NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens remain a divisive asset class, with the general public often baffled at the price tags they command. Even amongst the crypto community, many view NFTs derisively, seeing them as the pinnacle of rampant speculation.
These blockchain-based certificates provide a way for digital assets to have provable ownership properties. Meta data stored on the blockchain proves ownership of each unique asset and is often fully transferable. Hype and speculation naturally accompany new technology, and NFTs are no different. The NFT sector’s rise saw lots of newfound wealth within the crypto space pushing prices higher, and the accessibility of NFTs led retail to flood in.
However, a feedback loop exists between interest and innovation, and even mania phases bring in new agents that remain interested in the space long after the hype dies away. The result is consistent long-term growth within the space.
NFTs have already begun disrupting some of the most prominent market segments in art and collectibles and show no sign of stopping. Investors curious about this nascent technology can read Nansen’s overall Guide: Everything You Need to Know About NFTs.
This article pertains solely to providing an expedient guide for investors who are exploring flipping NFTs. This article is intended for educational purposes and not as financial advice.
What Is Flipping?
Flipping is not unique to NFTs. People have been flipping collectibles for as long as they’ve existed. Whether it be baseball cards or real estate, the basic premise remains the same: buy an asset and sell it at a higher price.
NFT flipping involves investors purchasing or minting NFTs and selling them on the secondary market, hopefully at a profit. Flipping typically has a short time frame connotation, and this rule stays true in most cases. A piece of information that will serve would-be flippers looking to enter the NFT space well: Welcome to Web3, where everything moves at hyper speed.
Why Flip NFTs?
The overwhelming majority of individuals who flip NFTs do so in the pursuit of profit. Flipping NFTs is a financial practice, and investors should treat it as such. It can provide a great and swift vehicle for bolstering portfolios and creating a capital springboard for less risky investments.
Nansen's Trends & Indexes Dashboard shows that in the last month alone, NFT trading volume stood at 345k ETH. Investors who follow a strategy and dedicate the time to learning the craft can snatch a portion of this volume for themselves. Nansen’s attached guide provides the foundations for investors wanting to enter the space: How to Buy Your First NFT.
NFT flipping remains popular even in a broader crypto bear market. And this continued interest has pushed innovation forwards and attracted more talent. Before reading advice on flipping, investors should acquaint themselves with NFT marketplaces and critical factors to look for in an NFT: Top NFT Marketplaces and Investing in NFTs.
Minting vs. Secondary Markets
NFT flippers can be the first to own an NFT (minting) or purchase it off the secondary market.
When it comes to minting, investors who have obtained a whitelist spot can connect their wallets to the project’s website and receive a generated piece after paying the mint and gas fee. Whitelist refers to the privilege of being able to participate and will have different criteria for its obtainment from project to project, and figuring out how to get added to a whitelist is a skill unto itself. They become the first owners of the NFT collection.
Marketplaces are where investors can purchase NFTs from other investors. The largest NFT marketplace is OpenSea supporting multiple chains and is home to an incredible variety of NFTs. However, there are alternatives such as Sudoswap that have managed to eke out a portion of the market in recent months.
Opportunities exist in both markets, but minting should be the priority focus for NFT flippers as it allows them to access the collection on the ground floor. Often profits are made during the minting phase, where investors who have failed to secure a whitelist spot FOMO in and buy, making it an easy flip for minters. However, investors should measure each project independently, and one benefit of the secondary market is that investors can see what the team does post-mint. Nansen’s guide provides an overview of minting behavior: NFT Minting Behavior.
Nansen has rolled out two excellent tools for secondary market traders.
Nansen's NFT God Mode Dashboard features a price estimates tab. Above, investors can see the estimated value for an NFT (Doodles Collection) compared to its listed floor price. A discrepancy between these values means an opportunity.
Nansen's NFT Paradise Dashboard now features the NFT Sniper tab. This feature is still in its early phase but powered by a machine learning model its accuracy continuously improves. It lists undervalued NFTs and allows investors to capitalize on pieces listed for less than they are worth. In terms of simplicity, it does not get better than this for NFT flippers.
Where to Spot NFT Projects?
Twitter remains the one of the best places to find market alpha. The platform hosts a thriving NFT community, releases developments first, and is an excellent place to find NFT collections early.
Discord is another excellent resource. Investors can join servers belonging to projects they like. But the best use of Discord is to join NFT-focused servers where participants can immerse themselves in the space and talk to like-minded individuals.
