Many people have asked us recently how to start NFT trading for free without gas fees, so we’ve chosen to write this article on how you can mint (and hopefully sell) an NFT for free, with no gas fees or other expenses.
First and foremost, a disclaimer. You may mint NFTs on a variety of systems and blockchains, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
Only the OpenSea and Rarible platforms, and the Polygon blockchain will be discussed in this essay. This is because picking these is one of the methods to make NFTs without having to pay for gas (which are necessary, and potentially quite pricey, if you mint an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain, for example).
If you need to pay gas costs (the cost of doing a transaction on a blockchain) when establishing an NFT, you’ll need to sell the NFT for a significantly higher price to make any money because you’ll need to at least cover the gas expenses.
That is not an easy task… at least for most artists.
Throughout 2021, NFTs have been a cultural phenomena, with celebrities dabbling in the space and resulting hijinks, scams, and legal battles.
However, with some developers generating millions from NFTs, it’s natural why you’d want to try your hand at it or play around with the technology to have a better understanding of it.
We’ll go through how to produce an NFT utilizing two of the most popular markets, but first, let’s go over some of the fundamentals of what an NFT is and the considerations you’ll need to make before selling one. (If you’re already familiar with the process, skip to Step 3 to begin the process of actually making a token.)
NFTs generated a whopping $2.5 billion in sales in the first half of 2021, which isn’t surprising given that digital artists like Beeple joined on the bandwagon, selling an NFT of his work for a whooping $69 million.
With the popularity of NFTs – and the prospects associated with NFT trading – showing no signs of waning, an increasing number of people are interested in getting involved.
However, because of the intricacy and novelty of NFTs, many people are unsure where to begin.
STEP 1: Thoroughly learn what an NFT is
There’s no need to feel bad if you’ve come here with little knowledge of what NFTs are.
“Hey, you should sell that photo of your pet as an NFT,” a friend would have said.
However, it’s generally advisable to have some notion about what you’re doing before you go through the process of developing and selling one.
The media frenzy surrounding NFTs has piqued most of our interest; the prospect of generating additional cash after two years of economic instability is music to our ears.
However, you must not allow the allure of NFTs to cloud your judgment. You must devote time and effort to fully comprehending NFTs, or you will have little chance of success.
We have a whole explainer dedicated to NFTs and their culture, as well as an explainer dedicated to the blockchain technology that NFTs employ.
You don’t have to memorize every word, but the rest of this book will make allusions to concepts like Ethereum, proof of work, and others that you’ll learn more about by reading our explainers.
However, here’s a fast TL;DR. Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are digital tokens that are kept on the blockchain.
Unlike cryptocurrencies, where each coin is identical (there’s no reason to favor one Bitcoin over another), each NFT is one-of-a-kind and can be sold to show ownership of a digital file.
Almost 90% of the time, the files aren’t truly kept on the blockchain. Instead, a link to the file is saved, together with a token that serves as proof of ownership of whatever that link goes to.
There’s also no law that says two or more NFTs for the same file can’t exist – you can have NFTs with editions, similar to trading cards.
For example, an NFT can be rare if only ten copies exist, or it might be widespread if thousands of the same NFTs have been “minted,” or committed to the blockchain.
There’s also nothing stopping someone from using the file you used for your NFT to make their own NFT (though the blockchain entry will show that it came from their account, not yours).
You can potentially sell any digital content as an NFT, but you’ll be limited to the formats that a marketplace supports if you want to use their easy minting tools.
We’ll go over that in more detail later, but bear in mind that your first NFT should most likely be an image, video, or audio clip.
If you’re not sure what you want to sell as an NFT yet, limits like these can help you narrow down your options. That being said…
What exactly are NFTs? NFTs are digital collectibles that have been converted into verifiable assets and can now be exchanged on the blockchain.
They’re tokens that people use to indicate ownership of one-of-a-kind goods, and they frequently entail intellectual property rights, but this isn’t always the case.
They’re termed non-fungible tokens since they represent things that aren’t interchangeable with other goods because they represent things that have unique qualities.
