What is OpenSea?

OpenSea is the largest digital marketplace for NFTs. It’s a little like eBay, but instead of selling physical products to the highest bidder, you can sell or buy digital goods instead. These goods are represented by NFTs and are commonly art, music or games. However, the applications for NFTs are seemingly limitless, so there are far more categories than the aforementioned NFTs on OpenSea.

Founded in 2018, OpenSea uses smart contracts to keep verify transactions using Ethereum’s network. The platform has also integrated with Polygon, and it has plans to integrate Solana NFTs soon, too. These networks will allow you to purchase NFTs without needing to pay high transaction fees found on Ethereum’s network. This means if either party doesn’t fulfill their end of the deal, the transaction becomes void and neither party is out anything.

OpenSea Basics

OpenSea has millions of NFTs to choose from in categories including art, music, domain names, virtual worlds, trading cards, collectibles, sports and utility. Each category has a seemingly endless number of listings that can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways to narrow things down.

Click on Filter and you can select All Items, Single Items or Bundles. You can also sort by price, when an item was listed and other options. You can also just type something into the search bar at the top of the page.

Sometimes you’ll see blue checkmarks on an account or collection. This means that it has been verified by OpenSea, in much the same way that you see verified accounts of public figures on Facebook or Instagram. The blue checkmark means it’s legit.

When you browse a particular collection, you will see the Floor Price listed in the status section. This is a feature for power users to see the lowest price any NFT is available for in a specific collection. This price is updated by the hour.

How to Use MetaMask with OpenSea

Anyone can browse around OpenSea to test the waters, but if you want to participate, you’ll need a few things. First you’ll need an OpenSea account. Then you’ll need a Web 3.0 wallet like MetaMask. This is important because any NFT that you buy or sell won’t be stored on OpenSea; it’s only a marketplace that facilitates transactions. The NFT is kept on a blockchain address that you own. This is much like storing your cryptocurrency in a wallet. 

Download MetaMask and be sure to save your keyphrase somewhere safe, because this is the key to unlocking your wallet. If you lose the keyphrase, everything in your wallet is also lost. You’ve probably heard the phrase “no keys, no crypto” or some variation of it. Well in this case it’s “no keyphrase, no collectibles.” 

Next, you’ll need to fund your wallet. On OpenSea you can use Ethereum as well as stablecoins like DAI or USDC. Make sure you fund your wallet to sufficiently cover your transactions as well as the network transaction fees (gas fees) for them.

Now just connect MetaMask to OpenSea by clicking on My Profile on the OpenSea website. Follow the prompts and you will be walked through the connection process. Personalize your account by clicking the gear icon at the top right side on the page. Once you’ve finished setting up your account, you’re ready to sail…on the OpenSea! 

Placing Bids on the OpenSea Marketplace

Placing bids on OpenSea is simple. Click on the NFT you want and then click on Make Offer. Sometimes you’ll also have the option to Buy Now. If the collection isn’t safelisted, you’ll be asked to view the collection details and then check the box verifying that this is indeed the correct collection that you wish to purchase from.

When you continue you’ll be able to select your payment method. Your options will be Wrapped ETH (wETH), DAI or USDC. If your desired item is on Polygon, you must pay in Polygon ETH. If this is your first time making a purchase with the chosen cryptocurrency, you may be required to pay a one-time gas fee.

Now you can place your bid with the desired crypto and click Make Offer. Offers must be at least 5% higher than the previous bid. Whatever amount of ETH you bid will be locked until the bid is withdrawn. 

Where to Buy Ethereum

Ethereum is necessary if you want to make transactions on OpenSea. If you don’t have any yet, don’t worry! It’s easy to buy Ethereum directly through your wallet. Just click the wallet icon on the OpenSea website. Then click Add Funds.

Now you’ll be given the option to purchase from an exchange or buy with a credit card. If you select to purchase from an exchange, you just copy the wallet address you are given and use that address to send ETH to once you have purchased it on Coinbase, Voyager or another exchange that you prefer to use. Depending on where you live, you may also have the option to buy Ethereum with a credit card. Just be aware of any fees charged by your credit card company.

Cryptocurrency Market vs. NFT Market

As a whole, the cryptocurrency market is considered very volatile. The NFT market is even more volatile. There is no way to know what kind of return on investment you’re going to get, if any, if you invest in NFTs. 

While both cryptocurrency and NFTs have digital records stored on the blockchain, they are still very different crypto assets. Cryptocurrency is fungible, meaning it isn’t unique. If you have 500 Bitcoin, each one is the same. NFTs are non-fungible. Each one is unique.

The value of a cryptocurrency is based on market fluctuations. The value of an NFT is based on asset value. Both are considered risky investments. Only you can decide if the risk is worth it to you.

OpenSea Alternatives

OpenSea is a unique marketplace which makes it difficult to find any real competitors. However, there are some similar sites such as Rarible, Nifty Gateway and Sorare. 

Keep in mind there are many blockchains capable of hosting smart contracts and NFTs, and each of them has at least one dedicated marketplace. The technology is ever-evolving and new currencies, assets and platforms are introduced everyday.