If you’ve been on the internet lately, you’ve heard about non-fungible tokens, or NFTs for short.
You might not know exactly what they are, or where they come from. But you’ve seen plenty of hexagonal Twitter profile pictures of cartoon apes. And you’ve likely seen an article or two about one of those drawings selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So, now you're sitting here wondering how to buy NFTs in Canada. And not only are we going to explain this in this article, but we're going to give you access to the number one tool to learn more about the world of NFTs from one of the most trusted resources in the country.
What Are NFTs?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are, at a very high level, bits of code on the Ethereum blockchain.
“Non-fungible” essentially means unique and one-of-a-kind. A dollar is fungible, because you can trade one for another, and they’re exactly the same value. A Bitcoin functions the same way. But an NFT can’t be replaced with its exact duplicate, because its exact duplicate doesn’t exist.
NFTs can be any digital asset. A tweet, a video, a meme — some people want to mint deeds to houses and driver’s licenses as NFTs, which makes others nervous — but the most popular form of NFTs is digital art. Those little monkey pictures you see everywhere are valuable because not only does it give them access to an exclusive club for holding the NFT, primarily via a Discord, but the code behind the image is unique.
It’s sort of like a real painting. Just like you can purchase a print of the Mona Lisa in the gift shop, you can right-click and save an NFT. But it doesn’t mean you own that piece of art. Just a visual representation — a copy.
Luckily, getting your hands on an NFT is slightly easier than buying the Mona Lisa.
How to Buy NFTs in Canada
- Open a crypto trading account
- Fund your account
- Buy some ETH
- Head to an NFT marketplace
- Browse, bid, and buy
One of the best things about NFTs, and crypto in general, is the lack of borders. With some exceptions, Canadians can use worldwide NFT marketplaces just like anyone else. However, the process of buying NFTs is quite a bit different than buying stocks. So it's important to pay attention. It is not as easy as jumping on Qtrade, or in the states, TD Ameritrade, and scooping up NFTs.
There are a few steps involved with buying NFTs since the transactions take place in cryptocurrency, and you have to go through specific dealers. But the hassle is only in setting things up. Once you’ve got your accounts ready and crypto deposited, buying can be done in a few quick clicks.
1. Open a crypto trading account
Since NFTs are almost always part of the Ethereum network, you’ll need to buy some Ether (ETH). This is the crypto coin that you’ll exchange for your NFT.
There are a ton of crypto exchanges to choose from. Binance and Coinbase are two major ones with onboarding processes aimed at everyday consumers. You can’t go wrong with either.
Both platforms have an exchange, where you can buy and sell crypto, and a wallet, where you keep the crypto. You’ll connect your wallet later to your NFT marketplace of choice.
That is unless you live in Ontario, in which case you won’t be able to use Binance. Also, another outstanding option for Canadians is Bitbuy. If you're interested in learning more, just read our Bitbuy review here.
2. Fund your account
Now that your wallet is set up, it’s time to fill it. Follow the site’s instructions to deposit fiat currency (dollars, Euros, etc.). Usually, it just takes a few clicks.
3. Buy some ETH
Now that your wallet is full of fiat currency, it’s time to exchange it for ETH. To do that, you’ll use the, well, exchange. Again, follow the site’s instructions. The major players make it super easy.
Remember to buy only as much as you’re comfortable with. This feels like a good time for a reminder that the crypto and NFT marketplace is volatile compared to “traditional” investing. Don’t stake your retirement on it, and only deposit what you can stand to lose.
4. Head to an NFT marketplace
It’s time to connect your crypto wallet to your NFT marketplace of choice. Again, there is a lot to choose from. But it’s hard to go wrong with one of the most popular platforms. Make sure to do some searching here to find out about the site’s security before putting money in it.
Binance has its own NFT marketplace — meaning if you have your crypto wallet in Binance, you can buy NFTs without leaving the site.
Coinbase has plans to launch its own NFT marketplace. It’s not clear when it’s coming. But users can join the waitlist now.
