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On Minting Costs
Debunking a misconception about how much it would cost to take to mint all 10,000 Dastardly Ducks.
Two related misconceptions have cropped up after the breakthrough success of the Dastardly Ducks: that the minting costs on all of them would be extremely high, and that we would be paying them to be able to sell them to buyers. This has included claims that the NFTs must have cost $100-300 each to mint and thus over a million dollars to mint all 10,000.
On Etherscan, under “Analytics” and then “Txn Fees,” one can see the amount of gas (transaction fees) spent on a smart contract. The Dastardly Ducks contract continues to consume small amounts of gas from people authorizing their NFTs for listing on secondary markets like OpenSea. On the 19th — the day everything was minted — the contract consumed less than 12 ETH total, both for the initial minting and the initial wave of secondary sale listings. Even attributing the vast majority of this to minting, this works out to about $3 to mint each duck, not $300.
Though the CNBC article made reference to how we got gas consumption down incredibly low through utilization of a recent Azuki whitepaper, many still seem to think we minted all of these through OpenSea and sold them on there. On the contrary, the Dastardly Ducks website enabled people to send a signed message directly to the Ethereum blockchain from their wallet, which initiated the minting through our smart contract.
This is relevant from more than a simple cost perspective as well, as gas fees are proportionate to the amount of resources consumed by the blockchain to process a transaction. A transaction that uses less gas uses less electricity. The other factor in gas consumed is the amount of demand the overall network is under. By minting so efficiently, other transactions happening around the same time were cheaper.
Deploying a custom smart contract does, itself, cost gas, though fortunately, we had friends in the space willing to help out with those costs, which were around $1,000. This amount can also easily be seen on Etherscan by clicking on the transaction link under the creator label, where you can view the deployment transaction itself.
Much as the anti-NFT crowd decries blockchains as useless, the great thing about it is it disproves so many of their weird misperceptions in easy to display ways — one just might not know where to look as an outsider to this space. As covered in our previous article: it’s not OpenSea sales volume if you’re trying to determine the revenue a project has made.
We are both proud of how absurdly efficient the minting of the Dastardly Ducks was and thankful that our buyers were willing to foot that cost — though the ability to mint so many NFTs with such little gas was undoubtedly a critical aspect of our success. Since the only major expense of launching the project was the smart contract deployment, we were able to immediately start putting funds earned towards critical expenses like overdue payments on the farm.