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The Whitelist: How To Get Early Access to NFT Drops

5.0 | by Khor Win Win

 

While NFTs have made the headlines of almost every form of mainstream media, not all of them are created equal. With new projects cropping up almost daily, some would definitely die out quickly, while others enjoy an incredible amount of support from NFT influencers as well as the wider crypto community. These highly anticipated launches are highly sought after and often sell for multiples of their original minting cost, allowing the fastest hands to readily profit.

Generally, NFT projects will have a public mint where everybody is allowed to mint up to a certain quantity of NFTs at a time. But more often than not, a group of lucky or privileged individuals would be ‘whitelisted’ for early access to mint the NFTs. In other words, they can obtain their NFTs before anyone else, avoiding the mad rush of the public mint, as well as the expected spike in transaction fees required for minting. As such, NFT projects have turned whitelists into an engine for generating hype around the project. 

Although it may seem that getting on the whitelist is next to impossible, it’s not as hard as most people make it out to be. From being early to being helpful, there are various ways for prospective minters to be whitelisted for these NFT drops. In this article, we take a look at NFT whitelists and all the different steps that you may need to complete in order to get that rare anime-style profile pic.
 

What Is A Whitelist?

In the context of regular fungible tokens, whitelisting refers to the process of allowing only specific wallets or addresses to access a token sale. However, in most cases, the token will still be available for sale to non-whitelisted participants after the whitelisted wallets have purchased their allocated amount. Usually, those who are lucky enough to get on the whitelist will have an opportunity to purchase the tokens much earlier compared to the general public, or at a much lower price.

If you’ve succeeded in getting on the whitelist, you will be notified by the team and you will receive a special role in the project’s Discord server to verify your status. These roles may grant access to special groups within the server, where you can submit a wallet address to complete the whitelisting process, or to receive a special link to purchase the tokens.

vesta whitelist contribution pageVesta Finance whitelist page (Source: Vesta Finance)

Being early has its perks, and there is generally considerable upside for getting on a whitelist, even more so for projects that are getting significant attention. For instance, you get to skip the hassle of fighting with everyone and avoiding a ‘gas war’, where it could cost you up to thousands of dollars just to ensure that your transaction goes through. Yet, participants are not the only ones who get to benefit from the experience. Although it rarely happens, the whitelist also represents a chance for the team to vet the entities that are willing to invest early in their project, and collect feedback to finetune their product.

For NFTs, the process is not so different. Whitelisted addresses will get the chance to mint up to a certain amount at a much earlier time. Depending on the project, it could be up to a few days earlier or just a few minutes before it’s officially available for public minting. However, the key factor here is that if you’re early, you stand to gain even more if the project is very successful.

tubby cat whitelist announcement Tubby Cats Whitelist Announcement (Source: Tubby Cats)

For launches that are massively in demand such as Tubby Cats, they tend to sell out quickly, even with thousands of NFTs up for grabs. This means that the only other place that collectors can get their hands on them are on secondary marketplaces such as OpenSea or LooksRare; and chances are, you are going to be paying much higher than the mint price, sometimes up to 10 times more. A report from Chainalysis found that whitelisted addresses are able to flip their NFT for a profit 76% of the time. In other words, if you got into 4 separate whitelists, you should be able to make money on at least 3 of them.

Since whitelist spots are often highly sought after, projects will usually hold a raffle to pick some of the winners, but the majority of the spots will still go towards key contributors and contest winners, where participants would have to perform certain tasks in the best manner possible, and obviously in the best interest of the project in question. TempleDAO really took this concept to the next level with their famed Opening Ceremony. But don’t be too worried, as these tasks can range anywhere from super easy to downright impossible, so let’s go over some of the more common ones that you may come across on your whitelist-grinding adventure.

 

How Do I Get Whitelisted?

As we’ve mentioned previously, whitelist spots are highly coveted, so don’t expect to get them without putting in a little bit of effort. While most NFT projects will have you performing more or less similar tasks, be it to spread the word or to be active in the community, some may have a more interesting approach. Divided into several categories, below are just some of the things that you should expect to do in order to get yourself one step closer to that coveted whitelist spot.

Engagement

As new NFT projects are constantly popping up on a daily basis, it is getting harder for teams to attract users and to get any sort of traction going. Even if the art is gorgeous in its own right, it won’t matter much if the community is not even aware of its existence. As such, the success of an NFT project is largely dependent on their ability to be seen and heard in the vast wilderness of the Crypto Twitter space, as well as the wider cryptoverse.

To overcome this massive hurdle, projects have resorted to using the power of social media to further capture the attention of NFT enthusiasts. Typically, a few whitelist spots would be given out to users who interact with their content. For example, you would have to follow the project’s social media accounts, retweet and like specific tweets, and also tag your friends for a chance to be selected as one of the winners.

A preliminary search on Twitter, crypto’s preferred form of social media, yielded some interesting results - most projects are following exactly the same marketing formula. Just by searching for ‘nft whitelist’, you can easily find all sorts of projects that are using the same gimmick. There’s no surprise why that’s the case, as this tactic has proven to be quite effective, bringing in loads of engagement through thousands of likes and retweets.

meta units whitelist contest Meta Units whitelist giveaway tweet (Source: Meta Units)

Besides that, whitelist spots are also given out to community members that are actively contributing, providing feedback, and engaging with others through the project’s Discord channel. For people that are truly passionate about the project, this is not especially difficult, as they want to see the project succeed and get the recognition they deserve. 

