Many people ask me: which NFTs should I buy?
Usually, I say to not buy anything because many come into NFTs looking to make a quick buck, but that’s not realistic in the current market. If you’re looking to invest in crypto, my advice is to buy bitcoin and ether weekly and hold them for the next ten years.
But like we’ve talked about throughout this series, NFTs are about more than just money. If you’re looking for NFTs to collect for fun, I have five cool project recommendations in the $50 range.
These projects won’t make you rich, and they might even be worthless in five years, but if you have fun collecting, who cares?
1. Ethereum Name Service (ENS)
Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is one of the most obvious bets in all of crypto. If Ethereum achieves mainstream adoption, ENS will play a huge role in the ecosystem.
ENS is a domain service that works in a similar way to traditional .com domains.
First, let's go over how traditional domains work. YouTube sits on a series of IP addresses. But instead of typing something like 220.127.116.11 into a URL bar to get to YouTube, you just type in youtube.com, and that .com domain brings you to the proper IP address. Traditional domain names act as a mask for the IP.
Crypto has a similar problem with a similar solution because each wallet has a nasty 40-character string that acts as a public address. It's not human-readable and the only way to make sure funds go to the proper place is by carefully copying and pasting it.
ENS sells .eth domains that mask the public address into human-readable names. When someone wants to pay me from Coinbase or MetaMask, they can type in my ENS domain (iamcam.eth) into the to send field, and it'll automatically direct the payment to my full public address (0x40F845e583b188B91D75528E1D21fb23595f2951).
ENS is more than just a human-readable name for receiving payments. It also acts as your username for web3. Instead of having a bunch of different usernames across all the sites that you use, in a web3 world, you'll log in with your wallet and your default ENS domain will act as your username. All across web3, you'll see me as iamcam.eth.
Holders of an ENS domain can attach a profile picture, website, and email making it easy for people to connect with you. It’s like a universial social network that all web3 apps can plug in to. We're probably at least five years away from lots of sites allowing you to sign in with your wallet, but it's obvious that it's coming.
Just like .com domain names, some short .eth domains are highly coveted and go for more than $100k on the secondary market.
The good news? An unregistered ENS domain (w/ five characters or more) will cost you $5/year plus a small gas fee. Because of the gas fees for renewals, I recommend registering your ENS for five years upfront to save money. If you register it for five years, you can usually get it done for under $50.
The even better news? ENS is so new that there are so many gems still available. You're almost guaranteed to find a .eth domain with your first and last name unless you're John Smith. Think of ENS like the early years of Instagram or Twitter when basic usernames were still available.
It's unlikely that your .eth domain will be valuable in the future, but it's nice to have a readable name for receiving money. And if crypto goes mainstream, a clean username for all your apps will be desirable to many.
How to buy
Go to https://app.ens.domains/ and click "connect" in the top left corner to log in with your web3 wallet.
Next, type in some characters until you find something that's available, and pick the number of years you want to register it for. Click "Request to Register" and sign the transaction with your wallet. This first transaction usually costs a couple of dollars and takes a couple of minutes to confirm on the blockchain. Once the first transaction is confirmed, wait 60 seconds, then submit a second transaction to buy the domain.
2. Dapper Labs Collectibles
Dapper Labs is responsible for three main collectibles sites that run on the Flow blockchain: NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day, and UFC Strike. These platforms are a way for sports fans to buy, collect, trade, and own limited edition 10-second highlight clips of their favorite athletes. Think of it like sports cards, but on steroids.
The beauty of Dapper Labs products is twofold:
- They’re dead simple to use because they hide the technical crypto complexity.
- You don’t need a big budget—many moments are just $2.
Just like ENS, moments in the Dapper ecosystem have tiers:
- Legendary moments have a supply of less than 120. A few Legendary moments have sold for more than $250k.
- Rare moments have a supply of less than 2k. Rare moments typically range between $100-$1k in price.
- Common moments have a supply of less than 60k. Common moments typically range between $2-$100 in price.
There are currently less than 100k collectors on these platforms, which makes the moments with 60k supply cheap to acquire, but with billions of sports fans globally, these large mint counts may look small if digital collectibles gain mass adoption.
Previously, I was treating my collection as an investment because I thought this type of digital collectible would become obvious to more people because it’s a much better experience than traditional cardboard cards. But now it's become obvious that we're many years away from Dapper products being in the same breath as the physical world counterparts like Topps and Panini. I've lost more than $10k on Top Shot. You shouldn't have any expectations for your moments to increase in value.
With that being said, I still have a decent-sized collection on Top Shot and All Day. I love collecting just for the sake of collecting. It's fun to analyze the market of players and collect moments with your friends. My friends and I will often see a cool dunk or long touchdown pass, and text each other that that play needs to be a moment.
How to buy
If you like basketball, my recommendation is to go to nbatopshot.com and buy a pack for $9. In this pack, you’ll get three moments and a chance of one being a rare moment.
Ripping packs is fun, but if you want to choose which players to own, go to the marketplace.
