How to Create On-Chain NFTs: A Complete Guide

How to Create On-Chain NFTs: A Complete Guide

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Written by:

May 14, 2024

May 14, 2024

How to Create On-Chain NFTs: A Complete Guide
How to Create On-Chain NFTs: A Complete Guide
How to Create On-Chain NFTs: A Complete Guide

Key Takeaways:

  • On-chain NFTs store both the artwork/asset and its metadata directly on the blockchain, unlike many popular NFTs that only store a link.

  • This approach maximizes permanence and gives creators greater control but can be slightly more expensive and require more technical understanding.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have taken the world by storm, enabling digital ownership of everything from artwork to limited-edition sneakers to in-game items. However, not all NFTs are created equal, and understanding how to create fully on-chain NFTs is essential for those seeking maximum permanence and control.

This comprehensive guide will delve into on-chain NFTs, their evolution, the advantages and considerations, the technical process involved, and popular platforms for minting them

Understanding On-Chain NFTs

Let's break down the basics of on-chain NFTs and how they differ from other approaches:

NFTs as Digital Receipts: Proof of Ownership

NFTs are not the actual art or collectible themselves. They function as a tamper-resistant digital receipt, proving ownership and provenance (history) of a digital asset.

  • Powered by the Blockchain: This ownership record is secured and made verifiable through the use of blockchains like Ethereum, offering a public ledger of who owns what.

Metadata Matters: The Heart of the NFT

The metadata is the soul of the NFT. It contains the actual artwork, video, or other digital content, along with its name, description, and potentially traits or special attributes that determine its uniqueness/rarity.

  • The Location Factor: Where this metadata is stored matters immensely, and this is where on-chain and off-chain NFTs primarily differ.

On-Chain vs. Off-Chain: A Question of Storage

  • Off-Chain by Default: Most NFTs only include a link within their blockchain record pointing to where the metadata is hosted on a traditional server or storage system. This offers more flexibility and lower costs, but introduces a point of potential failure.

  • On-Chain Permanence: On-chain NFTs embed the metadata directly into the blockchain transaction. This enhances durability and reduces reliance on third-party providers, but comes with increased cost and file size restrictions.

Permanence is the Goal: True Digital Ownership

The decentralized and immutable nature of blockchains offers a potential for longevity that traditional servers lack. Truly on-chain NFTs are theoretically as durable as the blockchain they're minted on, increasing their inherent value.

  • Risk Assessment: It's important to understand that even on-chain NFTs could be lost if private keys are compromised. Additionally, if the underlying blockchain itself fails due to lack of support, the NFT would lose its functionality despite being "on-chain".

Table of comparison:

Table of comparison:

On-chain NFTs prioritize long-term durability, security, and independence from external servers or platforms.

Trends and Developments in On-Chain NFTs

Several trends are driving the growing interest in minting NFTs fully on-chain:

  • Durability Concerns: As the NFT market matures, creators and collectors want assurance that their investment will last. On-chain NFTs offer this.

  • Avoiding Centralized Control: If a company hosting NFT images or data fails, those NFTs could be at risk. On-chain storage avoids this dependency.

  • Evolving Use Cases: NFTs are being used for more than just art. On-chain storage is often considered for things like tickets, legal documents, or even game save states where long-term existence is paramount.

  • Growing Technical Support: Tools and marketplaces are emerging that make creating on-chain NFTs easier for artists and developers.

"On-chain NFTs represent a shift towards greater self-sovereignty and permanence in the digital ownership landscape."

Benefits and Considerations of On-Chain NFTs

The decision to mint an NFT on-chain carries significant implications. While they offer the strongest guarantees of permanence, censorship resistance, and transparent ownership, these benefits come with potential trade-offs. Let's delve into the reasons why a creator or collector might choose to embrace the potential of on-chain NFTs and the factors they must weigh when making this crucial decision.

Benefits

  • True Immutability: A Record that Endures: Blockchains, by design, prioritize immutability. While no technology is truly permanent, on-chain NFTs significantly increase the odds of them outliving centralized storage solutions. This permanence is appealing when considering assets designed to last.

