Astro Girls Educational Series — NFT 101

Last week we held our first Education Series — NFT 101. We were joined by our panellists Charlie, Easy Money and Ducky who are all part of ChaChang, a group dedicated to providing NFT Alpha in the Ethereum and Solana Ecosystem.

Here’s the write-up of what went down!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience

Charlie:
I started “ChaChang” in the midst of covid lockdown here in Australia. I wanted to provide value in the ecosystem and the community and teach people about the area. I created a spreadsheet that tracks upcoming mints and ongoing projects. The spreadsheet tracks these projects on social metrics, supply, % listed for sale, the volume traded and engagement as time goes on.

My channel grew quickly and so Easymoney, MiMi, Ducky and Sandra soon came on board to help. Now my channel mainly focuses on macroanalysis. I’ve also since left my job as a corporate lawyer to work full time in Web3. I also run an NFT fund on the side.
https://twitter.com/ChaChangNFT

Easymoneyding:
My focus is mainly on NFTs within the Solana ecosystem. I look at upcoming releases as well as bluechip and macro market movements. I’m also a contributor at Grape, helping them build out their NFT treasury.
https://twitter.com/easymoneyding

Ducky:
I analyse DeFi protocols for Chachang, tracking social metrics to see which protocols are growing the fastest, and across which chains. Most of the protocols we track come across Ethereum, Solana, and Terra — though we also track protocols across Cosmos, Harmony, and Avalanche. I also do deep dives on DeFi protocols in order to explain their value propositions are, and why users might consider using them.

I have a background in accounting and finance so enjoy looking at current market trends, and seeing where decentralised protocols are growing out to offer permissionless versions of their centralised counterparts.
https://twitter.com/marketducky

MickeyMimi:
Host / upcoming Eth NFT project analysis @ ChaChang
https://twitter.com/mickeymimi_nft

2. Because this is a 101 session — can you please give us a quick two-liner on what an NFT is — for our friends who are completely new to the space

Charlie
NFT is a non-fundgible token — at its core, it is the attachment of a digital token on the blockchain to a particular asset. The digital token represents the authenticity of the asset but they are two distinct things.

3. What would you say are the biggest differences between NFTs on Solana, Eth, Tezos? Do you treat them differently?

Easy Money Ding:
Eth has a first-mover advantage, close to 90% of the NFT space in terms of volume. However, there is definitely a higher barrier of entry, with more expensive gas fees. There is a higher risk (because of gas) but there is a higher reward

Solana has a lower barrier of entry — anyone can join in and have a go at minting projects, however, it is a couple of steps behind Eth in terms of popularity.

I personally don’t have a lot of experience with Tezos, but if you’re interested in another ecosystem you can look at NEAR, which is starting to get a bit of traction. There are a lot of people in the Solana space venturing into the NEAR ecosystem.

4. With so many projects launching in the space and on so many different chains, how do you identify good projects that add value to the space / have potential longevity?

Easy Money Ding:
This is the million-dollar question, but there is definitely no specific proven model that works 100% of the time. I find that a lot of successes are TREND BASED and the trend is constantly changing. Different types of NFTs come into play, for example:

  • PFP
  • Gaming
  • Community driven
  • Metaverse

The current trend on Solana is lower supply projects with some sort of staking mechanism as well as metaverse projects. However, you do have to be careful as the trends in this space moves quite quickly.

I like to see the minting phase as an ICO so it is definitely a lot riskier. If you’re looking to mint some things that you should keep in mind is that:

  • You are betting on the team (doxxed preferred)
  • What does the roadmap look like? Proof of work?
  • Who are the people involved and what are their experiences?

For longevity, I personally look at the secondary market, not at the mint and I look at measures like volume, vibes, presence and conversation on Twitter → I find that these QUANTIFIABLE measures which I can assess a worthwhile project.

A good piece of advice that Ducky gave me was that you should look at every project through a ‘doubtful lens’ unless you are proved otherwise. You must be vigilant as there are too many rugs and scams in the space.

5. Are there pre-launch red flags that cannot be ignored when one is deciding to mint or not to mint?

Charlie
I agree with Easy Money, you should definitely always approach it from a perspective that the project should convince me. Because of where the market is at right now, there is a tenancy to just focus on how much money there is in the space and how much money is being made. Because of this, people tend to fall into the trap of FOMO and jump onto projects expecting them to exceed. This toxic mentality is what you should try to avoid

Important to note the lifecycle of NFT in general and think about where minting falls into on this timeline?

If the NFT market is hot, most projects will mint out. Minting might be safer during this time as volume is pumping and you’re likely to be able to flip (if that’s what you want to do)

If the trading volume is low, that is a sign that money is exiting the system. If you start putting money into the system, then you run the risk of becoming somebody’s exit liquidity.

In those times, you should only mint if you have conviction in the project. You should not default to minting if there isn’t a lot of money flowing into the space because you will be holding and waiting for the next cycle.

Mimi:
It goes without saying but you should never buy on FOMO — prices never go up and up and up — there is always going to be a retrace. It’s important that we fight this FOMO psychology when buying into projects. Have conviction plays rather than let your emotions guide your investments.

