Do your own research! That's the caveat many content creators within the NFT in Web 3.0 space offer before launching into a long monologue about the merits of a particular project. But, how exactly can I DYOR? That's what I wondered when I started getting into NFTs.
I’ve spent dozens of hours using and testing various types of NFT software, websites and tools to learn more about the space.
I also wanted to understand which types of NFTs people like to collect, flip and avoid.
Some NFT learning resources will help you learn about specific projects while others are useful for understanding the key concepts underpinning the space and web 3.0. Below are some of my favourite NFT learning resources.
1. NFT Free and Private Discord Communities
Almost any NFT project is supported by a community of aspiring and active collectors, and scammers, on Discord. It’s an instant messaging and community tool popular with the gaming community that web 3.0 loves.
If you find an NFT project of note, expect a link to a Discord community on its Twitter profile or via its website. Inside of the Discord, look for the announcements channel or the roadmap channel. Before apeing in, use this info to learn more about the project, who it's for, and the roadmap.
These communities are a helpful gauge of project sentiment. However, because they’re free to join, expect to encounter scammers. So, turn off direct messages and avoid clicking on a link someone sends privately.
After purchasing an NFT, verify you’re a holder to access to access premium Discord channels. There, you can connect with other holders about the project. Scammers are less likely to proliferate these premium channels. Project owners usually share information about airdrops and alpha (related NFTS you can mint at a discount.)
NFT holders sometimes can vote on the project's direction if the team built a decentralised organisation or DAO around it.
The only problem with using this NFT learning resource is that you'll quickly find yourself in dozens of different discord communities and keeping up with many projects is a job.
NFT Discord Communities to start with‡
2. NFT Twitter
Twitter is a good space for learning in real-time about what projects are doing and what they're announcing. Consider it a companion to a Discord community.
Most of web 3.0 Twitter influencers use NFTs as digital avatars to create a memorable persona within the space. That said, be wary of clicking on any links on Twitter unless it's on the verified profile for the project.
Avoid investment or purchasing decisions based on what you read on Twitter, especially if someone promises a project will moon. Influencers sometimes pump their bags…or talk about a project after it’s hit an all-time high. Decide to purchase, and you could become somebody else's exit liquidity.
NFT Twitter handles to follow:
3. Traditional Media
Those active in NFT, crypto and web 3.0 space evangelise that these tokens and technologies are eating the world. However, those outside the space are right to express scepticism about spending hundreds of dollars on what look like overpriced JPEGs.
They also raise valid arguments about the impact of NFTs on the environment and if the space is bringing the worst of tech and the art world together.
Reading articles on mainstream media, like The New York Times or The Guardian, is a good way of gauging how the wider world currently regards the NFT space and web 3.0 i.e it’s a dose of reality after spending hours on NFT Twitter or in Discord.
The caveats? Traditional media focuses on Bored Ape Yacht Club project and Beeple’s works as both are instantly recognizable and popular on Twitter. These are only two examples of blue-chip NFT project, popular with collectors.
You’ll also find many articles like this one from critics calling out many reasons why NFTs are cash grabs.
Traditional media also loves reporting on big-ticket sales and scams, but expect less information about new use case for NFTs and upcoming projects.
Traditional journalists to follow
As NFT learning resources go, YouTube lends itself particularly well to this visual medium. You can follow YouTuber NFT influencers, learn more about specific projects and see what it’s like inside of a private community, without spending any money on it.
YouTube is useful for getting the latest and most up-to-date information about a project. That said, be wary of YouTubers who are content to simply record videos about what projects will 100x next.
Youtubbers to Follow
Into The Cryptoverse by Benjamin Cowen (Benjamin focuses more on crypto than NFTs)
JRNY Crypto (launched his own NFT project, JRNY Club, in late 2021)
5. NFT Podcasts
The creators behind many NFT projects are reluctant to get in front of a camera and talk about what the product does because they want to separate the real-world identity from their digital identities.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine if the person behind a project is trustworthy. However, the nature of podcasting lends itself well to web 3.0 in that a project owners can talk about their creations and protect their identity.
Web 3.0 podcasts to follow
Kevin Rose’s Proof podcast
Laura Shin’s Unchained podcast
6. NFT Software
Most NFT projects are nothing more than scams, cash grabs or quick flips. If you want to navigate the space safely, you’ll need to use some type of NFT software to extract diamonds from the dunghill.
NFF software offers real-time metrics about project price, who holds it and who’s selling. You can also use NFT software to find official links for a project and gauge market sentiment using analytics.
