How to create NFT in Malaysia 2022

In 2021, Malaysian artist Red Hong Yi sold her art piece Doge to the Moon for RM325,000. The piece – a large printed Chinese Yuan, with Mao Zedong replaced by viral internet meme Doge – was a non-fungible token (NFT). With Doge to the Moon auctioned off on  cryptocurrency exchange Binance, to the highest bidder who bought the piece in Ethereum, we have been left wondering if NFTs are something more artists should consider.

NFT

If you’re a digital artist who feels his/her art is being undervalued, and if you’re tired of creating constant content for Instagram in the hopes that it could make you some money, perhaps NFTs are the solution. 

So…what are NFTs?

We have an entire explainer going into NFTs and the culture around them, as well as an explainer on the blockchain technology that NFTs use. You don’t have to study every word in them, but the rest of this guide will make references to things like Ethereum, proof of work, and other similar concepts that you’ll get a better understanding of by reading our explainers.

Here’s a quick TL;DR, though. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital tokens stored on the blockchain. Unlike cryptocurrencies, where each coin is the same (there’s no reason to prefer one particular Bitcoin over another), each NFT is unique and can be sold as a way to prove ownership over some sort of digital file.

'Non-fungible' means that every token is unique and cannot be considered the same in value with another non-fungible token, unlike fungible tokens like Bitcoin and Ether which have the same value for every unit. To illustrate, this means that every Bitcoin has the same value to one of every other Bitcoin.

For better understanding, NFTs can be viewed as collectibles or memorabilia, where the value is subjective. An autograph by Lionel Messi may not mean much to someone who isn’t a fan of football, but it could be worth tens of thousands to an Argentinian football fanatic. This is why NFTs are not cryptocurrencies, because ‘currency’ is defined as “something that is in circulation as a medium of exchange” or “a common article for bartering” (Merriam-Webster). It would not be practical to use something as a medium of exchange when its value varies from person to person.

In almost every case, the files aren’t actually stored on the blockchain itself. Rather, a link to the file is stored, along with the token that acts as proof of ownership over whatever that link points to. There’s also no rule saying that two or more NFTs can’t exist for the same file — you can have NFTs with editions, kind of like trading cards. For example, an NFT can be rare because there are only 10 copies or common because thousands of the same NFT have been “minted,” or written to the blockchain. There’s also nothing to stop someone from taking the file you’ve used for your NFT and creating their own NFT with it (though the blockchain entry will show that it came from their account, not yours).

You can technically sell any digital file as an NFT, but if you’re looking to use a marketplace’s easy minting tools, you’re going to be limited to the formats they support. We’ll touch on that a bit more later, but it’s worth keeping in mind that your first NFT should probably be an image, video, or audio clip of some sort. If you don’t know what you want to sell as an NFT yet, those kinds of restrictions could help you narrow down the possibilities. 

Why are NFTs a hot topic?

NFTs are revolutionising the world of digital art, and perhaps, it’s a little bizarre. Artists who used to put things online for free on platforms like Instagram and Facebook are now selling their work for thousands on NFT selling platforms.
 

Take Malaysia artist Ronald Ong, for instance. Ong is a visual artist that creates surreal, often whimsical, digital artworks, mainly composed of nature and animals, which he posts on Instagram (@ronnaldong) for anyone to view. However, he sells his NFT pieces for thousands on sites like SuperRare and Foundation.app; his piece ZEBREO, for example, was sold close to RM85,000. 

Things you didn’t think could be sold for large sums of money, such as GIFs, music, avatars, articles and even tweets [the creator of twitter sold his tweet for RM12bil (US$2.9bil)!], are now turning into high-priced commodities. Tangible and even intangible items can be sold as digital objects. 

The bizarre part is that NFTs can usually be viewed and even saved for free, like how I just hit right-click-save-as Ong’s ZEBREO piece. But what NFT collectors are interested in is becoming the official owner of the piece.​​

How do I become an NFT artist?