Easy Money Ding:
You must go in with the right mentality — there are so many opportunities, there will always be another train and trend

Ducky:
Most teams are undoxxed so having a fully doxxed team is usually preferred. If you are betting on an undoxxed team, keep in mind what are the reasons you are basing your reasoning for future successes off of? A project does not need to be an immediate mint out to signal success

The quality of demo (particuarly in gaming projects) is very important. So many projects can just pay someone off Fiverr to create a 20 second “demo” but in reality it is not a game you would play and doesn’t look like a proper game — which is another red flag

Mimi:

Jumping on to Ducky’s point, you must be incredibly cautious of NFT projects that promise a gaming ecosystem — always check the team because building a game takes SO much experience and there is a lot of technicalities involved. If 80% of the project focused on marketing rather than utility — then that’s also a red flag. If their team consists mostly of marketing experts and no devs, what are they building?

It is important to check alignment between team experience & NFT utility. Like Ducky said before — if you’re minting a new project, you are essentially hedging a bet on the team so make sure it is people you trust and people you are comfortable investing your money into.

6. What is your NFT research starter pack aka which websites or apps are used every time and are there any metrics you use when choosing to invest in a project?

Charlie:
I’m going to have to promote the ChaChang NFT and DeFi Tracker — this is a resource I’ve developed that track projects and their social media growth over time which is a good starting point to discovering new projects in the space.

Also, other good resources include:

7. Your onboarding experience and the biggest shortcomings in this industry so far that you’ve noticed.

Charlie:
My expertise in this space has been mostly self-taught. Web3 is definitely not the mainstream narrative so there are not a lot of mainstream resources that can help you go very far in this space. I think my one piece of advice is to jump into it and buy your first NFT — nothing makes you learn faster than staying up at night and wondering if your NFT is going to go to zero

A lot of this space is about trial and error, if NFT does go to zero then do not make the same mistake again. Another great way to learn is by onboarding other people. This is important and will move this space forward and we should try and help people as much as we can to advance this.

Charlie’s suggested resources:

Chachang team

Easy Money/Ducky/Mimi:
Be careful who you follow in the space and learn how to differentiate the good from the bad. If someone is constantly shilling you projects, they are not trustworthy. The reality is that influencers will use the trust of their followers for their own financial incentives. The space is so new so there are no regulations with regards to paid advertisements and disclosures so every time a project is shilled to you — think to yourself — are you this person’s exit liquidity? Are they trying to pump the project so they can dump their own bags? At the end of the day, you shouldn't just trust someone because of their follower count.

8. What is your best advice to build & enrich a long term NFT community? Do you have any time & value management strategies for community members that may be part of multiple different projects?

Charlie:
Stay active and involved in the communities that deserve your time. It’s very easy to overlook the time that is invested into projects by its founding members. It’s a shame that there are a lot of projects which are only there to mint out and then let the project die — but that shouldn’t be the lens that you see all NFT projects.

Look out for and support projects that have a purpose and use the initial “mint” as a way to fundraise and support their cause.

9. Where do you see the NFT space ten years from now? And what different ways do you see the technology being used?

Charlie:
I’m a big NFT maxi so I’m definitely very very bullish on the space. If you believe in the progression of the internet and if the internet will become a bigger way for people to connect then the natural question that flows from that is whether people will want to display their wealth and flaunt who they are on the internet.

We already see this with influencers on Instagram that post pictures of their lambos / private jets and it gets a lot of traction. Then the next step from that is “do people CARE about whether this portrayed wealth is real or not?” — and I think the answer is yes.

With blockchain technology attaching to particular things to verify ownership — I think this will be the next step in online identity. I think in 10 years everything you own will be in NFTs — this is as simple as your degree, a ticket of a festival you’ve gone to — anything you want to show to the online world will never be just from words you write again — it is just something you can display in your wallet. The next step in NFT evolution is the application of NFTs to verify people’s wealth/credentials without needing consumers to simply ‘trust’ the individual.

I also think that there are certain industries that are susceptible to being overtaken by NFTs. These are traditionally centralised industries that dictate how a creator interact with their fans. If you look at new musicians wanting to release a song, there is no reason why they need to do it through an agency that distributes it for them. No reason why artists need to sell through intermediately.

These traditional industries have capitalised on creators and artists and commodified that process — I think in the next 10 years we can see these industries being overtaken by NFTs where content creators can release their art without the need for an intermediary.

Easy Money Ding:
Long term, I can see the adoption of virtual reality through technological advancements and hopefully we can see people being able to purchase NFT and attend festivals in the metaverse

Music, gaming will also see increased adoption in using NFTs and blockchain technology. We will hopefully also see NFTs being used to give tangible real-life value eg. higher tier of NFT means you get face to face meetings with the artist etc

The real winners of NFTs will be the creators, they will have complete ownership over their product/service

Ducky:

NFTs have utility and they will always serve a purpose in the ecosystem. I think we will see an increase in membership NFTs and 1 on 1 NFTs and original art pieces.

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