Find new NFTs to mint: a guide to NFT pre-sales & whitelists.

What you’ll learn:

  • What are pre-sales and whitelists on NFTs?
  • The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelists for NFT creators:
  • Time the market and build momentum;
  • Reward the early NFT Community members;
  • Avoid NFT gas wars;
  • The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelists for NFT collectors:
  • How do I get on an NFT whitelist?
  • Advantages of whitelists or NFT pre-sales;
  • The downsides of pre-sales & whitelists;
  • Tools & resources to find new NFT on pre-sale or to get on a whitelist.

Before we dig through NFT whitelists and pre-sales, if you know absolutely nothing about NFTs start here. Or, if you don’t know some NFT terms or slang in this article, check our NFT Glossary.

What are pre-sales and whitelists on NFTs?

An NFT pre-sale, as the name might suggest, is to open the minting process for community members or early supporters of a NFT project before the official launch to the public, usually via a whitelist or a mint pass.

Mint passes allows NFT collectors the ability to claim an NFT during the public sale. The mint pass execution is made via “burning” meaning transferring anan NFT to a specific crypto wallet, therefore the collector doesn’t have to worry with gas price surges.

A whitelist is the process of having a crypto wallet address pre-approved for an NFT pre-sale. It works like an early access list that guarantees that a specific number of crypto wallets can mint one (or more) NFT of an upcoming project.

New NFT projects, regardless if their are ETH NFTs, IMX NFTs, SOL NFTs, ADA NFTs, etc can do a pre-sale without making an whitelist, but whitelists are good practice to avoid gas wars and a fair shot at minting an NFT before launching in competitive NFT marketplaces like Opensea, Magic Eden or CNFT

The follow up question is should NFT projects do pre-sales or whitelists?👇

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelist for NFT creators:

Time the market and build momentum.

Pre-sale or whitelists can help NFT projects sense the interest around their projects when they’re in their infancy.

If whitelist spots are immediately full, it’s usually a good indicator for a successful launch, even though it might not guarantee the NFT’s longevity (more on that later). Also, full whitelists help build hype with other NFT collectors (who didn’t get whitelisted) by creating FOMO and momentum for the public sale.

On the other hand, low or slow whitelist sign ups can mean projects need to work on their vision, community and the product itself. Or that the market is going through a bear cycle. Either way, it helps NFT projects better time the market to make successful launches.

Reward the early NFT Community members.

Pre-sale and whitelists can help NFT creators reward and effectively build an incentive for early supporters.

First, breaking the minting process in two by doing a pre-sale plus a public launch, it gives those early on the project a fair shot at minting one or more NFT from their collection at a reduced price or even for free.

Did you know that when BAYC launched the price was 0.08 eth each? Later on, they rewarded their initial NFT community with airdropping freebies like a serum that allowed you to mint a Mutant Ape that has become as valuable or more than the original BAYC.

Secondly, whitelists drive early supporters to help build a project’s community in exchange for a slot or by gaining a status inside the community. An example is invite 10 people to the NFT Discord community and if they join, you get a better ranking in the community or even a whitelist spot.

Pre-sale and whitelist have become a fairly common strategy for new projects to organically grow their communities and get future buyers locked down.

Avoid gas wars.

Most new NFTs are minted on the Ethereum blockchain, where transaction fees (also known as gas) are the highest amongst the many blockchains that support NFTs (Solana, Cardano, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, etc). 

Gas wars happen when a lot of NFT collectors (or bots) are trying to mint an NFT at once and the result is a gas price surge during an NFT public sale. 


When upcoming NFT projects are hyped and very popular, you have competing collectors trying to mint the NFT quickly before the available supply sells out and willing to pay higher gas fees to prioritize their transaction and outprice others.

Upcoming NFTs can prevent gas wars by a) whitelisting because only pre-approved wallets will be able to mint and b) pre-sales also eases gas wars by breaking the minting process in smaller batches of members or by season launches.

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelists for NFT collectors:

How do I get on an NFT whitelist?

  1. Popular or blue chip NFT collections act like a launchpad by partnering with other new or hyped NFT collections.

Example: Interfaces NFTs gives out 100 whitelist spots to Deadfellaz NFTs holders. Both NFT projects win. Deadfellaz found a new way to reward their holders and Interfaces piggyback on the success and brand equity of Deadfellaz. 

In this case, to get whitelisted NFT collectors need to hold that specific NFT that is acting like a launchpad.

  1. NFT studio or collection that launches a new NFT project and rewards NFT holders of previous collections from the same team or studio with whitelist spots or access to the pre-sale phase. 

In this case, to get on the whitelist you need to be a NFT holder from previous collections or part of that NFT community.

  1. NFT Alpha Groups which are closed, small but tight knit Discord servers where members share whitelist spots or giveaways from upcoming NFTs, amongst other privileged information about NFTs.

The advantage of being in an alpha group is getting information about solid new NFTs first and securing spots in a pre-sale/whitelist phase before all the other NFT collectors.

