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How To Buy an NFT

Read 8 min
Beginner
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KEY TAKEAWAYS:
NFTs as a digital asset class can represent ownership of almost anything, from digital art to music to physical assets like real estate and luxury goods.

—  Buying NFTs can be challenging for newcomers: countless scams specifically target beginners. 

—  Although buying an NFT may seem overwhelming, the Ledger ecosystem can help you protect your NFTs with security and ease of use.

NFTs or non-fungible tokens are unique and non-interchangeable blockchain assets. This key feature means NFTs can represent anything non-fungible; such as art, memberships, trading cards, game items, and more. 

NFTs first exploded on the Ethereum blockchain, since it was the first blockchain network with an infrastructure to support smart contracts. But this innovation opened up a whole new world of possibilities throughout the wider ecosystem, and there are now thriving NFT ecosystems on multiple networks including Solana, Tezos, and Cardano. Even the Bitcoin network has protocols offering forms of NFTs called Ordinals.

As accessible as NFT platforms may be today, buying an NFT can be daunting. 

Which chain to start on? Which NFT marketplace should I choose? And what kind of NFT should I buy? 

All of these are valid questions, so whether you’re looking to own a piece of digital art, a collectible, or just want to know how to buy NFTs, this guide will give you all the tools you need.

Buying NFTs for Beginners: Before You Buy an NFT

Before buying an NFT you’ll need a crypto wallet and some cryptocurrency. The most common crypto wallet choices are software wallets since they are free and hardware wallets since they are secure and accessible.  If you’re a complete beginner, learn more about which crypto wallet to choose here.

Once you have a wallet, you’ll need to buy some crypto. To do so as a complete beginner, you must on-ramp, i.e. turn your fiat currency such as dollars or Euros into crypto. Typically, this feature is offered by centralized exchanges, which require you to undergo a KYC process and use their custodial wallets. 

If you’re using Ledger Live to buy crypto through a Buy provider, you can rest assured that your crypto will be sent straight to an account protected by your Ledger device. If you’re using a centralized exchange directly, you’ll need to send your crypto to a non-custodial software or hardware wallet before buying an NFT.

The amount of crypto you need depends on how much the NFT you want costs. But it’s important to know that most blockchains require you to pay a gas fee to process each transaction. This gas fee, also known as a transaction fee, typically varies due to the network you’re using, network congestion, and the complexity of the transaction. Thus, it’s wise to check out the current gas fees on your chosen chain so you can load your wallet with enough crypto to cover the NFT and the transaction fee.

Some marketplaces will also charge you a percentage of the transaction for using their platform, so make sure you factor this in when loading your wallet.

With a wallet and some crypto, you’re ready to buy some NFTs. So, where to get started?

Where to Buy NFTs

An NFT marketplace is the simplest way to buy, sell, and trade NFTs. 

NFT marketplaces come in many shapes and forms, but as decentralized applications (dApps) they all allow you to buy and sell NFTs directly from other people —without intermediaries. Thanks to self-executing smart contracts, dApps can carry out predetermined functions when certain conditions are met, without needing any third party to execute the transaction.

In the case of NFT marketplaces, this allows for true peer-to-peer trading, where smart contracts guarantee that both sides of a transaction will be honored. In other words, when the NFT sells for the agreed-upon price, the buyer receives the NFTs, and the seller gets their crypto (minus any platform fees) without a need for additional intervention.

While most NFT marketplaces started off supporting just one blockchain, many now support NFT trading across multiple networks. So before you start shopping, you’ll want to choose a marketplace that supports the chain of the NFT you want to buy. For example, if you want to buy Solana NFTs, opt for an NFT marketplace that supports Solana.

Examples of NFT Marketplaces

Now you know all about the basics of where to buy NFTs, let’s look at some established NFT marketplaces you can use.

OpenSea

For a long time, OpenSea was synonymous with NFT marketplaces. Launching in 2017, it was the first marketplace to offer access to multiple NFT collections and set the mold for the NFT marketplaces we see today. 