Some of the most popular NFTs right now, for example, are:
- Music/Digital Artwork
- Items available in online game stores
- Domain names are unique identifiers for a
- Tweets from celebrities
- Domain names are unique identifiers for a
They are particularly popular among individuals in the creative and entertainment industries, despite the fact that they may be utilized for nearly anything with a distinctive property.
Don’t worry if you don’t work in such industries; NFT trading can still be beneficial to you.
STEP 2: Be certain that you really want to sell an NFT
If you only have a hazy concept that you want to make an NFT because it seems like everyone else is doing it, there are a few things to consider.
The first and most important is transaction costs. While the platforms we’ll be discussing today allow you to make NFTs for free, selling them may be a different story.
The majority of NFTs are sold on the Ethereum blockchain (we’ll discuss those that aren’t in the next section), and each transaction on the Ethereum blockchain incurs fees that are paid to the miners.
These costs are referred to as “gas,” and the amount of gas required for a transaction (and thus the cost of that transaction) can vary greatly.
Almost everything you do on the blockchain costs gas, from minting an NFT to transferring it to someone else to bidding on one (though there are several exceptions for producing NFTs, which we’ll discuss later).
It’s also worth mentioning that paying for gas does not guarantee that your transfer will be completed. You can pay more to increase your chances, but nothing is certain.
To be clear, the vast majority of transactions are likely to succeed. If something goes wrong and your transaction isn’t completed, you won’t be reimbursed for the gas fees you spent.
Then there’s the issue of NFTs’ impact on the environment. The Ethereum blockchain, which uses an energy-intensive “proof of work” system, is used by the majority of the most popular (and easiest to use) NFT marketplaces (you can read more about what that means here).
While it’s debatable if selling NFTs individually has an impact on the blockchain’s overall energy use, if your NFTs are built on Ethereum, you’re using a technology with a large carbon footprint.
There are blockchains that use less energy-intensive methods, and Ethereum has plans to switch to a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake mechanism in the future.
That isn’t the case yet, which is one of the reasons why some individuals may be offended if others opt to sell NFTs.
STEP 3: Determine which branch of NFT trading is best for you
NFTs offer a wide range of applications. The options are boundless, and the NFT marketplace can adapt to a wide range of media and life material — there is no true limit.
However, it is not suitable for everyone. You must first choose whether you can and want to commit to it, and in what way, before you begin ‘giving it a go.’
You can participate in one of three types of NFT trading:
Purchasing and Selling Non-Financial Transactions (NFTs)
This is, without a doubt, one of the simplest and most straightforward methods for getting started with NFT trading. Because you are exchanging already produced digital assets rather than constructing your own, it takes less time on your part.
It’s important to note that you’ll need to understand how cryptocurrency works.
NFTs are acquired using monies from your digital wallet on specialized online marketplaces — there are a few marketplaces that enable flat purchases using credit cards, but they are few and far between.
This means you’ll need to not only build a digital wallet that supports NFTs, but also be ready to load it up with cryptocurrencies before making any purchases.
NFTs can be purchased and sold online using specialized marketplaces or apps. PRISM, a new platform that will be available shortly, is also a wonderful marketplace for artists to trade and accepts cash (with credit cards on the way).
Remember that all transactions are recorded on the blockchain, and the NFT will only appear in your wallet once the sale has been validated.
Buying NFTs as a long-term investment
Though buying NFTs without intending to sell them isn’t necessarily a type of trading, it is still a viable strategy for developing a digital asset portfolio – and one that may be better suited to individuals who want to test the waters before diving in head first.
Although no one can predict how much an NFT will be worth over time, investors can use a few research approaches to assist them determine which NFT to buy.
For some, community is a significant component. You should think about whether the community is organic and if they are invested in the initiative.
Another factor to consider is who invented the NFT. Is it a single person or a group of people? Is it a well-known brand or a well-known artist? Are the creators’ plans for the project open and realistic? To avoid frauds and rug pulls, it’s critical to do your homework.
