The NFT Mint Calendar
One of the most exciting days on the calendar for any project head or investor is minting day, when an NFT drops and the promise that is cultivated in the preorder manifests into the immutable reality of the blockchain.
Minting is the moment when it gets real, and there is a reason why so many people look at an NFT mint calendar to see when the next drops will be and if they want to get into a pre-sale at the last minute.
It is also typically the end of the first phase of many roadmaps, where the hype reaches its initial zenith and the market begins to decide the value of an NFT collection.
However, for many projects, the mint itself is neither the beginning nor the end of the process, and this guide aims to explain the importance of hype, how to develop a roadmap around your mint, and what to do before, during and after the big day arrives.
What Is An NFT Mint?
Much like the process for making coins, minting an NFT is the process of turning the raw material that is an image into a uniquely identifiable one-of-a-kind token, complete with a smart contract and connecting image.
The mint is, much like how a coin turns a hypothetical unit of money into legal tender, what proves ownership of a particular piece of art and all of the benefits that come with it depending on the nature of the project.
In some cases, like Beeples’ art and other art collection NFTs, the end goal is the art itself, and the main aim of an NFT is to prove ownership and facilitate royalty payments and reselling rights, which due to the sometimes huge price tags can be worth a significant amount.
In other cases, the NFT is the first step towards a larger project of which the NFTs play a part, such as providing access, being ownership tokens for equivalent items in compatible video games.
However, minting an NFT costs money in the form of payments to the marketplace that mints it and the gas fees that are charged for making a transaction on blockchains such as Ethereum.
As such, the NFT minting should not be the first action on an NFT project’s roadmap, but it also does not need to be the end.
When Should An NFT Mint Take Place?
When creating an NFT project, the minting process should not be the absolute beginning of its roadmap, particularly if this forms part of a wider blockchain project such as a game, media franchise or exclusive club.
There is plenty of groundwork to lay down first, and these should take priority in Phase I of your roadmap with the NFT mint typically being the end step before the start of the second phase although this often varies depending on the project.
Steps before you launch a roadmap can vary, but often include launching the website, pre-launch, discord and other community infrastructure, any early-stage marketing and media projects, as well as launching any accompanying tokens.
Next, NFTs are often launched in stages depending on the popularity and nature of the project, with some projects having phased launches of NFTs at different price points at different times, whilst others have a percentage progress system somewhat similar to a crowdfunding project.
Both minting philosophies have advantages and disadvantages. With phased launches, you can gradually introduce more NFTs into the ecosystem with clear timescales and a plan in mind for the community that can help generate hype, as well as allow a project to scale up and down to meet demand.
Conversely, a percentage system allows a project leader to plan based on the revenue available, and with each percentage milestone increase the potential rewards for early adopters. Both are popular, although phased launches have slowly become the norm.
Typically, a project is broken down into several phases depending on the nature and ambitions of the project itself, each with goals and a general timescale broken down either by month or by quarter.
Phase I is the groundwork, including the NFTs and everything needed to make them work, as well as developing the community around them, laying the groundwork and establishing the brand story that makes them worth investing in and the early minimum viable product.
In some cases, where the art is the main selling point, Phase I is the only phase and after that, any additional projects are undertaken on a more ad-hoc basis, but for other projects Phase I is about laying foundations for other, larger phases.
Axie Infinity is a good example of this in action. The first phase, between late 2017 and later 2018, involved developing the concept and community, launching the initial presale of the Axie NFTs, developing the marketplace to sell them and building up the two most basic gameplay modes.
Once that was in place, the next step was to launch a land sale and expand further the modes, functionality and community, which in Axie’s case would involve migrating to a sidechain of Etherium known as Ronin that was designed for faster transactions and better suited for gaming.
In this instance, the initial mint went first, whilst the minting of other NFTs was a fundamental part of the game’s design, so it is not necessarily a case that your mint needs to be at the end of Phase I, so long as the intentions of the project are made as clear as possible.
As with any project, transparency and clarity are key, and people should know what they are paying for when they buy an NFT beyond the token itself, ideally enshrined into the smart contract if this is at all feasible.
For example, Azuki and Bored Ape Yacht Club both included with their mints a range of perks that were outlined in the roadmap and included digital art, physical rewards and intellectual property rights related to the mint itself.
Other mints included items, characters, cards or monsters for use in a later game, and it should be clear what the plan is with that game, how long development will take and keeping people updated on its progress.