How to Buy an NFT — For Beginners
A step-by-step guide to buying your first NFT using a MetaMask wallet on Ethereum blockchain
You are probably here because you are interested in buying your first NFT. If that’s not the case, read this article to understand what an NFT is and why it is worthwhile to learn about them.
There are numerous ways to buy an NFT, depending on the project you are interested in. So, before we start, you will need to know which blockchain was your NFT created on. There is a range of blockchains that are becoming increasingly popular, including:
- Binance Smart Chain
- Flow by Dapper Labs
- and many more
But let’s not get lost in all these names. Ethereum is currently the leading blockchain service for NFT issuance. Some of the most popular and innovative NFT projects such as VeeFriends, Cryptopunks, BAYC and Beeple are on the Ethereum blockchain.
So, let me cut through the chase and share a step-by-step process for you to buy your first NFT on an Ethereum blockchain. It may seem tedious at first, but this is a one-time set-up that will allow you to easily buy and sell NFTs in a matter of a few minutes.
Step 1 — Set up Your Crypto Wallet
Cryptocurrency wallets are similar to bank accounts in the traditional banking system. They are used to communicate with blockchain networks to safely access, send and receive crypto funds (i.e. Bitcoin, Ether etc.) or assets (such as NFTs). There are two types of crypto wallets — custodial and non-custodial.
Custodial wallets are online marketplaces where you can buy, sell and store a variety of cryptocurrencies. Many people make their first crypto purchases on these centralized exchanges, such as Coinbase or Binance, where you can easily trade coins. I started my crypto journey in 2017 when I was in Australia, so I use BTC Markets.
Using custodial wallets is as simple as signing up for a Google Pay account with your email address, verifying your identity with a photo ID, choosing a strong password and linking your credit card or bank account to start buying. However, for now, if you want to be able to purchase NFTs, you’ll need to have what is called a non-custodial wallet.
Non-custodial wallets give full control over your crypto assets rather than a third party such as Coinbase. You can easily transfer your coins from a custodial wallet to a non-custodial wallet. So, if you have a Coinbase account and you have purchased Ether, you can transfer it to your non-custodial wallet.
Setting up a MetaMask Wallet
You will need to download a Chrome Extension for MetaMask. Google MetaMask or use this link to download and install it.
- Click on Install MetaMask for Chrome to start the installation.
Install MetaMask Chrome Extension
2. Add MetaMask to your Chrome extensions
Add MetaMask to your Chrome extensions
3. Click on Get Started
Click on Get Started
4. Click on Create a Wallet
Create a new wallet
5. Follow the prompts and Create Password
6. Reveal Secret Backup Phrase
This step is by far the most sensitive part of setting up your wallet. A secret backup phrase is a 12-word unique phrase, that helps restore access to your wallet if you ever forget your password or use a different computer.
No one should ever ask for your secret backup phase, so make sure you do not share it with anyone.
Write it in multiple places that only you can access and make sure you do not lose your secret phrase. If lost, you will not be able to access your wallet in case your computer is lost, stolen, or if data gets corrupted.
Reveal Secret Backup Phrase
7. All Done
Finally, you will receive this message which means your wallet has been successfully created.
Step 2 — Buy or Transfer Ether (ETH)
Once you have set up your MetaMask wallet, you will need Ether (ETH) to pay for your first NFT. You can either buy ETH on Metamask or transfer it from another existing wallet.
Buying ETH on MetaMask
You can buy ETH on MetaMask using your credit or debit card.
- Click on Buy and follow the prompts.
Click on Buy
2. Click on Continue to Wyre
Click on Continue Wyre
3. Convert USD or any other currency into ETH
Follow the next page to enter your credit/ debit card details and ETH will get credited to your wallet.
Convert your USD or any currency to ETH (Ether)
Note that you will need to pay the network and transaction fee for the conversion. It is a percentage of the total USD that you wish to convert. I feel it is a bit higher in Wyre, and for that reason, I prefer transferring it from my custodial wallet in BTC Markets.
Transferring ETH From Another Wallet
You can transfer ETH from another wallet by going to the “Withdraw” page of your respective exchange and entering your wallet address. Here is a screenshot of the “withdraw” page on my BTC Markets account.
