Fotografía | NFT

Opensea vs minting your own contract

When I started maturing the idea of creating NFT photo collections my first obvious choice was to create and list my collections in Opensea (Ethereum). In addition of being the main market place in the Ethereum blockchain it provides the «lazy mint» feature that enable artists to start a journey without facing the relatively high cost of minting NFTs. Minting an NFT can have in early 2022 a cost between 30 and +300$ depending on the gas fee price. It becomes obvious that minting a large collection of, let’s say, 50 items become an important up-front investment with obviously no guaranteed return. Opensea’s lazy minting enables artist to list very large collections at barely no cost. Buyers will bear with the cost of minting, on top of the list price.

Really cool right? Well for many cases yes, but I wanted to discuss in this short post another path, which was the one I finally chose. If you have a long-term view on your project, or you want to keep options open in the future, there are some facts you should be aware.

Listed NFTs in Opensea can have two different origins: a) NFTs minted by a smart contract owned by the creators following the ERC-721 or similar standards, or b) NFTs minted by the Opensea smart contract. Every time an NFT is lazy minted, it is actually Opensea’s smart contract minting an NFT. Of course, that NFT can be later transferred to anyone’s wallet. Artists, especially those starting a very small business, will not have typically the skills to program/mint their own smart contract, or ask some developer to do it on their behalf; however by not doing so, two important aspects are given away:

  • Ownership
  • Functionalities

The concept of ownership refers to the fact that when authorship of the NFTs is sought, it is relatively easy to track that all genuine NFTs have their genesis on a certain contract address. NFTs minted with the Opensea smart contract are minted in the hundreds of thousands and it is challenging to enforce a chain of authenticity. This may become relevant when counterfeits or fraud arrives massively to the NFT space. Although there is a general understanding that the blockchain is immutable, it is a fact that most metadata lies off-chain and its survival/update can only be done by the owners of the contract. Although it is likely that Opensea will be a long lasting platform, the artists will never be in full control of the fate of those NFTs.

Finally with regards to functionalities, for the better or worse, any possible future use on your NFTs (rebates, airdrops, unlocking features, etc…) will be limited by the functionalities of the underlying smart contract, which in this case is controlled by Opensea.

Should I then study solidity or hire a developer? Well some platforms are trying to offer an alternative to artists. I decided to mint my own contract using Manifold ( Manifold enables artists, at no cost, to mint their own (audited) smart contracts:

  • At an affordable minting cost (~0.025Eth)
  • Using an easy to use graphical user interface for those who do not have technical skills. That is the so called Manifold Studio.
  • Providing a comprehensive API to modify, if needed, the functionalities of the smart contract in the future
  • All for no additional cost, apart from gas of course.

More information about Manifold Studio:

Try Manifold Studio on your own:

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