There are some barriers of entry in alpha groups, but if you’re active and engaged within the NFT community, you’ll probably bump, be invited or form an alpha group eventually. 

  1. High participation within an NFT Community where NFT projects reward the most active and engaged community’s members with a whitelist spot. 

This participation reward is the most democratic, as anyone can get whitelisted. But collectors need to put in the effort and play to their strengths to get a chance.

Participation examples to get whitelisted?

  • Raffle, games and contests promoted by an NFT Community. Example: invite 10 people to X NFT Discord community, the invitees enter the community, you get a whitelist spot;
  • Fan art helps NFT projects build their hype and show off strong communities, so it’s natural that they’ll reward those who add value and grow the community by whitelisting the best fan art and/or artists;
  • Giveaways promoted by an NFT Community where a lucky number of crypto wallets is selected by luck. Common strategy for NFT projects to grow their communities and for lucky collectors means: free NFT.
  • Be an active voice (literally) in the NFT Discord Community. Take advantage of the voice channels to get the attention of NFT teams and potentially get whitelisted.

The advantage of whitelists or NFT pre-sales.

The best answer is a quote from Chainalysis about NFT stats:

“Whitelisting isn’t just some nominal reward — it translates to dramatically better investing results. OpenSea data shows that users who make the whitelist and later sell their newly-minted NFT gain a profit 75.7% of the time, versus just 20.8% for users who do so without being whitelisted. Not only that, but the data suggests it’s nearly impossible to achieve outsized returns on minting purchases without being whitelisted.Full report here.

Of course this isn’t all about money. But, it’s important for any NFT collector to be confident in making a good investment by being a part and owning a piece of a valuable and thriving NFT project. These stats help collectors understand that they should actively try to get in early in an NFT project (via whitelist or on a pre-sale phase) because the return will be better and bigger.

The downsides of pre-sales & whitelists for NFT creators.

Pre-sales and whitelist can also mean trouble and risks for NFT creators and collectors to consider.

NFT flippers 

NFT collectors who are only interested in making a quick profit out of early minting (pre-sale) or lower mint cost (via whitelist). Flippers go after the discounted price to then flip the NFT in a secondary market like Opensea or Solanart even if it means selling below the official public sale market. 

E.g: A Solana NFT collection of 1000 NFTs does a whitelist where 100 people get to mint 1 Solana NFT at 0.25 SOL. The remaining 900 NFTs will be at the price of 1 SOL at the public sale. But an NFT collector flips their discounted NFT for a profit of 0.5 SOL, then the floor price at the secondary market is below the public mint.

This can have a negative effect on prospective NFT collectors. Additionally, the situation can be particularly damaging when there is no cap in the pre-sale minting phase, where flippers get as many NFTs as possible to sell for a slight profit, dumping a lot of NFTs in the secondary markets and driving the floor price down.

Hijacking the NFT sites, communities and pre-sales phase

A lot of bad actors try to hijack upcoming popular NFT projects, being a common scam to create oddly similar but fake websites, whitelist links or NFT’s Discord channel to lure collectors into buying fake NFTs and scamming both the NFT team and their community. 

Established and new NFT projects must be vigilant to always make sure their communities know which are the official links, how a whitelist or pre-sale rules and how the team will contact (or not) community members. 

Another way to avoid the scams around the pre-sale phase, NFT projects opt to create a separate mint contract for the whitelisted crypto wallets and then another for the public sale phase.

Scam NFT projects

As 2022 kicked off, we’ve been witnessing a lot of rug pulls mid-mint or immediately after launch, this means that there are definitely some bad NFT projects just trying to scam NFT communities and marketplaces for a quick profit. Check what happened to Magic Eden’s launchpad recently to understand more about this scam going on.

We covered the why and the positive vs negative aspects of NFT pr-sales and whitelists for both NFT projects and collectors. You can find more info in previous articles like NFT 101 or How to buy an NFT.

Let’s end on a few practical tips and tools to find new and upcoming NFTs👇

Tools & resources to find new NFT on pre-sale or to get on a whitelist:

Use Tweetdeck Twitter’ tool to create a dashboard where you can follow hyped NFT projects pages, follow certains hashtags (#NFTGiveways, #NFTCommunity) or big NFT influencers to never miss an update, important pre-sale dates or catch a giveaway.

Search through NFT Marketplace Launchpads where you can see upcoming NFT launches that are usually vetted by the marketplace and try to get whitelisted before the public launch. 

Save-timing discovery platforms specific about NFT pre-sales & upcoming launches like our very own How can we help NFT collectors get potential 100x NFT projects? All the info about an NFT project in one place: official social media links, description, pre-sale or public sale dates, price and supply. Plus, we are diving into NFT data and analysis with Dune to help NFT collectors make more informed decisions.

To finish, please never forget to DYOR on new NFTs and only invest what you can afford to lose because a) the project may not go to the moon or b) if it may fail or get rugged. Find NFTs projects with communities you want to be involved and proud to be a part of and support.

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