The following documentation with the “Mirror XYZ” platform is my first official entry into web3. My wife and friends convinced me to share my insights as I spend a big part of my day with NFTs and crypto. So I decided to dedicate this post to beginner & intermediate retail NFT crypto users. I will share the ups and downs of my crypto journey, mining, and flipping NFTs.
(What I am about to share shouldn’t be taken as financial advice, but to inspire you on your own personal crypto & NFT journey)
(in future sharings, I will aim more on specific topics of interest)
Cryptocurrency and NFTs have sneaked up as the world reached new stages in its technological feats. For example, it is much harder to counterfeit, and higher security between transactions as a digitalized form of currency and token. As a result, people worldwide are starting to invest their physical money, believing that cryptocurrency and NFTs are the future. There is a paradigm shift from Web2 (corporations controlling the web, Facebook & Google & Tik Tok) to a more decentralized Web3. Web3 refers to the next version of the internet, which focuses on decentralization and actual user ownership instead of government and corporate ownership.
I started to notice crypto very early. There was an ATM placed nearby for Bitcoin (BTC) transactions near my workplace back in 2011, but I never paid any attention. In 2019 November, when bitcoin was skyrocketing again, a friend at a bar was talking about it. I downloaded the app my friend recommended, the EXODUS app. While trying to purchase Bitcoin, it refused my credit card, so I forgot about it. Until early February 2020, I was at the same bar again; this friend was bragging about how Bitcoin went up 30% to 40% since we last met up. I had some regrets. I started trying every crypto app on my phone and found that Binance worked. So I immediately filled it with USD2,000. Every week I kept filling out my wallet with new USDT (Tether) with my credit card while trying to buy the price dips and being excited when it pumped. Since then, I have constantly been chasing the hype of BTC/ ETH / ADA / XRP / TRX / ETC or any other new coin APE / LUNA / SOL value going up or down, any new hyped NFT, or new NFT tech.
There were times when Coinbase and Binance went down due to extreme volatility. Still, I learned the hard way there’s no possible way to monitor everything. It is challenging to buy before crypto pumps or sells before it crashes. Hence, I found the easiest and less stressful way to set your sell or buy limits ahead of time. There are many ways to do technical analysis based on crypto price movements. However, I am not an expert, so I usually look at the overall sentiment of the crypto market.
Finally, it is essential to find a good & safe DEFI (decentralized finance) platform that generates high staking rewards when you decide to hold particular crypto for the long term. These staking rewards can increase the value of your holdings even in a bear market. In another sharing I will discuss stake rewards and high LP (liquid pool) farm yields.
My brother told me about mining and how it was an excellent way to generate Ethereum (ETH) in March 2021. I was intrigued. I found a youtube video that led me step by step on building a miner with the computer components that I amazon and purchased from a local computer store. I calculated it would take about 7 months to break even. I also bought all my mining equipment brand new at scalper prices. So the first rig was 6 AMD RX67000 GPUs, and then the second rig was a combination of 8 RX6800 and RX6700 GPUs.
I own and manage metal casting & CNC facilities as my day job. One of our main products is cinema camera heatsinks. As I was mining, I found that the heat of a GPU affects the mining speed; hence my team and I developed a new heatsink product for GPU mining.
Because of the high heat generated, downtimes can often occur with the miners, so do DM me if you are looking for ways to manage heat. Additionally, the Risers used to increase the number of GPUs on a motherboard are challenging to use and often breakdown. With that in mind, I recommend a server mining case for easy maintenance instead of an open-air rig. With the 6rigs and 43 GPUs built, I finally broke even after 11 months. Much longer than expected because I did not account for increasing mining difficulty and EIP 1599 protocol.
Around July and August 2021, I stopped purchasing Ethereum mining equipment. I realized mining may die off soon. I had lunch with a venture capitalist friend one day. He told me about “Sandbox” metaverse and how he was trying to buy as many “Sandbox” lands as possible every Thursday. The first NFT that I purchased was a sandbox metaverse land through the presale on a Thursday. It was fun and exciting all at the same time. I had managed to pick up a land per week on the sandbox website and then some on Opensea. I told myself I should pick a few more to give to my wife and my family in case these metaverse lands go to the moon in the future. (all this happened before Facebook announced their name change to META, and after that, all metaverse lands went up 10–20x in price)
Virtual lands, there are many now. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages. There are ones that exist in games that people use to collaborate and work together via VR headsets. In fact, Zoom or Teams is considered a metaverse lands too. Others are used for art galleries or corporate training courses, or teaching pilots to fly.
DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization)
After acquiring several metaverse lands, I started looking at other NFTs. Watching youtube videos at first, and learned that DAOs were the thing at that time, and “Nouns”, “HeadDAOs” were everywhere. Suppose one couldn’t purchase a BAYC (Bored Ape Yacht Club) or Cyrptopunk because of their high price. In that case, you can still earn the benefit from these increasing value of bluechip NFTs inside the DAO vault. (This I learned isn’t always the case due to fractional vault and tokenization, something I will go in-depth in my subsequent documentation)
P2E (Play to Earn)
There was GAME-FI (game finance) or P2E NFTs, such as “Nifty League Degens”, & “Axie Infinity” & “WOLF GAME” being spotted as the next big thing. P2E means that the tokens you earn in the game could be turned back into actual real money when you play. Some NFTs have a mixture of P2E and metaverse elements together. Amazing anime profile pictures (PFP for short) art like “0n1 force” & “Azuki” & “MURI” popped up, and cute cartoons profile pics like “Kumo x World” & “Wonderpals” & “Karafuru” with great discord communities that promise P2E futures.
Art Collections or just plain PFP
You will often see authentic collector art items like “Beeple” and “Art Blocks Curated” at Sotheby and Christie’s auctions. On the other hand, “Cyrptopunks,” probably one of the most notable and famous NFT profile pictures, has no utility. It is plainly a picture with immense monetary value.
Real Life Utility
Some NFTs focus more on fashion merchandise, like “HapeBeast” & “dourdarcels” & “Adam Bomb Squad”. There are celebrities NFTs that ride on the initial hype. There is special access to a specific online platform with a verified NFT key. Another example of real-life utility is NFTs representing a portion of physical goods, such as art paintings or real-life lands. This is because, at their core, NFTs are just digital abstractions used to represent one-of-a-kind assets.
There are many different types of NFTs these days, including PFP, art, utility, game, metaverses, and unique accesses to physical or virtual places. In addition, NFTs can be used to give you access to VIP communities, for example, Adidas ITM” pass and other OG alpha pass. Alpha passes are NFTs that allow you to be in an exclusive group. In these communities, an OG (Original Gangster) or a group of wealthy NFT flippers give you tips on what to buy and sell to 100x your money. These started to get popular at the beginning of 2022. There are good alphas and also bad alphas. Some even have terrible intentions; for example, the OG will list their NFT assets on the market before telling their communities to pump a specific NFT.
DAOs (more in-depth)
Nowadays, in March 2022, DAOs are a common thing, no longer as sexy as it was back in 2021. DAOs are also known as the mini NFT venture capitalists. This is because they have a lot of capital to invest into new NFT or bluechip projects. However, many issues arise, such as the team/moderators not pulling their weight or being slow in delivering what was promised in a timely fashion. In my opinion, DAOs are a double-edged sword. Sometimes, the holders do not fully understand the snapshot vote nor the time and resources needed to complete specific tasks. Additionally members are often swayed by a more vocal or “whale” member in the DAO.
There are often disagreements within DAOs, famous DAOs such as “BAYC” and smaller DAOs such as “Cryptozombiez”. Marketing the DAO’s underlying NFTs and redoing snapshot votes even after the cast ballot can be reoccurring issues. The founder and the team can even ignore the snapshot vote result of their own personal incentives. More heavily funded DAOs, including VitaDAO and AssangeDAO, have different protocols (smart contracts) to do a specific action when a particular situation takes place. I personally love some DAO communities. There are some great ones in the NFT space. “Kumo x World” is a warm community, doing fun events and weekly storytelling with a special human touch. “0n1 Force”, with their solid community, promotes Japanese artists in their marketplace.
Staked tokens generating NFTs
As a new average retail holder, earning tokens is excellent. Stake an NFT to earn tokens. Still, one doesn’t consider the token’s value and how the increasing supply and no real demand or utility will eventually crash the token value. First popularized by the great CyberKongz. Furthermore, this concept has ruined some projects like “Cyrptozombiez” & “Angry Boars” & “Noundles”. Honestly, it was really enticing to a newbie such as myself in the beginning to earn tokens worth something and that I thought I could break even in a few days or weeks or months.
However, tokens with no real utility won’t get you anywhere at the end of the day. Too many Whales holding these tokens or flaws in the tokenomics or some issues with the LP pool will ruin your hopes of gaining back anything. Nevertheless, NFTs like “NFT Worlds” & “KaijuKingz” & “CyberKongz” are thriving on this staking NFT token earning mechanism.
In the beginning, I did watch YouTubers on their tips on what would be the next 100x NFT project. However, I soon realized that many YouTubers are not invested in these NFTs. Instead, they are shilling and often just reading off the website without giving any personal opinion or profound insight. So I stopped watching youtube videos and spent more time talking in the discord communities and learning more on new art NFTs or fabulous new nft technology. Good or hyped upcoming NFT projects spread quickly through discord channels.
