How to Sell an NFT — The Investor’s Guide
Your guide to navigating the the choppy seas and blurry world of selling NFTs
Artwork by Crystal Le
In February, the David of NFT marketplaces, Blur.io, overtook industry giant OpenSea in trading volume. But the answer to who is David and who is Goliath changes depending on who you ask — especially as both platforms force creators to blacklist their opponent in return for royalties.
So how do you go about selling NFTs in this turbulent market? Do you chase the trading volume on Blur or do you look for alternative markets? A lot has changed since the days of six-figure rock pictures and million-dollar metaverse land.
Our last explainer covered the shifting NFT investing narratives behind this market. In this guide, we will explain the basics of minting, marketing and selling NFT in light of these changes.
How to sell an NFT
The process of minting, listing and selling an NFT is relatively straightforward. All you need is a Web3 wallet and enough cryptocurrency to cover network fees on the transaction. We will cover these basics in more detail, but first, it is important to evaluate the fundamental qualities that make your asset valuable. This will inform where you choose to list it and your marketing strategy.
Pricing the NFT asset(s)
The unique nature of each NFT means that sellers often risk underpricing or overvaluing items. For instance, items with high rarity attributes are usually valued above the quoted floor price (the lowest price for a listed item from the same collection).
Sellers can adequately price their NFT by reviewing the trading history for items with similar rarity attributes. Alternatively, Upshot and DappRadar allow investors to appraise NFTs from the most popular collections instantly.
Analyzing the asset’s value
These tools can also be used to formulate a thesis on what the market is valuing and might value in the future. Creators often use that knowledge as a source of inspiration and investors use it in their trading strategy. Our previous article explains the psychology behind NFT trends in greater detail.
Creators and investors trying to sell NFTs outside the popular collections may need to evaluate the asset through a broader thesis instead of previous sales within a collection.
But what’s trending on Upshot may not resonate with your network. The seller needs to consider the thoughts and perspectives of the community of NFT holders or potential holders.
The NFT world is by no means a monolith. There are debates over the purpose of NFTs, the role of royalties and even rivalries between collections. So if you want to create or find something that resonates with collectors, you need to dive into the Discords and Telegrams to ask questions and learn.
LunarCrush is another great resource for tracking the sentiment around an NFT collection across social media. You can use it to track floor price with metrics like number of posts, engagement, bullish sentiment and bearish sentiment.
Choosing an NFT marketplace
Lately, NFT marketplaces have made a habit of getting creators to blacklist other platforms from listing their NFTs. In other words, this marketplace blacklisting is a way to block the smart contracts of one platform to list the NFTs created on another. This enforcement though is not an easy flip of the switch. Platforms need uptodate information about the smart contracts used by their competitors.
The blacklisting trend started when NFT artist Tyler Hobbs, added X2Y2 marketplace to a blacklist in the smart contract of his QQL collection. He did this in protest to their decision to stop enforcing royalties. ImmutableX, a layer-2 blockchain, then created a community-managed whitelist and blacklist that would make broad enforcement easier across the Ethereum NFT ecosystem.
The drama continued as multiple marketplaces like OpenSea responded by requiring creators who want to list and mint their collection on OpenSea to use a smart contract that blacklists their collection from marketplaces that don’t enforce royalties.
At first this meant that all NFTs created through OpenSea would get blacklisted from appearing on these other marketplaces. This move caused some backlash which prompted OpenSea to make this blacklist optional. So if creators wanted royalties enforced on OpenSea, they would need to use the smart contract blacklisting other platforms. But if they didn’t want or need royalties enforced, they could opt out.
As a result, marketplaces have grown more fragmented. It used to be that buyers could find listings from a single collection across almost all platforms. But now collections sit divided in pro-royalty and anti-royalty camps.
NFT sellers need to take these blacklisting trends into consideration when choosing an NFT marketplace – especially if you are a creator hoping to get royalties. The camps on the opposing sides of the debate tend to share similar investing metas. In addition to comparing culture differences, you will want to take these factors into consideration:
The chosen NFT marketplace needs support enabled for the network on which you hold the assets. The most popular NFT marketplaces support multiple networks, including Ethereum, Solana and Polygon, ensuring you can list and trade assets.
Review the platform’s historical trading volume for the particular collection you wish to sell. This is often an easy way to determine the duration before you get an offer for your listing and potentially close a sale. Some platforms also offer an “Instant Sell” option for specific collections, making the sale process straightforward.
Creators planning a launchpad sale on an NFT marketplace find it helpful to review the performance of previous mints. Such insights provide a crucial indicator of how your collection will fare post-listing.
NFT trading platforms typically charge a fee for each sale. Some charge a specific amount from buyers and sellers, while some only charge fees on the buyer side. Experienced sellers compare trading fees across platforms before choosing which to list their assets.
Choosing the right NFT marketplace is essential because users cannot list the same asset on multiple platforms. Once you select a platform, the next step is to set up your profile and initiate the listing process.
