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How to Launch an NFT Project by Yourself

Creating 10,000 auto-generated artworks, deploying a smart contract to the Ethereum / Polygon blockchain, setting up some tools, etc.

Photo by Frankie Cordoba on Unsplash

There is so much to do from launching to running an NFT project. Creating parts for artworks, generating 10,000 unique artworks and metadata, creating a smart contract and deploying it to a blockchain network, creating a website, creating a Twitter account, setting up a Discord server, setting up an OpenSea collection. In addition, you need to have MetaMask installed in your browser and have some ETH / MATIC. Did you get tired of doing all this? Don’t worry, once you know what you need to do, all you have to do is do it one by one.

To be honest, it’s best to run an NFT project in a team of three or more, including artists, developers, and marketers. However, depending on your motivation, you can do it by yourself. Some people might come later to offer help with your project. The most important thing is to take a step as soon as possible.

In this article, I will focus on what I did to launch my NFT project, what I failed, and what you should be aware of in running your NFT project. The content of this article is all based on my experience.

If you would like to know more about each section, have questions, or have a discussion, please join our Discord community. It has a #dev channel.

Introducing My NFT Project

The Skulls In Love NFTs can be minted for a small amount of MATIC on the official website. Please give it a try to see what kind of unique characters will appear 💀💖

The Skulls In Love community aims to be a place for people interested in Web3, Blockchain, NFT, Digital art, etc. to interact. There are a lot of amazing developers and creators who are full of LOVE. Please join us!

Our community has a #shill-your-project channel. You can promote your NFT project there.

Also, it has a #offering-and-hiring channel for those who are:

  • Looking for someone to join your team or help with your project
  • Looking for a team to join

If you’re worried about starting your project alone, you can leave your request there.

Creating Parts for Artworks

There are lots of free/paid software for drawing, but after all, I think Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop is the best. The images of Skulls In Love are a composite of 48x48 pixel parts created using Photoshop.

The most important thing in creating parts for generative art is to repeatedly test what your artworks will look like after each layer has been combined. The generated artworks should not be too unnatural.

How Many Parts Should You Create?

Are you wondering how many parts you should create to avoid duplication as much as possible when generating your artworks? My friend Stephane, a developer, has created a great tool to help with that:

See the article below for more details:

(Added on January 16, 2022)

Generating 10,000 Unique Artworks and Metadata

I highly recommend using the HashLips Art Engine to generate your artworks and metadata. Perhaps there is no better artworks generation tool at the moment.

Learn how to use the generator in the YouTube video above.

When setting up the generator, pay attention to the layers, as mentioned earlier. See the example below:

Skulls In Love #?

The medical mask is three-dimensional, but the tears are in front of it. This is actually unnatural. I later realized this failure and regretted it a lot, but in a sense, I positively consider these failed works to be “rare”.

Storing Artworks and Metadata

Ideally, the generated artworks and metadata should be stored on-chain, but if you want to store them off-chain, you should use IPFS. Do not store in centralized storage. This is because data will be lost if the server goes down or if the company goes down. On the other hand, IPFS is a more secure way to find data because it utilizes a distributed, decentralized system.

Storing to IPFS is easy with Pinata, NFT.Storage, and so on. The Skulls In Love uses Pinata. It’s very easy to use, just upload the folder containing your artworks.

Creating and Deploying a Smart Contract

You don’t have to create a smart contract from scratch. There are many great NFT projects, many of which publish their contract source code on Etherscan / PolygonScan. You can choose the contract you like and reuse it. Of course, that requires some knowledge of Solidity, but it depends on your efforts. If you don’t know which contract to choose, use the HashLips smart contract. It’s very simple, but it has almost all the functions you need.

Learn how to set up the contract in the YouTube video above. It’s the same video I introduced in the previous section.

Note: Later on, you may want to change the cost value. You can change it on Remix or Etherscan / PolygonScan. But in this case, enter the Wei value instead of the Ether value. For example, if you want to sell for 1 MATIC, you have to enter “1000000000000000000”. If you set this value to “1”, you will have a nightmare. I recommend using Simple Unit Converter as a tool to calculate the Wei value.

