How to Buy NFT Art: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

In this article, you’ll learn everything about how to buy NFT art on leading NFT platforms on Ethereum and other blockchains.

How to Buy NFT Art: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

In 2021, NFT art took the world by storm and now probably everybody knows what NFTs are. After Beeple’s seminal $69 million sale on Christie’s, artists, dealers, collectors, and art enthusiasts all scrambled to learn what NFTs were. In this article, you’ll learn everything about how to buy NFT art on leading NFT platforms on Ethereum and other blockchains.

How to Buy NFT Art on Ethereum

Most non-fungible tokens, including those representing art, exist on the Ethereum blockchain as either ERC-721 or ERC-1155 tokens. These are special formats for NFTs that make it easy for smart contracts to create, buy, sell, and transfer tokens.

For all these operations with NFTs, you’ll need a crypto wallet that supports all the main Ethereum functions.

Creating a Wallet for NFTs

On any NFT-related website, you’ll see a button called ‘Connect Wallet’. This refers to a crypto wallet that either exists as an app on your device or a plug-in for your browser.

The most popular Ethereum wallet compatible with most NFT applications is MetaMask.

If you don’t yet have a MetaMask wallet, you’ll first need to create one. There are lots of instructions on the web.

Important: save your seed

In future, if you’re serious about NFT art, you might want to buy a hardware wallet like Trezor or Ledger. Those wallets are small hardware devices and offer more protection than software wallets.

Funding Your Wallet

Now that you’ve got your Ethereum wallet, it’s time to buy some ETH, the native token of the Ethereum blockchain.

ETH is used to pay gas fees for all interactions with the blockchain. This includes authorising your wallet to interact with smart contracts, buying NFTs, sending tokens across, and doing anything else that’s recorded on the blockchain.

You can buy ETH on any crypto exchange. Coinbase and Binance are two of the most popular exchanges available in most countries.

On Ethereum foundation’s website, you can find the list of crypto exchanges with ETH on the Ethereum foundation.

Adding Other Crypto for Your Wallet

Depending on the selling platform, NFTs are sold for ETH, WETH, USDC, USDT or DAI.

WETH is simply ETH wrapped as an ERC-20 token. Unlike most Ethereum tokens, ETH does not conform to the ERC-20 format. That’s why some smart contracts require a ‘wrapped’ version.

You can get WETH either on a decentralized exchange like Uniswap or SushiSwap. Alternatively, on some platforms, you wrap your ETH.

How to Buy NFT Art in 3 Steps

Now that you have a wallet with some crypto, you’re ready to buy NFT art.

  1. Connect your wallet to the platform: on most crypto NFT websites you’ll see a button that says ‘Connect wallet’. Just click that and sign enter your password in the browser plug-in.
  2. Pre-authorize the smart contract: so that your wallet could interact with the smart contract, you might need to sign a message with your wallet. While at this step you don’t transfer any ETH or stablecoins, this might require paying some gas fees.
  3. Place a bid or buy NFT piece: now you’re actually sending a transaction that’s worth something. Different platforms structure this step differently, but usually, you freeze some funds in ETH or stablecoins. And even if your bid doesn’t win, you still need to pay some gas fees.

You might be wondering where to buy NFT art. There are lots of options!

Below are 13 places where to buy NFT art.

13 Websites for Buying NFT Art

The multitude of NFT platforms could be divided into two categories: centralized and decentralized platforms.

Centralized NFT art platforms

Centralized NFT platforms are quite similar to regular websites. They usually have a team that vets and curates artists and pieces that are sold on the platform.

On one hand, curation helps to narrow down the selection to the most interesting artists. There is a higher chance that art that you’ll buy will retain value and maybe even grow in price.

However, this also repeats all the issues with traditional art gatekeepers. In the art world, galleries, curators, and other insiders have an outsized influence on what is considered ‘art’. So the works you’ll see on centralized NFT art platforms might be a bit too refined.

Nifty Gateway

Founded in 2018 and owned by billionaire Winklevoss twins, Nifty is an NFT art auction platform that sold works by Beeple, Grimes, LOGIK and other (newly) famous digital artists.

Art is sold as ‘drops’, which are available at a specific time and date. The drops are usually done every three weeks or so.

All works are priced in USD and because the platform is centralized, there are no smart contract hassles. Prices for drops are usually several hundred to several thousand dollars and more.

Lucky buyers of drops can also resell them right on Nifty Gateway. Or they can withdraw them to external wallets and marketplaces.


Foundation is an NFT art platform that has curated and vetted artists yet the auctions take place on the Ethereum blockchain. Bids, purchases, and payments to artists — everything is done in ETH.

The most famous works sold on Foundation are Edward Snowden’s NFTs and the original Nyan Cat (sold for 300 ETH).

Most prices are 1 ETH and higher but some auctions start at 0.1 ETH, so it’s possible to grab something relatively inexpensive.


Launched in 2018, KnownOrigin is an NFT platform focused on artists. Artists can join via application (which open once the previous batch is reviewed) and there is already a community of over 1,000 artists.

There is a primary market (where artists sell the works) and a secondary market (where anyone can resell their NFTs bought on the platform. For primary sales, KnownOrigin gets a 15% cut while 85% goes to the artist. For secondary sales, KnownOrigin takes a 3% commission and the artist gets a 10% royalty.

Prices on KnownOrigin are typically are under 1 ETH and looks like quite a few NFTs remain unsold.

