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How to buy NFTs online
On this page is a beginner-friendly guide to buying and trading NFTs, along with comparisons of the top marketplaces where they can be bought and sold. If you’re unsure what an NFT is, then we recommend reading our quick definition page first and then coming back here for help with your purchase.
Compare the best NFT trading platforms
Most NFTs are paid for using Ethereum, which means you need to own some of that cryptocurrency in order to make your first purchase. The table below contains some of the best brokers that allow you to buy Ethereum, and you can sign up in a few minutes by simply following the links next to each one. Or you can scroll down to learn more about getting the NFTs themselves.
How to buy NFTs online – a step-by-step guide
Step 1. Choose an NFT marketplace
NFTs are sold on marketplaces that act like auction houses for these tokens. You can either head straight to the one that offers the NFT you want to buy, or alternatively pick one of the top platforms and browse through the collection. The marketplaces below are two of the leaders in the field:
- OpenSea: OpenSea is by far the largest NFT marketplace. It lets you buy, sell, and create NFTs on a platform that hosts tens of thousands of traders every single day. Visit OpenSea now >
- Rarible: Rarible is another platform where you can buy, sell, and create NFTs. It even integrates with OpenSea and has its own cryptocurrency, so you can easily trade NFTs on either marketplace. Take a look at Rarible >
Step 2. Sign up and create an account
Before you can place a bid, you have to set up an account. This is usually a simple process that involves putting in a few contact details like your name and email address. It can vary, though, and some platforms might ask for more information like a form of ID to verify your identity.
Step 3. Get a crypto wallet
If you already have a wallet, you can skip this step. For those that don’t, most NFT marketplaces only deal in cryptocurrency (and most commonly Ethereum), so you have to have a wallet to be able to deposit money or place a bid. You also need to have a wallet to store the NFT in once you’ve bought it. Here are two of the best wallets to get started with:
- FreeWallet: FreeWallet is an online wallet that lets you manage your money through your browser or a dedicated mobile app. It also has an in-built exchange so that you can trade coins directly from your wallet. Join FreeWallet today >
- CoolWallet: CoolWallet is a hybrid; it stores your coins offline on a thin, card-like device, but you can access them through an app on your phone. The app connects to the device via bluetooth. Sign up with CoolWallet >
Step 4. Deposit money
On some platforms, this step is as simple as connecting your wallet to your marketplace account. All you have to do is click a button to get started. The important thing is to make sure it’s got some money in it and it’s the right cryptocurrency first. Many NFT marketplaces deal in Ether, so you can go ahead and learn how to buy Ethereum if you don’t own some already.
On other platforms, such as NBA Top Shot, you have to actually deposit money to be able to use it. In that case, you can simply do so with a credit or debit card as you would with a regular cryptocurrency exchange. Or you can fund it with cryptocurrency, but again you need a wallet to be able to do this.
Step 5. Place a bid
Most of the time, bidding for an NFT is simple and it’s the same process as buying anything on eBay. Each auction lasts for a fixed amount of time and you can place bids at any point up until it closes. Occasionally, there’s an option to buy at a fixed price and you can click to get it instantly.
Remember that you might have to pay a fee on top of the listed price. Most commonly that comes in the form of a blockchain fee, or ‘gas fee’, which is a bit like a delivery charge. You have to pay the miners to do the work of adding your transaction to the chain.
Step 6. Get your new NFT
Once you’ve won an auction you have to settle the bid before you can take ownership of the NFT. That means sending the funds to the creator, at which point the NFT will be transferred into your wallet and is now yours to own and use as you see fit.
Should I invest in non-fungible tokens?
It depends on the asset that the token represents and what you want to do with it. As NFTs can take the form of anything from digital artwork, to items that can be used in online games, to trading cards, the answer can be quite different depending on what you’re interested in.
If you’re buying a token as part of a collection, or in order to get your hands on a rare in-game weapon, then you need to decide if what you’re getting is worth the price. On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy something as a means of speculation, then think about whether the NFT is going to rise in value over time.
Whichever approach you take, it’s going to involve some risk. The NFT market is a relatively new one, so it’s difficult to predict with any certainty what’s going to happen in the future. It’s also unregulated and all transactions take place in cryptocurrency, where the value of a coin can be highly volatile. Both factors mean that your NFT could suddenly rise or fall in price due to factors outside of your control.
To help you choose whether an NFT is for you, here’s a list of the pros and cons of owning one. After that there are some answers to a few more questions, with advice on timing your purchase and what the long term outlook might be.
- Exciting new asset class that has seen lots of recent interest
- Could be the future of authenticating digital art
- Every NFT is unique
- One of the easiest ways of spending cryptocurrency
Now here are three final questions to help you decide whether to invest in an NFT.
1. Is now a good time to buy an NFT?
It depends on the price of the item you want and what your goal is in buying it. If you want to get a piece of artwork or any asset that you expect to appreciate in value over time, then it’s usually better to get in sooner rather than later.
You might also want to consider the state of the overall NFT market and whether it’s going through a boom or a slower period. During booms, prices tend to be inflated, while if there is less activity you might be able to find some cheaper opportunities. You can use the latest analysis in the links below to help judge how the market is doing.
Funko stock price gained 45% in March on NFT activity
2. What problem do NFTs solve? What are their future prospects?
NFTs provide a decentralised way of verifying ownership, allowing both physical and digital assets to be traded quickly and securely. By combining online auction houses with blockchain technology, NFT marketplaces provide both an easy way to spend cryptocurrency and a new method of digitally proving who owns an asset.
The future prospects of NFTs are hard to determine, as the industry is still very young. Some people believe that the space will expand to become the go-to way of purchasing things online – and as our lives become increasingly digital this could entail exponential growth. However, others see NFTs remaining a fringe interest that remains unadopted by the mainstream, or a possible collapse of the industry if any of the main databases are hacked.
Overall, every NFT is unique and therefore each of them will have their own benefits and drawbacks as an investment prospect. Make sure to do your research before buying an NFT – both in terms of the space as a whole and the contents of the specific NFT you’re buying – and don’t invest money you can’t afford to lose. To help you keep up-to-date with latest movements in the NFT markets, read our recent news right here:
The changes NFTs brought the world in 2021
Splinterlands sells 6 million Chaos Legion card packs in 24 hours
Report: Walmart is gearing up to enter the metaverse
3. Do you want to invest in NFTs for the long term?
Some NFTs are suited to holding for the long term, while others are geared towards more regular trading as they fluctuate in value. Here are some final considerations depending on what sort of NFT you’re interested in.
Considerations for a long term investment strategy
This approach is best if your NFT is a piece of art or any artefact that might appreciate in value over time. Sign up to a marketplace and get a wallet so that you can store your item safely.
Considerations for a short term trading strategy
A method based on regular trading is ideal for assets like trading cards or in-game items that might fluctuate in value over a smaller time. To trade NFTs like this, you want to choose a marketplace and a wallet but also stay on top of any events that might affect the price of your NFTs.
Fact-checking & references
Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.
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