The popularity of non-fungible tokens remains on a meteoric rise as more and more people are looking to join in on the action. While a growing number of platforms strive to make the processes of creating, selling, and buying NFTs as straightforward as possible, many newcomers to the digital token craze are still learning the nuances. One common question, for instance, is how long do NFTs take to transfer?
The overwhelming majority of NFTs today are minted, sold, and purchased through blockchain technology. As such, the amount of time for transfers to be completed is dependent on how quickly miners can validate these transactions. When congestion is high, transfers take longer, and vice-versa.
Most transactions relating to NFTs, such as transfers, must be validated through a blockchain platform before it is complete. As a result, NFT transfers are subject to network congestion which can affect the amount of time it takes for completion.
In most instances, transfers are quick and painless. But there are always exceptions, so read on to learn what to look out for on these popular NFT platforms.
Don’t Hold Your Breath! Transfers Take Time but How Much?
How quickly or slowly an NFT transfer takes place depends primarily on the verification system that is used by the particular platform on which the transaction is occurring.
Currently, the overwhelming majority of NFT-related transactions occur on networks using blockchain technology as their primary validation process.
Creators are constantly minting new NFTs, transfer traffic is massive, and the costs can be extremely high. Check out this link to learn how to reduce those costs or even how to mint for free.
As a general rule, the amount of time it takes for an NFT to transfer (or for any transaction to be completed for that matter) on blockchain-dependent networks like Ethereum will largely depend on the following:
- The size or complexity of the transfer in question
- The amount that the party responsible for paying gas fees is willing to spend to have the transfer made
In other words, if you are willing to pay higher gas fees during periods of network congestion, you can buy your way to the front of the line and expect your transfer to be completed faster. Still, if you want to pay the lowest amount of gas fees possible, then there is no incentive for miners to process your transaction, and your transfer will take longer to validate.
Not sure how to transfer NFTs between other people and wallets? is tutorial will show you:
NFTs and Ethereum
Because the majority of NFT-related transactions occur on the Ethereum platform, this system warrants a closer look and deeper understanding.
Blockchain technologies like that utilized by Ethereum rely on the collective efforts of miners who race to be the first to solve complex problems and reap the reward paid in the form of Ether, which is Ethereum’s cryptocurrency.
Solving the rigorous algorithm that allows the victorious miner to add a particular transaction to the blockchain requires unimaginable computing power and electricity. In fact, it turns out creating NFTs is a significant drain on the power source, as evidenced in this article: How Much Energy does it Take to Make an NFT?
With these built-in costs in mind, gas fees like those charged by Ethereum to process transactions on its network are how miners recoup their expenses and get rewarded for their efforts.
With its recent London upgrade, Ethereum modified how gas fees are calculated and assessed. This is how gas fees are now calculated under this current structure:
- Gas limits – users can now set the maximum gas fee they are willing to pay for a particular transaction, be it an NFT transfer or otherwise. This eliminates the element of surprise but it can also pose a problem if the amount is below the minimum gas fee threshold.
- Base fee – this is a dynamic fee that rises with increased network congestion and falls when traffic conditions are less busy. Thus, the overall gas fee for adding a transaction to the Ethereum blockchain fluctuates with network demand.
- Priority fee – this essentially works like a tip that goes directly into the miner’s pocket (or digital wallet as the case may be). Ethereum’s priority fee provides an incentive for miners to take on any transactions that have tips included in the gas fees. The greater the tip amount, the more attention that the transaction will attract, and the faster it gets completed as a result.
Ethereum’s gas fee structure is significant for many reasons, not the least of which is that it directly affects how quickly or slowly NFT transfers occurring on its network are completed.
When it comes to the amount of time it takes to transfer NFTs on the Ethereum platform, it boils down to simple economics: transactions with higher fees and tips for miners will get done faster. How fast?
- Selecting the fast option (whenever available) and paying the corresponding gas fee can result in an NFT transfer completed in a matter of a few minutes or less
- Going with the slow option in order to pay the bare minimum gas fee possible will result in a slower transfer time, typically around 15 minutes or so
With the increasing number of transactions on both NFT platforms and cryptocurrency blockchain networks, congestion is a growing problem, and it is directly impacting the speed with which transfers are occurring.
Plus, I was curious about the average costs of minting and decided to run the numbers and investigate the situation further. This is what I got:
Here is a closer look at five NFT platforms and how long it takes for transfers to take place on their networks:
- Ethereum – (discussed above)
- Flow – this is a proof-of-stake network (as opposed to proof-of-work like Ethereum and Bitcoin) specifically developed for NFT traffic and that purportedly has a throughput of 100 TPS (transactions per second)
- Tezos – another proof-of-stake blockchain with an estimated TPS of 40 (compared to 15 TPs for Ethereum)
Both the Flow and Tezos blockchains offer transaction speeds that are faster than Ethereum, and according to Rarible’s website, the network is planning to add more blockchain technologies to its network, making it an attractive platform for an increasingly broad audience.
Opensea is one of the largest NFT platforms in operation today, with over $10 billion in NFT transactions (and counting). The primary blockchain network on Opensea is Ethereum, but cross-blockchain support is offered for these networks as well:
- Polygon – a proof-of-stake blockchain that was developed specifically as a scaling solution to the increasing congestion on Ethereum’s network, offering a TPS of 1,000
- Klaytn – with 4,000 TPS, the Klaytn blockchain brings incredible transaction speeds to the Opensea platform
With over 2 million NFT collections and 80 million NFTs, Opensea is the premier destination for all things NFT.
Nifty Gateway touts itself as a specialized platform for curated NFT drops (i.e., artists release digital pieces on the site exclusively) with plans to expand into offering broader access to NFT collections.
As the NFT arm of cryptocurrency exchange operator Gemini, Nifty Gateway is a custodial platform, meaning that all NFTs are stored in Gemini’s secured wallet.
What this means for users of Nifty Gateway’s platform are transactions that are unencumbered by gas fees and, presumably, faster transfers with less hassle.
Foundation is an NFT auction platform that uses the Ethereum blockchain (see the previous discussion above) exclusively for processing transactions. As with all NFT platforms that utilize the Ethereum blockchain network, the progress of transfers and other activities can be tracked using this tool.
Touted as an accessible marketplace for artists to tokenize and sell their creations directly to fans and collectors, MakersPlace relies on the Ethereum blockchain network for validation of all transactions occurring on the platform. According to the MakersPlace website, users can expect most transactions, including transfers, to be completed within a few minutes.
As more and more people participate in the phenomenon that is the minting and trading of NFTs, they are also experiencing firsthand the realities of gas fees, transfer times, and the interrelationship between these two.
With time things will get more affordable and faster. In fact, the future looks bright for the DeFi and Web3 environments, and I highly suggest you check out this eye-opening article: 10 Reasons Why NFTs Will Change the World.
If you are looking for more ways to create NFTs on the cheap, then look no further than these articles:
- How To Mint an NFT for Free | Rarible Style
- How Much Does It Cost to Mint an NFT?
- Is It Possible to Sell NFTs on Your Own Website?