A Guide to NFT Free Mints: How to Not Get Rekt
by corporate trash
NFT free mints are everywhere on the Ethereum blockchain. Originated by CryptoPunks — a free mint in 2017 — then re-popularized by Goblintown in 2022, it seems that that every new NFT project is a free mint. While free mints can be fun and profitable, they have also drained victims’ wallets who weren’t aware of the risks.
As people aim to become more experienced in the NFT space, sometimes learning the hard way can be a tough lesson.
NFTs have skyrocketed in popularity, so drops for them have become more competitive. NFT free mint projects only cost the gas fee to mint, but otherwise cost 0 Ethereum. This is obviously much less risky than aping into a project at 0.1 Ethereum, which has no guarantee of going higher.
NFT Free Mints
As people continue to look for an edge and maximize their ROI in minting NFTs, free mints are extremely attractive. This is especially true in a bear market, and for people who don’t have a lot of Ethereum to risk.
For example, Goblintown was a free stealth mint (plus gas) that later reached an 8.5 Ethereum floor. The Etherscan for one of these free mints is shown below (cost: about $5). Everyone is looking for the next project like this.
Many of these projects attempt to deter bots by only offering one mint per wallet. But there are now bots which create hundreds of wallets to auto-mint free projects, only spending gas to do so. They play a numbers game and hope that one project will hit and pay off for all their other investments in lost gas fees.
FOMO in Free Mints
It’s worth noting that FOMO’ing into free mints after a meteoric price surge is not advised. Free mints will generally fall in price much faster than they rise — especially when many buyers got in for just the price of gas.
Plus, the teams behind them are not always doxxed or known, and often may have no future plans for the collection, causing many collectors to sell off before the hype dies, with no reason to hold long-term
Always do your own research and practice caution before buying into any project, but especially for free mints.
Scammers Using Free Mints
Scammers are always looking for their next target in the NFT space. They’ve seen that many NFT “degenerates” use website tools to monitor live stealth free mints, and people “fomo” (fear of missing out) to mint when they see one starting to mint out fast. Scammers will quickly copy that website or project contract and code, and attempt to confuse people into connecting to their mint instead.
When the person does connect and sign a malicious transaction, the scammer will drain whatever they approved out of their wallet. Many have lost every NFT they owned this way, including Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks, Art Blocks and many more.
When people think they may miss out on a large ROI opportunity in NFTs, they start acting recklessly and quickly without thinking. Scammers know this and they will take advantage.
The recent MetaMask update may help buyers before connecting their wallet or approving any transaction, as it’s now much easier to see what you’re actually approving. Always understand what you’re signing before you confirm it.
While the free mint game is fun, it’s good to know some tips to avoid getting hacked for your valuable NFTs or ERC-20 tokens.
NFT Free Mint Tips
The next time that your favorite Discord sends out an alert about a popular free NFT mint, consider these tips before connecting.
Use a Burner Wallet or Two
When connecting to a free mint — whether it be on their website or through the contract directly — always use a burner wallet. This means use an Ethereum wallet which has no valuable NFTs in it, and very minimal ERC-20 tokens in it. This way, if the wallet gets compromised somehow, the scammer won’t get much.
You can easily create a new Ethereum wallet right within MetaMask by clicking on the icon in the top right, then clicking “create account”.
Check out our article about a strategy for setting up your crypto wallets for a full tutorial on best practices to keep your NFTs safe. Using a three-tiered strategy will maximize flexibility and security.
Avoid Mobile Mishaps
Using Metamask Mobile on your phone can be really convenient when you want to interact with Web3 dApps on the go. But since people are normally distracted by other life events while using their phone, it means a higher risk for rushing, clicking the wrong thing, and just clicking through approvals blindly.
When using Metamask Mobile, be sure to be on a secure network and read before signing transactions. Minting on the go from a phone is definitely a challenge, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Don’t Set Approval for All
The “Set Approval for All” function is how most scammers take NFTs and other tokens out of wallets. Be sure to check that the website shows the “Mint” function in Metamask if you are attempting to mint an NFT. If it says” Set Approval for All,” run.
There’s never a need for a minting site to have approval for all tokens in your collection, or even a certain collection of NFTs.
Ethereum wallets like MetaMask are working on ways to make these unusual requests stand out, so that hopefully more people will be protected from signing their assets away. Sites like revoke.cash are offering Chrome plugins to further protect people when signing a digital transaction.
Triple-Check the Contract
When people use wallet alerts to see what influencers in the NFT space are minting, it can lead them to follow others into a malicious mint. Just because a contract is trending on a minting analysis site doesn’t mean that it’s safe.
Be sure that what you’re minting from is the correct smart contract address and website. Scammers will change the domain or one letter in the name to make it look very similar. If the FOMO is just too strong, then at least mint with a burner wallet in case it is drained.
Revoke Token Approvals After Mint
Tools like revoke.cash are helpful to remove token approvals. This can be used after a mint as a matter of caution. They can also be used if you think your wallet may have been compromised after a transaction.
NFT Free Mint TL;DR
Take care of your assets by keeping these tips in mind next time you go to mint a free NFT without doing much research on it. Remember that a vast majority of free mints will not be worth much in the long run, and they are subject to wild swings in price, even moreso than traditional NFT projects.
It’s never worth compromising your NFTs or crypto to have a shot at gaining some profit. Be sure all of your security basics are set before heading off to “get bagged with the boys (and girls)” on NFT free mints. You may be bagged, but at least you’ll still have your most valuable assets.
Follow Corporate Trash on Twitter: @corporatetrash1
The image for this blog was created by Dall-E 2, by OpenAI.