We are at the very beginning of NFT's becoming a meaningful percentage of art, collectables, gaming, and community markets and yet NFT's are already a multi billion dollar market.
It can be intimidating for first-timers to invest in NFT's as an alternative investment class. This is why Co-Founders Mahan Fathi and Aristotelis Charalampous have created a start-up called NFT Valuations out of the University of Nicosia, to help investors make more informed decisions.
Hear how NFT Valuations provides access to some of the biggest historical data in the market and provides valuation tools and a space for collectors, investors, manager, and even artists, to narrow down the search, and look at different NFT's.
Lauren Weymouth (00:04):
Hi, this is Lauren Weymouth, your host of All About Blockchain. We're bringing you back some talent from the University of Nicosia. Joining is today is Aristotelis Charalampous, Data Scientist in the IT department, working on a start-up called NFT Valuations, and CEO Mahan Fathi.
Aristotelis and Mahan, welcome to All About Blockchain.
Mahan Fathi (0:25):
Thank you very much Lauren.
Lauren Weymouth (0:29):
Aristotelis, you're LinkedIn says that you are a Machine Learning Engineer. What does this mean?
Aristotelis C. (0:36):
it's a position essentially that requires from people to not only help develop, statistical models based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, technologies, but also deploy them, evaluate them, and constantly check the performance in production systems. whenever something that, causes an error to the model, or the moment where the performance is deteriorating, essentially they will help retrain the model maybe on new data, if there are any. And essentially keep the model healthy,in production systems.
Lauren Weymouth (01:10):
And Mahan, you're a Software Developer, can you tell us more about that?
Mahan Fathi (01:15):
I started at the University of Nicosia, um, when I was a student, uh, studying my Computer Science Degree, and I started working as a front end developer working on the University systems, and I slowly transitioned towards developing some back end and, so learning on the job, um, to a point that as a full stack developer I was working on both back and front end, and handling the University system. And one day, um, the CEO of the University came to us with this idea of NFT Valuations and... So he asked us what do you think about this, and we were discussing this over chat and, like, this- this is very interesting, and there's a gap in the market for evaluating NFT's.
And we can say this is sort of how it started with the project, and as sort of a, lets say a proof of consult, to see how hard it is to actually tackle this.
Lauren Weymouth (02:00):
And when the school came to you with the idea, were you already involved in the NFT community?
Mahan Fathi (02:05):
I was not involved in NFT's, I was involved in crypto community, but not NFT's, no.
Lauren Weymouth (02:08):
And so now?
Mahan Fathi (02:09):
Lauren Weymouth (02:10):
Mahan Fathi (02:11):
(laughs) It's it's very addicting to be honest, I've been involved since I got introduced to it. I was involved in the since 2017, so I had some savings, and I got introduced to this NFT's I start to get involved a lot, and getting involved in a project as releasing, and doing trading, and some other projects that I just really liked, and let's say went with, so I would hold on, and I'm doing it even today, so, yeah.
Lauren Weymouth (02:34):
And when you say trading NFT's, do you mean art?
Mahan Fathi (02:37):
It is art in a way, but for example I love the projects come out as PFP projects, so Profile pictures, and this was a huge boom in 2021, especially around lets say from July 2021 until, like, the end of the year. So there was a lot of PFP project, and some of them you could see some potentials, so you could trade by minting them or buying them earlier on, and selling them later as the price goes up.
Lauren Weymouth (02:59):
And what's so addicting about it?
Mahan Fathi (03:01):
okay let me compare it with the- some of the Crypto markets. It's not fun when you're looking at a Bi-nance page, or CoinBase, looking at the price of Bitcoin if they're going up or downs. And this is something that I tried doing, lets say day trading, with a fair amount op Crypto currencies and old coins earlier on. And I just couldn't really do it for long it would get really boring, and because you sit all say staring at a chart, but with NFT it's a whole different experience you have to get involved in a community for project. We'll go to a disco and there was that one talking about this project, and art, and all the different aspects of it.
