How much does it cost to create NFT art

Coming up with a name for your company is no easy feat. There are many factors you need to consider while selecting the name. But don’t worry! We already did the hard work!

335 NFT Names to Transform Your Art Into a Digital Empire

NFT Business Names

Do you want to start an NFT business but struggling to decide what to call it? If so, you’ve landed on the right page. In this article, you’ll find a huge collection of unique and eye-catching NFT business name ideas to get your creative juices flowing and help you find an awesome name for your NFT startup.

If you’ve been following the crypto space, you’ve likely heard of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), more popularly referred to as ‘Crypto Collectibles.’ The world of NFTs is growing rapidly. It seems there is no slowing down of these assets as they continue to go up in price.

This growth comes with the opportunity for people to start new businesses to create and capture value. The market is open for players in every kind of field. Are you a collector? Maybe an artist looking for a way to digitally represent your pieces? Maybe you’re just a regular Joe looking to make some extra money. Either way, NFTs are here and here to stay.

If you’ve decided to jump into this space and start your own NFT business, the first step is to pick an attractive name. You need to pick something unique and creative that distinguishes your brand from the competition and build trust among your potential customers.

Coming up with a name for your company is no easy feat. There are many factors you need to consider while selecting the name. But don’t worry! We already did the hard work!

You’ll find below hundreds of awesome name suggestions perfect for any NFT-related business. So without any further delay, let’s dive into naming ideas for NFT businesses!

Artists are provided with guidelines during the process though it requires more technical know-how than say Mintable. For the first sale, creators receive 85% with the rest going to SuperRare. In secondary sales, creators receive a 10% aka royalty.


Mintable is one of the most popular names on this list. The web-based platform allows users of all knowledge levels to interact with the NFT market due to its focus on simplicity. Through the platform, users can mint ERC-721 tokens in a matter of minutes.

The process is seemingly simple and intuitive, akin to uploading content on social media sites:

  • Create a digital content item beforehand (such as an image)
  • Upload it to the platform via a link
  • Create the smart contract with the push of a button and without any prior coding knowledge.

Mintable provides step-by-step instructions on how to deploy the NFT of your choice. Additionally, the platform allows the creator to put the digital item up for sale through its inbuilt marketplace.

Lastly, Mintable allows users to manage the NFTs they have in their wallets. Users can transfer their assets between the wallets they own, introduce access controls, as well as check the tokens they have in their wallets.

First, Witlingo specializes in the minting and showcasing of audio NFTs. We don’t do any other sort of NFTs.

4. Are NFTs a Scam?

As such, NFTs as a concept and as a space are NOT a scam.

However: given the basic fact that NFTs, and the cryptocurrencies they are based on, are a real paradigm shift -- a completely new way of thinking about money, authentication, certification, transactions -- a lot of opportunity exists for taking advantage of people who don’t know enough or understand enough about them. Combine such innocent ignorance with real greed -- greed of both those who wish to take advantage of people who don’t know enough, and greed of people who think that they can make quick money buying and selling NFTs -- and you have a dangerous situation. So, no, NFTs are not a scam, but scams do exist to take advantage of people who have not done their homework.

Twitter founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $2.9 million USD.

How to Sell NFTs

Ether is the most common cryptocurrency you can sell your NFTs for. So it's easier if you create your NFT on the Ethereum network.

The platforms mentioned above all operate the same, so you will most likely have to perform the below steps when setting up your NFT for sale.

First step: create an account. Then create a MetaMask Wallet where your digital currencies will live. MetaMask supports ERC-721 (the Ethereum-based NFT token standard). But you are free to create any other Ethereum wallet, depending on your preference.

After, you can set up single or multiple collectibles, and basically, you can upload anything you want. Depending on the platform, you will be shown the percentage of commissioned gas or you will be directed to a gasless mint. To save yourself time, make sure you connect your Wallet in this step as well.

Fill out any details they prompt you to, add your file, add any preview images, throw in a description and a name and select whether you want the item’s copyright to transfer over once the sale is made. You can set up a fixed price, or an auction, or a combo of both.

And that’s it! Now you can start selling your new NFT.

Who Owns What

After you’ve sold your piece, unless you gave away your copyright to the buyer, this is how the ownership is distributed:

  • The artist is the originator of the artwork and owns the copyright (provided that they actually made the work).
  • The buyer receives a certificate of ownership, showcasing every previous owner.

Ready to Create Your NFT?

While the world of NFTs seems hard to navigate, you can only learn by doing. And you can’t get rich unless you really, really try. Or however 50 Cents put it.

If you’re a digital artist, this might be a new way for you to make a career out of your passion. Especially if you’re into designing post-apocalyptic, bizzaro landscapes. But also if not! You do not have to fall into the same category as most other digital artists in the NFT space.

Yet, be mindful of all the downsides of this market from its ecological footprint, the bigger question of that digital ownership actually means, and the big chance that you - as an emerging artist - can easily be taken advantage of.

If you do want to give it a shot, design your everlasting creation with Vectornator. It’s the perfect vector-based tool to get your creative juices flowing.

“It’s clear that now is not the right time,” ArtStation said. “It’s our hope that at some point in the future we’ll be able to find a solution that is equitable and ecologically sound.”

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Cryptocurrency’s Newest Frontier

Hosted by Sabrina Tavernise; produced by Stella Tan, Rachelle Bonja and Neena Pathak; edited by Paige Cowett and Rachel Quester; and engineered by Chris Wood.

The craze for digital artworks known as NFTs exploded in the past year. Why are some people shelling out millions of dollars for them?

From the New York Times, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is “The Daily.”

Today, It started with a picture posted on the internet and ended in an extravagant cryptocurrency bidding war.

Now to the latest trend that’s sweeping the internet, the skyrocketing prices for digital art sold as NFTs. NFT, and that stands for nonfungible token.

My colleague Sabrina Tavernise speaks with columnist Kevin Roose about digital currencies newest frontier, his unexpected role in it, and why it actually matters.

It’s Tuesday, April 13.

So Kevin, I realized how little I understood about your world when I saw this headline of yours in the paper. And I’m going to read it to you right now. So it says, why did someone pay $560,000 for a picture of my column? So tell me about that.

Well, actually, that is a little outdated because the exchange rates have fluctuated since I published that column. So someone actually paid $725,000 for a picture of my column.

So you’re saying you sold something that everybody can read online, basically for free, for hundreds of thousands of real dollars?

Yeah, I mean, I would like to think that all my columns are worth at least $725,000. But that might have been an anomaly. But that is the world of NFTs for you.

So Kevin, where does the story of NFTs begin?

So the story of NFTs really starts with the story of cryptocurrencies and, in particular, with Bitcoin, which began all the way back in 2008. During the financial crisis, there was a mortgage meltdown. The Federal Reserve was bailing out banks and printing all this money, trying to stabilize the economy. And in the middle of all this, this mysterious paper appeared on a cryptography email listserv. And it was written by someone calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto. And it proposed this new form of digital money called Bitcoin. And the technology that sort of powered Bitcoin, the infrastructure that allows Bitcoin to work becomes known as the blockchain.

So explain both of those to me. How during that work?

OK, you know how money, regular money, is controlled by a central bank. The Federal Reserve manages the United States dollar. And the Federal Reserve basically has free reign to do whatever it wants with the dollar. It can decide how many dollars there should be, like whether we should print more money or not, based on how much they think the dollar should be worth. So it’s this very centralized system where the government, politicians and institutions have a lot of control over money, this thing that affects all of us. So what Satoshi Nakamoto proposed was a totally decentralized system. And in this system, there are a finite number of units. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins, and no more can ever be created. So everyone knows exactly how many there are, how many there will be. And people can just buy them with regular money and spend them anywhere that accepts Bitcoin. And instead of the supply and the value of bitcoins being controlled by a central bank or a government, Bitcoin is controlled by a piece of software called a blockchain. And at a very simple level, a blockchain is a network of computers all over the world, thousands of them. And they keep track of every Bitcoin transaction ever made. So every time a Bitcoin is bought or sold, that transaction gets recorded in this shared global database, kind of like a Google spreadsheet or something. And anyone with an internet connection can go back and see every change that’s ever been made to this database in a very public, and transparent, and permanent way. So no one person or institution controls this thing. It’s just this permission-less, distributed computer network that people who are into Bitcoin think is actually more trustworthy than banks that can be manipulated by politicians and governments.

Got it. So this is ultimately about trust and transparency coming off the distrust people developed after the 2008 financial crisis. And that felt like institutions were manipulating things behind the scenes. Whereas here, there’s no wizard behind the curtain, no shadowy figures, no politicians, as you say doing, the manipulating. It’s just a bunch of computers that no one controls.

