What are NFT Whitelists – Why Whitelists are Essential

An NFT whitelist is almost essential for getting in to popular NFT projects before they mint.

They help you mint for a cheaper price, gives the buyer the opportunity to assess popularity of the NFT project before they buy, much better flipping opportunities, plus gives the buyer almost guaranteed minting opportunity.

Some NFT buyers only mint in to an NFT project if they manage to get on the whitelist.

The perks and benefits are amazing – but what are NFT whitelists?

An NFT Whitelist allows a small number of NFT buyers earlier opportunity to mint an NFT in the collection before the public sale. An NFT Whitelist may also buyers a reduced mint price. A whitelist place can often be earned by entering competitions, becoming active in the community, and referring friends.

In this guide we will look in to all the benefits of being on a NFT Whitelist, how they REALLY work, and the tricks and tactics used by successful NFT buyers to get on whitelists again and again!

How NFT Whitelists Work

Technically an NFT Whitelist works by specific potential buyer wallets added to a ‘whitelist’ of wallets allowed to mint an NFT.

It means during a pre-sale only those who hold one of those specific wallet addresses can mint an NFT.

If a buyer attempts to mint an NFT using an address not added to the whitelist, the system will not allow the mint to take place.

Once the pre-sale for whitelisted wallet addresses is over, then the technical team behind the NFT launch will remove the minting system condition of needing a whitelisted wallet address and will allow anyone to mint an NFT during what is known as a public sale.

The NFT founders are responsible for selecting or giving away a certain number of whitelist spots based on different criteria.

The number of whitelist places per NFT project varies but is often around 10%-20% of the total number of NFTs available.

So, for a collection of 10,000 NFTs there may be between 1,000 to 2,000 whitelist spots available.

For the NFT project it’s a great marketing tool to encourage referrals, engagement, and awareness.

But what are the benefits of getting on a whitelist for a buyer?

Benefits of Getting on an NFT Whitelist

Almost all NFT projects offer their own whitelist, and set their own numbers, benefits, and conditions.

Not every project has a whitelist, but it is such a powerful marketing tool for the NFT project that almost all now do.

Each whitelist usually has two very attractive benefits:

Early Mint in a Presale

If an NFT collection has a huge amount of interest prior to minting, like Invisible Friends in February 2022 or the Adidas NFT collection in 2021, there may be a lot more demand for the NFTs in the collection than the supply of them.

This means a first come first serve basis, where an NFT mint of a 10,000 collection can sell out in minutes or even seconds.

For extremely popular projects a lot of bots can jump in and mint them faster than someone can mint manually.

This means a lot of disappointed buyers trying to buy one of the NFTs on an immediately inflated secondary market.

To get around this it helps being on an NFT whitelist which provides an early mint opportunity.

Early mint in an NFT project has several benefits:

  • It gives the buyer the chance to beat the bots, who are not whitelisted and cannot jump in ahead
  • Almost guaranteed minting ability because the number of people who can mint during a presale is usually a lot less than the overall supply, so during a presale they can’t sell out
  • If the presale lasts for say 24 hours, it means as a buyer you can analyze the popularity of the NFT project by watching in real time how many sales are taking place. If 2,000 NFTs are available in the presale and after 22 hours only 100 have sold (5%), it may be that the NFT project isn’t as popular as it seems

Although some whitelists offer other benefits for whitelist members, such as access to exclusive Discord channels, the three items above are the main reasons NFT buyers try as hard as possible to be added to a whitelist.

Cheaper Mint Price

The price to mint an NFT varies from project to project and is set by the NFT founders.

This can vary and is often priced anywhere between 0.06 ETH ($180) to 0.25 ETH ($750). The dollar equivalent is based on the price of Ethereum at the time of purchase.

To incentivize demand to join an NFT whitelist, there is usually a benefit of a lower mint price than everyone else who mints at the regular price during a public sale.

A cheaper mint price may not always be the only cost saving, as demand for transactions during a whitelist presale can be lower than that of a public sale, and a lower demand for Ethereum transactions will lower the gas fee to mint.

Gas fees are the networks charge to process the blockchain transaction – and one example of a blockchain transaction is the minting, or creation, of an NFT.

The amount of discount for a whitelist mint compared to a public mint varies by NFT project, and again is set by the founders, but often this is around a 20% discount.

Minting during a quieter period, which often being on a whitelist allows, rather than peak period which is usually when a public sale starts, can save 50% in gas fees too!

Here is an example:

If an NFT mint price is 0.1 ETH and peak time gas fee costs 0.06 ETH, this in total would cost 0.16 ETH. Today, this would cost $475.

If being on a whitelist saves 20% off the mint price, it means it would cost 0.08 ETH to mint. The gas fee can’t be discounted as it is set by the Ethereum network GWEI fees and Proof of Work concept, but often a presale can last 24 hours and gives the buyer a chance to mint during a low demand time, like during the night.

