How to Buy Your First NFT

Written by Katherine Champagne, Marketing

Posted in: nft,

Jan 6, 2022

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It feels like NFTs are everywhere. Big brands are creating them, that one friend of a friend might have gotten rich off of them, and the cool concert you heard about requires ownership of a picture of a monkey to get in? 

The breathless news articles and FOMO-inducing tweets tell you a whole lot of nothing if you’re interested in simply exploring NFTs for the first time. If you’re curious—keep reading! We’ll explain all of the practical and tactical steps you need to take to get an NFT, from your first crypto purchase to where you can get a NFT on the Ethereum blockchain. This guide is just a starting point, and is not comprehensive of all of the NFT purchasing experiences or options you may encounter. 

If you have any questions, feel free to hop in our Discord and ask. We’re happy to help. 

What is an NFT?

NFT is an acronym for the phrase non-fungible token. You can think of an NFT as a one-of-a-kind digital asset whose ownership is tracked on a blockchain

Non-Fungible: one of a kind, unique. A bitcoin is a fungible token. You can trade one bitcoin for another bitcoin and they both have equivalent value. A Cryptopunk is non-fungible because each punk is unique, and has its own value. 1 punk is not equal to another punk. 

There’s no one person responsible for verifying your ownership of the asset. Instead, lots of people collectively prove that you own a thing. 

What can you own as an NFT? 

You can own all kinds of things as NFTs—we’re only beginning to fully realize the technology’s potential. Visual art, music, collectibles, your character in a video game, and more. 

You can buy NFTs on many different types of blockchains, including Ethereum, Solana, Bitcoin, and Polygon. Today, we’re going to be talking about Ethereum NFTs—they are one of the most popular and premium types of NFTs at the time of writing. 

Get some crypto

You’ll need money to buy an NFT — but you can’t just use your credit card for most NFT purchases. You’ll need cryptocurrency native to the blockchain you’re purchasing your NFT on. You’ll need ETH to purchase an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain.

The easiest way to get cryptocurrency is on an exchange: a place where you can exchange your government issued dollars for cryptocurrency. 

Gemini and Coinbase are beginner friendly cryptocurrency exchanges where you can buy Ethereum. Both of these services require you to verify your identity, and this process may take a few days.

Get an Ethereum wallet

Coinbase and Gemini give you a limited use utility wallet that you can’t use for all things — an exchange-based wallet can only do certain specific things. These wallets also are managed for you by Coinbase and Gemini—they are in the custody of those companies—and as such, are called custodial wallets.

To purchase an NFT you’ll need to manage your own wallet, instead of letting the exchange do it for you. You alone are responsible for the contents of your wallet and what happens to your money, NFTs, and tokens inside of it. If something goes wrong, there is no recourse.

Ethereum wallets you can use to purchase an NFT

MetaMask

Rainbow

Coinbase Wallet 

Your wallet is more than just money. Within the Ethereum ecosystem, your wallet is your login and your identity, and it’s fully portable between apps. You can create a wallet with Metamask, and then switch to Rainbow later, if you’d like

We’ll show you in detail how to use MetaMask. It works well with the majority of NFT buying experiences you’ll encounter and it currently has the most robust support across the web3 ecosystem.

Fund your crypto wallet

You’ll need to send money from the exchange to your MetaMask wallet.

You can copy your MetaMask wallet address to the clipboard, or scan it with the QR code. There’s no best way to copy an address—do what’s most comfortable to you.

Be careful and pay attention during this step. If you send funds to the wrong address, you cannot recover them.

Fund your wallet with more money than the purchase price of your NFT to account for the fees associated with buying an Ethereum NFT. (If you’re asking, “what fees?” — don’t worry, we’ll get there soon). 

Connect your wallet

You’ll need to connect your wallet to the NFT marketplace or mint site you’re going to buy your NFT from. Make sure you fully trust the site or marketplace you’re connected to before you authorize access to your wallet. 

When using MetaMask on a desktop computer, the website will send a message to your MetaMask wallet browser extension and ask you to authorize the connection.

Click the button highlighted in green to open the “Connect Wallet” menu on OpenSea.

Make sure to close the connection with your wallet when you’re finished with your transaction.

To close a wallet connection on MetaMask on the desktop, follow the steps below:

  1. Click the three dots at the top of your account and open up the “Connected sites” menu. 

  2. Click the trashcan to disconnect your wallet. 

You’re ready to buy an ETH NFT

Once your wallet is connected, you can proceed with your transaction, whether that’s minting an NFT directly from an artist’s smart contract or buying one from an NFT marketplace

How do you know what NFT to buy? 

Some low-cost and pretty NFTs we like that are available for sale on OpenSea: 

What is OpenSea? 

Currently the largest NFT marketplace, OpenSea is a common place for many people to purchase their first NFT. OpenSea allows you to both purchase NFTs outright and place bids on them. Bidding involves a few more steps, so if you want to buy, filter to only show ‘Buy Now’ NFTs or be sure the NFT you select has the ‘Buy Now’ button.  

Tips for buying an NFT from OpenSea

This Cool Cat NFT has a blue check, verifying its authenticity

You have to pay gas fees when you buy an ETH NFT

The number one thing to keep in mind when purchasing an Ethereum NFT is that there are fees you’ll have to pay that aren’t encompassed in the purchase price. The fees that are charged when you use the Ethereum network are called gas.

The amount of gas you’ll pay is relative to how many other people are using the Ethereum network at the same time. The more people there are trying to buy Ethereum NFTs, the more expensive gas will be. You can keep an eye on gas prices for the ETH network by visiting Etherscan or using The Watcher on desktop.

When you go to purchase your NFT, MetaMask will show an estimate of how much the gas fees will cost. As you can see, for this transaction, I did not have enough ETH available to pay for fees, even though I had more than enough money for the cost of the NFT.

For most people minting their first NFT, gas fees are the most cumbersome, annoying, and inexplicable part of the process, especially when you’re used to operating in an essentially fee-free world. Sometimes gas fees can even exceed the purchase price of your NFT. It’s known this isn’t ideal and many people are working on solutions to make NFTs more affordable.

Bonus round! Show off your NFT

One of the best parts of owning an NFT is bragging about it.

Here are a few ways we love to show off NFTs:

nft
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