Yeah. It’s essentially taking this giant financial system that is based on human decisions, and political considerations, and global economies and it’s just replacing it all with computer code.

OK, so Kevin, Nakamoto creates this whole new system of buying and selling and tracking those sales. But so then what happens? What do people do with it?

Yeah. So this paper appears on this obscure cryptographic listserv. And then Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever he, or she, or they are, disappears. And people sort of take this idea of Bitcoin and they run it.

Early on this is sort of an experimental weird community of people who are really into this new form of money. And they’re just playing around with it. I mean, they’re testing out the technology. And Bitcoin, at the time, is worth basically nothing. I mean, each Bitcoin is worth a tiny fraction of a cent. So they’re doing things like buying pizza.

When I say Bitcoin, you say what?

So there was this programer in Florida who sort of famously bought two pizzas from Papa John’s for 10,000 Bitcoin, which, at the time, was worth about $25.

I just told people I wanted a pizza and I want to pay with Bitcoin. I didn’t want a gift card. I didn’t want some weird exchange. I want to give you Bitcoin and you give me pizza.

People start developing new ways to spend Bitcoin. People are sending it to each other instead of sending a Venmo payment or a PayPal payment. Some people are buying clothes with it. Some websites start accepting it as a form of payment. It becomes this viral phenomenon that people are very excited about.

Now it’s starting to actually gain some traction.

And as it gets more attention and people get more excited about it, The price of Bitcoin keeps rising.

Bitcoins are booming.

It reaches $5,000 a Bitcoin and then $10,000 a Bitcoin. And now it’s up well past $50,000 a Bitcoin.

Cash is no longer king.

And the reason why the price of Bitcoin keeps going up and up is because there are a finite number of bitcoins, so people are willing to pay more and more to acquire the limited number of them.

Exactly. And so as that’s happening, people are starting to create other different cryptocurrencies. Some of them are very serious, like Ethereum is a new one that pops up. But there are also joke coins. And people call them shit-coins sometimes. There’s a Dogecoin, which is like reference to this meme. There’s a Dentacoin, cryptocurrency for dentists. There’s Potcoin, which is the cryptocurrency for cannabis enthusiasts. There’s even Bitcoen, which is the Jewish crypto-token. So all of these start springing up. Most of them are worth absolutely nothing. But then there’s this quieter movement building, of people who are using blockchains as a base technology to build lots of other things, things like tracking the rights to photography online. So like if you’re a photographer and you want to get credit and get paid, when your photos are used, you could attach that information to a blockchain, where it would be permanently and publicly available for people to see. Like, this photo belongs to Sabrina. This one belongs to Kevin. And when these photos get used, they get paid this much.

That’s really interesting. That seems huge, actually.

Yeah, it becomes a way to track the ownership and the ownership history of lots of different kinds of digital goods. And so one big moment for cryptocurrency comes when this other blockchain, Ethereum, allows you to create one of a kind goods, goods that can’t be exchanged for other goods. If you have a Bitcoin, it doesn’t really matter whether you have one Bitcoin or another Bitcoin. It’s all Bitcoin. But what Ethereum allows people to do is to say this is a one-of-a-kind asset. And it can’t be exchanged for any other asset. It is unique.

So it’s like a deed to a house or something?

It’s like a deed to a house or a certificate of authenticity that you might get if you buy a rare antique or something. Ethereum allows you to kind of say this thing is mine and there’s only one of them. And I can track its ownership forever. And anyone can go on the internet and see that I own this thing. And this becomes known as the nonfungible token, or NFT.

So fungible just means you can exchange one of it for any other one of it. So dollars are fungible because I can trade you $1 and I have the same spending power with your dollar as I had with my dollar. Something like an artwork is nonfungible because there’s only one of them. So if I have a Renaissance painting, I’m not going to trade you for a poster of that painting because mine is the original. It’s more valuable. And why would I give you my painting?

And so basically, people are discovering this ability to create just one of something on the internet. Before this, things that were on the internet were just infinitely copyable. If you had a song or a photo, you could copy and paste that any number of times. And every copy would be exactly the same and totally indistinguishable from every other copy. But what the Ethereum blockchain allows people to do is to stamp these digital objects with sort of a certificate of authenticity to say this is the original of this item. And you can’t copy or fake the digital signature that is sort of attached to that item.

Can I ask a really stupid question at this point?

Is the NFT the thing or is the NFT the digital stamp of authenticity of the thing?

Great question. It is a token that represents a thing. When you have an NFT of an image or a video clip, the NFT is not the image or the video clip itself. It’s the certificate of authenticity that attaches to that thing and links to it.

OK, I think I understand. With NFTs, you can still make a copy. But this allows us to know which one is the original, which one exactly. And we can assign value to that original and see the whole story of buying and selling that original item.

Exactly. It’s a way to keep track of ownership and where something came from.

OK, so Kevin, there are these things, nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. What do people do with them?

So for a while people are just sort of thinking about the theoretical possibility of NFTs. And then in about 2017, people actually start creating them. So the first NFTs are kind of these crypto art projects. There’s this thing called crypto punks, which is this set of cartoon characters that people started treating as digital action figures. And other people would take memes, like popular graphics, and turn them into NFTs and sell the NFTs, this thing that represented, like, this is the one true version of this meme. And then last year, they really exploded.

You’ve got songs, music videos, memes, even tweets of Lindsay Lohan’s face all becoming NFTs.

People started buying NFTs of sports videos.

: Our next guest is the first NFL player to get involved in the NFT craze, launching a new line of exclusive digital trading cards this morning. And I am proud to be launching the Rob Gronkowski Championship Series NFT collection. Tom Brady announced he’s launching an NFT company called —

A clip of LeBron James dunking became an NFT and was sold for more than $200,000. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, sold his first ever tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds nuts. Where do you hang the NFT in the living room, you know what I mean? Like, over the mantle?

And earlier this year, the biggest NFT sale ever happened. Christie’s, the auction house, auctioned off a collection of digital art by this digital artist named Beeple for $69 million. And that was sort of —

That’s more than most Picasso’s, Monet’s or Warhol’s. The beauty’s in the eye of the NFT beholder here, Carl.

And all of a sudden it’s like, wow, this is a real market. People are really willing to pay for these tokens, these digital certificates of authenticity. And there’s a lot of money to be made here. So I thought to myself, why should LeBron James and Jack Dorsey have all the fun? Why can’t I make and sell my own NFT?

So Kevin, you see this world of NFTs kind of going crazy, gaining traction. And you, Kevin Roose, a New York Times journalist, decide to sell an NFT yourself. So what do you do? What’s the first thing you do?

So I decided that I would write a column explaining NFTs. And that I would turn that column into an NFT and sell it. And whatever I made would go to the Neediest Cases Fund, which is the New York Times’s charity. So I wrote the column. And then I had a graphic created of the column. And I took that graphic, the picture of my column. And I then did what’s called minting an NFT. I actually created the NFT and put it on the blockchain. And then it was ready to be sold.

And what happens once you get the NFT on the blockchain? I mean, is there like, I don’t know, confetti or balloons or something that appear on your screen? Like, what does it look like?

Yeah, Jack Dorsey shows up at your house and gives you a bag full of cash. No, it basically just says this thing lives on the blockchain now. It is here. And once you have the NFT, then you have to actually set up the auction to sell it. So the auction is not run by humans. They’re run by software. You have some choices to make. So one thing you can do when you’re selling it left is to set a royalty, essentially saying that if someone buys it for $100 and then resells it for $200 to someone else, the artist, the person who originally uploaded that, can get a portion of that sale forever. And that’s sort of built into the code of the auction.

So that would essentially allow you to continue to make money each time the thing is sold, right?

Yes. And that’s part of what makes NFTs really attractive to artists. Because if you’re selling physical paintings, you sell it to someone, they resell it to someone else for a lot more money, and you don’t get a cut of that as the artist. But with NFTs, you can build it into the code that every time it’s resold, forever, the artist, the original person who uploaded the file, can get paid a fraction of that.

Right. It’s a really big difference.

You can also set a minimum acceptable price, so like, what is the lowest amount of money I would be willing to sell my NFT for? And I was feeling pretty optimistic. I thought maybe someone out there, some New York Times reader, will have some Etherum burning a hole in their digital wallet and they’ll decide my column is worth half an Ether, about $850. So I set the minimum price and I listed the auction and simultaneously published my story about the auction. And so then it was just on the blockchain up for sale.

