How to Launch a NFT Project: A Step-by-Step Guide
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become immensely popular, and it’s not hard to see why. They provide a unique and exciting way to engage with digital content and assets. If you’re interested in creating your own successful NFT project, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the technology and the industry. You’ve come to the right place for guidance on how to develop and launch an NFT project.
In this comprehensive guide, we will outline the step-by-step process to help you launch a thriving NFT project. Whether you’re an experienced professional or a beginner, this guide is designed to provide valuable insights for everyone.
Let’s begin and explore how to successfully bring your NFT project to life!
How To Launch a NFT Project
Launching a successful NFT project requires careful planning and a compelling narrative. In today’s market, where everyone from major corporations like Disney and NBA to independent artists and creators are entering the NFT space, it is crucial to stand out and capture people’s attention. To ensure a successful launch and avoid common pitfalls, follow these steps on how to launch an NFT project.
Step 1: Craft a compelling story
Before diving into the technical aspects, you need to define the story behind your NFT project. This story will serve as the foundation for your project and help differentiate it from others. Ask yourself the following questions to shape your narrative:
- Why are your NFTs significant?
- What sets them apart from other NFTs?
- What long-term value will they hold?
- What benefits do they offer to customers?
- How exclusive are they?
Answering these questions will clarify your project’s unique selling points and value propositions. A successful NFT project has a clearly defined narrative that resonates with its target audience.
For instance, let’s take the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) as an example. BAYC didn’t merely consist of 10,000 images of different apes. It launched with a captivating story and vision. In this future world, early crypto investors, immensely wealthy, gather at a yacht club with like-minded apes. BAYC had a roadmap outlining its future plans and the benefits it would provide to early buyers. Its professional website, lighthearted brand voice, and dedication to fostering an exclusive community all contributed to its success. BAYC created a unique world accessible only through the purchase of its NFTs, captivating people with its story and commitment to the community.
Step 2: Selecting your Blockchain & Marketplace
When it comes to how to launch a NFT project, two crucial decisions need to be made early on – selecting the blockchain and marketplace for your NFTs. These choices significantly impact the success of your project. Let’s explore how to navigate these decisions effectively.
Choosing the right blockchain and marketplace is key. While Ethereum and OpenSea are popular choices, there are alternative blockchains and self-created websites or marketplaces that can benefit larger projects.
Opting to sell NFTs from your own website offers more control over the launch, enabling you to capture more revenue and save fans from high Ethereum gas fees. However, this approach requires additional work and upfront costs.
Different NFT marketplaces have their own advantages and customer bases. It’s essential to explore various options before finalizing where to launch your NFTs. Here are some of the most well-known marketplaces:
- OpenSea: The largest and first NFT marketplace.
- Nifty’s: An eco-friendly marketplace featuring NFTs by renowned brands and creators.
- Foundation: A curated NFT marketplace aiming to foster a new creative economy.
- MakersPlace: An NFT marketplace tailored for digital creators.
- Rarible: A community-owned marketplace with its own currency.
- WAX Digital: An NFT marketplace releasing exclusive NFTs by global brands and artists.
Selecting a marketplace and blockchain go hand-in-hand. Some marketplaces exclusively sell Ethereum-based NFTs, while others operate on their own blockchains, sidechains, or currencies. Consider the following prominent blockchains:
Each blockchain offers unique benefits, has its proponents, and emphasizes different selling points. Some prioritize environmental friendliness, while others boast lower gas fees or interoperability, allowing NFT transfers between blockchains.
Before minting your NFTs, thoroughly research the available marketplace and blockchain options to make informed choices that align with your project’s needs.
Step 3: Setting Up Your NFT Smart Contracts
While answering how to launch a NFT project, setting up NFT smart contracts is a critical step after choosing the blockchain and marketplace. These smart contracts define the value proposition of your NFT collection for buyers. Here’s how to navigate this process effectively.
Several decisions need to be made when setting up your NFT smart contracts:
- On-chain or off-chain: Determine whether your NFTs will live directly on the blockchain or be stored off-chain.
- Royalties: Decide if you’ll take royalties from the resale of the NFTs, ensuring ongoing revenue for creators.
- Maximum mint amount: Set the maximum number of NFTs that can be minted, controlling scarcity and exclusivity.
- Minting options: Determine if you will be the sole minter of the NFTs or allow the public to mint them, potentially fostering community involvement.
- Built-in features: Define the built-in features of your NFTs, such as randomness, rarity, and voting rights. Consider incorporating additional utilities into your NFTs, like doubling as tickets to exclusive events, granting intellectual property rights, or providing access to exclusive media.
These early decisions are crucial because certain features, like royalties, rarity, and mint amount, are fixed after the initial minting. Even for features that can be modified later, it’s advisable to establish them upfront. This can be done through code in your smart contracts, as well as through clear communication on your website and detailed information in your whitepaper.
