Yes, anyone can create, upload, and sell an NFT. An NFT, or non-fungible token, is essentially a digital asset similar in function to an artwork. Anything digital can technically be turned into an NFT and sold online via a marketplace for cryptocurrency.
Once sold, the items' ownership is transferred and listed on a blockchain (a form of digital database). The creator of the NFT then collects their money, and any royalty fees from future sales.
Anyone can sell NFTs because anyone can create them. Although they take different forms, perhaps the most common thing to sell as an NFT is art. And art can be created by anyone.
Once the artwork is made, uploading and selling is available to anyone with access to a computer and an internet connection.
You don’t even need to be very computer-literate. As NFTs continue to grow in popularity, the websites for hosting and selling them are becoming even more user-friendly. The only other thing you need is money, because paying to mint and sell an NFT can be an expensive start up cost.
What makes NFTs so popular is that they’re unique, one of a kind, creations. That’s literally what non-fungible means: a unit that can’t be interchanged or replaced. Creating an NFT is as simple as creating any original asset.
When an artwork, or similar, has been created, anyone is free to sell their creation to the general public. In some ways, NFTs are actually a more accessible form of art sales, especially for a newcomer.
Many websites don’t curate which NFTs are for sale, so as long as you have the money to make the listing, your NFT can be sold online.
For established digital artists, or those just starting out, there’s undoubtedly some curiosity about NFTs. It does appear to be the way digital art sales are going.
While headlines tend to be dominated by the expensive mega-sales, smaller artists are free to use the platform to make their own money. If you do create digital art, then there are no barriers other than monetary to stop you selling your work as an NFT.
So, how do you go about it? The first step is creating your asset. This could be any form of digital file, from an JPEG to a GIF to an mp3. The smaller it is, the cheaper it is to upload.
If you’re hoping to create a quick sale, the best-selling NFTs tend to be attention grabbing and slightly tongue in cheek. You have to appeal to an online audience, after all.
Once you have your digital asset, the next step is to sign up for a hosting platform. While these have been prohibitively expensive and overly complicated, as NFTs grow in popularity so does the marketplace.
That means even a crypto-newbie can find a website to upload their NFT too. Sites such as OpenSea and Rarible host and sell a wide range of digital assets, and take away the stress of grasping the involved coding of NFTs.
This is particularly useful for the less computer-literate creator, who may have been put off by the abundance of acronyms and codes surrounding NFTs. Uploading a work to one of these sites in a simple enough task.
Then simply choose whether to set a price or open up for bidding, and set your royalty fees. Other sites such as SuperRare take the more traditional art sellers route, and curate the artists that they feature.
These are good for the established artist, looking to grow a discerning audience.
Uploading and minting (approving the asset for circulation, as you would mint a coin) is a fairly simple process if you use a major hosting site. Many of these have detailed guides and FAQ pages readily available.
Before you do any selling, you’ll need to create an online wallet. NFTs deal in cryptocurrency, so you won’t be sent any dollars back to your bank account. At least, not at first. Instead, you’ll need to start a wallet so that you can receive any money you may make from a sale.
OpenSea uses a form of cryptocurrency called Ethereum, or ether, and this is what you’ll receive payment in from any sold works. So before you start selling, you need some ether and a wallet to keep it in.
Online companies such as MetaMask allow anyone to start buying ether. As a starting point, you’ll probably only be buying fractions of an ether, because a single ether is worth over a thousand dollars.
However, there is a transaction fee for buying ether, so you want to begin by buying enough that you won’t be constantly losing money on fees. It’s a tricky starting place, especially as you don’t know how well your NFTs may sell.
With the wallet set up and your asset ready to go, you’re nearly ready to start selling. The (almost) final step is to pay the ‘gas’ fee.
Like we said, anyone can start selling NFTs, but that doesn’t mean the marketplace is about to become flooded with everyone uploading PNGs they just whipped up. The gas fee is charged to offset the energy required to run and host the website.
Finally, you click a few confirmations, and you’re officially selling an NFT. Or not, as might be the case.
While anyone can technically sell an NFT, that doesn’t mean everyone will. Again, it’s similar to the traditional art world. For small name creators, finding a buyer can seem almost impossible.
This can be amplified when you’re struggling to make yourself known on a crowded open access platform. Although the purchasing of NFTs is a growing business, it’s still limited in many ways.
The platform does appear to be growing. There’s a definite shift towards creators using NFTs as a way of making money. If you’re a digital artist, then it’s certainly worth learning about the medium now.