Creating a Website

The website here is not just a static site to showcase your project, it’s a so-called dApp that allows you to access your smart contract and mint NFTs. In fact, this level of dApp is not too difficult for anyone who has ever created a website. Because the ethers.js / web3.js libraries make it easy to interact with your smart contract. There’s also no problem connecting wallets, as MetaMask has great documentation.

HashLips also provides a sample dApp that you can use to quickly create your own dApp. But honestly, it’s slow, complicated, and not modern, so I can’t recommend it.

The Skulls In Love uses a simple, fast, and modern dApp that I built from scratch using Next.js. It is published on GitHub, so feel free to use it:

Why Do We Need to Mint NFTs with dApps?

Not all NFT projects require their own smart contracts (dApps). If your project has 100 NFTs, you can upload them directly to OpenSea for sale. But what if you have 10,000 NFTs? It’s only a pain to manually upload and manage them all.

Besides, it’s more game-like and fun to have the element of not knowing what will come out after minting, rather than just selling NFTs, isn’t it?

As you may know, smart contracts aren’t just for minting NFTs. If you are interested in building your dApp in the future, getting used to using smart contracts is definitely worth it.

(Updated on January 30, 2022)

Creating a Twitter Account

I highly recommend creating a Twitter account. Twitter is an indispensable tool for announcing giveaways and reaching more people. It’s better to announce your project and your artworks little by little, at least 1–2 months before your collection is released.

Creating and Setting Up a Discord Server

I highly recommend creating a Discord server as well as a Twitter account. The Discord server is a community and its home. Fans of your NFT project will want to join your community and interact with many other members. So, carefully create each channel on your Discord server to make it a cozy place for your community members.

If you are unfamiliar with Discord, you may be particularly confused by the following:

  • What bots should I use?
  • How should I set roles and permissions?

But don’t worry. There are lots of great YouTube videos and blog posts about these.

It’s also a good idea to join the Discord servers of some NFT projects and see how they’re made. Our Discord server is so simple that even beginners will find it easy to understand. Please join us and see it!

Note: First, create a test account and a test server to make sure your bots and permissions work properly. It is better to verify the behavior on the test server before setting up your production server.

UPDATED: As your Discord server grows, you cannot manage it on your own. In this case, you will be hiring several moderators, but choose carefully before hiring. And don’t give them important role permissions right after hiring. Initially, the same permissions as other members are sufficient. After a while, you can add permissions as needed, such as kicking/banning, using the “@every” tag, and adding roles. Again, don’t immediately give significant permissions to your Mod role. Your server can be messed up by fake moderators.

Setting Up Your OpenSea Collection

Before you start selling your NFTs, you need to reserve some for airdrops, giveaways, staff, and more. It’s up to you whether it’s 100, 500, or how many.

After minting some of your NFTs, your account and collection should have been created in OpenSea. Go to OpenSea, connect to your wallet, and set up your collection. Just set your logo, banner image, description, links, royalties, and more. It’s not that difficult.

Promoting Your Project

After all, promotion is the most important thing. In fact, almost every successful NFT project spends a lot of time and effort on it.

In addition to Twitter and Discord, it’s even better to use Instagram, Reddit, and Medium. Also, register your project in NFTCalendar and DISBOARD.

UPDATED: Due to the large number of scammers coming from NFTCalendar and DISBOARD, I immediately stopped using them.

I’m still struggling because I launched my project without enough marketing and promotion. I hope you don’t make the same mistakes as I do.

When Should the Promotion Activities Start?

You may be worried that if you promote your project before it starts, someone will copy your project (artworks). It is true that some projects have actually suffered such damage. I don’t have a clear answer to this question right now, but:

  • Do not publish all the information about your project too early
  • The information should be released little by little
  • Creating artworks that no one can easily copy

I think these are important.

If anyone has a good idea, please share it!

