With the NFT craze exploding all around us, we attempt to guide you through the process of actually being in a position to buy one.
How to buy an NFT in the UAE, step-by-step
We’ve been talking a lot about NFTs in the last few weeks. In fact, everyone’s been talking a lot about NFTs in the last few weeks. Even if we have some idea what they are now – digital assets that can be purchased using cryptocurrency and whose ownership and transfer can be verified on the blockchain – actually buying them remains a rather opaque and slightly clumsy process.
We have been experimenting with the process over the last few weeks and have come up with one route to NFT ownership that worked for us when purchasing from the popular Open Sea NFT store.
The following step-by-step guide is certainly not the only way, and no doubt more sophisticated NFT or crypto experts will be in a position to suggest better, but this is a method that we trialled ourselves and seems best suited to first-timers based in the UAE. We now own an NFT to prove it works, too.
1. Set up an account with a cryptocurrency exchange
For UAE residents without a US or European bank account, the easiest option to is to start with BitOasis, which is based in Dubai and accepts credit-card payments in AED.
First, visit the site here, then create a profile with your name, e-mail address and a password. You’ll then be directed to an account set-up page, which will guide you through the subsequent steps – including verifying your e-mail, entering a valid phone number, etc. You will then receive an SMS with a one-time passcode, which will then take you to an account dashboard.
Now you should be able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
2. Buy cryptocurrency
Once you have an account, you can buy whichever cryptocurrency you want. On BitOasis, for instance, you can buy Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Tether (USDT) and a host of others. But for purchases of NFTs, Ethereum (ETH) is the one you want to go for if you want to buy from NFT sites such as Open Sea.
Buying simply requires a credit card, and you can load up with your chosen crypto from this page for a small transaction fee.
3. Open a Metamask wallet
Now, you might think that an opening a cryptocurrency exchange is sufficient to get you going, but sadly not – at least not yet. If you wish to buy something from Open Sea, for instance, you will need to transfer your new holding of ETH into one of the wallets they have partnered with – with MetaMask and Dapper two of the most popular.
Opening a MetaMask account is perhaps the easiest and it will exist as a browser extension, meaning it will be available to you whenever you wish to make an purchase from Open Sea. When you’re on the homepage, you’ll be invited to “Get Chrome extension” or download an app to either iOS or Android devices. You will, of course, need to make sure you are using Chrome instead of Safari or Explorer.
For desktops, you need to add this extension and, once complete, the wallet’s fox logo will appear in the top left of your browser. Click on this and follow the set-up instructions, which will include agreeing to terms and conditions and creating a password.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a field with 12 seemingly random words. These are your “seed words” and you should copy and save them somewhere safe. That done, your wallet is active on the Ethereum mainnet network and ready to receive currencies and digital assets.
4. Transfer your ETH to your Metamask wallet
Now, once you have a MetaMask wallet, you have an ETH wallet address/ID – which is represented by long string of characters. Copy this and go back to BitOasis and access your accounts page.
Under your Ethereum holding, there should appear a quantity of ETH and its current AED value.
In the same section, there will be two buttons: “Deposit” and “Withdraw”. Click “Withdraw”. This will take you to a page with two fields: the address field for your wallet, into which you should paste your Metamask ETH wallet address. In the other field, enter the amount you wish to transfer.
Bear in mind, any transfer of Ethereum requires the payment of a “gas fee”, which changes depending on the time of day, but is typically around 0.026 ETH, so it pays to transfer a large quantity to reduce the fee percentage.
5. Choose something to buy
Now, you’re all set. Almost. Once you have chosen something to buy, you can either make an offer or if it’s available from the artist/originator, you can usually “buy now”. Once you’ve clicked that button, it will sync with your MetaMask wallet and you can complete the purchase.
NB: For some NFTs listed on Open Sea, there might be one last step: the need to convert your ETH to wETH, or “wrapped” Ethereum, which MetaMask will do for you – for more gas, unfortunately.
6. Keep, transfer or sell your NFT
Once the transaction has been processed and validated on the decentralised ETH ledger, you are the proud owner of an NFT. Now what do you do with it? Well, you can leave it in your Open Sea account and hopefully someone will want to make you an offer for it, or you can transfer it to your MetaMask wallet (more gas!) for safekeeping and browsing. It’s up to you.
The first ever Arabian Business Money Forum takes place on Wednesday, March 31 with an esteemed line-up of experts on subjects as diverse as asset allocation, wealth management, fiduciary services, real estate, art and tax protection.
At the forum, the Arabian Business team will put an NFT up for sale during the event to offer a real-life, real-time case study into the space.
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