The Coins & Steel crowd sale launches on OpenSea!

We’re psyched to announce that Coins & Steel crowd sale items are now available on OpenSea: the First Forge has ignited! If you know what we’re all about and you’re already hyped, you can check out the selection here. If not, stick around to see what makes Coins & Steel’s presale on OpenSea so exciting.

Coins & Steel is a tantalizing standout among a cohort of projects using the Loom Network to build the next generation of crypto gaming experiences. And we’re fortunate enough to play a part in their growth, serving as the exclusive outlet for their initial item offering. Plus, we like to think we’re a big part of putting the “Open” in “Open market”.

First things first: take a look at the stunning art and design on the Coins & Steel website. Rational minds could disagree on the matter, but Coins & Steel might even exceed the standard set by Neon District’s dark and moody visuals. It’s part of a comprehensive effort by Coins & Steel to make a game that survives on its merit, regardless of its cutting edge guts.

“With Coins & Steel we are focusing on building an amazing game first and foremost. [W]e will build a world and experience that players will feel engaged with.”

Coins & Steel is a free to play mobile MMORPG, but you can earn the native ERC-20 STL token in-game and cash it out for ETH. Curiously, they’re not selling STL directly, but users can acquire some by purchasing items.

The style and flow of gameplay take cues from Runescape, Diablo 2, Path of Exile, and Grim Dawn, among others. Players move around an open world and engage in real time, instanced PvE and PvP battles. Users will also be able to choose professions, progress along skill trees, and craft items.

Coins & Steel’s 8 currently-active developers are putting together an uncommonly advanced stack to power the game. First off, they’re using Loom’s sidechain system which means free, fast, smart contract powered gameplay. But users can always pull the ripcord, pay a little gas, and transport game assets crafted on the Loom sidechain to the main Ethereum network. Second, they’re using Shift to mirror the game client, which promises reduced downtime. Last, they’re using OpenSea’s presale integration to release the first game items into the wild.

One final curiosity: collectors of CryptoKitties will be excited to learn that they can bring their litter into the Coins & Steel world. Plus, Coins & Steel players will be able to put hats on their cats!

“We are not sure how exactly we will use kitties. Most probably they will be a passive pet, which follows you and gives special aura based on DNA.”

So, check out Coins & Steel’s presale items on OpenSea. When public beta launches in December and when its economy starts to churn, you’ll have a head start! Incredibly, they’ve already sold almost 5 ETH worth of digital goods, and the presale action has just started! But after the game launches and you can buy and sell all sorts of weapons, armor, and auras in-game, why list your Coins & Steel items on OpenSea?

Keep your items in your wallet while they’re on sale

You can create an auction for a Coins & Steel item but keep it in your own wallet while it’s on sale. That way, you can still use your items to enhance your fighters, archers, wizards, weapons, and armor while they’re on the market! Learn more about escrow-free auctions here.

List Coins & Steel items without paying gas

Once you’ve set up your OpenSea account, you can list your Coins & Steel items without paying gas or waiting for confirmations from the blockchain! When you list a Coins & Steel item, you just sign the listing with MetaMask. When the item is purchased, the buyer submits a transaction, and the deal is done.

Accept bids for your Coins & Steel items

Not sure how to price your Coins & Steel items? You don’t have to! Other users can bid on a Coins & Steel item (even if it’s not on sale!) without any action from its owner. The owner can immediately fulfill these bids, receiving WETH in exchange for the skin.

Sell items by the bundle

Sellers on OpenSea now have the power to sell multiple assets in one transaction. If you’ve played hard and earned a whole pile of Coins & Steel items, you can group them into a single listing for a single price. Plus, it’s gasless! Just put together the bundle listing and sign it with MetaMask. For more details, check out our Medium post.

Get more exposure

Thousands of MMORPG players browse OpenSea for all sorts of game items, collectibles, digital artwork, and more. By listing your Coins & Steel items alongside other collectibles, you gain a ton of exposure.

