What is an Allow List?

Medium Apr 8, 2022 · 5 min read

Key Takeaways:
— Buying into an NFT collection can be tricky – limited supplies leave buyers anxious to process transactions quickly to avoid disappointment. Enter Gas Wars!

— Competition for tokens means users are willing to spend more on gas fees – this not only pushes up the cost of buying into a project, it also allows wealthier users to corner the market, excluding others and pushing up the gas price across the entire network.

— An allow list is a list off pre-approved wallet addresses that will receive special, garanteed access to new NFTs on their release – this means no gas war for those wallet addresses!

— Getting listed normally requires users to complete tasks that aim to drive interest in an NFT project, which has some ironic consequences.

— Here, we explain why we need allow lists – and their impact for individuals and the industry as a whole.

NFTs are sneaky. No matter how cynical you are at the start of your journey, sooner or later, you’ll see an NFT project you just need to be a part of. Whether it’s a profile picture, gaming collectible, metaverse fashion piece, or simply a stake in the coolest upcoming project, eventually NFT FOMO catches up with all of us.

But it’s not as simple as just “buying in”, is it? No fren – as we all know, getting your hands on your dream token is a question of research, luck and, of course, gas. And that can be a sticky subject. 

Allow-listing is an emerging practice that takes aim at the notorious problem of network congestion. Here, we explain the concept, its objective and its impact, both for you and for the industry as a whole, so you can navigate your next NFT drop like a pro. 

LFG!

NFT Minting: The Battle Royale of Web3

Before we begin, let’s start with a look at the problem. 

It’s a perfect storm out there in NFT land. By definition, NFT collections are limited in supply, and since the success of a project depends on the support of its community, creators invest many months into generating buzz and engagement before finally releasing their first collection. 

What’s more, the initial drop is generally the lowest price you’ll be able to buy into that collection for, so it’s no surprise that these events have community members buzzing to get in on the action.

With limited supplies, speed is of the essence for anyone wanting to buy in, which means FOMOing users are willing to pay higher gas fees (yes Ethereum, we mean you) to ensure their transaction is top priority for network validators. But this has a couple of important consequences.

A Premium for Buying in

With users prepared to pay more for gas, the overall price of entering a project is inflated, making it harder for community members to get involved

Whales can Distort the Market

This gives an unfair advantage for certain demographics. More affluent users can trounce the competition by paying excessive amounts for their gas, ensuring their transaction is prioritised – this allows disproportionate parts of the collection to be bought up by whales, while regular users struggle to compete. The notorious Gas War in action.

Detriment to the Entire Network

And the gas war doesn’t only affect that drop: the performance of the entire network is affected as the blockchain deals with congestion and gas prices are pushed up across the board.

In short, gas wars give an unfair advantage to users with money to burn (excuse the pun) and keep regular folks from being able to buy into their favourite projects. Sounds a bit…centralized, right?

If only there were a way to organize things better…

The Allow List: Golden Ticket for the Web3 Generation

If an NFT drop is queuing up in the rain at your favourite club, then allow listing is the chance to meet the band backstage the night before.

Simply put, an allow list (or whitelist) is a list of wallet addresses pre-approved by the project to receive special privileges – normally this includes guaranteed access to an upcoming drop within a stated time frame. 

The objective is to give those wallets guaranteed access to a project, which benefits the community members. But allow-listing also benefits the project, and understanding this will give you important insight into how to use this concept. Let’s take a closer look.

How Does an Allow List Work?

OK so you’ve spotted a really cool project and you’re desperate to get in on the action – but so is everyone else, and the drop is limited. How do you get a spot on the allow list?

The first thing you’ll need to do is check out the project’s Discord server – chances are, this is where you’ll find the details. The conditions of getting onto an allow list will vary from project to project, but generally speaking the tasks will involve promoting the collection in some way. Users may be asked to partake in several activities, such as

  • Inviting a specific number of friends to the Discord server
  • Creating fan art for the project and post on social media
  • Share posts about the project on social media and create buzz

The possibilities are endless. But at the root of it all, allow lists enable projects to leverage their community to promote their mission – and offer a reward in return. 

How does my address get added to the list?

Once you’ve completed the task, you’ll share your wallet’s public address with the project’s team. Depending on the project, there are different ways to do this. Some ask you to submit via online forms while others simply ask your to drop it in their Discord server. 

Finally, the team makes sure that the address that your public address is registered to get special access to mint when the collection drops.

HEY – READ THIS

Above all – NEVER SHARE YOUR SEED PHRASE. EVER. This will give whoever has it direct access to everything in your wallet and is absolutely not a part of the process. The only thing you should ever be asked for is your public address.

Once that’s done, you’re all set! Now, once the long awaited drop arrives, you’ll have a guaranteed NFT waiting just for your wallet address.

The Benefits of Allow Lists

Allow lists have a number of benefits, and not just for users. 

For Community Members

By taking part in an allow list, community members can buy into a project with certainty. Instead of paying over the odds for gas for fear of losing out, you can simply mint an NFT at any time during your allotted time slot. No gas war and no uncertainty.

For Projects

Listing is sort of like a prize that projects can offer – it’s a way to incentivize members to engage with the project, generate buzz and interest and in theory raise the project’s value. In other words… promote the project for free.

For the Network

And of course, spacing out the minting batches – and ensuring some members have a guaranteed spot – takes a lot of pressure off the network, as huge spikes are spread out across a longer timeframe, and panic is minimized. This means lower gas fees and less congestion across the blockchain.

So it benefits everyone..right? Well, yes and no. And to understand why, we need to take a step back.

Disadvantages of Allow Listing

There are also some surprising drawbacks when it comes to this new norm.

Driving Even Higher Demand

When you think about it, allow-listing is a somewhat ironic solution to the problem of an overheated market. For community members, its purpose is to offer an alternative to the frantic competition and high gas fees pervading NFT projects. And yet, the tasks you need to complete to get onto the list are designed to drive demand up even further for that project. This means competition among regular buyers is still frantic and leaves many disappointed.

The Grind Never Stops

We mentioned above that getting on an allow list normally means completing some tasks aimed at driving up interest in the project – the industry slang for that is grinding, by the way. There are a couple of problems with this: first, it makes it tricky for users to gauge whether a project is really booming, or if the positive user content you’re seeing online is really driven by the desire for a spot on the list. Community is everything in NFT land – but remember to question everything.

How to find and research upcoming drops

OK so now you know the pros and cons, let’s talk shop. If you’re looking to sniff out upcoming drops and get involved with a new project, there are a few ways of going about it, such as using Discord and scanning NFT specialized news platforms – NFT Evening is a great example with its own drop calendar.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: when you’re thinking of buying in, doing your own research is crucial. This involves not just chatting to the Discord community, but also checking out the project’s whitepaper to understand its mission, and looking at its Etherscan page to get a sense of how its tokens are distributed, and how active the project has been. Do not listen to the hype! Your own research is paramount.

Do you speak NFT?

In the “always-on” world of NFTs, you’ll find new terms popping up all the time, and it can be hard to keep up. But hey that’s OK – because you are witnessing the genesis of something completely new and IT IS EXCITING! 

Allow listing has both pros and cons for you and the industry as a whole, but as with every new term, now you understand it, you can figure out how to leverage it for yourself. In NFT land, knowledge is power – so keep on learning, do your own research and enjoy exploring this extremely exciting space in security. Ledger has your back.

Knowledge is Power.

Are you deep diving the world of NFTs? Then getting to know the Metaverse is non-negotiable. Ready to have your mind blown? LFG with School of Block!

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