Investors interested in purchasing from the secondary market can search for collections on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, Nifty Gateway, SudoSwap, and SuperRare. Investors interested in minting can leverage calendars to ensure they are first in line when it is time to mint.
Nansen's NFT Paradise features a Mint Master tab that shows real-time minting data for NFT collections allowing investors to swoop in and join mints of projects that show substantial momentum.
But an even more reliable source for finding successful NFT collections is copy-trading. The Smart Money tab delivers alpha unavailable anywhere else. It tracks the most profitable NFT flippers on-chain and shows their movements in real time.
How to Analyze an NFT Project with Data
Data reigns supreme, and Nansen provides a great tool for analyzing data for prospective NFT flippers. The following section will examine the Azuki collection utilizing Nansen’s tools.
The floor price is the lowest-priced piece of a collection up for sale on a secondary market. It is the minimum capital requirement to become an owner of that collection. Typically the more significant the demand for a project, the greater the floor price. Investors should be aware that announcements from teams, partnerships, and collaborations can all cause the floor price to increase. The NFT flipper aims to enter low and leave high.
Nansen's NFT God Mode Dashboard provides a deep dive into hundreds of NFT collections. The base overview allows investors to see the fluctuations in floor price over various time frames, the total supply, and the trading volume. In the second week of May 2022, Azuki’s floor price tumbled, driven by Luna's collapse, which sent shockwaves through the markets. This sharp decline is accompanied by a spike in volume showing investors were offloading their NFTs and others were taking advantage of this dip.
The listings tab shows the pieces currently for sale and indicates their owners if they are known wallets. A smaller timeframe of the floor price (90 days) shows that the floor price has climbed from 5.94 ETH in late August to 11 ETH at the time of writing two months later.
Trading volume indicates demand. Nansen's Trends & Indexes Dashboard provides macro data for total NFT trading volume. The NFT Paradise Dashboard Mint Master tab lets investors see the total minting volume for new collections and visualizes establishing trends amongst entrant projects. Regarding volume as an indicator, the same rules present in trading apply: the larger the volume that accompanies a price move, the more indicative it is.
The wallets that own pieces within a collection serve as another excellent indicator of the project’s success.
Smart Money wallets owning pieces of a collection is a great sign. These NFT flippers have honed their craft and tend towards profitable projects. Another great indicator of Azuki’s prospects is the average holding time for wallets. A longer hold time suggests owners expect further price appreciation.
Distribution of ownership is another important metric. More decentralized ownership of NFTs reflects a broader market demand and reduces the potential of a whale crashing the floor price. On the other hand, increasing ownership of a collection by Smart Money wallets could be seen as a bullish signal. Azuki’s ownership shows a steady decline in unique wallets, signaling that pre-existing owners of the Azuki collection are accumulating.
Related collections show other collections that owners are interested in. Many NFT traders flip multiple collections, giving an insight into other potential areas of interest.
Liquidity boils down to how quickly something can be sold. NFTs, by nature, are more illiquid than other digital assets. The greater the trading volume, the more liquid an NFT is. Volume represents demand/ buyers and supply/ sellers interacting; the more interaction, the more fluid the market.
Investors should remember market perception dictates an NFT’s value, but this is only meaningful if there is sufficient demand for it to be sold.
Ranking collections by volume on Nansen's NFT Paradise Dashboard shows the most liquid collections, and in the last twenty fours hours, Azuki ranks as the second most liquid collection in the NFT space.
Featured above are all the individual transactions for the Azuki collection. Yellow dots communicate Smart Money buys, a bullish indicator; investors looking for an edge should always look for projects targeted by these wallets.
How to Find Rare Characteristics
Rarity is a key indicator used by many NFT flippers. An observable trend across all markets is that items with limited supply command higher prices due to scarcity; NFTs are no different. When generated, each NFT will possess a diverse collection of traits, and the rarer the trait, the more valuable the NFT. NFTs having multiple rare characteristics become the most desirable members of the collection.
Nansen's NFT God Mode Dashboard rarity tab shows everything. It calculates an overall statistical rarity from the combined rarity of each trait. The floor price for the Azuki collection is 11 ETH, whereas the rarest pieces within the collection command far higher prices, in excess of 200 ETH, and the rarest sold for more than 400 ETH. Also observable is investors who mint rare NFTs tend to hold onto them.
