I Minted a Gecko NFT, Now I’m Hooked

Man what a rush. I went for it, I hopped on the NFT train yesterday and it was amazing. It was a wild ride of emotions. Do I know what I’m doing? Does this work? Did I just throw money away? Am I a genius? And finally, how did it take me so long to get into this?

This obviously isn’t investment advice, this hopefully explains some of what’s going on with the hype, how I did it, and explain my own enthusiasm.

NFT – Non Fungible Token. There are a bunch of technical descriptions out there. But basically it’s a digital asset that is certified to be unique and cannot be interchanged. You hold a token in your own wallet, and you can sell it, destroy it, look at it, put it on your profile picture, tweet about it, or even brag to your wife about how cute it is.

Minting an NFT – this is a crazy process. So as a user this is basically how you buy an NFT right at the beginning of the release of the project. Different projects get hyped more before hand, and also cost different amounts. You go to a website, connect your wallet directly to the site, click a button and agree to pay the minting cost, and if it accepts it, you get one of a preset amount of NFT’s delivered directly to your wallet. When minting you don’t have the option to pick exactly what you are actually minting. The way it works is that there were 10,000 different images minted yesterday each has different attributes or characteristics. Different characteristics can equal more or less value based on rarity. Of the 10,000 only so many have certain color’s and traits, because of that it is rare. On Twitter, you see people say, “looks rare” anytime that a picture or NFT is posted. Rare likely indicates value.

Start From the Beginning

I minted the Galactic Gecko Space Garage collection which is on the Solana platform/blockchain. I minted this because the artist known as Gossip Goblin was the creator and I actually own an NFT I was given from one of his previous projects (Zodiacs.) This was his third project and his first on Solana. I liked the other ones, there was good hype on this project and I had some Sol. Most NFT’s are on the Ethereum blockchain, and right now the gas fees for making transactions are so high that it’s not really worth it. I’m not paying $50-$200 to make a transfer or purchase.

I had speculated on Solana a few months ago when the price was around $30. It had a massive rise to over $200 and of course I wish I bought more. It has a lot of uses, great development, great user interfaces, and most importantly it’s super cheap and fast to move tokens around on. I took a flyer on it and love it. So I had a few extra Sol and wanted to try minting one of these NFT’s. I had used FTX before so that I could purchase the Sol, and was getting 8% APR for holding it on this platform. This is considered custodial and everyone warns against leaving coins on exchanges, but this wasn’t life changing money we were talking about. For this mint I needed to move coins to a new wallet.

The wallet I had been using and millions others have is the Phantom Wallet. It’s basically the gold standard for the Solana blockchain. It’s a browser extension to Chrome where you can self custody your own tokens and is very easy to use. Download, add extension, save your private seed phrase and get moving. You can even connect this directly to your hardware wallet if you’ve got a Ledger. You can see your NFT’s on there and you can swap directly in the wallet between assets that are on the Solana blockchain.

At this point I’ve got my wallet, I’ve got the Sol, and I’ve got the interest in the project. It’s go time, the mint was at 3:00PM yesterday and I was ready to rock. The mint fee was 2 Sol, the dollar value of Sol was around $145, so it was a $290 minting process and I only gave myself one mint and I had extra Sol in my wallet for transaction fees. (They are really small, .00001 Sol, or $0.00145.)

I had joined the Discord of the team that was launching this, and it was going crazy at this point. People not knowing what to do, not knowing what Solana was, people already trying to scam others. It was mayhem. I was loving it. Adrenaline was flowing, people were tweeting about it, I was ready to freaking MINT! There was a mint button on the site, you connect your wallet, and press mint and you are ready to go, and once the launch drops, you should be able to mint.

2:58, 2:59, the countdown takes forever. 3:00 comes and we are off! My wallet opens and it’s time to approve the transaction. I do, and then it starts spinning as it confirms. Solana is super quick normally, but this took about 30 seconds annnnnnd transaction was rejected! All my preparation, all my homies in the Discord, all the twitterer’s twittering, and I got rejected.

Deep breath, and it’s time to go back to war. I press the mint button again with authority. I get the same thing, Phantom wallet pops up for me to approve the transaction and I do. We’re spinning, we’re potentially minting, I’m a genius! Annnnd rejected again.

Confidence is shot, text a bro or two I missed it. There is a ticker on the page showing how many of these crazy Gecko’s are left of the original 10,000 and we’re getting lower, about half way through. Panic.

Third time is a charm right? Smash the button, smash the approval, wait what feels like 30 minutes, for the actual 30 seconds it takes to reject the transaction again.