Even if you’re not someone that’s particularly active, it pays to be one of the first few to join the Discord channel and to invite all your buddies as well. Most NFT projects usually give out ‘OG’ roles to early joiners, which usually entails a priority pass for minting. Or sometimes, it could be just as easy as typing in a single word to ensure a whitelist spot.

froyo early meower discordEarly Discord Meower Announcement (Source: Froyoverse Discord)

Skills

Some might say that luck is a critical factor in getting on these whitelists and that may be largely true. With so many people doing the same repetitive tasks just to get a chance at an early mint, there can only be so randomly chosen winners for these spots. However, having the right skills, especially in graphic design and memetics, will also go a long way in getting on the whitelist.

Among the various giveaways and contests which rely heavily on social media engagement, there are also competitions where contestants can really put their abilities to the test. For example, projects frequently run contests for creating fan art, designing soundtracks, or even putting out the best memes. These contests are an excellent opportunity for budding artists to showcase their talent, and perhaps earn some recognition (and a whitelist spot) along the way.

ragnarok fan art contest Ragnarök Original Fan-Art Contest Announcement (Source: Ragnarök Discord)

For those of us who may not be as artistically inclined, there are sometimes a whole host of other competitions and games organized by various projects. Ranging from puzzles to poker nights, these events are open for all to participate but as usual, only a few whitelist slots will be up for grabs.

aki story puzzle contestAki Story Puzzle Whitelist Contest (Source: Aki Story Discord)

For games that rely on speed rather than knowledge, such as puzzles or scavenger hunts, having a device that runs smoothly as well as a decent internet connection will certainly help. In this fast-paced industry, even a second could mean the difference between getting whitelisted or not.

While hosting giveaways through Twitter is still the preferred method for farming clout and attention, skill-based challenges are becoming more common and truly reward the right parties that are willing to put in the time and effort. Contests that depend on social media interactions or Discord invites can be easily gamed and are often full of artificial activity. Having more ‘human’ activities where users actually have to use their knowledge and senses is a vital step in promoting a healthier, organic community.

Money

And no, we don’t mean buying whitelist spots from others. Besides the fact that it is highly unethical to do so, there are also many other risks involved if you try to do that, but more on that later. What we actually mean is that you could purchase NFTs from other collections from the same creator or from their partnered collections. Most projects usually reserve some whitelist spots for holders of their previously released NFTs, so it may be worth your time (and money) to snag a few before they announce the snapshot of the current holders.

invisible friends holders whitelist Invisible Friends Early Access Information (Source: RCC Discord)

For example, the recently launched Invisible Friends project allowed the top 2500 Slimhoods and MoodRollers NFT holders to enter the Early Access mint. At the time the announcement was made on 4th January, one NFT from each series would cost you 0.7 ETH on average. Assuming that by acquiring four NFTs at a total of 2.8 ETH you were guaranteed a spot on the whitelist, you would still be massively in profit, even after accounting for the price change in ETH, as the current floor price of Invisible Friends is now sitting at a healthy 7.5 ETH as of 10th March.

Although most NFTs collections are generally open to the public, some are exclusively available only to certain NFT holders. For instance, GEN.ART is a platform that allows its members to mint exclusive drops just by holding their Membership NFTs. Members will have lifetime access to new releases and they can freely mint them at any time. Furthermore, since they’re in the form of NFTs, the Membership passes can be freely transferred and sold on the secondary market.

gen art membership opensea GEN.ART Memberships for sale (Source: OpenSea)

Although purchasing NFTs just to get on a whitelist is perfectly viable, it is highly advisable that you do not attempt to buy a whitelist spot directly. As we’ve mentioned previously, it is more than just being unethical - it is completely dangerous. While many have definitely tried to sell or buy their spot, there is no trusted platform that exists to facilitate such deals, and scammers on Discord and Telegram are only too eager to take advantage of unsuspecting community members. Besides, most project teams do not condone such actions and may even revoke your whitelist spot if you are caught doing so.

 

Closing Thoughts

No matter how you look at it, NFT whitelists are not as exclusionary as some might think. There are all sorts of ways for everyone to have a seemingly equal chance of getting into any presale or early access list.  Even though some of the criteria for entering whitelists can be easily gamed or automated by bots, projects are becoming smarter and are constantly fine-tuning their requirements to minimize such occurrences from happening.

However, whitelists aren’t exactly necessary. Projects such as Parallel and ARBO have opted for the reservation system, where the fastest users get to reserve the packs firsts, and then only pay for them within a period of time. While this mechanism has its fair share of problems, it does help to eliminate gas wars, which is a massive win in this writer’s opinion.

But you might be wondering, why even have a whitelist in the first place if you’re going to do a public sale anyway? Well, one way to look at it is that it helps to ease the problems that tend to plague hotly-anticipated NFT launches. When there are fewer NFTs available to the public, the supply of NFTs isn’t as concentrated when there’s less to begin with. Besides that, it’s a way to quickly bootstrap a community that is willing to provide any assistance and support to the project.

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Khor Win Win
Khor Win Win

Win Win is an avid gamer, interested in navigating the vast world of NFTs and the cryptoverse. Follow the author on Twitter @0x5uff3r

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