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NFT Whitelist: What Does It Mean?

So you’re wondering what an NFT whitelist is?

But don’t worry, you don’t need to be an influencer in order to get early access to these investment opportunities.

In this guide, you’ll learn what NFT whitelists are, what exactly they mean in this space and how you can get on an upcoming NFT whitelist for a presale.

So next time someone asks you about NFT whitelists, you’ll know all the ins and outs that will make you look like a proper OG.

Key Points (tl;dr)
  • Whitelisting involves adding specific crypto wallet addresses to an allowlist.
  • If you are whitelisted for an NFT project, you will be able to mint the project before the official launch date and often a lower price.
  • Whitelisting allows project teams to reward early supporters and promote community engagement.
  • You can get on an NFT whitelist by following the project team’s instructions on Twitter or their Discord server.
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What Is Whitelisting?

Whitelisting is a common cybersecurity practice that involves approving a list of email addresses, IP addresses, applications and denying all others which are not on the list. Whitelists are sometimes also referred to as “allowlists”.

Infographic answering the question "What is NFT Whitelisting?"
Infographic answering the question “What is NFT Whitelisting?”

“Whitelisting” is a fairly common term in the IT and cybersecurity world.

It usually means that someone or something is considered to be “safe” and or is given special privileges that “allow” something.

However, in the world of NFTs, a whitelist is actually something a lot more specific.

A truly special whitelist NFT meaning.

It’s a term that you will consistently see popping up around the launch of a new NFT project or other types of pre-sales.

An NFT whitelist is the process of putting together a list of pre-approved wallet addresses for the mint of a new NFT project (these launches are often referred to as a “drop”).

Which address you need to get whitelisted largely depends on what blockchain the project is launching on.

Currently, in most cases, this will be your Ethereum wallet’s public address.

What Does It Mean to Be Whitelisted in NFTs?

When you are whitelisted for the launch of an NFT project, it means that your cryptocurrency wallet address has been added to a list with special minting privileges. Usually, this will guarantee you the option to mint one or more NFTs before the official launch date and at a lower price.

Infographic answering the question "what does it mean to be whitelisted?"
Infographic answering the question “what does it mean to be whitelisted?”

If you’ve been added to an upcoming NFT whitelist, it means that you’ve fulfilled the requirements laid out by the founding team of the NFT project.

This effectively means that your ETH address was pre-approved to mint 1 or more NFTs within a pre-defined date and time.

The timeframe can vary but it will usually be between 24 and 48 hours before the public sale of the project.

In simple terms: It’s early access that is verified with your ETH address.

What Is Whitelisting Used For in NFTs?

Whitelisting allows NFT project founders to incentivize community engagement. Early supporters who help to promote the project or who contribute to the community can be rewarded with early access to a pre-sale phase as well as potentially lower mint price. Since there is no competition for tokens during a pre-sale, gas fees are also usually much lower.

Infographic explaining what NFT whitelisting is used for.
Infographic explaining what NFT whitelisting is used for.

A project may have many different reasons to use a white list NFT process.

However, it is typically used for 2 main purposes:

You probably understand the part about rewards, but the term “gas war” may be new to you.

We’ll explain both of the above objectives in the following paragraphs.

NFT Whitelist for Early Supporters

We are currently in a phase of very high project supply (it’s January 2022 at the time of writing).

New projects are popping out of the ground like mushrooms and therefore public awareness is crucial for most founding teams.

One way of boosting your marketing efforts is to incentivize early supporters of the project with a whitelist to mint before the public launch.

A spot on the whitelist not only guarantees someone access to the mint, but it will usually also come with a discounted mint price (which may effectively be for free).

If you have a fairly large community of supporters in your project’s Discord, rewarding them with these whitelist spots incentivizes them to help promote the project and also stay engaged inside the Discord itself.

Lots of activity and “positive vibes” are considered one of the crucial ingredients for a successful NFT project launch.

Aside from rewarding early supporters, you can also provide whitelist NFT spots for major social media influencers as a form of “payment” for their promotional efforts.

This practice has attracted a lot of criticism due to the anonymity of many influencers who often do not carefully vet the projects they promote (often referred to as “pumping”).

Nevertheless, it is essentially a form of investment and therefore not really different from normal venture capital practices.

NFT Whitelist to Prevent a Gas War

The very high transaction fees are mainly the result of excessive network congestion.

