Buying Crypto Art: Where to start and what to look for

cryptoart geometric shapes

Yes, the original image of the ancient disaster girl meme has been sold for almost $500,000. Should we even mention the Scumbag Steve NFT, the Nyan Cat, or Bad Luck Brian? They’re all big-money NFT “art” now, and you’re looking to buy CryptoArt too.

That’s why you’re here, right?

Whether you want to invest, you’re a fine art collector looking to step into the digital realm, or you’re just bored and wishing to have some fun with that dormant ETH in your wallet, this CryptoArt buying guide is for you. 

Well, not necessarily a buying guide, but more of a dive into the NFT art world and what to expect from it. 

I buy Crypto Art that anyone can right-click- save as?! 

Hmm…yes. It gets a bit awkward when you pay thousands of dollars on a piece that anyone can just go right-click- save as.

Yes, you are the original owner of the work; you can sell it to another collector whenever you want. 

However, let’s face it, most of the stuff we own is about the show-off, the flex. But, how do you show off with something you cannot even hold in your hands?

You can be the silent, original owner of some digital files that anyone on the Internet can access (by the way, are you even really the owner of that digital art?).

What’s more, you can spend thousands of dollars on a digital file and wake up one day wondering why. 

Not wanting to burst your bubble here, we’re just saying that you shouldn’t go head-strong into buying CryptoArt just because everyone is talking about it. You need to be able to identify these virtual objects as actual cultural possessions. 

And now, yes, the elephant in the room…

Is All CryptoArt genuine? How to make sure of it

The primary, fundamental idea of a tokenized artwork is that it is unique, right? An artist digitally signs a piece of art as the original one, and that information is forever stored on the blockchain. No one can forge it, delete it, or alter it in any way. The blockchain is an entirely decentralized realm.

You know the theory – bullet-proof copyrights. 

However, ironically, the NFTs are now suffering from their own success. There is a lot of spam on the NFT marketplaces; people are selling and buying like crazy, and as a first-time NFT buyer, you will feel lost. 

  • What should I buy? 
  • Is this artwork genuinely worth its price? 
  • Is this artwork minted by the rightful owner? 

I mean, if I want, I can Google funny, cute kitten faces right now. Right-click- save-as on one, and then mint it as an NFT. 

Am I the rightful owner of that picture? No, I just downloaded it from the Internet. 

Who is the owner? I have no idea, and I don’t care. 

Does any higher authority check to see if my NFT ownership claims are valid? Nope, because it’s a decentralized system. Hence, the suffering from its own success we were talking about above. 

So, yes, nothing is perfect in life, but what can we do about it? Give up buying CryptoArt? 

Nah. Just tread a bit more carefully. And here’s how. 

Join some NFT communities 

Before registering on a primary NFT marketplace such as OpenSea or Nifty Gateway, consider joining a few NFT collectors’ communities. You will find some good ones on Discord or Telegram. Also, follow along with some Reddit threads on the matter. 

In these groups, you will meet real artists, collectors, and people interested in the crypto world. You don’t necessarily need to interact with them. However, it will help immensely to stay on top of things and do some research. 

art representing connexion

So, where on discord?

  • The NFT Hub – a discord community where artists usually promote their artworks, and people ask all sorts of questions about NFT (again, try not to be shy)
  •  NFT World – about 6,5 k members, and about 1k online at all times (you might want to filter some of that info, though)
  •  NFThub – around 2k members; they have a couple of contests, airdrops, and some big NFT connections

There are many more NFT discord servers out there. Some of them have a sign-up process that you’ll need to go through. So, read, listen, engage, get the hang of things.

What about Telegram? 

  • NFT Room – Public (1k members discussing all sorts of NFT projects and items)

There is a lot of filtering to do in these groups as well, but just don’t be shy, eye the right people, creators and influencers, and get the conversation rolling. 

Digital artists who are selling NFT are also marketing themselves on Instagram and other Social Media platforms. So, follow them there, connect with them. Get in the loop. 

Get on one of the most known NFT Marketplace 

“So where can I buy NFT art safely?”

Let’s make a checklist of the essential NFT marketplaces of the moment: 

So, there’s OpenSea – probably the largest NFT marketplace at the moment; here, you will find digital art, all sorts of crazy collectible trading cards, popular NFTs from the Cryptokitties project, game items. It’s some insane stuff, and you need to be quite careful when selecting through that. 

Rarible – more focused on artworks; every time you buy or sell an NFT, you will get some tokens representing your stake in the platform and the right to vote on some decisions

Nifty Gateway – more exclusive, reserved for music and artwork; there is actually a team behind curating the NFTs, so there’s an extra layer of protection. This is also the marketplace that has made Beeple rich, where the best NFT artists, famous A stars, are minting and selling their digital products. Digital artists do have to go through a laborious process to be able to sell on Nifty Gateway. 