(Added on January 14, 2022)

About Promoters

You’ll probably get lots of contacts from promoters on your Discord, Twitter, Instagram, and more. But most of them are scams, so don’t pay right away. If you have a promoter that looks attractive to you, be sure to check the promoter’s social media accounts or website to see who he/she is. They basically charge in dollars. The amount they charge isn’t cheap, but promoters with lots of followers may have some temporary effect on your project. Some promoters accept 50% prepaid and 50% postpaid. If you can afford it, it might be worth a try. I never ask them, though.

🚨: Beware of scams disguised as Twitter accounts of well-known YouTubers. If you receive a DM about promotion from those suspicious accounts, make sure their handles are genuine.

Beware of scams disguised as Twitter accounts of well-known YouTubers

Never send money to scammers!

(Updated on January 21, 2022)

About Giveaways

When hosting giveaways, you’ll probably use multiple social media platforms. You may want to grow your Discord server faster. But if joining the Discord server is included in the giveaway requirements, some people hate it. I recommend holding giveaways for each platform. On Twitter and Reddit, you should just add the words “Discord members-only giveaway is being held now! Please join us if you like!”.

In the raffle of your giveaways, if you want to manage the participants easily and choose the winner fairly, feel free to use the Raffle App I created.

But it’s a prototype and can only be used in a local environment. If you want to easily pick a giveaway winner in your browser, I recommend Twitter Picker:

Precautions for Distributing Free NFTs

If you want to increase your Twitter followers and Discord members, you can actually get a lot of people by holding events such as giveaways and invite contests. However, distributing many free NFTs at once can be dangerous. Some people who want free NFTs, as soon as they get a free one, sell it at a very low price on marketplaces such as OpenSea. They don’t care about your project and are only thinking about replacing their own “free” NFTs with Ethereum. The lower the floor price of your NFTs, the lower the value of your NFTs (project). Try to think of ways to get people to “buy” your NFTs as much as possible.

See one of the denylisted people in our project: https://opensea.io/PlsBuyMyNFT

He says “Just sell NFT never buy”. Never give your precious NFTs to someone like him who wants to make a profit without taking risks.

(Added on January 13, 2022)

Ethereum vs. Polygon

Even though Ethereum has high gas fees, NFT projects on the Ethereum network are still mainstream and popular. On the other hand, Polygon has very low gas fees and fast transaction processing, but NFT projects on the Polygon network are not very popular.

Why? There are several reasons, but the biggest one is that it’s a lot of work to get MATIC (on Polygon blockchain, use MATIC instead of ETH) ready to use. Simply put, you need to bridge your tokens to the Polygon chain. So people need to do this first before minting your NFTs on your website. It may not be a big deal for those who are familiar with crypto and blockchain, but it may be complicated for those who are not. I hope that the tedious work will be simplified in the near future.

If you are confident that your NFTs will be purchased even if they are expensive, or if the total supply of your NFTs is low, you may choose Ethereum. If you just want to save money, you should choose Polygon. Keep in mind that gas fees are incurred not only when minting, but also when performing some of your smart contract functions and when transferring your NFTs.

If I were to launch a new NFT project, I would probably choose Ethereum or Tezos.

(Added on December 24, 2021)

Conclusion

Some people may want to start an NFT project to make money, but don’t forget to enjoy your own project. Several months ago, I was playing with creating generative art by imitating the CryptoPunks. I found out that auto-generated artworks would be more interesting than I had imagined, and since then I’ve been completely absorbed in generative art.

This is one of the Skulls In Love artworks:

Skulls In Love #?

This character wears a cowboy hat, black slim sunglasses, and a kimono. If anyone looks like this, I can’t help laughing!

The Skulls In Love NFTs can be minted for a small amount of MATIC on the official website. Please give it a try to see what kind of unique characters will appear 💀💖

Thank you for reading to the end. If you have any comments or questions about this article, please leave a message. Also, if there are any mistakes in the content, I would appreciate it if you could point them out.

I’m not an advisor, so please refrain from asking me for advice on your project 🙏

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Koji Mochizuki

Koji Mochizuki

Creator of Skulls In Love | Web developer | Web3 dApps enthusiast | Twitter & GitHub: @kjmczk

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