This way, you’ll be able to begin growing an audience before the marketplace becomes even busier.
Can I make money selling NFTs?
Potentially, anyone can make money selling NFTs. NFTs are a form of unique digital asset that are traded with cryptocurrency. That doesn’t mean that anyone will make money selling NFTs, and for many it could quickly become a loss.
If you’ve been paying attention to the world of NFTs, you’ll have noticed that they’re becoming a big business. If you haven’t been paying attention to NFTs, then they’ve probably grabbed your attention with headlines about assets selling for millions of dollars.
It’s hardly surprising that so many of us are wondering if we can use this for our own benefit. Especially if you’re a digital artist, who has had to struggle with slow-moving copyright and ownership laws in the online marketplace.
However, it might not be as easy as headlines make it out to profit from sales of NFTs. For a start, those that are going for big prices are a rare few from well established artists. Think of a Da Vinci selling for $450 million at Christie’s - it doesn’t mean every other painting will get anywhere near that much.
Instead, most paintings change hands for very little, and some never get sold at all. This is the same for NFTs. The majority of digital assets aren’t selling for the high prices that make the news - and many aren’t making any money at all.
While you may profit selling NFTs, it would be wrong to envision it as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.
Another hazard of selling are the original hosting fees. To list an NFT on a major site such as OpenSea requires a ‘gas fee’, or a price to get your work minted. This is paid to cover the energy used in hosting the NFT, and to ‘mint’ the artwork, so it can be added to a blockchain database.
Minting is similar to how coins are minted, it’s simply a proof of legitimacy. For many, this initial price will not be offset by the money they make from a sale. This may sound harsh, but it’s the unfortunate truth.
Add in the fees spent in buying the cryptocurrency to make the listing - because NFTs are traded in Ethereum rather than dollars. At this point, most sellers will only be making a loss.
If you have committed to paying the uploading and hosting fees, the next step is in finding an audience. On OpenSea, an NFT can be sold in three different ways. Firstly, there is the traditional English auction method.
This way, your item is auctioned so that the highest bid wins. There’s no set price, and it’s your choice whether to take the offer. The second choice is a ‘Dutch auction’, or a declining price auction.
With this method, the price is fixed but drops over time. If you specify an end price, the auction item will eventually be removed from listing if it fails to sell. Finally, there’s set price selling. Your item is sold for a single price, and the listing never expires.
An English auction can make you the most money, but it can also result in no sale at all. If this happens, then you’ve made a loss.
To make any type of sale requires finding someone to buy your work. With NFTs, this means creating something unique and desirable enough that someone is interested in paying for proof to say they own it.
In many ways this sets it quite far apart from traditional art auctions. Small art sellers will sell work because someone is interested in the physical ownership of an item that appeals to them. With NFTs, ownership works very differently.
What a buyer purchases isn’t so much the artwork as it is proof that they own the artwork. This can make it difficult to find an audience for a newcomer, as you need to find someone who wants the bragging rights of owning your NFT.
Of course, you may get lucky, or you may create something truly appealing to the marketplace. To be frank, often what sells an NFT may not be the artistic quality of the asset itself. After all, that’s not what is being bought.
If you’re able to create significant interest around your work, you may be able to generate some sales. Over time, regular sales could easily make up for the hosting and initial transaction fees.
As the market grows, there will only be more people interested in what you have to sell. Of course, there will also be more people selling.
If you’re a digital artist with an active audience, things may not be so bleak. Rather than uploading to a big open site like OpenSea, you can instead auction your NFTs at limited access sites.
Platforms such as SuperRare and Foundation choose which creators are able to sell works. This can make it much easier to make a sale, as you don’t have to fight to be seen among a busy crowd. It also allows you to grow a collectors base, and ultimately increase visibility.
If you are able to sell an artwork, one of the advantages of NFTs is that they continue to make money for the artists. An artist will receive royalties every time the NFT is traded or sold.
There’s an obvious advantage to this. If you sold a piece of traditional artwork, such as a painting, you would receive the money from the original transaction. However, if the painting was then sold by the first buyers, you would make nothing.
With an NFT, you would still be making money. This is making NFTs appealing to the music industry, where artists can keep a greater hold over the rights and royalties of their music.
So, anyone can technically make money selling NFTs, but not many people will. As with most forms of sales, the trick is cultivating an audience and finding something people want to buy.