For instance, Gary Vaynerchuk meticulously outlined the features of his highly successful VeeFriends NFTs in advance. Each VeeFriend NFT served as a ticket to the exclusive VeeCon conference. Furthermore, some VeeFriends included “Access Tokens” that granted owners unique experiences with Gary himself, while others had “Gift Tokens” entitling owners to random gifts throughout the year. The utility and benefits of VeeFriends were integrated into the NFTs from the beginning. By implementing a 10% royalties function, Gary has generated an estimated $150 million solely from resale.
Step 4: Promoting Your NFTs – Strategies to Build Hype and Engage the Community
Generating excitement and building a strong community around your NFTs form an essential step for how to launch a NFT project. The more hype and engagement you create, the more valuable your NFTs will become. Here are some strategies to promote your NFTs effectively:
- Establish social media channels: Create accounts on platforms like Twitter, Discord, Instagram, Reddit, and Telegram. These are popular spaces where NFT enthusiasts gather. Engage with the community, share updates, and create buzz around your project.
- Collaborate with NFT influencers: Reach out to influential figures in the NFT space and offer them support by donating NFTs. This can help gain exposure and endorsements from prominent voices.
- Run giveaways: Organize giveaways where participants have a chance to win your NFTs or ETH. This strategy attracts attention, encourages engagement, and spreads the word about your project. Leverage popular hashtags like #NFT to reach a wider audience.
- Engage with the community: Actively participate in discussions, respond to comments, and foster a sense of community. Encourage dialogue, answer questions, and create a welcoming environment for potential buyers and collectors.
- Create a professional website: Develop a dedicated website that showcases your NFT collection, provides information about the project, and offers a seamless purchasing experience. A well-designed and informative website enhances credibility and attracts potential buyers.
- Produce promotional content: Create compelling videos, eye-catching visuals, and well-written content that highlights the unique features and value of your NFTs. Share this content across your social media channels and engage with your audience.
- Create a presale sign-up form and mailing list: Allow interested individuals to sign up for a presale or join a mailing list to receive updates and exclusive offers. This helps build a dedicated audience and allows you to communicate directly with potential buyers.
- Add your project to the NFT calendar: List your NFT release on NFT calendars and platforms dedicated to showcasing upcoming launches. This increases visibility and ensures that interested individuals can find your project.
Step 5: Creating a Fair NFT Launch – Prioritizing Customer Equity
Ensuring fairness in the launch of your NFT project is crucial in the community-driven NFT space. It not only demonstrates your commitment to customers but also builds trust in your project. Vitalik Buterin, co-creator of Ethereum, emphasizes the importance of fairness in NFT launches and outlines five key goals for an ideal launch:
- Fairness: Provide an opportunity for individuals with varying income levels to participate, avoiding exclusivity. For token sales, it is essential to prevent high concentration of initial wealth and promote a diverse initial token holder community.
- Eliminate races: Avoid situations where participants rush to be the first to take action, leaving others behind. Such scenarios can lead to undesirable auctions or exclusions.
- Simple participation: Design the launch mechanism to work regardless of the seller’s knowledge about market conditions. It should be accessible and fair, even if the demand is uncertain.
- Engaging experience: Strive to make the sale process interesting and enjoyable, incorporating game-like qualities without causing frustration.
- Positive expected returns: Buyers should have a higher likelihood of witnessing the value of the NFT or token increase rather than decrease over time. Selling to buyers at a price below the market value aligns with this goal.
According to Vitalik, providing a fair and straightforward NFT launch that includes as many people as possible fosters community engagement and enthusiasm. By creating a fun and equitable drop, you can establish a diverse and passionate holder community, which is crucial for the long-term success of your project.
This approach aligns with the practices followed in high-demand product releases, ranging from ticket sales to sneaker launches, and even the release of gaming consoles like the PS5 or AMD graphics cards. The “max one per order” rule often seen on e-commerce and ticketing websites exemplifies this strategy. It allows customers to purchase a limited quantity of a product at a fair price, discouraging crypto whales or entities from exploiting the system with bots and acquiring a significant portion of the NFTs.
By implementing such a model, you create a level playing field and prioritize inclusivity, making it challenging for large entities to dominate the NFT market, and ultimately fostering a sense of trust and fairness among your customers.
Step 6: Mitigate Gas Bidding Wars – Optimize the NFT Launch Experience
In the realm of how to launch a NFT project, it’s essential to address the issue of gas bidding wars, even in fixed-price releases. Gas fees refer to the payments required for validating transactions on blockchains.
As the demand for limited NFT supplies intensifies, buyers find themselves engaged in bidding wars, competing with each other to secure transaction confirmations. This phenomenon, known as gas bidding wars, can significantly inflate the costs associated with purchasing NFTs.