The spirit trait became one of the most desirable due to its scarcity, and Nansen's Rarity Profiler allows investors to search for specific traits within collections. Highly advantageous to flippers and specifically in the prevailing macroeconomic condition with NFTs classification as a risk-on asset, more NFTs sell closer to the floor price despite having rare traits, presenting a perfect opportunity for savvy NFT flippers.
When and How to Sell
Profit thresholds will vary from investor to investor, and capital plays a large factor. More capitalized investors can hold NFTs longer; those with a smaller ETH stack will often focus on flipping and building their ETH stack.
Each project exists as a separate entity, and so does the post-mint performance. Before minting/ buying any NFT, investors should understand what they are buying and set a target sell price.
A neglected area for sales is Discord. Often advertising the NFT within the Discord community yields better results than selling on secondary market platforms.
NFT Flipping Toolkit
Low-quality NFT projects flood the market, as do low-quality analytical tools. The best approach for new and would-be NFT flippers is investing time in learning to utilize a few tools effectively. Nansen provides all the data an investor needs. Twitter is the prime source of market alpha. And Rarity Tools features a fantastic upcoming calendar along with individual rarity scores.
Key Factors to Look Out For When Choosing a Project
NFT flipping is PvP (Player versus Player) and a zero-sum game. Every successful sale needs exit liquidity. The focus of this article is to provide insights that prevent investors from becoming bagholders/ exit liquidity. Some people flip NFTs vocationally, and investors trying to flip will often be competing against more experienced and better-capitalized players.
Market manipulation is very real in the world of NFTs. Twitter bots, Twitter raids, and wash trading all create false valuations and an artificial sense of demand for many projects. Luckily Nansen filters out wash trading. If an NFT is all over Twitter and people are talking about it, it is often already too late, and buying on the secondary market at this stage turns the investor into exit liquidity. Avoid FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) at all costs; emotions must remain separate.
Capitalization affects strategy. Less capitalized investors can leverage time and put the hours in on Discord focusing on getting whitelisted for popular mints. More capitalized investors can buy sniping tools that send notifications on predetermined criteria.
Where there is an opportunity, charlatans abound. Low-quality projects saturate the NFT space, and research and information remain an investor's best tool for filtering between what has worth and what is worthless.
Reputation plays a massive role in Web3. A large NFT collection will have a founding team typically consisting of artists, developers, and marketers. Ideally, the team is fully doxxed, and they have a visual record within the space. The long-term success of a project largely depends on the founding team, their intentions, and their capabilities. A great indicator is founding teams that have released previously successful collections. Join the group’s Discord and see if the team interacts with the community and how they interact with it. Always ask why are they releasing this collection.
Why do projects build communities? Marketing. A successful and thriving community remains one of the greatest marketing tools in any market segment. Projects with an active community that help push the project are invaluable. Successful projects have a specific buzz in the community; everyone believes they are part of something and wholeheartedly wants the project to succeed.
Observe how criticism is handled. Tribalism remains rampant in crypto broadly, and the dogmatic silencing of critics does not bode well. If communication between the team and community is nonexistent and engagement is low, look for another project.
What does the NFT do? What does the NFT grant access to? The utility profile of an NFT can be an excellent place for flippers to gain an edge. Certain collections will have specific traits that entitle owners to special perks. Search the whitepaper and see what rights, privileges, or rewards holders the project grants to holders. Teams take utility increasingly seriously, reflecting investors’ desire for their NFTs to accrue value.
Subjectivity reigns supreme in the NFT space. Attractive artwork will always command a premium. The quality of the art acts as a great litmus test for the overall dedication of the team to the project. Substandard art is a tell-tale sign of a cash-grab project.
How does the founding team envision this project meaningfully contributing to the space? NFT traders should look at the project’s whitepaper and roadmap. Has the team been consistent in meeting its roadmap targets? Are there both short and long-term goals clearly outlined? Are these aims attainable?
- Transparent and competent founding team (investment in an NFT is an investment in the team running the project)
- Solid social media presence (10,000 Twitter followers and 10,000 Discord members)
- Clear and lucid roadmap
- Positive community engagement
- Attractive artwork
Flipping NFTs can potentially be lucrative for investors who take the time to understand the landscape and can move quickly within it. But data is everything. Investors searching on OpenSea for a project to flip are lambs to the slaughter. Information asymmetry dominates NFT flipping, and Nansen puts investors on the right side of the knowledge gap.