Other factors to consider while buying NFTs with no intention of selling them right away are:
- Is it a one-of-a-kind work of art by a well-known artist?
- Are you interested in purchasing the rights and royalties of a well-known musician’s song?
- Are you considering purchasing virtual land to generate passive income streams?
- Is it one edition out of a million NFTs given away for free by a well-known brand?
- Is the NFT accompanied by special benefits such as access to private events or future NFT sales?
Creating and Selling Non-Financial Transactions
It’s not a task to take lightly when it comes to creating and selling NFTs. Yes, it can be really rewarding, but it requires a thorough understanding of the market and a thorough awareness of what to expect.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “if you don’t plan, you plan to fail.” In the world of NFT trading, this is much more true. The first step in planning is to write down the types of NFTs you can and wish to develop and sell.
From there, you’ll be able to figure out how much capacity you have to make them and how many you can make and sell on a monthly basis.
Then there’s goal-setting. Goals are popular, and science has demonstrated that they are useful in keeping us motivated.
Just keep in mind that if you’re a lone creator, you’ll almost certainly need to be active in the creative process, delivery, and bookkeeping, so keep your aspirations in check.
Finally, find out who your target demographic is and which NFTs are currently selling well. Having an audience and market research can help your business grow, just like it will help any other firm.
STEP 4: Select a marketing platform for your NFT
There are dozens of platforms that allow you to sell NFTs on a number of blockchains, making it nearly hard for any single guide to cover them all, much alone advise you which one is best for your project.
In this lesson, we’ll go over two of the most popular marketplaces, but there are more options if neither of these platforms is right for you, such as AtomicHub, which uses the Wax blockchain, or Solsea, which is headquartered in Solana.
It’s also worth noting that our guide will show you how to accomplish things in the most basic way possible.
Even with NFT markets, there are a lot of deep rabbit holes you can walk down that this article won’t cover (things like selling an NFT minted with OpenSea on Rarible, programmatically generating collections like Bored Apes, and so on).
Just keep in mind that this isn’t designed to be a comprehensive guide on selling NFTs; rather, it’s meant to point you in the right direction.
Using what they call “lazy minting” mechanisms, both OpenSea and Rarible allow you to construct NFTs on Ethereum without paying anything.
Lazy minting allows you to create an NFT and sell it without having to write it to the blockchain, saving you money.
The fees for writing your NFT to the blockchain will be coupled with the fees for transferring it to the buyer when someone actually buys it.
This helps you avoid paying $10 to $30 (or more!) to mint an NFT that no one buys.
There are several drawbacks, such as the fact that placing your first Ethereum NFT for sale with OpenSea requires initializing your account, which can be a costly transaction (while testing, I noticed prices ranging from $300 to $400).
It’s a one-time price, and after you’ve paid it, you’ll be able to mint NFTs without paying anything else.
I didn’t have to pay anything like this during my testing with Rarible. Attempting to remove your NFT from sale, on the other hand, will incur a fee (I observed rates ranging from $20 to $30).
Both Rarible and OpenSea will deduct a 2.5 percent charge from any sales you make – if you sell an NFT for 0.025 ETH, you’ll get 0.024375 ETH in return.
There are, however, Ethereum blockchain alternatives. If you sign up for Rarible using the Blocto wallet, you can sell NFTs on the Flow blockchain (the same one used by NBA Top Shot), and OpenSea will allow you sell on the Polygon network.
Both solutions offer far lower fees than using the Ethereum network, if any fees are charged at all, therefore we’ll discuss them briefly.
As you might expect, if these low/no-fee blockchains had no catch or disadvantages, everyone would be utilizing them.
Using Flow on Rarible will limit you to single edition NFTs (one of a kind) at the time of writing, and you won’t be able to sell them via auction.
Furthermore, when you use non-Ethereum blockchains like Flow or Polygon, users can’t buy your NFTs using Ethereum (at least, not without going through extra, fee-inducing steps).
