork, you have a crypto wallet, what are you missing? Obviously you are missing a stage, an audience or in this case a platform on which to share and sell your work. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are plenty of platforms that allow you to create and sell an NFT, but most of them require you to pay a fee for minting each token. This narrows down your options to a very few platforms that can host and resell your creations for free.
Of these, OpenSea is the most popular platform around when it comes to creating free NFTs. Since its founding in 2017, OpenSea’s digital marketplace has seen an incredible amount of NFTs appear, ranging between 80 million unique pieces with a total value of as much as $10 billion. Additionally, the site recently implemented coinage via Polygon, an Ethereum-based blockchain that specializes in lazy minting, postponing the creation of the NFT until the buyer purchases it and thus reducing the cost of the aforementioned blockchain’s issue tax to zero.
Signing up for OpenSea is very simple. First, connect to the main page of the site and click on the Create button to open the page dedicated to access. From there, select (among the supported ones) your trusted crypto wallet and confirm the connection with the platform. At this point you will be asked, within your wallet, to sign an authentication to accept the terms and conditions of use of OpenSea. Once this is done, click on the profile image to open a small pop-up menu. Within this menu you can click on various options, such as the classic Profile Settings and Interface Settings.
For the purposes of this guide, click on My Collections to enter the page dedicated to the management of your art collections, which are necessary to catalog your creations and make order. Click on Create a collection to start setting up a new collection. Fill in the appropriate fields by entering logo, cover, banner, name, a custom url address and a description to easily identify your collection.
As for the non-mandatory fields, I suggest you to consider the inclusion of a category, some links to your contacts and especially the inclusion of royalties, or a small percentage of money that you can earn for each resale by third parties of your NFT. Once you’re satisfied, click Create to save the collection to your profile.
Click again on the Create button in the upper right corner to open the page dedicated to the creation of your first NFT. OpenSea allows you to upload files in different formats such as JPG, PNG, GIF, MP4, MP3, WAV and even 3D model files exported to GLB and GLTF. The only limitation is the size of a file, which cannot exceed 100 MB.
Next, fill out the available text fields by entering the name of your NFT, a description and an external link to insert to provide additional information (links to Discord and Twitter are recommended). By clicking on the Select Collection item you can categorize the content in the previously created collection. After that, you have the possibility to set some extra features, such as NFT properties, its Levels, Statistics to show to visitors, exclusive content accessible only after the purchase of the image or choose whether to set a filter for explicit and offensive content.
Finally, open the menu under Blockchain and select Polygon to take advantage of NFT creation via this blockchain at no cost. With Polygon, you can also select a higher quantity of NFTs to be minted by entering a number in the field under Supply. Once you have all the necessary information set up for good, click on the Create button, to finish.
After a few seconds of waiting, the OpenSea system will finally generate your first NFT. Now all you have to do is sell it! Click Sell to open the page dedicated to creating a new listing. Enter the price in Ethereum (remember that at the exchange rate 1 ETH is equivalent to about 3,700 dollars) and set the duration of the sale of the insertion. To “price” your work I recommend you to take a “trip” on OpenSea and see how much are listed, on average, the works similar to yours.
Finally, click on Complete Listing: a screen dedicated to the validation of the operation will open. Since this is your first transaction on OpenSea, you must click on Unlock and accept a confirmation transaction of no value to enable your crypto wallet to sell. Next, click Sign to sign your NFT for sale. And there you have it! You’ve just put your first NFT up for sale on OpenSea for free!
This is obviously just a general smattering of what’s possible with services like OpenSea. For all the in-depth information you need, I recommend consulting the official help center.
Other platforms to create NFT
In this tutorial you learned how to create a free NFT through the OpenSea platform, however there are other alternatives (unfortunately not always free) that you may not know and that are worth mentioning.
free platform dedicated to creating NFTs without having to pay the emission fee, using the lazy minting blockchain created by the platform.
platform for the creation of NFTs managed by Binance and that allows you to manage and sell your works after paying a fee using the BNB cryptocurrency.
platform dedicated to artists, content creators and collectors, allowing them to use the Ethereum blockchain to create, collect and sell their NFTs.