I don’t even think about it and smash Mint a fourth time. Approve the transaction, I’m getting good at this. 80% of all these wild Gecko’s are minted, time is ticking. Boom! Transaction approved, minting complete. I got me a Gecko! I minted! I’m an NFT’er, fist pumps and applause all around.

My adrenaline starts to mellow out, I’m breathing normally now, I’ve got a Gecko in my wallet and don’t know what to do about it. I’m watching the Discord go absolutely bananas with pictures of people’s pride and joy, and scammer’s offering 10 Sol/gecko if you dm them and make some mistakes. Not me though, I would never lose my gecko.

Post Minting

The next part of the puzzle is the marketplace. For Ethereum there is Opensea. For Solana there is Solanart. This is where all the NFT’s on Solana go to be displayed or listed on the marketplace. You can flex your collection and put absurd prices on it showing how much you care for the project and show that you’re not selling. There are multiple listed at 1000 Sol, or $145,000, or a 500x on their original 2 Sol mint.

This is the fun of it. This is where you find out what you minted. You just get a random gecko and have no idea whether it’s a rare boy, or a common boy. You can filter it down and look at the different traits and try to match up to similar gecko’s.

The floor price is a particularly interesting measure, it is the cheapest listing for the entire project. People are spamming the discord with 5 Sol floor, 10 Sol floor, don’t sell out, don’t even list your gecko so that it keeps the floor higher. It’s a scarcity game, rarity game, it’s so much fun. People that got their transactions rejected, or missed the mint will have to buy their gecko’s on the secondary market. There are advantages to this, you can pick what you get, pay what you think is appropriate. However with this specific project the floor was over 3 right out the gates. A 50% return out of the gates, again, I’m a genius and NFT’s are great.

Now with the gecko’s, there seems to be a big debate on what are the rarest attributes. There is no rarity tool, which is a common tool used to analyze the entire collection and clearly tell you which attributes are more rare than others, telling you the desirability and value of your NFT. No rarity tool, no real way of figuring it out, so it’s the wild west until they release that. Or is it? On Solanart they have a filtering tool that shows you all the attributes and you can make some baseline assumptions from it. Color of your gecko seems like one of the most important parts, as well as the quantity of attributes on your gecko.

The most rare colors are Neon Green, White, and Black. The amount of attributes that are most rare seems to be a battle, some say 4, some say 7. It’s fascinating following all this. You have to sift through scammers, idiots, shiller’s, whales trying to buy your bags for cheap, the creator of the project, moderators of the chat, and of course the allure of a shiny object. It’s freaking great. I was on my phone and computer for the next 5 hours figuring things out.

I had a neon gecko. The most rare of colors. So I filtered down to that specific attribute on Solanart and looked at comparable gec’s. The floor on the neon’s was over 12 Sol, I don’t really know what this means. I’ve taken a real estate appraisal class before, and understand the idea of comps. Look for similar houses in the area that have sold recently and you can appraise a value. It’s kind of like that idea, but on crack. These things are flying off the shelves, people are changing prices by the second, selling, buying, it’s crazy. There’s a concept of “sweeping the floor” that is common where someone will come through and buy all NFT’s of a project under X price, regardless of rarity. This is very common and increases the value of the project. Rising winds raise all sails or something is an old saying maybe? Googled this and it’s “a rising tide lifts all boats” haha. This could be changed to a rising floor lifts all NFT’s value. I was watching this happen in real time and it was fantastic.

So the floor of the neon’s keeps on fluctuating but going up. Now it’s sitting somewhere around 20 Sol and will likely continue to rise. I have no idea whether to sell mine or hold it to see if it really goes up. Project seems great so far and I wouldn’t be surprised to see these continue to rise up. But I also can see why anyone would sell for a 10x in a day. It’s crazy, it’s a rush, and I can only imagine just how risky it is. I’m just dipping my toes in, but I’m sure there’s a bunch more steps that should have been taken to do this more safely, but I’m still learning over here.

I’ll keep looking into this and other’s and see what I can find. So far, it’s a rush and I’m hooked. I would walk before I run, but I don’t even know how to do that in this space. I went into this expecting there was a high chance I would lose my initial investment and that made it way more fun. Fellow Galactic Gecko’s, well played, this is unlike anything else I’ve done before.

The future is bright and there are so many crazy new technologies, take a look around, dig in, and embrace it.

*The beautiful Gecko in the image is not mine, it’s the one headlining Solanart, and it’s amazing, so I used it.

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