(A Step-by-Step Guide)

With all the excitement in the NFT industry in the last few years, you might be wondering how to start an NFT project of your own. Dapper Labs has been a part of several successful NFT project launches, and we’ve put together a list of suggestions to help you get started. Before diving deep, let’s ensure you have a firm understanding of NFT fundamentals and how they create value for the owner and creator.

What are NFTs?

NFTs or non-fungible tokens are bits of data stored on a blockchain—a decentralized network that’s managed by its participants. Every member of the blockchain community has access to every transaction. There is no single authority or server where information is stored.

Anything in data form, like art, music or video, can be turned into an NFT. Every NFT contains information about its creator, ownership, transaction history, royalties, and more that anyone can easily look up. This information cannot be altered or erased—every time an NFT is sold, the transaction is permanently added to the NFT data block on the blockchain.

However, the NFT’s artwork—or the visual that represents the NFT— is rarely stored on the blockchain. Because blockchains are not set up as “cloud storage,” an NFT is simply a token that corresponds to the artwork that’s stored elsewhere. It’s similar to a coat check system, where each ticket corresponds to a unique coat.

You can sell almost any digital file as an NFT and if you’re looking for an easy, entry-level experience to create one, we suggest using Rarible on the Flow blockchain.

Steps to create your first NFT project

Step 1: WHY is your NFT launch important?

Successful NFT projects are about the community behind them and how often the group is active or engaged. Here are some tips to build a community around your project.

What is the story behind your NFTs?

  • This may seem obvious, but it’s the simplest place to start and vital to communicate to future members of the community.

Why are you making your NFT project?

  • There are many “get rich quick” types of NFT projects out there. Make sure to separate yourself from these “pump and dump” NFTs and create something that people might find meaningful.

What is the purpose of your NFT project?

  • This can be for profit or for fun. It can be about uniting like-minded people or simply promoting your own material.

What type of value is the project going to provide to your community?

  • A value proposition is important in other aspects of business; it’s important here, too. Consider creating bonus features and distributing free surprises—sometimes called “airdrops” to your loyal community members. These tactics have been proven to build value and user engagement.

Why is your NFT project important?

  • Try to separate and distinguish your NFTs from everyone else. Not all NFTs need to be brilliant and life-changing, but as with other businesses, try to identify a gap that needs to be filled. 

The most successful NFT projects can communicate their reason for existence. They have a unique value proposition and can clarify their objectives (typically called a RoadMap) in an interesting or fun way. At the end of the day, a memorable story is what captures and holds people’s attention.

Step 2: What kind of features and utilities should your NFTs have?

Make sure you choose a network or blockchain that makes sense for your NFT features. 

For example, let’s just make one NFT using Rarible. We picked the Flow blockchain because it’s the easiest to get started on.

If you aren’t ready to sell your NFT, you can toggle the “Put on Marketplace” button, which is set to “on” by default. 

If you are ready to sell your NFT, you can choose between three options:

  • “Fixed price” if you want to keep it simple. As a creator, you set a price for your NFT and pay a portion to Rarible that will be deducted from your final profits.

  • “Open for bids'' if you want to create an auction where people can submit offers to buy your NFT. You will have to manually accept or reject incoming offers—nothing is automatic. This is a great option if you want to have a bit more control over who’s buying your NFTs.

  • “Timed auction” is the more traditional style of auction; you can set the minimum price, choose when the auction will start, and how long it will last. If it doesn’t sell within the parameters you set, you can try again.

When you set your price, Rarible or whichever marketplace you choose, will take a percentage upon completion of the sale, but at the time of writing, the cost on Rarible is totally free due to a subsidy provided by Blocto!

After you choose your selling method and details, you’ll have the option to add unlockable content, which will be provided to the buyer. 

Unlockable content could be something like an invite link to a private Discord, a code to redeem something on an external website, or even just a message thanking them for buying.