Read more: The Top 8 NFT Marketplaces
Listing your NFT
The next step after choosing a marketplace is to list your NFT. Connect your Web3 wallet to the NFT platform and head to their listing page to see the available options. A seller can usually choose between a fixed-price sale or different auctions.
With a fixed-price sale, any buyer can instantly purchase your NFT by paying the listing amount. Auctions offer a different approach where you reserve the option to sell an NFT for the best value price. Timed auctions are the most popular and often used for exclusive NFT releases.
The two main timed auction types include selling to the highest bidder or with a declining price. The latter involves setting a high price that drops at regular intervals until someone places a bid. This is different from the other method, where the highest bidder wins.
During the NFT listing process, sellers define prices and the accepted currency if the platform supports multiple currencies or even fiat payments. Unless the platform has a manual review process for new listings, the marketplace can create a new NFT listing within a few minutes. For manually vetted platforms, the review could take a few days or weeks.
Promoting your listing
Following a successful listing, the next logical step is to attract potential buyers to the listing page. Some NFT creators begin promoting a mint event or new listing several weeks ahead to build anticipation. Creators can often amplify these promotions through partnerships with influencers and strategic partners.
For instance, creators releasing new NFT art collectibles may partner with a marketplace for a launchpad sale instead of a direct release. A launchpad sale usually provides a better outcome, allowing instant exposure to a broad audience.
For individuals, NFT platforms typically provide a range of options for users to share their listings across social media platforms. Successful investors find it helpful to promote their listing on Telegram and Discord communities with potential buyers. Joining and being active in these communities also increases your chances of closing a sale within the shortest possible time.
Closing a sale
NFT marketplaces notify users once there’s an offer or sale on a listing. You can find all open offers from the profile page or any tab provided on the platform for managing current listings.
For items not listed for “Instant Sale,” users reserve the right to choose whether or not to accept an offer. It is vital to carefully review an offer before hitting the accept button, especially in rare cases where buyers can pay in multiple currencies. Certain malicious buyers place spoofing orders, such as offering 0.5 USDC for an asset listed at perhaps 0.5 ETH. NFT sellers can avoid such errors by limiting supported currencies or exercising extra caution before approving any offer.
Once you accept an offer, the marketplace completes the exchange and transfers the purchase amount (minus fees) to your connected wallet address. Timed auctions use a slightly different format where sales automatically settle at the expiration of the period. In either case, a successful sale marks the final step where you receive payment.
The art and science of selling NFTs
Learning how to sell an NFT is essential for creators and investors seeking exposure to the emerging niche. The process is slightly more exhaustive for creators as it involves advanced marketing and strategic planning to ensure a successful sale.
For individual investors, selling an NFT is more straightforward. It can be completed within a few minutes or days, depending on factors such as the listing price, chosen sale method and marketplace features. The best possible outcome is to complete a sale at a price that meets an investor’s objectives and supports the continued growth of the NFT industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are NFTs easy to sell?
NFTs are easy to sell if you already have a large audience, sufficient capital and trade the most in-demand collections. For creators, other factors determining whether NFTs are easy to sell include the artwork’ quality and the marketing strategies.
Noteworthily, NFTs can also be difficult to sell. Unlike cryptocurrencies that boast a reasonably liquid market to trade assets instantly, users typically have to wait hours to sell an NFT on the secondary market. Aside from new drops that typically sell off in minutes using the right strategies, their non-fungible nature can make NFTs challenging to sell on the secondary market.
Additionally, there are just about two million NFT holders globally. This means there is a limited pool of buyers to tap into and this creates stiff competition between existing NFT creators and investors.
How much does it cost to sell an NFT?
NFT sellers may pay a fee between 1%-10% of the sale value if they list their asset on a marketplace. For creators, the cost of selling an NFT may include marketing expenses and the costs associated with organizing a launchpad sale or a direct issuance through their platform.
Can I sell my NFT for cash?
The standard for most NFT marketplaces is to allow users to sell assets in exchange for cryptocurrencies. However, a few platforms like Nifty Gateway and Makers Place enable users to buy and sell NFTs for cash.
Many creators also integrate various payment solutions to accept cash payments during their NFT mint/drop. This option opens the sale to more participants and protects against cryptocurrency volatility.
What type of NFT sells the most?
Art is the best-selling form of NFTs. Over 70% of the most expensive NFTs sold are artwork, with the top pick being The Pak’s “Merge” collection which raised $91.8 million. Another hot-selling niche is art collectibles, with leading collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and CryptoPunks topping the charts for the most actively traded NFTs, with over $2 billion in cumulative volume since inception.
What happens if your NFT doesn’t sell?
If your NFT doesn’t sell, you risk losing the money invested in designing the collection or purchasing it from a previous holder. However, there are no fees associated with a failed launch or not finding a buyer for your NFT. Ideally, you can restrategize and explore new ways to ensure a more favorable outcome.
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