If you’ve ever attempted to explore the non-fungible token (NFT) world, odds are you’ve heard of OpenSea. The platform is probably the most prominent gateway to the NFT market, and you may be considering it as the marketplace you’ll use to explore and start interacting with the space.
Before you get started, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how it works. Here, you will find everything you need to know about OpenSea, including how to create, buy and sell NFTs.
But first, let us brush up on some of the basics of NFTs and why you will need a marketplace like OpenSea to access them.
What are NFTs?
Since bitcoin launched in 2009, people are becoming more accustomed to buying and owning assets that exist only in the digital world. With blockchain as the underlying technology, cryptocurrency enables a way to own and transfer value on the internet without necessarily involving a third party. Interestingly, NFTs build on this functionality to create new possibilities centered around the uniqueness of digital assets.
Whereas crypto assets like bitcoin and ether are fungible, or exchangeable, NFTs, thanks to blockchain technology, enable digital assets that are verifiably unique and unexchangeable. In other words, NFTs provide the much-needed non-fungibility for bringing unique digital assets and real-world assets to the blockchain.
An NFT can represent digital art, an in-game asset, music or any other item that requires a system for authenticating its uniqueness, rareness and ownership status in the digital realm.
The ownership of an NFT can be transferred in exchange for digital currencies without involving third parties. However, for this to happen, interested buyers and sellers must perform this task on a platform specially designed to allow the listing, buying and selling of NFTs. These platforms are called NFT marketplaces.
What is OpenSea?
OpenSea is an NFT marketplace that keyed into the NFT movement early enough to establish itself as not only the preferred choice for NFT traders but also the favored destination for NFT developers. Apart from its first-mover advantage, OpenSea’s successes can also be traced to its open-world design that allows anyone to create NFTs for free, as well as buy and sell them on a verifiable infrastructure powered by blockchain technology. This open-world design has attracted NFT creators in droves, as there are little or no restrictions in place to stifle the creative and transactional processes involved.
While this is viewed by some as a vital aspect of OpenSea's operations, the lack of restrictions has been identified as a ticking time bomb, so much so that OpenSea briefly restricted the number of NFTs each user can mint, only for the team to reverse its decision after receiving backlash from the community for the move.
Regardless of the controversies surrounding OpenSea’s operations, it remains the largest NFT marketplace, with over $3.5 billion worth of Ethereum-based NFT trades processed in August 2021 alone. To put this stat into perspective, OpenSea posted just $20 million worth of NFT trading volume for the entirety of 2020.
What are the features of OpenSea?
Here are the things to look out for when using OpenSea.
- As stated earlier, one of the core strengths of OpenSea is that it runs a decentralized marketplace where all trades and activities are recorded in real time on the blockchain.
- In addition to this, it has expanded its operations across three blockchain infrastructures, including Ethereum, Polygon and Klatyn. In other words, you can purchase NFTs based on any of these chains on OpenSea.
- It is also worth mentioning that OpenSea has enabled easy-to-understand processes for all of its main features, including minting, buying and selling NFTs. In essence, you do not need coding experience to use the platform.
- Lastly, it offers a gasless, or feeless, means of creating NFTs, thanks to Polygon integrations. For those unfamiliar with Polygon, it is a blockchain that makes it cheaper to transact with Ethereum tokens and interact with Ethereum-based applications.
How to create NFTs on OpenSea
As a new user, you will need to register an account before you can start to interact with NFTs on OpenSea. To do this, you need to set up a wallet, preferably the MetaMask extension on Google Chrome. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up a MetaMask wallet.
Once you have your wallet ready, continue with the following steps to set up an account on OpenSea.
On the homepage of OpenSea, click the wallet icon at the right corner of the website to connect your newly created wallet. You will see a prompt requesting that you choose your preferred wallet. Pick the wallet of your choice (which, in this case, will be MetaMask) and complete the connection process from your wallet.
After setting up your wallet, you will be navigated to your default profile page on OpenSea. Since this account is in the default state, you need to personalize your account. Before this, OpenSea will prompt you to sign an agreement to continue. Once you scale this stage, you can customize your account by entering a username, writing a bio and adding a profile picture.