Then on Twitter you have a lot of interactions, and each project in a way, had its own unique sort of take on things, so every time it was a different experience, and you were learning something, or just, it was fun. It is fun.
Lauren Weymouth (03:46):
All right. So, I'm someone new, getting into NFT's. How do I use NFT Valuations?
Mahan Fathi (03:52):
so if you're someone and you don't have NFT's, you can go to our website, you can use it for, lets say exploration, so you can find connections that you might find interesting. on our homepage we have sort of a, at the beginning we have a market statistics, so we have different market cap of the- of- of the overall market. We have some charts with circle data, we have a chart with the top 20 collections with market cap. the other section for the trending collections today, which is based on a algorithm that we use with sale volume, number of sales on the tokens. So this gives you an idea of the market, but if you're someone that's just getting into it, and you just wants in the individual collections, so on our homepage when you scroll down, we have similar experience just like you get on Coin Market count.
So we have a table, listing collections, the name and all the information such as market cap, volume, so when changing collection in the past 24 hours, seven days with a percentage, and the quick value. So you can use this to find collections that you're interested in, and any collection that you expand, then you can reel from NFT's, we have a lot of options for sorting, for example if you're looking to purchase an NFT, you can sort by price, and look at the ones that are available for sale right now. Put your maximum budget, and then you can look at the properties and trades that you like, if there is ones that, you know, you prefer over dollars, and you can select those.
So we have all these tools to let you narrow down, and get all the information for one, because we're, if not the biggest, we're one of the biggest historical data holders in the market right now, so we hold data going all the way back, and this is something that's required to be able to have our machine running pipelines work. We can not just work with the data as it is right now, we need to be able to look at the patterns, so we put this all available on our website, for everyone to use. So you go to collection page, and you have the option to look at this collection for the past year, to look at the flow price at any point in time.
The market cap, the volume, so we provide all this information, and then we also provide the tools for you to narrow down your search, and look at the different NFT's. And one more thing I can add, is we have a whole separate tool on our website called, a Portfolio management, and what this too allows you is that you can trade groups first, so you can make a group, let called My Wallets and add all of your wallets in there, if you have multiple. But you can also add other group... other wallets, so there is no mechanism to only add the wallets you have access to. We rely to have any wallet by just putting the public address.
So what we have done for some examples, is we have created a group called Wets, and in this group we've added the top NFT collector, so you can watch the activity on what this collectors doing, so you can see what collections they're buying, what they're selling, what collection are they holding for the longest, and generally what they're doing with different NFT's and collections. So this can also be a really good, lets say, range of information for someone that wants to start and understand the markets.
Lauren Weymouth (06:29):
Well, it sounds like a really important tool for people who's just trying to get into it, to better understand, but also for season investors and collectors. How many NFT's are you tracking?
Mahan Fathi (06:36):
actually we just passed 600 collections we're tracking, I think, over three million different tokens. I can't give a exact number, but an average is 10,000 tokens per collection, but then we have some collections, like other deeds by Yuga Labs, which has over 100,000 tokens.
Lauren Weymouth (06:52):
And you talked about the data, what sales data do you use to calculate the evaluations?
Mahan Fathi (06:56):
All right, so we have off chain and on chain data, this is sort of two different markets. On chain data and actually, this was one of our pinpoints numbers starting is to establish a pipeline for bringing all this data in, and then we saw that, okay, there's off chain and on chain, so go with the on chain data which the benefit of it is it's a public event. You can just have your own note and you can pull the data from it. The disadvantage here is that there is not really a proper standard in place, so you're responsible to get this data, and standardize it. And just to be, lets say clear, there is the NFT standards, such as the ERC-720 and, uh, ERC-1155 for NFT's, but once you actually look at the Metadata, which is usually a Jpeg object linked to the smart contract, there is no standard there, each collection implements their own thing.
