Remember those days in school where you couldn't understand what the professor was talking about? I recalled those classes when I tried to buy an NFT for a work of art. I was told, this is going to be confusing.
"This is still very new technology, so there is a learning curve,” says digital artist @BigComicArt, who’s been working in crypto art for the past 4 years.
The world of NFTs and digital art is filled with terms like "bitcoin," "ethereum," wrapped ethereum, gas fees, and Meta mask.
There are several artwork marketplaces online. Most use OpenSeas and Rarible. At least those are the ones I was told to try. All kinds of work: photographs, paintings, memes, gifs. Some are for sale, most are up for auction.
You can't use a credit card or bank account. You'll need a crypto-currency. A specific crypto-currency. This was the first hurdle. The marketplace I chose only took Wrapped ethereum. So I had to convert some of my Bitcoin to...well, I can't convert to wrapped ethereum, I had to convert it first to ethereum, which charged a fee. Converting ethereum to wrapped ethereum charged another fee. Then, I needed to download a crypto-currency wallet.
Now, back to shopping. Since the station wasn't bankrolling my investment, I needed to search for the cheapest art for sale, the kind of art that leaves you going...hmm. Prices are in ethereum or wrapped ethereum. .01 ethereum is roughly $20 in real-world currency. I chose this one that costs just a few bucks.
At checkout though, there's a "gas fee". This is what it costs to convert the sale on the blockchain. And the price fluctuates. One minute it's over $150, a few minutes later is below $70.
After days of this, I'm still no collector of NFTs or digital art. I'm a believer in crypto-art and prices are going up, people are collecting and selling just like collectors do with physical paintings.
If you want to try your hand at collecting non-fungible tokens of digital artwork, here are a few steps you'll need to take to get started:
You'll have to purchase crypto-currency. Bitcoin is the popular choice but most of the artists and platforms I found were only accepting etherium or wrapped etherium. You can purchase etherium through crypto-currency apps such as CoinBase. You can also purchase etherium directly from credit cards or even Apple Pay through one of the "crypto-wallets" you'll need to exchange or trade coins for tokens.
Prices for artwork are typically in etherium or wrapped etherium. Many of the pieces are for sale for $20,000 and up, though many of the items are also up for auction. Once the artist's reserve has been met, auctions are held for at least 24 hours.
Gas fees are paid by the buyer. This gets a little difficult to understand but those fees are paid to miners for the energy it takes to make the exchange on the blockchain. In other words, once you purchase the NFT, it takes energy for those miners to trade your coins for the artwork and put all of the information on the blockchain which proves ownership. Gas fees fluctuate greatly and frequently so check back in a few hours if the gas fee is over $100.