Indeed, it is still the leading NFT marketplace by all-time sales volume and number of active traders. OpenSea supports NFTs on eight blockchains, including Ethereum and Polygon, and you can easily trade and manage your Ethereum and Polygon NFTs on OpenSea using your Ledger device.

Magic Eden

After launching in 2021, Magic Eden quickly became the go-to marketplace for Solana NFTs. In the years since, and powered by a $130M raise in 2022, Magic Eden has expanded to include support for NFTS on Ethereum (ETH), Polygon (MATIC), as well as Bitcoin Ordinals and Runes

Rarible

Launched in 2019, Rarible was one of the first big names in NFT art on Ethereum. It was also the first NFT marketplace token to release an ERC-20 token, $RARI. Rarible supports NFTs on eight blockchains, including Ethereum and Polygon.

Blur 

Launched in 2022, it took Blur less than a year to surge past OpenSea and become the top marketplace for NFT trading on Ethereum (by trade volume). To get there, it took the controversial decision to make it optional for traders to pay NFT creators royalties on secondary sales.

What Types of NFTs Can I Buy?

While an NFT can theoretically represent any asset, a few prominent use cases have emerged in the NFT market thus far.

Art NFTs

As NFTs emerged as a great vehicle for digital artwork, it brought an influx of talented and visionary artists, both unknown and from the traditional art world. Art NFTs were arguably the biggest driver of the NFT craze of the early 2020s. Whether you like more abstract style generative art or hand-drawn animations, there’s an NFT artwork for you. Popular NFT artists include Beeple, Pak, and Trevor Jones —but even traditional artists (including Damien Hirst) have joined the craze.

Collectible NFTs

While art NFTs boast the biggest individual sales and artists, it is the NFT collectibles market that exploded in the 2021 bull market and captured global attention. Spurred by the success of the CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT projects, generative, 10,000-token NFT collections became the most popularly traded subset of NFTs.

Gaming NFTs

This category covers all NFTs related to blockchain games. These NFTs can have a myriad of use cases: from in-game items that players earn to game characters with different attributes, different parcels of land in digital worlds, and so much more. In-game items and land parcels in decentralized metaverses, such as the Sandbox, are often NFTs. Other games may use NFTs as access passes, characters, or trophies. The possibilities of NFTs in gaming are truly endless.

Music NFTs

Music is another industry that has been changed by the invention of NFTs. Music NFTs are a great way for creators to monetize their work when self-publishing; taking the power out of record labels’ hands. As such, a whole new community of self-distributing artists has emerged, featuring web3 musicians such as Ed Balloon and Latashá. There are also a range of music-first NFT marketplaces to choose from, such as Audius and Royal.

Fashion NFTs

The fashion industry came into the world of NFTs in a big way, with most of the world’s most esteemed fashion brands entering the space at some point during the height of NFTs’ popularity. Gucci, Burberry, and Balenciaga are all examples of fashion brands that have entered the blockchain space. There are also several web3 fashion brands out there, such as DressX and Gmoney’s 9dcc.

Web3 Domains

Web3 domains serve a particularly useful purpose, as you can use a simple word or phrase in place of your long alphanumerical wallet address. The Ethereum Name Service is the most popular example of a web3 domain service, but similar protocols exist on Tezos and other networks.

How To Buy an NFT

There are several different ways to buy an NFT, and the method depends on the platform, your wallet, and the blockchain you’ve decided to use.

How to buy an NFT in 4 easy steps

Choose a Blockchain

First, you’re going to need to decide which blockchain to buy an NFT on. Some things to consider when deciding on a blockchain are how active that chain is (how frequently NFT sales are happening) and how expensive the network’s gas fees are. Of course, if you’re already familiar with a particular blockchain or have a specific cryptocurrency already, then you’re well-suited to explore NFTs in that ecosystem; but popular networks for NFTs include Ethereum (and countless layer two networks built on Ethereum), Solana, and Tezos.

Choose an NFT Marketplace, and Create an Account

The NFT marketplace you choose will depend on the blockchain you are exploring. Regardless of which blockchain, creating an account on an NFT marketplace is generally a simple process that involves connecting your wallet to the platform. Some NFT marketplaces also let users sign up with an email address, though these platforms might require you to use their own, custodial wallet.

