The tech world is an exciting one, but it can feel like a complete minefield.
With the advent of Web3, the blockchain gaining major traction globally, and fascinating data science trends waiting to be discovered, it’s unsurprising that creators are struggling to juggle the sheer number of possibilities available to them in 2022.
Although it’s tempting to dive into this world headfirst without much forward planning, true success comes to creators that understand and embrace changing trends in the digital sphere.
With ownership and authenticity becoming increasingly important when making transactions on any platform, NFTs are becoming one of the hottest topics of conversation amongst digital artists, computer scientists, AI creators, and big businesses.
So, if you’re looking to learn what NFTs are, how to create an NFT of your own, and why building a solid community of like-minded individuals will boost your career as a creator, simply read ahead.
With so much valuable information to glean, I promise it’ll be well worth your time!
An NFT (otherwise known as a non-fungible token), is essentially a cryptographically unique unit of data that represents ownership of something. Typically secured by the Ethereum blockchain, these digital assets can be bought and sold online.
Containing detailed attributes like the owner’s identity, metadata, and secure file links, they aim to remove disputes surrounding ownership in the digital world. Usually taking the form of digital art like GIFs, videos, music, and animation, NFTs have become a crucial subsection of the creative world.
As NFTs are inherently unique, the original copy of a digital asset becomes basically irreplaceable. The result? The originals become highly valuable in certain circles! Despite only being around since 2014, the NFT marketplace has grown to $41 billion in size since its inception – pretty impressive for a fresh market if you ask me.
Before I get ahead of myself and discuss the power of those fascinating NFTs I’ve just mentioned, let me briefly explain what minting is.
In simple terms, minting an NFT means “converting digital files into crypto collections of digital assets stored on the blockchain”. Essentially, it means publishing your token on the blockchain and making it available for purchase!
Once you’ve named your item, decided which blockchain to base your NFT on, bought a small amount of cryptocurrency to cover the process, and selected how much you'll receive in royalties (up to 10% is standard!), you'll have a successfully-minted NFT on your hands.
As the blockchain guarantees that each token is purchased with reliable cryptocurrency, NFTs are seen as excellent investments that are almost entirely risk-free on both sides of the table.
So, if you’re worried about the safety of your assets after minting – don’t be!
Now that you've got some context about what NFTs are and what minting is all about, let's move on to the juicier stuff – the importance of minting NFTs in the AI world.
As I’ve already mentioned, the demand for NFTs is going through the roof. Not only did the seemingly valueless internet GIF Nyan Cat sell for almost $600,000 as a piece of crypto art, but a simple tweet from Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey was quickly snapped up for $2.9 million when sold on the crypto reward site Cent. These numbers may seem mind-boggling to the average Joe, but they’re par for the course in the global NFT space.
Although licenses of digital assets could certainly be sold before the advent of NFTs, minting completely changed the game when it came to monetizing artistic work online. Giving artists the ability to retain copyright over their creative genius and enjoy a percentage of ongoing value through royalties, minting is simply the gift that keeps on giving.
Before NFTs were introduced, monitoring ownership of any artwork and digital assets was practically impossible.
Although it’s an unpleasant reality, a distinct lack of authenticity and ownership in the digital space meant that images were frequently used without permission.
As well as muddying the waters when it came to praising creatives for their work, it also meant that digital artists rarely received adequate compensation.
An excellent example of this unfortunate phenomenon was when the famous Disaster Girl image was widely distributed in the late 2010s. Originally taken by photographer Dave Roth in 2005, it became a hilarious internet sensation that depicted a young girl seemingly revelling in a house fire.
However, despite its popularity, Roth saw no profits nor royalties from his image until 2021. Finally sold as an original NFT for $495,000 by his daughter Zoe, the Roth family now receives 10% from all future sales of the image (and the handsome initial sum, of course!).
If you need further proof that minting is an excellent idea, simply look at the #FreeHawaiiPhoto project. When Cath Simard’s impressive photograph of a road in Oahu was stolen multiple times from her Instagram feed without credit, she turned to the NFT marketplace to mint her creation.
Believe it or not, the shot eventually sold for a whopping $300,000. If the original selling fee wasn’t sweet enough, the authenticated version simply grew in value the more the image circulated. Not only did this increase Simard’s royalties, but it improved provenance in the digital space.
If you’re wondering what makes these impressive resale royalties possible, it’s all about those nifty smart contracts I touched upon earlier. As specific royalty agreements are coded into smart contracts that run only when certain conditions are met, they provide automatic payouts to the original NFT owner without interference or argument.
Designed to enforce resale royalties and keep negotiations clear on super-secure crypto platforms, everyone from digital artists to coding specialists and AI engineers can receive proportional profits on their creations from secondary sales without hassle.
Unlike other methods of sharing and selling digital assets, minting gives creators ultimate control over how their work is bought and sold. The result? A diversified income stream that grows exponentially over time.
Welcome to the Web3 universe, folks!
Although ownership and royalties are excellent reasons to consider minting your creations, there may be something more serious that will push you towards the NFT marketplace – blatant thievery.
This may sound extreme, but creating a potentially valuable piece of code comes with its own set of risks.
It may not be a priority to get your creation minted, but if you choose to upload your work to software development hosting sites like GitHub, you could be vulnerable to hacking.
It’s easy to assume that you’ll retain ownership rights to your code across any online space. However, if you publish your code in a public repository like GitHub, many will assume that your work is open source.
Even if you specifically state that your code is not for redistribution, your work may be lifted or even taken hostage. I’m not joking.
Back in 2019, GitHub, Bitbucket, and Gitlab users reported that their source code was being held ransom by hackers. If they refused to pay 0.1 bitcoin in 10 days (approximately $565 to blockchain newbies!), their code would be made public. Not only would this action diminish the value of said code, but it would completely revoke the respective users’ rights to ownership.