If you know how to buy toilet paper on Amazon, you’ll know how to buy a Top Shot moment. Once you have an account, type in a player’s name into the search bar, tap on the moment, tap on the “select and buy” button and choose the moment you want and pay for it with your Dapper balance, bank account, or credit card.
You can spend just $50 to get more than five of your favorite players.
3. fxhash Artwork
Generative art has been around since the 1960s, but there’s a new twist with a blockchain involved.
Generative artists create shapes, spacing, and color palettes, then they create different probabilities of where and how often the attributes appear in a piece. A generative artist is responsible for the general vibe of the collection because they create the algorithm, but the algorithm has final say on what each peice looks like. Generative arts has a fun element of randomness because neither the artist nor the collector knows what the final minted pieces will look like in a collection.
High-end Art Blocks peices go for more than $100k, making it unattainable for many. Fortunately, there's an alternative platform called fxhash that utilizes the Tezos blockchain, which has an active marketplace and some well-known artists on it.
The cost to mint a generative art piece on fxhash is often less than $10. However, some pieces go for thousands of dollars.
Tezos NFTs aren’t as coveted as Ethereum NFTs because its blockchain isn’t as respected by crypto enthusiasts and it doesn't provide the same ownership guarantees, which is why they’re more affordable.
While I’m not a believer in the Tezos blockchain and think it’s unlikely to be around in ten years, minting on fxhash is cool for three reasons:
- It's close to a risk-free way to learn how to mint using a self-custody wallet. The most you could lose is $20.
- You can support artists and come away with cool-looking art. Who cares if it's not valuable?
- fxhash may act as a gateway drug to discovering the rest of the generative art world.
How to buy
Instead of buying ETH and using a MetaMask wallet (like we learned last week), you'll need to buy XTZ and use a Temple wallet. Once you’ve sent XTZ to your wallet, sign into fxhash.xyz and search the marketplace for a piece that catches your eye.
Once you’ve found a piece, click the “mint interaction” button and follow the prompt in your wallet after it pops up, then wait for the transaction to be confirmed on the Tezos blockchain.
Most NFTs are tokens that prove ownership of an asset. Usually, a typical profile picture project contract just points to a URL where the image is stored. Theoretically, if something happens to the web server where the contract points, your token might point to nothing. This has happened and will continue to happen over time.
You’ll always have irrevocable property rights to the token, even if your NFT’s image disappears, but it’d be up to social consensus as to what that image points to.
In 2017, J1mmy and other NFT OGs noticed this image storage problem with CryptoKitties. J1mmy became so paranoid that the cats he bought would point to nothing in the future that he eventually created a new standard called NFT42. Avastars were the first project to utilize the new standard by storing all of the artwork and character attributes on-chain. Each SVG layer of the artwork is stored on the Ethereum blockchain, which preserves the entire NFT as long as Ethereum is alive.
On-chain storage is currently utilized by dozens of projects, but it’s still rare due to the additional cost and complexity. Most NFT creators opt for cheaper alternative third-party solutions, like IPFS and Arweave, to ensure the images never disappear.
Like many profile picture projects, there are different traits and rarities, which means that the prices vary. But a basic floor Avastar currently goes for around $60.
Avastars were never able to gain cultural prominence. It’s likely that the Avastars sentiment will never change and they won’t get the proper credit they deserve, but that’s OK!
Three reasons why I recommend these:
- They make great profile pics, especially if you try to spend a little more to find one that resonates with you.
- It’s cool to own a part of blockchain history: first on-chain avatar project.
- I don't think they'll ever be completely worthless because they’re built by well-respected NFT OGs. Crypto nerds like me will always see some value in them.
How to buy
Go to opensea.io and search for Avastars. Find one you like, connect your wallet, click "Buy Now" and sign and pay with your wallet. If you want a more thorough breakdown, read or watch last week’s buying demo.
5. Collector Club Pass
My final recommendation is self-serving, but it's completely free. I'm giving away a Collector Club NFT access pass to all early supporters of me and my content.
The only thing the pass gets you currently is access to our full Discord server (it's just about 32 of us nerds who like crypto, markets, and NFTs). We have a couple of token gated group chats and a bunch of helpful resources listed that require our NFT.
In the future? Our NFT might give you access to gated content, NFT drops, or anything else that I make. I'm on a mission to provide value to holders (people who believed in me early). I plan to be around web3 for the next decade, but I don't know what that looks like yet, so I'm just experimenting and trying to be useful for now. Consider the Collector Club NFT a risk-free bet on my future.
The pass is limited to 1,001 editions. Only 13 people have minted a pass so far. It will likely take 6-18 months before they’re minted out. If we build a desirable community, and I build something useful, this pass should become valuable.
How to our pass
We’ve gone over four projects that you can snag for around $50. These projects aren’t going to make you rich, but they’re a great way to get your feet wet and experience what it’s like to buy and collect NFTs. And they’re just fun to collect, which is a major reason why I’m still here.
If I could only pick one of these projects to buy, I’d go with an ENS domain. Who doesn’t want a cool username that you can use around the entire internet?
If there are other essential projects that you think I missed on my list. Join our Discord server and tell us what we're missing.