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  • Writer's pictureJ.T.


Minting means creating a new NFT. Recall that NFT stands for non-fungible token. Just as a metal coin must be minted in the real world, a non-fungible token must be minted digitally. The token is minted on a blockchain such as Ethereum, a public database where it can be stored, traced, and traded. To mint a token is to create a new entry in that database.

In most cases, the true NFT – the piece stored on the blockchain – is just a few lines of code, and does not actually contain the content that is of value, such as a picture, video, or song. That's because storing content on a blockchain is usually quite expensive. In most cases, content is stored elsewhere, and the proper NFT just contains a reference to this content.

Therefore, minting an NFT is often a dual process in which the creator uploads the file for hosting while simultaneously creating a token referencing it on the blockchain. Minting services try to make this process simple for users and may not make the distinction clear. Depending on the service, they may host the NFT on their own servers for convenience.

This disconnect is one huge issue in current NFT technology. When minting an NFT, it is important to know where the content will be hosted, so you can consider how safe and trustworthy that source is. URLs are considered risky addresses, because whoever owns the URL can change what it points to.

For this reason, many people prefer to see NFTs stored using a process called content-addressing on a network such as IPFS or Swarm, which ensures that the link can only ever point to that unique piece of content. Even this approach has issues though, as items stored on such networks must still be hosted and maintained to exist in the future.

When minting (or purchasing) an NFT, make sure you know where the content will live, and that you trust that it will live there for a long time. Otherwise, the buyer may get stuck with owning a permanently broken link.

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Note: As of 3/29/2023, I own an NFT in the CryptoCities Suburbs collection. I therefore have a financial stake in the CryptoCities brand. Links on this page may contain affiliate codes for OpenSea that could compensate me in the event you purchase an NFT.

This intricate piece caught my eye today on /r/NFT, as it's no doubt already caught yours: a voxellated city floating in a burnt orange sky, steeples and and a crane piercing up from the center. This is "Barcelona", the newest piece in the Crypto Cities collection, featuring the famed, and famously incomplete, La Sagrada Família cathedral.

The Crypto Cities project describes itself this way:

An art collection made up of voxel-based microcosms displaying iconic cities from real life/fiction. Only 123 unique cities to be minted.

This is a gorgeous collection, with each city featuring a unique ambiance crafted around its most beloved landmarks: Paris's Eiffel Tower; Rio's Cristo Redentor; and, my favorite, the crumbling Colosseum of Rome.

You can check out the other cities minted so far on OpenSea, including Tokyo, Los Angeles, Sydney, Berlin, Shanghai, and the surprising Pyongyang. Any one of these cities would make an impressive centerpiece in a collector's portfolio - and I certainly hope to have that honor one day!

  • Writer's pictureJ.T.


NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, which is crypto jargon for a unique digital item. Non-fungible simply means that two items are not exactly interchangable, the way that two tickets to the same concert may not be interchangable (perhaps one ticket is for the front row and one is for the nosebleed section) even though the money that you paid for them is interchangable (it doesn't matter which dollar bills, coins, or credit you pay to the ticketing service - they're happy to take any and every coin in an accepted currency). Token just means a tradeable digital good. NFTs are also called "nifties," due to their similar pronunciation.

Why do we need a specific term for this fairly obvious concept? Well, since the advent of the web, a lot of online content such as images, videos, and audio has been made infinitely reproducible - anyone can create one copy exactly like another. Blockchain technology introduces a new paradigm for digital assets which allows us to declare some copies as legitimate and publicly track their provenance and current ownership. In other words, it introduces the fundamental economic concept of scarcity into the digital world. Note that this doesn't mean that any item that has been turned into an NFT can't be exactly copied - in fact it usually can - but that there are now a class of legitimate copies, and those versions will be the ones that hold value.

Why should the NFT-based copies hold value? For the same reason that a print sold by an artist of her own work would be more than an identical print sold by a street merchant. The print coming from the artist is legitimate and verifiable. It probably comes with an autograph or a certificate of authenticity to prove this to future buyers. You can feel comfortable buying it from the artist, knowing you are supporting them on the terms they have set, and that your copy will retain this legitimacy and value going forward. The print you bought from a street merchant? You may have a hard time convincing someone to pay you for it when you try to sell it, due to its dubious origin and your lack of proof of its legitimacy.

Almost anything can be turned into an NFT (a process called "minting"). This is done by creating a record on a blockchain such as Ethereum that can be viewed, bought, and sold. Who holds the contract, owns the NFT.

Today, NFTs most often take the form of digital art and in-game items, and "NFT" (or "nifty") has already become shorthand for digital art. In the future, we are likely to see use of NFTs expand to many, many domains, including legal contracts, and yes, concert tickets.

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