Interested in joining the Coins & Steel discussion? Check out the chatter on Discord. Or to see what else is brewing in the world of NFTs, join us over at the OpenSea Discord channel. Finally, if you’re interested in running your own crowd sale on OpenSea, check out our developer tutorial.


CryptoWars skins are now tradeable OpenSea

We’re excited to announce that CryptoWars skins and starter packs are now tradeable on OpenSea!

CryptoWars is making a serious bid to become the first next-gen crypto game, and we’re thrilled to be a part of their effort. So what makes CryptoWars different from its predecessors?

First, the core game mechanics run entirely on open source smart contracts. You can view the guts of the game on GitHub here.

Second, CryptoWars is deep, complex, and deterministic. Users juggle time, resources, and strategic decisions on their climb up the rankings and earn e11 tokens. There’s no element of chance, just pure strategy. In fact, users will already know the outcome of each battle before it happens. Currently, battles are decided by a comparison of attack points and defense points, but turn based battles are in the works, and they should move the game toward a more familiar battle mechanic.

Games running entirely on smart contracts have tended to be disruptively slow and expensive. CryptoWars achieves fluid, scalable, affordable gameplay using Loom’s SDK and sidechains. Gameplay will be free on the user side and it won’t be disrupted by MetaMask popups. But in dapp engineering, there’s no such thing as a free lunch: games running on sidechains have more centralized architecture and less security than games running on the main chain. CryptoWars is betting that users will be rewarded with enough UX benefits to compensate for these tradeoffs, and we’re inclined to agree!

Third, the game is tuned to reward skill and strategy instead of just investment. High rollers can stake more e11 tokens to play at higher stakes, but they can’t pay to win. CryptoWars skins customize the look and feel of warriors, but they don’t impact their stats in battle. Users can, however, buy starter packs that will give them a head start when the wars begin.

Finally, CryptoWars is structured to pit evenly matched players against one another. Don’t worry about losing your tokens superusers, players can only attack those 25% weaker or 100% stronger. Furthermore, CryptoWars is conscious of the inevitable rise of bots; bot accounts will be flagged and put in competition against other bots.

“We actually embrace the use of bots. We think, y’know, it’s gonna be fun to see how people build bots and fight with other bots.” — Matias Nisenson

If you play Clash of Clans or ever wished you could earn money playing Warcraft III, be sure to keep an eye on the progress of CryptoWars! Check out the selection of CryptoWars skins on OpenSea here.

So, why list your CryptoWars skins on OpenSea?

Keep your items in your wallet while they’re on sale

You can create an auction for a CryptoWars skin but keep it in your own wallet while it’s on sale. That way, you can still use your skin to spruce up a warrior while it’s on the market! Learn more about this feature here.

List CryptoWars skins without paying gas

Once you’ve set up your OpenSea account, you can list your CryptoWars skins without paying gas or waiting for confirmations from the blockchain. When you list a CryptoWars skin, you just sign the listing with MetaMask. When the item is purchased, the buyer submits a transaction, and the deal is done.

Accept bids for your Cryptwars Skins

Not sure how to price your CryptoWars skins? You don’t have to! Other users can bid on a CryptoWars skin (even if it’s not on sale!) without any action from its owner. The owner can immediately fulfill these bids, receiving WETH in exchange for the skin.

Sell skins by the bundle

Sellers on OpenSea now have the power to sell multiple assets in one transaction. If you’ve got a load of surplus CryptoWars skins, you can group them into a single listing for a single price. Plus, it’s gasless! Just put together the bundle listing and sign it with MetaMask. For more details, check out our Medium post.

Get more exposure

Thousands of users browse OpenSea for all sorts of game items, collectibles, digital artwork, and more. By listing your CryptoWars skin alongside other collectibles, you gain a ton of exposure.

Interested in joining the CryptoWars discussion? Check out the chatter on Telegram. For more information on Experimental, the team behind CryptoWars, check out https://e11.io/. Or to see what else is brewing in the world of NFTs, join us over at the OpenSea Discord channel.


