What I learnt from buying my first NFT

It was 9.9.

I was frustrated that I couldn’t find anything to buy on shopee or Lazada in order to relieve my stress.

So, I ended up with an impulse purchase of an NFT. This was my experience.

Disclaimer: I’m a noob when it comes to cryptocurrencies, NFT and DeFi, nor do I own a boatload of cryptocurrency like many of the insiders do. I’m basically starting from scratch because I want to get a position in the current trends. None of this is finance advice, pfft, I don’t even know what I’m doing.

In a nutshell, this article covers:

What do you need to buy your first NFT

Before you start, you’ll need the following to buy your first NFT:

  1. Money (fiat currency, the one you use to buy char kway tao)
  2. Ethereum (cryptocurrency – there are NFTs that transact using other cryto like Solana, Cardano, etc)
  3. Cryptocurrency wallets like MetaMask

How to buy an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain

If you want to buy vegetables at the wet market, you need to be able to transact (mostly) in cash.

To buy NFT, you’ll need most likely need Ethereum (ETH) aka Ether. Ether remains the most common ‘currency’ for NFTs, although there are alternative coins like Polygon (MATIC), SOLANA (SOL), Cardano (ADA) etc that are gaining popularity due to advantages like lesser transaction costs.

So, to buy an NFT you need to…

1 – Buy Ethereum

There are several ways to buy Ethereum for the purpose of purchasing NFTs, and the related fees vary. Please compare the differences at your point of purchase. Based on my experience the transaction fees can be quite high. Here’s how I bought Ethereum for my NFT purchase.

i) Buy through the MetaMask wallet

This is the super lazy but rather slow way to get started in NFTs.

How did I know? Well…

Worse than my decision to buy Mei Zhen Xiang BakKwa Mooncake (everyone hated it)

The transaction took about 6 hours, my transaction started at 7.30am but I only received the ETH in my MetaMask at about 1pm. By then the gas fees had doubled. (more on gas fees below).

According to Moonpay’s website, their fees are calculated as such (accurate during my transaction period):

“We charge a dynamic network fee on all BTC, ETH and ERC20 tokens purchases. The fee is based on the blockchain network conditions and will be displayed within the widget before you make the payment.”

And this was my actual transaction costs:

The fees were 30% of the ETH cost in my case

I suspect the “network fee” is based on how busy the blockchain network is. You may want to keep refreshing the app until you see a cheaper network fee.

How to set up a MetaMask wallet

MetaMask is a cryptocurrency wallet used to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. It is the most commonly used ETH wallet in the NFT space, at least according to my research.

There are other options but I’m using MetaMask, hence the screenshots shown below would be from this wallet.

  1. Install MetaMask

Just head over to MetaMask, click download select the right option for your browser.

  1. Set up your MetaMask wallet

Follow the instructions on the chrome extension or app to set up your wallet.

You’ll be prompted to create a password once you create an account.

Then, you’ll be brought to this website where you’ll be given a random list of Secret Backup Phrases.

*Warning!* Record down your secret phrases in order and keep it somewhere safe. Don’t share it with anyone and don’t lose it!

If you lose it, nobody can help you retrieve your account in the future – not me, not metamask, not even Satoshi. #dontsayneverwarnyou

If someone else gets it, they can access your wallet and take all your coins.

  1. Load it up – Buy or Send Ether into your wallet

Once your account is up, you can load it up by buying or sending Ethereum. Simply click on your preferred method and follow the instructions provided.

Hiding so that you don’t laugh at how poor I am

If you’re sending Ethereum, you’ll need your unique MetaMask address. You’ll find it below your username, click on the circled icon to copy it:

In case you curious, my address is: 0x9713521d1885a018fF97CD5Ac519afF3482ea47F. You can send ethereum there if you are feeling rich.

You’ll need this address in order to direct your coins to your Metamask wallet. It’s like the address to your house mailbox.

Alternative Ethereum wallets

Metamask isn’t the only Ethereum wallet option, there are others that you can use as well:

  • Torus
  • TrustWallet
  • Arkane
  • etc

Here’s a comparison table I took from OpenSea:

ethereum wallet comparison opensea

ii) Buy Ethereum through a cryptocurrency exchange

I used Binance.sg at the point of writing because my Ethereum are stored there. (p.s. don’t be lazy like me, get a hardware wallet if you don’t want to risk losing your cryptos.)

Sidenote: Binance.com, their international site has been ordered by MAS to stop services in Singapore. I think Binance will overcome the ban. But for folks who are worried about Binance.sg’s prospects in Singapore, you can consider using:

📢 these are affiliate links. If you sign up using them and start trading, you get some free money and I get some too #win-win. It doesn’t affect the fee you pay.

Once you’ve set up your account on a cryptocurrency exchange, you can purchase Ethereum directly. Most of these exchanges allow bank transfer or credit card payment, you may want to compare the fees at the point of your transaction.

After purchasing some Ethereum, transfer the ETH into your Metamask wallet (look for a ‘send’ function).

On Binance.sg, my sending fee was 0.01 ETH which was about USD$33 when I took this screenshot:

What other cryptocurrencies can you use to buy NFTs?

Most NFTs are currently on the Ethereum blockchain, hence Ethereum remains the most popular choice of cryptocurrency for NFT transactions. However, Ethereum can be rather expensive because there’s a demand-based transaction fee aka gas fee which can spike up to insane levels when demand increases.

