A new art project made possible through blockchain and Web3 tools is giving gas-free access to online artists who want to craft their very own masterpieces.
Using a combination of Ethereum tools, Nifty.ink lets artists get their toes wet in crypto by creating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) without having to pay the up-front costs of putting their creations on-chain.
Non-fungible tokens are created using Ethereum’s ERC-721 standard. NFTs are unique pieces of art or otherwise-distinct creations like attendance badges that cannot be duplicated on the blockchain. Like priceless works of art, NFTs have value because of their scarcity, in comparison to mass-produced commodity consumer goods or software.
That rarity is why CryptoKitties, the original NFT, have sold for as much as $170,000. As of this July, NFT sales had reached $100 million in just three years. In other words, starving artists may look to this emerging market, especially if they don’t have to worry about fees, at least at the start.
Nifty.ink, the work of software engineer Austin Griffith, is a simple web application that allows users to draw in their browser without any knowledge of blockchain wallets or gas fees.
Images are submitted to a gallery and can be minted into authentic Ethereum blockchain non-fungible token pieces through a normal smart contract transaction and a small fee to the artist. Creators can limit the number of NFTs that can be generated on the Ethereum chain to ensure the continued scarcity of the work.
Under the hood, Nifty.ink generates a ‘burner wallet’ for every new visitor that allows them to start interacting with the NFT ecosystem on Ethereum if they choose, with all the gas fees that go along with it.
Each brush stroke is recorded and stored via the IPFS distributed storage protocol, and creations are signed by the user from their generated wallet.
Fans who decide to mint a copy of an NFT to Ethereum pay the artist via the xDAI chain, allowing all operations within the app to function without competing on the congested Ethereum blockchain.
At this early stage, the drawing app for Nifty.ink is not especially comprehensive, and most of the art pieces so far are more like fun doodles. Still, by converging a network of blockchain tools, Nifty.ink has abstracted away most of the challenges of using Web3 applications for novice users.
Instead of worrying about whether minting an NFT will be worth the cost in gas, Nifty.ink let’s them focus on pursuing their creativity, even with basic tools. It’s a design approach that could be marketable as blockchain projects compete to go mainstream.