Part 1: The Day Of...
I am an avid sports card collector. It started in the 90s, went into hibernation for a couple of decades, and now resurfaced sometime last year. When the NBA partnered with Dapper Labs a few months back to roll out NBA-licensed NFTs, I was an early adopter.
Today, Topps partnered with WAX and launched their first collection of MLB-licensed NFTs. I was ready to test it out.
At launch, it was really apparent that the servers were not prepared for this level of traffic/volume. This was expected. After about a dozen failed checkouts, I was able to purchase some packs. I ended up buying 3 premium packs and 10 standard packs. After purchase, I browsed the marketplace to see that the packs were selling for 2.5x-5x their purchase price. I decided to sell 1 of the premium packs and 9 of the standard packs which covered my initial purchase price and then some (expected some minimal crypto fees in the journey to get my money back). The goal was simple, just recoup my initial money and enjoy the packs of NFTs that I kept. Who doesn’t like a freeroll?
This is when the experience went completely sideways. The transactions equated to 1,840 WAXP Coins (around $407 USD), but after their 10% transaction fee, I had 1,656 WAXP Coins (around $370 USD). 10% seems kind of high, but whatever, it is what it is. WTF is a WAXP coin?!?! After playing around on the WAX platform, I came to the conclusion that I needed to ‘burn’ my WAXP into WAXE. Ok, this is odd, but I did it. The WAX platform told me to set up a MetaMask wallet which I did as well. The 1,656 WAXP became 1.656 WAXE and I was ready to transfer the WAXE to my newly created MetaMask Wallet. Once I received the WAXE on MetaMask, I would be able to convert it to Ethereum. I am comfortable with Ethereum, it’s a major coin. When I clicked to Claim my WAXE, I received a popup from MetaMask that there was a $120 Gas Fee for the transaction. That seems like an excessive fee. To make things worse, taking it out of the WAXE was NOT an option. I had to load my MetaMask wallet with some Ethereum to fund this Gas Fee.
At this point, I am already upset. What should have been a simple experience and transaction, has become a horrible experience. I jumped on WAX’s discord and attempted to get a response. The feed was filled with an army of trolls upset they were NOT able to buy packs. I asked my question, after no response, I opened up a service ticket with WAX. I kept refreshing the Claim option and realized that the Gas Fee was fluctuating all over the place, ranging from as low as $70 to as high as $130. I decided to send some Ethereum over to my MetaMask wallet and was going to pull the trigger when I saw a lower than usual Gas Fee.
Eventually, I saw a Gas Fee that was in the $60s and I pulled the trigger. I now had my 1.656 WAXE off of the platform, I felt so relieved. I had obviously miscalculated that I was going to get hit with, IMHO, a MASSIVE Gas Fee. My $370 was now effectively $310. Lesson learned. Converting the WAXE seemed super simple. When I clicked to convert, I received another fee notification, $130 to convert my WAXE to ETH (Ethereum). Madness. I have not pulled the trigger on the conversion. When/If I do this, my $370 will have become an effective $180. It will be a few dollars less after fees on sending to my main ETH wallet (where I can actually convert it to US Dollar). Call it $175 conservatively.
In summary, $407 became $175 from start to finish. Does that seem right? Did Topps do their due diligence on what the consumer experience would be before partnering with WAX? Surely, WAX has to have a plan together to drastically improve this if they want this partnership and platform to be successful.
Part 2: The next morning…
Early this morning when i grabbed my first energy drink (yes, I choose energy drinks over coffee), i checked Discord to see if there was a response from WAX and I checked my MetaMask wallet to see if the swap fee was the same. Swap fee is now $150...awesome.
I did actually get a response from WAX which was confusing and frustrating.
So I did it wrong? My takeaway here is that there should be better instructions. I view myself as a pretty technical person in general and I was a fish out of water. I promise you the majority of people that participated in yesterday’s NFT drop would have had more difficulty than I did.
I ended up opening up the NFT packs that I kept, and listed the NFTs I did not want on the marketplace. I guess I will attempt to find a market/wallet that I can transfer the WAXP directly to, however I feel that I will still run into Gas Fees and Conversion Fees that will make this frustrating.
NFTs are being talked about in an insane amount of circles. It is very similar to how everyone was talking about Crypto a few years ago. However, in order for them to become mainstream and have a permanent place as alternative investments, the novice buyer needs to be able to work through the systems.