Connect Your Wallet 

While the option to buy an NFT directly through Ledger Live isn’t yet available, you can still use your Ledger device with any Ledger-compatible NFT marketplace. This includes major marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, and Magic Eden. OpenSea for example, offers the ability to connect your Ledger using WalletConnect. To access more experimental platforms and trading dapps, you may have to connect your Ledger account to a software wallet’s interface.

Selecting the buy/purchase function on the NFT marketplace will bring a pop-up window showing you specifics of your transaction like recipient, smart contract info, how much crypto you’re sending, and the gas fee amount. Double-check all of this info before you continue! If there are any mistakes with your transaction, you could lose out.

Choose and buy an NFT

Now that you have a wallet loaded with crypto you can move on to the most exciting part: choosing and buying your NFT!

At this point, there are millions of NFTs to choose from. Luckily, marketplaces have many different ways to sort through them. Indeed, most marketplace landing pages will highlight NFTs that are either trending in sales or curated by the marketplace. They also tend to sort NFTs into categories like art, music, and gaming.

How to Mint NFTs and Access New NFT Trading Platforms

If you want to access NFT trading platforms and mint NFTs, often you’ll need to use a third-party wallet. Certain dApps – including some NFT marketplaces – only work with certain software wallets. Luckily, Ledger is compatible with the most popular software wallet solutions for trading NFTs, so you can rest assured your assets are protected from online threats.

It’s important to note that when buying NFTs using third-party wallets you will have to blind sign. This is a step that can often lead to mistakes and lost assets. So before you connect your Ledger device to a third-party wallet, make sure you learn about blind signing and when you should enable it. Signing a malicious transaction is all too easy with blind signing, and this is the biggest threat to your assets when using a hardware wallet.

MetaMask

MetaMask is the most-used software wallet in the Ethereum ecosystem and is thus compatible with just about any Ethereum dApp. Check out the help center tutorial on connecting your Ledger to Metamask to get started!

Phantom

Phantom is the most popular software wallet for the Solana network. Check out the help center tutorial on connecting your Ledger to Phantom to start exploring the SOL network securely.

Leather

Leather is a non-custodial software wallet for managing Bitcoin and other assets on the Bitcoin network like Bitcoin Ordinals. These are non-fungible tokens on the Bitcoin network, created by inscribing data on individual satoshis. Here’s how you can connect Leather wallet to your Ledger device.

How To Buy an NFT with a Credit Card

These days you aren’t limited to buying NFTs with crypto. Both existing NFT marketplaces and third-party services have made buying NFTs with a credit card as simple as any other online purchase. 

Buy NFTs Using a Wallet That Offers On-Ramping

One roundabout way to buy an NFT with a credit card is to use a crypto wallet with a fiat on-ramp. As mentioned above, on-ramping is the process of turning fiat currency into crypto. While centralized and decentralized exchanges are the most popular ways of on-ramping, you can also access this feature in some crypto wallets. Thus, by using one of these wallets for your NFT purchase, you’ll be able to quickly convert fiat to crypto using your credit card, and then buy your NFT.

What Is an NFT Checkout?

An NFT checkout is a special platform that both allows you to buy NFTs using fiat currency and provides NFT creators and marketplaces with the infrastructure to sell NFTs. NFT checkouts take those fiat payments and then take care of the on-chain transactions using smart contracts.

There are many NFT checkouts available but a trusted example is Transak. This highly customizable platform gives creators maximum control over their NFT sales with its unique features like a rapid one-minute checkout and on/off ramps. It’s also compatible with all major NFT marketplaces!

How to buy NFTs with NFT Checkout

Most NFT checkouts function alike, though we’ll outline how it works with Transak specifically. If you’ve ever purchased something online using a third-party service like PayPal or Stripe, you’ll notice that buying NFTs with Transak works similarly. 