While both sites allow purchasers to add funds to their wallets to complete a purchase, the requirement to convert or buy another cryptocurrency in order to obtain your NFT may deter some collectors.
(Please note that while Polygon allows you to utilize Ethereum, it is Polygon’s version of Ethereum.) You can transfer Ethereum directly from its main blockchain to Polygon and back, but you’ll have to pay gas fees.)
Do I have to create an NFT on a marketplace website?
In a technical sense, no. You can develop your own smart contract, upload it on your preferred blockchain, and then use it to mint your own tokens.
That, however, is a leap into the unknown, and unless you’re really technical, this is probably not the road you’ll want to take.
The majority of individuals will wish to use one of the platforms mentioned previously.
STEP 4: Setup your wallet
Wallets are the programs that you use to store your cryptocurrencies, as well as any NFTs you create or purchase.
Coinbase gives a more detailed description of how wallets function and the various alternatives available, but if you’re just getting started, the most important thing to consider is whether or not the wallet you’re using is compatible with the blockchain you’re using.
The MetaMask wallet is one of the wallets extensively supported by Ethereum-based services like as OpenSea, Foundation, and others, and may be used as a Chrome/Firefox extension or an iOS/Android app.
Coinbase also offers its own wallet, which is available as an extension or as an app for most platforms.
If you’re looking to get into crypto more generally, Coinbase’s wallet is a good option because it supports blockchains other than Ethereum, such as Bitcoin.
The setup procedures for MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet are comparable. Click or press the “Create new wallet” button once you’ve installed the browser extension or app (MetaMask can be downloaded here, Coinbase Wallet can be downloaded here).
Both Coinbase and PayPal will ask for a login and a password, which you should make sure is secure (preferably by generating it with and saving it in a password manager).
Finally, both MetaMask and Coinbase will provide you with a “seed phrase,” which is a set of 12 randomly generated words.
It’s critical not to lose this, as it will allow you to reclaim your account if you delete the app or need to set up your wallet on a new device, for example. It’s a good idea to make a copy and keep it somewhere safe, such a physical safe or a password manager (or both).
If you set it up via the app, MetaMask will ask you to repeat the phrase, while Coinbase Wallet will ask if you want to save an encrypted copy of it in the cloud.
It’ll be the similar process as MetaMask, where you’ll have to manually re-enter the phrase if you’re setting up Coinbase with the extension or if you prefer to manually back it up instead of saving it to the cloud.
If you forget your password and/or security phrase, you’re out of luck with MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet, as neither firm can help you.
You’ll lose access to any cryptocurrencies or NFTs saved in that wallet, as well as any accounts you’ve created with it. So, seriously, keep your secret phrase and password safe.
Finally, you’ll be able to access your wallet, which will be empty at the time!
STEP 5: Connect your wallet
After you’ve created your wallet, you’ll need to link it to the NFT marketplace you intend to use.
OpenSea and Rarible make it simple by prompting you to connect your wallet when you click the Create button in the top left.
After that, you’ll be given a selection of suitable wallets to choose from, and selecting one will ask you to complete the connection procedure.
You’ll get a pop-up asking whether you want to connect your wallet if you have Metamask or Coinbase’s extension installed, which you can do with a few button clicks.
You can also use the QR code scanner in the Coinbase Wallet app to connect to the marketplace (which you can find to the right of your balance on the main wallet screen).
A word of warning for the future: be cautious if you receive an unexpected request to connect to your wallet, as criminals may be attempting to access your cash or NFTs.
As long as you’re on a reputable website, you should be fine (at least as long as nothing goes horribly wrong – double-check your transactions to ensure they’re kosher).
However, if an unknown site requests access to your wallet, you should think hard before agreeing.
STEP 6: Create an NFT
After you’ve connected your wallet, you’ll be sent to the page where you may establish an NFT (and if you don’t, you can get there by clicking the Create button in the upper right-hand corner of both platforms).
Before we get started on our NFTs, let’s talk about collections. Both platforms allow collections, which are exactly what they sound like.