Nansen is a particularly good tool because it covers DeFi, not just NFT. However, it's also comparatively expensive and only useful for serious collectors. If you're on a smaller budget, I recommend WGMI or Icy.tools.
Read my guide to the best NFT software
7. Web 3.0 Newsletters
Interestingly, most NFT projects distribute information about what’s happening on Discord and via Twitter instead of via traditional web 2.0 channels like email.
That said, you can join several different newsletters to learn more about the Web 3.0 space. I particularly like reading the premium Substack newsletter Bankless. Its team of writers cover web 3.0 and DeFi alongside NFTs.
8. Established Content Creators
NFTs promise to enable creators to connect with audiences without relying on gatekeepers or even an algorithm. They should enable content creators to build a community and offer exclusive content to their readers, viewers or followers, too.
Ask your favourite content creator what they think of this new format. Have they written about or recorded content about the topic? Because chances are they’re at least considering the impact of NFTS on their business.
9. NFT Sceptics
NFT Twitter and Discord a type of echo chamber for NFTs. It's worthwhile reading information from sceptics to avoid confirmation bias. Line Goes Up is the best example from an NFT sceptic, if not an outright hater.
I don't agree with many of the arguments in the video, and the tone is condescending towards web 3.0 creators, but the host offers valid arguments with the problems with NFTS. Watch if only to test your assumptions. For a more measured evaluation, read Seth Godin’s argument about why NFTs are a dangerous trap.
10. Crypto Blogs and News Websites
Although NFT creators prefer social media and community, you can still read some traditional blogs and new sites to learn more about the space. Typically, these blogs and websites cover crypto as well as NFT's. However, some of the best include.
NFT and Crypto Blogs to Read
Crypto art (a good site for learning about expensive NFTs)
11. NFT Project Websites
When I want to learn more about an NFT project, I usually look for a project on Twitter and also search for their site. I take extra steps to ensure I haven't clicked on the wrong link and use cybersecurity tools like Bitdefender to ensure the site I’m on is legit.
I spend time clicking around the website reading about the people behind this, the roadmap and what the project does.
I've spent years building content websites, and my rule of film is: if it looks like a duck and waddles like a duck, then it's probably a duck.
In other words, if the website is devoid of information or looks shady, chances are the project is a scam. Look for examples of social proof, details about the team, a clear roadmap.
The website should be fast, visually appealing and easy to navigate. Look for real-world photos or pictures of the project or team in action. Basically, did a team invest time and effort in building this project?
Reading up on the team is worthwhile but creators behind many projects often use digital avatars and personas to protect their privacy. So, augment a website evaluation by researching the individuals on Twitter.
Best in class NFT websites
12. The A16z NFT Canon
Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz founded venture capital firm Andressen Horowitz aka a16Z in 2009. Since then, the company has invested in numerous web 3.0 projects like CryptoKitties, Compound, Maker, DFINITY, Anchorage and many more.
The a16z NFT Canon curates reading resources about this asset class (and crypto) with the aim of explaining what NFTs are, what they do and how to mint and collect them.
A large swathe of Reddit community doesn’t like NFTs, which is an odd dichotomy considering much of the Reddit community is anonymous. It’s also strange as Reddit is the home to the day-trading group Wall Street Bets, which famously drove the share price of Gamestop to the roof in 2021, causing traditional investors to lose millions on their shorts.
That said, r/nft is an exception. There, you can find examples of new mints and helpful threads about the space. Just be wary of scammers as anyone can join and post links.
14. The Act of Buy An NFT
Don’t let NFT analysis become a type of paralysis. Often the best way to learn about something is by acting. In the case of an NFT, that means buying one you like (with Vegas money you can lose). Consider your purchase as an educational experience and not as an opportunity to flip for a profit.
Tip: The bluechip NFTS are on LooksRare and OpenSea, but you can find more affordable NFTs on Solanart.
Buying an NFT is the best way of figuring out key web 30 principles like how to use a software and hardware wallet, the impact of gas fees, what it means to buy an NFT near the floor and how to store an NFT safely.
15. NFT Mints
Following an NFT is a good way of learning about market trends. You don’t even need to mint in straight away. Some projects take days, if not weeks, to mint out.
Watching a mint is a good way of determining what projects the market wants versus rejects. You use premium NFT software or sites like nextdrop.is to keep track.
If you’ve purchased an NFT, you’ll usually get a chance to join a whitelist for NFT mints before the wider market.
NFT Learning Resources: The Final Word
Learning about non-fungible tokens can become a part-time and even a full-time job depending on how much you want to invest in the space.
The next time somebody tells you ape in or a project will moon, use these resources to figure out what a project does and who it’s for before spending precious ETH. DYOR!