How to Buy an NFT: The Beginner's Guide


What Are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?

NFTs are a type of token that are going to completely revolutionize entire industries by changing the way we share and consume pretty much everything.

A “fungible” asset refers to something that is interchangeable with another unit of that same asset. A good example of a fungible asset is the US dollar. If I exchange my $1 bill for your $1 bill, nothing really changes. While they are two different pieces of fancy paper, both bills represent the same exact value. That’s fungibility. 

Conversely, a non-fungible asset refers to something of a distinct value. There are no two exactly the same. A good example of a non-fungible asset is a house or a car. 

A non-fungible token is where things get really interesting.

What Is the Blockchain?

Blockchain technologies allow us to implement a lot of radically new ideas that weren’t before possible. The first and so far most popular of these implementations is the creation and distribution of tokens. Perhaps you’ve heard of one called Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a good example of a fungible token. One bitcoin is one bitcoin is one bitcoin. 

On the other hand, a non-fungible token allows us to create a digital certificate that represents a unique asset. We can attach these tokens to pretty much anything, including digital files—say, a photo, a video, an audio recording, or even this article. 

This allows us to create proofs of authenticity for digital content that can be owned, bought, sold, and traded. Because these tokens are stored on an open and distributed blockchain (such as Ethereum), their embedded metadata and transaction history are completely verifiable by anyone in the world with an Internet connection. That means we can all know what digital wallets own which tokens at any given point in time. 

The implications of this are truly infinite, and we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of possibilities. So far, non-fungible tokens are being used to create industries around digital art, collectibles, gaming skins, digital land, and many many more.

Step 1: Set up a Crypto Wallet

Like normal wallets, crypto wallets are meant to keep your money or assets safe, in this case, your digital currency.

Crypto wallets keep your private keys (the passwords that give you access to your cryptocurrencies) safe and accessible, allowing you to send and receive cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum

These wallets come in different forms, from hardware wallets (sometimes called cold wallets) like Ledger to online wallets like MetaMask or Coinbase.

Check out our guides on how to Set Up a Metamask Wallet and the Differences Between Hardware and Software Wallets.

Step 2: Buy Cryptocurrency

Step 3: Choose an NFT Marketplace to Buy From

As the landscape continues to expand, there are a ton of NFT marketplaces to choose from, and each provides its own unique niche for discovering upcoming projects. Whether you're looking to buy art or some other form of collectible, the "best" marketplace is a personal choice.

Some of the most popular NFT marketplaces are:

1. OpenSea

OpenSea — the world's "first and largest NFT marketplace." They reached $1 billion in trading volume August 2021. Now

2. SuperRare

SuperRare — Highly-curated 1-of-1 edition NFTs. The “gold standard” in the current NFT space.

3. NiftyGateway

NiftyGateway — Fast-growing NFT market leading the pack in sales volume. Highly sought-after daily NFT drops, with popular visual artists and now celebrities getting involved. One of the few NFT platforms that accept USD / credit card as payment.

4. Zora

Zora — Feed-style NFT site in which the market of each piece is baked into the NFT itself and not run by the platform. Therefore, they don't take a transaction fee on each sale, unlike other marketplaces. Creating NFTs is open to everyone. The Zora protocol is also open for anyone to build on.

5. Foundation

Foundation — Beautifully designed and curated NFT marketplace with reserved bidding that, once met, unlocks 24-hour auctions. Creating NFTs is currently open to everyone.

6. Rarible

Rarible — The most open and permissionless NFT marketplace. Anyone can create an NFT right away without needing an invite, and a roadmap is in place to make the platform community-run.

7. Makersplace

Makersplace — An invite-only creator NFT platform that accepts both Ethereum and fiat currency. Recently partnered with Christie’s auction house to sell the first fully digital piece at Christie’s, by artist Beeple

8. KnownOrigin

KnownOrigin — Quality NFT art platform with multiple weekly drops. Offers accepted in ETH.

Step 4: Choose The Right NFT Project For Your Needs

There are many types of NFTs. The uninformed may think it's simply art. It's much more than that. What ties all NFTs: proof of ownership of an asset. All made possible by the blockchain and its universal ledger. Here are some examples:

  • Event Tickets
  • Art
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Films and Video
  • Games
  • Collectables
  • Virtual and Physical Land
  • Virtual Fashion
  • Sports

Event Tickets as NFTs

As the industry progresses, there's an increasing number of "In-Real-Life" events that integrate Web3 solutions. These solutions help to prove ownership of assets. Or, in this case, tickets. Token Proof is a great example of a company that's innovating in token gated ticketing infrastructure. VeeCon is

Art as NFTs

This is the most common use case for NFTs. There's much to discuss here. To put it simply: many artists have found their new "creative's playground" through digital art, hosted by blockchain technology. Going from physical galleries to virtual galleries may be a tough transition for some. But, for those brave enough to take the leap, there are plenty of opportunities to make a name for themselves in this emerging industry.

Music as NFTs

People from all sides of the music industry have found their niche through NFTs. From producers, musicians, labels, you name it. Notably, artists are now able to share music royalties with their fans, allowing for a new level of engagement with one's audience, never before possible. More individuals and entities are entering the NFT space by the day.

If you want to learn more about music NFTs, Water and Music is where you want to start!

Photography as NFTs

Photography NFTs are an up-and-coming medium for NFT art. One of the most noteworthy NFT photographers is Drifter Shoots. An emerging NFT photographer, Joey Miller, is someone to watch in the space. A great NFT marketplace for photographers is Quantum Art.

Film and Videos as NFTs

The film industry has seen many interesting use-cases for NFTs. Some notable examples we've covered are Keepers of the Inn and the first Decentralized Movie Studio.

Video Games as NFTs

Video games are a great place for innovation in the NFT space. Some of the best and brightest in the space can be found in our article about the Top NFT Games.

Collectibles as NFTs

Collectability for NFTs, in their current form, is core to their foundation. Some of the earliest big-name use-cases for NFTs came from collectibles. This is no exception for the likes of NBA Top Shot.

Virtual and Physical Land as NFTs

You may have heard the term "metaverse" used in the conversation of NFTs. This, like other assets, can have the ownership represented through an NFT. Whether it's physical or digital land, NFTs can be the vehicle through which one can prove ownership of an asset.

Virtual Fashion as NFTs

The way that we represent ourselves in a virtual space is now becoming almost as important, sometimes even more important, as in real spaces. The shift that we have been making over the last several years can be seen in how we present ourselves online through our social media profiles. This same level of curation of the "highlights" of our experiences can and will be expressed through our presence in online spaces. A great thought piece on this can be found here.

Sports as NFTs

You may think: wouldn't it be tough to make something digital make sense in the real world, with real people, playing real sports? Well, when it comes to who owns the team, coaching decisions, and more, NFTs allow for a fantastic opportunity to innovate in the world of sports. Futera United is a fantastic example of this.

Prioritize Your Wallet Security

In the world of Web 3, crypto and NFTs, prioritizing security is the most important move you can make. There is a ton of malware that users are susceptible to every day that they are using their phones and computers. 

If your devices and wallet are compromised, you will lose everything, so it is important to take the necessary precautions to secure them.

And above all else, you must protect your seed phrase.

Be vigilant. Every time you log on to your computer, expect an attack. There is always someone searching for vulnerabilities, and who is willing to take advantage of the platforms users interact with daily.

Here are more tips for wallet security you should look out for.

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