While gas bidding may benefit miners, customers often end up paying more than anticipated or being outbid by whales and bots. Vitalik Buterin aptly refers to this situation as an “auction-by-other-means,” which is more prevalent than commonly realized.
Research conducted by Paradigm during The Sevens NFT drop revealed that gas prices soared to 12,246 gwei. Consequently, the median buyer paid 1.49 ETH per NFT, despite the project’s set price of 0.07 ETH. This represents an astounding 2,000% price increase due to gas fees.
The chart below, provided by Paradigm, depicts Ethereum gas fees throughout September 2021, with each significant spike associated with a high-demand NFT project.
To combat the negative consequences of gas bidding wars, NFT collections that prioritize fairness and inclusivity must address the issue of gas bidding. Many potential buyers find themselves priced out of purchasing, lose out in bidding wars, or become frustrated after spending more than intended or advertised.
One effective solution gaining traction in the NFT market is the implementation of virtual waiting rooms. These waiting rooms offer fairness while aligning with Vitalik’s criteria of avoiding races and providing an enjoyable experience for customers.
The concept is simple: website visitors are redirected to a customized waiting room. Upon arrival, customers are assigned a randomized place in the queue and are then gradually released to the transaction page to complete their purchase when their turn arrives.
By controlling the flow of traffic from the waiting room to the transaction page, NFT launches can distribute transactions over an extended period, mitigating gas wars among customers.
Leading NFT platforms such as NBA Top Shot, Nifty’s, Topps, DraftKings, and Funko Pops have successfully implemented virtual waiting rooms to ensure a fair and smooth user experience.
Virtual waiting rooms serve multiple purposes beyond alleviating gas bidding wars. They prevent website crashes, facilitate seamless payment gateways, offer fair randomization, leverage the marketing appeal of queues, and help deter shopping bots from impacting sales.
By incorporating virtual waiting rooms into your NFT launch strategy, you can enhance the overall experience for buyers, minimize gas-related issues, and foster a more equitable and enjoyable environment for all participants.
Step 7: Prioritize Customer Authentication – Enhancing Fairness in NFT Projects
A fundamental aspect of fostering fairness within the NFT space is the implementation of proof of personhood (PoP). True to its name, PoP requires each participant to provide evidence of being a real person.
PoP draws parallels with the concept of know your customer (KYC), a mandatory practice in financial institutions, high-value art sales, and cryptocurrency exchanges.
By incorporating PoP and KYC protocols, businesses can verify the authenticity of each customer, preventing savvy users from exploiting the sale through shopping bots, proxies, or multiple devices.
While KYC is a requirement for nearly all financial institutions, including banks, stock brokerages, and cryptocurrency exchanges, it has not yet been regulated specifically for NFTs. However, with the market rapidly expanding and concerns arising regarding scams and money laundering, it is anticipated that KYC regulations will soon be imposed.
Queue-it, having collaborated with banks, tax agencies, and crypto exchanges, possesses extensive expertise in KYC practices and can provide valuable support in ensuring fairness and regulatory compliance.
When visitors enter virtual waiting rooms for NFT drops, their authenticity as individual customers can be verified. This is achieved through the implementation of bot protection features and enqueue token SDKs that assign unique user identifiers. Consequently, only authenticated users can progress through the queue and gain access to the website.
Consideration of KYC compliance is crucial, particularly for large-scale NFT projects, as it offers several benefits:
- Enhanced Fairness: Sales can limit purchase quantities to verified customers, ensuring a fair distribution of NFTs.
- Exclusive Drops: Creators have the opportunity to run exclusive drops reserved for loyal fans, individuals who signed up for presale, or existing NFT holders.
- Regulatory Compliance: By meeting KYC standards, businesses proactively position themselves to comply with potential regulatory changes or project expansions.
- Prevention of Server Overload and Bots: Limiting access to verified users helps prevent server crashes and minimizes the impact of shopping bots.
By prioritizing customer authentication through KYC compliance, NFT projects can promote fairness, establish trust among participants, and contribute to the long-term success and integrity of the NFT ecosystem.
Step 8: Preparing Your Team for a Successful NFT Launch
When it comes to answering how to launch an NFT project, thorough preparation is vital. After diligently checking off every item on your checklist, the drop day becomes the ultimate test that can either make or break your project.
The drop day represents the culmination of your hard work, the moment when your project takes center stage and garners the most attention. It’s a day filled with excitement from eager fans. This is precisely why it is crucial to ensure that your entire team is fully prepared and ready to tackle any challenges that may arise.