Foundation – it is all about NFT art; what is more, an artist needs an invite to join, so it’s pretty exclusive. Overall, it is a good place where you can be 90% sure you buy an artwork straight from the artist who has created it. Yes, 90% because you can never be too sure. It’s Chinatown! 

SuperRare – another platform for digital art exclusively; they curate the art they sell, and they don’t usually market multiple editions. NFT artists generally struggle to be approved on the platform, so there are high chances you’ll only find good digital art here.

Research, research, research

Ever since high school, we have been taught the value of research. Who else struggled with those research papers in college? Hands up!

So, yes, research has become increasingly important, especially in the era of spam. Before making that purchase, you can always: 

  • Do a Reverse Image Search with Google or Yandex (by clicking on the camera icon) to check if the file you’re purchasing as NFT is just plainly copied from the Internet
  • Research the seller (Google, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest – you know, the stalking essentials); if he’s a real artist, he’ll almost surely have an Instagram page to market his creations
  • Pose a question in those groups/communities we were telling you about above

Do I need to worry about the security of my NFTs? 

So, if you’ve read tweets like this one

or this one…

you might be wondering, “Ok, what do I do to stop this from happening? I thought the blockchain was super-safe, unbreakable even!”

Well, nowadays, people do not have to break into museums to steal art; they can do it from the comfort of their sofa, so you need to protect your NFT wallet, for that matter.

The blockchain is indeed a ledger that no one can control or break into. However, the vulnerability lies in how you tell the blockchain who owns what.

Users who own crypto art own a private, unique key that specifies the number of tokens stored in the blockchain by the owner of that particular wallet. 

When a transaction is made on the blockchain, tokens are assigned to a different private key, and the transaction can never be reversed. That’s what a decentralised ledger means – no police, no calling 911 to report a theft. 

So, if someone hacks their way into your account and transfers your NFTs to their own wallet outside the marketplace, there’s no way you’ll get them back. This is why to ensure the security of your NFTS, you need: 

  • A good, solid software wallet 
  • Two-factor authentication 
  • Linking the software wallet to a hardware wallet

Which is the Safest NFT Wallet? 

First of all, as we were saying above, there are two types of crypto wallets: 

  • Software (hot)
  • Hardware (cold)

Almost all of the NFT marketplaces out there will ask for a software wallet. With a software wallet, you will instantly create your account on the marketplace platform. These software wallets are connected to the internet, obviously, so there is a degree of risk there. 

They’re not as safe as hardware wallets, but they definitely provide a more secure way of buying NFTs than with credit cards. If you’ve ever been tempted to do that, don’t! Do not even think about that again! 

Hardware wallets are the safest of the lot because they store your private keys outside of the internet. However, you cannot buy or sell NFTs directly with them. You’ll ultimately have to link them to a software wallet. 

So, the most secure approach would be to use a combination of both.

Even when they’re linked together, the private key handling your NFTs will safely remain stored in the hardware wallet. 

According to us, the best NFT wallet combination would be a Ledger Nano hardware wallet connected to a software wallet like MetaMask.

In this combination, you can buy NFTs from Rarible or OpenSea. Every time you make a transaction, the MetaMask wallet will request permission from your hardware wallet, and you’ll have to approve it there. 

Yes, it is some sort of Two-factor-authentication, or like those tiny “token” devices banks would give you to approve online transactions, where every time you’d try to make a transaction, you’d have to type a password in the device first.

What else is there to be said about NFTs security? You can never be too sure. When you invest thousands of dollars in CryptoArt, you’d better tuck that private key away.

How do I tell valuable Crypto Art from garbage? 

Ahh. We have arrived at the final pain point. You know that a Monet painting is valuable because that’s what art critics and historians have agreed upon.

What about the CryptoArt value?

ether coin

In the economy, there is this distinction between functional and hedonic value. It is the battle of I need this to do that vs I need this because I like it. 

The first view encapsulates all the speculative resale craze of the crypto world. An NFT’s value is determined by what people are willing to pay for it. 

The hedonic approach is more abstract. Collectors like their stuff because they have a story concerning a famous person’s life; they possess a biographical element and mystery. Mona Lisa has such an incredible cultural value due to the many “adventures” it has been through and the mysterious aura surrounding it. 

So, CryptoArt value is a combination of all these. When you are looking to buy CryptoArt, you should research heavily, consider the story, biography, trends, speculation value, and probably the most important, you should ask yourself – Do I like this? 

That’s it, you’re ready to buy your first crypto art! Just remember the key points we’ve talked about before you hit the buy button:

  • Stay on top of things by joining online communities
  • Keep learning about the NFT world (We’ve listed some great NFT podcasts, by the way)
  • Do your research before buying
  • Buy on safe, famous marketplaces
  • Secure your tokens and NFTs
  • Consider the value on the hedonic and functional levels
  • Enjoy the experience 🙂

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