OpenSea Black Friday sale starts tomorrow, in partnership with Dapp.com

We’re excited to announce that the first OpenSea black Friday sale will start tomorrow, in partnership with the team at Dapp.com. Here are the details:

Mixed bundles

We’ll be auctioning off up to 20 mixed bundles, including Darkwinds cards, War Riders vehicles, CryptantCrabs, CryptoKitties, Player Tokens, and Axies. Most of these bundles will start at some price in ETH and drop down to 0 ETH over the course of the day.

In partnership with the Darkwinds team, we’ll also be auctioning off some exclusive packs of Darkwind cards that are difficult to obtain by buying random packs.

Dutch auctions

The auctions will be dutch auctions, meaning they will start at a specific price and decline to 0 ETH over the course of a day. You can purchase at any time, but if you wait too long you may lose your chance to get the deal!

One day only—move fast!

The auctions will be for one day only, starting at 9AM EST on Friday, November 23, 2018. The bundles will go live here. Happy shopping, and be sure to join our Discord for real-time news on the sale.


Using Coinbase and Circle’s $USDC for buying and selling crypto collectibles

We’re excited to announce support for USD Coin (USDC) on OpenSea! Users can now use USDC to make offers, create listings, and buy items.

When we first built OpenSea, we decided to construct the experience around Ethereum, as a dapp platform and as a currency. It was the simplest option. Because most users already had some ETH, if only to pay gas, it provided an economic lingua franca. And it allowed us to streamline a new and unfamiliar buying experience. But all along, we’ve been excited about the entire token economy and we intend to grow with the maturing ecosystem and userbase.

Now, users in the US can buy USDC on Circle or Coinbase and use it on OpenSea, along with the Dai stablecoin. We’ll be adding support for other ERC-20 tokens soon, so be sure to join us in our Discord server to request your favorite token.

Bid on NFTs using USDC!

USDC is an ERC-20 stablecoin, which means that its value is protected against some of cryptocurrency’s notorious price swings. It’s not true of all stablecoins, but USDC is pegged to the price of one US Dollar. So long as the reserves are maintained, the price of each USDC should stay within a penny or two of $1.00.

The CENTRE consortium, founded by Circle and Coinbase, has crafted USDC to be different from other stablecoins in a few key ways. First, they’ve doubled down on regulatory compliance. Both Circle and Coinbase are regulated Money Transmitters. Along with any future issuers of USDC, they’re required to comply with both federal anti-money-laundering regulations and state money transmitter licensing requirements. Second, they’ve made a serious commitment to transparency. Any organization that acts as an issuer is subject to an audit by CENTRE.

In short, USDC is a token worth a dollar, and it’s backed by some seriously heavy hitters from both legacy finance and the cryptocurrency space. When you see USDC, think dollar — after all, each USDC is backed by one USD held in reserve. The difference is, these dollars live on the blockchain and enjoy all the attendant benefits! If you’re interested in dabbling in dapps, but you’re bearish on the economics cryptocurrency, USDC is for you! For more information, check out the announcement video from Coinbase.

And now you can use USDC on OpenSea to buy and sell items! When you see an item listed in USDC, you can make a purchase immediately by clicking ‘Buy Now’ and paying in USDC, pretty much like you would when making a purchase with ETH. If you don’t have any USDC, you can make offers in the currency of your choice by clicking the ‘Make Offer’ button and selecting your preferred currency from the dropdown next to the entry field. Or you can acquire some USDC on exchanges like Coinbase and Circle.

To list an item for sale in USDC, click ‘Sell’ on the item’s page, select ‘USDC’ from the dropdown next to the price entry field, specify your desired price, then click ‘Post Your Listing’.

And as always, OpenSea users can buy, sell, and bundle items with ETH or make offers on items (even on unlisted items!) with WETH. OpenSea still offers the features you’ve come to know, but now with more flexibility and the option to use a more familiar pricing scheme.

Power your in-game economy with its own token

Interested in getting in on the action? Developers will be able to use our SDK to create in-app marketplaces where users can buy and sell NFTs using USDC or their own in-game currencies. For more information on setting up native token support in your marketplace, check out our docs or chat with us in Discord.