  • No External Dependencies: Reduced Risk If an NFT's metadata relies on a website or centralized service, there's always the risk of that resource disappearing, rendering the NFT essentially worthless. On-chain storage minimizes this risk for maximum longevity of the asset.

  • Censorship Resistance: Control and Durability While not impossible, manipulating data on-chain is far more difficult than altering a traditional website. This makes on-chain NFTs appealing for storing politically sensitive content, preserving assets that might be controversial, or ensuring freedom of expression in regions with restrictive regimes.

  • Increased Transparency: Built-in Provenance: The public nature of blockchains means anyone can inspect the content of an on-chain NFT. This reduces the need to trust third-party platforms and makes it easier to verify the authenticity and origin of the asset, fostering greater trust between creators and collectors.

Considerations

  • Cost: On-chain storage is more expensive (in terms of transaction fees) compared to off-chain methods.

  • File Size Limitations: Blockchains aren't ideal for storing giant image files – limits vary by platform.

  • Technical Knowledge: While getting easier, on-chain NFTs often require more coding experience than simple minting tools.

Technical Guide to Creating On-Chain NFTs

While platforms are simplifying the process, understanding the core concepts of creating on-chain NFTs is vital. Here's a simplified outline of a common approach:

  1. Choose a Blockchain: Ethereum is the leader, but others like Solana offer options. Consider fees, community, and marketplace support.

  2. Set Up a Wallet and Get ETH: You'll need a crypto wallet like MetaMask and some Ether (ETH) to pay transaction costs.

  3. Metadata Creation: Use an NFT metadata standard (often ERC-721 on Ethereum). Prepare your image, video, or other data in the correct format.

  4. Smart Contract Coding: Write a smart contract (likely in Solidity if using Ethereum) that handles minting, storing the metadata, and any unique features.

  5. Interacting with the Smart Contract: Use a platform to deploy your contract, then interact with it to actually create your NFT.

Popular Platforms for Creating On-Chain NFTs

Choosing the right platform is key when making on-chain NFTs. Here's a breakdown of some popular choices, explained in plain language:

Manifold

Think of Manifold as being for serious creators. It gives you fine-grained control by letting you build your own smart contracts (the code that powers your NFT). This offers a lot of flexibility, but might be intimidating if you're new to coding.

  • Unleashing Control: Manifold prioritizes giving creators the ability to write their own smart contracts. This translates into unmatched flexibility for defining unique NFT mechanics, minting rules, or innovative interactions.

  • Not for Beginners: This level of customization requires coding knowledge.

Foundation

This platform is like a fancy art gallery for the digital world. While it supports on-chain NFTs, creators need to be accepted onto the platform, keeping the quality of artwork high.

  • Emphasis on Quality: Foundation's invite-only model fosters a sense of exclusivity focused on high-caliber digital art. It acts as a curated marketplace for collectors seeking established or emerging artists with strong reputations.

  • On-Chain Flexibility: While maintaining a focus on art, Foundation supports on-chain NFTs, ensuring long-term preservation and authenticity for discerning buyers.

Zora

Zora is more like a toolbox for developers. If you want to build completely unique NFT marketplaces or projects with special features, Zora offers powerful building blocks.

  • Bespoke Marketplaces & Experiences: Zora provides the underlying protocol and tools for developers to construct highly customized NFT marketplaces or applications. Think beyond standard buying and selling and into unique NFT-powered communities and interactions.

  • Technical Expertise Required: Zora's appeal lies in its adaptability, making it a great fit for teams with blockchain development experience rather than those seeking pre-built, user-friendly interfaces.

Thirdweb

Thirdweb aims to make on-chain NFTs easier. They provide ready-made smart contract templates that you can use, which saves you from having to write them from scratch.

  • Ease of On-Chain Creation: Thirdweb delivers pre-made smart contract templates for common NFT functionalities. This lowers the barrier to minting on-chain NFTs without requiring creators to become full-fledged blockchain developers.

  • Bridging Two Worlds: Thirdweb is suitable for creators who want the benefits of on-chain NFTs alongside user-friendly dashboard tools for managing their projects.

