Buying, Selling, and Even Creating NFTs
To buy a NFT, send ETH to a web3 wallet like MetaMask. Then, connect your wallet to the NFT’s website, or a marketplace like Nifty, OpenSea, or Rarible. Next, buy or bid on the NFT you want. You might win a bid, but a buy will go through right away.
To sell a NFT, put it up for auction at OpenSea or another marketplace (people can bid on your NFT, or you can define a price to sell at).
To create a NFT, create an OpenSea (or another marketplace) account, upload your work, choose your starting bid and adjust other parameters like commission, and create the listing (it is free on OpenSea, but you may need to pay ETH as gas here).
For the most part, it is as simple as that. You’ll need ETH for most actions, so go buy that before you do anything (unless you only plan to create NFTs). Then ETH goes into MetaMask. Lastly, ETH is used to buy NFTs, bid on NFTs, and/or pay gas fees. NFTs you own are stored in your MetaMask wallet and you can see it by going to EtherScan and putting in your ETH address.
All the rest of the steps like securing your wallet, creating an OpenSea account, bidding, put your NFT up for auction later, and even something like adjusting gas or confirming a transaction are just sort of details along the way.
Okay though, now that you have the gist down, let’s talk details.
WHAT IS A NFT? An NFT is a token (typically an Ethereum-based token) that is unique and non-divisible. Ether (ETH) is a tokenized currency on the Ethereum network, other tokens like this are called ERC-20s. NFTs are unique tokens on the Ethereum network that can be used as things like collectibles, these use standards like ERC-1155 and ERC-721. There are other token types as well. All ETH currency tokens are the same and have the same value and are divisible, they are “fungible.” All NFTs are unique, they are non-fungible, they are not divisible. NFT stands for Non Funigble Token. Simple as that. Because of the way NFTs work, they are useful for unique items like collectibles, art, and music, but you can use them for other things like insurance contracts. This is different than ETH, which works more like money than a collectible.
TIP: If you put off buying ETH until you are ready to buy an NFT, you will be waiting a while to buy the NFT. It takes a good 5 days minimum for Coinbase transactions to clear. So buy ETH and move it into MetaMask well before you are ready to buy your NFT.
MetaMask and Other Web3 Wallets
MetaMask is an Ethereum wallet and browser extension that lets you interact with “dApps,” AKA a Web3 wallet. This is just a fancy way of saying you can interact with websites that act as Etehreum platforms like EtherCards, OpenSea, NodeRunners, Rarible, Nifty, etc and transact with them if you have ETH. Uniswap is also a dApp for perspective.
Are there other web3 wallets? Sure yeah, Coinbase Wallet is one example (not to be confused with the ETH wallet in your Coinbase account), but let’s keep it simple and use MetaMask. Learn more about MetaMask.
NFT Presales and dApps
Often someone who wants to buy their first NFT will be buying on a specific NFT projects platform, potentially during a presale.
Here what you will do is wait for the presale to start, then go to the buy page (typically the front page) and then:
- Hit the ‘connect your wallet’ (or similarly named) button.
- Input the amount you want, or select what you want, and hit the buy button.
- Adjust your gas using the advanced selector in MetaMask if necessary (as presales tend to require very high gas to get in early).
TIP: Presales with bonding curves, where the price goes up the more that are sold, typically will require aggressive gas settings to lock in early prices.
TIP: In MetaMask you can adjust the max gas you will pay. Keep an eye on the current ETH gas price to get a sense of what fast gas is at the moment.
Using Rarible, OpenSea, and Other NFT Platforms
Here is the reality, if you have ETH on MetaMask and know that you simply go to OpenSea or Rariable and hit connect to start using the platform, there isn’t much I can tell you that the on-site instructions can’t. That said, I’ll give you the gist.
Let’s use OpenSea as an example.
OpenSea is an auctioning platform for NFTs and an NFT creation platform. You can bid on NFTs, you can buy NFTs, you can put an NFT up for auction so other people can bid on it, and you can sell NFTs. That means you can buy NFTs, make NFTs (image, audio, GIF, or 3D model.), or you can sell a NFT you own. If you want to make one, you can define parameters like the commission you get when your NFT is bought and sold and the price. You can also accept offers other people make on your NFT.
You’ll need to create a profile before you start buying or selling, so do that first by clicking the icon in the top right corner of the screen. Your profile will be attached to your ETH address.
From there you are either going to ‘create’ a NFT, find an NFT you like and hit ‘buy’, bid on an NFT and hope your offer is accepted, or put an NFT up for sale by selecting ‘add an existing contract’ under the ‘create’ screen.
IMPORTANT: If you want to make sure a NFT is legit, look for a blue check mark. CryptoKitties with a check market are real CryptoKitties for example. Also, some NFTs have warnings that should be heeded. For example, “Hashmask names can change at any time. Immediately before purchasing a Hashmask, enter the Hashmask’s token ID into the tokenNameByIndex function on a site like Etherscan to verify that the blockchain indicates that the Hashmask you’re purchasing has the name you expect.”
USING WETH: On some platforms, like OpenSea, you’ll use WETH to bid. That is wrapped ETH. This lets you bid on multiple NFTs at once. You can convert to WETH using OpenSea, or you can swap to WETH via an app like UniSwap. It is the same deal for a platform with a native token, you can typically swap on-platform or go to UniSwap or SushiSwap to get the token first.