You can use a collection to make a succession of NFTs – on Rarible, you can make one straight from the NFT creation page, and the NFT you’re making will be added to it.
You must first go to your profile image in the upper right corner of OpenSea, then to My Collections > Create a collection.
We won’t go over collections in this guide, but if you don’t specify one, OpenSea will automatically place the NFT you generate in an unnamed collection (which you can later edit or transfer the NFT to), and Rarible allows you sell an NFT as a Rarible Single without a collection.
Now it’s time to start working on our NFT.
Listing an NFT on OpenSea
You’ll be taken to the create new item page after hitting the Create button. To begin, click the picture button in the box that appears, which will allow you to upload the file you’ll be selling as an NFT (though, do make sure to take note of the file size and type limitations noted above the selector).
Give your file a name or title after you’ve added it. You can also include a URL to your website or Twitter account in the External Link section, and you can utilize the Description field to give potential purchasers a better understanding of what your NFT is.
You can choose a collection for your NFT if you’ve created one, as well as add properties, levels, or stats that can act as metadata, beneath those fields.
This is where you’d enter their details if you were selling an NFT that could be used as a video game character, for example.
You can utilize the properties panel to add details about a piece of art, such as the medium, year, and so on, if you’re selling it.
However, because all of these fields are optional, many users will be able to skip them.
OpenSea also allows you to include text that serves as unlocking content that the NFT’s buyer / owner will be able to see.
You may use this toggle-able option to include things like a link to a private Discord, a coupon to redeem anything on an external website, or simply a simple thank-you message.
If your NFT is NSFW, you can also use the explicit and sensitive material toggle.
Following those toggles and fields is a menu that lets you choose between the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains for minting your NFT.
For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of each, see Step 3, but we’ll use Polygon as an example because it currently does not require any costs.
You’ll be able to mint numerous copies of your NFT if you’re minting with Polygon.
You’ll want to double-check everything after you’ve chosen your blockchain. As long as you haven’t placed it up for sale, OpenSea allows you to update the metadata afterwards, but it’s best to make sure everything is in working order before doing anything blockchain-related.
It’s also worth noting that you won’t be able to edit the NFT’s blockchain after it’s been created.
You can now click the Create button once you’re ready. It may take a while for items to upload, depending on the choices you’ve chosen and the type of file you’re selling as an NFT.
After it’s finished, a screen will appear stating that your NFT has been generated.
However, your NFT isn’t yet available for purchase on OpenSea; to do so, navigate away from the congratulations screen to your NFT’s website (you can also get to it by clicking on your profile picture, clicking on the Created tab, and selecting the NFT). There will be a Sell button on the NFT’s page.
You’ll be able to make a listing for a fixed price using NFTs posted on Ethereum or Polygon, and you’ll also be able to arrange a timed auction with Ethereum.
You simply enter the amount you want to sell the item for (listed in Ethereum, but it will give you an approximate USD number below) and how long you want the listing to be up for in a fixed price listing.
Because the NFT will be ready for purchase as soon as you sell it, you may use the “More choices” selection to make it solely available to a specific buyer.
Click the “Complete listing” button to list your NFT for sale. You’ll need to use the browser extension or the app to confirm or sign a few transactions using your wallet.
Transactions on Polygon are free, and you’ll get a screen indicating that your item has been listed.
If it’s your first NFT on Ethereum, you’ll need to do a one-time approval transaction to “initialize” your wallet, as we explained earlier.
You’ll need Ethereum in your wallet to achieve this. Buying cryptocurrency might be the subject of its own article, but here’s a primer to get you started.
Because the funds for this transaction are just going toward gas and not a fee for OpenSea, the cost is totally dependent on Ethereum’s gas fees at the time.
In my experiments, I found prices ranging from roughly $240 to $450, so if it’s too high, you might want to wait till it reduces — you can keep track of transaction fees using a site like Ethereum Gas Station.
Your NFT will be put for sale on OpenSea once you’ve reviewed and signed all of the transactions.