Mirror

Imagine if you could mint an entire blog post, with images, videos, and fancy formatting, directly onto the blockchain! Mirror aims to be this for creators, though it's still under development.

  • Blockchain-Native Content: Mirror transforms the traditional blogging and publishing model. Creators can mint complete articles directly on-chain, including rich multimedia elements, providing verifiable ownership and potential avenues for new forms of monetization.

  • Forward-Looking: Since Mirror is still in development, its primary audience consists of early adopters, writers interested in blockchain-based publishing, and developers excited by the potential of decentralized content.

Table: Comparing On-Chain NFT Platforms

Table: Comparing On-Chain NFT Platforms

Partnering with TokenMinds

Even with these platforms making things simpler, there are times when working with a specialized company like TokenMinds can be the smartest move:

  • Unique Projects: Maybe you need an NFT that can change over time, or one that only certain people can buy? A development company can build this for you.

  • Extra Security: Bad code can lead to lost or stolen NFTs. TokenMinds prioritizes audits and testing to make sure your project is secure.

  • Thinking Beyond One Blockchain: Sometimes using multiple blockchains might be the best solution. A development company has the experience to help you do this.

  • Staying Ahead: Blockchain technology changes quickly! A good partner can help you keep your NFT project modern and competitive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Are on-chain NFTs better than regular NFTs? 

A. "Better" depends on what you want. If you care most about the NFT being impossible to change or delete, then yes. But they can cost more to make.

Q: Can an existing off-chain NFT be made on-chain? 

A. Sadly, usually not. It's like the difference between baking a cake and just having a picture of one – you can't turn the picture into a real cake!

Q: Are on-chain NFTs always more expensive to sell? 

A. Not always! While they cost more to make initially, some collectors are willing to pay extra for NFTs they know will last forever.

Q. What if I'm not a coder? Can I still create on-chain NFTs? 

A. Absolutely! Platforms like Thirdweb and Foundation make it possible even if you've never written a line of code.

Conclusion

On-chain NFTs are a powerful option for those who want to create things on the blockchain that are built to last. While not always the cheapest or easiest option, they offer a level of security and permanence that can be very attractive, especially as NFTs grow beyond just art.

Key Takeaways:

  • On-chain NFTs store both the artwork/asset and its metadata directly on the blockchain, unlike many popular NFTs that only store a link.

  • This approach maximizes permanence and gives creators greater control but can be slightly more expensive and require more technical understanding.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have taken the world by storm, enabling digital ownership of everything from artwork to limited-edition sneakers to in-game items. However, not all NFTs are created equal, and understanding how to create fully on-chain NFTs is essential for those seeking maximum permanence and control.

This comprehensive guide will delve into on-chain NFTs, their evolution, the advantages and considerations, the technical process involved, and popular platforms for minting them

Understanding On-Chain NFTs

Let's break down the basics of on-chain NFTs and how they differ from other approaches:

NFTs as Digital Receipts: Proof of Ownership

NFTs are not the actual art or collectible themselves. They function as a tamper-resistant digital receipt, proving ownership and provenance (history) of a digital asset.

  • Powered by the Blockchain: This ownership record is secured and made verifiable through the use of blockchains like Ethereum, offering a public ledger of who owns what.

Metadata Matters: The Heart of the NFT

The metadata is the soul of the NFT. It contains the actual artwork, video, or other digital content, along with its name, description, and potentially traits or special attributes that determine its uniqueness/rarity.

  • The Location Factor: Where this metadata is stored matters immensely, and this is where on-chain and off-chain NFTs primarily differ.

On-Chain vs. Off-Chain: A Question of Storage

  • Off-Chain by Default: Most NFTs only include a link within their blockchain record pointing to where the metadata is hosted on a traditional server or storage system. This offers more flexibility and lower costs, but introduces a point of potential failure.

  • On-Chain Permanence: On-chain NFTs embed the metadata directly into the blockchain transaction. This enhances durability and reduces reliance on third-party providers, but comes with increased cost and file size restrictions.