My most significant flip was “NFT Worlds”. When the price was 0.5 eth, I FOMOed in. It was such a great idea, with “Minecraft” being open-sourced and Microsoft giving the “NFT Worlds” team permission. I had purchased 3 and then paper handed at 1.1eth. When the floor price went to 2.2eth, I knew “NFT Worlds” could follow “Sandbox” and “Decentraland” ‘s bluechip status, so I maxed out 2 credit cards, repurchased numerous NFT Worlds. So when the floor of “NFT World” rose to 8 ETH, I profited one, then to 15 ETH, and I profited another. I am a dreamer and sometimes do act more emotionally than logically. I ask myself, why was this enough to justify taking such a considerable risk? I honestly don’t have a solid answer. I took a great leap of faith. I believe these opportunities like “NFT Worlds” may come once in a lifetime.
I also flipped 2x to 3x on smaller projects such as “Cosmodinos” & “Planktoons” & “Gutter Cats” & “Farm Land by Pixels” & “Starcatchers” & “Dappers Ape High Society” & “Desolates”. As I successfully flipped these NFTs and others, I also HODL NFTs for the long term. Over time, I developed a formula to evaluate an NFT project. Additionally, luck was a significant factor, too, as I happened to be looking at the right project at the right time. When to buy-in is critical, but when to sell is considered more important.
Lastly, I finally understand why and how some NFT flippers make money. I was fortunate. I managed to get my life back together during my flips, and NFTs are life-changing money. For example, there are “Boss Beauties” that I believed at the beginning would take the same path as World of Women and profit too. And as I am writing this document, I missed out on World of Women Galaxy Dutch Mint at 1 ETH and was an easy flip to 2 ETH in less than a few hours.
I also ventured out to Solana and Cardano NFTs in January. First, I transferred about 100 SOL into a new Phantom wallet. Following that, I transferred 2000 ADA into my Navia wallet. Unfortunately, the experience at the beginning with both phantom and Navia wallets was horrible. These two networks made purchasing and selling NFTs slow, congested and resulted in many failed transactions despite no gas fees. However, at least with the Ethereum chain, the transactions will go through if set higher gas fees.
I finally understood my investing NFT strategy. When I really like the project, I will try to buy 3 of the same project. It is a more considerable risk, but I can also stay part of something I like when I profit as the floor price increases. It’s similar to a fun make it or break it investment, but there is some resell value. Needless to say, I got wrecked.
I tried to make my own NFTs in September 2021, with zero experience, on the polygon chain, called MarilynG. It went nowhere. I even took it on Facebook groups and tried to shill it. After a long while, giving away like 30–50 NFTs, I finally realized that I needed an interested discord community. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that much time and budget, so I gave up. Next, I started another NFT project called PuffPuff Bears with all the lessons learned. Ran into many team development problems and actual real utility. Finding out where many other obstacles involved solidity programming, but the main obstacle was getting the project known and popular like any other business.
Hyped projects like “Bunny Buddies” & “More than Gamers” & “Meta Angels” & “Fudders” caused me a lot of pain, as I sold all these NFTs at a loss. “Meemos World” & “3D Bears” & “Fudders” & “Chibi Dinos” & “Shades of You” & “Art Monkees”, I really like all their brand and art, but the market didn’t like them. Hence I took massive losses here.
There are many of these hype projects which could seem a good investment at the time. However, these NFTs floor price would never go above the mint price. In December 2021 and January 2022, when NFTs was a bull market, anything that was minted or purchased from secondary markets could instantly flip 2x 3x right away. This is very unlikely in a bear market when the hype is less crucial than the NFT’s underlying value.
Honestly, I feel 90% of PFP NFTs will eventually fade out or be slowly rug pulled, so my advice on NFTs is “invest in what you can afford to lose”. I will admit NFTs are a gamble, but it’s also more promising and safer than going to the casino and putting it all on black. For Solana NFTs, popular “Pesky Penguins” & “MonkeLabs” & “Portals” went from an all-time high to losing more than 50% in this bear market in March. Bear markets are where a genuine community or actual demand for the NFT is tested.
As I’m finally recording my journey and insights here, I see a bright future for NFT blockchain technology. Early adopters of this new developing technology will win in the coming years. Being the first mover does have its advantages, only when done well. Nowadays, there are so many cookie-cutter NFTs. The real test as a retail investor is knowing which one will survive this bear market and rise higher than before.
However, as an average retail investor into crypto and NFT, we can easily make the mistake of choosing the wrong bet. Many NFTs may go to zero unless they have good utility demand or a mature ecosystem. Some NFTs might have good branding, and loads of funding, or new intuitive programming. Two examples are “ASM Brains” AI learning & “0n1 Force” Frames recall NFT and morphing NFT mutable mechanism. Some NFTs might prove to be the next big thing. We just need to do proper research and have faith before investing in anything and surviving this bear NFT market.
Thank you. Look forward to hearing your own stories and comments.
If you want to get in touch about interesting NFT ideas or projects or want to hear about a specific topic, I’m @ericclfung on Twitter.