NFT community culture: the world behind the profile pictures
In our first NFT Series article, we walked through the history of NFTs, what a non-fungible token really is, and touched on some prominent use cases for them. In this article we’ll take a deeper dive into a key driver of popular NFT collections’ perceived value: the communities behind them.
What ‘normies’ don’t see — community bonds in Web3
Prior to acquiring my first-ever NFT, I sat on the sidelines watching Bored Ape Yacht Club and Cool Cats trade for tens of thousands of dollars — on the low end. At the time (early 2021), I didn’t understand why people were buying “jpegs” on the Internet with money that could buy a luxury car, a Rolex, or months-long vacations. Of course, I was ignorant at the time to the potential that NFTs hold for real-world use cases and as revolutionary tech. This is something that’s easy to read up on and grasp on an abstract level.
But, what’s harder is understanding NFT communities. On an anthropological level, humans naturally forge communities around shared interests and understandings. NFTs have become an avenue for this; what looks like a cartoon animal profile picture is actually a representation of a group of people moving together towards a common goal and sharing experiences along the way.
Proof of Community
If your Discord sidebar looks like this, you might be in NFTs.
Community presence has become an investment indicator; a community that is loud on social media and makes themselves visible to new investors will overshadow a smaller, quieter group. There are even platforms that track social signals and scan Twitter to count the number of PFPs being used from each collection.
Community building takes place on Twitter, Discord, Telegram, and even Instagram and TikTok. No one community is like another; if you’re passionate about gaming, there’s a place for you. If you love art, there are places for you. If you’re new to NFTs, there are groups ready to welcome you and show you the ropes. The trick is finding your ‘home’ — a task that sounds daunting, but is a worthwhile search.
Community rewards and participation incentives
When a person invests in a stock, they are more than likely doing so as a passive investor. If you own shares of Coca Cola, you might still drink Pepsi, as doing so probably won’t impact the value of your holdings. From an investment perspective, NFTs are different; community strength generally has direct correlation with a collection’s floor price. This means that actively participating in the community behind a project can actually have an impact on the collection’s value. Projects will often mobilize their community members to push social media campaigns, publish original content, and do other activities to spread awareness of the collection (aka: be loud on social media and make themselves visible to new investors). In return, the project team rewards participants with NFTs, tokens, merch, and inherently a stronger floor price.
Community is a powerful force that exponentially multiplies the marketing and brand recognition of an NFT project — akin to Apple becoming a household name by way of millions of people holding iPhones.
Experiencing NFT communities
The only way to truly understand the value of community in NFTs is to experience it firsthand. There are thousands of NFT communities across blockchains, each of them unique (even if the art sometimes looks similar). There really is a community for everyone — and you don’t have to afford a Bored Ape to participate in high quality projects. DYOR and NFA — here are a few accessible communities across Solana and Ethereum worth spending time in (most don’t require holding an NFT to get a feel for the group before joining).
If you’re dipping your toes into NFTs for the first time, you’ll want to set up a Discord account and join an NFT community’s server. There, you’ll be able to interact with the project team and other people who support the project.
About the Author
Lauren is the Founder of NFT Radar, one of the largest free communities dedicated to education & research for NFT projects on Solana, Ethereum & other ecosystems. NFT Radar is a great community for NFT newcomers: discord.gg/nftradar
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DISCLAIMER: Content in this article does not constitute financial advice. Cryptocurrencies are volatile assets. Always do your own research and invest at your own risk.