Ethereum gas fees, Metamask & NFT’s

You are trading NFT’s or about to start on this journey. You’re spending more and more on gas fees. There’s a lot you don’t know yet and this knowledge is crucial. I’ve made some mistakes so you don’t have to. Read on.

First, let’s start with a big fish that got away. Yesterday I was trying to place a bid on Superrare on a piece by the famous AES+F. Here’s what I saw Metamask offer me.

$5K in gas fees? Get out of here! I kept trying again and again while checking gas prices on https://ethereumprice.org/gas/. What I didn’t know (or didn’t see?) was the EDIT button. So I never placed a bid and the artwork was sold for a merely 2 ETH. (The day before, one of their NFT’s went out for 7.5 ETH.)

Here’s another story. I was bidding on https://foundation.app/sadsigns_/please-don-t-go-white-frowning-face-29021. There’s a backstory on instagram that really spoke to me and I wanted to have the NFT. It was about an hour before the end of the auction and I placed a bid. I checked in half an hour, it was still pending. Here’s a snapshot from https://etherscan.io/:

It did finally get confirmed but only after the auction was over. And so was the game for me. Note the measly 0.00117 Ether transaction fee. It’s more than 1000x of the one from the first story.

And the last anecdote before I summarise the problem behind all of this and give you the solution. I was fascinated with https://www.cryptovoxels.com/ and wanted to build a gallery there. All I needed was to buy a parcel. I should probably write another story just about that, but this one is about gas fees.

So, I found a parcel that was perfect for my new gallery. I negotiated with the owner and we made a deal. When I went to pay for it, Metamask had a nice surprise for me.

$9 in gas fees? I’ll take two. I thought I hit jack pot. But the time went on and the transaction was pending. A day went by, and then another. There’s no free lunch so I had to speed up the transaction.

And here’s the summary. Gas prices are crazy, just look at the picture below.

There are groups on discord where people keep checking how much it costs to mint an NFT on https://foundation.app/ trying to find the lowest point. I did the same for my first drop. But you don’t have to. You don’t have to shell out $5K either. And please don’t even bother to get it as low as $9, at least until something dramatic happens.

So, what do you do then? Set your own price. Control how much you want to spend and how long you’re willing to wait. Let’s imagine you’re bidding on an artwork from Tkach Tem.

When you see Metamask offer you a number of gas fee to pay, don’t blindly accept it. Use data. Check https://etherscan.io/gastracker.

Then press that EDIT button and go to Advanced. Enter the Gas Price YOU WANT to pay.

If the price is super high at the moment and you are ok with waiting a few hours or days, go low (you can always speed it up later by adding a few more GWEI’s). Happy minting, listing, bidding, buying, and transferring!