OK, so what happens?

So immediately, my colleagues start joking about the fact that no one’s going to bid on my dumb NFT. There’s a Slack thread with some of my colleagues where they’re sort of betting on how much it’s going to sell for. The consensus is that it’s not going to go for much. So I list it in the morning. And at first, there are just a couple of bids. Someone bids the minimum, $850. And then there’s $1,000, then $1,200. And I’m going, OK, we’re going to make some money here. And before I went to bed that night, I checked again. And the top bid had risen to more than $30,000, which was like mind blowing to me. I was like this picture, this NFT, is now worth more than basically anything else I own.

And I’m thinking, this is insane. This is going to make a great story. Can you believe it, $30,000 for a picture of my column? Then I wake up the next morning and the chaos starts.

So the auction is supposed to last for 24 hours. And in the last, I would say, hour of that, a bidding war breaks out. It started going up, and up and up. It went to $98,000, then $143,000, then $277,000.

And I was just watching my computer screen and refreshing, and just agog. I was like, is this real? Like, am I being pranked here? So in the final minutes of this auction, it went from 100 Ether, which was about $160,000, all the way up to the final sale price, which was 350 Ether, which, at the time, was about $560,000, but is now about $725,000.

Kevin, it is crazy. I mean, no offense, but your column, in my mind, it is not worth the price of a nice house. I mean, it’s a good column. But you know, house, column, house, column.

No, I mean, I generally have decent self-esteem. And even I was like, there is nothing I’ve ever written is worth this much money.

But also, Kevin, especially when I can read it for free online.

Yes, I mean, that was the thing that was so crazy is like, you could go on and read this entire thing for free. And I just stared at my monitor just laughing uncontrollably, just totally in shock about what had happened.

So Kevin, who bought this? And more importantly, why did someone buy your column for the price of a nice house, a really nice house?

I’d like to think they just have good taste. But more realistically, the winner of the auction — I don’t know for sure who it is — but their username was 3F Music. And they appear to be a music production company based in Dubai. And they are a prominent NFT collector. And so I did reach out to 3F Music. I also reached out to a number of other people who bid on the auction. And I asked them why. And for some of them, especially the early bidders who are bidding relatively small amounts of money, they thought of this as just a fun transaction that might get them some publicity. So I should say, in addition to the NFT of this column, I also said that I would write a follow-up column about the auction and feature the winner. And so I think for some of them, it was like, this is a price I’m willing to pay to get into The New York Times. But then, at a certain point, I would say like around $10,000 or so, I started to hear other explanations. And some of them were basically saying this was a speculative investment. So they were bidding on this NFT because it was the first NFT created by The New York Times. And you know, there’s sort of like a status attached to the first of something. And so they thought if NFTs become a huge industry, then owning the first one from The New York Times, I might be able to resell that for more money later on. I also talked to some people who said that this was essentially like an ideological statement for them. I talked to one musician who actually bid on my NFT who said that he had grown up in the era of Napster when songs were first able to be copied and distributed on the internet for free. And piracy became a huge problem, and that blockchain technology. And NFTs had changed that by basically allowing digital goods to have scarcity, which is what gives physical goods their value. So this musician said, basically, that collecting NFTs was less about owning the actual NFT, but more about sort of signaling optimism and belief in this new ownership model.

Right. So you have the speculators, you have people who are trying to invest, but you also have people who care about art and intellectual property who are trying to make a statement, which I think is pretty interesting. But also, I mean, $500,000 is just so much money. So was there some deeper reason for this purchase, do you think, I mean, not only your column, but these other crazy high prices for sort of seemingly cheap things?

It’s a great question. And there are a lot of possible answers. You know, wealth inequality is obviously part of the equation, the fact that there are people with this much disposable income. And one of the artists I talked to who bid on the auction actually said, you know, this isn’t actually that strange in the offline world. Rich people spend vast sums of money on things of dubious value all the time. They fly off to art fairs. They spend millions of dollars on sculptures and pieces of art for their walls. Or maybe they don’t even have the art on their walls, maybe it’s just they’re trading pieces of art that live in a warehouse somewhere. And so all they really have is the knowledge that they own a thing.

Right. It’s like a new Birkin bag or owning a Warhol.

Exactly. And I think that for some people who are investing tons of money in an NFTs, we can’t underestimate the role that just emotion and status and bragging rights play in all of this.

OK, that kind of brings us all the way back to the very beginning, Kevin, because the point you just made about NFTs and how they operate, it’s kind of similar to how we’ve always valued things. So I’m wondering, if you go back to the conversation about the blockchain, we were thinking about what Nakamoto was trying to solve for. He wanted to fundamentally change the financial system and how it works. But did he succeed? Or has he just created some different system in which we operate basically in the same way, with the same kind of human emotion motivations? Did he just create a thing to covet or did he actually do something truly new?

So I think there are sort of two ways to look at something like NFTs. On one level, I think, yes, as you said, it’s just taking something that existed offline, this concept of scarcity, of having one of something and having that quality of scarcity be the thing that gives an object its value. And you’re translating that onto the internet, where it really hadn’t existed before. So even if NFts are just a way of kind of replicating the scarcity that objects can have in the offline world, that’s an incredibly valuable thing. But I think there’s this other change happening, this generational transformation that’s happening as more of our lives move onto the internet. I mean, we spend so much time in the offline world sort of curating our surroundings, putting art on our walls, figuring out what car to drive, what house to buy, what neighborhood to live in, expressing ourselves through the consumption of scarce goods and building identities around the physical objects that we own. And now, with NFTs, that aspect of life, kind of figuring out what to buy to signal who we are and what we value, that can also be online. Maybe the thing that gives you status and identity is not a physical object, maybe it’s a token on the blockchain.

Thanks so much, Kevin.

Thank you for having me.

Here’s what else you need to know today. [ARCHIVAL RECORDING] This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright. As outcry and protest grew over the shooting of Daunte Wright, an unarmed black man killed during an encounter with police officers in a suburb of Minneapolis, local officials said that the officer who shot Wright appeared to have done so by accident. After stopping Wright for a traffic violation, police in the city of Brooklyn Center discovered there was a warrant for his arrest. According to police, Wright stepped back into his car, triggering a struggle with officers. A video of that encounter, recorded by the officer’s body camera, shows that she repeatedly yelled taser before discharging her gun and immediately expressed surprise after shooting Wright. [ARCHIVAL RECORDING] As I watch the video and listen to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet. The shooting occurred less than 10 miles from the courtroom where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd. And on Monday, the Biden administration urged the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, to lock down her state to slow what has become the nation’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 infections. But Whitmer remains resistant and instead called for a surge in vaccinations in Michigan.

When you have an acute situation, an extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan, the answer is not necessarily to give vaccine in fact, we know —

That suggestion was rejected by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky. ROCHELLE WALENSKY The answer to that is to really close things down. To go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer, and to shut things down, to flatten on the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test to the extent that we —

Today’s episode was produced by Stella Tan, Rachelle Bonja and Neena Pathak, It was edited by Paige Cowett and Rachel Quester, and engineered by Chris Wood.

That’s it for The Daily. I’m Michael Barbaro. See you tomorrow.

But blockchain technology, which also forms the basis of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, comes with enormous greenhouse-gas emissions.

In a nutshell, when an artist uploads a piece of art and clicks a button to “mint” it, she or he starts a process known as mining, which involves complex puzzles, awesome computing power and a huge load of energy. That’s because Ethereum, the platform of choice for NFTs, uses a method called proof of work to create digital assets like nonfungible tokens.

To successfully add an asset to the blockchain’s master ledger, miners must compete to solve a cryptographic puzzle, their computers rapidly generating numbers in a frenzied race of trial and error. As of mid-April, miners were making more than 170 quintillion attempts a second to produce new blocks, according to the trading platform (A quintillion is 1 followed by 18 zeros.)

The miner who arrives at the right answer first is the winner and gets her or his asset added to the blockchain.

The system is intentionally designed to be onerous, ostensibly to make it transparent and competitive and to prevent cheating. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, also uses the energy intensive proof-of-work model.

According to an estimate backed up by independent researchers, the creation of an average NFT has a stunning environmental footprint of over 200 kilograms of planet-warming carbon, equivalent to driving 500 miles in a typical American gasoline-powered car.

Other attempts to calculate the energy use of blockchain have also arrived at gargantuan numbers. Researchers at Cambridge University have estimated that mining Bitcoin uses more electricity than entire countries like Argentina, Sweden or Pakistan. A recently published paper in the journal Nature Communications warned that, if left unchecked, cryptomining in China could undercut the nation’s climate goals.

