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 these 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.
What Is a Gas Fee?
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.
What’s an NFT Marketplace?
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:
- Listing a new NFT
- Buying an NFT
- Bidding for an NFT
- Listing your NFT for sale
- Changing your listing
- Transferring among marketplaces
- Converting cryptocurrencies
NFT marketplaces allow these actions, all of which require gas and brokerage fees. The largest ones are Opensea, LooksRare, MagicEden, Rarible, and Nifty Gateway.
Is There Any Gas-Free NFT Marketplace?
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.
How To Sell NFTs Without Paying Gas?
If you read this far, 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
Gas-Free NFT Trading Examples
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.
NFT Mint Without 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.
Sell NFT Without Paying Gas
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.
- Buy or create an NFT
- Click on the Sell Button
- Fill up the listing and publish it
Buy NFT Without Gas Fee
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.
Best Gas-Free NFT Marketplace: Opensea?
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?
Opensea will remain relevant. Artists who succeeded on Ethereum are more likely to launch collections on the free marketplace. More than moving to a smaller platform.
For users like you, it means more variety. Not only do you pay less, but have enough variety to buy worthwhile NFTs. Because saving on gas doesn’t really save anything if the collection doesn’t have potential in the first place.
When looking for strictly ETH marketplaces, there’s not much choice besides Opensea. If you want to save on fees regardless of the marketplace blockchain, your options broaden. Plus, not every BAYC will launch on Opensea.
Here’s where to look:
Low-Fee NFT Marketplaces
The following marketplaces will save you money on fees on every major blockchain: Solana, Binance Smart Chain, among others (e.g., Avalanche, Polygon).
Magic Eden: Best Multi Chain Marketplace
Did you know Magic Eden consistently ranks among the Top 3 Marketplaces? From early 2022, it has traded over $300M in 30 days and a lifetime of $0.5 Billion. Opensea traded over $18B and Solanart, $600M.
Magic Eden charges a 2% fee on every NFT trade. Not that different from Solanart’s 3%, but enough to be the collectors’ favorite. And as the no.1 Solana marketplace, it’s where new artists will go to create the next banger collection.
Binance NFT: Best All-In-One Platform
Binance is, for many, the no.1 crypto platform. Not just because of features (from DeFi to trading), but low prices as a selling point. As for the Binance NFT Marketplace, that hasn’t changed.
Here, “gas” fees apply as BNB transaction fees, which rarely go above $0.1. Compared to Ethereum’s ~$100, it reduces the friction when trading low-price NFTs. More people can justify buying one, which also motivates new artists to join.
Even successful projects are extending collections from Opensea to Binance. DeRace, for example:
Binance also offers fee discounts when using BNB on any other service.
NFTrade: The Multichain Marketplace
Few platforms support as many blockchains as NFTrade. Here you’ll find NFTs on Ethereum, Polygon, Avalanche, and Binance Smart Chain. It’s a multi-chain aggregator that pulls collections from other marketplaces (Opensea) and shows them in one place.
What makes NFTrade a good alternative is the zero transaction fees. Not only on the marketplace but the liquidity farms and NFT swaps.
NFTrade isn’t even a Top 10 marketplace in trading volume. But things may change once they develop the cross-chain feature. Which will allow us to finally avoid gas fees. For example, you could buy an Avalanche NFT using your ETH wallet on the AVAX network (<$0.1 fees).
The more blockchains supported, the more valuable. So far, NFTrade has the most.
New NFT Marketplaces
If you want to find the best NFT, whether it’s to resell or collect, knowing where to look matters just as much.
It’s easy to agree that the best NFTs are on the largest marketplaces. But these have only been around since 2017, and only after 2019, the adoption started. While it seems a lot has happened, the best marketplaces may not even exist yet.
If you want to get in early, watch these marketplaces:
Nifty Gateway: The Gemini NFT Marketplace
This ETH-only marketplace first launched in 2018 and was later acquired by the Gemini exchange. And while it’s nowhere as big as Opensea, that may change after 2022. Nifty Gateway now has a bold selling point: users save 75% on gas fees.
You can see how much you would save if you enter your address on Wallet To Wallet. It’s a new feature that allows you to trade NFTs directly from your ETH wallet. A technology that will reduce costs and attract more users.
Thus, increasing trading volume and asset variety.
GameStop NFTs: The Next Gaming Marketplace
With the rise of metaverse and play-to-earn, it’s a matter of time video game brands get into NFTs. GameStop partners with Loopring (LRC) and Immutable X (IMX) to launch a gamer-focused marketplace.
As the largest video game retailer, you can be sure many collectors are looking to join it. GameStop NFT is still developing, and there’s no information about updates or release dates. For upcoming events, visit NFT.Gamespot and @GameStop.
Immutable X: Best L2 ETH Marketplace
Immutable X (IMX) is an NFT marketplace, cryptocurrency, and L2 solution to Ethereum. Games and marketplaces built on IMX can run operations faster with minimal costs. It uses the ETH infrastructure while reducing network congestion (which affects gas fees).
What makes IMX valuable is the 9,000 TPS of computing power. Even though Ethereum serves for app development, there’s not enough computing power to support demanding dApps (e.g., FPS games). Immutable solves the problem while offering a zero-gas NFT marketplace.
And if you’re wondering about collections, here are the most successful IMX NFTs.
CNFT: Largest Cardano NFT Marketplace
What can you expect from the largest ADA marketplace? Cardano launched smart in late September 2021. If you have heard about any great Cardano NFTs, it’s because there hasn’t been enough time to build a market.
Similar to Opensea in 2018. A minority was trading NFTs while most people were just scratching their heads about Bitcoin. Whether that’s Cardano’s case or not, CNFT is the go-to marketplace.
The question is, will your NFT sell on this platform?
CNFT launched in July 2021. There is no data about user count or daily volume. Once there’s more interest in this blockchain, CNFT could see more growth than any other ADA marketplace.
The Best NFT Marketplace
Gas fees affect NFT adoption, whether you’re a collector, artist, or flipper. Still, it’s not enough to define the collection’s success. Time and time again, Opensea proves it. If you’re selling a BAYC, users will happily pay $100s on gas to get it.
Gas-free NFT marketplaces appeal to new users who may not have $500 to spend on JPGs. It makes it easier to grow a community without constantly pushing giveaways on social media. And beyond saving money, it makes metaverse possible, from play-to-earn games to peer-to-peer marketplaces.
If you want to save on gas fees, Opensea is still king. If you want to look at other blockchains, consider Magic Eden, Immutable X, and Binance. If you want to invest in NFTs, the collection matters more than the fees.
The question is: When the next Cryptopunk is about to launch, where is it more likely to be? The more marketplaces you use, the better chance you have to find out early.
Max Khalus is a crypto writer, NFT scriptwriter, and eCom entrepreneur who generated +1M views writing 100s of posts. He writes for large brands like Zipmex (exchange), Sidus (P2E game), and Enjin (NFT tech leader).
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