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Lazy Minting 101

May 23 2022

When we first launched HeyLayer, we let users mint before selling their NFT. It was fairly unique, especially for the Stacks blockchain. The way it worked is we would mint an NFT at the point of creation. We then made the NFT available on the HeyLayer marketplace. If someone purchased the NFT, we would transfer it to the new owner and pay the creator.

Our initial minting process proved helpful at times when the Stacks Blockchain was faced with congestion. Instead of worrying about congestion in real-time, we were able to pre-mint NFTs ahead of time when the blockchain wasn’t so swamped with transactions. Once minted, we can then make them available for sale at any time. If the network was congested at the time of purchase, we would simply wait and complete the transaction once the congestion of the network cooled down. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked, and we were satisfied.

Over the past few months, as we began to appreciate the complexities of managing a marketplace, it became pretty clear that artists want the ability to edit their listings. Since NFTs are immutable once minted, we couldn’t edit the title, description, or any other details in our old workflow. One of the solutions the team floated around was to move to a different minting process known as lazy minting.

‘Lazy minting’ means we wait to mint the NFT file until time of purchase. With lazy minting on, it’s much easier to edit information without having to contact support or burn and re-mint NFTs. The biggest benefit to lazy minting though is that it’s an energy saver. There is no reason to run blockchain transactions unless a transaction is warranted.

In the case of selling NFTs, this is also true. Instead of minting a collection of 10,000 NFTs, it is common to see collections provide a mint pool where NFTs are minted from the pool at the time of purchase. Lazy minting has become common practice for many NFT marketplaces.

Stacks is getting better at managing transaction throughput, and with the introduction of Hyperchains, this will be even more true. The need to mint ahead of time becomes less necessary. While there are still use cases where minting ahead of time is a requirement, that isn’t the case for our marketplace. We believe moving to lazy minting is the right move given our vision to be accessible and a one-stop solution for NFT creators and brands.

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