At this juncture, you are ready to start minting NFTs. One thing you should have at the back of your mind, however, is that depending on the blockchain you intend to create NFTs on, you may need to have enough coins in your wallet to cover the applicable transaction fees. If you have that covered, you can start minting with the following steps.
From your account page, if you’re only looking to create single NFTs, click on “Create” and enter a name, description URL link and anything else you want to include. Scroll to the bottom and click the lower “Create” to mint it on the blockchain.
To create a collection, you’ll need to click on your account icon, then “My collections.” Under the “Create new collection” option, click on "Create" to set a collection name, enter a description and upload an image. You can play around with the various editing tools on this page to give your collection a really unique feel.
To mint an NFT under the collection you just created, click "Add New Item." You will be navigated to a page where you can enter the name of the NFT and upload metadata, such as an image, video or audio file. You can also add properties, like the year the NFT was created, to help potential buyers filter NFTs in your collection.
- One last thing to note: You can add unlockable items that are only accessible to the owner of the NFT. For example, you can include a way to redeem real-world assets linked to the NFT in question, such as a physical representation of the piece or admission to an event.
- Once you are satisfied with all you have done so far, click on "Create" and sign the message on your connected wallet. If you have chosen to launch your NFT on Polygon, you do not need to pay a transaction fee to complete this NFT minting process. In contrast, minting on Ethereum will incur a network fee.
How to sell NFTs on OpenSea
After creating your NFT, you can list it on OpenSea for sale. You can follow the steps below to do just that.
- From your account page, select your profile image at the top right corner to reveal the Profile option. Click “Profile” to be navigated to your wallet, where you can select the NFT you wish to sell.
- Once you have selected the NFT and navigated to the NFTs description page, click on "Sell" at the top right corner of the screen to move to the listing page.
- On the listing page, you can choose to either set a fixed price for the item or opt for a timed auction, which requires interested buyers to outbid themselves to acquire the item. Furthermore, you can set a duration for the sales or reserve the NFT for a specific buyer.
- At the bottom of this page, you will find all the fees associated with this sale. Note that OpenSea will charge a 2.5% service fee on all sales and a 10% royalty fee payable to the original creator of the NFT.
- After reviewing the details of this sale, you will be requested to sign a transaction on your wallet to confirm the sale. Since this is your first time selling an item on OpenSea, you need to initialize your wallet to continue. Also, if you had imported the NFT from an external marketplace or you did not mint it on Opensea, you will need to undergo an extra confirmation process to permit OpenSea to sell the NFT on your behalf.
Read more: NFT Scams: How to Avoid Falling Victim
How to buy NFTs on OpenSea
When buying NFTs on OpenSea, you can either purchase items with fixed prices or make an offer. You can follow these steps to buy NFTs at fixed prices.
- Explore the listed NFTs to find an NFT you would like to purchase. Once you have found one, ensure that you review the details, including its price history, of the NFT thoroughly to confirm that the NFT in question is worth buying. Be sure to check for red flags of common NFT scams.
- After verifying that the NFT is the real deal, click on "Buy Now" to further review the purchase before you are navigated to a checkout pop-up window, where you can find the final cost of your purchase.
- If all seems fine, press the "Checkout" button to complete the transaction. By doing so, OpenSea will direct you to your wallet where you will find the applicable gas fee. Click on "Confirm" to finalize the purchase. After completing the transaction, you can view the NFT in your wallet by going back to your profile page and clicking "In-Wallet."
Now that you are familiar with the process of buying NFTs with fixed prices, the following steps illustrate how to purchase items on auction.
- Find an NFT on auction that you would like to buy and click the "Make Offer" button after you have reviewed the details of the auction and the bidding prices of other interested buyers. Note that a new bid must be at least 5% higher than the current bid price of the NFT before it can be accepted.
- Again, you may be asked to review the NFT to ensure that it is not a counterfeit.
- Next, select the digital currency you would prefer to make the offer in. If you opt for a currency you have not used to make a purchase before on OpenSea, you may be asked to pay a one-time fee.
- Select a bidding price and also an expiration date for your offer. Once this is done, all you need to do is wait for the seller to decide on the best price to sell the NFT. In a case where the item happens to be a highly sought-after NFT, you might need to keep upping your offer to stay in the thick of things.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.