To buy NFTs on KnownOrigin you can pay with ETH or via credit card via a payment partner.


Launched in 2018, MarkersPlace is a primer marketplace for digital art. It sold over $100 million worth of works, including Beeple’s $69 million 1:1 ‘Everydays’ in partnership with Christie’s.

MakersPlace has a community of 20,000+ but the platform is still invite-only. Interested artists are invited to join a Discord server to get an invite code.

You can buy art either during time-limited Drops via auction or on the Marketplace with options to pay the listed price or make an offer. Prices range from under $500 to over $5,000. Both ETH and credit cards are accepted.

Like KnownOrigin, MakesPlace takes a 15% commission on primary sales. Every time a work is resold, the artist gets a 10% royalty.

Async Art

Async Art is a platform for programmable art. Works on Async aren’t just static JPEGs. Pieces update and change based on time, day of the week, or other events or parameters defined by the artists. These features are known as ‘autonomy’.

Additionally, collectros can buy Masters and Layers. Masters are like 1:1 pieces and Layers are updates designed by the artists to be added to Masters. So by buying a Layer, collectors can modify and co-create a piece.

Art is sold either via auctions (with a reserve or without) or with a ‘buy now’ option. Prices rarely start below $1k.

Async also has built-in features for easily displaying works on Apple TV, Meural, or even a new tab in your Chrome browser. The ‘new tab’ shows a piece, either a Master you select or a random piece, which is great for discovering new interesting works.

Decentralized NFT art platforms

Unlike centralized platforms, decentralized NFT art platforms don’t have any filters. Anyone can sell anything they want. These platforms run purely on smart contracts and even their founders can’t censor anything.

For that reason, NFT art on decentralized platforms might be more raw and amateurish. Some of the items might not even be considered art at all. And that’s fine too! This is all one big experiment.


Founded in 2017, OpenSea is the largest general NFT marketplace which hit $4 billion in total volumes.

Besides art, OpenSea sells all sort of user-owned NFTs: collectibles, trading cards, utility, music, eth domain names, and more.

As one of the first platforms, OpenSea might not be the easiest platforms for newcomers as it’s easy to get lost in all the stuff sold on the platform.

‘Rankings’ help users find their way around the sea of NFTs. This includes selecting by category and sorting by trading volume, the floor price, the number of owners, and assets.

Prices on OpenSea start with 0 ETH… the trick is that Ethereum gas fees can reach several hundread dollars. High gas fees are a common problem for decentralized NFT platforms.

That’s why besides Ethereum, OpenSea also sells NFTs on Polygon and Klaytn.


Launched in 2020, Rarible is a decentalized platform for NFTs with an emphasis on art, gaming, and metaverse.

NFTs minted and sold on Rarible can also have ‘unlockable’ content, which becomes available only after the sale or transfer of the NFT. This content is defined by the artist and could include high-res images, videos, secret messages, and more.

While anyone can buy and sell on Rarible, only verified users will appear while you explore unless you speficically switch on non-verified users. Verificantion isn’t too complicated and essentially requires a fully filled out profile with a link to Twitter.

Prices on Rarible range from 0.001 ETH and can reach dozens of ETH although it looks like most prices are under 1 ETH.


Unlike Rarible and OpenSea, SuperRare has a narrow focus on single-edition digital art aka 1:1 NFTs.

While SuperRare aspires to be decentralized artists are still handpicked. However, SuperRare has formed a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) to manage the platform and in future also curate the art.

In the SuperRare 2.0 vision, holders of $RARE tokens will manage Spaces that will mint and curate art. These will act as sort of decetralized digital galleries.

How to buy NFT art on other blockchains

The biggest problem with NFTs on Ethereum are high gas fees.

That’s lots of alternative blockchains also have frameworks for NFTs.

  • NFTs on Polygon: As a scaling solution for Ethereum, Polygon (aka MATIC) has the same format for NFTs as Ethereum. So it’s easy for existing smart contracts to offer a version on Polygon. OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, already works on Polygon as well.
  • NFTs on Zilliqa: Because Zilliqa is a more centralized smart contracts blockchain, fees are lower than on Ethreum. One of the plaftorms that sells NFT art on Zilliqa is Mintable. Prices are certaintly lower but looks like both quality and quantity are lagging.
  • NFTs on Solana: Solanart is the first NFT marketplace on Solana. Minting and listing is via application but it looks like so far there aren’t that many projects.
  • NFTs on Binance: In 2021, Binance has launched its own Binance NFT marketplace and has already partnered with major museums such as Russia’s Heritage and brands like Vogue.
  • NFTs on Bitcoin: While Bitcoin doesn’t have full-fledged smart contract capabilities, Stacks has build on to of its blockchain to introduce all the key features, including NFTs. However, it looks like most projects are still in development.

Finally, high gas fees might actually be a feature not a bug. NFTs are meant to be rare and part of that comes from the fixed sunk cost. Think of that as similar to sculptures cut from marble (ETH) vs something made from clay.

Your turn to experiment with NFTs art

In this post we’ve reviewed how to buy NFT art on Ethereum, reviewed key centralized NFT art platforms, decentralized marketplaces, and then briefly explored how to buy NFTs on alternative blockchains. That’s a lot of theory!

The most important is to take some steps and play by yourself. Buy some ETH, and see what you can buy. This first-hand experience will tell you more than anything you can read online.