Beginner guide for first-time NFTs buyers (2021)

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When I was in Dakar, I visited a place called “Soumbedioune Village”. I was preparing to travel to Hamburg/Germany, and I wanted to buy a gift for a friend. Because she invited me and three other members of my former startup. I wanted something special for her.

Soumbedioune village overview

The items I found were amazing: artistic bags, bracelets, baskets, dresses… And the most interesting thing for me was the amazing artwork from local artists. It was so beautiful and amazing, even if some of them you can see the mark of time on them. I wanted them so much…

But, I had a problem:

How do I transport them to Hamburg?

It was not possible. I had no other choice, I had to find another item. Like the ones below, I bought some sculptures.

Small sculptures you can put in a suitcase

Since then, I have been asking… What if those artworks could be :

  • Digitized
  • Sharable
  • Authentified
  • Preserved

It would be more “transportable”.

It took me two years to figure out a solution: NFTs

A brief history

In 2008, an anonymous person called Satoshi Nakamoto to launch Bitcoin. It’s money on the Internet, without banks, without a middle man.

First, what is money?

Money is often defined in terms of the three functions or services that it provides :

  • Medium of exchange: Money’s most important function is as a medium of exchange to ease transactions. Without money, all transactions would have to be conducted by barter. It involves direct exchange of one good or service for another.
  • Store of value: To be a medium of exchange, money must hold its value over time; that is, it must be a store of value. Otherwise, money could not be stored for some period and remain valuable in exchange.
  • Unit of account: Money also functions as a unit of account, providing a common measure of the value of goods and services being exchanged.

How did Satoshi manage to create “Internet money” with these functions?

He leveraged something called Blockchain.

Blockchain is a register where every transaction is recorded. Its characteristic :

  • Immutability: No possibility to make a change on the register once data is in the ledger.
  • Decentralized: No one owns the technology, it’s shared among the users.
  • Anonymity: You don’t need to give your credentials, a random password is given to you only.
  • Security: It’s almost impossible to hack because of the density of the network.

With these, Satoshi made Bitcoin. No possibility to double spend. A store of value. A medium of exchange. A unit of account. All combined using blockchain and cryptography.

Since then, Bitcoin is exploding. After 13 years, a unit of bitcoin is now worth between $30k and $65k depending on the demand.

In 2015, a group of 8 persons figured out they can do more things with the blockchain: they can build some kind of contract on top of it.

Given the fact that the blockchain is a register, what you put on it depends on the writer of the code. If they can figure out a way to codify functions and put it on the blockchain, they will have another use case.

And they made it. Ethereum was born.

You can create your coin(or token) like Bitcoin, determine the max supply, and release it in under 5 min, using something called “Smart contract”: lines of codes you write and deploy on the blockchain.

In January 2021, I programmed my first token I called “Wetchit” which means “spare change”. I couldn’t believe it. It took me less than 5 min :

  • I went on Youtube
  • Research “How to create a coin with Ethereum”
  • I watched the tutorial
  • Click on the Github link
  • Copy the code
  • Paste it on Remix
  • I change the name of the token
  • Define the max supply, the abbreviation of the token name, the divisibility, and leave the rest unchanged.

Done. I compile it. No error.

Now, I connect my Metamask and it was ready to deploy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough Ethereum to pay gas fees.

But I had the option to test the coin on Kovan Test Network. I was working well. I sent some tokens to different wallets.

I was like “WOW, this is the next thing”.

Do you see how easy it was to create a token in under 5 min, with an open-source program?

Now imagine if you could code some characteristics of a photo :

  • Color
  • Dimension
  • Design
  • Traits

The result you get after you launch the smart contract is a Non-fungible-token, a representation of that UNIQUE photo in the blockchain.

The term “fungible” indicates that the value of each item is uniform, mutually interchangeable with one another, and divisible.

Now imagine what you can represent (or in the technical word “tokenized”): real estate, piece of art…

Everything valuable can be tokenized and mint (launch) on the blockchain.

The characteristic of NFTs

  • It’s permanent. (like everything in the blockchain)
  • Cannot be replicated. (hence the term non-fungible)
  • Cannot be counterfeited. (there is only one model linked to one address)
  • One that proves that they own it (using blockchain explorer)

OMG…!!!!!!!!!

I now have my solution to buy an artwork for my friend… With a little added value: the value can be appreciating over time.

What? What? Whaaaaaaaat? Oh yes, NFTs can be sold in open marketplace like Opensea, Rarible, Foundation… My friend may decide to sell it if she has financial worries.

Do you remember my wish for artwork:

  • Digitalized
  • Sharable
  • Authentified
  • Preserved

And now, VALUABLE.

This is a revolution for digital artists and collectors.

Now, you are wondering: How can I benefit from this revolution?

It depends on whether you are an artist, collector, hodlers (you hold the asset and then sold it later for a profit), and flippers.

I will start with the collectors, hodlers, and flippers. Let's startup with the basics.

What makes NFTs valuable?

Supply and demand.

Do you remember the shortage of paper-toilet during COVID-19?

That’s exactly that.

When demand for a popular NFT is high and the supply low, prices gonna Skyrock (Watch here: Cryptopunks)

The other way round is also true: When supply is high and demand low, the price will drop.

Now, let’s go deeper than that: WHY would you buy NFTs?

