A not-so-quick primer on analyzing NFT trait rarity

When I bought my first bored ape I knew absolutely nothing about traits and rarity. Instead, I just bought an ape I thought looked good to me. Then, a few hours later I learned about a site called rarity.tools and my whole world changed. While I’m glad I bought my first ape on aesthetics alone, I’m also glad I quickly discovered the magic that is trait rarity and all the fun analysis that goes into buying NFTs.

The reality is — NFTs are an asset class. Some might laugh now, but I firmly believe that we are experiencing a digital renaissance and with it, an entirely new breed of investor will be born.

All that being said, lately just about every friend and family member has been asking me how to analyze NFTs, so I decided it was about time to put together a little article about it. So if you’re either just diving into NFTs or just interested in how I use traits to pick NFTs that I think have good investment potential, you might just dig this article.

So let’s jam 🕺

First, you should know about rarity.tools. I mentioned it once above but I just want to make sure it’s fresh in your mind as I move forward. Also I want to make sure to stay focused — for the purpose of this article I’m going to be talking about avatar NFT projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club where you have somewhere between 3,000–10,000 NFTs all with a different assortment of traits, some more rare than others.

Back in May of this year when I bought my first ape I spent a lot of time just starting at traits on rarity.tools and learning which ones were rare, and even more importantly, which were the most valuable to other investors. Which leads me to the first thing you’ll want to do when you jump into rarity.tools. When looking at an NFT, rather than sorting by “rarity score” — you’ll want to look at “highest floor price” and you can change this by simply clicking on those words after you’ve click on a specific NFT, let’s use good old Captain Morgan as an example:

First, I’ll show you around the rarity.tools UX. On the left you’ll see an image of the specific NFT you’re looking at along with a rarity rank at the top. In this case, you’ll see Captain Morgan is the 7,100th most rare ape out of 10,000. To the right you’ll see the Rarity Score at the top — 74.50.

Here’s where I see people get confused out of the gate, so let me clear up this confusion right away. You want a lower rarity rank, and a higher rarity score. And yes, I’ll explain.

Imagine NFTs as a stack of cards organized by rarity. The first card is the most rare, the 10,000th card is the least rare. The rarity rank is where the NFT you’re looking at sits in this deck. In the example above, yeah — not crazy rare by rank. There are 7,099 apes that are rarer than mine, but I love him just as much ❤️ The Rarity Score you see on the right works very differently than the rarity rank. The Rarity Score is the sum of the rarity of all the traits, and the rarer a trait is, the higher it’s individual score is.

Let’s look at the rarest trait Captain Morgan has, that would be his “Work Vest” of which only 188 out of 10,000 apes have. All those numbers you see in the white boxes on the right are the number of apes that have that same trait, the lower the better since lower means rarer. The green number above the number in the white box is the rarity score of that specific trait. This means that the work vest is adding 13.43 to my rarity score.

As you can also see, I have this list sorted by “Highest Floor Price” which is why the “Work Vest” is listed above the “Eye Patch.” As you’ll probably see, the “Eye Patch” has a higher rarity score, but a lower floor.

Okay, at this point I may have assumed for too long that you know what a floor price is, so it’s probably about time I explain that. First, the overall floor price of an NFT project like Bored Ape Yacht Club is simply the lowest priced NFT out of every NFT in the collection. It should not be confused with the average sales price. You can look up all this data directly on rarity.tools, it shows up at the top of every collection:

As you can see in the image above, the floor for Bored Ape Yacht Club right now is 35.69. This means that the lowest price Bored Ape is listed for sale for 35.69. The floor of a collection doesn’t tell you anything beyond this. Every other NFT in the collection could be listed for 500 ETH, but if one is listed for 35.69, that’s the floor, until it sells, then the next lowest-priced NFT becomes the new floor.

I often tell people to not just look at the floor but also to pay close attention to the 7 day avg price, which in this case is 43.97. In my mind, you should be trying to sell an average NFT at or above the 7 day average price, not at the floor, but maybe that’s just me 🤷‍♂️

Okay, now that you understand floor prices, let’s go back to rarity traits. It’s probably time for another example so let’s use my good buddy Franky Four Trait, another member of my ape fam.

So, first — let’s use some of your newfound knowledge to look at this panel in a whole new light. Overall, Franky is the 336th most rare Bored Ape out of 10,000 — he’s a lot more rare than Captain Morgan, but I love them both equally so don’t get jealous Captain 😉

Now you should be thinking, hmmmm — if the rarity rank is lower, the Rarity Score should be higher, and you’ll see that it is, 198.81 for Franky vs. 74.50 for Captain Morgan.

You can also see that I have the traits sorted by “Highest Floor Price” and in this case it’s the trait count that makes Franky so special. The trait count can be a confusing trait but an important one to understand. Some projects, Bored Ape Yacht Club being one of them, have specific NFTs with a lot less, or a lot more traits, than others in the collection. In the case of Bored Ape Yacht Club there are only 254 apes out of 10,000 that have four traits, on top of that, the floor for a four trait ape is 60ETH, close to double the floor for the project as a whole.

As you can can see, that one trait adds a lot to the Rarity Score, 136.70 to be exact. In fact, this one trait has almost double the rarity of all of Captain Morgan’s rarity traits combined, it’s a strong one.

When you’re looking at NFTs, you’ll want to become familiar with all the different traits, and being to zero in on which traits are both rare and command a higher price. The best way to do this is to just spend every day on rarity.tools looking at NFT after NFT until you get to a point that I call “seeing the Matrix.”

Of course I can’t just say that without explaining it so here we go. Remember that point in The Matrix when Neo was able to actually see the code behind the simulation? He suddenly understand the fabric of his new reality? Well the same thing happens with NFTs. When I first started looking at Bored Apes, they all just looked like cartoon drawing of apes. Now, the second I see a Bored Ape, I instantly zero in on its most rare trait, then appreciate it’s second most rare trait — I’m a lot more than cartoon apes, I’m seeing digital assets and assessing their value just like a jeweler analyzing a diamond.

If you really want to understand NFTs, don’t just jump in and buy — go to rarity.tools and study. Look at NFT after NFT until you can look at one and instantly know its most rare trait, see The Matrix.

There’s a lot more to NFT trait analysis but I’ll leave it at this for now because this turned into a longer article than I expected and I have to end it at some point right! If you enjoyed this and want to see a follow-up going deeper into NFT rarity trait analysis, please give this as many thumbs up as you can 👍

Thanks for reading 🙏

co-founder at Bold Metrics| previously at Sonos | I write a lot and take way too many photos