Gas fees are transaction fees paid to miners 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 miners 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 miners on Ethereum?
Ethereum, like Bitcoin, currently uses a proof-of-work mining model. In proof-of-work, miners are decentralized computers that use their computing power to process and confirm transactions. On Ethereum, new transactions get added in "blocks" every 15 seconds. Miners are a built-in mechanism of the Ethereum blockchain and get paid in Ethereum's native cryptocurrency, ETH.
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 widely. 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 miners to process and confirm the transaction.
When are gas fees needed on OpenSea?
When you send NFTs to another wallet or purchase an NFT using OpenSea, you'll need enough ETH in your wallet to pay for 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 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 (like Bored Ape Yacht Club). 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 (WETH is only needed when you accept or create an offer)
- Reducing the price of an NFT you've listed*
- However, canceling listings will incur a gas fee
Avoiding failed transactions
There are four common errors users might encounter with failed transactions. These can be found by "Status" when reviewing the transaction on Etherscan.
- Dropped and Replaced: this means the transaction was dropped and replaced by a new one. For more information, please check this resource.
- Out of gas: this occurs when the gas limit of your transaction was set too low. Since Ethereum implemented the EIP-1559 upgrade in August 2021, default gas limit settings for transactions are automatically calibrated on crypto wallets like MetaMask. Changing these gas limit settings may increase the chances of a failed transaction. It's important to check websites like ETH Gas Station before confirming a transaction. If gas prices are too high - you can also use Polygon to create, buy and sell NFTs without paying any gas fees.
- Reverted transactions: this error typically occurs when purchasing an NFT. The failure refers to the loss of the transaction (gas) fee, not the value of the item you attempted to purchase. In this case, generally the person who paid the most gas actually gets to buy the item. This can happen if a lot of users are attempting to purchase the same item at the same time.
- Pending transactions: sometimes Ethereum transactions can get stuck in a "pending" state when the transaction has been submitted with a low gas price. While fixing this error will vary by wallet provider, here's MetaMask's guide.
* Price drops only apply to ERC-721 NFTs and not ERC-1155 NFTs.