To achieve this, here are some essential steps to prepare your staff for the NFT launch:
- Inform Major Partners and Third-Party Services: Keep all your major partners and third-party services well-informed about the upcoming drop. Provide them with the necessary details, including the launch date, time, and any specific requirements they need to be aware of.
- Define Roles and Establish Clear Communication: Ensure that each member of your team understands their individual responsibilities during the launch. Establish clear channels of communication so that everyone can stay connected and informed in real-time.
- Ready Your Customer Service Team: Prepare your customer service team to handle inquiries, support requests, and monitoring of social media channels during the launch. Equip them with the required information and tools to address customer concerns promptly and efficiently.
- Monitor Technical Support: Have a dedicated technical support team in place to monitor the launch for any technical issues or glitches. Develop contingency plans and solutions to swiftly address any unexpected challenges that may arise.
- Create a War Room for Problem-Solving: Establish a designated war room, whether virtual or physical, where your team can quickly gather and collaborate to tackle any problems that may surface during the launch. This centralized space will facilitate efficient troubleshooting, decision-making, and resolution.
Step 9: Preventing NFT Website Crashes for a Successful Launch
When it comes to launching an NFT project, it’s essential to anticipate and prevent website crashes that can occur when a surge of users floods your platform. Marketplaces like OpenSea, Christie’s, and Makersplace have all experienced crashes during hyped NFT launches, highlighting the importance of preparedness.
While generating hype is crucial for a successful NFT launch, it’s equally important to be prepared for the potential dangers associated with excessive traffic. Alongside high gas fees, website crashes pose a significant threat that must be mitigated when releasing high-demand NFTs.
The interest in NFTs is rapidly growing, as demonstrated by a recent NFT launch by Nifty’s, where over 300,000 accounts eagerly lined up for a chance to acquire The Matrix Avatar NFTs. Such overwhelming traffic can overwhelm unprepared websites, leading to sales disruptions. However, Nifty’s successfully sold 100,000 NFTs without charging gas fees or needing to cancel or postpone the launch. When issues did arise, Nifty’s demonstrated their commitment to fairness and community by compensating affected users with free NFTs.
As businesses navigate the NFT space, they often realize that the level of interest surpasses the capacity of their websites. To meet customer expectations of fair, organized, and glitch-free NFT drops, businesses are seeking innovative ways to control the influx of traffic. Virtual waiting rooms have emerged as a valuable tool in managing these traffic surges.
Virtual waiting rooms enable businesses to regulate the flow of customers by redirecting them to a designated waiting area before proceeding to the purchase page. By controlling the number of users accessing the website simultaneously, virtual waiting rooms help prevent crashes, ensure fairness, and deliver a positive user experience.
Implementing virtual waiting rooms allows businesses to maintain control over the demand and create a more orderly NFT release process. It not only safeguards the website’s stability but also demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction and fairness.
As you plan your NFT project launch, consider the potential impact of website crashes and explore solutions like virtual waiting rooms to handle the surge of users. By proactively addressing this challenge, you can enhance the success and reputation of your NFT project while providing a seamless and enjoyable experience for your customers.
Step 10: Creating Lasting Value and Innovating Your NFT Collection
One of the most exciting aspects of NFTs is that their value is driven by fans and the community. If you want your NFTs to continue garnering hype from fans and customers, it’s crucial to create lasting value in your collection.
A great example of this is VeeFriends, which has gone beyond its initial promise to buyers by introducing the Pre-Launch Program (PLP). Through the PLP, upcoming NFT projects can donate 555 of their NFTs to VeeFriends holders. This not only provides a launchpad for emerging projects but also offers VeeFriends holders the opportunity to receive free NFTs with each new PLP run.
Similarly, the creators of Bored Ape Yacht Club have continually added value for their holders. They’ve given away Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs (free dog NFTs for Apeholders) and introduced Mutant Ape Serums, which enable Apeholders to generate new mutated versions of their NFTs.
The introduction of Mutant Ape serums alone has generated millions of dollars in value for Apeholders. The current floor price for Mutant Apes stands at nearly 14 ETH (approximately $23,000). Early investors who purchased their Apes for 0.08 ETH have seen their NFT Mutants and Dogs appreciate significantly in value without having to part with their original Apes.
The benefits of such innovative additions are cyclical: creators provide value to fans, which attracts more people to get involved, and as a result, the value of the NFTs grows.
Moreover, when people witness the value that original holders derive from specific NFTs, they become more inclined to participate in subsequent releases. This was evident in the case of Gary Vaynerchuk and the Bored Ape Yacht Club creators, whose follow-up releases sold out much faster than their initial ones due to the perceived value.
By continuously innovating and adding value to your NFT collection, you can create a positive cycle where fans are engaged, new participants are attracted, and the value of your NFTs continues to grow. This approach not only strengthens your community but also enhances the long-term success of your NFT project.
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