NFTs are taking the world by storm, but high prices can make them inaccessible to many. Many crypto users are exploring cheaper NFT opportunities, especially the prospect of scoring free NFTs.
In this guide, we'll discuss the concept of NFTs and common ways to get them for free.
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific
provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.
How to get free NFTs
You'll have multiple options to try and score NFTs free of charge, including playing play-to-earn NFT games and participating in giveaway campaigns.
To promote new launches and grow engagement quickly, NFT projects and influencers often conduct free NFT giveaways on social media platforms such as Discord, Twitter, Telegram and Reddit.
You're typically required to complete a series of simple tasks like following the project's social media channels, dropping a comment and tagging your friends to earn the NFT.
The best way to find free or discounted mints would be to get active in the NFT community. Do this when you:
- Sign up for newsletters. Get first dibs on NFT project launches from mailing lists of top NFT news sources and marketplaces.
- Follow projects and crypto influencers on social media. Watch for the latest announcements on platforms such as Discord and Twitter, and tune in to AMAs for first-hand updates.
- Browse NFT marketplaces. Check out NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, Rarible and tofuNFT to find upcoming mints.
- Look for NFT incentives. Keep your eyes peeled for projects and platforms that reward users for active participation.
- Scan new blockchain transactions. Find out what are the latest NFTs others are minting, research on these projects and you might be able to score some free gems.
- Get whitelisted. Whitelists usually have limited spots and those selected can mint NFTs from a specific project's upcoming launch for free or at a discounted price.
If you're new to the NFT space, start by searching hashtags or terms related to NFTs on Twitter and look out for active giveaways. Stay vigilant by checking for legitimacy before participating.
What does it mean to be whitelisted?
A whitelist is a list of verified individuals, programs or crypto wallet addresses that are pre-approved to be sent a token or coin. For NFT giveaways, the whitelist is typically randomly generated from current users, or may be reserved for early adopters of a project.
NFT airdrops are when crypto projects distribute free NFTs directly into users' wallets. They're sometimes included with token launches to incentivise early adopters.
For example, companies may airdrop free NFTs periodically to wallets holding a set amount of the native tokens without selling them, over a specific period.
Free NFT mints
Like airdrops and giveaways, NFT projects may also offer limited free mints to garner interest.
Giving out free mints doesn't cost a project team anything since users have to cover the gas fees required to mint the piece to the blockchain.
Some blockchains may have higher gas fees than others — for example, gas fees on Ethereum may be more than $100 due to network congestion.
Create your own NFT
If you're looking to pad out your wallet with NFTs, consider creating NFTs yourself. This means you'll be the project owner of your own NFT collection, mint any amount of cool or weird designs, and send them to anyone you like.
Mint your own NFT
For starters, your creation has to be minted on the blockchain and verified as a nonfungible token to be considered an NFT.
Some NFT wallets impose a basic fee between US$70 and US$120 to mint your NFT, but top NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, Mintable, and Rarible offer free mints.
However, the slight caveat here is that you'll almost always have to pay a gas fee to mint your NFTs, even on low-fee blockchains like Polygon or Solana. This nominal fee is used to pay network miners to hash the transaction and record it to the digital ledger.
Explore NFT minting in more detail
Play-to-earn (P2E) NFT games
New blockchain games without a huge player base often give out free NFTs to incentivise players to join their P2E game ecosystem.
Here are common ways to get NFTs from P2E games:
- Alpha/beta test participation reward. Participate in alpha/beta tests, and get rewarded with free NFTs or tokens.
- Community engagement. Games such as Alien Worlds and Farmers World offer free NFT drops as a bonus for active participation.
- Free starter NFTs. Some free-to-play blockchain games offer free in-game assets at the start of the game. Depending on the game, these starter NFTs may be tradable, and provide utility to help players earn the native token.
- Loan NFTs. Many gaming guilds and unofficial programs allow prospective players to borrow NFTs to play the game. In this case, the borrowed NFTs don't belong to you, but you can use them for free to start earning shared profits from the game without having to fork out any out-of-pocket costs.
- NFT "Breeding". Some projects encourage users to purchase NFTs to create new NFTs. For instance, in Axie Infinity and Cryptokitties, users that own at least two qualifying NFTs can "breed" them to create a third NFT that can be traded freely.
Why are some NFTs free?
Businesses can use NFT projects as a Marketing campaign to get off the ground and promote their products. And giving out freebies is one of the best ways to do so.
As such, NFT projects often announce free NFT giveaways and airdrops to gain a quick following, while collectors can benefit from free NFTs or tokens that may prove valuable in the future.
Do free NFTs come with any hidden costs?
Airdrops usually don't have any out-of-pocket costs since they are sent directly to your crypto wallet. However, free mints require gas fees, which can range anywhere from cents to hundreds of dollars depending on the blockchain. So even if the NFT itself costs you nothing, you may have to fork out gas fees to get them into your wallet.
Are free NFTs valuable?
NFTs — whether you shell out good money for it, or get it free — are highly speculative assets.
Their demand and value depend on a myriad of factors, ranging from the project's success to the collective effort from its community. It's also possible that a free NFT may not be worth anything if the project doesn't take off.
But opportunities do exist — in fact, the highly sought-after Cryptopunks collection was given out for free to anyone with an Ethereum wallet back in 2017. As of February, 2022, the floor price for Cryptopunk is 66.95 ETH (US$208,003).
What to watch out for
Wherever there's crypto, there are giveaway or airdrop scams.
Scammers often lure crypto enthusiasts through brand impersonation (e.g. posing as employees from famous NFT projects or marketplaces), offering free tokens, NFTs, whitelist and other giveaway campaigns via social media. Some even pose as fake tech support to phish for the private keys to your wallet.
If it's too good to be true, it probably is. So always DYOR — do your own research.
Ways to protect yourself from scams
- Turn off direct messages from non-contacts on social platforms (e.g. Discord, Telegram, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc).
- Never give out your wallet's seed phrase or private key.
- Always check for the legitimacy of the crypto project and URL. Research as much information as possible about the creators and the intentions of the project.
- Don't connect your wallet to suspicious sites.
- Set up a fresh wallet if you suspect that your existing wallet may be compromised.
Read our complete guide on NFT scams
Compare NFT marketplaces
Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly
volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of
future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information.
You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory
requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may
have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.