Now there's a lot of collections that follow a similar, template, but it's still up to each collection as they're deploying their small contract to choose what format they want to go with. So, because of this, we have to build a pipeline that allows us to customize on a collection, recollection basis, how this data is mapped. and then the off chain data, the problem is quite diverse actually, so access to data is a bit more difficult. You need API keys, so some off chain data, let me use examples, is, um, listed, so when you miss something I've opened so it looks real on the market place, this- this is not in chain, and this is to save, the sellers, the users, the gas price, so they don't have to pay every time they want to list something.
So this is just database with the relevant details that it takes for a transaction or sale goes through. So we need to use the open seeing pattern say, ask them, give us all the listings, but the problem is that is, first you have to get API key, which may not be difficult in many cases, but these keys are typically rate limited. So if you need a lot of data, you may not be able to get it as fast as you want, and for building tools for NFT's, and one important thing, lets say for traders, is that you have to speak, so if a listing happens now, and we show it a hour later on a website there's no value there, because someone is going to the next tool is faster.
So we need to be able to have this as fast as possible, and this was a huge challenge to overcome. And then the quoted data is better, because it's coming from, you know, it's already processed by open sea in their database, now that they provide this after, but we had some issues where some data were coming from different market places that were incorrect. So, because of this we had to put something in place that, lets say error check the data over, finds them from a blocked chamber identify the owners, for example, one thing we're doing was to make sure the listing is actually from the person who owns the token that comes in, so this was all the data we had. So this is, like, the challenge we had to go, and this actually to cause about six, seven months last year, just to put this in place, let we can bring the data in, and then we can start building a machine pipeline, which is completely separate to using all this data to generate models and verify them, and then put all the valuations that it can show on the website.
Lauren Weymouth (09:48):
Well you're doing all the hard work for us behind the scenes. Kind of creating an infrastructure for us to be, you know, better traders, Aristotelis, do you know people who have been using your platform and its help them become smarter investors because of it?
Aristotelis C. (10:02):
That's a good question Lauren there's actually a few people right now using NFT Valuations to do their trades, we've seen some activity now on this good server from people using it to essentially cut down the noise, so we've got a very interesting filter that users have been using, it's called NFTI diversions, essentially what this filter gives to traders, or users in general, is the ability to see when NFTI is, uh, disagreeing essentially with the floor price information that we get from OpenSea. So if there's a big discrepancy in those two prices, so, uh, lets key, uh, I'll give you an example.
So, if an NFT is valued by our pipeline, a lot more pricey than what the floor information, or what the listings, uh, are saying, then we serve that on top when people filter using NFTI diversions. So then they can get to a really good trade right away they can essentially get a lot of profit from buying a very cheap token, and selling it higher, which is pretty much the goal of at least day traders, that I know so this is something quite powerful, you know, other than just looking at the floor pricing from Asia, and looking at very not really use for graphs essentially from tools.
Lauren Weymouth (11:27):
Well that sound very useful, I mean, in the world of trying to buy low, and sell high, if you're actually providing that information, like, where's arbitrage where you can buy it lower, and sell it higher, that's amazing. Sounds like an investor's perfect tool. what's on your roadmap for the next two to three years?
Mahan Fathi (11:42):
We have lot of line ups, and this is something that, okay, as a company we're following this pool or transparency, so we've been posting a lot of different things on our blog about how our mission works, how our different valuation works. We have an NFTI which was mentioned, we have floor, which is more statistical based on floor prices. And we've been posting different blog post of all the data about how it works, and all documentation, as well as our blog. And our, um, roadmap is one of them, so, right now we're only supporting ERC-721 tokens. So one of the things in our, lets say short term roadmap, is to support ERC-1155's, which has also its own, you know, class of assets that we comparing this with.
Now when you connect your wallet number and it looks like it cannot see your tokens, like this is not a good user space. We want when a user connects a wallet, be able to view everything they own, not just a source of it. So this is something in a short term that's we're going to be adding, we're going to be working on it. something else as if right now, we only support OpenSea on our website, to show listings and sales. When you look at a token on our website, you can see, and if there's a sale happening on a different market place, we just show it as a transfer. the main reason for this was that different market places aught it to and X2Y2.
