In 2021, nearly every NFT project coming to market used a system called Whitelisting. In the fast-moving NFT world where evolution is at its heart, whitelisting is utilized by many projects in 2022.
Whitelisting is a way for a selected number of people to mint (i.e., buy) the NFT before everyone else. They mint their NFTs under special sales processes called pre-sale, while the rest can only mint when the NFTs are available for general sale (called the public sale). The time difference between the pre-sale and the public sale varies for each project. Some projects may have a pre-sale period of 24 hours, while others allow pre-sale to run only a few hours.
There are numerous benefits of minting in pre-sale before the public sale. Let's examine these advantages.
Some NFTs provide so much opportunity that an endless number of people want to acquire them at public sale. Many people cannot mint because the project has already sold out. Whitelisters have chances to mint the NFT without the need to indulge in a scrum with a mass of people.
Some NFT projects offer whitelisters the opportunity to purchase the NFT at a lower price than the public sale price. A project may, for example, proceed with a public-sale price of 0.2 ETH and a pre-sale price of 0.15 ETH, thus allowing a discount for those whitelisted. While not the case for every project, many have pre-sale and public sale prices.
The most popular blockchain for NFTs is Ethereum and people have to pay a transaction fee (called a gas fee) to mint on this blockchain. The fee is determined by demand, and if many wish to carry out a transaction at any particular time, it invariably leads to high gas prices. It's not unknown for gas fees to run into thousands of dollars with hundreds of dollars the usual figure. And it's not out of the norm for the gas fee to be higher than the price of the NFT itself! Those on the whitelist have a window of time to mint. If the gas prices are too high, a whitelister can step away and return at a more favorable time. Especially if the pre-sale runs in a 24-hour window, minting can occur at convenience, taking advantage of low gas fees.
Most projects carry out marketing and community-building efforts on Twitter, Discord, Instagram, and Telegram. From this perspective, the most critical platform is Discord, a chat app where people can send text messages. As things stand, Discord is the platform of choice for community building and whitelisting.
Usually, to secure the whitelist spot, the performance of two tasks is required. These are:
1) Chatting via text and,
2) Getting others to join their Discord server (called inviting).
The chat element involves people texting with others in the community. Conversations revolve around many topics, including NFTs. It is necessary to reach a certain chat level on the server to obtain a whitelist spot. All individuals start on level 0 but increase their levels by messaging others on the server. Bots are present that measure the time each individual has spent on Discord and the number of messages sent. A project will state the chat level required to qualify for the whitelist; for example, this number could be chat level 7.
The second thing projects seek is to bring others to the Discord server and increase member numbers. An individual must have invited a certain number of people to join to become eligible for the whitelist.
On Discord, a feature allows the individual to create a unique link to provide to others to join the server. The invited person clicks the link to join the Discord server, with bots maintaining a tally.
NFT Projects use the "invite" approach as it's an opportunity to grow their community. The greater the organic server numbers, the bigger the community and the stronger the project. Many invite others they know, and those with limited acquaintances on Discord can join different servers, engage in chat to build rapport and relationships, and ask those people to join the NFT project.
The requirements to become whitelisted vary from project to project. Most projects require a combination of invites and leveling up on chat. Some projects ask those seeking a whitelist spot to post details of the project on Social Media, usually Twitter or Instagram. They may even request the posting of memes and fan art on the Discord server.
Discord commands inform people of the levels reached on chat and the number of people successfully invited. After meeting the requirements, sending a message to the administrators is usually necessary to secure the whitelist spot. Typically it also involves sending a screenshot of posts about the project on Social Media.
Minting will be available before the public sale once whitelist is achieved. The project will ask the whitelisted individuals to provide their wallet address they plan to use for minting. At minting time, it's simply a case of visiting the mint website, entering the wallet address, and completing the transaction. The system will recognize this whitelisted wallet and allow minting to proceed before the public sale.
Big NFT projects are trending, and meeting the requirements to become whitelisted may take more time than smaller projects. More significant projects involve well-known famous names, bigger budgets, greater awareness, more hype, and so on. It might be necessary to reach level 10 on chat with ten successful invitations to the server. A smaller project might, in contrast, may only ask members to reach level 5 and five people to join the Discord.
Whitelist can take time to achieve. It is not unusual to take many hours to reach this status. It is wise to get whitelist on your favorite projects. This ensures that minting of the NFT is feasible with favorable gas prices. Big NFT projects are more likely to reach blue-chip status, and from an investment perspective, there is a good chance the NFT significantly increases in value. For instance, the Hapebeast project went to mint in January 2022 at 0.2 ETH but quickly reached 8 ETH! This factor encourages people to grind it out on Discord because the end goal is worth it!