This guide assumes you know what Urbit is. If not, check out my post on that.
Urbit can be a little intimidating when you first get started because it's completely new and we don't have an existing mental model of how it works.
But, here's what you need to know in order to get a urbit planet or star (sometimes called a point).
Step 1: Get an Ethereum address
Ownership of Urbit points is tracked on the Ethereum blockchain. That is the only thing Urbit uses Ethereum for. That means the owner of an Urbit point is whoever owns the Ethereum address where that point resides.
Ethereum addresses are generated by wallets. You will need to get an Ethereum wallet.
There are many types of wallets, but for ease of use, if you don't know what to get, then install Metamask. Alternately, if you want to hold many points and you want superior security you should purchase a Trezor hardware wallet.
Please note that you will not be able to receive Urbit points on exchanges. If someone sends you an Urbit point to an Ethereum address on an exchange you will not be able to claim it.
Step 2: Purchase or acquire a point
It is advisable to trying to buy a planet underneath a star and a galaxy that are currently running. You can find your parent star and galaxy here: https://urbit.live/. Right now, though, there is no easy way to see if a star or galaxy is active without being on urbit.
If you do purchase a planet underneath a non-running star, it's not the end of the world. You can transfer to another. You will find one to accept you and then some gas to run the transaction. Or you can run a command to get updates from another star (temporarily)
If you purchase a star from me, I can either do it directly (I send it directly to you), or we can use escrow at opensea. I prefer direct, of course, because escrow requires an additional gas fee.
If you choose to use escrow, I will set up the private transfer and I will restrict payment to your Ethereum address. I will then send you a link to the item, and the process is very easy from there. I've never had anyone have a problem understanding the escrow transaction.
Step 3: Accept the transfer
Ethereum points are ERC-721 non fungible tokens, and they can be held in Ethereum addresses, but most (all?) Ethereum wallets cannot see these tokens. You will need to use Urbit bridge as a user interface to your Ethereum address. Log on to Bridge using either Metamask, or Trezor, or your ethereum private key (or whatever wallet you have). You do not have a master ticket if you are buying a planet or star. If you are reading this guide there is a 99% chance you do not have a master ticket.
Once you are logged in, it should be obvious that there is a point waiting to be claimed. Follow the instructions to claim the point. This will require that you have some Ethereum in the same address where you want to accept the point.
Here is how Ethereum gas fees work: There are two components that you can set: gas price and gas limit.
- Gas Limit - You tell your wallet what gas limit to use, which is basically how much gas you are willing to let the transaction use. It is recommended that you set the gas limit to 550,000, but the actual amount of gas used may be less...often it is much less. I have spawned planets using only 240,000 gas before.
- Gas Price - This is your "bid" to get the miners to put your transaction in a block. It is an auction. If you offer a gas fee that is too low, the miners will not take your transaction because they can make more money taking someone else's. Use Gasnow.org to estimate what you can get away with for a gas price.
NOTE: Metamask, and perhaps other wallets, will quote you an incorrect gas fee that is much too high. It is almost certain that your actual fee will be about half, or less.