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Many people are still in search of a compelling reason to engage with NFTs. They’ve witnessed the market’s explosive growth and want to participate, but there are two major blockers preventing them from getting their feet wet: (1) they may not know why to get involved, and (2) they may not know how.
First, the why. Why actively participate in the NFT space? What are the benefits for creators and collectors?
Because these questions are usually posed by people who still don’t know what all the fuss is about, they can usually be answered by reformulating the question to What makes NFTs valuable? 2021 saw an endless stream of articles offering various answers to this question–the next section provides a highly condensed TLDR.
Second, the how. How do you find bargain NFTs and how do you buy them? How do you mint an NFT or sell it or even stake it to earn passive income?
Confusion here often boils down to not knowing which NFT tools are available, which is what this brief guide aims to address.
We call it a “complete” list of NFT tools for 2022, but of course no list is fully complete while the market is young and growing. For those who are fairly new to the NFT space, however, the below should be more than enough to get started. For the more experienced, it will at least provide a few more links for the bookmarks bar.
What makes NFTs valuable?
Unless you’re brand new to NFTs, you can skip this section or simply treat it as a brief refresher.
The tricky thing about NFTs is that their value is mostly hidden from plain sight, which is partly why so many people have a difficult time understanding them.
With NFTs, value is derived not from the digital asset itself – whether that be a gaming item, a JPEG, or a song – but rather the unit of data on the blockchain that represents it. In other words, an NFT is not the asset, but rather the unique digital signature that proves ownership of that asset.
The value of NFTs can therefore be boiled down to roughly three characteristics:
NFTs prove ownership
This empowers both creators and collectors: creators benefit from receiving rights over their work while collectors get the unique ownership they desire.
NFTs create scarcity
Where there’s scarcity, there’s value. NFTs create digital scarcity where none formerly existed.
Beyond the scarcity of any given NFT, creators can also set the supply limit for whatever it is they wish to list. They can make some NFTs more scarce than others, and even some NFT traits (see Tools for checking the rarity of an NFT) more scarce than other traits within an NFT collection.
NFTs require no intermediaries
In all NFT sales, the only middleman is the platform on which the NFTs are bought and sold. This means collectors and creators can participate in a system where the latter receives a fairer portion of proceeds for their work–a hallmark of Web3.
For a more detailed description of Web3, see our article What is Web3? An explainer
No list of NFT tools is complete without the largest NFT marketplace. OpenSea is where many NFT enthusiasts begin their journey into this wild and wonderful world.
Another very popular NFT market is Rarible. Just like OpenSea, Rarible charges a service fee of 2.5% ETH for any NFT sold on their platform. Also just like OpenSea, users are required to have an Ethereum wallet.
Unlike OpenSea, however, items on Rarible are minted as soon as they are listed. This may take some time (and cost some ETH gas) for the seller, but the buyer can rest assured knowing that when they buy their desired NFT, it will have already gone though the minting process.
LooksRare is the new kid on the block and one of OpenSea’s top competitors. In fact, it has actually been poaching OpenSea users, airdropping its native $LOOKS token to those who have transacted 3 ETH or more there.
The platform, which is just a few months old, continues to reward users with $LOOKS just for trading NFTs. $LOOKS can be staked directly on the site.
Tools for exploring current NFT collections
Twitter is a great resource for NFT collectors and traders because it’s the go-to social media platform for quick updates in real time.
Now, with Twitter’s List funcion, top accounts can be grouped together so you can create and customize your own dedicated NFT timeline.
Discord is the primary social media channel that NFT collections use as a forum for the community and a place to provide official links, announcements, and giveaways.
Just like Twitter, you don't need to be a holder to join a project's Discord server, but most NFT collections will have channels exclusively for holders.
Aside from being one of the best platforms available for decentralized application market analytics, Dappradar is also one of the premier NFT tools, allowing you to sort over 3,600 projects by volume, traders, and sales across multiple time frames.
If you want greater functionality, DappRadar also has a premium version, DappRadar PRO, which gives you access to exclusive Discord channels, and features like more customized data filtering.
Even if you never transact on OpenSea, it’s still a great tool to explore what’s out there.
Search by filters such as trade volume, floor price, and the number of wallets that hold an NFT from any given NFT collection. Or simply head over to OpenSea’s rankings page, where you can sort through some of the top projects.
LooksRare is a great place to browse NFT collections and is sure to develop better features as more users migrate to the platform. Even if you’re not actively collecting, LooksRare is definitely a worthy addition to your browser bookmarks.
SolSea’s search filters make it a great marketplace for exploring new collections. Filter by NFT format (e.g. PFP, 3D, or video NFTs), price, number of likes and views, and even the type of NFT license, such as a license for non-commercial exploitation.
