What is a NFT?
NFTs are the new hot item and many are wondering how to buy a NFT collectible or if NFTs are even worth the trouble. For the newcomer, everything about NFTs seems odd. Even the name, non-fungible token, sounds like a mushroom. But when you think about it, NFTs make about as much sense as any other collectible. After all, we’re will to pay big bucks for a 2×4-inch paper card with the picture of an athlete on it. It’s all premised on supply and demand and like everything else blockchain, the collectible market for NFTs has shot through the roof with some NFTs selling for, gulp, millions of dollars.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens (aka Niftys or Crypto Collectibles), are one-of-a-kind digital assets that are typically purchased with cryptocurrency. Imagine works of art or trading cards but digital. The assets are created and stored on blockchain and available in your digital wallet along with all your cryptocurrencies. Here’s how to buy a NFT collectible.
How to buy a NFT collectible
You can buy and sell NFTs on a specialized marketplace. Once owned, you can trade them, use them in games, build collections for profit, or showcase them in your public NFT inventory. And since they are digital, rather than keeping your collectible at home locked in a safe, you can securely carry them with you everywhere you go, tucked safely away in your digital wallet.
NFTs range from working digital games to collectible “cards” like CryptoKitties, Garbage Pail Kids, or Blockchain Heroes. But NFTs, like cryptocurrency, are still harder to buy than they should be. The technology will mature over time, to the point where buying NFTs (and crypto) is as easy as getting money from your ATM. For now however, you’re probably going to need a guide to understand how to buy a NFT asset.
Step 1 – Set up a cryptocurrency wallet
To begin, you will need a digital wallet to securely store the NFT. There are dozens of crypto wallets to choose from but unfortunately, for now, wallets are limited to what type of digital currency they can store. When it comes to NFTs, digital wallets are even more limited. Since the WAX blockchain is by far one of the most active (and affordable) blockchains for NFT transactions, we’ll use the WAX Cloud Wallet (WCW) for our tutorial.
Go to https://wallet.WAX.io and create a new account. The WAX Cloud Wallet is easy to create. You can sign up using your Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit account. If you use a social network to register, once the WAX account is created, edit your profile and set a new password. Cryptos can be worth a lot of money – too much to rely on a social network to control the login to your crypto wallet.
Once registered, you will be assigned an odd-looking account name. It’ll look something like this:
This will be referred to variously as your account name, username, or WAX address. It’s viewable by the public and used not just to login to your wallet and NFT marketplaces, but as an address you give to others during NFT trades or transfers. The .wam extension indicates it’s a WAX cloud wallet account.
Purchase cryptocurrency that you will use to buy a NFT
Now that you have a digital wallet that handles WAX, you need to put funds in it that you will use to buy NFTs. The currency for our wallet is “WAX”. You can buy WAX with a credit or debit card or transfer it from another account. We’ll use the Simplex payment processing system for our example (you’ll typically be given an option of which payment processing service you wish to use for the transaction).
Simplex will ask for the WAX address you wish to transfer the funds into. This is your WAX account name, the one that looks like this:
You don’t need to purchase much WAX. Ten bucks or so will work. You can always add more later or if you purchase too much, convert it into a different cryptocurrency or sell it for cash when you no longer need it.
Note that in other markets, you can purchase NFTs with Ethereum crypto too. However, processing fees for Ethereum have made it cost prohibitive. At the time of this writing, you would pay more than $40 transaction costs just to purchase a ten-cent digital NFT trading card. With a more efficient crypto like WAX, you pay pennies, sometimes even fractional pennies, to purchase digital assets.
Visit a NFT marketplace
Now that we have crypto to use to purchase our NFTs, we need to head to a NFT marketplace to find an asset to buy. There are plenty of NFT markets to choose from but Atomic Assets has a well-known hub called AtomicHub that trades off WAX cryptocurrency. From AtomicHub you can browse and purchase NFT products.
Visit https://WAX.atomichub.io and login to AtomicHub using your WAX login. Use the website’s menu to browse and search NFT products. Geek Slop partners with 3rd parties to offer a variety of NFT trading cards. Here’s a screenshot of the back of a Geek Slop NFT trading card.
Here’s what the NFT listing looks like on the AtomicHub marketplace.
In the marketplace listing, you will find the asset name and unique ID as well as the owner of the asset. Note the mint number. In this example, the maximum number of assets of this type that can be created is 100,000. At the time, only five have been created and this one is the 5th item of the five.
Collections and Series are simply means to organize NFTs. For instance, Geek Slop has multiple NFT trading cards that are part of the alienseriesb series.
Note the properties, Transferable and Burnable. Transferable means the asset can be traded or sold again. The original owner typically takes a small percentage of the sales (e.g. 7%). Burnable means the asset can be burned or permanently destroyed. In this instance, it works just like it would for a paper trading card. The NFT can be completely erased from existence. However, as the owner of a NFT, there really aren’t many reasons you’d want to do this. In truth, other than allowing the creator the means to destroy their own NFTs, it really just adds a bit of randomness to the total number of collectibles available for a given asset.
The price of the NFT is of course, in WAX cryptocurrency. In this example, the price of the NFT is 4 WAX which at the time equates to $.59 cents. When you make the purchase, the WAX funds will be automatically deducted from your wallet.
NFTs can contain metadata too. Metadata attributes are attached to the NFT and used as datapoints. Here are the attributes behind the Geek Slop NFT. The ID is the “number” of the trading card. The rarity “Base” simply means it’s a fairly common NFT (we mint 100,000 of this card). Level, HP, STR, INT, STA, AGI, and CRI are attributes we assigned to allow the card to be used in D&D style gameplay. Variant is a boolean values, 0 meaning false. In this example, the card is not a variant edition. Finally, the year attribute is the year the card was minted.
Note that the attributes shown here are created by the NFT author (Geek Slop). There is no standard. We could have assigned any attribute we wanted. However, Name, ID, and Rarity are fairly common NFT attributes.
Click the purchase button and buy the NFT. Congratulations, you now own a NFT. You can view it on the marketplace or in your digital wallet. The NFT you own is unique and can be handed off (traded or sold) to someone else just like any real-world collectible asset.
There are other NFT marketplaces besides AtomicHub to choose from. Here are some of the more popular ones.
You can create NFTs too but it’s more difficult than purchasing them. Remember when we said that trading NFTs and crypto is much harder than it should be? Here’s a good example of what we’re talking about. NFT creation uses different resources than WAX. WAX forked to use a custom EOS blockchain for their WAX token. This complicated things but in short, from the AtomicHub marketplace, to create a NFT we must first convert our WAX to “staked resources”, specifically CPU, RAM, and NET. Yes, they are named such.
In the EOS world, CPU is used to execute transactions on the blockchain. NET refers to the amount of data you can send while RAM is used for storage of information. These resources are used when you create NFTs and/or buy them. Sometimes you may run out. When you do, the system will prompt you to purchase more. Thankfully, purchasing NFTs is a much easier process.