Permanence is the Goal: True Digital Ownership

The decentralized and immutable nature of blockchains offers a potential for longevity that traditional servers lack. Truly on-chain NFTs are theoretically as durable as the blockchain they're minted on, increasing their inherent value.

  • Risk Assessment: It's important to understand that even on-chain NFTs could be lost if private keys are compromised. Additionally, if the underlying blockchain itself fails due to lack of support, the NFT would lose its functionality despite being "on-chain".

Table of comparison:

Table of comparison:

On-chain NFTs prioritize long-term durability, security, and independence from external servers or platforms.

Trends and Developments in On-Chain NFTs

Several trends are driving the growing interest in minting NFTs fully on-chain:

  • Durability Concerns: As the NFT market matures, creators and collectors want assurance that their investment will last. On-chain NFTs offer this.

  • Avoiding Centralized Control: If a company hosting NFT images or data fails, those NFTs could be at risk. On-chain storage avoids this dependency.

  • Evolving Use Cases: NFTs are being used for more than just art. On-chain storage is often considered for things like tickets, legal documents, or even game save states where long-term existence is paramount.

  • Growing Technical Support: Tools and marketplaces are emerging that make creating on-chain NFTs easier for artists and developers.

"On-chain NFTs represent a shift towards greater self-sovereignty and permanence in the digital ownership landscape."

Benefits and Considerations of On-Chain NFTs

The decision to mint an NFT on-chain carries significant implications. While they offer the strongest guarantees of permanence, censorship resistance, and transparent ownership, these benefits come with potential trade-offs. Let's delve into the reasons why a creator or collector might choose to embrace the potential of on-chain NFTs and the factors they must weigh when making this crucial decision.

Benefits

  • True Immutability: A Record that Endures: Blockchains, by design, prioritize immutability. While no technology is truly permanent, on-chain NFTs significantly increase the odds of them outliving centralized storage solutions. This permanence is appealing when considering assets designed to last.

  • No External Dependencies: Reduced Risk If an NFT's metadata relies on a website or centralized service, there's always the risk of that resource disappearing, rendering the NFT essentially worthless. On-chain storage minimizes this risk for maximum longevity of the asset.

  • Censorship Resistance: Control and Durability While not impossible, manipulating data on-chain is far more difficult than altering a traditional website. This makes on-chain NFTs appealing for storing politically sensitive content, preserving assets that might be controversial, or ensuring freedom of expression in regions with restrictive regimes.

  • Increased Transparency: Built-in Provenance: The public nature of blockchains means anyone can inspect the content of an on-chain NFT. This reduces the need to trust third-party platforms and makes it easier to verify the authenticity and origin of the asset, fostering greater trust between creators and collectors.

Considerations

  • Cost: On-chain storage is more expensive (in terms of transaction fees) compared to off-chain methods.

  • File Size Limitations: Blockchains aren't ideal for storing giant image files – limits vary by platform.

  • Technical Knowledge: While getting easier, on-chain NFTs often require more coding experience than simple minting tools.

Technical Guide to Creating On-Chain NFTs

While platforms are simplifying the process, understanding the core concepts of creating on-chain NFTs is vital. Here's a simplified outline of a common approach:

  1. Choose a Blockchain: Ethereum is the leader, but others like Solana offer options. Consider fees, community, and marketplace support.

  2. Set Up a Wallet and Get ETH: You'll need a crypto wallet like MetaMask and some Ether (ETH) to pay transaction costs.

  3. Metadata Creation: Use an NFT metadata standard (often ERC-721 on Ethereum). Prepare your image, video, or other data in the correct format.

  4. Smart Contract Coding: Write a smart contract (likely in Solidity if using Ethereum) that handles minting, storing the metadata, and any unique features.

  5. Interacting with the Smart Contract: Use a platform to deploy your contract, then interact with it to actually create your NFT.

Popular Platforms for Creating On-Chain NFTs

Choosing the right platform is key when making on-chain NFTs. Here's a breakdown of some popular choices, explained in plain language:

Manifold

Think of Manifold as being for serious creators. It gives you fine-grained control by letting you build your own smart contracts (the code that powers your NFT). This offers a lot of flexibility, but might be intimidating if you're new to coding.