This could reduce the overall gas fee to 0.03 ETH.

Therefore, the total cost to mint an NFT during a whitelist presale using these values as an example, would cost 0.11 ETH. Today, this would cost $325.

This represents an immediate $150 saving just by obtaining a whitelist spot!

How to get on to an NFT Whitelist

As NFT whitelists are controlled by each NFT project individually, the ways to get on a whitelist are very similar.

If you see an upcoming NFT project you want to buy in to, the first thing you should do is make every effort possible to get on to the whitelist.

The first place to head is the NFT projects official Discord channel, which can usually be found through the NFT projects official Twitter account.

As soon as an NFT becomes popular there are a lot of scam copycat websites and Twitter accounts pretending to be the official site all with one goal of taking your cryptocurrency by trying to get you to follow spoof sites and buying worthless NFTs – therefore it is important you follow official links only!

Once you find the official Discord channel, and verify your account, head over to the left-hand list of channels, and look for the ‘How to Whitelist’ or similar option (each NFT project calls this channel something slightly different, but they are usually quite easy to find).

How to Get on Whitelist

In this channel you will find the ways to get on to the whitelist.

Although there are various ways, each NFT projects options are usually one or more of the following:

  • Refer friends to the Discord channel
  • Becoming active in the Discord community, engage often and help build a friendly community with helpful advice, and getting to know others
  • Entering competitions through the Discord channel as they are announced
  • Entering competitions through the official Twitter account tweets

There are people spending 2 to 3 hours every night grinding away trying to get on as many whitelists as possible.

They do this by:

  • Looking for popular NFT projects through influencers, alpha groups or up-and-coming NFT project lists
  • View the official Twitter account and look for recent tweets with whitelist competitions, and enter following the competition entry requirements
  • Join the Discord channel, look for the ‘How to Whitelist’ channel and follow the instructions
  • Rinse and repeat!

It is possible to join several whitelists a month, or even a week, depending on the time and effort put in.

If your goal is to join the whitelist of just one project then spend all your time following the instructions set out by the NFT project, and if this is to help build the community then play a regular, friendly, helpful part!

Why NFT Whitelists are Good for NFT Projects

Whitelists seem to offer a great deal of benefits for the buyer, and for the NFT project it appears a lot of administration and less money in sales through minting discounts.

So, you may be wondering why NFT whitelists are good for NFT projects.

NFT whitelists are good for NFT projects as they are one of the best marketing methods of raising awareness of the collection and achieving an engaging active community, which is one of the most important factors any NFT buyer uses to determine whether they will buy in to the collection.

Prices of NFTs can only rise with high demand.

If there is no demand, there are no sales.

A higher demand than supply will increase the NFT prices, whereas a lower demand than supply with decrease the NFT price.

Whether an NFT project survives or fails is all determined by demand.

With whitelists offering so many benefits, NFT buyers will do everything they can to get on them. This includes posting regularly into the community, telling their friends, and posting on their own social media accounts as well as helping to build follower numbers on social accounts such as Twitter and Discord.

All these things attract other NFT buyers.

The right marketing, with an engaging community helping to spread the word (with the possibility of joining a whitelist) can snowball demand and create a hype around launch.

Invisible Friends did this. They become one of the most hyped NFT collections in recent months.

They did this slowly by building a genuine and loyal community, offering incentives to increase awareness (such as giveaways and whitelist places) as well as a unique NFT collection idea, and a good founder running the project.

Marketing and growing demand is essential for an NFT project to survive, and whitelists prior to minting are one of the best ways for an NFT project to achieve this!

In Conclusion – NFT Whitelists

An NFT whitelist offers NFT buyers a chance to mint earlier than anyone else, almost offering a guaranteed mint, as well as usually providing a discount.

NFT buying is expensive. An average standard NFT mint on the Ethereum network, with gas fees, is on average $450.

Anything that can be done to improve chances of minting, and reducing the price, is seriously attractive to buyers.

Getting on to just 5 whitelists can save on average $750!

The NFT project can increase awareness and followers by having a small number of whitelist spots that must be won by potential NFT buyers.

The competition and benefits at stake, plus the current status symbol in the NFT industry of getting a whitelist spot, drives interest and engagement.

The interest and engagement, drives further demand which increases even more interest and engagement, and the cycle begins.

Once a whitelist spot is won, and you provide your wallet address to the NFT project so they can whitelist your wallet to allow the early mint, you can then choose whether to mint when the presale starts.

It is advisable to monitor a presale launch and watch how many NFTs are minted. A small number of mints towards the end of a presale may indicate the demand in the project isn’t there, and the project unlikely to take off.

Each NFT project is different, so it is important to do as much due diligence before minting any NFT!


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