How to make a really big NFT. No coding and free!
At our Creative Talks show, where we were thinking about the future of the metaverse concept and W3 technologies, the economist Tomas Sedlacek said ‘it would be interesting to put this whole show into NFT and look at it in 30 years’. So we listened to him. But how to tokenise such a large file? A step-by-step guide for dummies from dummies.
Words by: Jan Strmiska
I have a really big video, available on YouTube. It’s over 80 GB in H.264 codec. And I want to turn it into an NFT.
Below is a screenshot showing our goal: click on the record stored on OpenSea, where the file is unmistakably swollen and its form locked ‘forever’. With very large quotation marks, of course :-).
How do you do that?
Today, every NFT marketplace will produce an NFT of some wacky gif for you automatically and in a few clicks. But these are small files. When you want to save a full-length movie (in our case, the 4K and 50 fps footage is 82 GB), you can’t store that much data on the blockchain. Here are the typical service limits. The OpenSea we used supposedly offers 100MB, but in reality the limit was 20MB. So that’s not the way to go.
How IPFS decentralised storage works
So you have to do it by uploading the big data to some storage and tokenizing only the metadata. Or as in our case, you create a preview of the file. We made a color-crazy teaser that was one minute long, compressed to fit into 20 MB. But all you need is maybe a cover, or some tiny thing, just the way all NFTs look. You then link to that from your NFT, where the metadata is locked. This way you get your contract, which proves that there is a file stored somewhere on the network.
Now comes the IPFS role. Because theoretically you could point to any classic cloud, like AWS, but then there would be no guarantee that someone wouldn’t change the file. The decentralized protocol works differently. If you upload a file to it, you get a unique CID number. And then nobody can overwrite that data. Even more accurately, IPFS is an Internet peer-to-peer protocol, used to distribute data directly without the use of servers.
Which blockchain to choose?
Let’s stick to simplicity and price. Which blockchain to choose? First there was the big fame of Ethereum (built on the PoW mechanism) on which the whole fad was built. But the classic Ethereum version 1.0 has a price problem. The price per transaction, the so-called gas, is huge. That’s why Solana is currently at the peak of popularity, with its own marketplace, SolSea. Transactions are said to be 60 times cheaper. And it’s said to be an Ethereum killer.
So if you want to sell your products, it’s probably the solution. Here’s how to create an NFT on SolSea. But we wanted non-standard stuff, to assign a CID code to a transaction. And we couldn’t solve that without coding.
If you’re interested, Solana uses Metaplex storage and the minting of the NFT (so called mint) is done with Candy Machine. You can find the links here. But if you’re not a coder, it’s crazy stuff. There’s even a ‘for dummies’ tutorial here on how to save your stuff to Solana’s Metaplex via IPFS. You have to install a few programs and bump it up there in the terminal. We definitely think of morons differently.
So back to the Open Sea
Fortunately, Open Sea is also modernizing and you can now choose to use the blockchain of India’s Polygon instead of Ethereum when you mine. Different technological principle, but if you don’t stick to PoW, minting is free.
But how to do it without coding?
Fortunately, there’s a service called Pinata where you can upload your data via a simple drag-drop interface. The free version is 1 GB. You pay for more data, and it’s a prime example of the fact that everything costs something in the W3 environment. As one of the speakers in our video, Tomáš Sedláček, mentioned, we’re sceptical about the business model of the 3rd generation web. In today’s W2, it’s solved brilliantly.
So if your data fits in 1GB, and you’re just concerned about the principle, no problem. But unfortunately, you’re using a shared gateway service called Pinata, which is basically unusable. If you want to play our video, for example, you have almost no chance. Decentralization comes at a cost. If you want speed and data, count on $20/month. Or $0.15 for 1 GB. But forever. When it stops paying to have your metadata on an ‘indestructible’ blockchain, it sucks. Kind of like they used to say about contracts being just a piece of paper.
And how to do it step by step
1/ Create the thing you want to tokenise. Like a video.
2/ Create a crypto wallet account. We used Metamask. It’s free.
3/ Create an account with Pinata. It’s free. But if you pay extra you have more capacity and imaging speed and you can use the submarine service where your data stays hidden from other network users.
4/ You upload a file through Pinata, it’s fast. And the system will generate a CID number for you to save.
5/ Log in to Open Sea using your Metamask wallet.
6/ Now it’s crucial: choose Polygon, not Ethereum, as your blockchain!
7/ Upload a preview file of your item. And as a link, you provide the web address of your main thing from Pinata. Sometimes there is a problem with uploading the data and the preview, but just try it multiple times.
8/ And when everything is done, the second important thing is to remember to lock the file, the button: freeze metadata. Only then will an immutable blockchain entry be created and it makes sense.
This is an essential thing, but you can only do it when the file is uploaded on the system.
That’s it, you did it for this entry. Congratulations.