Writing about the Malaysian NFT scene, I’ve observed that there are numerous local communities and marketplaces aching to solve the same problem: help artists mint their works as NFTs.
That led me to wonder, “Is it that hard to mint an NFT?”
Choosing the art
The idea to do so was coupled with a question posed to me while interviewing the founder of Pentas.io, Irsyad Saidin. He pitched: “Why don’t you make an NFT for Vulcan Post? No Malaysian media has done it.”
Discussing this with the team, we set up a few criteria about the digital asset we were going to mint. It had to at least:
- Be something our readers would see value in and want to spend money on;
- Be 100% original, or at least wholly owned by Vulcan Post Malaysia;
- Look nice.
We landed on something that we figured would be undoubtedly on brand. We chose to turn the original photo of our Facebook banner into an NFT, as it’s something audiences are welcomed by when visiting our Facebook page (for several years now).
Choosing what platform to mint on was simple. Pentas is one of the more well-known NFT marketplaces in Malaysia right now, and Vulcan Post is all for supporting locally made products and services. (I mean, we even have our own marketplace to help local SMEs sell their Malaysian designed or made creations.)
Provided you have some BNB and a MetaMask wallet, Pentas makes it fairly easy to mint an artwork, since the option to create an NFT is right there on its main page.
Of course, that’s not to say that it’s difficult to mint on other platforms; OpenSea and Rarible have clear “Create” tabs on their home screens as well. And so long you have some crypto in your wallet, you’re set.
Setting up a MetaMask wallet
To mint on Pentas, a MetaMask wallet must be linked. Unlike e-commerce marketplaces that require users to sign up via email addresses, in the NFT world, your “profile” is your crypto wallet address.
Downloading MetaMask from the Google Play Store and Chrome browser was simple enough. When creating a new account, a password had to be set before an informational video about how the platform works is played.
This is where MetaMask will inform users about a Secret Backup Phrase containing 12 randomised words to note down in a retrievable, safe location.
The Secret Backup Phrase goes by various names, such as a recovery phrase, or wallet seed phrase. It acts as a user’s secret password that provides access to the wallet.
Losing this phrase means losing access to any tokens kept in the wallet, and if someone else gets this phrase, they get access to the wallet.
Buying some crypto to afford gas fees
As I’m trying to understand the crypto world better, I’m actually willing to invest some real money into it. So I bought some Binance Coin (BNB) to transact on Pentas.
Why specifically RM130? Because it was the minimum deposit requirement. The transaction got me 0.07104169 BNB, after deducting RM9.30 as transaction fees on Transak (a fiat-to-crypto payment gateway).
Buying crypto was quite a stringent process. Throughout the transaction, I was asked to provide a Proof of Address document that corresponded to the residential address on my debit card. These documents must also be issued within the past three months.
After validating my data, the payment authorisation happened swiftly, with a processing time between one to three minutes.
Time to mint
With all the necessary materials I needed to get this NFT minted, I went ahead and uploaded the artwork, filled in details for its name and description, and set a percentage as royalties between 1% to 10%.
Royalties are where the original creator of an NFT gets to earn a certain percentage with each sale of that specific NFT. The higher the percentage, the higher the earnings, but it could also discourage buyers who want to flip the NFT without losing profits to royalties.
Checking off the boxes to validate that the media uploaded didn’t contain any materials subject to copyright, I hit “Create NFT”, paid the gas fee of 0.00175 BNB (RM3.09 at the time of writing), and it was done.
I officially created an NFT.
What can I learn from this experience?
For one, it’s actually not that hard to mint an NFT. The bigger leap of faith for artists would likely come from the investment portion of it (which can also be said about trying anything new).
Minting an NFT comes at a price, which may be the factor deterring artists from adopting it in the first place. Even though gas fees can cost under the cash equivalent of RM10, there is a minimum transfer amount to even purchase the cryptocurrencies. And, the withdrawal process from MetaMask can also be a little complicated for a newbie.
That’s what the not-for-profit group, MalaysiaNFT aims to alleviate. It provides crypto funding in the form of Tezos (XTZ) to artists minting their NFTs for the first time.
The crypto and NFT world is also said to be a Wild West, where changes are taking place rapidly, and new NFT terminologies are frequently cropping up out of thin air.
Ultimately, this experience has shown me why crypto is intimidating for those who are completely unfamiliar with it, and unsure of where to start.
And this is the hurdle NFT communities and marketplaces are trying to fix: the education portion of helping artists get into the NFT world, and not so much the minting of artworks itself.
- Read more of our NFT content here.