“I know it’s difficult to comprehend,” said Susanne Köhler, an expert in life cycle analysis at Aalborg University in Denmark who carried out an assessment of blockchain technology. “You just click on a button or type a few words, and then suddenly you burn so much energy.”


Making the problem worse, Dr. Köhler said, was that solving the puzzles becomes more competitive and more difficult as interest in blockchain grows and more people start mining. “So it doesn’t become more energy efficient over time, like other technologies do,” she said. “It just leads to a bigger emissions impact, unless their energy is carbon free.”

This is not the first time the art world has grappled with its role in climate change. There has been concern at art museums over fossil-fuel funding, with some choosing to end lucrative oil company sponsorships.

But NFTs have been particularly controversial, because the hype over digital tokens has been seen as a long-awaited shot for many smaller artists to finally garner more exposure, recognition and serious money for their work.

“Why is it when the little guys get a foothold,” the designer Gareth Stangroom, also known as @fire_hydrant_man, said in response to Mr. Precht’s announcement, “everyone’s on their case about the ethics of it — instead of criticizing the big players that have been abusing our planet for decades?”

Joanie Lemercier, a French artist known for his futuristic light sculptures, was one of the first to dig into NFTs’ environmental consequences. He had just released six tokenized videos, inspired by platonic solids, which were snapped up by buyers. But he had heard of the growing alarm over Bitcoin’s energy use, which worried him: Mr. Lemercier has also been involved in climate activism, campaigning for a move away from coal.

He turned to Memo Akten, a computational engineer and artist who carried out some of the first calculations specific to NFTs and posted them on a site he named

“It turns out my release of six crypto-artworks consumed in 10 seconds more electricity than the entire studio over the past 2 years,” Mr. Lemercier wrote on his website. He said he was putting future NFT releases on hold. “It felt like madness to even consider continuing that practice.”

Offices implemented work-from-home orders, schools and students adapted to e-learning, movies started releasing on Netflix and Amazon Prime, shopping became less tiresome with online shopping being the only option, and artists looked to digital art as a way to portray their creativity. That’s where NFTs came in and showed a cool way for these artists to create and sell digital art on the internet.

How to Create NFTs?

Contrary to what you may assume, creating your NFTs takes little to no technical knowledge. There are many NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, Rarible or Mintable where you can create NFTs for your artwork in a matter of minutes.

To start creating your NFT, you will first need to connect your crypto wallet to an NFT marketplace of your choice. The wallet address will be your login info, so you will never need to share any other details. Once done, you can go to the “Create” section on the marketplace, upload your artwork and finalize the process by clicking the right buttons.

That’s it. Before your mom calls you downstairs again for dinner or your baby starts crying or your better half misses you, you will have your NFT artwork ready to sell.

If demand is low, don’t worry! Odds are you may have fallen prey to the online art devaluation issue, or people just aren’t aware of your work. Remember the basic structure for pricing based on the minimum wage scale. If you need to feel the waters, you can slightly change the prices around that area. Another key thing to remember is that commissioners will respect it when you value your art and understand its value! While you might have people climbing all over you for super cheap deals, raising your prices only eliminates the ones taking advantage of you, and chances are that the people who still want your work and respect it’s value will still buy from you!

So as an artist, what does that mean for me?

It means you should do the following:

• Estimate how long various artistic processes take you to complete. For many people, doing a full drawing with color and one character takes between 5-7 hours (I personally take way way longer than that to work, but we’ll use this range as an example). Assuming minimum wage:

5-7 hours * 7.25$ = $36.25 - $50.75

Now this might vary depending on skill, but this is a good starting place. Now assuming you work at lets say 10$/hr. That becomes

5-7 hours * 10$hr = $50-$70 for a full colored 1 character commission.

For traditional, also figure in the cost of supplies it took for you to create the image, so you’d estimate the base time + cost of materials.

This leads into a rather tricky problem with the consideration of the infamous deviantArt points. The issue with deviantart points (not that they’re necessarily bad) is that 1.) its not actually currency, and to be traded back to $, deviantart takes a 20% cut and 2.) it inflates the perceived price of the work. Example:

assuming the previous reasonable prices for a 5-7 hour piece of art evaluated at 7.25$/hr:

80 points to 1 USD = 5-7 * 7.25* 80 = 2900 – 4060 points.

Someone who doesn’t run that conversion will say ‘holy crap that’s a lot of points’ and might be quicker to assume the work is ‘too expensive’. Thus, the deviantart devaluation process begins.

I often see full images ranging between 500-1200 points. While from a numeric perspective (500 and 1200 being pretty respectable numbers) running the conversion brings this to $6.25 and $15!

for a full picture….

See the problem? It’s incredibly important to realize that while deviantart currency is nice and convenient, its often a bit deceiving at evaluating your own work. Not only that, the fact that the artist only gets 80% of the monetary cut means that points can be a problem for artists who use commissions as an income source, even if they are easier. If you choose to use dA points as a pricing evaluator, just remember:

• While easier to obtain, they are worth less.

• If you are evaluating your own pricing, remember to do the 80pts to 1$USD conversion.

• When buying a commission, remember to also do the conversion, because you might be severely underpaying an artist!

There’s yet another aspect when it comes to pricing: Demand!

Time for an economics crash course. Specifically in microeconomics, there is something called a supply and demand curve. Basically, this is a representation of how supply of something, and the demand of something can drive prices of whatever the good is. Usually, if the demand is high, the supply will need to be higher to deal with this pull for demand.

Now art isn’t exactly a commodity. You can only make so much of a supply, and when you’re creating art on-the-spot for someone, that supply is usually about as fast as you’re capable of working. So what do you do if your demand is high? Increase your dang prices! If the demand for your work is crazy, then it’s a good indicator that your work has a good amount of value behind it! Remember when I said you had value? Its true! Take a look at some other artists pricing with your same demand structure to see how much you should increase. However, increasing 5$ here and there to rest the waters is a good start.

If demand is low, don’t worry! Odds are you may have fallen prey to the online art devaluation issue, or people just aren’t aware of your work. Remember the basic structure for pricing based on the minimum wage scale. If you need to feel the waters, you can slightly change the prices around that area. Another key thing to remember is that commissioners will respect it when you value your art and understand its value! While you might have people climbing all over you for super cheap deals, raising your prices only eliminates the ones taking advantage of you, and chances are that the people who still want your work and respect it’s value will still buy from you!

Mashable's new series Don't @ Me takes unpopular opinions and backs them up with. reasons. We all have our ways, but we may just convince you to change yours. And if not, chill.

Think cryptocurrency is bad? NFTs are even worse.

Think cryptocurrency is bad? NFTs are even worse.

Mashable's new series Don't @ Me takes unpopular opinions and backs them up with. reasons. We all have our ways, but we may just convince you to change yours. And if not, chill.

Cryptocurrency is a mess. The amount of energy required to generate and keep records of it is staggering, with Bitcoin mining alone generating around 37 million tonnes of CO₂ every year. Its carbon footprint is absolutely enormous, on par with that of entire countries.

Yet there is nothing terrible in this world that humans cannot make worse, and it seems cryptocurrency is no exception. Please welcome to the stage: NFTs. They are awful, and I hate them.

Put simply, a NFT or non-fungible token is a unique type of cryptocurrency. Whether crypto or not, currencies are typically fungibles, meaning they're identical and interchangeable with one another. One dollar bill has the exact same value as another, so it doesn't matter which one you have.

In contrast, a non-fungible is unique and cannot be interchanged. While both "The Starry Night" and "The Birth Of Venus" are paintings, you can't simply swap them because they're two very different, unique artworks. Similarly, every NFT is unique and immutable, created on the blockchain and tied to a singular object such as a digital artwork or photograph (or a GIF, or a tweet).

A recent surge of interest in NFTs has seen a huge rush to tokenise non-fungibles, with even Taco Bell jumping in with some taco GIFs. However, having an NFT doesn't give you exclusive use of a work. It doesn't add any improvement to it. It doesn't bestow any worthwhile rights you can exercise, beyond the right to sell it.

An NFT is merely the very costly, environmentally disastrous, tech bro equivalent of peeing on a hydrant.

Sure, Ethereum, the platform where most NFTs reside, is planning to switch its model from proof of work to proof of stake, which would make it more environmentally friendly. But it's taking an awfully long time, and the actual changeover may not happen for years.

And even setting aside the fact that NFTs are actively accelerating our already sound barrier-breaking race toward climate catastrophe, they are also completely and utterly meaningless.

