Hedgehog correspondent Jonathan Hope walks you through setting up a Wax Cloud Wallet and acquiring your first NFT! Choose wisely and you can even start "playing to earn" in multiplayer video games that use NFTs. Keep reading to learn how.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exploded in popularity within the crypto space, finding all kinds of uses. Ranging in price from under a penny to over a million dollars, NFTs have created a multibillion-dollar market. The "nonfungible" part indicates that each NFT is unique — they are not interchangeable with each other.

Quickly, what is an NFT and why should we care? The short version is that they are data files containing content — or linking to content — like a photo, video, or audio file that is cataloged or "minted" onto a blockchain, giving it something similar to a certificate of authenticity. Because the ledger of a blockchain cannot be changed this certificate follows that NFT forever. From the creator to anyone who receives the NFT, there is traceable accounting back to the source.

With this technology, artists can ensure that consumers are getting their official work and the consumer can verify its authenticity. Gaming has found utility functions in holding NFTs in a wallet. Much like a card game, different NFTs provide different uses and resources. Companies have found ways of rewarding customers through loyalty programs that incentivize activity by offering NFT exclusives and tiered access to resources using NFTs as keys.

That brings us to the WAX blockchain. WAX stands for Worldwide Asset eXchange; the protocol's purpose is to make it easy, cheap, and eco-friendly to buy/sell and use NFTs. WAX is compatible with various platforms, but the community's favorite exchange is Atomic Hub, where you can do all of your buying, selling, and trading. The fees for using WAX are low enough for anyone to participate and explore.

Ready to dive in?

The first step is creating your WAX Cloud Wallet. This will store your WAX Coins and your NFT inventory. Get started at https://all-access.wax.io/.

After entering your email and choosing a password, you will need to verify your email address. Once you have activated your account through the email sent, you will be prompted to log in using your email/password and accept the terms of service.

Congratulations! You have set up your WAX Cloud Wallet and are ready to begin trading NFTs. The login defaults to the dashboard page where you can find your provided wallet address.

Every WAX Cloud Wallet Address concludes with .wam. You can find your address in the top right corner of the dashboard page. In the example above the wallet address is yosxy.wam. No long string of random numbers and letters, just the simple name plus .wam at the end.

The next step is to fund your WAX Cloud Wallet with WAX coins. One very cool feature of this platform is all of the ways you can do this. In the top left hand corner of the Dashboard you will discover the "Buy WAXP" link to open the menu for funding your wallet.

Below is an example of a few ways you can load your wallet. This includes a very easy card/bank option:

It may take a few minutes to see your funds populate into your account. When it does you will notice the balance update in the top left corner of the dashboard.

With funds in your wallet, you are ready to grab some NFTs!

Next, get your Wax Wallet connected to the NFT exchange Atomic Hub, found here: https://wax.atomichub.io/.

Choose the login link at the top right of the homepage.

Then, select the WAX Cloud Wallet feature to login.

If you are using the same browser, the platform will sync to your WAX Cloud Wallet and prompt a permission to approve this connection. Otherwise you may need to log in again.

After you approve, your wallet address will populate in the top right corner of the page. Now you are ready to go!

The market section of Atomic Hub is a great place to start exploring the NFTs available for sale. You have the ability to filter NFTs created by specific artists, games, or collections on the left side of the page. The filter functionality also provides advanced options based on rarity, value, and newly listed.

My favorite is the Robotech collection, because of the awesome artwork and absolute nostalgia. When you discover an NFT that you like, check the details section for all of the info about it:

This information tells you the creator, the seller, how many were made, how many have been burned, and the price for this NFT. The basic idea is the fewer of the NFT minted (rarity) or the more utility it offers, the more valuable it becomes.

All of the NFTs purchased on Atomic Hub can be viewed in your inventory and in your WAX Cloud Wallet.

As with all crypto endeavors, it is important to do your own research (DYOR) and know how to protect yourself from scams. Fortunately, Atomic Hub provides some features to help with that. The platform has a "whitelisting" process to help verify quality creators and label them easily. For a creator to become whitelisted on Atomic Hub they have to prove that their art is original, has a community following, a clear theme, good details in the descriptions, and social media links with good history. However, Atomic Hub does not absolutely guarantee that whitelisted projects are "legit," so be sure to doublecheck.

The default setting on the Atomic Hub marketplace is only whitelisted NFTs. If you want to disable this feature and research the NFT yourself, uncheck this box:

The whitelisting feature does some of the legwork for you. If you want to be certain or browse NFTs that are not yet whitelisted, there are a few things you can do.

The first is to verify what collection your particular NFT came from. Using the Robotech NFT from earlier you can tell via a verifiable link what collection the NFT was created. Clicking the link in the top right corner under the Collection Name in the details section (with a check marked verifier) you get information on the collection creator.

The link opens the collection details:

In this particular example the collection has a URL link to the project page which adds another layer of verification. When looking at a scam page the URL will often go to a poorly developed page with no links to community pages like Twitter, Telegram, Medium, or Instagram. More sophisticated scammers will have links to social pages but will have very little engagement or poorly written descriptions.

You can also perform a reverse image search using Google or another tool, to discover whether or where the image has been used online in the past.

At the center of verifying your NFT is checking the reputation of the collection and the creator. You want to see community activity, history, and a description that makes sense.

A really easy way to start exploring verified content is using the WAX content partners via the Wax Digital website. There are some very recognizable brands already like Topps, Hot Wheels, Atari, Power Rangers, Street Fighter, Weezer, and of course Robotech!

There is a lot of buzz around "play to earn" games using NFTs. Many of the top games like Alien Worlds use the WAX Blockchain. This is a very fun way to use NFTs and to generate income in some cases. These games take a varying amount of investment to participate in.

An accessible game to try out that doesn't break the bank is AlienShips.io, with your first utility NFT being offered at around a dollar on the Atomic Hub marketplace:

Filter by alienships.io in the market filter and purchase a ship NFT. Once it is showing in your inventory you are ready to play! The game connects directly to your WAX Cloud Wallet:

There are several game modes and tiers based on what kind of ships, materials, or utilities you carry in your wallet. The basic combat game mode shown below can be played using the inexpensive ship NFT.

Art and gaming is just the beginning of the NFT tidal wave in crypto. Ownership of unique content is attracting everyone from digital artists, musicians, and companies of all sizes. Tradable NFTs that unlock physical items to be shipped to the owner's location are also on WAX's roadmap.  Other crypto projects are rewarding NFT holders with future airdrops of tokens and access to exclusive services.

Like most things in the Crypto world NFTs hold their value in their scarcity in relation to demand. This particular space is still very early in its adoption and the WAX ecosystem is a great way to get your feet wet. Happy hunting!

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