It’s 2022, the NFT space is exploding, and with it comes a slew of possibilities for collectors and crypto enthusiasts alike. However, distinguishing which NFT projects are worth investing in (we’re talking time and money) from the projects with the red flags can be a challenge if you’re not sure what to look for.
As a recent NFT project and web3 adventurer myself, I had to ask the pros how they do it. After all, there are A LOT of NFT projects out there – and not all of them are created equal. Once you’ve identified a few projects, what should you keep in mind as you’re doing research?
In the NFT space, those who hold the answers are known as “alphas.” Alpha is NFT language for a trustworthy advisor figure with “information that the rest of the market hasn’t found out about yet. There are people who spend hours and hours finding undiscovered projects,” according to this handy list of NFT slang.
So I talked to some alphas who know a lot about NFTs and they shared with me what to look for when deciding if a project is worth grinding for that coveted whitelist spot.
Let’s get started.
Look at the team, their experience, evaluate the project’s purpose. Do they have a good mix of business and tech people? Is the team’s experience in NFTs or web development necessary for this project?
When you invest in an NFT, you’re not just investing in the art. You’re investing in the creators beyond the art and the team behind the scenes. A fully doxxed team, or a team whose real identity is out in the open for everyone to see, is the first thing to look for. Find out who’s responsible for carrying out the project’s vision. If you can’t find anyone, it could be a potential red flag.
“You’re looking for transparency and teams that doxx themselves, a team whose real identity is out in the open for everyone to see,” explained Marz, resident alpha of The Battle Bunnies discord server. “If you know who they are and what they’ve worked on before, you’re less likely to get scammed.”
What does “doxxed” mean? While not a new term, “doxxing” has become the widely-used vernacular in the NFT space to refer to the identity of the actual team behind the project. Ex. I’m part of a project called The Battle Bunnies and everyone on the team – including the founders and artists – are considered “doxxed.”
Once you’ve identified the project team, ask yourself: what’s their experience? What were they involved in before jumping into the NFT space? Verify the team’s accomplishments and credibility, check out their Linkedin or Twitter profiles, and check to see if the team has disclosed any partnerships or collaborations. If so, check out those partnerships as well.
The bottom line? Look for teams that deliver results. Have they sold the first drop and plan to do more? Are they promising, committing, AND executing? Or are you seeing empty promises with no follow-ups?
The NFT space prides itself on being community-driven, but not all projects have an active and genuine member base.
Beyond Twitter (which we’ll get to shortly), Discord is where most NFT projects build dedicated communities. It’s typically where most mint-related announcements, community chatter, whitelist news, and NFT previews of the project will happen.
As an alpha, Marz explained that community is key when researching which NFT projects are worth spending time in for a whitelist spot. Other questions to ask:
- How many total Discord members does the server have? How many of those are active?
- Are the active members of the community actually talking and engaged?
- What is the general mood? Is everyone happy?
- Is the community strong enough to carry out a successful mint based on the project’s promises?
Be sure to gauge how you feel when you join the project’s Discord server — do they make you feel welcome? Do they answer any questions you might have? A solid NFT community will have a positive outlook on the team and the brand’s future projected by community members.
The Plans (AKA “Roadmap”)
Every good NFT project should have a public roadmap – or plan – that acts like a blueprint for the future. It holds the keys to the project’s future that you need to be aware of.
What is a roadmap? Another term embraced by the NFT community, a roadmap is really just a timeline or organized plan that outlines the project’s goals and strategies for the long term. Not all successful NFT projects require a roadmap, but proof of the vision (in the form of whitepapers, blogs, Discord announcements) can help show utility milestones so that collectors have a clear idea of what they can expect to get by being part of the community.
If a project doesn’t have a roadmap or similar documentation, OR it hasn’t delivered on any of its promises – be wary. Anyone with basic design skills can create a seemingly promising graphic and call it a roadmap, so it’s important to always DYOR and look into the collections and utilities that have already been fulfilled.
The Long Term Benefits (AKA “Utilities”)
NFTs are changing the way we view ownership of digital goods, which is why the term “utilities” is used to describe the value of NFT collections.
What are NFT utilities? Some NFTs offer long term value like access, perks, and opportunities to token holders. This gives the NFTs a clearly defined intrinsic value and incentive for holding it in your wallet as the value climbs.
Ask yourself: What perks do you get when you purchase the NFT? What or who do you receive access to?
Most successful NFTs I’ve come across grant some level of incentive – like access to early releases, digital experiences, products, events, virtual courses, etc. Maybe the NFT gives you access to a unique gaming world or fashion items in the metaverse. Or perhaps that NFT is your ticket to shows or conferences where you can see or learn from your favorite people.
The project I’m currently working on, thebattlebunnies.io offers utilities like physical merchandise, access to alpha channels, storybuilding credentials, freebies, VR content, and more. These are all examples of NFT utilities, which can be a good indicator for the long term outlook of the project.
Social Media Presence
Before going all in, verify the project has a legitimate social media presence. Twitter is one of the best places to start when beginning NFT research on a project because it’s where most of the NFT community lives, Marz explained.
Are people talking about the project? Are there positive comments speaking on the future potential of the project?
Check the creation date of the profile. If it was created too recently and has too many bot-like followers with little actual engagement on posts, beware!
“I believe Twitter is the gateway to getting in, so always rely heavily on the social media presence of these projects,” said Marz. “Even if they have a small Twitter following, are they active and retweeting and commenting? Is the account getting reactions immediately after they tweet?”
Gut Check: Do You Love It?
You should always invest in NFT projects that spark your interest beyond the potential for making a profit. Don’t just look for the “next best” NFT – search for the NFT project that suits your interest, from the mission all the way to the community and art.
Not everyone has the same interests, but if there’s anything I’ve learned after our successful launch of The Battle Bunnies, it’s this: NFTs should be fun!
Don’t jump into something you don’t enjoy. If you’re going to stick around, spend the time, and grind it out for a whitelist spot on an NFT project, then it should involve a topic or community you care about, Marz said.
I wholeheartedly agree. GN & happy collecting.