What are you purchasing, really? This isn't like comparing an original oil painting to a print, where the copies are very clearly different to the original. Your tokenised artwork is exactly the same as every copy ever made of it, and every copy yet to be made. You don't have some unique version only you can enjoy.

The only thing you have is bragging rights. And really, who cares? Who do you imagine you're impressing with that? Maybe Elon Musk, if you ever actually encountered him and he deigned to speak to you. But then you'll have done something to impress Elon Musk and will have to live with that for the rest of your life.

I imagine you stumbling through a post-COVID, post-apocalyptic party, gripping a half-empty beer and shouting in strangers' ears over pounding EDM.

"I own @dril's pinned tweet," you declare, pronouncing the @ because that's the person you've become. "Like, the original. I own it."

"You can't own someone else's tweet," replies your unimpressed victim as they subtly scan the room for friends. "It's text on the internet."

You falter. "No you don't get it — I tokenised it. I got the original. All. Everything else, the retweets, they're all just copies. They don't. Mine has value."

You can't explain what this value is, but you paid $2.5 million so there must be value. The thudding song blasting over the speakers drops its beat. The beat is always dropping. The beat has never dropped. The beat dropped 13 years ago.

Before you can untangle your reasoning your target's roommate intervenes, assimilating them back into their faceless, ageless collective of friends. You can't tell if they're wearing masks due to disease or pollution or aesthetic. You return to your apartment alone and lie awake in your cold king-sized bed. You stare at a "no" typed out and published in 2008. You paid $2.5 million.

There is the argument that NFTs are good for digital artists, as they enable them to be paid for their work. Currently, images are easily taken, duplicated, and spread online, often with no credit given to their original creator. NFTs enable us to hold one up as the one true original, giving it value and stimulating the arts industry by enabling collectors to collect. Surely this is a good use of cryptocurrency?

To that I say: If you want a unique artwork, then commission an artist. If you want to ensure creators are properly compensated for their labour, then commission an artist. If you're concerned about the viability of the arts industry, then commission an artist.

More than this, NFTs don't even guarantee any money goes to the person who created the work. As it currently stands, there is nothing stopping people from simply tokenising other people's work, claiming it and profiting off it. In fact it's already happening. There is even a Twitter account that will tokenise any tweet for you regardless of whether or not you yourself wrote it — all you have to do is tag it.

NFTs are not a boon for struggling artists. They are a plague facilitating art theft. Numerous creators are having their content stolen, with artists angrily speaking out and setting their Twitter accounts to private in an attempt to curb the soulless free-for-all. Unfortunately, right now it feels like building a lean-to in the path of a tsunami.

Artists, content creators, and shitposters on Twitter aren't the only people NFTs are curb stomping into the ground either. (I mean, assuming we aren't counting the fact that their environmental impact is screwing over everyone in the entire world.) Artist RJ Palmer noted NFTs also have dangerous implications for anyone who has ever taken a nude.

"The art community has been so preoccupied with art theft and copyright NFTs, the realization that someone can attach a nude to an NFT is truly horrifying," Palmer tweeted. "Someone can just sell a photo of your body without permission. What the fuck do we do about that?"

Somehow, NFTs can make even the nightmare of revenge porn more hellish. And there is absolutely no plus side to any of it at all.

NFTs are capitalism gone wild. They're the ugly result of the destructive desire to own things that don't need to be owned, purely for the sake of owning them. They're tech bros planting flags just because they can, and demanding of themselves no further justification, reasoning, or reflection. They're pure unadulterated ego crystallised, digitised, and monetised.

We don't need NFTs. We don't benefit from NFTs. The only anemic value gained upon purchasing an NFT is the ability to truthfully say, "I own this NFT" — a sentence with so little significance it's laughable.

Yet to provide that scant, meaningless, disgusting privilege, NFTs are poisoning the Earth and everyone upon it.

The realities of working freelance mean it can at times be overly convoluted. It need not be. So long as a reasonable amount of transparency exists between parties, problems that do crop up can be fixed relatively quickly and painlessly. The freelancer has to be flexible in their negotiations, and honest with skills and experience, and being slightly conservative with their service offerings to ensure project completion. Additionally, make sure all the appropriate paperwork and forms are filed, and that the individual or business capacity under which freelance services are being offered duly recognised and noted officially. And finally, although most aspects of being a sole trader, self-employed or running a business are relatively straightforward, when issues do arise it is always best to consult a fully qualified professional.

How much should I charge for freelance 3D modelling or Design? (rates)

Freelance 3D getting paid, rates and how much money to charge

One the more troublesome issues to deal with while working independently relates to how much the freelance designer (artist, programmer, etc.) should be charging a client or customer for contracted work. Irrespective as to whether the request is for a (short or mid term) contract position in-house, a one-off project found through a 'freelance job' web site or generic community forum advert, ruminating over this, and getting it right, can be the source of a lot of stress and sleepless nights; is the quote too big, too small; was the time-frame over-estimated, ad infinitum until the restless wee-hours of the morning.


This need not be the case as calculating potential hourly, or project, rates may not be quite as arbitrary as it might first appear because, thankfully, a number sources exist online that can be used for this very purpose - working out freelance rates - it's just a matter of knowing where to look and how to use the data and information available.

Important Note: the information is provided 'as is' in this article should not be construed as 'legal' or 'tax' advice. Individuals engaged in a provision of service as Sole Traders or Self Employment are urged to seek professional (certified) legal, tax and/or employment help where necessary. Search "Freelance Tax Advisors", "Freelance Legal Advisors", "Freelance Contract Advisor" (or similar term) for local representatives. Or ask colleagues or friends who they use/if they know any one that can assist.

what is being asked to be made? ^

Before getting to the root of the problem, the money, a moment must to be taken to address some of the obvious and fundamental elements of any agreed-upon work; what exactly is the freelance individual being asked to produce. This 'stuff' matters because it is not wholly atypical to end up grudgingly producing more content than was originally requested, typically because the client abuses the business relationship to push for more than was agreed upon at time of project sign-off.

Note: it should be highlighted here that, as the saying goes, "verbal agreements are worth the paper they are written on", i.e. "nothing". So whilst the freelancing individual can 'agree' to the production of content verbally or casually, doing so does not necessarily mean, at the very least, a binding contract has been made. It's critically important to understand this point because the ramifications of 'verbal', 'casual', 'written', 'formal', and other forms of agreement, differ in the Real World™ - each can, and often do, imply differentiated interpretation of specific rights, responsibilities and obligations in law - this is why the suggestion to seek advice from a suitably qualified Legal, Tax and/or Employment professional specialising in freelance work is made, and why the individuals 'position' aught to be made explicitly clear from the start when carrying out work for other people.

With this in mind it's important then to clarify circumstances before quoting a price, for example some general points about production and the clients needs might be;

  • Whether the project is to include textures and materials or source files.
  • Is the product to be textured or maps provided for that purpose.
  • Are ancillary assets or 'street art' (the items used to decorate a level/environment) and so on to be included, if not, who is to provide these items.
  • Will additional assets be made available to aid production.
  • Does the client understand asset absence may cause issues later on (scale, size, optimisation issues etc.).
  • Do proprietary assets require clean up and/or optimisation for integration/use.

It's important to know the answer to these and other questions because they imply hidden productions costs, additional time, and increased expenses the client may be no be aware of.

  • What game engine is the content for.
  • Are assets to be worked on by others.
  • Are source files to be included.
  • What software are they using/prefer to be used.
  • Are there any specialist export requirements (special format).
  • How do they want to handle asset updates, edits and corrections.
  • etc.

It's inevitable the client will forget something too, or unforeseen issues may crop up during production, so allowance should be made to accommodate changes in circumstance else there's a risk of being out of pocket or past due-date.

Note: generally speaking changes made after-the-fact, as are being described in this section, are not typically subject to "force majeure" (the 'acts of god' clause).

In the contract or agreement, include a statement that allows for a degree of change after-the-fact, to the affect that "any additional work requested or required after sign-off may be subject to further (re)negotiation and (re)quoting (at the [contractors] discretion.)". This signals to the client the freelancers awareness that 'things happen', and is prepared to accommodate that fact, the pre-positioned clause being there ready to appropriately deal with such events.

Note: the key in such situations is to be flexible and mindful of the potential for tension that might occur even if everything discussed and required was agreed in writing - no-one likes to be wrong (even when they are) so be especially mindful of legal threats where items not originally included in the agreement are raised. This is why it's vitally important to, at the very least, have an email outlining project requirements that are clearly stated, with clear indication the client responded to that specific communication with "yes, go ahead with the work".

