This article takes you to explore 7 popular NFT distribution methods
first come first served mint
A way to issue NFTs on a "first come, first served" (FCFS) basis, opening up mint (minting) to the public or specific NFT community members.
No license required - anyone can mint on top of FCFS | Example: Bored Ape Yacht Club
Token Threshold - Anyone who holds a specified token can mint on the basis of FCFS | Example: Blitnauts , which can only be minted by Blitmap holders
Lottery based – need to use lottery system to allocate a limited number of approved lists for FCFS mint | Example: Boki ’s final sale
Price grading - Different supply tiers in a series have different mint prices, e.g. NFT IDs 0-999 are 0.1 ETH, 1000-1999 are 0.2 ETH, etc | Example: The Hashmasks
The Hashmasks minting grades: thehashmasks.com
Builders are simple to deploy
Caster is also very simple to use
Low-price, high-demand FCFS minting can lead to "gas wars" that can congest entire chains, such as Ethereum.
When the minting activity draws to a close, it is prone to deal failures.
Easily overwhelmed by machine casters.
Since FCFS minting is usually fast, it is limited by time zone.
Dutch Auction (DA)
In Dutch auction NFT issuance, a series of NFTs starts with an initial mint price (e.g. 10 ETH) and then periodically reduces the price (e.g. by 0.25 ETH every 30 minutes) until a specified price floor is reached or demand balance is reached, and All NFTs are sold out.
Art Blocks: To ease the gas wars and focus on supporting artists rather than minters, generative art dapp Art Blocks will enable artists to launch their collections via Dutch auctions starting summer 2021.
Azuki: This anime-themed PFP series was launched via a dutch auction mint in January 2022, but the series was mint out within minutes and its initial minting price of 1 ETH was never lowered.
The Wizard's Club expansion series kicked off its first phase with a Dutch auction; the initial mint price was 2.5 ETH, but during the mint process, the price was eventually pulled down to the specified 0.6 ETH.
Bringing transparency to the NFT bidding and price discovery process.
Usually in favor of the wealthiest collectors who can afford to mint at or near the original auction price.
Free claim/free mint
In this NFT issuance method, except for the gas cost associated with the claim transaction, the NFT is free of mint. More recently, projects that choose this route often rely on higher-than-average secondary sales royalties to generate revenue.
CryptoPunks: It seems hard to believe now, but when this most iconic series of NFTs released in 2017, all "Punks NFTs" were free to claim!
Image via Larva Labs
Loot: Dom Hofman released Loot in August 2021, an on-chain adventure gear series with free mint. All NFTs in the series are claimed from the smart contract within hours.
goblintown: The ugly monster-themed NFT series that caused a storm in the NFT field earlier this year, released in the form of "1 free + gas fee mingt per wallet".
The low cost makes NFTs accessible to many users.
Projects are incentivized to keep delivering because continued progress will support better royalty income over time.
The rise of the low-fee/zero-fee NFT market could erode the future revenue prospects of free mint projects.
Easily overwhelmed by machine casters.
This is an NFT issuance method pioneered by Nouns DAO, which needs to generate and auction a new NFT every day. Recently, however, we have seen a wave of projects adopting Noun’s distribution style and experimenting with their NFT production rhythm, that is, issuing more than one NFT per day.
Image via nouns.wtf
Nouns DAO: "One Noun, every day, forever" is the battle cry of the project; the underlying protocol generates an avatar (virtual image) from the feature library, auctions the avatar, and ends the auction every day.
Lil Nouns DAO: A Lil Nouns NFT is auctioned every 15 minutes every day.
WizardsDAO: Auction 3 Wizard NFTs per day until the total series supply reaches 2000 NFTs.
This issuance/distribution method is a new on-chain method that projects can use to gradually build an NFT community.
Rhythms and parameters can be customized in different ways.
This distribution method is ultimately experimental.
For many, high demand can make auction prices unpalatable.
The Nouns Protocol is elegantly designed and quite complex, so you'll need an expert Solidity developer to develop and build it.
Open Edition (OE)
Through this method of NFT issuance, there is no hard supply cap for NFTs issued by developers or projects.
Unlimited: Unlimited OE means that a series has unlimited potential supply, and the casting is never closed. A recent example comes from the "The Room of Infinite Paintings" project:
Timed: Timed OE refers to open mint activities that do not have a set supply cap, but can only be provided for a limited time. A recent example is Zora’s “State of Mind” launch, which lasted 3 days earlier this month and raised over 123 ETH during that time:
Flexible for creators and collectibles because everyone who wants one can get one.
Easy to start with contemporary web3 creator tools.
Honorable mentions: Bonding Curves and MultiRaffle
One method of NFT issuance that seems to have fallen out of favor over the past year is Bonding Curve's mint method.
The EulerBeats project, one of the pioneers of this format in the NFT space, sells (and allows resale of) its NFTs along a price curve determined by a specific mathematical formula. As the EulerBeats documentation points out:
“Any collector can purchase prints (copies) according to a price formula set by the bonding curve. As the circulation of a given print increases, the price of the next print will increase exponentially. […]bond The curve acts as a liquid market that allows print holders to burn their print tokens, thereby reducing the current supply of print tokens for the relevant original (Original) in exchange for the burn price at that time. Thus, the burn process returns ETH from the reserve to the print Token Burner."
Finally, there is another way to release NFTs that hasn't gotten as much traction, but I think should see more adoption, and that's MultiRaffle, a raffle-based distribution method created by Anish Agnihotri and Hasu of Paradigm.
Simply put, MultiRaffle is the result of Agnihotri and Hasu's research on the fairest and most efficient way to issue NFTs. Therefore, in MultiRaffle, the duo optimizes for untappable fairness, prevents race conditions, and maximizes mint's cost efficiency from top to bottom.
I believe some MultiRaffle experiments have been implemented, although I haven't seen any since Agnihotri and Hasu's related research article in October 2021. It's a shame because it's clear that this release will strike balance and fairness in a way that's truly admirable and conscientious.