The more popular you are, the easier it is to create a buzz around your works. Digital artworks do seem to be moving towards NFTs as a primary mode of sale.
Can I resell an NFT?
Yes, an NFT can be resold. When this is done, the new purchase will be added to the blockchain, updating the record of ownership to reflect the new circumstances. In this way, NFTs act as any traditional asset, where they can gain or lose value between sales.
Purchasing and reselling NFTs could be a new form of investment and trading.
In order to understand reselling NFTs, you have to understand what a blockchain is. These are essential to the legitimate trading of digital assets.
A blockchain is basically a digital database. A blockchain will store data in blocks, and these blocks can then be chained together as they’re created, hence the name.
This form of database makes tracing ownership easier.
When the block has been filled with data, it becomes unchangeable. It’s timestamped, and added to the larger chain as a permanent record.
These blocks are then used to store the data confirming the purchase of an NFT. The block will be an indisputable reminder of when you bought an NFT, and where that NFT is located.
When you then resell the NFT, that first block isn’t updated, but another block will be added. This way, there remains a record of your prior ownership, and an update with the newer ownership.
When you resell an NFT, the asset remains unchanged and unmoved, but the ownership is updated.
As more and more people grow interested in NFTs, the market surrounding them will continue to grow. Which could mean that previously purchased NFTs are only increasing in value - they’ve become a part of a unique online history.
Especially as the platform continues to grow in legitimacy, attracting interest from traditional marketing houses such as Christie’s. Reselling an NFT could become as common as selling on a painting you no longer want.
(Of course, the opposite could potentially happen. NFTs lose their power and legitimacy, and become a concept of ownership with little worth attached. They’re also traded in cryptocurrency, typically Ethereum, so are subject to the status of crypto)
Selling an NFT is a little bit different from other forms of reselling. For a start, when you buy an NFT, you don’t actually buy a physical item.
What you’re buying instead is the proof that says you own the digital asset. Anyone else is allowed to view and download whatever that asset may be. So someone may own the very first tweet on Twitter, but we’re all still within our rights to save pictures of it.
But let’s say you have purchased Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet as an NFT (which someone has, by the way). You now own the ownership of that tweet forever, but it still remains hosted on a public website.
Should you then, for whatever reason, become tired of the tweet, you’re able to sell it on. Rather, you’re able to sell the ownership of the tweet on, and the tweet remains available to the public.
Had that tweet grown in value during the time you owned it, you could potentially sell it for more than the roughly 2.9 million dollars you originally paid.
That way, you’ve made some money, someone else now has ownership, but you’re still free to look at “just setting up my twttr” as much as you like.
How does this compare to traditional reselling of assets? It’s perhaps most comparable to the world of high art.
Imagine you owned Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. As in you owned the painting itself, but you agreed it could continue to be hosted in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
You could visit it whenever you wanted, as could anyone else in the museum, but you had sole ownership. If you then no longer wanted Starry Night, you could put it up for auction and collect your profit.
Meanwhile, you could, for free, save a picture of Starry Night to your computer to look at whenever the mood struck. You could even go and see the original, provided the new owner kept it on open view. In many ways, traditional art sales aren’t that different to NFT sales.
The only difference is that as the original owner of Starry Night you could take it from the museum and keep it in your home. You can’t do that with Jack Dorsey's tweet.
And whoever owns Starry Night can remove it from view, leaving you with no access. Meanwhile, no matter who owns the tweet it’s still available on a public forum.
In cases such as Jack Dorsey's tweet, you can potentially argue that the entire point of the NFT is in creating a resale value. The tweet itself has no physical existence, and the only reason for buying it is for the concept of ownership.
This ownership gives the item desirability, which then gives it value. It’s hard to imagine that someone bought that tweet without an eye on how to make money off it in the future. The tweet is bought as an investment opportunity (as are many artworks).
So while many will buy NFTs to support an artist or creator, others will buy it with the interest of selling it on again in the future.
However, it would be entirely inaccurate to claim that all NFTs are created and bought with the sole purpose of reselling.
Many people have purchased NFTs to support a creator, or simply out of love and respect for an artwork. The reasons for reselling then could be anything from a change in financial circumstances to a simple change in taste.
If the owner then wished to resell the asset, they can do so by putting it back up for sale.
Put simply, it is possible to buy and resell an NFT. Doing so will transfer the ownership of the digital asset, and update the blockchain with the new owner.
This could quickly become a way for savvy investors to earn money.