Network congestion gets even worse when very popular NFT launches lead to thousands of people trying to mint at the very same time.

Not only does this lead to gas fees which can be multiples of what they would usually be, it also means that people are competing for the same limited supply of NFTs.

This situation is often referred to as a “gas war” where buyers try to outbid each other in order to get their transaction through faster than others.

The “losers” of these gas wars end up with failed transactions and lots of wasted gas.

To avoid situations like these, most projects adopt a phased launch approach that involves whitelisting groups of people for the early stages.

Since minting spots are guaranteed and the number of NFTs per wallet is also usually limited, everyone can take their time and choose the optimal time to do the transaction.

How Do You Get On a NFT Whitelist?

In order to get on an NFT whitelist, you must first find a new project before it launches. Join their Discord community to find more information on the requirements are for their whitelist. Most projects will require you to support the them in their promotional efforts. Simply follow the instructions and ask for your wallet address to be added to the list.

Infographic explaining how to get on a whitelist NFT project step by step.
Infographic explaining how to get on a whitelist NFT project step by step.

If you’re a well-known and popular influencer then the process is quite simple because you will either be approached by projects or you will have little trouble getting access to a project’s founders.

However, if you are part of the rest of the world, like us, the way to get whitelisted for a project is usually always the same:

  • Find a project that hasn’t launched yet
  • Join their Discord and interact with people
  • Follow their instructions on how to get whitelisted

Find a Project Before They Launch

Finding projects pre-launch is actually a lot easier than it may seem.

If you’re very active on Twitter (which you should be!), you’ll automatically bump into all sorts of new projects.

This does require some time and effort, but it’s usually also the most promising approach because the vast majority of people are lazy.

If you’re one of those lazy people, you can simply check one of the many lists of upcoming projects that are advertised on various websites (for example, Rarity Tools has such a list at

Just be aware that you cannot reasonably expect these projects to have been vetted by anyone.

It is therefore absolutely crucial that you do your own research.

The NFT world is currently highly unregulated and therefore a bit of a wild west which comes with its fair share of scams.

Join the Project’s Discord Community

Once you pick a project that you find interesting, get into their Discord, read up on the announcements and interact with people.

Twitter is generally the main place where the crypto world meets and this is no different for NFTs.

While Twitter profiles are usually used as an official PR channel, Discords are more like the community’s town square.

News and any sort of insights will usually be released and discussed on Discord first, which is why it’s so crucial to be there and stay on top of things.

Follow the Instructions to Get Whitelisted

If you feel confident enough about a project and are keen to participate in the initial NFT minting process, it’s time to figure out what the requirements for a whitelist spot are.

Sometimes you just need to fill out a form, in other cases, you may be asked to invite other people to the Discord server or promote the project on Twitter.

Every project will choose slightly different “mechanics” in order to achieve the promotional goals they’ve set themselves.

Your reward for doing the work is a spot on the list.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Before we wrap up, let’s quickly address a few frequently asked questions that many people have in relation to NFT whitelists.

  • What does it mean to be whitelisted for an NFT project?

    If someone has been whitelisted for an NFT project, it usually means that their wallet address has been granted permission to mint a certain amount of NFTs at or before the official launch date. Think of it like a guestlist for a hot new nightclub.

  • How can I get on an NFT whitelist?

    Whitelists are usually reserved for the most engaged members of a community or very influential people who are able to generate hype for a project. In most cases, in order to get on a whitelist, you’ll have to perform a number of tasks that are tailored at generating buzz on social media. If you fulfill all the requirements, you’re very likely to get on a whitelist.

  • I’ve been whitelisted. Am I guaranteed a successful mint?

    Every mint is different. In some cases, a whitelist will guarantee that you can mint at least 1 NFT. In other cases, it just means that you’ll have a chance at minting an NFT because more people have been whitelisted than there are NFTs to mint. Make sure you read the fine print.


Tech is moving fast, Crypto is moving faster and NFTs are moving the fastest right now.

2021 was an explosive year for NFTs and early participants were lucky enough to amass fortunes by betting on the right horses.

Most smaller investors simply cannot afford to spend $200 on a single transaction that might be more expensive than the NFT itself.

Therefore most projects now use a whitelist approach for their NFT presale in order to reduce the impact of high fees.

While a lot of this may seem crazy to you, please remember that these are still very early days and therefore not everything is perfect.

The NFT industry will adapt and improve.

And you will learn.

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