Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are trending. As a painter, I've been encouraged by several people in the crypto community to turn my art into NFTs. But whenever I looked into the nuts and bolts of how to do this, I was put off by the cost, complexity, or both. Eventually I overcame my misgivings and used Rarible to put a picture of a section of one of my paintings on the Ethereum blockchain, which cost about five bucks.
Creating an NFT on Rarible was extremely simple. I just connected my MetaMask wallet to the site, uploaded the image I wanted to use, came up with a description, selected ten copies, set the commission at ten percent, and clicked 'create item'. In under five minutes, I had a limited run of ten digital prints of my work complete and ready for sale.
The final listing looked great. By using a picture of just a small section of one of my larger paintings -- the foot of a reclining figure -- I hoped to offer any prospective buyers the chance to own a unique perspective on my work. Realistically, however, my NFT will probably never sell, because it's unlikely to ever be seen by a potential buyer amidst everything else in Rarible's marketplace.
AtomicAssets is an NFT standard for EOSIO blockchain tech. AtomicHub is an interface for interacting with AtomicAssets. Whereas Rarible uses the MetaMask wallet for payments and signing transactions, AtomicHub connects with EOS or WAX wallets. I set up a WAX Cloud Wallet and used it to connect with AtomicHub.
Creating a new NFT on AtomicHub was more complex than using Rarible was. But with a nice collection of historical portraits that I'd like to make into a set of unique NFTs on AtomicHub, navigating this complexity seemed worth it. Diving right in, I had to first create a 'collection' into which the new NFTs would be placed.
After uploading a cover image, I set the market fee at 5% and wrote a brief description for the collection. After approving the transaction with my WAX wallet, the collection was created. But before creating an asset to put into this collection, I had to create a 'schema' to store the structure of the data contained in the assets.
The schema I came up with is simple, containing only fields for name, image, and description attributes. Again, completing the schema required approval from the wallet. It is possible to add additional schema attributes later, and I might end up doing that. After the schema was created, it was finally time to mint a test NFT.
As you can see, I minted 'Oil Portrait of Emma Goldman' and didn't use a template. Minting 10 copies of this NFT required more RAM than I had, so I had to buy more RAM from within AtomicHub to proceed. After looking over the result, I may decide to burn these assets and start again with a template.
Ethereum is slow and expensive whereas WAX is fast and affordable like all things EOSIO. AtomicHub is much more complex than Rarible. But its marketplace appears to be far superior. The learning curve on AtomicHub is undeniably steep. Fortunately, the basics all make perfect sense, and gaining access to one of the world's premier NFT marketplaces is a good motivator.
Before undertaking this exercise, I was on the fence about whether or not to try making serious NFTs from my art. Rarible didn't really get me excited about doing this. AtomicHub did. On AtomicHub, I can mint a series of portraits for a fraction of what it would cost on Ethereum. It'll take time to zero in on all the specifics I want this series to include, yet the fact that there are so many specifics to consider bodes well for AtomicHub.
Digital collectibles seem likely to become increasingly popular as time goes on. WAX and the AtomicAsset specification takes digital collectibles to the next level. Companies like Topps are already jumping on board. Whether you're a creator or collector, now's a great time to begin exploring the market emerging around these assets.
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