Finding for the value in NFTs

5 min readFeb 11, 2022


How to quickly filter the wheat from the chaff?
What do I check on each NFT project before minting or buying on secondary?
I have divided my current research into 5 points which contain criteria that determine my rating and liking for each project.

1 Aesthetic

This could be a purely personal opinion. Although we can look at any piece through the optics of general aesthetics after the computers took a part in art & design, some approaches could look like crap, mess, chaos, ugly — but if you look closer or specific context, you can decode its beauty. In general, the aesthetic preference is subjective, but I think the ability of good aesthetic and design is based on education and knowledge — and I don’t think like formal education, but just look at art, study art, the desire to see and look for beauty — maybe even in places where people think beauty doesn’t belong. The short history of NFTs tells us that aesthetics is not (at all) the main thing connected to the future value of anything, but if you even don't like it and it has no value in time, you picked a bad one.

If you haven’t been interested in art, design, illustration, it doesn’t matter, start with modern trends from the turn of the 20th century and you’ll see that even 100-year-old stuff can be pretty damn cool and what’s more, you might start to see clear inspiration, references and visual quotes in NFT collections too. Suggested keywords: Bauhaus, American modernism, futurism, cubism, and from specific names: Keith Haring, Marcel Duchamp, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Tamara de Lempicka, Piet Mondrian, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Zdzisław Beksinski, Toyen, Rene Magritte, Edward Hopper

Selection from hundreds of derivates, copies, and quotes of Mona Lisa. (1 Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci, cca 1517 / 2 Prado Mona Lisa, da Vinci Workshop, the same period as original / 3 Monalisa feeding milk, anil saxena, 2014 / 4 Mona Lisa Smile, Banksy, 2004 / 5 Mona Lisa, MADSAKI, 2019 / 6 Mona Lucy, Mark Stephens, 2016 / 7 Mona Lisa, Andy Warhol, cca 1979 / 8 Mona Lisa Origami, Kazuki Kikuchi, 2016 / 9 Smile, Delmus Phelps, N/A / 10 Mona Patrick, Tobsen85, 2015 / 11 meme, source N/A / 12 Quarantine Mona Lisa, bomdesignz, 2020 / 13 meme, source N/A

2 Utility

The additional functionality of the tokens is a key value for me. Either it’s just a pass for the future or provides entrance to some hidden stuff or at least is connected to some future action. The utility should be provided.
For example of the utility, when the NFT is:
– ticket, pass, membership, or authentication to access any kind of content — virtual, physical, gaming, or to access any virtual or physical space
– proof to redeem or claim virtual content or physical stuff
– represents membership in a group, company, or association
– provide dividends or share or declares a relevant status

Why am I thinking about this condition? For a simple reason — because I can! NFT brings this great opportunity to combine scarity and functionality and
I think it’s a shame not to use it.

3 Technical ability, complexity

The main question — is it on the chain or not? And if it is, is it really? Always check if you buy just .jpegs stored on IFPS or stored content partly on-chain — or if it’s a full on-chain piece. I see the real /and still very rare) value in the full on-chain stuff. The complexity of the collection is also a great layer to check. If I see dozens of traits, logical layers, and conceptual approaches — you can tell right away that someone took the time and care with it. Anybody invests a lot of time, their potential, and thinking — I always feel respected and this effort brings trust on my side.

There is great stuff on platforms like SuperRare, Foundations, etc., but it's great to see a creator who could manage more and put the effort into its collection. Own contract or at least contract deployed via some platform but by the artist itself — means a lot for me.

4 Originality

I would never do or support a derivate. Why? Because it tells me only thing — that collection was created just for profit. If you asked instantly — so what?
Let me explain you it wider —

the creator of the collection or NFT wants your money and doesn’t care about its name, reputation, or making something new. The creator saw some other guy just made $$$ for selling THESE pictures! So I can sell THAT pictures too! There is no chance the derivate could be better in any aspect in the long term. But if you are the flipper, that’s not me, of course — you can make a profit on that. But if your life is driven by profit only, maybe you will hit emptiness someday — or maybe not, I don’t know. Anyway, I’m speaking about how you want to spend your time in general — you really want to flip worthless shit? Or you want to support the great artist and great projects with the belief that one of them might also pay off. And the decisions you made are based on some more information than expected percentage profit.

Visual quotes, copy with added value — technical or aesthetic, and so on could be ok in case the purpose is explained. The art and the history of art are full of quoting previous masters, artists, or styles — but the key is to try to bring something new or die trying in oblivion.

selected CryptoPunk and selection from the collection's derivates

5 Community

What marketing strategy and how the team interacts with people is always a thing to observe for a while. Pushing it too much always strikes me as bad and untrustworthy. Language and style of communication tell a bit who we want to support and the best way how to get the first impression about this is to prepare a few questions and ask the devs directly in a public thread.
Community health is connected to the marketing strategy and it's one with the other — the methods of branding and promotion bring people who are a just reflection of that. So if it's a huge hype, feels like a huge profit could be made — people who want to make a profit on the project will be a majority, no judgment, that's a fact.

That’s my strategy and I do it because I want to support good stuff in its complexity, not just great digital art stored on IPFS, not just trending buzzwords or derivates, I think it’s the only way to make the space better — support the great stuff. This strategy could prevent you from a rug or scam,
but definitely will not guarantee you any profit.
Don’t forget — if all these things seem great
— it still could be a well-done sophisticated rug!

But wait, how to recognize a rug or scam anyway?
Continue to the next article!

–– Ryska /