With more complex blockchains like Ethereum, you’ll also have to figure out the following:

  • Do you want the NFT’s media or artwork to live on or off the blockchain? Usually, only the NFT smart contracts are stored on the blockchain with a link to the artwork that’s stored elsewhere. (On platforms like OpenSea, this is called “Freezing” the metadata, which is a transaction that commits the smart contract to the blockchain.)
  • How many NFTs should be minted?
  • Will you mint the NFTs traditionally (minting fees paid upon creation), or will you lazy-mint them (minting fee paid by buyer during sale)?
  • How will features like randomness or rarity work? Do you want to associate voting rights with the NFTs?
  • Is there anything special or exciting about your NFTs?

Figure out how many NFTs you’re creating, and disclose that in your Whitepaper and/or Roadmap.

Step 3: Decide on blockchain / NFT marketplace

Flow blockchain and Rarible are some of the easiest ways to get started with NFTs, but there are many other blockchains you can launch your project on, like Ethereum, the Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Cosmos, WAX, Polkadot, Avalanche, and Fantom.

Two of the biggest NFT marketplaces, OpenSea and Rarible, let you create NFTs on Ethereum without paying anything, thanks to their “lazy minting” features. Lazy minting lets you create an NFT without recording it on the blockchain right away and defer paying the minting fees upfront. When someone buys your lazy NFT, the minting fees are bundled with the buyer’s fees. 

Step 4: Set up your wallet 

Wallets are the blockchain apps you use to store cryptocurrencies and NFTs. 

Make sure to pick one that is compatible with the blockchain you want to use—for example, the Flow blockchain and the Dapper Wallet

When setting up your wallet, you will get a unique security phrase or a private key. Make sure to record and store it someplace safe. If you forget or lose your security phrase, you’ll be locked out of your account. This means you will permanently lose access to any crypto or NFTs in your wallet.

Step 5: Connect to an NFT marketplace

After you’ve set up your wallet, you’ll want to connect it with the NFT marketplace where you plan on selling your NFTs. OpenSea and Rarible make this easy, so for this example, let’s just use Rarible. 

There is currently no compatibility between the Dapper wallet and Rarible Market, but you can use Blocto—another Flow-compatible wallet—as a gateway to the marketplace without creating a new account. Your Flow account stays the same; and you use the Blocto Wallet to link your existing Dapper Wallet to the Rarible Marketplace. 

Click the “Create” button in the top right to connect your wallet to the site. When you see a list of compatible wallets, choose Blocto.

Step 6: Create an NFT

After connecting your wallet, you will be taken to the page for creating an NFT (if you lose your place, you can try clicking the Create button that both platforms put up in the top right corner).

If you want to create one single NFT, you’ll just create a Rarible Single. However, if you want to create an NFT series, you simply navigate to the NFT creation screen, select your created NFT and assign it to a collection.

Do I have to use a marketplace site to create an NFT?

The steps above will help guide you through the easiest and quickest way to create an NFT. However, if you are a developer, you can also do everything from scratch: create your own smart contracts, deploy them to the blockchain, and then mint your own tokens using the contracts. Just keep in mind that this route requires more advanced coding knowledge.

Step 7: Build a community & market your creation

Marketing your NFT is an important step. Although there are many ways to do this, some of the most common ways to promote is social media such as Twitter and Instagram, as well as platforms such as Discord and Telegram. These are all standard for crypto projects. Begin building your understanding of how to use these platforms by studying other successful projects, and work on meeting like-minded individuals in these communities—some of them may be able to help you spread the word as well. 

Don’t forget to do a Roadmap for your project to demonstrate the value and share your vision. It’s important to show people that you’re in it for the long haul. Always remember that successful NFT projects can take years to develop and grow. If you need some inspiration, browse our article on the History of NFTs and major projects that have shaped the current NFT landscape. 

If you have a great idea for an NFT project, the best time to build might be during a “crypto winter” instead of when markets are hot. Not only do the gas fees tend to be more affordable, your dedication during these times could also lend to your credibility. So don’t wait—start right now!

Final step: Follow through, and keep building. 

Many projects create a lot of buzz at launch and then slowly fade away. It’s important to continue innovating and creating as much value as possible in the long term. 

Every successful NFT project ensures that its community members continue to benefit above and beyond what was promised. Remember, the long-term success of your NFT project will depend on whether people can see value in it.