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NFT Rarity Scores, Top NFT Collections, and NFT Investing Tools

NFT Rarity

For new entrants, browsing vast NFT collections with thousands of unique pieces can be overwhelming. Items in any given collection can vary greatly in price, from the cheapest “floor” pieces to extremely rare items.  

Therefore, this preempts how we determine value in generative PFP (profile picture) collections. In reality, what distinguishes a floor ape from a grail, or makes one seal sappier than another?

One may argue that beauty is in the eye of the beholder in this case. However, just like any other speculative market, a fair dose of probability and scarcity informs these buyers’ considerations.

Importantly, there are several factors outside of rarity that goes into valuing an NFT. For example, the hoodie trait on CryptoPunks is widely sought after, making it more valuable than significantly rarer traits. The provenance of an NFT may also impact its value, such as if it were previously owned by a celebrity or renowned collector.

What are NFT Rarity Scores?

Understanding rarity is a vital tool in any investor’s arsenal. Rarity denotes the presence of traits and combinations in an NFT relative to the overall collection. While traits are randomized during minting, their scarcity is predetermined. 

Take cuteness sector pioneers Pudgy Penguins for instance. 

The collection boasts 173 variations, or sub-traits, with 15 variations of skin on display. Of these, over 2600 penguins (~30%) have “normal” skin, while only 22 (~0.25%) boast “ice” skin. Thus, it’s no surprise that iced out pudgies trade several multiples above their floor counterparts.

Pudgy Penguins Origin Story

Ice, Ice, Baby  

Given the complexity of manually weighting all these attributes, several web3 tooling projects have emerged to simplify this process. These tools are able to calculate a combined rarity score for each piece. This forms a data-based ranking of entire collections. This is achieved by analyzing trait scarcity and the number of traits per NFT in a collection.

What’s a “Good” NFT Rarity Score?

Rarity seems pretty straightforward at first glance. However, the subjective nature of art appeal and the nascence of the space makes this a more intriguing equation. 

One may assume that floor pieces are the least desirable. However, floor NFTs are the most liquid and thus, easily exchangeable.

Conversely, extremely rare pieces, including 1/1s, are more difficult to sell quickly, as sellers often list rare pieces above floor price. 

Rare NFTs cater to a more exclusive market. These change hands less frequently and are often used by whales and brands to bolster and entrench their standing in Web3. Liquidity concerns aside, the most exclusive pieces offer far higher potential returns than those on the floor. 

Between the poles of rare items (generally the top 10%) and commons, lies a no-man’s land of “mid-rares”. These may be common NFTs with just one or two rare attributes. This can be lucrative once one identifies sought after traits.

Sappy Seals has done significant work to tackle the mid-rare conundrum by offering rarity-based staking for holders. This tiered approach incentivizes interest across the collection by providing added utility in the form of staking rewards. 

NFT Investing Tools

An array of third-party rarity tooling projects have developed alongside the non-fungible explosion, with Rarity Sniper among the most prominent currently. These sites and browser extensions provide rarity rankings for NFTs on marketplaces like OpenSea for a multitude of extensions.  

However, when it comes to web3, usability and decluttering is of paramount importance.

Origin’s bespoke NFT platform Story opts for a different approach. Story integrates projects’ official rarity rankings directly into its branded marketplaces. Official rarity scores are determined by projects themselves, rather than being outsourced. This takes into account the specific community’s culture and prized attributes.

Pudgy Penguins Rarity Scores

Look, mom, no rarity redirects!

Rare NFTs From Top Collections

Pudgy Penguins is a great example of how rare NFTs sell for premiums. For example, Pudgy #6873 recently sold for 400 ETH routed through Pudgy's official Origin Story marketplace. The piece is one of five 1/1 items created by the team.

Surprisingly,  the penguin in question is quite possibly the plainest of them all – the epitome of a “clean” NFT. #6873 is the only item of 8,888 that faces left, a subtle nod that sets it apart from the pack.

Pudgy Penguin 6873

If decadence is more your speed, there’s plenty to choose from amongst the upper echelons of pudgy rarity. #2238 is an example of a rare NFT packed with prized attributes. 

The suit, party hat, and ice skin (of course) have all become synonymous with the brand. This is reflected in the scarcity of these variations as seen below. Even though the yellow background (8.73%) and circle glasses (7.68%) aren’t incredibly rare, the unique combination of traits places this penguin among the top 20 by rarity.

Pudgy Penguin traits

NFT Rarity Scores Explained

Calculating NFT rarity has been a work in progress for some time. While three early conceptions involved trait rarity ranking, average trait rarity, and statistical rarity, each method has significant drawbacks. 

Rarity Tools built on these to devise a comprehensive formula – Rarity Scoring. This takes into account all traits weighted against the collection to determine scores and ranking.

NFT Rarity Tools

Rarity Tools’ now widely used methodology

How to Check an NFT’s Rarity

With the array of tools available, determining an NFT’s rarity is simpler than ever.

When using third party tools, collectors need to enter their NFT’s collection ID on the site in order to view a breakdown of their NFT’s ranking, score, and individual attribute weighting. 

Users may also add browser extensions that overlay rankings on marketplaces. However, this is restricted to the collections supported by the tools. 

On Story, users can view official rarity rankings directly on each listing. Additionally, users can sort listings by rarity, and filter by desired rarity range.

Origin Story NFT Rarity Rankings

NFT Rarity Scores On Origin Story vs. Rarity Sniper Scores

While third-party rarity sites and extensions reach consensus on rarity rankings, their scoring mechanisms can differ significantly. Additionally, as these tools are handling rarity across a multitude of projects, the veracity of scoring on individual collections could be less comprehensive than desired.

Origin Protocol strives to make the experience as native as possible for community members. Rather than integrate third-party tooling, Origin Story uses projects’ official rankings to structure marketplaces.

Official rarity scores are carefully structured by projects themselves, bolstered by their unique community insights. Communities are as unique as their collections, and each carries their own values when it comes to determining rankings. While CryptoPunks are judged by collectors based on number of attributes, the same doesn’t hold true for other projects. For BAYC, “crazy eyes” sit on the floor despite being relatively rare, while more common 3D glasses sell at higher prices.

Origin has always affirmed a user-first approach. The greatest value of any PFP collection is the strength of its community. Story’s marketplaces are designed as all-in-one platforms serving communities in a spirit of open collaboration. Official rarity rankings form an important pillar of achieving this vision – one of many, with more to come.


Do NFT rarity scores matter?

Rarity scores are an important tool for determining the value of an NFT relative to the collection as a whole. This helps to inform decisions, as prices in the non-fungible space are set by owners and can be subjective.

How can you find an NFT’s rarity score? 

NFT rarity scores are easily found on either one of Story’s native marketplaces or the array of third-party tools available. These include Rarity Tools and Trait Sniper. After navigating to the correct collection, users can search for an individual NFT’s rarity score and ranking by entering its associated ID.


Yasthiel Devraj