Expanding to the Near Protocol ecosystem.

TLDR: After having several successful NFT sales on the Algorand blockchain, I am going to expand to selling on the Near blockchain. Algorand is great, has an awesome community, and I have no complaints about my selling experience there. BUT, I love learning about new tech and Near has quite a few things that I want to try out. Keep reading if you’re at all interested in selling NFTs on Near. My Minbase shop is HERE.

An abstract piece I created using AI, a starting image, and text prompt. Titled “Mechanical Insect #1”.

Housekeeping: Nothing in this article is financial advice. Always do your own research and be extremely careful with your personal information.

If you’re following me and have read some of my articles, I left off selling NFTs through several marketplaces on Algorand. The NFT space there is still expanding with the marketplaces constantly making improvements. The community is very welcoming and always looking for new artists. If you’re just starting out, there is no shortage of people willing to help you. If you want to sell on Algorand, check out Rand Gallery, Dartroom, Zestbloom, AlgoXNFT, and AB2 gallery.

So, if Algorand is so great, why am I selling somewhere else? Because I love learning about new technologies, and selling NFTs across different chains allows me to learn the pros and cons of each chain by actually using them to build and create. I’m always on the lookout for what is going to work best for me, and I really like what I’m seeing on Near.

Why Near? I’ll go through what I really like about it below, but first, there is one major drawback to it. As of today, April 9th 2022, Near is not easily attainable for anyone living in the United States. You can’t buy it on any of the major U.S. exchanges, and even though Binance.us sells a wrapped version, you cannot use that like you would a native Near token. That sucks. But, if you’re a savvy trader and know your way around the different exchanges, you should not have a problem finding it. I have heard it will be expanding to Coinbase in the coming months, but no official announcement.

I’ll start with wallet creation. You can get a vanity wallet address for free when using the official Near wallet. There is no name service you have to pay to get a specific address. I was able to get mine without a problem. So, if I need to send Near or an NFT to my wallet, I just send it to a human readable address. As with any other wallet, you have to keep track of a seed phrase (never EVER give your seed phrase to anyone). You also have several other options for verification when using the native Near wallet.

Official Near web wallet.

With the official Near wallet you can view your purchased/minted NFTs directly in the wallet, as well as stake with a validator and earn returns. Staking rewards are added to your wallet daily and are auto compounded. If you want to un-stake your Near, you approve the transaction and have to wait about two days for your funds to be available.

Overall I found the user experience with the wallet to be mostly pain free. As with any new tech, there are some issues that crop up here and there, but nothing that was a deal killer for me. That brings me to the marketplaces.

There are two main marketplaces I found on Near. One is Paras.id, and the other is Mintbase.io. I have creator accounts on both but will be mainly using Mintbase initially.

The biggest barrier to entry on Mintbase is going to be the price to deploy your own store within the markeplace. As of today (April 9th, 2022), it will cost you a one time fee of 6.5 Near for your own store. That equates to about $109 USD at the time I wrote this. After your store is created, it currently costs 0.0001 Near to mint a piece which is well under $0.01 and up to about 0.0044 Near to list it which is about $0.07. These are the “gas” fees on Near which I’m sure if you’re reading this, are well aware of what gas fees are.

As I said before, Near is still in the early stages of adoption, so as usage goes up, those fees will increase over time up to a point. I won’t get into how Near handles transactions and gas fees, but please do your research to see if it will work for you.

So with fees and barrier to entry out of the way, a couple big reasons I went with Mintbase are minting on Arweave, you get a free virtual gallery, and you get access to a redeeming feature for NFTs if you need it.

I won’t go into details about why I prefer Arweave over IPFS or some other alternatives. You can go down that rabbit hole on your own and decide what will work best for you. If you prefer IPFS and want to mint on Near, Paras.id would be a good choice. For me, Arweave is my best option and luckily, Mintbase fits the bill.

The free virtual gallery is provided by 3XR. Mine is at https://www.3xr.space/ocularmagic.near/owned It defaults to showing your owned NFTs. This is another thing I won’t go deep into, but it is a cool free thing I wanted to point out.

As for the redeeming feature, I don’t use it. But, if at some point, I would like to attach a physical piece of art to an NFT, and let my collectors redeem it at a convention or somewhere else personally, it’s nice to know it’s an option!

Hopefully you learned a little bit about Near and what the protocol and marketplaces offer to artists looking to get into NFTs. I had my first sale on Near a couple days ago and am really happy with the workflow! Good luck to you on your blockchain and NFT journey!

James

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