Gas fees are transaction fees paid to validators on Ethereum. OpenSea does not receive these fees and is not able to refund them. OpenSea also doesn't control gas prices nor does it profit from them.
In this article, we'll explain what validators are and explore why gas fees are needed. We'll also go over the two categories of gas fees you'll encounter on OpenSea (one-time fees and recurring fees), as well as failed transactions.
Let's dive in!
What are validators on Ethereum?
Ethereum uses a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. In proof-of-stake, a validator receives blocks from peers on the Ethereum network and re-executes transactions to make sure the block is valid.
Validators have dedicated significant funds to the network in the form of staked ETH. This “stake” amount replaces the work miners did in proof-of-work, securing the network because a participant must buy and hold cryptocurrency in order to be chosen to validate blocks and receive gas fees.
When you pay gas fees, the payment only guarantees your transaction to be processed. It does not guarantee that the transaction will succeed.
This is because gas prices on Ethereum fluctuate. If there is a high level of activity on Ethereum—for example, a popular NFT collection is being released—gas prices will rise due to network congestion. In this case, the original gas fee you paid may no longer be high enough for validators to process and confirm the transaction.
When are gas fees needed on OpenSea?
When you transfer or purchase an NFT using OpenSea, you'll need enough cryptocurrency in your wallet to cover the associated gas fees.
There are two categories of user actions that result in ETH gas fees on OpenSea:
- One-time fees
- Recurring fees
One-Time Fees: Token or Contract Approvals
As we mentioned above, there are a few one-time fees you'll have to pay when using Ethereum or Polygon for the first time. These transactions are required to grant certain permissions for your wallet to interact with Seaport.
Suppose the item you're listing was not created using OpenSea tools, but was instead minted through a custom NFT collection contract. In that case, you'll need to pay a one-time approval fee authorizing transactions between that NFT smart contract and your wallet.
Token approval is required whenever you interact with a cryptocurrency for the first time. These are one-time fees per contract or token.
You will pay gas fees on Ethereum when:
- Accepting an offer
- Transferring (or gifting) an NFT to someone
- Buying an NFT
- Canceling an NFT listing
- Canceling a bid
- Converting WETH back to ETH, and vice versa.
- Freezing your metadata
- Bridging ETH or withdrawing ETH to and from Polygon
These actions don't require gas fees:
- Using tools on OpenSea to create a new NFT, also known as "Lazy Minting"
- Creating a collection
- Account initialization / proxy deployment
- Listing an NFT at a fixed price
- Listing an NFT in an auction
- Reducing the price of an NFT you've listed
- Price drops only apply to ERC-721 NFTs and not ERC-1155 NFTs
- Canceling listings will incur a gas fee