FEB 21, 2022
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After purchasing an NFT you may be thinking: “should I keep it on the platform where I bought it (e.g. OpenSea), or is it better to move my exciting new token to a hardware wallet for additional safekeeping?” These days, more and more people opt for the second option due to both cost and security benefits. So in this blog post, we’ll cover in detail all the necessary steps for moving your precious collectibles to a safer place.

What is a Hardware Wallet and Why Might You Want One?

If you’re reading this, you likely have your NFTs on your hot (or online) wallet - think places like MetaMask or Coinbase. However, the most secure wallets in the market are known to be “hard wallets”.

Hard wallet, hardware wallet or cold wallet (or whatever you choose to call them) devices offer the best long-term storage for your collectibles. You’ll have a private key that’s created and stored on the physical device, which nobody except you has access to. Online wallets, on the other hand, can sometimes be hacked in multiple ways, because your key often is stored in the wallet database.

There are several options, but the most well-known hardware wallets are produced by Ledger and used by millions of crypto enthusiasts worldwide. They are extremely secure, user-friendly, and elegantly designed. This guide can support other hardware wallets but we’ll be using Ledger as the example. And just as a heads up, this article is not affiliated with any of Ledger devices, so we are not biased in any way here.

Okay, let’s dig in!

Before You Start

There are a few things to take care of before making a transfer:

  • You must install Ledger Live App, which operates as a bridge between online marketplaces and your hardware wallet.
  • Make sure to enable blind signing in the Ethereum and Polygon apps on your Ledger wallet. You can learn how to do this here.
  • Your hardware wallet must be up-to-date with both firmware and software. Learn more here (Nano S users) or here (Nano X users).
  • Be sure your Ledger is connected to your computer and the Ledger Live app is running. Follow the official tutorial to set it up correctly.

The Transfer

via GIPHY

Step 1:

Alright, first we need to connect your Ledger to your online wallet (in this example, we’ll use MetaMask)

  1. Navigate to your go-to online wallet, like MetaMask. Use the MetaMask browser extension on either Chrome or Firefox browsers for the best connectivity.
  2. At this point, you probably have set up a regular account on MetaMask. Now, you are going to create a second account for your Ledger device with the following steps:
  3. Within your MetaMask browser extension, press the three dots and then click Expand the view for better navigation.
  4. After that plug in your hardware wallet to your computer, and open the Ethereum application on your Ledger. You should see ‘Application is ready’ displayed.
  5. In the MetaMask extension click on the colorful circle and scroll down until you see Connect Hardware Wallet. Click it, and then on the next screen, click Ledger and click Continue.
  6. Select the account address you’d like to use (you can select multiple if you’d like), enter your unique 8-digit pin and then click Unlock.
  7. You should see a Ledger account now listed within your MetaMask extension.
  8. If you’ve done all of the steps in this section, your Ledger is now in sync with your MetaMask wallet. Congrats! (If you have any questions at this point, take a look here at the official Ledger tutorial.)
Connect Ledger To Metamask

via Ledger

Step 2:

Now we’re going to ‘transfer’ your NFT to your freshly configured hardware wallet.

Note: the steps outlined here are different from those if you transfer an NFT from an online wallet to another online wallet.

  1. Navigate to your OpenSea account and to your wallet within OpenSea.
  2. Find the NFT you’d like to transfer to your newly configured Ledger hardware wallet. Then, click on the MetaMask browser extension and click on that good ‘ole colorful icon on the top right corner.
  3. Find the Ledger wallet you’d like to move your NFT to, click it, and copy the Ledger address (at the top of your MetaMask extension window).
  4. Click back into your OpenSea account with the NFT and click the Transfer icon (it looks like a paper airplane).
  5. A pop-up window will appear and it will ask for the wallet address, and this is where you’ll paste in the Ledger address that you copied in step 4 of this section.
  6. It’s important that you ensure the address to your Ledger wallet is correct before clicking Transfer, so double check that once or maybe even twice!
  7. From there, click Transfer.
  8. You shouldn’t need to pay for the actual transaction, as you’re not purchasing the NFT (you already own it), but you will have to pay the gas fee to transfer it. See the next section for information on gas fees.
  9. Once you complete the gas fee, your NFT is now managed from the Ledger device. You can double-check it in your Ledger Live App. Note that it may take up to 24 hours to display your freshly transferred NFTs.

via GIPHY

Gas Fees Too High?

While transferring your NFTs to a hardware wallet, you’ll likely end up paying some gas fees. Here are a few takeaways on how to decrease the gas fees for your next NFT transfer.

So far the most popular blockchain for NFT is Ethereum with more than 90% of all NFTscreated on its network. However, the high gas fees on Ethereum are the main reason to look for other options. One of them is Polygon - another blockchain provider that allows you to transfer an NFT free of charge. OpenSea now supports Polygon, so you can buy, purchase and transfer your NFTs on this marketplace. Gas fees are only applied on NFT transfers from Ethereum to the Polygon network. Be aware that Polygon uses commit chains, so you will probably have to wait a while for your NFTs to transfer.

If you are unsure which network your NFT is on, Polygon NFTs are identified by a hexagon icon that is purple and is usually located in the lower left-hand corner of an NFT item. Ethereum uses a dark gray color for its icon.

Another option to reduce your gas fees would be just to wait. Yep, that’s right! Gas fees are not set when transferring NFTs. They tend to fluctuate a good bit, so by keeping an eye on them, you can find the perfect time to finalize your transfer.

Am additional note: you can track the status of your NFT transfer by using either Polygonscan.com or Etherscan.io, depending on your network. Simply enter your Transaction ID and get complete information on your NFT’s current location and status.

And That’s a Wrap

We hope this guide was helpful and friendly enough for you, and you didn’t get too lost in all the tech lingo out there these days. After all, you just want your collectibles to stay safe! Happy hardware wallet transferring!

via GIPHY