Listing an NFT on Rarible
The first thing Rarible will ask is whether you want to make a single-edition NFT or a multiple-edition NFT — that is, whether you want to make a one-of-a-kind NFT or one that is limited edition but can be bought by numerous people.
The screens you’ll see are basically similar (except you can only use Ethereum if you’re making a multiple-edition, and you’ll have to indicate how many copies you want to sell), but we’ll go with single for this example.
You’ll arrive at the NFT creation screen after selecting single on Rarible. The first step is to use the Choose File button to upload the digital file you want to sell as an NFT.
It’ll eventually wind up on the InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS, a decentralized media storage system that ensures your NFT doesn’t vanish from the internet if one company decides to stop hosting it.
Rarible, like OpenSea, may request a distinct preview picture for specific sorts of media, such as films or music – think of it as a video thumbnail or album art that will appear whenever your NFT appears on the site.
The next step is to decide on your selling possibilities. You can turn off the “Put on marketplace” switch, which is enabled by default, if you don’t wish to sell your NFT right away. You will, however, have options if you decide to sell your NFT.
“Fixed pricing” is similar to making a store listing in that you set a price for your NFT and anyone who wants to buy it can do so.
“Open for bids” allows others to make proposals to purchase your NFT, which you can accept or reject.
A “timed auction” is an auction in which you can establish a minimum price and decide when the auction will begin and end.
We’ll list our NFT for a fixed price in this example, which we can enter into the field.
You can also select the currency you want to receive (people can, however, send offers in different currencies).
Remember that if your NFT sells, Rarible will take 2.5 percent of the sale price.
After you’ve chosen your selling method and details, you’ll be able to add unlocks material that the buyer will receive.
This may be a link to a private Discord server, a voucher to redeem something on a third-party website, or simply a note thanking them for purchasing.
The following two options allow you to select your collection (we’ll use Rarible Singles as an example) and the Free Minting option, which allows you to choose whether or not to use Rarible’s lazy minting technique, which we discussed in Step 3.
If you disable it and use the Ethereum blockchain, you’ll need to pay a gas price to mint your NFT at the end of the process – the fee was roughly $120 when I tested it.
You can then give your NFT a name — or a title — and, if desired, a description. Finally, you have the option of selecting a royalty percentage.
This will affect how much of each following sale is returned to you.
For example, if someone buys your NFT for 0.2 ETH and later sells it for 1 ETH, you’ll get a part of the sale as well – by default, that’s 10%. (so 0.1 ETH in our example).
The final option is Advanced Settings, which allows you to add properties to your NFT (which is completely optional but may be beneficial if you’re building a series of characters with varied properties) as well as alternate description text to make your NFT more accessible.
Double-check that everything is precisely way you want it, as changing it later could be costly or impossible.
After that, click the “Create Item” button when you’re satisfied your NFT is ready.
This will start a series of events in which you will be required to approve various transactions with your wallet.
If you’re using a browser extension, you should see a pop-up when Rarible requests your signature (if not, click on the plugin’s icon in your browser to see any requests).
If you’re using an app, you’ll need to launch it on your phone to see the request.
You’ll get a notification saying that your NFT has been formed after approving a few wallet requests and waiting a few moments.
You can see it by clicking the “View NFT” button, and you can see your collection by clicking “My Profile” next to your profile photo in the top right corner.
If everything went smoothly, you should now have an NFT for sale on Rarible, OpenSea, or both.
However, as dealers have told me, that’s not going to get you very far — as you’ve seen, the process is rather complex, but the gold rush-like atmosphere surrounding NFTs has prompted many people to try their hand at producing one.
If you want your work to sell, you’ll need to find a way to stand out from the crowd, whether that’s through clever marketing or creating truly remarkable work (and then probably doing some snazzy marketing). That work, on the other hand, I’ll delegate to you.
PS: If your wallet contains an NFT section, don’t worry; the NFT you created with this instruction will not appear in it.
Lazy minted NFTs aren’t originally written to the blockchain until somebody else buys them, thus they won’t show up in your wallet after you make them.