Storing Your NFTs

How to keep your NFT collection safely

If you're storing physical assets, you might use a safe, or a safety deposit box. The goal is to secure your treasure so that it will not be stolen or destroyed.

When it comes to cryptocurrencies, everything is on the blockchain. As NFTs are essentially a type of cryptocurrency, you would store it as you would any other cryptocurrencies – on a crypto wallet.

Hot Wallet VS Cold Wallet

For crypto wallets, they are generally classified as "hot" or "cold" wallets.

"Cold" wallets are meant for long-term storage, much like a cold storage facility. Once you deposit your crypto into a cold wallet, you can disconnect it from the Internet and it will be secure until you connect it to the Internet again. "Hot" wallet on the other hand is one that's readily connect so that you can execute trades more easily.

When you first purchase BTC or ETH from an exchange, you're storing it in hot wallets assigned to you. However, that's not the safest option as exchanges are prime targets for hackers. As the saying goes, "Not your keys, not your coins". If you plan to store cryptocurrencies for the long term, the gold standard is to store it in a wallet where you own the keys.

Software Wallet VS Hardware Wallet

If you plan to store it in your own wallet, you are also responsible for your own private keys. If you lose your private keys, or your seed phrases, you lose access to all the cryptocurrencies stored on the wallet. So in setting up your own wallet, make sure to record these down.

The easiest access to a software wallet is through trusted and reputable wallets like Metamask, Bitski, or Trust Wallet. The longstanding one that most crypto people recommend and use is Metamask. Take note, only access Metamask through their official site, Metamask.io. It will prompt you to download an extension, and it's straightforward to set up your own wallet.

When you initiate Metamask, record down the 12 Seed Phrases when you first set up the wallet. Given the possibility that your computer can be hacked or its memory might corrupt (trust me, I lost ETH when my Macbook 12" died and I can't recover my files), record it down on a piece of paper and keep it securely. Anyone who has access to these 12 words can access your wallet. Once done, congratulations you have your own software wallet.

To add an extra layer of security, get a hardware wallet like the Ledger or the Trezor. They have integrations with Metamask, and if you were to connect your Metamask to your hardware wallet, every transaction will require an additional step of signing with your hardware wallet. The best part of integrating a hardware wallet is not only security, but also how your keys are stored securely by the hardware wallet.

Having said that, there is always a potential point of failure – if you lose the hardware wallet, or if you lose the paper/notebook where you wrote down the seed phrase. There is always the responsibility in storing your crypto, as mentioned earlier.

How To Get Your NFTs Into Your Wallet

Now that you've set up your wallet, you can buy NFTs (or other crypto) and store it into the wallet. You can either buy NFTs directly from the projects or from marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, and Foundation. The process is always the same – once you visit the sites, you'll first have to connect your Metamask wallet.

Connecting Your Metamask Wallet

When the pop-up appears asking you to connect your wallet, it is generally safe if you:

  1. Double check that you are on the correct URL

  2. You allow them to View your address (as compared to signing a transaction)

If you are ever prompted to enter your 12-Word Seed, you should be in Alert mode. You will never be required to enter your seed unless you are logging into Metamask on a new device, following which, you should be sure that you are typing it into metamask.io or the actual Metamask app.

Once your wallet is connected to the marketplaces, you can see your collection of NFTs on your profile. The marketplaces will also show how much value in ETH there is in your account. You can connect an empty wallet to a marketplace, it will just show a blank profile and $0 value.

Depositing Cryptocurrencies And NFTs Into Your Wallet

To deposit NFTs or cryptocurrencies (to buy NFTs) into your wallet, you'll need to pick out your wallet address. This is the address line that is most visible and allows you to click over to copy it, and starts with 0x_______________.

When you withdraw cryptocurrencies from exchanges into your Metamask, this is the address you want to send it to. Likewise, when you have someone send you the NFT, this is the public address that you want them to send it to.

If you plan to sell your NFTs (which are already in your wallet), you can connect it to any marketplaces to list them for sale. Do note that the bulk of NFTs today are ETH-based (ERC721 and ERC1155) tokens but there are increasingly newer chain NFTs that promises lower transaction fees and no gas fees.

Every ETH transaction you want to make on the blockchain requires you to sign off with your public address, and will incur transaction fees and gas fees. This includes changing ETH to and fro wETH or Poly-ETH, making a bid, accepting a bid, making a sale, withdrawing your listing, and verifying your account with the marketplace. With high transaction and gas fees, and high ETH prices, it's also why NFTs are pricing beginners out of the system.

To sum up the necessary steps to store your NFTs:

  1. Set up a crypto wallet (Metamask is compatible with most marketplaces)

  2. Record and store your Seed securely

  3. Use a hardware wallet for an added layer of security

  4. Be very careful about entering your Seed anywhere