Gas Wars, Stealth Drops, and Dutch Auctions: Unraveling the Chaotic Journey of NFT Evolution

June 2, 2023

By Murtuza Merchant

Adapting to change is the essence of evolution.

Initially, NFTs were experimental digital art pieces targeting a small group of early collectors exploring uncharted territory.

However, within a few months, the NFT landscape has undergone a significant transformation, with one of the most notable changes being the evolution of the minting process.

As the popularity of NFTs grew, and more participants entered the market, issues with minting mechanisms began to surface.

Whitelist struggles, gas wars, fake stealth drops, and failed transactions have affected both seasoned NFT enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

“Discontent is the first necessity of progress” – Thomas Edison

How has the minting process evolved, and what does it mean for the future of web3?

The Beginning

Public mints were the simplest and most common mechanisms for NFT projects to release their collections in the early market. Bored Ape Yacht Club, for example, utilized an open mint process for eight days in April 2021.

Public mints had their advantages, such as inclusiveness and ease of execution, but also had disadvantages like lack of control and gas wars. As NFT adoption grew throughout 2021, gas wars became more common, leading to an unpleasant user experience.

Stealth drops were a minor adjustment in the minting process, but they also had their flaws, as they became a way for hackers to deceive communities and steal funds through fake stealth drop mints.

The Exclusion

Private mints were introduced as a solution to gas wars and bots, offering more control and avoiding gas wars. However, private mints also had their disadvantages, such as exclusivity and maintenance challenges.

As a result, projects began to raise the bar for earning whitelist access, and the community started to engage in extreme acts of loyalty to secure a spot.

The Equilibrium

The Dutch auction, traditionally used for selling physical art, property, and other goods, has made a comeback in the NFT space. It allows market forces to manage hype and facilitates a public minting process without gas wars.

Despite some negative press, Dutch auctions became more popular in 2022. Phantom Network utilized a Dutch auction with a “fair” mechanism, offering refunds to participants for the difference between the bid price and the lowest bid price.

What does the evolution of minting mean for web3?

As the minting process continues to evolve, it will propel the entire space forward. The way we handle the minting experience will reflect what we stand for in the world of web3.

The narrative, innovation, and onboarding of new users will be crucial factors in the development of minting mechanics and the growth of the NFT ecosystem.

About the author

Murtuza Merchant is a crypto and blockchain journalist based in India.

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