Industry sector salary comparisons ^

Once the basic facts are known the next step is price the project up. Unfortunately for custom content creators, few readily available standard price-per-item lists or resources exist, largely because there are far too many variables involved wrangling a mutually beneficial agreement between parties.

Note: given the fact that "freelance" covers such a broad gamut of business related activities, it would be neigh on impossible to produce a 'catch-all' price list for any given type of freelance activity.

Having said this however, information to help set freelance rates is available indirectly looking at salary details within the industry sector the person might otherwise have been employed. For a 3D environment artist asked to make game assets for example, that would be the Games Industry. By looking at the 'job' and 'employment' pages of various game development sites figures and data can be gathered and collated to determine rates. Even better is to look through game industry salary survey data which cover a much broader pool of source data.

Important: industry salaries provide an earnings baseline, how much might be earned when employed to perform a given role. They do not expressly represent how much to charge for freelance work, but rather help determine a competitive comparison the freelancer might use to understand their position in the broader market space. In other words, knowing how much a 'mid-level environment artist' earns, the freelancer can set their rates appropriately (notwithstanding benefits lost/gained from being an employee vs self-employed, and/or costs to the employer for the employee etc.).

Note: this also helps realise rates subsequently quoted to the client because they are backed by industry available data and not necessarily pulled from thin air.

Working out hourly rates based on salary ^

When using information found in game salary surveys, the preference should be to average the data rather than necessarily relying on a single source. Having said this however, there is a fair amount of commonality across surveys, so where few data sets exist differences may be minor nonetheless.

Important: in lue of salary comparisons most Governments provide minimum wage guidelines that can be used as an absolute baseline alternative (calculated from a much broader averaged minimum income required to live).

Note: in the following, figures are rounded out to whole numbers for simplicity so may not strictly calculate absolutely. They are also assumed to be 'net' and not 'gross' amounts, i.e. after deductions/costs of employment/benefits etc. (see highlighted box-out above).

For example Develops UK salary survey for 2013 has 'artists' income averaged at £27,813 GBP, or approximately $46,973 USD [1] . Whereas (US) Game Career Guides Survey for 2013 has artists averaged at $48,400 USD, or approximately £28,657 GBP*. Combining the two averages this arrives at $47,686 USD or £28,234 GBP. As both are trusted sources however, either/or can be used as preferred.

Note: [1] conversion rate of £1/$1.68, May 2014

Taking the (US) Game Industry Salary Survey for 2013 as an example for the remainder of this article, accordingly an artist with three or less years experience averages approx. $48,000 for 260 working days [2] in the year, rounding out to approx. $185 a day or $23 per hour [3] . With this in mind, looking at a model estimated to take a (working) week to build and ship, i.e. five (5) days, eight hours (8 hrs) a day, using the figures previously determined, it would cost around $925 to produce ($185 * 5 = $925), a number that can be adjusted depending on project specifics and what the freelance artist/designer is bringing to the table [4] .

Note: the figure above would be the cost of an employee producing a given model, contextually an individual, and circumstance, the freelancer is competing with.

Once done this at least puts the freelancers quote on equal(ish) footing with Real World value, making the project more likely to be signed-off by the prospective client because they can see the correlation.

Charging per hour or per project ^

However, even though the hourly rate may now be determined, a problem presents itself in terms of input not always equating to output. In other words whilst "charging by the hour" tends to favour relatively small, short duration projects, on larger, more complex or sustained tasks, the calculation could (and often does) result in work being cost prohibitive to produce. In such instances it may be better to price per project based on previous experience or using a sliding scale of appreciation/depreciation.

Note: for further ideas on quoting based on per-project rates refer to calculations outlined in the "some examples" section Note below.

Currency conversion & International freelance work ^

One particularly troublesome issue trying to work out freelance rates is currency conversion. The conversion itself is not the problem so much as the fact that currency values vary a great deal depending on the freelancers location relative to the client. This can be problematic due to equivalent buying power (technically called "purchasing power parity") and standard of living disparities. For example, if the exact same microwave is purchased by a group of individuals around the world its price would vary depending upon geographic location, corresponding standard of living costs, and the relative regional currency value. In other words although the oven has the same intrinsic value materially and as a finished usable object, the money used to buy it does not, leading to, in some instances, significant disparity.

Note: an individual in the UK purchasing an oven from the USA would be able to acquire a more expensive item for the same amount of GB Pounds because the currency rate (currently) provides more US Dollars in exchange for GB Pound (e.g. £100 GBP = $170). Or they could spend less to get the same original item intended because they don't need to spend as many GBP (e.g. £60) in doing so. Conversely, a person in the USA using their $100 to buy from the UK would find their purchasing power reduced to a cheaper model because they get fewer GB Pounds for their US Dollars (e.g. $100 USD = £60 GBP). Else they would need to spend more to acquire the same one ($160).

The implications of this are significant because it means, whilst attempting to determine hourly base rates, source data used for calculations may inadvertently sell either/or/both the freelancer and/or client short. In other words $48,000 USD is not mutually equivalent to £48,000 GBP, nor is $23hr USD mutually equivalent to £23hr GBP because of currency value and purchasing power inequality.

As a result of this variation individuals freelancing Internationally often face the unfortunate reality of dealing with varying amounts of income (or value) loss depending on the exchange direction to keep quotes reasonable attractive clients relative to their local economy, an aspect of providing freelance services for which little can be done to compensate.

Note: a UK based freelance artist/designer charging a UK client £925 GBP for a finished game character might be charging a USA client $1,560 due to exchange rates. Whereas to quote a USA equivalent price of $925 USD the same freelance individual is effectively earning approx. £548 GBP, a loss of £377 GBP.

In $42,000 USD converted to approximately;
- £22,000 Jan 2009
- £26,266 Jan 2010
- £26,791 Jan 2012
- £25,000 May 2014
- £31,000 Jan 2021

Note also that being located in a Country with a weak currency does not necessarily mean being able to make more money working Internationally because currency valuations, and the expectations that carries with the client, works against the jobbing freelancer - clients expect things to be cheap.

asset sites as a comparison ^

An alternative approach to determining the cost of freelance art/design is to look at web site's offering comparable assets for sale, services like TurboSquid for example. Bear in mind that such sites are generally geared towards derivative or repeat sales so both content and pricing structures tend to be more generic in nature to accommodate this fact - authors are not making custom content to meet specific demands and requirements, rather they are producing generalised content to appeal to a broader audience for multiple sales.

Note: using third-party asset sites can mean pricing structures being low-balled to compensate for losses through repeat purchase from numerous sources.

In using asset sites for rate determination however, be mindful that clients may use their low prices as leverage against any quote offered, the "I can get 'X' cheaper here" argument. Should this happen, clarify with the client that custom and unique content tailored to their specific needs is being purchased, for which only they will have use, thus reducing the likelihood of the same asset appearing in another game.

Note: this latter point, content appearing elsewhere, also negates accusation of 'theft' and/or incorrect or improper content licensing that could result in a 'DMCA Take Down Notice' or 'Cease and Desist' letter (which tend to be of immediate affect). Although generally the clients responsibility, the damage that can be caused by this may find it's way back to the freelancer for remedy. In such instances the original agreement between affect parties may need to contain "due-diligence", "to the best of my knowledge" or "indemnity" clauses, negating the impact of events occurring after-the-fact over which the freelancer has no control.

Taxes & personal liabilities ^

Important Note: the following section is provided 'as is' and should not be regarded as being 'legal' or 'tax' advice. The Reader is urged to seek professional (certified) legal and/or tax help where necessary.

Tax, and associated personal and business liabilities, is the most important aspect of providing freelance services because it carries with it a heavy burden of accountability others may not be cognisant of (they have no need to be). And this speaks to the biggest problem discussing this particular topic online as it's often had by those naive to, or wholly ignorant of, the realities attributed to the provision of a business service - freelancing is a business, an employment status, not a lifestyle choice or type or mode of working.

