An NFT drop happens when a new NFT collection is released. NFT drops can vary in both how the NFTs are sold (listed for sale or auction), and in who they’re released to (the public, or a specific list called an “allowlist”).
Often, NFT drops coincide with when the NFTs in the collection are minted, that is, written to the blockchain. You might hear these terms used interchangeably— a drop might be referred to as the project’s mint.
In addition to the term “drop” you may also hear the terms “primary” and “secondary” when referring to NFT sales or markets. This is because NFTs are often bought and sold multiple times after their initial purchase.
Primary sales happen the first time an NFT is sold. The first sale can be after the creator has minted (written the NFT to the blockchain) their work themselves, or it can be minted by the buyer at the time of purchase. NFT drops are almost always the primary sale of the collection.
Sometimes, there are additional benefits for those who participate in the primary sale and are the first owner of the NFT. For example, an art collection might offer community membership to anyone who holds an NFT from the collection, but only the people who minted an NFT in the primary sale get a physical print of the artwork.
Secondary sales happen when NFTs are bought and sold after the initial sale, similar to how fine art or trading cards might pass through multiple owners’ hands over time. Because all NFT transactions are written on a public, immutable blockchain, you can see an NFT’s entire sale history, all the way back to the primary sale.
Typically, when an NFT project announces their upcoming drop (usually on their official Twitter or Discord), they’ll include information about the allowlist, “the reveal,” and the drop schedule. Let’s walk through these pieces.
An allowlist is a list of crypto wallet addresses predetermined by the NFT project’s founders or team that may have special or early access to the NFT drop. Think of it like being on the list at a nightclub— you get to skip the line and go right in. Projects may give allowlist spots to people who hold other NFTs from the same creators, influencers, active members of the project’s community, or giveaway winners.
NFT project mints will usually have a “reveal.” This means that when buyers participate in the drop, the NFTs everyone mints will look the same (often they’ll display placeholder artwork until the real artwork is revealed). Later, the NFTs will be “revealed” when the drop owner updates the NFT’s metadata. Although the NFT you own is still the original token, the image will look different. This is common when NFTs within a given collection have different utility or varying rarity. Think of it like buying a pack of Pokémon cards— you buy the pack hoping you’ll get something rare, but you don’t know until you open it. Reveals typically happen after the mint date. It’s up to the creator to decide when they want to reveal the collection’s artwork, and the timeline varies from creator to creator.
Typically, an NFT drop will have multiple stages, including an “allowlist phase” or “pre-mint” that gives early access to those who are on the allowlist. Sometimes, a project might have more than one allowlist phase. The drop schedule (sometimes referred to as “mint schedule”) will outline who’s eligible to mint and when. The reveal date may also be included in the drop schedule, although typically the reveal timeline is announced after the drop happens.
Drops happen weekly directly on OpenSea! Participating in a project’s drop on OpenSea is simple.
Before the drop is live, you can check out the project’s drop page. Here, you can learn more about the project, including its mint schedule, roadmap (the project’s future plans), and the team behind the project. You can also set an email or calendar reminder to notify you when the drop is about to go live.
If you’re signed in to OpenSea and the project has already uploaded their allowlist, it will show which stages of the mint you’re eligible for.
Minting on OpenSea is easy. Below, we’ll show you how to do it using a credit card (you can also pay with crypto if you choose!).
Click “Complete purchase” and you’ll be taken to Moonpay’s flow to enter your credit or debit card information.
Please note that if you’re buying something more than $2,500 USD, you may also be asked to verify your identity. You will only need to do this once.
That’s it, the NFT is now yours! You can keep the NFT as long as you want or sell it on the secondary market whenever you choose.
Often a major part of allowlists is holding NFTs from related collections, but there are usually also free ways to get on allowlists. Keep an eye out for official giveaways from the project (but make sure to vet them properly), and be active in the community. Project teams often pay attention to who their most active community members are, especially in places like Twitter and Discord!
Yes! Although the price might be different from the mint, you can always still participate in the secondary market. Just be sure to check if any utility (like merch or a print) was only available to those who minted so you can make an informed decision on your purchase.
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