New NFT traders should have one goal on their mind: finding out how to find and track NFT whales.
Blockchain technology’s fundamentally transparent, open, and auditable nature has given rise to a new instance of social trading: whale watching. Social trading is popular in traditional finance and involves investors observing and copying the trading behavior of experts or proficient peers. This requires little to no technical skill and is an excellent alternative to a professionally managed wealth fund, known as copy trading; investors mirror the investment strategies of more competent investors to boost the performance of their own portfolio.
But while in traditional finance many of the most sophisticated actors operate behind closed doors, in crypto the ability to track and copy whales is available to all. And the whales are certainly worth watching: a recent report detailed that less than 20% of wallet addresses control more than 80% of the NFTs on Ethereum. These large players operate in information asymmetry compared to ordinary market participants and they often possess more intel or alpha, allowing them to outperform the market consistently. But investors who know how to find these whales can mirror their trades and make smarter investment decisions.
NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens are unique cryptographic assets possessing a distinctive identification code representing ownership stored on the blockchain. For a full overview of NFTs, including everything necessary to know, read this guide: Nansen's NFT Guide.
This article examines how investors can find these NFT whales, follow their movements, and make better investment decisions – ultimately improving their returns while learning from more experienced and better-capitalized investors.
What is an 'NFT Whale'?
‘Whale’ is a term used by both traditional and crypto investors to describe significantly well-capitalized entities. Whales can affect markets directly and cause price movements due to their disproportionately large holdings. An NFT whale is a collector that owns vast sums of crypto-related assets (NFTs).
Retail investors looking to maximize their returns should leverage every tool at their disposal because markets are adversarial in nature; information is the weapon that can give one investor the edge over another. On-chain data is an incredibly useful resource, and traders after locating a whale can copy the whale’s transactions. This data is available in real-time, and by following whale activity, investors can mint before prices climb. To find other analytics tools investors can leverage to outperform the market, read this guide: Best NFT Analytics Tools.
How to Find NFT Whales?
Nansen represents one of the best sources for market alpha, delivering on-chain analysis enriched with data from millions of wallets. Investors can navigate the various dashboards and observe visualized on-chain data feeds in real time, making it an excellent platform for finding NFT whales. Nansen is an essential tool for staying ahead of the market and outpacing the majority.
The NFT Paradise is a sleek refined dashboard featuring general market movement, including live updates on floor prices from OpenSea. Investors can see developing trends and top collections without having to wade through masses of unnecessary information on Twitter or Discord.
In Nansen’s NFT Paradise, investors can find all the intel they need. Above is the Profit Leaderboard, which features the most profitable wallets belonging to the best NFT minters and traders to be found on-chain. Using this tool, investors can locate and track NFT whales. Ranked via time frames, investors can either opt to follow up-and-comers or long-established whales with proven track records.
When filtered by all time, the dashboard only includes wallets with a minimum of 10 sales across 3 collections to exclude one-time traders. This is broadly a more generalist tool and is best used for location purposes. Featured at number ten is ‘Pranksy’, the legendary Bored Ape Yacht Club who at one point in time held more than 1,251 Apes but has since sold and realized profits.
Utilizing the Wallet Profiler dashboard, investors can view all of Pranksy’s realized gains, seeing which NFTs are worth holding onto and which are best to offload. Further details on this whale can be found here: Pranksy & The Bored Apes: Using Nansen for NFT Alpha.
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How to Track NFT Whales?
Once investors have identified an NFT whale either through the profit leaderboard located under NFT Paradise or alternatively through NFT God Mode, finding top holders of specific NFT collections, they can then leverage the Wallet Profiler dashboard.
This provides insight into all activities performed by any given address. The basics, such as digital asset holdings and the contracts interacted with. But most pertinent to NFT whale tracking is the NFT Section, which displays all collections currently owned, the volume of the collection owned, and realized gains.
Investors can see what percentage of the realized gains came from what collection and what percentage of the collection has been sold. Undoubtedly one of the best micro on-chain metric analyser sources. Finally, the transaction data, including buys, sells, and mints.
Examples of NFT Whales
Featured below are a few of the most profitable whales investigated with the Wallet Profiler Dashboard.
The most profitable wallet ranked by total profit, Moin3au.eth made the vast bulk of their returns trading the famous CrpytoPunks collection, turning 500 ETH into 1500 ETH. This address purchased 356 pieces of the collection and, to date, has sold 60% of its total holdings. Meebits was another highly profitable collection for moin3au.eth, and Nansen’s Wallet Profiler gives a comprehensive breakdown of this wallet’s activity.
Displaying which NFTs moin3au.eth decided to take profits on, and the NFT collections the wallet is diamond handing, this dashboard allows investors to copy the moves of the best.
A prolific NFT collector who joined OpenSea in February 2021, Shaw similarly to moin3au.eth made great gains with the Crypto Punks and Meebits collections and has recently started buying Art Blocks Curated pieces.
Shaw has spent 1,230 ETH and generated 13,200 ETH in revenue, with a total profit of 12,000 ETH. With the only collection, Shaw ever made a loss on being Cool Cats. However, the wallet to date has only sold 78% of the collection and still owns 2 of this NFT collection, and perhaps will flip these at a profit in the future.
In less than two years, this wallet has made more than 10X on their original investment flipping NFTs, and Shaw is an examplar NFT trader, making this whale wallet an excellent choice to follow.
The NFT space continues to grow and move at a rapid pace. Investors who want to make better market decisions than the majority need access to higher quality alpha than the majority. Nansen is the perfect tool to locate NFT whales and follow their transactions in real time. By observing multiple whales, investors can discern the collections rising and those dropping out of favor. With any skill emulating a professional yields tremendous benefits, and Nansen’s Wallet Profiler allows market participants to follow the top NFT traders and duplicate their trades. With time investors exposed to NFT whales will begin to understand the signs these whales look for when examining a collection and be able to implement these themselves. Information is the greatest weapon any trader can employ. Nansen refines vast quantities of data into a single touchpoint and tracks whales so investors can follow their tracks and enhance their trading performance.