December 17, 2021 - 9 min read
This article will teach you step-by-step how to use Etherscan and OpenSea to check the distribution of an NFT project so that you can better understand what percentage of assets in a project are held by the top wallets.
NFT distribution is a critical component of valuing an NFT project and I am going to show you how to check this distribution for non-fungible and semi-fungible NFT projects using Etherscan and Opensea data.
Distribution affects market behavior more than people think — if a small group controls a significant amount of NFT assets in a project, they can control the market. On the flip-side, if the distribution is so concentrated to a small group, it might discourage new buyers and the project won’t have the support of a large community to gain traction.
There’s no perfect distribution formula, but you should not buy an NFT until you understand the project’s distribution and its largest holders.
Please remember, this is not financial advice. Do not spend money you can’t afford to lose. NFTs are a lot of fun, but the market is extremely volatile.
Note: This section contains affiliate links for Ledger devices. If you purchase a device, we receive a small portion of the sale, which is reinvested back into this blog. I have personally used a Ledger hardware wallet for the past 6 months and highly recommend it. You can read more about my affiliate disclosures by clicking here. One of the most effective ways to protect your NFT assets from scammers is to purchase a hardware wallet. You can shop for Ledger Hardware wallets by clicking here.
Bored Ape Yacht Club was minted this past April at a price of $200 per NFT and has made a historic run-up to a 50.53 ETH floor price ($200,000) since launch.
Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 unique assets. There are no two assets that are exactly the same.
In order to better understand how spread out these assets are across holders, we are going to use Etherscan to dig into the top holders and how many assets they own in Bored Ape Yacht Club. These steps can be applied to any modern PFP project and most any NFT project. The second example in this article will address the projects that Etherscan doesn’t work on as well.
In order to figure out NFT distribution for this project, we navigate to the project page and click on any Bored Ape asset and scroll down to expand the Details section of Opensea and you will a Contract Address:
Click on the contract address, in this case, 0xbc4c…fl3d.
This will take you to the Etherscan page for that contract:
Click on Token Tracker: BoredApeYachtClub (BAYC), which will take you to this page:
This allows you to see the total number of holders, 5,946, and the top 1,000 holders, their wallet addresses, and how many NFT assets they own in the project. You can see that there’s a wallet with 105 Bored Apes (1.05% of supply), another with 103 Bored Apes (1.03% of supply), so on and so on.
Navigate back to the Bored Ape Yacht Club contract page, select Analytics, then transactions, then you can look at how many unique incoming addresses there are by day:
This will give you a sense of new wallets and how well distribution is improving. In the example above, you can see 92 incoming unique addresses on Tuesday, December 14th.
Note: Just because 92 unique wallets bought into the project does not mean whales have given up their holdings. A new buyer could be buying from a seller who has just 1 asset.
Curio Cards is one of my favorite projects to write about because it was the first NFT project whose goal was to get digital artists paid for their work. It was originally released on May 9th, 2017 but didn’t sell out until the Spring of 2021.
Please keep in mind, I own 1 Curio Card and have plans to buy more. Just because I enjoy writing about it does not mean you need to go buy Curio Cards without researching.
Curio Cards are a set of 30 NFTs each with a different supply.
This means that there are multiples of the same assets, which technically makes it a semi-fungible token. They’re also on an ERC-1155 wrapper, which means the Etherscan data isn’t quite accurate.
The project was rediscovered by NFT archeologists before the NFT boom, and because of this, very few holders were able to buy significant amounts of Curio Cards.
The project sat for months at a low floor price until it became more public that it pre-dated CryptoPunks. It witnessed three different growth cycles: in early August, mid-August, and in late August leading up to the Christie’s Auction.
The floor price is currently at .32 ETH, but reached an average floor price of 2.22 ETH at its peak.
How could an NFT with a historical value, 33,330 ETH ($133.32 million) invested since being put on Opensea.io, and social proof from Christie’s moon and then quickly fall back in price by nearly 10x?
Distribution. Let’s take a look.
Navigate to the Curio Cards contract page in Etherscan:
Click on Token Tracker: ERC1155:
You can see that there are 4,456 holders.
As I mentioned, the data in Etherscan looks a little off, so you can always navigate to the project page on Opensea.io to confirm the owner count:
Currently, there are 4,600 unique Curio Card owners, but there are about 15,000 assets on Opensea. This means that, on average, each unique Curio Card owner has 3 cards.
Back in August, there were just 2,100 Curio Card holders, so it’s a good sign that holders are growing, but we need to track how many new owners are coming into the project each day.
Use the Analytics tab on the Etherscan contract page to navigate to Transactions to look at unique incoming holders by day to track the trends over time:
In this example, there were 39 incoming unique addresses on October 4th. While Etherscan does show top Token Holders, the numbers are much smaller and look to be inaccurate compared to Opensea, so we are going to use a technique on Opensea to figure out distribution for Curio Cards.
Step 3: Use Opensea.io to identify the biggest holders of a specific Curio Card
You can click on any Curio Card asset to view the total supply and number of owners, but we are going to start with the Curio Card Apple, the first NFT sold out of the set, as it once sold for 23 ETH, but is now hovering around 2 ETH:
You can see that there are 460 owners to 826 total copies on Opensea. That’s under 2 Apples per holder. Sounds good, right?
To figure out the distribution of the NFT, click on “460 owners” and you’ll see this:
One wallet has 92 Apples. A different wallet has 30 Apples. You can click into the wallet to see what other NFT assets are held as well:
If one user holds 92 Apples, no matter how historic and significant it is being the first of the first, what happens when the project pumps again?
The seller can undercut the floor price to sell an Apple, enjoy a profit, and still have 91 left in case the project moons further long-term.
Now, let’s do the same for Card #8, the Mona Lisa painting:
There are 1,000 owners to 1,600 total cards, but there are multiple owners, with multiple copies of this card:
The Mona Lisa last sold for .3 ETH, but once sold for over 4 ETH.
As the values rose, demand kept up with the supply of listings, but when large holders have extra copies to sell during a moon period, supply will outpace demand and the price will come down.
The inspiration for this article was the fact that multiple savvy collectors are excited to ape back into Curio Cards, but are waiting for distribution to get better.
In order to track distribution, you can navigate to activity in Opensea:
In the above screenshot, you can see that 27 Curio Cards were sold on 12/3.
You can also scroll down on an item listing to see the latest sales, and keep an eye on wallet names to see if whales are selling off their extra copies:
Unfortunately, there isn’t a great way to keep track of whales without doing some manual work. Even if there is a high volume of sales, it doesn’t mean the top holders are reducing their control over the market. The Etherscan holders page can help, but the data doesn’t look as accurate.
Savvy NFT collectors have been looking at distribution data as a way to evaluate an NFT project and now you can too. It takes a bit of work and understanding of Etherscan, but with these simple steps, you’ll be able to research the total holders of a project, the top wallets that hold the most assets, and what percentage of assets they own in a project.
I highly recommend looking at multiple projects, their floor prices, and distribution to develop intuition around what a “good” NFT distribution number looks like.
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