If one there’s one thing in the way of NFT mass adoption, it’s gas fees. It’s paying more on top than what the asset is worth. Be ready to drop $100s, whether you want to mint, buy, or sell.
Thousands of users pay fees every day as if it were the “only” choice. At least not anymore. Gas-free NFT marketplaces are gaining popularity, and it’s a matter of time before one of these becomes the next Opensea.
How is it possible to trade without gas fees? The answer is in the definition.
Gas fees are rewards exclusive to Ethereum. This blockchain supports smart contracts, which run 1000s of apps. Including NFT marketplaces.
Just like Bitcoin has miners to validate transactions, Ethereum has validators to run smart contracts. It’s called gas because applications can’t run without these fees. You’re paying for the time and computing power to validate it.
Gas fees change due to supply and demand. As for Ethereum, prices may be as high as 10x because of the trading volume. And if the infrastructure isn’t enough, gas fees rise exponentially.
Outside Ethereum, gas fees are called transaction fees instead, On NFT marketplaces, both mean the same.
NFT marketplaces like Opensea are peer-to-peer trading platforms. The intermediary sets the rules and fees while vendors trade with each other. Trading NFTs is trading crypto-assets backed by the token from that blockchain (which is often Ethereum).
NFT marketplaces are decentralized applications powered by gas fees:
NFT marketplaces allowthese actions, all of which require gas and brokerage fees. The largest ones are Opensea, LooksRare, MagicEden, Rarible, and Nifty Gateway.
If Ethereum gas fees are $50, it’s the same price for all dApps, including marketplaces. You are paying these fees if the platform builds on this blockchain. Either directly or indirectly:
a. ETH marketplace with gas and broker fees
b. ETH marketplace with no gas and (much) higher broker fees
c. Non-ETH marketplace, often with <1$ transaction fees
To trade without gas fees, you either pay higher brokerage fees or use another blockchain.
For example, Opensea built on Ethereum but now supports a Polygon (MATIC) marketplace too. ETH fees are often over $100 while MATIC’s are, on its worst days, $0.20. When buying NFTs worth $1000s, even $10, MATIC is almost free.
If you want to spend <1% in gas (or less than 3% after commissions), simply go to any NFT marketplace outside the ETH network. (But there are other ways)
If you read this far, then you know this is a trap question for ETH marketplaces. You might be paying just as much as everywhere else. The platform pays them for you, which comes from your service fees.
Outside Ethereum, it makes sense to offer “free gas” service. As a business, this small trade-off will attract more artists and collectors. It’s not too good to be true: the service fees make it sustainable.
Even for ETH-only marketplaces, there are solutions to favor small traders. For example, 5% in gas fees or $10, whichever is higher. The minimum trading amount is $100.
To sell without paying gas, your options are:
a. Paying more broker fees
b. Reducing its price impact
c. Selling NFTs outside Ethereum
The more you save on gas fees, the more NFTs you can trade. Here is how to mint, sell, and buy NFTs without paying gas.
The mint is the first purchase made after creating the listing. Collectors like mints because they guarantee the lowest purchase price and safest return (unless it’s a scam). But can you mint without paying gas?
Not exactly. It’s only free when paid by someone else.
As the NFT creator, you don’t need to mint the asset. You just create the listing and wait for someone to buy (and mint) it, gas fees included. You can mint the NFT as the creator, but the buyer still needs to pay gas fees for the transfer.
To sell an NFT, you create a listing for free. Once a buyer pays for it, you will have sold the NFT without paying gas. Free, whether you’re reselling assets or listing new ones.
On Opensea, new sellers pay a one-time activation gas fee. Once paid, you can list as many NFTs for sale as you want.
There are no gas-free NFTs on Ethereum. But, there are low-fee NFTs on non-ETH marketplaces. On Opensea, you can buy Polygon NFTs and pay almost no gas fees.
You can also convert your ETH to MATIC before buying. And while you can move NFTs among platforms (e.g., from Opensea to Rarible), they’re exclusive to their blockchain. You can’t convert BAYC from ETH to MATIC.
Your Ethereum NFT can be free when joining a whitelist or airdrop. Which means the creator may pay for the mint, the gas fees, or both. If you’re lucky enough to get into one (and the collection succeeds), you have the best chance of making profits, whether you pay for gas or not.
Now, before the alternatives…
How is Opensea still the most recommended marketplace? Simple. It’s the largest marketplace so far, and there’s a new gas-free marketplace on Polygon. Since it’s the most well-known platform, where do you think users will go?