First you'll need to make, or 'mint' your NFT. To make an NFT of your artwork, you'll need to choose an NFT platform and a payment wallet, the latter of which you'll need to use to pay fees – and to receive any payment if you're luck enough to sell your NFT. There are lots of online platforms you can use to make and sell an NFT. Some of the most popular NFT auction platforms include OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, Nifty Gateway (used by Paris Hilton to auction her curious Crypto Queen NFT, pictured above), Foundation, VIV3, BakerySwap, Axie Marketplace and NFT ShowRoom. There are plenty of NFT payment platforms too, with Coinbase, MetaMask, Torus, Portis, WalletConnect, MyEtherWallet and Fortmatic some of the best known. 

For illustrative purposes, we'll show the process involved in making and selling an NFT using the NFT platform Rarible and the cryptocurrency payment platform MetaMask. Note that these two platforms are chosen purely to show how the process works, and it doesn't mean we're saying they're the best service to use. You could consider using any of the platforms mentioned above, and many more besides, following a similar process.  We recommend checking the fees involved as closely as possible before choosing (we'll come back to the fees later).

01. Buy some cryptocurrency to fund your wallet

All of the NFT auction platforms mentioned above will want paying upfront to 'mint' an NFT, which is the process that turns your artwork into a non-fungible token that you can sell. In most cases, payment must be made in cryptocurrency, usually Ether (abbreviated as ETH), which is the native cryptocurrency of the open-source blockchain platform Ethereum, which is where NFTs first launched. This means that before you have any chance of earning some cryptocurrency by selling an NFT of your work, you'll need to buy some in order to cover the fees.

If you already own some ETH you'll need to make sure you have it in a digital wallet, which you'll need to connect to your chosen NFT platform to make (and receive) payments. If you don't have currency, there are a lot of cryptocurrency exchanges out there where you can buy ETH or other currencies, but the quickest and easiest option is usually to buy ETH directly with your digital wallet of choice.

As we mentioned, there are many options for this, but to illustrate the process, we’ll use MetaMask, which is available as a browser extension and as a mobile app. If you prefer to use another service, or if you already have a digital wallet and know how it works, jump straight to step 4. Otherwise, we'll talk you though how to set up your wallet and buy ETH in the next step.

02. Create a digital wallet to pay for your NFT

To create a digital wallet with MetaMask, you'll need to go to its website and click on the blue ‘Download’ button in the top-right. As we’re using a desktop computer, we'll choose the option to install the browser extension, but there's also a mobile app.

You'll be asked to confirm that you wish to ‘create a new wallet and seed phrase’. Don't worry too much about what ‘seed phrase’ means (it’s basically a list of words that stores blockchain information). Say yes, then it’s simply a matter of agreeing to the terms, creating a password, and making your way through some security measures, then you’ll have your account set up.

03. Add some cryptocurrency to your wallet

Once you've set up your MetaMask wallet, or any digital wallet, you'll need to add some ETH to it. If you don't already own some ETH, you'll need to buy some now, so click on the ‘Buy’ button and select the option ‘Buy ETH with Wyre’. You’ll be taken to a screen where you can use either Apple Pay or a debit card to buy ETH. Note that if you'd rather not part with any money yet, you can leave this stage until later; it just requires a little more faff (you'll want to check your chosen NFT platform's fees to know how much you'll need to buy).

The jargon involved in the cryptocurrency world can make it quite daunting, but buying currency is actually very easy to do. Just be aware that like bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, the value of Ether can fluctuate hugely. In 2021 alone, the price of 1 ETH has gone from under $1,000 to around $4,700 at the time of writing, with many peaks and troughs on the way. It's perfectly possible for the price of the currency to swing by several hundreds of US dollars in just a few hours.

04. Connect your wallet to an NFT platform

Most digital wallets work in a similar way. Whichever one you've chosen, you'll need to connect it to the NFT platform that you'll use to create your NFT. For illustrative purposes, we’re using Rarible, but there are many other NFT platforms to choose from and the process will generally be similar to what we outline below.

