NFTs are typically Ethereum blockchain-based tokens, and they’re used to authenticate digital ownership of whatever asset is attached to the token. Ethereum’s blockchain can be thought of as a shared global database and virtual machine. A blockchain token is a uniquely identifiable piece of data whose existence is permanently carved into the chain. Similarly, users of the blockchain are uniquely identified by their wallet address. Anyone can view the contents of anyone else’s wallet using a blockchain explorer like Etherscan or The Graph (GRT).

How To Buy NFTs

To become an NFT broker, you’ll need to open a wallet, find your account and start placing orders. Most brokers start with Ethereum because the majority of NFTs operate under this currency. You might have completed some of these steps if you’ve worked with cryptocurrency before. If not, start from the beginning so you have everything you need to buy and sell NFTs.

1. Create Your Ethereum Wallet

Every broker needs an Ethereum account to manage their cryptocurrency. An Ethereum account is a free account that holds your balance and allows you to send and receive tokens. Each account has a unique address that you use to send currency, like sending an email. You can generate an account without using a wallet, but most wallets create your account automatically.

An Ethereum wallet comes with extra features that make it easier to manage your currency. With your wallet, you can view your balance, send currency, review your recent transactions and keep track of other important stats. Wallets are similar to bank accounts with one major difference–they don’t actually hold your Ethereum. This means that you can switch providers at any time without having to transfer your currency from one wallet to another.

If you’re just starting out, you can get a digital wallet that allows you to access your funds from your desktop or smartphone. However, if you want maximum security, you could purchase a hardware wallet that stores your funds in a separate device. This keeps your information offline to reduce the risk of someone hacking into your funds.

To create your wallet, choose one of the options online, then follow the steps to set up your account and start tracking your transactions. Many wallets allow you to buy, send and receive currency directly from the platform. Some wallets come with a password or key phrase, while others require the use of a “seed phrase” to get into your account. Store the phrase in a safe area so you can recover your account later–if you lose it, you might never be able to recover your funds.

2. Buy Ethereum

Once you’ve set up your wallet, you’ll need to figure out how you want to buy Ethereum. If you already own cryptocurrency, you could trade your funds for Ethereum. However, if you’re just starting out, you’ll probably need to pay in cash. Here’s a few ways you can buy Ethereum online:

  • Visit a centralized exchange where you can buy virtually any type of cryptocurrency with cash. With the peer-to-peer marketplace, you can buy Ethereum from sellers across the globe. Your payment options may include debit card, credit card, PayPal or bank transfer. Centralized exchanges often have additional features like live market tracking.
  • Check out a non-custodial exchange that connects buyers and sellers directly with each other. These exchanges have a streamlined platform that allows you to buy Ethereum within minutes. The platforms can have fewer features than centralized exchanges, but they offer more security because they don’t control any of your information.
  • Order Ethereum directly through your wallet. Many wallets allow you to buy cryptocurrency at the current market price. Some wallets also allow you to swap and exchange cryptocurrencies.
  • Visit a platform where you can swap cryptocurrencies. Once you connect your wallet, you’ll be able to swap your currencies for Ethereum or vice versa. This is a good opportunity to swap any currencies that you’ve had sitting around in your wallet.
  • Go to an ATM. If you search online, you might find an Ethereum ATM in your area. Use your digital wallet to complete the purchase in person.
  • Buy Ethereum from a brokerage app like Robinhood. With Robinhood, you can buy cryptocurrency alongside traditional stocks. Many people appreciate the convenience, but you can’t withdraw the currency from the app. This means that you’d have to sell the currency and use the money to buy it from another platform.
  • Order Ethereum from a payment platform like PayPal. Like Robinhood, most platforms don’t allow you to withdraw your coins from the app, so you’ll need to figure out another way to buy NFTs. However, some people prefer to start with PayPal or Venmo because they’re familiar with the platform.

Each option comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Before you start buying online, do some research to ensure that your chosen method is available in your area. You don’t want to register for an online marketplace only to find that they don’t accept your currency. Some websites require extensive personal information to verify your identity. Additionally, look into the sale and withdrawal times–some websites allow you to buy Ethereum in minutes, while others take much longer.

Before you place an order, pay attention to the service fees. Most services charge a fee, but increased fees don’t automatically mean that the service is more legitimate. Processing fees can rack up quickly, so make sure you know what you’re paying for before you give the site your credit card number.

3. Find An NFT Marketplace

Now that you’ve filled your wallet with Ethereum, it’s time for the fun part: buying NFTs. Create an account and fund it with the ethereum. Browse the categories to find NFTs that you want to buy. The NFT world is always changing, but here’s a look at the assets that you might find:

  • Artwork. This includes digital art, animations, pixel art, GIFs, paintings, repurposed art, photography and multimedia pieces.
  • Music. Artists can sell original tracks, remixes and collaborations through NFTs. Many tracks come with original art or visual elements that accompany the music.
  • Digital assets. Some online games and platforms sell skins, avatars, goods and other assets in the form of NFTs. This could also include keys or treasures that you need to access certain levels.
  • Trading cards. Like physical trading cards, NFT trading cards allow you to collect original artwork, commemorate events and celebrate your favorite public figures. Each collection could have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of cards.
  • Domain names. If someone wants to send you Ethereum, they’ll have to dig up the string of numbers and letters that make up your address.  Blockchain domains convert a confusing address into a simple domain name. Like website URLs, you can purchase a variety of domain names with common words and phrases.
  • Virtual world assets. While games like Fortnite have assets that you can buy with cryptocurrency, virtual worlds like Decentraland are 100% fueled by NFTs and blockchains. You can buy land, figures, tools, collectibles, signs and other assets for your virtual world with Ethereum.
  • Rare collectibles. You might find rare and exclusive assets that you won’t see anywhere else on the Internet. Some collectibles have a limited run, making them even more valuable.
  • Miscellaneous. You could find tweets, memes, video clips, physical goods and other items for sale on the NFT marketplace. Classic memes and viral videos have easily sold for tens of thousands of dollars.

If you like one creator’s work, check out their full collection. Many NFT marketplaces have verified creators that produce high-quality work and interact with the community. Note that you’re not always buying directly from the artist–some buyers purchase an NFT, then relist it on the same website. Take a look at the transaction history to see who currently owns the NFT.

4. Buy Your First NFT

Many NFT marketplaces operate like an auction house where you can bid on your favorite pieces. Depending on your options, you could place a bid or buy the NFT outright. Connect your wallet, if you haven’t already, and go through the purchase process. You’ll have to pay an additional Etherum gas fee before you can complete your purchase. The gas fee pays for the computing power that it takes to keep the Ethereum network running.

Once you’ve bought your first NFT, you can do whatever you want with it. Most online marketplaces have online galleries where you can display your collection. Show off your NFT in your gallery, gift it to a friend or place the asset back on the market. Some NFTs come with additional features that you can use along with the image. You can resell your NFT any time–just keep in mind that the value fluctuates along with the market.