If you’ve been following the ever-evolving landscape of the virtual marketplace, you’ve likely heard of NFTs. Non-fungible tokens are nothing less than game-changing, unique, and interchangeable forms of cryptocurrency.
They’re becoming more popular than ever as we lean headfirst into a 21st-century marketplace guided by digital transactions, blockchains, and more. There are as many proponents of NFTs as there are detractors. The lives of NFTs are just beginning.
Questions surrounding NFTs abound, especially involving all aspects of what to do when you want to unload an NFT. So how much does it actually cost to burn and destroy an NFT? Here’s our complete guide.
What Is An NFT?
Before we get into the ins and outs of burning and destroying NFTs, it’s important to review exactly what it is.
Non-fungible tokens do not exist in the physical world. Each one is data that is simply added to a file. In return, a unique signature is created for each NFT. That signature can represent everything from a tweet, a poem, a song, a meme, digital art, a sports trading card, or plain text. It can even represent physical items. Non-fungible just means that something cannot be exchanged or traded for another.
The bottom line is that through an NFT, someone can legitimately own a digital file that contains a unique code that makes it different from any replicas that also occur digitally. NFTs provide individuals with clear ownership of digital items, some similar to physical objects and some purely digital.
Though they have been around since 2014, NFTs started gaining attention when they became popular ways to buy and sell artwork digitally for the past five years. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on NFTs since late 2017.
How Do NFTs Work?
NFTs are bought and sold online like other assets and products, usually with cryptocurrency. And they are typically encoded with software that’s similar to cryptocurrencies. These identifying codes are what make an NFT a unique NFT to an owner.
With an NFT, buyers own an original form of a song, artwork, or drawing. The form of authentication — proof of ownership — is the NFT itself. (If you need to check the ownership and history of an NFT, this guide will show you how). All NFTs live on a type of public ledger called a blockchain. Cryptocurrencies are made possible by living on a blockchain as well; it records digital transactions.
You’re likely to find NFTs on a specific blockchain called the Ethereum blockchain.
Technically, NFTs are created — or “minted” as the terminology goes — from any physical or non-physical item, including everything from videos and GIFs to virtual avatars and sneakers. A tweet was even sold as an NFT for nearly $3 million.
You have to know the difference between buying and minting an NFT, which is outlined in this post. Just beware that at times minting an NFT can be costly, so I advise you to read this article before proceeding so you don’t get ripped off:
What is Burning and Destroying an NFT?
Since NFTs are intangible, you may think it’s as impossible to get rid of them as it is to replicate them. They are, after all, bonded to a blockchain. However, you can actually destroy an NFT if you choose.
NFTs are destroyed through a process called burning, and it can be done either on your NFT directly, on an NFT platform, or through sending it back to an unretrievable address. The process is irreversible.
Sure, while an NFT will always exist on a blockchain, it is possible to rid yourself of it if you choose. That’s “burning.”
How Much Does it Cost to Burn and Destroy an NFT?
As with all transactions on a crypto exchange or platform, there is a cost for burning an NFT.
Those burning an NFT will have to pay what’s called a gas fee. A gas fee is like a transaction fee on a blockchain, including the Ethereum blockchain. Gas fees are what users pay to cover the amount of energy needed to process a blockchain transaction.
Your gas fee will depend on several factors, including the time of day of the transaction. If the network is busy, you need to pay more gas to have your transactions processed.
Other factors driving the cost include the number of the NFTs you want to burn (the higher the number, the more network power is needed) and the currency itself since the price tends to fluctuate.
If you are looking for an average amount in dollars, it could potentially cost from $3 to $80 in order to burn your NFT. As you just read, there are many variables so coming up with an exact number isn’t possible until there is a unified cost unassociated with gas fees.
Just remember that if you don’t have enough funds in your account to cover the gas fees, your burning transaction will not be approved.
The Process of Burning
Basically, to burn an NFT you need to send it over to a wallet address owned by nobody. This will make the NFT unusable, even though it still exists since access to it will be impossible. When you do this, however, all transactions logged on the NFT will still be preserved on the ledger.
Burning an NFT isn’t that challenging, and there are a few different ways to accomplish it. First, check with your preferred crypto exchange or other exchanges you’re comfortable with since many will let you burn tokens.
You’ll just have to log into the exchange of your choice, choose the NFT you want to get rid of, then click on the “burn” option from the settings.
You may have to both delist the NFT from the marketplace and enter your ID to select the “burn” option. After this procedure, the NFT should not be visible in your profile.
If your exchange doesn’t allow burning, another option is using what’s called a black-hole address. A black-hole address doesn’t exist; it cannot be accessed.
Once an NFT is burned, it is technically destroyed, though the transaction is still recorded on the blockchain. Once it is burned, it is then considered unavailable. It will still be easy to confirm that the NFT was destroyed because the transactions that occurred before the burning will forever remain tied to it on the blockchain.
Can You Bring Back a Destroyed NFT?
Yes, it is possible to burn an NFT unintentionally. There have been many records of people who accidentally burned an NFT by sending it to a black-hole address. Sometimes the black hole is sent as a default address by mistake by an NFT owner.
However, while it’s generally believed that founders of blockchains can access black hole addresses, there has been no confirmed retrieval of burned NFTs and tokens. Doing so would not only rattle the integrity of a blockchain but release potentially millions of tokens into an uncertain market. This means that, as of right now, a burnt NFT is permanent.
If you are brand new to this fascinating world and want to get further involved, I highly recommend these time-saving articles:
- How To Collect Digital NFT Crypto Art | The Guide
- How To Become An NFT Digital Artist
- Top 9 Crypto Wallets to Buy and Collect NFT Art