OpenSea is one the most popular sites on the Ethereum blockchain for buying and selling NFTs. They currently boast over 1 million active users and over 80 million NFTs to browse through. According to their site, there is something for everyone, including art, music, experiences, and more. All ownable for a price, or is there?
There is no definitive explanation for why an NFT would be listed for zero dollars. Though the creator could get away with not having to pay for the gas cost in the transfer of the NFT, since zero dollars is technically a fixed price and according to OpenSea policy, the buyer pays, it still leaves the creator with no profit.
In terms of anything being free on OpenSea, there are a few factors to explore that are of interest to both the creators and the buyers of NFTs.
While listing your NFT for free on any platform seems pointless, there may be one or two scenarios in which free NFTs are a smart marketing move.
What’s Free When it Comes to NFTs on OpenSea?
When researching the topic of this article, most information pertained to minting NFTs for free on OpenSea. This seems to be quite an incentive to use OpenSea to host your NFTs since fees related to NFTs can add up significantly, sometimes even consuming your profit and leaving you with debt.
In fact, losing money was the whole basis for this now-viral article: Can You Lose Money By Minting NFTs? It seems there are more losers than winners in the NFT game…the amount of worthless NFTs that have flooded the market is substantial.
OpenSea has an option that allows you to create an NFT without having to pay gas costs upfront using their collection manager. NFTs that are created this way are considered gas-free minting or, for some, ‘lazy minting.’
Disclaimer: You will have gas costs once the NFT is sold or transferred. Who pays the cost is dependent. A buyer pays the cost if they are buying an NFT with a fixed price, and a seller pays the cost if they accept an offer on an NFT, like in a bid.
Also, I don’t want to leave NFT market super powerhouse Rarible out of the lazy minting discussion, either. They offer lazy minting as well, and I go into way more detail here. If you want to learn how to game the system and mint or sell NFTs cheaper, read this: How To Sell NFTs Without Gas Fees (or less) | Complete Guide.
What are the Pitfalls to Free NFTs on OpenSea?
It might be slightly pessimistic to say that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but many events and circumstances have been proven this to be true time and time again.
So, should red flags automatically spring up when something is free? I would say yes 99.99% of the time.
Again, it might be a bit pessimistic, but there is usually a catch of some kind, whether that be hidden fees, shipping costs, a separate item that would need to be purchased first, and the list goes on.
So, when NFTs are advertised for free, there should be a healthy level of skepticism, especially since there have been numerous reports that some freebies are scams designed to get into your crypto wallet and drain you of your funds.
So, if they ask you to click on a link in order to connect your wallet and enter your seed phrase or password to get your ‘free’ NFT, I would run the other way. Also, never give out your seed phrase. That’s an obvious scam.
There are so many copycats and scammers in the NFT world that you really need to know who you are dealing with and who you are buying from. NFT platforms try to police the losers, but it’s not possible to catch all the thieves.
There are numerous ways to confirm ownership which you can learn about here: How to Check the Ownership of an NFT (7 Methods) One other thing to check for is a blue checkmark on the OpenSea platform which indicates NFT is from a “verified” collection or creator.
The Benefits of Free NFTs
While it doesn’t seem like the best long-term business move to list NFTs at zero dollars and essentially give NFTs away for free, there are a few scenarios in which this could be interpreted as a clever marketing tool.
One example is computer games that use free NFTs in order to get players to sign up to play the game. Alien World, for example, has been known to give you two free NFTs when you sign up to play.
Additionally, there are ways to earn NFTs through playing the game and racking up tokens. These games will also use free NFTs as an incentive for interacting with the outside world in specific ways in order to promote the game to other potential players.
Other companies, such as Twitter, have utilized free NFTs in giveaways in order to promote some of their children’s companies like Vulpes and bananodev.
Even individuals can take advantage of this marketing strategy. A prime example would be the case of up-and-coming artists that do not already have established audiences on social media and want to get exposure for their work.
Giving away a couple of NFTs for free can help put the work out in the wild and get some buzz going, which will hopefully turn into sales.
What Is the Purpose of Free NFTs on OpenSea?
While there was no clear answer on the internet in regards to why creators would list their NFTs at zero dollars, there are certainly a few creators on OpenSea whose whole collection of NFTs was set at zero dollars.
Without directly speaking to the creators and getting their reasoning, the only logical explanation is creating strictly for fun or experience and without any intention of trying to make a living off of NFTs.
There have been numerous stories of success with creators giving away NFTs. LarvaLabs released 10,000 CryptoPunks back in 2017 for free, and now those Punks are worth millions.
Though feasible, these types of creators are certainly in the minority on any NFT hosting platform, where most artists are attempting to build careers off of NFTs. Regardless, it’s easy to see why creators giving away NFTs would want to do so on OpenSea.
With their gas-free minting and stipulation that buyers pay the gas cost for the transfer of the NFT, creators can continue to give away NFTs for free without penalty to themselves.
While free NFTs do exist, it would benefit anyone to do research into the validity of the offer to protect your crypto wallets and seed phrases, especially since you can’t change a seed phrase once it’s been created. Be advised that fraudsters run rampant in the NFT space, and always be on the lookout.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
As a creator, giving away a few free NFTs can help promote you, your company, or other endeavors, and as a buyer, you can own an NFT you like for nothing but the cost of gas, if even there is any.
All in all, free NFTs have their place on the blockchain, along with any other listed NFT going for the big bag. If you want to drop more knowledge in your dome, read up on these 3 NFT article winners:
- What is the Average Cost to Mint and Sell an NFT? (Top Marketplace Examples)
- Is It Legal to Make an NFT of a Celebrity?
- Can You Sell Fan Art as NFTs?