When someone bought “Everydays: the First 5000 Days,” a work by artist Beeple, they got nothing in return for $69.3 million.
Well, nothing physical.
What they got instead was an NFT of what basically amounts to a collage of 5,000 of Beeple’s pieces of work. Wildly growing in popularity, NFTs have quickly changed the fundamentals of what we would call a free marketplace.
So what are NFTs exactly, and how can you go about buying one? Can you use your credit card to build out your NFT collection? We answer it all, but first, here’s a bit of NFT 101.
What is an NFT?
NFT stands for non-fungible tokens that are a form of crypto asset. In contrast to assets that are fungible, such as paper currency or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, each is unique and variable as far as worth.
An NFT is best described as a digital asset and the NFT itself certifies that you own a particular virtual item, such as artwork, music recordings, or sports collectibles. You don’t have a physical version of an item to hang on the wall or add to a collection.
Your NFT, however, says that you have the real and original version of an item.
You can link the rise of NFTs to the rise of cryptocurrencies over the past few years. NFTs are stored on what’s called an open blockchain, a ledger of sorts of digital transactions widely used by different cryptocurrencies.
In particular, the cryptocurrency Ethereum has a blockchain that hosts most NFTs.
You don’t have to use cryptocurrency to purchase an NFT, though. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways anyone can use to buy NFTs.
Credit Cards and NFTs
So far, using cryptocurrency is the go-to option when buying NFTs, but that is evolving. There are different online marketplaces either opening or in development where you can use a credit card directly to purchase an NFT.
For example, on the site Mintable, you can not only create an NFT without a cryptocurrency (aka “gaslessly”) but use a credit card to buy an NFT without cryptocurrency.
On sites such as Mintable, you can browse through available NFTs, click the “buy with credit card” button, and be taken directly to a checkout page showing the total cost — similar to the process at any online retailer.
For these sites, you’ll need a virtual wallet to continue; that’s where the NFT will be sent to. These can be any wallet that is compatible with NFTs, including a Coinbase wallet or Trust wallet. Once you’ve created a wallet, you will input your wallet’s address at checkout.
For a deeper dive into wallets, you will find this article helpful: Top 9 Crypto Wallets to Buy and Collect NFT Art.
A third party will process your card. MetaMask (I use Metamask the most) is also another popular place to create your own digital wallet for NFT purchases and store purchases.
There is one requirement you may not be used to called KYC. KYC (“know your customer”) is an identity verification approach required for buying NFTs since they fall into the crypto family.
This process takes just a few minutes.
Once approved, your transaction is submitted right away to the blockchain. In as little as 5 minutes, the NFT will be yours and sent to a selected wallet.
More marketplaces are offering the option to use credit cards to buy NFTs. For example, Rarible now accepts both Mastercard and Visa.
Other Types of NFT Marketplaces
Most NFTs available now are in the form of tokens based on Ethereum, a form of cryptocurrency. They are often purchased on similar marketplaces as Mintable but accept only Eth tokens as forms of payment.
Eth currency is converted to United States dollars on different exchanges, such as the aforementioned Coinbase, as well as Gemini and Kraken.
If you want to set up an account on a cryptocurrency exchange — recommended if you want to purchase NFTs — you can use a card to buy Ethereum and then send the crypto amount to the wallet of your choice, such as MetaMask.
Different NFT marketplaces may specialize in types of NFTs, such as art or videos. OpenSea is a popular marketplace for NFTs that both operates through Ethereum and accepts cryptocurrency wallets. Other marketplaces to buy NFTs include SuperRare, NBA Top Shot, and Nifty Gateway.
Prepare for Gas Fees
You’ll likely buy NFTs through a system similar to an auction; you’ll put in bids for specific NFTs. Other marketplaces, including OpenSea, let you purchase the NFT for a set price. One caveat: There is usually a “gas fee” associated with buying NFTs.
Gas is a measurement of the computational effort that was needed to complete certain operations within Ethereum. When you are checking out when buying an NFT, you’ll have to confirm a gas fee in order to complete the transaction.
Also, you can expect hefty gas fees went minting NFT art or items. This popular post will get you caught up on what to expect: How Much Does It Cost to Mint an NFT?
And recently, the NFT platform Rarible has created a technique called Lazy Minting which defers the fees to the buyer and essentially makes the mining process free to the NFT creator…check it out: How To Mint an NFT for Free | Rarible Style
Use Your Own Browser
Conveniently, you can usually link a crypto wallet to your internet browser of choice to make the NFT buying process as seamless as possible. Once you download a wallet on the MetaMask website, you can click to install it directly on your Chrome extension through the “add to Chrome” button.
This adds the extension — a fox head icon will appear on your browser’s top right corner. You can also choose between setting up a new wallet with your extension or importing an existing one.
NFTs sound complicated at first, but it becomes relatively easy to comprehend as soon as you dive in. Because everything is digital and you are able to use a credit card to purchase NFTs, I think you will find collecting to be fun and easy to do.
If you are still hesitant to get started, these articles should help you get acclimated to the world of NFTs. Check out:
- 7 Things That Make NFT Art Valuable and Collectible
- How to Collect and Buy NFT Memes | 6 Easy Steps
- Top 5 Reasons to Buy NFT Art | A Collector’s Perspective