In 2021, a longtime friend of mine caught onto my ramblings about NFTs and decided to take the plunge himself. This was his first time using crypto outside of CEX’s, and so he had to grasp how to navigate the Metamask and everything that comes with self-custody of your own assets.
He sold at the tailend of that year, while I mostly stayed in what I had. You could argue he is much smarter than me based on that merit alone. Nonetheless, after some time away, he’s now becoming interested in diving back into NFTs. This prompted him to Whatsapp me a few questions to get up to speed on how to best prepare.
These questions are likely beneficial for anyone you know who’s thinking of re-entering this madhouse, or even exploring it for the first time:
What Are The Best Platforms To Buy NFTs On?
Formerly, OpenSea held a monopoly as the only NFT marketplace in town, but the landscape has undergone major transformations since then. While OpenSea remains operational, they are not the most popular anymore. Blur.io revolutionized the NFT trading game (for better or worse) with their token airdrop and gamified features on their platform. For instance, bidding on top collections will accrue you Blur points, much the same as engaging in their loan feature will – although the latter is highly risky.
That said, controversially, Blur introduced optional royalties for sellers. While this benefits the NFT seller, the long term effects have proved to be detrimental on creators and the general state of the NFT market. There has been a backlash and it appears there are many marketplaces about to emerge to counter this.
Magic Eden comes in as a solid 3rd option, specifically because they are the number 1 Ordinals (Bitcoin NFTs) marketplace.
What Should I look out for When Minting a project?
- Minting Cost: The recent bear market has hit projects that thought they could charge anywhere from 0.5 to 1 ETH for minting. In the current climate, very few are willing to mint at such high prices. So, good luck trying to turn a profit if the minting cost is that steep.
- Community and Social Engagement: Is the community active? This is a key factor. Assess the popularity and anticipation surrounding a minting by delving into deep searches on Twitter. What’s the vibe in their Discord? Is it deserted? Or is it filled with enthusiastic moonboi’s predicting, “Gary Vee will be buying in soon, paperhands will regret!”? Frankly, both extremes are concerning.
- Founders’ Identity: Are the founders doxxed? You’re less likely to be rugged all the way to hell if the project is associated with real names and IDs. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to this otherwise sensible rule. Some globally recognized corporations entering the Web3 space have fumbled their foray into it, struggling in various aspects.
Speaking from my own experience holding a very well-known ‘luxury’ fashion brand NFT, I strongly recommend exercising caution when contemplating investments in companies that lack Web3 experience, fail to grasp the culture, and struggle with adhering to timelines or communicating effectively with their holders.
Aren’t NFTs Dead though?
To the outside world, yes, it looks very dead! Alas, no longer is Paris Hilton flaunting her Bored Ape on the Jimmy Kimmel show. No no, instead we are the butt of all the jokes and branded 2023’s answer to Beanie Baby buyers:
NFTs were, no joke, the dumbest bubble in history. Dumber than tulips or even Beanie Babies. They were literally digital receipts that said you alone owned something that everyone did.
It’s so embarrassing that Silicon Valley was pushing these so hard. https://t.co/ltY7fGJgYn
— Matt O'Brien (@ObsoleteDogma) July 22, 2023
This is where people get confused and get easily led by the mainstream opinion though. The NFT market may currently be flatlining, but that’s just trading volume. NFTs as a concept are far from dead. In fact, it’s still so early that many aren’t seeing the glaringly obvious.
For example, NFTs in gaming makes so much sense it is virtually impossible for it not to become integrated at some point. Gamers pay billions per year on games and in-game assets, and yet in the Web2 gaming industry they don’t own their assets. NFTs will change that, and that’s just one example.
How Do I keep my Assets safe?
Here’s an article I wrote some time ago on that very subject: “5 Easy Ways TO Keep Your Crypto Safe”
Some quick basic rules though:
- Look after your seed phrase and store it on paper, never digitally! There is no customer service hotline in Web3, if you lose access to your wallet and don’t have the seed phrase and/or password, no one can help you
- Treat every DM from a stranger as though they are trying to drain your wallet. Never click links from people you don’t know, and even so, be exceptionally cautious of links from people you do know
- Use hardware wallets for large quantities/high value crypto or NFTs. The $100 or so you’ll spend on that extra layer of security is worth the peace of mind. I recommend Ledger.
My dear friend had another question that didn’t quite fit in this article: “What are the top 5 projects to hold/buy during the bear market?” It’s a discussion to delve into within its own article, as it uncovers what has faltered and what categories have risen in prominence after the recent PFP turmoil.
PFPs held sway for the past few years, with really nothing else coming close, but all that has changed as of late….
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