Buy and sell crypto collectibles with Dai

We’re excited to announce support for MakerDAO’s DAI token on OpenSea! Users can now use Dai to make offers, create listings, and buy items.

When we first built OpenSea, we decided to construct the experience around Ethereum, as a dapp platform and as a currency. It was the simplest option. Because most users already had some ETH, if only to pay gas, it provided an economic lingua franca. And it allowed us to streamline a new and unfamiliar buying experience. But all along, we’ve been excited about the entire token economy and we intend to grow with the maturing ecosystem and userbase.

For the initial ERC-20 rollout, we’re supporting MakerDAO’s Dai, Coinbase’s and Circle’s USDC, and Decentraland’s MANA, but we’ll be adding support for more ERC-20 tokens soon. Join us in our discord server to request your favorite token and be sure to check out our announcement of MANA support.

Auction and bid on NFTs using Dai

Dai is an ERC-20 token with some remarkable qualities. First of all, it’s a stablecoin, which means that its value is protected against some of cryptocurrency’s notorious price swings. This is not the case for all stablecoins, but Dai is pegged to the price of one US Dollar. It won’t always have that exact value, but you can rest assured that it will stay within a few percentage points of that mark.

Further, Dai is decentralized and backed by collateral; it’s more than just smoke, mirrors, and shared illusion. Dai isn’t merely covered by US dollars held in a single bank account and subject to seizure. The collateral backing Dai consists of Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens, with all the attendant benefits we’ve come to appreciate. Dai is collateralized at around 150%, which means that every Dai is backed by about $1.50 worth of assets. Currently, the global Ethereum community has used MakerDAO’s software to lock up over $200,000,000 in collateral.

In short, Dai is a token worth a dollar. When you see Dai, think dollar. For more information, check out this video from MakerDAO about how Dai maintains its price.

And now you can use Dai on OpenSea! You’ll find some items already listed for Dai instead of ETH. You can buy one immediately by clicking ‘Buy Now’ and paying in Dai, pretty much like you would when making a purchase with ETH. If you don’t have any Dai, you can make an offer in the currency of your choice by clicking the ‘Make Offer’ button and selecting your preferred currency from the dropdown next to the entry field. Or you can acquire some Dai on exchanges like AirSwap and Radar Relay.

To list an item for sale in Dai, click ‘Sell’ on the item’s page, select ‘Dai’ from the dropdown next to the price entry field, specify your desired price, then click ‘Post Your Listing’.

And as always, OpenSea users can buy, sell, and bundle items with ETH or make offers on items (even on unlisted items!) with WETH. OpenSea still offers the features you’ve come to know, but now with more flexibility and the option to use a more familiar pricing scheme.

Why use Dai?

First, you can be sure that the price of your item will follow a predictable trend over time; you’re hedged against some platform risk. When market forces act on an item priced in Dai, the item finds a price closer to its true value, not a price that factors in the market’s assessment of ETH. Second, Dai’s peg to $1 reduces the cognitive burden associated with making a purchase. If you’re uncertain about pricing your item in Dai, consider the possibility that buyers might feel happier and more relaxed when looking at an NFT priced in a deeply familiar unit of account. Finally, if you’re a tax-paying whale like Phil, it will be easier, faster, and cheaper to account for your gains in Dai than in it would be in ETH.

Power your in-game economy with its own token

Interested in getting in on the action? Developers will be able to use our SDK to create in-app marketplaces where users can buy and sell NFTs using DAI or their own in-game currencies. For more information on setting up native token support in your marketplace, check out our docs or chat with us in Discord.


Darkwinds is launching, with cards tradeable on the OpenSea marketplace

We’re super excited to support the Darkwinds trading card game launch. Darkwinds works with a similar system of rules used in online games like Heartstone or Magic, but with simpler mechanics making it easy to learn for new players.

Every Darkwinds card is a ERC721 Ethereum non-fungible token (NFT), which means players truly own them. Cards are generated at random from 100 initial “First Edition” models and some are very rare. The OpenSea team has had a lot of fun playing Darkwinds; despite its currently low profile in the blockchain gaming space, it’s one of the most fun games we’ve tried!