There was a lot of problems with wash trading, because their incentive mechanisms, so for example, we had with immediate people were buying and selling them for super high prices, such as 25,000 to 30 for something that was worth 10. back and forth for themselves so that they could harvest the intensive, you know, inside those tokens from these market places, to profit. So, this data we need to have something in place to flag them automatically, and say, okay, this is not a real sale, because if the importance data and user machinery can imagine the negative impact it will have on the valuation produce, because it's saying that this token sold for 25,000 in reality it didn't. It's just fake.
so this is something that right now we're tackling, we're working on it, and we plan to have Looksfor and X2Y2 support on our website very soon as well, to be able to show this data and provide more of a whole picture of the market, and anything happening. These are the two big ones on our roadmap that, lets say we're already working on. I mentioned that we only supporting Etherium, right now there is- don't have any plans to work on other blog chains such as Polygon, LinkedIn, any other chain of support. This will be further down the line.
Lauren Weymouth (14:02):
Well we love that you're clearing out the noise and the hype, and creating more integrity around this space. Where can our listeners go to learn more about what you're doing?
Mahan Fathi (14:11):
We have on our website, we have our documentation, which we can provide the link. Well it's docsnftvaluations.com. It's also linked in our main navigation menu. We have our blog, which we post piratically about different topics and things happening. and also at this point all of our team leaders we use Discot as our primarily communication, even for our team, so it's not just a thing for the community, but we're using it so we're always there if anyone has any questions, or suggestions, we always welcome it, so anyone can join our Discord, and talk to us on there.
Lauren Weymouth (14:41):
how are you driving NFT Valuations to the public, like, how are you creating awareness around so that people actually use your service?
Mahan Fathi (14:49):
One is that a lot of our focus has been just to provide again a full picture of the market, because something that I would say drives you if you go to the website, and you see the goal on my NFT's are here, like, because we show market cap, so then you login with your wallet, you punch your wallet and you- you see if you have a valuation of your accounts, it's a sum of the valuation of what we're talking about. If we only support 20% of the collections you own, we actually only shown 20% of your valuation. And someone that has a multi million dollar portfolio to see how much your wallets worth, $500,000.
That's the, I would say, the easiest way for them to just leave the website. So, on one side we're focusing on providing a whole picture, adding collections much faster, so this is a thing done a couple of weeks ago, we improved a pipeline, and we've been adding, multiple collections a day now. And the other one is the support of different standards, like the ERC-1155, which will bring a whole- bring- which would give us a option for a whole different class of NFT's. and also to have data from market- from more market places. and on the other hand we're ,hiring, we've been highering for the past few week for many positions, seven different positions, we're looking to hire about 10 people to join our team.
one of this is for social media, we know this is one place that, lets say we have weakness right now, because our team right now, we are six people, and we're all chipping towards social media to post something, but we're also very busy, so we haven't had the time to dedicate to it to be able to get that done, and track the community and engage with them. So hiring someone for the community that can, you know, be all day on Twitter, on Discord, collecting feedback, talking to them. I think this will be a huge, uh...advantage
Lauren Weymouth (16:24):
Congratulations on growing your team.
Mahan Fathi (16:26):
Lauren Weymouth (16:28):
With NFT's being a multi billion dollar market, it's clear that we need a valuation tool and a space for collectors, investors, manager, and even artists, but the very beginning of NFT's becoming a meaningful percentage of art, collectables, gaming, community markets. Mahan and Aristotelis, you are playing an important role in advancing this eco-system as it emerges. Thank you for sharing your work and passion with is here today.
Aristotelis C. (16:51):
Mahan Fathi (16:52):
Thank you very much Lauren, it was a pleasure.
Lauren Weymouth (16:53):
And listeners, thank you for your curiosity and being on this journey of creating a future with Blockchain with us. Feel free to send us your comments on my LinkedIn, and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time.