The most popular, however, by a wide margin is Opensea. Whether that stays true in the future with new platforms coming out remains to be seen. But for now, Opensea is king.
5. Browse, bid, and buy
Take a look at all the NFTs floating around in cyberspace and pick one that makes your brain feel nice.
Maybe the creator of an obscure meme from 2011 has minted it as an NFT, and you just have to have it. Maybe your favourite sports team is getting in on the trend. Or maybe you just want an NFT girlfriend.
Top NFT open Marketplaces
There are tons of places to buy NFTs online. Some are creator-specific, like Larva Labs, which made the viral CryptoPunks NFT project. You can buy their new projects like Autoglyphs through the Larva Labs site.
Open platforms aim to host NFTs from anyone and everyone. Artists, traders and collectors can upload NFTs and others can bid on them, no matter where they came from. Here are some of the most popular.
As mentioned, OpenSea is the king of the NFT trading world. It’s the largest marketplace by volume and amount traded, and it’s a great starting place for wannabe traders.
You don’t even need ETH to trade on OpenSea. It accepts more than 150 different tokens as payment options.
And if you want to create your own NFTs — a process known as “minting,” more on that below — OpenSea has that functionality built in.
Rarible is another large NFT trading platform with some impressive partnerships. But it’s not quite as open, payment-wise, as OpenSea. You’ll need to use the Rarible token (RARI) to buy and sell NFTs on its marketplace.
Still, it’s a great option for new traders, with all kinds of NFTs available. And it’s partnered with software behemoth Adobe to help artists protect and secure their work. Perhaps more importantly, it hosts Taco Bell’s NFT collection.
SuperRare is another open NFT platform. It focuses on the social aspect of NFT trading and ownership — which, you’ll know if you’ve ever met a Bored Ape Yacht Club owner, is a big deal to many collectors.
You’ll need a crypto wallet with Ethereum to buy and bid on the SuperRare platform.
Foundation is the new, cool kid on the block. It has a clean, austere layout that’s a joy to peruse. Since its launch last year, it’s sold over $100 million in NFTs — so it’s likely here to stay for as long as this internet fad lasts.
Furthering its hype, artists need to be invited to Foundation by its community. For buyers, it’s not so exclusive. As long as you have Ethereum in your wallet, you’re good to go.
5. Nifty Gateway
Nifty Gateway is the NFT marketplace of the Gemini crypto exchange, which was launched by the Winklevoss twins. One nifty thing about Nifty is you can buy NFTs with fiat currency, like Canadian dollars.
It’s a curated platform that hosts some top-tier NFTs from artists like Grimes and Beeple (that artist who sold an NFT at auction for $69 million (nice)).
Unlike other platforms, NFTs sold through Nifty stay on the platform. So if you’re a collector who’d like to show off your artwork in your Cryptoland mansion, it might not be for you.
Mintable is another major platform that’s seen over 200,000 creators monetize their work through the exchange. Famous billionaire and Shark Tank judge Mark Cuban is one of the backers.
Traders will need Ethereum to buy and bid on Mintable.
How to Create (Mint) Your Own NFTs and Sell Them
If you’re an artist, you might be thinking about how you can get into the NFT world. After all, if the maker of the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme can sell her NFT for over $400,000, why shouldn’t you get a slice of the pie.
Luckily, major platforms like OpenSea make it easy to mint NFTs.
1. Connect your crypto wallet to the NFT platform
If you’re already an NFT trader, you’ve completed this step. If not, follow the steps under “How to Buy NFTs in Canada” up to step 4.
Make sure the platform allows you to mint NFTs as well as buy them. Some only do the latter.
2. Go to the marketplace’s minting section and follow the steps
In OpenSea, click on the “Create” icon in the top-right of the homepage. Fill out the required fields, upload your Jeff Goldblum impression/ancient meme/SpongeBob fanart, and you’re almost set.