Hence, other blockchains have also launched their own NFT functions:

  • Solana
  • Cardano
  • Tezos

2 – Shop for NFTs!

The fun part, finding nice looking NFTs to buy.

But where do you start?

Where to buy NFTs?

You can either mint them directly from the website of new NFT projects or buy them from NFT marketplaces.

  • New NFT projects

For a list of upcoming launches, you can also browse nftcalendar.io or benzinga.

You can also find many of these on Twitter and discord.

Note: most NFT projects are built on hype and marketing (which I’ll cover in another article), so do your own due diligence!

  • NFT Marketplaces

As the name suggests, NFT marketplaces are where NFTs are listed and traded.

The more popular ones include:

  • Rarible
  • Mintable
  • Opensea

Do note that these are Ethereum-based NFT marketplaces. In my NFT adventures, I used Opensea.

3 – Buy the NFT

How to buy NFTs from Opensea

I used Opensea to purchase my first NFT, here’s how:

  1. Go to Opensea.io
  2. Shop / browse NFTs

Just use the search bar or click ‘explore’ to start browsing:

The icon next to the price tells you the cryptocurrency that the NFT is being listed in. Hover over the icon to see more details. If you’re buying an NFT that’s not listed in Ethereum, you’ll need to exchange (aka “swap”) for Ethereum for the altcoin.

Floor Price tells you the base price for each new NFT released by the project.

Click on the listed NFT to see more details:

You can buy directly at the listed price, or haggle negotiate for a better deal by choosing the ‘Make offer’ option.

You may not be able to buy or offer a price for every NFT. Instead, some NFTs are put up for bid. You can see the list of offers made and bid accordingly:

  1. Select the NFT of your choice
  2. Make sure you have enough ETH to cover both the listed price and gas fees.
  1. Click on ‘buy now’, read and agree to Terms of Service, click on Checkout.
  2. Adjust gas fees if required

If you’re using MetaMask on chrome, the extension will pop up, giving you an idea of how much you’ll need to pay for the NFT.

If the NFT you’re interested in isn’t too popular, you can click on EDIT to edit the gas fee. The less gas fee you pay, the longer the transaction will take.

Listed in USD.

If you try to lowball and failed, the system will prompt you:

Once you are satisfied with the pricing, click ‘Save’. Then click ‘Confirm’.

  1. Wait for your NFT transaction to be processed

You can view the transaction details via MetaMask when it’s done:

  1. Congrats, you now own a NFT 👏

You can view your collection on your profile page, on the NFT marketplace that you use.

What did I buy?

I bought a 365moments NFT, you can view it here. It’s a project that uses an AI to generate a painting from headline news. A new painting is generated daily and part of the proceed goes to charity.

What is ‘Gas Fee’?

Gas fee is the transaction fee for using the Ethereum blockchain and it’s priced based on demand. This is basically the fee that miners get to process the transaction.

I’ve found that the best way to monitor gas fee so far, is to refer to this website. If the NFT you want isn’t that popular, you can wait till gas fees are lower before proceeding with your purchase.

At the point of writing, gas fees are about 47 Gwei:

What is “Gwei”?

Gwei aka gigawei, is a unit of Ether, representing 0.000000001 pr 10^-9 ETH. 1 ETH = 1 billion gwei.

It is usually used as the denomination of Ether to calculate gas fees.

Where to get ‘free’ NFTs

There’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’, but there are ‘free’ NFTs.

New projects with little following tend to market themselves with giftaways. You can find them on:

That said, there’s little chance for these to be flipped for any real profit. But hey, we all like freebies right?

Acronyms and Terms you must know

The NFT (and crypto) space has its unique acronyms and terms. These are some that I’d picked up on my impulsive short adventure:

  • Shill

Aka marketing or advertising. Usually done by someone who either pretends to be a neutral party or someone with reputation in the scene.

  • GOML (Get on my level)

Short for “get on my level”. The person is telling you to up your level.

  • FUD

Short for “fear, uncertainty and Doubt”, usually used in relation to fake news, negative or misleading information.

  • Rug Pull or Rugged

Kena scammed. Eg. ApePunks Collection

What I learnt from buying my first NFT

1) It’s a very complex space

The NFT rabbit hole runs deep. And there’s a lot of noise.

Within the first hour that I joined the NFT discord server, an artist got scammed. 😮

2) Transaction fees are expensive

For now, Ethereum remains the most popular blockchain for NFTs and transaction fees are damn expensive.

So, don’t anyhow buy.

3) Most NFT projects will fail

Everyone seems to agree on this.

But if you listen to any YouTube videos, podcasts or even Clubhouse chats, the general consensus is that most NFTs will fail. Guess the pareto principle is strong on this one.

The bright side is that the NFT scene is still relatively young and the community is constantly trying to improve on security and providing value to the masses.

4) I don’t know what I don’t know

The NFT scene is young and fairly noisy.

For a newbie with no experience, there are many unknown unknowns. For one, everyone seems to sound like they know what they’re doing, and it can be difficult for newbs like me to identify the right authority and advice in this space. In general, I’ll look for proof of success or experience before listening to anyone. But there’ll inevitably be loopholes because of the unknown unknowns.

I’ll readily admit that I don’t know what I’m doing. But it seems that okay to beg for money in the crypto world. So here’s my address, you can send ETH there: 0x9713521d1885a018fF97CD5Ac519afF3482ea47F

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