Q3 2022 witnessed an increased affinity for free mint NFTs over paid mint in the NFT community, further underlining the shift in mint structure for projects away from paid mints to increase the number of new entrants to the market.
Free NFT mints in Q3 2022 rose 29% to 10.4M from 8M recorded in Q2 2022, while their paid counterparts dropped 16% to 12.6M from 14.9M in Q2 2022. This stark divergence suggests that free mints will continue to rise as a share of total mints whereas paid mints may consolidate to those with founder reputation and sufficient resources to launch paid projects.
While paid mint NFTs appear to have peaked in Q2 2022, free mint NFTs seem to be on a gradual ascendant trend, with a quarter-on-quarter growth being recorded every quarter since Q1 2021.
One of the reasons for this increased shift towards free mint NFTs can be seen in the much faster minting duration of free mints in comparison to paid mints.
Free mints took a median time of just one hour to complete minting in Q3, 98% less time than the the 44 hours it took at the beginning of the year in Q1 2022, while paid mints took 22 hours to complete minting in Q3 2022, 88% less time than the 185.5 hours it took them to mint in Q1 2022. This means that free mints completed 22 times faster than their paid counterparts.
Regardless of this stark difference in mint durations, there are obvious positives, as NFT mints (whether free or paid) have become significantly faster over the last 12 months. Median NFT minting durations decreased to 2 hours in Q3 2022, down from 19 hours (89 percent) in Q2 2022 and, a combined 12.5x improvement from Q4 2021 when it took an average of 251 hours to mint.