How do you buy an NFT?

Quick-start guide to nabbing the digital collectible of your dreams

What are NFTs?

From CryptoPunks to pet rocks, the NFTs have been arguable the biggest crypto story of 2021. Even though NFT markets aren’t exactly Amazon when it comes to ease of use, buying your first digital collectible isn’t hard — it just requires a little guidance.

(Coinbase NFT, a peer-to-peer marketplace that will make minting, purchasing, showcasing, and discovering NFTs easier than ever, is coming soon. Sign up for the waitlist.) Here’s how buying an NFT works:

  • You’ll need an Ethereum-compatible crypto wallet and some ETH to get started. Buy some ETH from an exchange like Coinbase and send it to Coinbase Wallet (which is separate from the main Coinbase app; you can download it via Apple’s App Store or Google Play).

  • Follow the simple instructions to set up your wallet – which is a place you can keep crypto, a way to send or receive it, and your portal to the growing universe of crypto apps. (You can also download this Chrome extension to connect Coinbase Wallet to a web browser if you’d rather browse NFTs on a computer).

  • There are lots of NFT markets, from Rarible to Mintable. For this tutorial we’ll focus on OpenSea — which is the biggest of them all, and works a lot like a decentralized eBay. To connect your wallet to OpenSea, go to OpenSea.io, click on the icon in the top right, and select “My Profile” — you’ll be prompted (and given instructions) to connect your wallet. 

  • Get browsing! Prices range from essentially free to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more for a rare item. Some items are sold via auction, while others can be snagged immediately via a “buy now” button. 

  • Even if the NFT is free or cheap, you’ll still have to pay fees to make the transaction happen. Most of the digital collectibles on OpenSea use the Ethereum blockchain, and the network charges a “gas” fee for transactions like NFT sales. Gas prices rise and fall depending on how busy the network is. 

  • Choose an NFT you like and make sure you have extra ETH to cover fees. Once you buy it, you can access the NFT via your crypto wallet until you decide to sell it.

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