Note: the big problem discussing taxes and other liabilities with respect to freelancing is that it's often carried out by individuals who, intentionally or not, misappropriate the term "freelance", or misunderstand what it implies; it is not merely a word used to describe style or way of working. Rather it specifically describes, as mentioned above, a business related activity and employment status. What this means is that getting paid to make something "on the side" or "for a bit of extra cash" does not make that person 'freelance' (although such income must be declared), unless, they are duly registered with the appropriate Government Agency that recognises their status as being registered for the purposes of providing goods or services either as an self-employed individual (Sole-Trader) or an aspect or element of a business Entity they may own or be part of (not necessarily as an employee) - for example HMRC in the UK or the IRS in the USA. When providing freelance services these distinction matters because liabilities differ depending upon the Parties respective status's and under what capacity agreements have been made - private individuals do not carry the same weight of liabilities, obligations and protections under law generally afforded to registered Entities & Individuals (Sole-Traders/Self-Employed). In other words it's meaningful if a person calling themselves a "freelance artist" is actually registered as being in-business for the purpose of providing that service.

With that said there are two main reasons, each of which will be discussed below, why freelancers often get this wrong; 1) trying to pass the Tax burden off onto the client, and 2) not realising that in doing so it actually increases the tax burden due.

Income Tax is a Duty on Labour ^

So, what is Income Tax?. In essence Income Tax is a Duty levied on labour; "labour" being any action or activity a person engages in when providing services in return for remuneration. This means any income received in lieu of work outside employment is liable for Tax. As such tax is only supposed to be levied upon the person providing the service, not those in receipt of them; Income Tax, emphatically, has absolutely nothing to do with the client so the burden cannot be offset or passed on to them in any shape or form (#1 in the previous section).

Note: it can be argued, and often is by Revenue Services, that trying to recoup tax losses by passing the buck onto the clients bill amounts to fraud because they are being charged for something they never receive as part of the product or service purchased.

For the jobbing freelance artist then it's essential to keep all liabilities specifically relative to actual work done and income received.

Taxes & passing the buck ^

To put this into context, using the $925 USD project discussed earlier and an income tax rate of 20%, the amount due works out to be $185 [5] , leaving $740 'profit' [6] . This means at (tax) year end $185 goes to the Government as the duty on labour for this particular job, the freelancer keeping $740. These are the basic 'in' and 'out' liabilities of the job - $925 in, $185 out ($740 kept).

Note: for brevity costs are relayed in terms of 'income' and 'tax' liabilities only; other aspects of price determination, 'expenses', 'running costs' etc., are ignored.
[5] 20% of $925 = $185.
[6] $925 - $185 = $740 - profit refers to income remaining after Tax deduction.

Now, if the freelance designer were of the mistaken mind to 'recover' this $185 burden from the client, they would normally think to do so by simply adding it to the original quote itself. In other words they might reason it as follows;

"I'm going to charge $925 for this project, the tax due on that is $185, so I'll 'recover' that by adding it to the original quote to get a new total, now $1110 to bill the client. That'll keep me covered for my $185 tax and mean I get the whole $925 I was originally after [7] ."

In doing this however, it changes the Tax liability from $925 as previous, to the new total of $1110 (the liability being the income received from work done/service provided). At 20% again that tax now due is $222, instead of $185, leaving $888 [8] . A loss of $37 on the original £925.

Note: [8] 20% of $1110 = $222, and $1110 - $222 = $888.

In seeing increased loss the artist may conduct further calculations until a figure is reached wherein as much of the original value as possible is recouped (wanting the full $925) - in this instance adding a further $47 to the previous $1110 resulting in an amount billed to the client of $1157. Again however, this increases the Tax burden further; on $1157 that becomes $231, a further $9 on the previous tax due, but this does leave the full $925 [9] the individual was originally trying to recoup.

Note: [9] 20% of $1157 = $231, and $231 - $1157 = $925.

The problems caused by these types of calculatory gymnastics should be self-evident, over time the additional tax burden mounts up, requiring ever-increasing offsets to accommodate the rise in tax due (notwithstanding tax/income tier levels).

Note: the one caveat to the above is the possible inclusion of VAT or Sales Tax - the difference being they are transparent service or sales charges everyone knows about, and can be paid and recouped legitimately as needed.

Of course in the final equation it should not go without saying that from the clients point of view, a project quoted at $925 is very different than one of $1157, the latter a price that's also gone well over the psychological $999 barrier (from three figures to four), and the client declining the job entirely.

Conclusion ^

The realities of working freelance mean it can at times be overly convoluted. It need not be. So long as a reasonable amount of transparency exists between parties, problems that do crop up can be fixed relatively quickly and painlessly. The freelancer has to be flexible in their negotiations, and honest with skills and experience, and being slightly conservative with their service offerings to ensure project completion. Additionally, make sure all the appropriate paperwork and forms are filed, and that the individual or business capacity under which freelance services are being offered duly recognised and noted officially. And finally, although most aspects of being a sole trader, self-employed or running a business are relatively straightforward, when issues do arise it is always best to consult a fully qualified professional.

Some examples ^

The following are just some examples to get the ball rolling, naturally the actual rate charged is going to depend on what needs to be done and the freelance artists skill level, competence, quality, speed; are the models/assets to include normal maps, if so does that mean having to model any additional high polygon meshes from which to 'bake' textures and so on. Is content to be made for mobile media, iPhone's or tablet devices; low polygon, small texture size, diffuse only asset sets?

Note: figures are calculated as follows; the average 'artists' salary is taken as being $48,000 per year, in which time they may work on a single game producing varying amounts of content - a character artist might create twenty-four characters; a level designer six levels; an environment artist 250 props, and so on. The break down is then averaged dividing $48,000 by 24 = $2000 per character; by 6 = $8000 per level; by 250 = $192 per prop.

However, an important caveat and consideration is that the above does not take into account the fact that specific asset types typically have several people working on them at the same time; the production of a character for instance, might involve the addition of a texture artist, a rigger, an animator, and audio personnel. That's a combined salary for all of $240,000, or a cost of $10,000 per character, $40,000 per level, $960 per prop (and again are notwithstanding costs to employer for employing the employee, which in turn likely raises the actual costs associated with the production of a given assets).

Figures shown below then are very rough estimates based on the above and can, and should, be adjusted as appropriate and commensurate the individual freelance artists skill, experience etc., the number of tasks deployed (mesh, texture, audio?), and/or if other equally skilled individuals are to work on a particular project.

  • A barrel, box or crate, $50+.
  • An empty simple warehouse structure, $500+.
  • Series of map objects, pillars, arches, doorways, $750+.
  • Small empty 'industrial' level, no map objects, $2,500+.
  • Larger empty 'industrial' level, no map objects, $5,000+.
  • A 'city' scape level, no map objects, $5,000+.
  • Large level including terrain and buildings, no map objects, $10,000+.
  • Character less than 1000 triangles, rigged, no animation, $800+.
  • Character less than 2500 triangles, rigged, no animation, $1,500+.
  • Character less than 5000 triangles, rigged no animation, $2,500+.
  • Character less than 5000 triangles, rigged with animations, $5,000+.
  • Content for small virtual world, $2,500+.
  • Content for a large virtual world, $5,000+.

Last updated Jun 2021.


[2] 260 days is derived from the working week being five days multiplied by weeks in a year (assuming no holidays, the artist not being whip-lashed to work on weekends, or super-glued to their seat on Friday night for crunch).

[3] Further figures from the same survey show an artist with more than three but less than six years experience (mid range '3-6' experience bracket) earns around $32 per hour ($67,000 / 260 = $258 day, / 8 = $32 hr); six years or above (upper range '6+' experience bracket) and that works out as $43 per hour ($90,000 / 260 = $346, / 8 = $43). Figures are round up/down to whole numbers for expedience rather than accuracy.

The figures for 2007, when this article was originally written, were as follows based on the Game Career Guide survey for that year (figures are approximate);
$42,672 averaged salary.
$164 per day.
$20 per hour.
$30 per hour for more than 3+ but 6- years.
$35 per hour for 6+ years.

[4] the total might be adjusted based on the difference between each salary level; a $9 increase from low to mid ($3 per experience year between the '0-3' & '3-6' experience brackets), or $11 increase mid to high ($4 per experience year between '3-6' & '6+' experience brackets). So for each year of experience lacking the freelancer might deduct $3 or $4 per hour depending upon which side the the category bracket divide they fall (above or below '0-3', '3-6' or '6+') - only having one year experience might mean deducting $6 from the hourly rate, reducing it to $17, $136 per day, $680 per working week.

Using figures for 2007, again when this article was originally published, an item that took one working week to complete would cost approx. $800 to produce (at c.$20/hr, c.$160/day).

Does it change the work’s meaning, though, that it runs on Foundation, and so remains linked to the wasteful and carbon-intensive PoW? Additionally, the listing for the work states that the “price of this work equals the cost of environmental damage occurring every second”—but how is that meaning changed by resales of the NFT? The current asking price would suggest a collector is attempting to flip Scarce Resources, odd since its price is supposed to be tied to its meaning. Such subtleties are important for future artist to consider.

