Intro to Crypto, NFTs, & Minting on Solana
The world of crypto can be overwhelming. We’re here to help get you started.
The world of crypto can be overwhelming. We’re here to help get you started.
Cryptocurrency (broadly known as “crypto”) is a safe and secure form of digital money which doesn’t rely on a bank to move the money from one account to another. Instead, it relies on a piece of technology called “blockchain”.
Traditionally, a financial institution such as a bank would be responsible for maintaining and protecting a log, called a
A ledger is a collection of accounts in which transactions are recorded.
, of transactional data. For the most part, we inherently trust that our money is safe when we place it in a bank.
Blockchain is a ledger whose data cannot be changed or removed, making it
To be immutable is to be unchanging over time or unable to be changed.
, and the data is stored among several networks in various locations, rather than one central location, making it
To be decentralized is to be controlled by many authorities rather than one single one.
Every cryptocurrency transaction is stored in what’s called a “block”, and all of those blocks are chained together. The result is a permanent public record of transaction history.
There are lots of blockchains out there, Bitcoin and Ethereum are the most popular, but they are both slow and expensive to transact with. Therefore, we’re going to be using a blockchain called Solana.
To get started with Solana, you’ll need a wallet.
To dive deeper into understanding Solana head over to solana.com
Just like you would store cash in a physical wallet, your crypto is stored in a crypto wallet. But that’s about where the similarity ends
A physical wallet does not protect the contents of your wallet in any way, it simply acts as a container.
A crypto wallet, on the other hand, can be better compared to a bank account - where you have some form of identification and layers of security in order to buy, sell, transact, store, and keep your crypto secure.
Every wallet has a public address associated with it, made up of a long alphanumeric string of characters (think of this like a home address).
Solana wallet address example: FxKQchWHnVzwgAbETAXXrHnNedaunDfvrgpEtabJH23g
There’s a lot more technical stuff we could get into here, but we’ll spare you to keep focused on the task at hand...
Phantom is an app that allows you to create wallets exclusively on the Solana blockchain.
We’ll talk more details as we go, but for now follow this quick step-by-step guide to get set up with Phantom.
Once at the link above, select your browser type and follow the steps in your respective extension store to add Phantom to your browser. After installing, you should see Phantom start up in a new tab.
Don’t worry about that “Use Secret Recovery Phrase” button — it is only for those that already have a Solana wallet.
This "Secret Recovery Phrase" is basically a super-password. Store it in a safe and secure location, it is the only way to recover your wallet.
Whoever has access to this phrase has access to all your Solana crypto assets. Keep it safe.
If you are using Chrome, it will be in the top right hand side of your browser. If you don't see it, look for a "puzzle piece" icon
and click on it to access a list of installed extensions. There you should find Phantom, click on the "pin icon" to make it easier to find in the future.
Step-by-step guide from Phantom.app
Okay, so you’ve got a wallet — now what?
Okay, so this next part is kinda why crypto is still a little hard for people...
Unfortunately, you can’t outright purchase SOL inside of your wallet on the Phantom app. You have to purchase cryptocurrencies with US dollars on what’s called an exchange, which is just a place where you can...uh...exchange money
Don’t worry, it’s easy to do.
The exchange we’re going to be working with is Coinbase.
Download the Coinbase app and start the sign up process. You will need a valid ID and may be asked for proof of address in order to transact, so be sure to have those ready. Verifying your ID may take up to a day or more at times, depending on where you live.
Tap on the payment method box and connect a payment method. You can use a bank account, debit card or initiate a wire.
Search for Solana by typing "Solana" into the search bar. When you see Solana show up in the results, tap it to open up the purchase screen.
Enter the amount you’d like to purchase and tap “Preview buy” when ready. You’ll be shown the details of your purchase. Hit “Buy now” to confirm your purchase.
Step-by-step guide from Coinbase.com
Congrats, you’re now the proud owner of some SOL. Now you need to send that over to your wallet on Phantom...
Sending a crypto asset to another wallet is as easy as obtaining the destination wallet address, pasting it in, and hitting send.
Wallets are blockchain specific. You cannot send something from a Bitcoin wallet to a Solana wallet address; if you do, it will be lost forever.
At the top of the home screen within the Coinbase app, press Send
then select SOL as the asset you want to send, and enter an amount.
When asked about the destination of your SOL, paste in the address of your Solana wallet you copied above.
Review the transaction to make sure everything looks right, and send it. The funds should show up in your Solana wallet in Phantom shortly thereafter (typically within seconds or minutes).
Oh happy day!