Magic Eden, the top Solana NFT marketplace by trade volume, is another great place to browse verified listings of Solana projects. When available you can view the rarity rank for individual NFTs, which is displayed from MoonRank and HowRare.is.
If you purchase a Magic Ticket NFT, you can also join the MagicDAO, a community where you can vote on governance and work directly with the Magic Eden team.
Tools for minting NFTs
Users can easily mint NFTs on the BNB Chain (formerly Binance Smart Chain) using platforms like BakerySwap or TreasureLand. From there it’s just a matter of uploading your file and paying the minting fee.
Enjin is another great tool that makes minting easy. And because it’s first and foremost a gaming platform, powering popular titles such as Age of Rust and Forest Knight, you can also design NFT collectibles for gameplay.
One of the reasons Rarible stands out as a minting tool is its royalty fees. Whereas OpenSea offers up to 10% in royalties, creators can earn up to five times that amount on Rarible.
You can also do what’s called “lazy minting” on Rarible–a feature that was released last October. Lazy minting is a way to mint NFTs without gas fees. In other words, you can mint an NFT for free without any ETH.
Tools for knowing about upcoming NFT drops
NFT Calendar is one of the best resources available to learn about NFT drops on over 15 blockchains.
Unfortunately it doesn’t have a calendar view as one might expect, but it’s still easy to use. You can sort through new and upcoming drops and filter by blockchains like Cardano and WAX.
KnownOrigin, which calls itself an “artist-driven platform”, is host to over 1,000 artists and 11,000 rare digital artworks.
Reddit is a fantastic resource to learn about drops via word of mouth. When browsing Reddit, always be vigilant of potential scams and malicious links, and DYOR on mints from projects you discover here.
Sea Launch is a platform for NFT drops and pre-sales, which are when early supporters of an NFT collection are given access to the project before it officially launches. The platform features NFTs not only on Ethereum, but also Solana, Matic, Cardoano, and Binance.
While Sea Launch provides official links to a project’s website, Twitter, and Discord channels, it’s still important to do your own research as the odd NFT collection will rug their users. Just to be safe, use a separate, minting wallet that contains no more crypto than you are willing to pay.
Tools for checking rarity of your NFTs
As the name suggests, Rarity Tools ranks NFTs by rarity so you can easily determine their value. The way it does this is through a Rarity Score, a basic formula that sidesteps some of the issues that arise when rarity is scored by other means, such as averaging the rarity of an NFT’s traits or multiplying them together.
Rarity Tools can be useful for finding undervalued NFTs on secondary marketplaces, as sometimes a user doesn’t know their NFT’s worth and will list it way below value.
Trait Sniper, which bills itself as “the fastest NFTs ranking platform”, is built for traders who want to act quickly.
The platform allows you to set custom gas and buy an NFT instantly, so you can “snipe” rare NFTs before anyone else. It’s a great way to take advantage of the fact that some users unwittingly list their NFTs at bargain value.
NFT analytics tools
NFT Floor Finder
NFT Floor Finder is one of a few NFT tools out there that help you find good deals on NFTs. Adam Waxman, Director Of Product Design at SeatGeek, created Floor Finder because he felt that OpenSea made it difficult to keep track of certain traits.
Waxman also believes rarity isn’t the only contribution to a trait’s price, so he added a "Fan Favorite" section to explore traits that are popular.
Etherscan is one of the most popular Ethereum block explorers (essentially a blockchain search engine).
Dune Analytics is a platform that provides snapshots of trends in the NFT ecosystem.
Discover thousands of custom dashboards built by community members that track metrics for specific NFT projects. Or, search for an NFT collection you’re interested in to view dashboards with the floor price, average sales, current holder totals, and top owners.
Nansen is a blockchain analytics platform that has both a free and paid version.
Free content for NFT investors includes NFT Paradise, to view volume, floor price, and market cap for top NFT collections, and NFT Indexes (such as the NFT-500) to track the aggregate performance of top NFT collections.
Tools for staking NFTs
WhenStaking is an NFT staking platform for NFTs built on Onessus, the studio behind play-to-earn games such as HodlGod and the upcoming NiftyVille. In-game NFT assets can be staked to earn $VOID, the native Onessus token that powers the platform.
NFTX is a great tool to earn additional rewards on NFT investments. NFT owners can deposit their NFT into a vault to earn staking tokens, while non-owners can purchase NFT tokens from top NFT collections like BAYC and Cool Cats to gain exposure to the floor price.
You can also pair NFT tokens with Ethereum in liquidity pools to earn a fraction of total network fees whenever users swap between pairs.
Another tool to check out is FloorDao, whose market-making protocol is built on top of NFTX using the platform's vaults.
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