Whitelist System in NFT World and the Evolution of NFT Project-Launching

The OpenDAO
5 min readFeb 8, 2022


NFT whitelist system is now outdated. We should explore new measures for NFT launching. Launchpads will be a better choice.

Whitelist system is a common practice in today’s NFT world. Projects use whitelists to reward loyal community members and get momentum for future launches.

However, it is becoming a “necessary evil”. It is necessary, because it is almost the only choice. Projects have few other ways to pick loyal holders. It is evil, because in most cases, it has already deviated from its original purpose. It is filled with grinding bots, fake account, and inside trades etc.

What is NFT whitelist?

What is whitelist in NFT projects? It was supposed to be a certificate or a credential. It is meant to be a badge for loyal community members. Projects choose people from their discord community or twitter followers, reward them with whitelists, so that the whitelisted can have access to presale and don’t have to fight in the so-called “gas wars”.

Now whitelist is no longer reserved for loyal members. Because in most of the time, the truly loyal ones are not able to get access to it. Assailed by entangled benefits and bots activity, whitelist has downgraded to a commodity or a game for “wl hunters”.

Whitelist is a product of evolution

Whitelist is a product of well intentions when it was first invented. When NFT traders were troubled by gas wars and chaotic minting process, whitelist was there to help projects better organize their minting process. One of the problems a whitelist system help to solve is gas wars. Loyal members don’t have to fight with one other in public sales. They can mint when gas is lower.

The other problem it helps to solve is bots front running real humans. With a well organized whitelist system, projects can hold presales. There are fewer bots in presale. In a certain sense, it makes the game more fair.

From this perspective, whitelist system is a product of evolution.

Whitelist is not Web3.0 so it is outdated

Whitelist is a solution to certain problems. It is reasonable at this stage of evolution. But it definitely will not survive in Web3.0. Because it is not in the spirit of Web3.0. It is neither decentralized nor autonomous.

To be decentralized, it should be running on a decentralized infrastructure, ie. a public permissionless system that cannot be taken over by centralized wills; and it should not be organized hierarchically around executives or shareholders. By these two standards, current whitelist system is definitely not decentralized. More projects are using private discords to utilise hunger sales strategies. And the distribution of whitelists is under control of the hierarchically system of “admins and mods” in the servers. These structures all make whitelist systems very centralized.

To be autonomous, the operating rules should be programmed, meaning that they are automatically applied and enforced when the conditions specified in the software are met. This differentiates from traditional practices, where rules form guidelines that someone must interpret and apply. Current whitelists are not operated with programs. Instead, whitelists are mostly “roles” given manually in discord servers. They are added by admins and mods. Easily manipulated by human, not autonomous at all.

With grinding of bots, fake account for invite contests, inside trades of mods, hired grinders and fan artists, current whitelist system is becoming more of a problem as we are moving forwards to Web3.0.

Launchpad is a better choice

Evolution is ongoing. It is extremely fast in the field of crypto, even faster in NFTs. Whitelist is a solution to gas war. As now whitelist has become a problem itself, what will be the solution to whitelist?

Before the age of internet, we go to supermarkets for goods. We never went to producers with our customized demands. Dealers and big commercial entities stood between producers and customers. They monopolised the space. They get great profits from the imbalance of information. After the internet dominated our life, we have easier access and have chance to get more customized goods.

Platforms were invented to coordinate the needs of producers and customers. It serves as a useful tool to help decentralize the space. It will still be a better choice in the age of Web3.0.

Platforms serve as a bridge between producers and customers. It is the place where both producers and customers can be better informed. In the world of NFT, an NFT launchpad is the platform we need.

The NFT market is growing and expanding. It is getting more mature day by day. With the growth of NFT markets, there will be more new projects coming. The best NFT traders can not keep up with all the high quality NFT projects. And it is hard for projects to reach out to all the potential customers out there.

Platform is needed to customize the needs of both project owners and nft traders.

NFT launchpad is an easier access for them to get information and reach out to each other.

Identify potential diamond hands in the age of post-identity

Identity in the age of Web3.0 is defined by the concept of “post-identity”, where identity is not bounded by gender, race, age, or even “human or bot”. In Web3.0, it will hard to identify if you are dealing with a human or a bot.

That is a problem for projects owners. In many cases, bots get on the top of food chain. They acquire profits while loyal enthusiasts can only buy from secondary market. How to identify human from bots? They need loyal humans instead of flipper bots.

Launchpad can solve the problem by setting thresholds

One is to require staking of governance tokens. This will increase the costs of bots. If you have to stake a certain amount to get whitelisted. Even whales cannot support that many bots. This will significantly decrease the amount of bots. For 721starter, the platform require people to stake their tokens for at least 7 days in order to access lottery. This will even increase the costs of potential bots. That will bar most bots away.

The other is to employ credential infrastructure. In Web3.0, every footstep is noted down on blockchain. You have to sign every step in your wallet. If we can make standards with consideration of these steps, we have a greater chance of identifying human from bots. Project Galaxy is a project working on the infrastructure. And OpenDAO is cooperating with Project Galaxy to better identify humans in the NFT space. 721Starter will employ more methods to make the launch experience better in the NFT space.

Launchpad: 721Starter

NFT is new. We are early. Whitelist is a necessary evil. But it is just one stop in our journey. We should move on and embrace better choices when time is right. And it is time.

Author: curiousjoe.eth

DAO enthusiast, researcher at heart, Web3 believer. Contributor. @The_OpenDAO; Club 721 OG; 721DAO OG;

Canonical Link: This article was first published here.

Article has been edited for clarity and grammar.