Now you can actually do stuff with your crypto...like mint an NFT
Honestly, that’s kind of like asking, “What can I do with money?”
There are endless ways to transfer monetary value from one person to another and exchange SOL for goods and services. But the power of Solana is its ability to offer a variety of features that can power different applications.
Solana can power
Smart contracts work by following simple “if/when…then…” statements that are written into code on a blockchain. A network of computers executes the actions when predetermined conditions have been met and verified.
Decentralized finance eliminates intermediaries by allowing people, merchants, and businesses to conduct financial transactions through emerging technology.
(DeFi) apps, and more (don’t worry, you don’t need to know what all those are right now).
But if you’re here, you’re probably most interested in learning about NFTs
If you want to learn more about what Solana can do, check out this article from Bankrate.com.
It’s a Non-Fungible Token, of course!
Sorry, that doesn’t help at all, does it?
We don’t want to get too technical, but a non-fungible token is a unique digital item whose value is determined by its rarity and the community driving it. NFTs are represented in your wallet by some sort of image.
Just to help understand, examples of non-fungible items in the physical world would be things like the original painting of the Mona Lisa, or a one-of-a-kind trading card, or even a piece of land.
Confused at all? Hopefully it’ll get clearer as we go on.
NFTs come into existence on the blockchain by means of a process called minting.
The concept of minting in the crypto space is taken from the idea of minting physical currency. For example, when a US dollar is minted it is put into circulation.
Minting an NFT is the process of establishing it as an asset (token) on the blockchain. This is done when you exchange cryptocurrency such as SOL, for an NFT. By doing so, you become the original owner of it and that information is forever coded into the
Metadata is the data providing information about one or more aspects of the data itself.
Example: Creation of the Data, Purpose of the data, Time and Date of Creation, etc.
of the token.
You’ll need to move SOL from your Coinbase account to your Solana wallet to purchase an NFT mint.
How do I know how much SOL to transfer to my Solana Wallet?
All NFT projects will publish their
The mint price is the cost set by the creator of a collection to mint one of their NFTs.
prior to mint day, most commonly on Twitter or within their Discord. Prior to a mint, you’ll want to transfer over enough SOL to cover the mint price + a little extra for transaction fees (~0.1 SOL just to be safe).
Once you’ve got SOL in your Solana wallet, you’re ready to mint...
This step isn’t required, but it’s strongly encouraged.
Smokey the bear always says, “only you can prevent wildfires”. Be like Smokey the bear. Take the extra precaution to protect yourself and in turn, you will help to foster a community of safety and accountability.
Anytime money is exchanged online, whether that’s in an online store, paying bills, or minting NFTs - it’s always a good idea to stay vigilant
Again, before the mint, transfer over some SOL to your burner wallet to cover that mint price + transaction fees.
You’ll need to be using the wallet that actually has SOL in it.
Hit the “@” and choose your burner wallet from the list
Once submitted, the SOL should be available in your burner wallet within seconds. To navigate back over to check, click that hamburger menu icon
You’ll actually be able to transfer not only SOL this way, but any asset you own, including your future NFTs
Good news: the minting process is surprisingly easy now that you have SOL at your disposal
Let's jump in...
Be sure to check the URL of the site you are on before minting. Scam/Imposter websites can be extremely common, so stay vigilant.
Find the “Connect” button on the site.
Click “Connect” and select “Phantom” from the list.
When Phantom opens, click “Connect”
Boom! You’re ready to go.
The former “Connect” button on the site should now display your wallet address, if you’re connected.
By default, every time you refresh the website, you’ll have to re-connect your wallet.
To avoid needing to re-connect your wallet to a site every time you visit it, head over to the Settings tab
in Phantom > Trusted Apps > Find the site in the list you just connected to > Check Auto-approve
Many minting sites will have a countdown-to-mint timer (if not, no biggie). Once the mint goes live, click the “Mint” button to initiate the transaction.
Phantom will open up in a separate window again to get your approval for the transaction. This is also known in crypto as “signing” a transaction.
Give it a few seconds, and you should see either a success message or an error message. During times of high traffic, your transaction could fail and error out. If this happens, you can try again by pressing that “Mint” button.
Once you’ve received a message that your transaction was successfully processed (typically a confirmation page on the minting website), you’ll find your newly minted NFT in the Collectibles tab of Phantom. Additionally, the first tab in your Phantom wallet should list your new SOL balance and list the transaction below that.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are times when NFT collections sell out in seconds—yes, really. It is possible that you go through this process and still don’t get a mint. Don’t worry though, if you don’t receive your mint, you won’t be charged the SOL.
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