After almost 9 months of watching the space, let me tell you this: Market fluctuates. What does it mean? It means you can buy and hold a piece of art, and one day or another, the price drops drastically from your entry price.

Because you are not alone in the whole market. You are ONE player in the market.

Thus, you have three choices when it comes to NFTs art pieces ( from a buyer perspective):

  • Buy and never intend to sell (collectors)
  • Buy to sell in few years for profit (hodlers)
  • Buy to flip quickly (flippers)

If you buy a NFT and never intend to sell it

As a collector, whether the price goes up or down, you don't care.

You like it. you hold it. And no one can take it from you, FOREVER.

If you buy a NFT to sell it in few years for profit

Learn the space.

Why the original art piece of the Mona Lisa is so valuable?

Because :

  • it’s scarce
  • The artist is known worldwide: Léonardo de Vinci
  • The piece has a story

I call it “the SAS model”. (Scarcity, Artist, Story)

The reason why Beeple sold its piece for 69 million dollars is that his NFT is a collage of 5000 photos he did in 5000 days in a row. Yes… You heard me well… In a row.

For 14 years, Beeple is making a design every single day and post it on Instagram, Twitter, and its blog.

Is this scarce? Yes. There is only one piece in the world.

The artist is well known? Yes. Over 2.2 million followers on Instagram. He has worked on concert visuals for Justin Bieber, One Direction, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Zedd, deadmau5, and many more.

Does the piece has a story? Yes. It’s 5000 first days of him making design, every single day. Such commitment and discipline are rare.

You can expect the guy buying the piece to sell it for much more in few years. And yes, he has a plan.

Think of it like you buy an Apple iPhone. You may say you bought it for the functionality, but deep inside it’s because of the prestige it gives you (mostly).

Same here. The difference is that the NFT is an asset.

If you buy a NFT to flip it as fast as you can for profit

Learn the space. Learn the basics of trading.

It’s a very basic rule: when to buy and when to sell.

Timing a market is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.

All the precedent rules apply (scarcity, artist, story) + timing.

Pro tip: Begin with recently listed, recently created, recently sold, or the highest last sale.

When to buy?

You buy when you believe the item is UNDERVALUED.

An interesting thread from Samuel Thompson :

Explore these three metrics :

  • Number of items
  • Floor price (lowest item price)
  • Volume traded

Next, you want to look at SUPPLY & DEMAND.

Find projects with HIGH VOLUME and LOW FLOOR. You can be more confident that the demand for these collections will move the floor price up.

AVOID LOW VOLUME.

Third, look at AVAILABLE ITEMS.

It’s harder to move the floor price on collections with over 10,000 items. Purchases on limited supply collections raise the floor faster.

Raising the floor is where YOU MAKE MONEY.

0.1 ETH is a floor price to have an eye on.

Pro tip: Have a separate account for flipping.

When to sell?

When the volume starts to shrink. Not the price, but the volume.

Lemme tell you : NFTs are illiquid assets. It means you can only sell if a buyer is willing to buy it at that exact price. It’s different from liquid assets like Bitcoin: you can place a sell order in an exchange, and 99% of the time, you will find a buyer.

What’s gonna happen if the price is dropping and everyone is selling? You guessed it: no one wanna buy. And it keeps dipping (another way of saying dropping) until it’s reached 0.

99% of chance bitcoin never reach 0, but 99% of chance of your NFTs dropping to 0 if you don't choose carefully.

I used to trade, when I had 2X profit, I took my initial investment and let the rest ride, and take profits along the bull run.

You cannot do that with NFTs, at least for now. Seems like people are working on it.

Disclaimer: As I said, it’s very very difficult to time a market. You will lose money. Flip at your own risk.

I suggest you watch this video from Alex Bucker about how to flip a NFT

Where do you start as a flipper?

For first time beginners in crypto and trading: You will find the upcoming drop with these tools :

rarity

nftcalendar

non-fungi

For more resourceful users :

Dune Analytics of most bought collections by 500 most successful traders

There, you will find the list of collections 500 traders often buy.

Or you check to track the floor price here:

What you are looking for are collections with low price floor and HIGH volume. Or you check collections with past All-Time High with volume starting to level up.

If you wanna base your research on trading volume on Opensea, here is your link. You will find out a list of NFT projects based on the volume.

The process of buying in Opensea

Opensea is the biggest marketplace in NFTs. Start your journey there. For more marketplaces, plz read this article.

Here is what you need :

  • Create and fund a metamask account

Here is an example of how to setup a metamask account: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfkqgXNPiHg

Now you create and fund your metamask account, let's talk about the gas fees.

The gas fees

Whenever you wanna buy a NFT, or sell an NFT, you have to pay gas fees.

Gas fees are what you pay to the network to process your transaction.

If you are a first-time buyer, you will have to pay gas fees when:

  • You buy a NFT ( so you will pay the price of the item + gas fees)
  • Unlock and list your wallet to sell an NFT (double pay)

So, if you wanna flip your NFTs, you have to consider all these fees and define the profit margin you target.

An option on Opensea is to use the Polygon Network (but note it is not used as much as Ethereum).

Connect to metamask via opensea.io

Configure your profile

The marketplace

Now, you have all the tools necessary to begin exploring Opensea and NFTs.

If you need more details, plz DM me on Twitter or Instagram.

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Beginner guide for first-time NFTs buyers (2021) was originally published in Coinmonks on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.