Education | Article

How to use Nansen? A Beginner’s Guide

By Bob | SEP 16, 2022

How to use Nansen? A Beginner’s Guide 5:01 Min Read

How to use Nansen? A Beginner’s Guide

I’ve been waiting for a while now to start using Nansen.
I got all excited when I saw new blockchains being added, and a while back I heard an impressive interview with one of the founders Alex Svanevik, explaining the genesis of the product.

Wallet labeling can sound asinine and rather pointless, but it’s one of the more powerful analytical tools out there. Deeper understanding of products like etherscan.io and just block explorers in general is important for any wannabe crypto degen.

Unfortunately Nasnsen is only set up currently for Ethereum and EVM-compatible chains, but they are adding functionality all the time, and it’s clear that this is a product with strong developer support. In fact, while I was writing this article they have added Solana NFT support, and it feels like Nansen has a good feel for the crypto space in general.

I do believe Nansen to be an important tool in anyone’s crypto research toolbox, but it does come with a rather steep learning curve and an assumption that you understand some basics of crypto. I am trying my best to walk you through quickly to get to the all-powerful analytics tool that is Nansen.

A quick introduction is necessary as it is important to first understand Nansen’s concept of Smart Money:

Smart Money comes in many forms, according to Nansen’s own docs:

Smart money refers to wallets that are very active and prolific. Specifically, this would be any wallet that is considered a fund, smart LP, flash boy, or whale.

Most guides focus on the more easily understandable (3) below.

  • Fund – Public Entity that invests and makes money in crypto.
  • SMART LP – Made more than USD $100,000 providing liquidity and mining liquidity by staking pool tokens on Uniswap or SushiSwap. Profit calculations do not include permanent loss.
  • Smarter LP – Top 1% of addresses providing liquidity and mining liquidity by staking pool tokens on any Uniswap V2 type of DEX in terms of profit and ROI. Profit calculations include impermanent loss.

Basically, if you don’t have the basic understanding of liquidity pools then this will be rather difficult to understand. APY vs. APR and all the fun math that comes with it can be quite difficult to grasp. I know this because I still struggle to keep these differences in mind, especially when you’re getting paid for supplying liquidity of one asset type e.g. $ETH, in a different asset altogether e.g. $RUG (another protocol token).

When you first login it can be rather intimidating.

Let’s start with the left sidebar; you will see the following:

For now, we’re going to skip ‘Hot Contracts’ and just move on to ‘Smart Money’. Most beginner’s guides take a little time to get to the action, but I feel with images I can guide you through this quickly to get you going. We will stay in the Ethereum blockchain space.

Underneath ‘Segment’ click on ‘All’.

There are a lot of different types of Smart Money.

You can see the whole list here.

I would ‘X’ the current setup above and look at strictly Fund, Smart LP, and Smarter LP. Type them in the search bar and they will automatically fill. Then click ‘Submit’.

NFTs, First Mover LP, and all the other types of Smart Money are for another article.

After you do this, you will see ‘DEX Trades’, ‘Transactions’ and ‘Token Holdings’ still on the top, middle of the web page. Click on ‘Transactions’.

We can see a little data about ‘Jump Trading’ and ‘Wintermute’, but nothing too crazy as it’s just the last 24 hours of transactions. Below there are the last 24 hours of contract interactions, but let’s click on ‘Token Holdings’ instead of ‘Transactions’:

We can see that the most action in the last 24 hours has been $CVX, we should pay attention to the ‘# of Addresses’ on the far-right side. This is how many Smart Money (Funds, Smart LP, Smarter LP) have engaged with this token. We also know $CVX is a very popular token in the Curve Wars (ve), if you don’t know what this is you should probably have a basic understanding of it, but it is a higher-level topic. If we click on ‘Change(7d)’ or ‘Change (30d)’ we can better see a trend as 24 hours doesn’t make a trend, but below we can see the 7 days.

You might have already noticed that pretty much anything you click on Nansen will take you to another menu, and then another menu, and so on until your eyes bleed, or you’ve been dumped on Etherscan.io.

Let’s do something useful. See the below sidebar.

We’re going to click on ‘Smart Money – Token Profiler’, under the ‘Diligence’ drop-down menu.

Type in ‘CVX’ and click on the Convex Token, not the other ones.

We can see Smart Money named ‘mcflyyy’.
We can click between 1D, 7D, 30D and get more information on who is interacting with this token.

Now let’s try something else. Right-click on ‘mcflyyy’

Select ‘Wallet Profiler’

Yup, they have the $CVX, and some $CRV. This person is aware of Curve bribing and is probably involved in the Curve Wars.

There is a lot of nuances and learning with Nansen. I have taken a lot of time to get familiar with the different accounts. It is important to know the difference between smart contract accounts and funding that is just exchanges moving money around.
Most of the wallets are labeled properly by Nansen, but there is a lot of due diligence required. Using ‘Alerts’ is also very important to follow up on your research.

This is very much a PRO tool and should be treated as such. If you are looking at any protocol on Ethereum, or an EVM compatible chain this is the tool to learn to use and evaluate the decisions you will make in your crypto future. In further articles we will investigate NFT tooling, and other features of Nansen such as Alerts and a deeper dive into understanding the flow of transactions between crypto entities.

– Bob

Author: Bob

The older and wiser Bob of the duo. He chooses to spend his time buried in history books to further understand mankind and the various ways he is governed. He’s determined to apply this worldly knowledge to its decentralized autonomous counterpart but must finance this through his writing.

Education: Masters in Cardano

Crypto Class of: 2021

Fun Fact: Older than sand

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