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The Different Categorizations of NFT Traders

Validated Individual Expert

I have been thinking about the different types of NFT traders and the motivations that drive people to exchange digital assets. Here are some of the cohort categories I’ve been considering.

  • Dabblers are intellectually curious individuals who are willing to dip their toes into the NFT space. These are retail consumers who don’t have a lot of capital to deploy in speculative assets. They are cautiously optimistic about the potential of NFTs and consist of a demographic that will make up the next wave of Web 3 adoption.
  • Collectors consist of users who are in the NFT space for the love of the game. They like to build a diverse portfolio consisting of a wide range of collections that are seen as a form of self-expression. Collectors will only buy assets they are comfortable holding for a long time and will only sell if it’s an offer they can’t refuse. While they enjoy pondering theoretical returns, they are not really in this space to make money.
  • Speculators are believers in the potential of specific NFT projects over a long time horizon. They are specifically looking for the next big thing and are willing to make outsized bets on projects they really believe in. They generally have a long-term exit strategy in mind.
  • Pro NFT Traders consist of flippers, investors, and whales who drive a significant portion of the volume in the NFT space. It is important to break down the individual subgroups within this category to better understand the cohort as a whole.

Flippers like to get in and out of an NFT project fast. They will mint and list within a day if it means an easy 2X gain on a project. They also like to study market trends to quickly arbitrage undervalued assets. They are not emotionally attached to any given collection and prioritize gains over anything else.

Investors generally tend to stick to a project a bit longer than flippers. They are looking for projects with a promising future and are doing due diligence to ultimately score a 10X or even 40X return. These are power users who are willing to deploy a ton of capital behind something that will go up in value.

Whales are individuals who hold a significant amount of valuable NFTs. They tend to have an outsized social and financial influence and can exert a sense of gravity on the NFT market through their buying and selling activity. Whales have so much power that they can skew the supply and demand dynamics within this space.

While the motivations for whales can vary, they are perhaps one of the most fascinating groups in the NFT space to try and decipher. They make up a significant portion of the transaction volume on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and more recently on Blur.

The NFT community is not a monolith and it’s important to understand the individuals and the motivations that drive user activity in the Web 3 space.


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