  • Unleashing Control: Manifold prioritizes giving creators the ability to write their own smart contracts. This translates into unmatched flexibility for defining unique NFT mechanics, minting rules, or innovative interactions.

  • Not for Beginners: This level of customization requires coding knowledge.

Foundation

This platform is like a fancy art gallery for the digital world. While it supports on-chain NFTs, creators need to be accepted onto the platform, keeping the quality of artwork high.

  • Emphasis on Quality: Foundation's invite-only model fosters a sense of exclusivity focused on high-caliber digital art. It acts as a curated marketplace for collectors seeking established or emerging artists with strong reputations.

  • On-Chain Flexibility: While maintaining a focus on art, Foundation supports on-chain NFTs, ensuring long-term preservation and authenticity for discerning buyers.

Zora

Zora is more like a toolbox for developers. If you want to build completely unique NFT marketplaces or projects with special features, Zora offers powerful building blocks.

  • Bespoke Marketplaces & Experiences: Zora provides the underlying protocol and tools for developers to construct highly customized NFT marketplaces or applications. Think beyond standard buying and selling and into unique NFT-powered communities and interactions.

  • Technical Expertise Required: Zora's appeal lies in its adaptability, making it a great fit for teams with blockchain development experience rather than those seeking pre-built, user-friendly interfaces.

Thirdweb

Thirdweb aims to make on-chain NFTs easier. They provide ready-made smart contract templates that you can use, which saves you from having to write them from scratch.

  • Ease of On-Chain Creation: Thirdweb delivers pre-made smart contract templates for common NFT functionalities. This lowers the barrier to minting on-chain NFTs without requiring creators to become full-fledged blockchain developers.

  • Bridging Two Worlds: Thirdweb is suitable for creators who want the benefits of on-chain NFTs alongside user-friendly dashboard tools for managing their projects.

Mirror

Imagine if you could mint an entire blog post, with images, videos, and fancy formatting, directly onto the blockchain! Mirror aims to be this for creators, though it's still under development.

  • Blockchain-Native Content: Mirror transforms the traditional blogging and publishing model. Creators can mint complete articles directly on-chain, including rich multimedia elements, providing verifiable ownership and potential avenues for new forms of monetization.

  • Forward-Looking: Since Mirror is still in development, its primary audience consists of early adopters, writers interested in blockchain-based publishing, and developers excited by the potential of decentralized content.

Table: Comparing On-Chain NFT Platforms

Table: Comparing On-Chain NFT Platforms

Partnering with TokenMinds

Even with these platforms making things simpler, there are times when working with a specialized company like TokenMinds can be the smartest move:

  • Unique Projects: Maybe you need an NFT that can change over time, or one that only certain people can buy? A development company can build this for you.

  • Extra Security: Bad code can lead to lost or stolen NFTs. TokenMinds prioritizes audits and testing to make sure your project is secure.

  • Thinking Beyond One Blockchain: Sometimes using multiple blockchains might be the best solution. A development company has the experience to help you do this.

  • Staying Ahead: Blockchain technology changes quickly! A good partner can help you keep your NFT project modern and competitive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Are on-chain NFTs better than regular NFTs? 

A. "Better" depends on what you want. If you care most about the NFT being impossible to change or delete, then yes. But they can cost more to make.

Q: Can an existing off-chain NFT be made on-chain? 

A. Sadly, usually not. It's like the difference between baking a cake and just having a picture of one – you can't turn the picture into a real cake!

Q: Are on-chain NFTs always more expensive to sell? 

A. Not always! While they cost more to make initially, some collectors are willing to pay extra for NFTs they know will last forever.

Q. What if I'm not a coder? Can I still create on-chain NFTs? 

A. Absolutely! Platforms like Thirdweb and Foundation make it possible even if you've never written a line of code.

Conclusion

On-chain NFTs are a powerful option for those who want to create things on the blockchain that are built to last. While not always the cheapest or easiest option, they offer a level of security and permanence that can be very attractive, especially as NFTs grow beyond just art.

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