Go to Rarible.com (shown above). In the right-hand corner of the screen, there's a button that reads ‘Connect wallet’. Click there, and on the next screen, you'll be asked for your wallet provider, which is our case is MetaMask. A popup will give you the option to connect your wallet with Rarible. Click ‘Next’, then ‘Connect’, accept the terms of service and confirm you're over 13 years old.

05. Upload the file you want to turn into an NFT

So now you have a wallet connected with ETH to make payment, you’re ready to create an NFT of your work. On the Rarible site, click the blue ‘Create’ button at the top right. You'll then be given options to create a single, one-off work, or to sell the same item multiple times. In this example, we'll opt for ‘Single’. Now you need to upload the digital file that you want to make into an NFT. Rarible accepts PNG, GIF, WEBP, MP4 and MP3 files, up to 30MB in size.

To illustrate, we’ve created an ironically awful piece of art, inspired by David Hockney’s controversial London Underground art. Upload your (hopefully much better) digital file, and on the right, you’ll see a preview of what your NFT post will look like. 

06. Set up an auction for your NFT

In the next part of the form, you'll need to choose how to sell your NFT artwork. There are three options. ‘Fixed price’ allows you to set a price and sell your NFT instantly (rather like the ‘Buy it now’ option on eBay). The ‘Unlimited Auction’ option will allow people to carry on making bids until you accept one. Finally, ‘Timed auction’ is an auction that only lasts for a set time. That’s the option we’ll choose as an example.

This leads us to the trickiest part: choosing a minimum price. Sell your NFT too cheaply and the enormous fees will swallow up your profit, possibly even leaving out of pocket. We’ll set our price at an ambitious 1 ETH (currently US$4,700) and give people seven days to make bids.

Next, you get an option to ‘Unlock once purchased’. This gives you the chance to provide your eventual buyer with a full, high resolution version of your art, and/or additional material through a secret web page or download link. Below that is the most confusing option, titled 'Choose Collection'. This is a very technical question about how the blockchain is set up. The default option here is ‘Rarible’, and we’d advise leaving it like that. 

07. Add a description to sell your NFT

Now you can add a title and description for your listing. To maximise the chance that your NFT will sell, you should take some time to think about this. You're then asked to consider what percentage of royalties you wish to claim on any resale of your art in the future. 

Again, this is a balancing act, as a higher percentage will net you more money per sale in the long run, but it will also deter people from reselling your art in the first place as they’ll be less likely to make a profit for themselves. Finally, there’s an optional field to add your file’s properties. With that complete, you’re almost done. 

08. Pay the listing fee to sell your NFT (but be warned!)

Click ‘Create Item’, and you’ll be invited to connect with your wallet to pay the listing fee. If you don’t have sufficient funds in your wallet, don’t worry: you won’t have to start again. Just click on the wallet icon in the top-right corner of the screen, and you’ll be given the option to add funds directly within Rarible. 

Before doing so, just a final word of warning. The listing fee may seem low: in our case it worked out at just $5.91 in US dollars. But this is only the start. Before you can go further, you'll have to agree to a further fee to actually generate your NFT, which in our case would have been the equivalent of $42.99 in ETH. If someone actually buys your NFT, you'll have to pay a commission fee on the NFT sale, plus a transaction fee for transfer of the money from the buyer’s wallet to your own. In our opinion, none of this was hugely clear on Rarible’s website at the time we tried it.

We’d love to be able to explain, clearly and simply, how to calculate the potential cost of creating and selling an NFT, but the confusing nature of blockchain technology, the wild fluctuations in cryptocurrency values and the lack of transparency on the platforms themselves make that an impossible task. Really, you're left having to take the risk and wait and see how much you get charged overall if you make a sale, and to hope that you still come out with a profit.

References:

https://www.creativebloq.com/how-to/make-and-sell-an-NFT

https://www.theverge.com/22809090/nft-create-opensea-rarible-cryptocurrency-ethereum-collectibles-how-to

https://baskl.com.my/how-to-become-an-nft-digital-artist/

https://www.richardweechambers.com/5-legal-issues-about-nfts-in-malaysia-youll-want-to-know-about/


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