8 Steps to Buying Your First NFT

Want to get into NFTs but don’t know how to get started? This blog is for you.

Sarah Wood Alex Taub
Sarah Wood / Alex Taub

Want to get into NFTs but don’t know where to start? This blog is for you.

Here’s the simplest way to go from USD to NFT in 8 easy steps.

At the highest level, to buy your first NFT, you will....

  1. Set up your account on a crypto exchange
  2. Buy cryptocurrency on a crypto exchange
  3. Set up a crypto wallet (to hold your future NFT purchase)
  4. Buy cryptocurrency
  5. Fund the crypto wallet with cryptocurrency
  6. Sign into a NFT marketplace to choose a NFT to purchase, and
  7. Purchase a NFT that will be housed in your crypto wallet, using cryptocurrency to pay
  8. Stay in the conversation to learn more about NFTs

There are several options you can use for crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, and NFT marketplaces.

In this example, we’re using Coinbase for the crypto exchange, MetaMask for the crypto wallet, and OpenSea as the NFT marketplace because those are the simplest and most secure.

Let’s get started!

  1. Set up a Coinbase account

Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange where you can buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more.

Coinbase has a simple interface and is one of the easiest platforms to get your money into crypto if you are a beginner. You could also use: Kraken, Bitstamp, Gemini

On any platform, you will have to go through KYC (means “Know Your Customer” - it’s a multi-step process that financial companies use to verify who their users are and prevent fraud) which could take a few days. More info here.

2. Set up your MetaMask Crypto Wallet to Hold Your Future NFTs

You can’t store NFTs on Coinbase, so you’ll need a crypto wallet to hold NFTs.

MetaMask is a crypto wallet that is easiest to use. A popular alternative is Rainbow.

Install MetaMask for Chrome here.

*SAFETY TIP* NEVER share your private key with someone.

If someone has your private key, they have access to all of your money. Read more about how to keep your wallet secure here.

3. Buy ETH on Coinbase

For instant transfer, use your debit card or wire transfer. Using a bank account could take a few days.

4. Send ETH (from Coinbase) to Your Crypto Wallet (on MetaMask)

Copy your public wallet address from Meta Mask and paste into the “Receive” box on Coinbase. Triple check that the address is correct.

5. Sign into OpenSea with Your MetaMask Account to Purchase and Sell NFTs

Other NFT marketplaces to check out include: SuperRare, Nifty Gateway

6. Evaluate Prospective NFTs by Looking at Properties, Transaction History & Floor Price

Properties: NFTs that are more rare are generally more valuable.

Transaction History: Look at trading volume to see if the volume traded is increasing or decreasing, which shows if the momentum for the NFT is accelerating or decelerating.

Floor Price: Check if you can afford it. The floor price is the lowest price any NFT in a particular collection is available for (on OpenSea this is updated by the hour)

Join the conversation! You can use Twitter to find Discord channels or Upstream communities about specific NFT collections.

7. Use OpenSea to Purchase and Sell NFTs

When you find a NFT that you are ready to purchase, you can do so directly using OpenSea.

8. Stay in the Conversation on Upstream, Twitter, & Discord

In addition to Discord and Twitter, the weekly chat in Upstream's NFT Community is a great way to learn which upcoming NFT projects are gaining momentum and stay in the loop.

Prefer Video?

Alex Taub, CEO of Upstream, led the Upstream Community through a step-by-step video tutorial on how to make your first NFT purchase. You can view the full video here. You can also find a full glossary of terms below.

Still have questions? Join Upstream’s weekly NFT Community Meet-Up every Friday here.

What is Upstream? Learn more here.

We’ve outlined one path from USD to NFT, optimizing for simplicity and security. In upcoming posts, we’ll share more options for platforms and dig in deeper.



  • NFT: Non-fungible tokens. NFTs are unique crypto tokens, representing ownership of a rare digital item, like art
  • Crypto Wallet: Similar to a physical wallet is for cash, a crypto wallet is the virtual place where your cryptocurrency and NFTs are housed
  • Gas Fees: Essentially transaction fees. The cost of sending money on the ETH blockchain
  • Floor Price: The lowest price any NFT in a particular collection is available for (on OpenSea this is updated by the hour)


  • Coinbase: A cryptocurrency exchange where you can buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more.
  • MetaMask: A crypto wallet that holds your cryptocurrency online
  • OpenSea: A marketplace for NFTs, rare digital items and crypto collectibles
  • Rarity Tools: Shows you the rarity of different NFTs. Helpful to reference before making a purchase.

Still have questions?Join the Upstream Weekly NFT Community Meet-Up.

About the Writer:

Sarah Wood here, Upstream’s Head of Community.

Personally, I’ve seen how community can be a powerful tool for learning something new, especially when the subject matter is intimidating.

I’m excited to help distill the complicated and at times, inaccessible, information about NFTs, Web3, and crypto into language that we can all understand.

At its core, many of the values behind blockchain are shared by the community movement. In both, there is appetite for transparency, equity, and ownership.

It’s a super exciting time to work at a company building at the intersection of crypto and community. I’m excited to learn and can’t wait to grow together!

For questions and comments, shoot me a DM on Twitter or Upstream!

A Note of Caution:

While there is a lot of talk about NFTs and crypto, please note that the information we share on Upstream is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with a financial advisor, attorney or other professional to determine what is best for your individual needs.

Investing in cryptocurrencies, NFTs, ICOs or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment and only invest money they would be comfortable going without.

Learn About Crypto

Sarah Wood

Head of Community