Just imagine – a developer stumbles upon across your fabulous piece of code that had been lifted from GitHub without your knowledge or permission. Regardless of whether their intentions were malicious or not, they then use this stolen data to create something extremely lucrative. Despite putting in the blood, sweat, tears, and toil required to formulate that precious piece of code, you’re left with nothing from the whole endeavor.
The answer to this dilemma? Minting, of course!
If you’re dreaming of making your mark on the AI world but don’t believe you have the appropriate skills, then NFTs may be your ticket to the big leagues.
Regardless of your skills as an AI creator, it’s worth noting that you can mint anything from barely-there pieces of code to near-complete algorithms – there are truly no barriers to entry here.
You’ll still have to cover the proverbial “gas fees” required to mint your creation on the blockchain, but you can post anything that you believe is currently unviable and let it stew.
After a period, a complete expert may discover (or get a heads up via Discord or Reddit!) that your code makes a world of difference to their algorithm. They can then purchase your code, integrate it into their project, and create something truly meaningful from your initial building blocks. Talk about ensemble solutions and filling in skill gaps!
Now, if you simply sold your code, you’d still receive a small fee for it, but the magic money tree would quickly grind to a halt.
However, if you minted it as an NFT, you’d be entitled to a portion of the profits every single time an AI genius used your code to boost their work.
Equally, if you focus on creating generic code or AI solutions that can be reused, these can be repurposed to solve multiple issues for businesses across the globe.
If you’re willing to mint your solution, you could be raking in the royalties ad infinitum. In theory, the passive income possibilities from just one creation are unlimited – so, bear this in mind!
Giving coding enthusiasts and side hustlers a reliable income stream from something they may have thought useless, minting NFTs in the AI world is something that will only become more popular as the years roll by.
In fact, not only will releasing these NFTs onto the marketplace make you feel completely validated, but it’ll afford you more time to focus on a full-time career while making plenty of cash on the side.
Like Neil Armstrong once said, one small step for man, one giant leap for passive income streams. Well - not verbatim, of course.
When a newly minted NFT first appears on the marketplace, it’s usually Reddit and Discords that get the first whiff.
Why's that, you ask? Well, it’s because people are all about pooling resources in the blockchain world.
If you’re looking for a real-world example of this concept in action, we need to delve into decentralized autonomous organizations (or DAOs) that function autonomously with no leadership. The whole point of these ventures is to establish token ownership and a way to share resources amongst a community.
This concept may seem alien to outsiders, but as some NFT investments require significant capital investment, DAOs enable members to own high-value tokens without spending a small fortune individually.
What’s more, thanks to the community’s reliance on smart contracts, all decisions are completely transparent. In the NFT art world (and any NFT sphere for that matter), the lack of a formal leader allows more creations to be showcased without needing a CEO’s approval.
Not only are the financial and social benefits of community in the NFT space clear, but the famous DAO HerStory perfectly demonstrates how dedicated communities in the crypto world can directly help marginalized creators through funding and investment. Although investing in marginalized creators may appear completely selfless on HerStory’s part, when it comes to a double-sided marketplace, having buyers and sellers operating on a similar level is mutually beneficial. This is because it allows more valuable NFTs to be brought to the table regularly.
Genuine support certainly plays a part in the NFT community, but it’s also about the expectation of reward upon investment. As many community members are investing in NFTs from their early stages, they expect to gain something from their involvement and steadfast belief in new creators- no matter how small.
If you’re looking for a near-perfect demonstration of this, let’s briefly turn to Doge Fight Club, a derivative avatar project that’s linked to the NFT art scene. Not only does its popular Fighter’s Corner offer trading tips and excellent analyses of the current crypto market, but it allows users to guide each other toward worthy investments in the NFT marketplace.
Although building educational online communities is undeniably impressive on Doge’s part, there’s also significant power in bringing these organic connections to the mainstream art world.
There's a long way to go before the NFT community can be completely inclusive. After all, only 3.6% of NFT art sales come from African and Latin American artists while women represent a mere 16% of the market. However, removing barriers to entry and enabling anyone to mint their work is a huge step in the right direction for creator equality.
As the marketplace is still quite new, that’s where community amplification comes in.
Realistically, artists in the NFT space don’t see large amounts of success without community promotion. It’s a tricky tightrope to cross as a new creator, but building up a steadfast community of supporters allows you to organically attract more attention to your work.
Whether you’re searching through discussion channels with a fine-toothed comb, awarding NFT badges to early birds, or promoting your work on social media to generate a buzz, targeting the right users can result in enormous returns on investment.
As organic connections form effortlessly on channels like Discord (the beauty of like-mindedness!), it’s unsurprising that several creators are already seizing the opportunity to form lasting relationships on these channels. With several groups now giving members partial rights to NFTs, the power to build sub-brands, and inside information on potential NFT projects, the community aspect of NFTs continues to grow in importance.
Should you refuse to join the ranks, you may just be left behind.
With the rise of Web3 edging ever closer, it’s wise to strike while the iron’s hot when it comes to building and engaging with NFTs, minting, and online communities.
It’s a miserable reality, but NFT projects can quickly fail if token-holders lose interest. Therefore, failing to establish a valuable community can quickly devalue your glorious, minted work.
So, remember to always engage with new concepts and empower your community. It will take time, but once you’ve built up a band of loyal followers and successfully minted your creations, you’ll be watching the royalty bucks roll in!
Just you wait.
 Robyn Conti, “What is an NFT? Non-Fungible Tokens Explained”, Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/uk/advisor/investing/nft-non-fungible-token/, last modified February 16, 2022
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