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  • Writer's pictureJ.T.

The Nifty Dictionary: Shill


To shill means to advertise one's creations or items available for sale. NFT creators and NFT sellers may both shill their works to find potential buyers.


The NFT market is a crowded space, which means creators often have to do a certain amount of self-promotion to stand out and make sales. Shilling is the result, which is what it's called when creators or resellers advertise their goods for sale in public spaces such as on Twitter, Reddit, or Discord.

While shill is a standard English word, it usually carries a negative connotation in general use, implying that the seller is promoting any sort of item that might make them some money, wither it's a good value or not. It's often paired with the word "shameless." In the NFT world, shilling can carry the same negative context, since blatant self-promotion often can often come across as spammy.

But given the economic realities of a crowded marketplace, many people in the NFT community understand that a certain amount of shilling is healthy for the market. After all, almost everyone who buys NFTs will find themselves needing to sell off a piece sooner or later, and in a sometimes illiquid market, that can be hard to do without advertising.

And so, the word shill has been embraced by the community in a tongue-in-cheek way, and can sometimes be used as a neutral term for self-promotion. For example, a Discord server admin may set aside a dedicated channel for creators to shill their works - ensuring the artists who are part of their community have a reliable outlet they can use to hustle for that next sale.

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