How Artists Are Seizing the NFT Moment to Transform the Debate About Tech and the Environment

There is plenty to criticize in the world of NFTs—but artists are pushing forward important conversations.

People pose with a work of art by Irish artist John Gerrard entitled Western Flag at Somerset House in central London on April 21, 2017. Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images.People pose with a work of art by Irish artist John Gerrard entitled Western Flag at Somerset House in central London on April 21, 2017. Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images.

Blockchain has been around for over a decade, actively disrupting the finance market. But it was only with its arrival in the art world that the conversation around its climate impact went truly mainstream. At any time, the finance industry could have suggested or demanded design changes. It didn’t. Artists did.

In December 2020, as the hype over digital art assets started to spread far and wide with million-dollar sales on Nifty Gateway and other platforms, the artist and computer scientist Memo Akten shared some research he had done on the energy consumption of minting NFTs. The website allowed people to check the energy of various art works—and the results were truly eye-opening.

If you look at the content of many recent NFTs, you can find ample evidence of ecological concern and consideration of technology’s impact among artists, from Penelope Umbrico’s Sunburn (screensaver) (sold on PostmastersBC) to Sara Ludy’s conceptual work, Plants are everywhere you can’t see them (sold on Feral File). Yet very few artistic gestures can hope to have the kind of real-world impact as Atken’s calculator: The site went viral, was mentioned in numerous news reports, and dramatically raised awareness about the ecological cost of NFTs, and by extension, of cryptocurrency.

Sarah Ludy, <em>Plants are everywhere you can’t see them</em> (2021).

Sarah Ludy, Plants are everywhere you can’t see them (2021).

At its core, the environmental impact is due to the currencies behind NFTs rather than digital artworks themselves: Bitcoin and Ether work on a principle called Proof of Work (PoW) in which computers solve complex puzzles to verify a transaction for which that computer or ‘miner’ is then rewarded with some amount of the cryptocurrency. Initially people could mine on a simple gaming computer, but the technology is designed to increase the difficulty of the puzzles as more people, or rather more computers, join the peer-to-peer network. This energy increase is an intentional part of the security in the system.

The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF) provides information on the energy consumption of Bitcoin every 24 hours with a variety of comparisons to try to understand what the numbers mean. How researchers arrive at these estimates is a space of much debate, and getting lost in the weeds can be a distraction from efforts to make change. The point is that energy demands are high, and that we live in an era when we need to reduce our carbon footprint across every area of our lives and insist that new technologies have that as a basic principle.

An alternative exists called Proof of Stake (PoS) and some altcoins have been using it for a while. PoS uses a pseudo-random process to assign a miner—now called a “forger” in this PoS landscape—the right to validate a block. The forger has to commit a stake in the chain. Tezos, a PoS cryptocurrency, has been around since 2018, but interest has risen recently, largely because of artists and art-and-tech designers committing to it for their projects. (Ethereum has been claiming it will shift to PoS for some time, and the increased demand for a better system has led to announcements to expect a shift this fall.)

Digital artists in particular have a chance to iterate in their explorations of climate and energy issues, to risk and fail and try again, as they attempt to both visualize and enact a better set of environmental politics. Recognizing that blockchain is a technology that won’t disappear, but remains an enterprise fraught with energy expenditures and lifestyle expectations, many artists concerned with its impact are seeking out better practices rather than abandoning the NFT space.

There is already a longer history of such artistic considerations to draw on, critique, and incorporate into the conversation. Back in 2017, Julian Oliver produced a media work and fully functional prototype for harnessing wind-energy to mine cryptocurrency, bringing the costs for miners down considerably. The proceeds from Harvest helped fund climate-change research, shifting the increasingly privatized power grid to a decentralized model. Commissioned by Konstmuseet i Skövde, the project showcases a more economically and energy considerate approach to blockchain.

Still of Sven Eberwein’s animation <em>Scarce Resources #01 — One Second of Petroleum</em> (2021).

Still of Sven Eberwein’s animation Scarce Resources #01 — One Second of Petroleum (2021).

More recently, Sven Eberwein’s Scarce Resources #01 — One Second of Petroleum (2021) on Foundation, aims to reverse one second of global petroleum emissions. The NFT ties the money of its sale to the purchase of an appropriate amount of carbon offsets: 1,124 barrels of oil are burned every second, with 0.43 tons of carbon emissions emitted to the atmosphere per barrel, producing 484 tons of CO2. There is something awe-inspiring about how Eberwein’s gesture shows the scale of a problem, while also using an NFT to make concrete the investment that might be needed to make a difference.

Does it change the work’s meaning, though, that it runs on Foundation, and so remains linked to the wasteful and carbon-intensive PoW? Additionally, the listing for the work states that the “price of this work equals the cost of environmental damage occurring every second”—but how is that meaning changed by resales of the NFT? The current asking price would suggest a collector is attempting to flip Scarce Resources, odd since its price is supposed to be tied to its meaning. Such subtleties are important for future artist to consider.

Still from John Gerrard, <em>Crystalline Work (Arctic)_15669184</em> (2021).

Still from John Gerrard, Crystalline Work (Arctic)_15669184 (2021).

John Gerrard is probably most famous for his artwork Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas), a video featuring an animation of a flag made of black smoke, a comment on fossil fuels. His latest NFT work, Crystalline Work (Arctic), is a series of animation works each showing a robotic arm that selects and arranges virtual crystals, manipulating the mathematical structures of ice formation to create unique lattices (it’s inspired by one of the more bizarre proposals to save the planet: covering portions of the arctic in small silicon dioxide microspheres to reflect light—as if those glass particles would pose no impact to other species of the region). Each layout is cleared away and another begun, on the hour, running on Arctic time.

Sold on Binance NFT, which uses PoS, 50 percent of the proceeds support, a carbon sequestration farming group in Ireland, a nation committed to becoming truly green, both sustainable and organic. Gerrard’s project encourages us to move away from carbon offsets that many consumers and artists adopt, and towards more direct investments in green projects. The popularity of offsets belies their ineffective and even misleading approach to reducing our carbon impact.

(Rather than cultivating carbon offsetting by planting trees, the International Monetary Fund recently recommended saving the whales as a no-tech carbon sequestration practice. More whales would absorb more carbon when they eat phytoplankton, which contribute at least 50 percent of the oxygen to our atmosphere by capturing about 37 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, so that “each great whale sequesters 33 tons of CO2 on average…. A tree, meanwhile, absorbs only up to 48 pounds of CO2 a year.” We certainly live in interesting times when the IMF considers saving the whales an innovative solution to our planetary crisis.)

Greenwashing is a real problem. We must be wary of platforms refusing to change their overall policies by pointing to the success of various artists’ individual eco-projects on their sites. When large organizations don’t change but insist on artists or collectors making the effort first, they skirt responsibility.

Nancy Baker Cahill, Judicial [still] (2021).

Nancy Baker Cahill, Judicial [still] (2021).

I can’t fathom why any artist, collector, or gallery would refuse to adopt a less energy demanding currency amid constant news stories of the ecological and financial impact of global warming. (Alongside adopting more environmentally friendly web hosting services.)

The claim that many collectors are Ethereum- and Bitcoin-rich so platforms and people are obligated to produce for them, if they hope to succeed, seems flimsy. Those who are rich in these flagship currencies can certainly afford to stake into a new one (after all, if you are buying an NFT you are already trading some of the digital currency). Diversifying is in the spirit of the distributed ledger.

Artists today are using blockchain for myriad noble reasons—including the ability to automate funds to environmental, mental health, or social justice non-profits. But as science and technology present new developments, these projects won’t be perfect and can be refined. Artists are some of our greatest risk-takers and recent history shows that those working with technology are positioned to reveal the issues therein, even as the errors and shortcomings of their efforts need to be addressed. The important thing is that our critiques should aim to improve and encourage greater creativity in seeking more sustainable practices.

In March 2021, even as the giant prices for NFTs made them a part of the mainstream media conversation, Memo Akten took down because information about the carbon cost of NFTs was used maliciously, in classic instances of cyber-bullying. But he’s pressed on, aiming to establish a more productive type of conversation. In April of this year, he and others started providing resources on blockchain platforms in the Guide to EcoFriendly CryptoArt and a handy Google spreadsheet.

It took one carpet tile company thirty years to develop a carbon negative product. Every advance revealed additional improvements to adopt. For those of us looking to change our ways now, it must be a continuous effort of self-criticism, not one bound to the anxiety of our own inadequacy.


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