Photo by Scottsdale Mint on Unsplash

For Licensed NFTs, Mints aren’t what you think they are.

By NonFungibleTalking | NFT Theory | 5 Mar 2024


This article like all others on this blog is a work of opinion. Hopefully well thought out opinion but opinion nevertheless

In virtually every Licensed NFT platform I have researched, the edition/mint number shown on the platform isn’t the number connected to the order in which the asset was created.

I use the term edition/mint as most platforms use the term edition in most cases and let slip the word mint in different verbal contexts. They are wrong and should be corrected. Edition number is correct. Mint number is not.

A mint number is the number assigned to designate the order of the minting process. This is (in 99% of cases) not what is being represented on the site of any major licensed NFT platform. They, in most cases call the number an edition or in some cases a mint number.

Many platforms use edition as a differentiator to avoid having to engage with the original meaning of mint numbers in the sale of many of the same collectible.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash Some possible reasons why editions and not true mint numbers are used:

It is easier to maintain

It is just metadata, metadata is simply data that is applied whenever minting is done. Projects don’t see the importance of the concept of a reliable mint number that relates to it’s definition.

Minting effort

Minting in order and having this represented in the metadata would take greater effort. In my opinion future collectors may look back favourably were this to occur.

Randomisation claim

If randomisation of allocation is preferred by the project to entice users gambling triggers, pre-minting of collectibles would also be needed. Projects don’t want to perform this because of the effort or another reason.

Genuine technical limitations exist

While this seems unlikely, genuine limitations may exist, such as the random batching of transactions. If this were the case then they could slow a minting process to ensure accuracy.

Methodical pre-minting required

Pre-minting would possibly need to be performed more slowly (such as different blocks) to show orders more clearly. With some minting there could potential argument of multiple firsts if applied in the same block.

Editions scratch the itch of collectors

Why bother adding additional technical effort when collectors will settle for a made up edition number.

We are moving chains again or allowing people to cross mint so why go to the effort?

This is probably the only valid reason in my opinion to not to at least attempt to provide accurate edition/mint numbers.

Team limitations or understanding

If technical staff understand the issue and cannot convince certain members of the team that mint numbers are different from editions and could be important they can’t implement a solution. Why I think this may be a possibility is when leadership of some projects state they will be burning unsold NFTs when they were never minted in the first place. They clearly have a limitation in their understanding of blockchain.

Photo by Katie Montgomery on Unsplash Why mints may matter:

In the future with all the flurry around being first on the blockchain collectors may actually care about the real first and not some number that is shown in the metadata. We may look back on this time as an abberation, where projects didn’t use blockchain to its full extent. Certain collectors collect mint order regardless of what a platform may push as their collecting narrative. The issue is when blockchain jumping is allowed or is done for collectors. This will disrupt the pure mint collectors. Their data can be for all intents and purposes lost in the passage of time. Probably still existing but not particularly discoverable.

Why editions do matter:

Projects make them matter.

They provide more points for having lower edition number. They do this primarily as markets generally also provide higher value for these numbers. They talk about them constantly. They document what they are, some times completely incorrectly.

It is shown on screen

For 95% of users, edition is the only number that matters, and for many users the edition doesn’t matter anyway. Collectors just want a differentiator for mass produced collectibles and if they are presented with any number to do that, it scratches that itch for status and exclusivity.

For collectors that do care about the number I would contend that a majority don’t really understand how that number is derived.

Why do you even care?

I care because many users are not well informed as to the facts. If you were to ask the average user what the number of the NFT they own means or represents I would think they would most likely tell you that it means the order in which the asset was created. The distinction needs to be fully understood by all collectors. Unlike with physical assets, the ability to manage these and have them be the same exists, yet not one project has chosen to do so. This is a gap, and in the future, I feel that collectors may look back on this time as an aberration where blockchain was capable of delivering a consistent and meaningful number and projects chose not to bother.

In the fullness of time with user chosen re-minting and a complete apathy for the minting order of NFTs in large duplicated collections, this discussion will fall on deaf ears.

In the end, if we allow most collectors to re-mint their NFTs cross chain at their discretion, anyone collecting based on mint order alone will be rekt.

Originally published on Medium.

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