  1. First off, the checkout-compatible marketplace will have an option to “Buy with card” or something similar. 
  2. When you click on that, a pop-up with the NFT checkout appears, allowing you to quickly buy the NFT using your credit card.
  3.  If you’re using the checkout for the first time, you will have to sign up using your email address and undergo a KYC procedure before completing the transaction.
  4. Once you buy the NFT, Transak accepts that payment, completes the NFT transaction, and sends it to your wallet of choice

Secure Your NFT Collection with Ledger

The development of a robust NFT ecosystem means that it’s never been easier to buy an NFT. Of course, securely managing all of your digital assets should be just as easy, and with Ledger, it is. 

That said, just as with managing your crypto, you have to be cautious and vigilant when it comes to buying and managing your NFTs. Indeed, using a Ledger device to secure your NFTs is just the first step in responsible NFT ownership. After all, a lot of NFT traders have fallen prey to scams or hacks, or have otherwise lost their NFTs and crypto due to malicious actors in the NFT space.

It’s also worth mentioning that digital assets are very often lost, not due to a full-blown hack, but to making mistakes. To mitigate these risks, segregating your crypto assets into multiple accounts is a great solution. With this method, you keep your main holdings safe by signing potentially malicious transactions with accounts containing minimal value instead.

Remember, when it comes to staying safe while exploring the world of NFTs, education is key. Ledger is here, not only to help you safely manage your NFT collection, but also to provide you with the tools to keep your NFT collection secure as you practice secure self custody. 

Happy collecting!

FAQs About Buying & Selling NFTs

What Is an NFT?

NFT stands for non-fungible token. These are unique blockchain assets that are unique and non-interchangeable. This key feature means NFTs can represent anything non-fungible; such as art, memberships, trading cards, game items, and more. 

Can I Trade NFTs?

Yes! Trading NFTs is easy, and there are a couple of options on how to complete a trade depending on your trade partner. If you’re trading with someone you know and trust, then you can simply transfer the agreed-upon assets to each other’s wallets, with no intermediaries necessary. If, however, you want to trade with a stranger, then it’s highly advisable to use a service like NFTTrader to facilitate a decentralized NFT swap. However, make sure you access the official platform! Scammers will send you phishing platforms intended to look like NFTTrader to trick you into signing away your funds.

Can You Buy NFTs without Crypto?

Some marketplaces like Opensea and X2Y2 allow users to buy NFTs using credit cards. In addition, NFT checkouts like Transak or Moonpay make it possible to buy NFTs without crypto directly. However, if you want to sell that NFT, you will need to start using crypto. So, if you want to buy an NFT, buying crypto is a useful first step!

How Do I Mint an NFT?

Minting is putting an NFT on the blockchain, so often, projects will let you mint NFTs from their smart contracts yourself. This is like buying an NFT, but instead of buying an already-made token, the NFT is created after you buy it. This is common with generative art projects as the resulting NFT is a surprise.

When it comes to minting your own NFT on the blockchain, you have a few options. Most major NFT marketplaces, such as OpenSea and Magic Eden, have NFT minting tools built into their platforms. Purpose-built tools for minting NFTs (such as Manifold) are also popular.

How Can I Resell an NFT?

To resell an NFT, you first have to put the NFT up for sale by “listing” it for sale on an NFT marketplace. When you list an NFT for sale you can either put a specific sale price or sell the NFT via a timed auction. 

Thanks to the smart contracts that NFT marketplaces employ, once you have listed your NFT, you don’t have to worry about doing anything to close a sale. If someone meets the sale price, the marketplace handles the transfer of assets.

How Much Does an NFT Cost?

How much an NFT costs depends on a number of factors. For example, NFT art pieces function similarly to traditional art, in that the price is most influenced by who created it, and how many pieces of art there are. NFTs vary in value due to those factors but also their capabilities, or utility. An access pass NFT, for example, represents the value of being a member of that community. It’s also worth noting that NFT prices also fluctuate due to the state of the overall crypto market and how projects make true on their promises.

How Do Beginners Invest in NFTs?

Investing in NFTs is a difficult topic. Understanding the ins and outs of the market before parting with your funds is essential: NFTs can be a volatile asset class and their prices rely on the state of the market, the actions of the project’s staff and community members, and the project’s reputation. Buy NFTs with caution, and never spend more than you’re willing to lose.


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