The Intersection of NFTs and Web Design
NFTs are making huge waves around the world and have gone from virtually unknown to the cultural cache of appearing on the New York Times Sunday edition front page and featuring on a South Park in just 1 year’s time.
They featured at Miami’s art festival Art Basal and are hitting record sale prices at auction houses like Christys and Sothebys and are popping up as profile pictures for celebs everywhere. How can you find your place in this movement?
NFTs and web design are not too far apart. Web designers are inherently creative and technical, already in a position to break through to this world – just waiting for the right article to tell you how.
First, let’s look at what NFTs are and what they can do…
What is an NFT?
An NFT is a non-fungible token that proves you own a “one-of-a-kind” digital asset. It can be a jpg of a meme, your photography, an audio file of music, a video clip – anything non-physical. NFTs are dynamic – they can be tweets or even code. Coca-cola minted NFTs of sounds, a coke bottle opening, and coke being poured over ice.
More Than An Image – Creative Potential
While some NFTs are simply collectible art to pop into a social media profile pic space, others represent tangible assets and have a utility in the digital world.
NFTs Can Provide Access
Some NFTs represent membership like the collections of Gary Vaynerchuk’s VeeFriends or Bored Ape Yacht Club. These exclusive communities have access to private events, early access to brand launches, conference passes, or concerts.
NFTs can also unlock doors in the digital world giving you entry to virtual gaming events or can let you earn in-game rewards like shields and swords. There is even virtual real estate that you can purchase through NFTs in a space called Decentraland.
NFTs Can Be Tied to Physical Assets
NFTS can come loaded with cryptocurrency or be paired with physical objects. Nike’s Cryptokicks shoes come with a corresponding NFT tracking ownership on the blockchain. In 2020, counterfeit sneakers represented a $450 billion dollar market. NFTs can work as a certificate of authenticity while also providing a fun experience to customers. Nike’s Cryptokicks let shoe owners “breed” their sneaker NFTs similar to crypto kitties, but in Nike’s case, you can actually get the hybrid shoe made, effectively making you a shoe designer.
The Austrian and Swiss post offices have issued stamps, that have corresponding digital stamp NFTs – there is no limit.
Tim Berner’s Lee recently sold an NFT of the world wide web source code at Sothebys, including the original time-stamped files containing the source code, animated visualization of the code, a signed digital poster, and a physical letter.
Why do they have value?
It is the same reason we stood in line for hours to get the limited edition Princess Diana tribute beanie baby or hoped that the pokemon card pack would contain within its foil wrapping a rare holographic Charizard. They have value because they are finite and because they are collectible.
There’s also a “who’s collecting what” element tied to this. Similar to the art world, the status of the buyer can have an impact. If an artist has their work purchased and added to a well-known collector’s gallery, everyone now wants the artist’s art. The same concept applies here.
When a celebrity or sports star purchases specific NFTs, its value rises.
The economic value assigned to NFTs is a compilation of urgency, nostalgia, scarcity, pleasure, and status. who has the NFTs in their collection, scarcity, and pleasure. Just like how we assign value to pieces of paper for our currency, it has value because we say so.
What Makes it Work Technically?
NFTs are bought and sold using cryptocurrency and are tracked with unique metadata through the blockchain with smart contracts. The Smart contract is executed during the NFT minting process. It allows the owner of the NFT to be digitally traceable through the blockchain. This means there are no forgeries possible and only one authenticated owner of this one-of-a-kind item. Now, in the case of the stamps, there may be 150,000 copies of the same jpeg image representing this digital stamp out there – but each copy is assigned its own unique token. No two NFTs are the same.
Smart contracts are contained within the blockchain and once executed, mint the NFT. The ownership is digitally traceable through the blockchain.
Companies Are Looking for NFT Artists
Brands are jumping on and searching the internet for NFT creators and artists to partner with them in minting NFTs.
According to a global analysis done by nonfungible.com in Q2 of 2021, there were 177,048 active wallets and only 29,709 NFT sellers. That means there are nearly 6x the number of people looking to acquire NFTs as there are sellers of them. These are great numbers for someone looking to get started.
Here are a couple examples of brands you know minting NFTs.
TacoBell released 25 NFT tokens, 5 of which were animated GIFs. They sold out in 30 minutes. The profits all went to a scholarship fund called Live Más. A surprise perk was that each NFT came loaded with a $500 electronic gift card to TacoBell!
Here is their Transformative Taco.
The NBA realized that NFTs were the perfect vehicle to capitalize on video highlight clips of favorite players, launching Top Shot. This website has been a wild success earning the NBA $250 million in the first 5 months. The income doesn’t stop when the NFTs are sold, if a fan later resells that NFT the NBA pockets a royalty from each transaction.
Pringles released 50 cryptocrisp NFTs marketplace, giving all profits to the artist that collaborated with them on the design.
The list goes on, but that’s where you come in.
Make NFTs An Extension of Your Service Portfolio
Things you already have that put you in a position for this:
- A customer base
- An understanding of the internet
- Existing mintable work
You already provide targeted branding through web design and development, don’t make your customers look elsewhere for on-brand creative NFTs.
Offer brand-specific NFT creation as a service in addition to your web design. Not only that, you can mint the work that you’ve already done.
Mint Your Web Design Work as NFTs
How can you sell a web design you have already sold to a client?
You are not selling the design or its functionality, but a picture of the design you created – hinspire’s Webdesign article on NFTs likens it to a baseball card and sells her complete web design portfolio as NFTs.
Why not you?
A New York Times Column on NFTs was sold for $560,000. You can do this with your work as well!
Remember: A collection is worth more than a single piece, so make more than one. How do you make them?
- Set up a crypto wallet – Install the MetaMask extension for Google Chrome and setup your wallet.
- Put money in that wallet – Buy Ethereum – the cryptocurrency of choice for most NFT marketplaces
- Why do I need to buy Ethereum? You have to pay a 2.5% commission fee to Opensea whenever your NFT sells. If you are auctioning your NFT instead of setting a fixed price, you also have to pay something called a “gas price” which is calculated at the time of initializing your wallet. A gas price is the transaction fee for a unit of Ethereum. If your NFT sells, you can cash out your earnings in USD or exchange the crypto for another cryptocurrency.
- Sign up for OpenSea using your wallet
- Click profile, connect your wallet
- Click Create to upload your individual NFT or collection
- Click Sell to list your NFT
Make a Portfolio Displaying Your NFT Creations
Make sure your website has a page displaying the NFTs you’ve created or add yourself as an NFT artist to Fiverr or Upwork so you can get hits when people are searching for artists.
NFTs are widely called the intersection of art and tech and web developers have long been aesthetic mathematicians, don’t miss your chance.
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