Withdraw ETH from your custodial wallet
A wallet address is a unique digital address, made up of letters and numbers, that you can use for sending and receiving digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ether. It is similar to an account number in the traditional banking system. Wallet addresses are public and are safe to share with others.
You can find your MetaMask wallet address on the top as shown below.
MetaMask wallet address
Step 3 — Set up Your Opensea Account
After setting up your MetaMask wallet and adding ETH, the next step is to set up your account on an NFT marketplace such as OpenSea.
NFT marketplaces are platforms where NFTs can be stored, displayed and traded. These marketplaces are to NFTs what Amazon or eBay are to products.
Head to the OpenSea website and create your account by clicking on My Profile → Sign in and follow the instructions.
Follow the prompts to set up your account. It is straightforward and will take a couple of minutes.
You will need to connect your MetaMask Wallet to OpenSea so you can view the NFTs that are available in your wallet after purchase.
Click on Get MetaMask and follow the prompts to connect your wallet.
Step 4 — Buying Your First NFT
Here comes the fun part of buying your first NFT. There are two ways of buying an NFT.
1. Minting an NFT
Minting is the process of creating an NFT on the blockchain. Most new projects allow buyers to mint or create an NFT on their website. When you mint an NFT, you become the first owner of that particular digital asset (NFT), and the information is stored on the blockchain.
Consider it similar to the process of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the stock market. An NFT company or project releases their NFTs for the first time for the general public.
During the minting process, you do not get to choose your digital art. It is assigned to you randomly, and every piece of art has the same price. Naturally, the cost is much lower than buying it on the marketplace such as OpenSea. We’ll get to it in the next section.
You can mint an NFT by going to the website of a newly launched NFT project. Let us take an example of the RUUMZ NFT project, which is still available for minting at the time of writing.
- Go to the website of the NFT project and connect your wallet
Make sure you only go to the official website. The links are usually available either on their Twitter handle or Discord channel.
Connect your Wallet
2. Select the number of NFTs from the drop-down and click on mint
The price of each NFT is usually specified, along with the maximum number of NFTs you can mint per transaction. In the below screenshot, the cost of 1 NFT is 0.06 ETH (plus gas). A gas fee is a transaction fee per NFT purchase. The gas fee varies based on traffic on the Ethereum network and the ongoing rate is available on the gas tracker.
Select number of NFTs and click on mint
3. Review Gas Fee
Before you start minting, the MetaMask extension will pop up and show gas fees. As you can see in the below screenshot, the gas fee is almost 6x of the NFT price which is unusual and happens when you either have insufficient funds in your wallet or there is heavy traffic on the Ethereum Blockchain.
Either way, it’s always better to monitor the ongoing price in the gas tracker and resume minting when the prices are lower. Typically, gas fees should be in the range of 15–40 Gwei.
Review Gas Fee — This exorbitant gas fee is not normal
After reviewing the gas fee, click on Confirm, and your NFT will be minted. The minting process can sometimes take a few minutes to process, depending on the blockchain traffic. ETH will be deducted from your wallet only after the transaction is successful.
In rare instances, the transaction fails when the collection gets “sold out”, and a gas fee may get deducted from your wallet. In such cases, contact the NFT project team for assistance. They are usually available on their Discord channel.
4. View your collection on OpenSea
After minting your NFT, you will be able to view your NFT collections in OpenSea by clicking on My Profile.
Click on My Profile to view your NFTs
NFTs on OpenSea
2. Buying NFTs on OpenSea
The second method of buying NFTs is directly purchasing them from the secondary market.
1. Go to OpenSea and search for the NFT you wish to purchase
Let’s say you want to buy an NFT of The Doge Pound project. Type its name in the search bar. Usually, popular NFT projects are “Verified” with a blue checkmark. So, make sure you look for that to avoid fake collections (see screenshot below).
Search for The Doge Pound
2. Click on your desired NFT
Click on the one you are interested in, out of all the available NFTs.
3. Click on Buy Now
On the subsequent page, click on “Buy Now” to purchase your NFT
Click on Buy now
4. Review Total and click on Checkout
Review Total and Checkout
Follow the prompts to finish purchasing your NFT. Similar to the minting process, you will have to review the gas fee and confirm the transaction in your MetaMask wallet to complete your purchase.
There you go! You have just purchased your first NFT. Congratulations!