The cost of creating an NFT can start at $0.01 and go up to $1,000 or even $5k by some estimates. The overall cost is determined by several factors, including the blockchain and marketplace you choose, as well as the cost of creating the artwork itself.
So how do all the factors determine the overall expense, how much does it cost to create an NFT and what will you pay for creating an entire collection?
Read on to find out.
What Costs Are Involved in the Creation of NFTs
These are the most common costs involved in minting (i.e. creating an NFT).
Costs to create the artwork
The first cost to consider is the expenses involved in creating the artwork.
To start creating your digital art piece you need to subscribe to design tools such as Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop or Canva which charge around $20.99/month.
If you are not an artist, you should factor in the costs of hiring a professional to create the artwork for you. Engaging a freelancer on Upwork or Fiver will require another $50 to $100. You can expect to pay an additional $12 if you are interested in creating multiple variations of the piece.
Keep in mind that metadata integration (the content described in the contract on the blockchain) will cost an extra $150 to $500 (depending on how many traits your collection has).
After the piece is created, you will need to generate the NFT, typically by using coding (creators pay an average of $500 for someone to create a smart contract) or no-code NFT generators (around $199/collection).
Even though the cost of creating an NFT varies according to the marketplace and the blockchain network, most NFT marketplaces will charge the following three fees.
- Gas fees
- Account fees
- Listing fees
These costs are known as minting fees and are typically the highest of all expenses associated with creating an NFT.
This is the fee you pay to execute the transaction on the blockchain and it is the most expensive part of creating an NFT.
Gas fees are charged on every single transaction on the blockchain, starting from creating and listing the NFT to transferring ownership and buying the assets. They are always paid in the blockchain’s native currency.
The gas fee depends on how much the blockchain was in demand when the transaction was initiated, so in periods of high demand, gas prices can go sky-high.
You cannot avoid the gas fee, but you can try to lower the cost by minting NFT creations during off-peak hours, such as at night or on weekends, when the demand is lower. Always check the latest gas fees on the ETH Gas Station to get an idea of how much you should pay.
This refers to the payments you make to the NFT marketplace for creating an account. Usually, the initialization fee costs between $70 and $300 depending on the platform you chose.
Most NFT marketplaces charge creators this fee when they list the asset for trading. Listing fees are not typically high but can vary drastically according to the marketplace and the blockchain you use.
Factors that Determine the Cost of Creating an NFT
Since each blockchain has its own set of established mechanisms, the price varies. The cost of producing a certain NFT may vary even inside the same blockchain, due to the factors mentioned above.
In general, the Ethereum blockchain is considered the most expensive—the average cost to mint an NFT on the blockchain is $70, but it can go up to $500 at peak times. Normally, prices range between 0.01 – 0.05 ETH ($50 – $150).
Solana is the most affordable with average prices at 0.00001 SOL ($0.01). This does not include marketplace fees.
The NFT markets require a share of the action too. Fees can start from 2.5% and go up to 5%. This is how much the most popular NFT marketplaces charge.
OpenSea is the most popular NFT marketplace. It is also incredibly user-friendly, allowing you to create NFTs directly on their platform. You have a choice of 6 blockchains, including Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, Klaytn, Arbitrum, Optimism, Avalanche, and BNB.
You can set up a collection-level fee (of up to 10%) so you earn money every time your NFT is sold, even when it’s owned by another creator.
The platform charges 2.5% on all sale prices.
Rarible is an NFT marketplace that only requires users to open an Ethereum wallet and fund it. It offers four blockchains to choose from, including Tezos, Solana, Polygon, and Ethereum.
Rarible has some of the lowest fees around, charging only 1% for the buyer and seller. You can enable “free minting” in which case the buyer pays for the fees, but this way your NFT becomes a part of the platform’s collection rather than your own.
This is a great choice for high-end NFT creators. SuperRare is a curated NFT marketplace that has higher standards than other platforms. For instance, SuperRare does not allow meme NFTs and accepts artists by invitation only.
It is quite costly as well as it charges 3% on every transaction. This is because the platform reviews each NFT before making it public, ensuring that NFT buyers always get the best that the NFT art world has to offer.
Foundation is great for beginners. Not only is it simple and easy to use, but it also provides you with a step-by-step guide on creating, deploying, marketing, and listing your NFT. However, the platform’s fees are a bit steep, coming in at 5% for all sales on the primary and secondary markets.
On the plus side, artists can make up to 10% on secondary transactions.
These are other factors that influence the cost of creating an NFT.
- Size: The bigger and more complex the design of the NFT, the higher the cost);
- Version: Single NFT can cost between $0.001 and $1,000, while a collection of 10,000 pieces can run up to $5,000 or more.
- Format: Since NFTs can be in any format, from MP3 to GIF, the format plays a significant role.
Can NFTs Be Created for Free?
Yes, NFTs can be minted for free (as explained below). However, note that there are still fees involved, including the cost of creating the piece and generating the smart contract.
Here is how you can mint an NFT for free.
In essence, lazy minting enables artists to create NFTs “off-chain”, i.e. not within the main blockchain. Fees are only payable when the NFT is sold and listed “on-chain”.
This is a good way to cut costs on minting NFTs, especially if you know ahead that there will be less interest in your collection. However, with lazy minting, the fees are transferred to the buyer which may put some potential collectors off the purchase.
This makes your NFT accessible on the blockchain without the need to submit anything. Since no transaction takes place there are no gas fees involved. Mintable is an NFT marketplace that currently offers gasless minting. However, it does charge a 5% fee on all sales carried out via gasless minting.
Layer 2 scaling solutions
You could also use Polygon, Immutable X, and Polkadot. These are layer 2 solutions that help scale an app like Ethereum by processing transactions off the mainnet, i.e. layer 1. The method is still secure, you are just paying less in gas fees.
As you can see, the cost of creating an NFT depends on several factors and it is almost impossible to provide an accurate number without knowing about the type of NFT created, the size, and the blockchain and marketplace used.
To control costs try one of the blockchains or marketplaces that support lazy minting or gasless minting—these are generally considered the best place to start creating NFTs as they cut down on upfront costs.