Note that minting an NFT usually costs some money, known as “gas fees.” Make sure to check how much it’ll be before committing to the mint, as prices can fluctuate. You don’t want to put yourself too deep in the hole before you even have a chance to start selling.
You can also specify how much you’ll be paid in royalties if your NFT sells again. A normal amount is 5% to 10% of the secondary price.
3. Let people know about your shiny new NFT
Congratulations! Your pixel art/short film/Katy Perry mashup is now minted as an NFT.
Now it’s time to head to Twitter, or wherever your artistic following lies, to let them know how they can support you in this brave new crypto world.
How to Avoid NFT Scams
Scams are, unfortunately, a part of dealing in the crypto space. NFTs are a hot-ticket item right now, meaning there are a ton of pump-and-dump schemes and sketchy Discord channels looking to bilk you out of your hard-earned ETH.
The worst part is, once they’ve drained your account, there’s essentially nothing you can do. The anonymous nature of crypto makes it nearly impossible to trace bad actors, even for police.
Normal internet security hygiene applies in the NFT space. Avoid anything that could be a phishing scam, such as Discord pop-ups that will lead you to a legit-looking sign-in page, Twitter bots asking for help, or emails asking for your wallet key or security phrase. Never give out your password to anyone asking for it. Period.
But the more sophisticated scams require an extra level of caution. There’s a whole minor industry focused on catfishing and fake personas looking to lure you out of your passwords or get you to invest in a bad project.
CoinDesk has a solid roundup of some of the most common scams and how to avoid them.
Why People Are Investing in NFTs (And Why Some Are So Pricey)
Like any piece of art or speculative investment, NFTs are worth whatever people will pay for them.
And like in the art world, there are a lot of rich people who want the prestige associated with owning an exclusive piece that will make dinner guests (or Twitter followers) go, “Woooowwww.”
Everyday investors might buy an NFT for any number of reasons. Maybe they believe in the project and think the price will go up, so they can sell it for a profit later. Maybe they want access to the exclusive Discord or club holding the NFT gets them. Maybe they want to support the artist in a more interesting way than subscribing to their Patreon. Or, maybe they think monkey picture look good.
Of course — say it with me — just like in the art world, there are also some accusations of less-than-savoury behaviour when it comes to NFT buying and selling.
For instance, many have noted that Metakovan, the buyer of Beeple’s $69 million NFT, is selling fractionalized shares in a Beeple artwork package — and that it would be in his interest if Beeple’s art went up in value.
And “rug pulls” — where a cryptocurrency or NFT creator takes investors’ money and runs — are a constant threat. Buyers have to trust who they’re buying their NFTs from because there’s really no recourse once an anonymous minter cuts and runs.
How to Prove You Own Your NFTs (Using a Blockchain Explorer)
When you buy an NFT, it’s assigned a specific identification number. That number can be searched using a blockchain explorer.
The results will show who owns the NFT, when they bought it, and for how much. It’s a type of ledger — like a book that can only be written in at certain points.
Two of the most popular blockchain explorers for Ethereum are Etherscan.io and Etherchain.org.
Final thoughts and access to our NFT
The debates are endless over whether NFTs are a scam or the next big thing in art collecting. In our eyes, this is an industry that is just getting started. There are so many use cases for NFTs that it is very likely only the surface has been scratched in terms of usability.
In 2022, we're launching our own NFT, called Stocktrades Genesis. No, this won't be a profile picture NFT with a cute cat or a bored ape. It will instead be an all-access pass to one of the most trusted resources of information when it comes to NFTs. The name of the game in the NFT space is "utility" of the NFT. And we aim to provide some of the strongest in the space.
The NFT space is vast, and it's exciting. But, it's also widely misunderstood and full of fraud. So, if you're looking for someone to be your guide through all things Web 3.0, just click the link below to join our Discord, and shoot us a message! Considering we have a fully-fledged NFT course in development that will be free to people who get in early, it's a no-brainer to take a couple of seconds to join.