Get started trading on OpenSea

Darkwind cards can bought and sold on OpenSea, so that you can obtain the perfect 10-card deck to play with. There are already 17 Darkwinds cards for sale on OpenSea!

Sell a bundle

There are also already several bundles of cards on sale on OpenSea! Selling cards in a bundle allows you to sell multiple cards for a single price — a great feature for those that think they can craft compelling decks.

Power your own in-game economy with OpenSea

We’ve loved working with the Darkwinds team on powering their marketplace. Interested in getting in on the action? Developers can use our SDK to create in-app marketplaces where users can buy and sell NFTs using their own in-game currencies.

For more information on setting up native token support in your marketplace, check out our docs or chat with us in Discord. In the meantime, we’ll see you in the Darkwinds arena!


Buy and sell collectibles with MANA!

We’re thrilled to announce support for Decentraland’s MANA token on OpenSea! Users can now use MANA to make offers, create listings, and buy items.

When we first built OpenSea, we decided to construct the experience around Ethereum, as a dapp platform and as a currency. It was the simplest option. Because most users already had some ETH, if only to pay gas, it provided an economic lingua franca. And it allowed us to streamline a new and unfamiliar buying experience. But all along, we’ve been excited about the entire token economy and we intend to grow with the maturing ecosystem and userbase.

For the initial ERC-20 rollout, we’re supporting MANA and Maker’s DAI stablecoin, but we’ll be adding support for more ERC-20 tokens soon. Join us in our Discord server to request your favorite token and stay tuned for an article announcing DAI support.

Bid for Decentraland LAND in MANA

We’re big fans of Decentraland’s groundbreaking ecosystem for buying, selling, and building on virtual land. Decentraland innovates in related areas, too, like composables, governance, and interoperability. With $943,752.82 transacted in the last 30 days, there’s more capital at work buying Decentraland’s LAND token than any other non-fungible digital asset. On top of that, users have spent $817,625.99 buying Estates.

For these reasons and more, we’re proud to start our program of ERC-20 support with MANA. Decentraland users can now buy and sell land on OpenSea using Decentraland’s native token! What’s more, by using our bundling feature, LAND owners will be able to sell sets of noncontiguous parcels.

And as always, OpenSea users can buy, sell, and bundle LAND with ETH or make offers on LAND (even on unlisted parcels!) with WETH.

Buy Chainbreakers presale items with MANA

Chainbreakers, a new role-playing game by the VR studio Qwellcode, is partnering with Decentraland to create a richer and more interconnected game experience. They’ve got plans to host questing areas in Decentraland, and they’re conducting their presale using MANA as the native token. So, in addition to making LAND deals in MANA, OpenSea users will be able to use MANA to buy Chainbreakers presale items. Check out the full details on OpenSea’s Chainbreakers support here.

Power your in-game economy with its own token

Interested in getting in on the action? Developers can use our SDK to create in-app marketplaces where users can buy and sell NFTs using their own in-game currencies. When you make a buy order or a sell order using your own ERC-20 token (on any asset), the OpenSea orderbook will automatically add support for your token so that others can fulfill it.

For more information on setting up native token support in your marketplace, check out our docs or chat with us in Discord.


Chainbreakers are now tradable on OpenSea

We’re excited to announce that Chainbreakers items are now tradeable and Chainbreakers presale items are now purchasable on OpenSea! Check out the selection on OpenSea of Chainbreakers items here and Chainbreakers presale items here.

Chainbreakers is unusual, even among game dapps. One of its core value propositions is that it will be deeply integrated with Decentraland, and the developers have kept a VR-first mindset throughout development. The presale items can be inspected and enjoyed in three dimensions, both in the native marketplace and on OpenSea.

Chainbreakers is scheduled for stable release in Q4 2019 as a player versus environment game. The environments will exist in Decentraland, and LAND owners will be able to generate passive income by hosting Chainbreakers environments.

History buffs and fans of God of War will be excited to learn that the Chainbreakers narrative takes place in a stylized version of Ancient Greece. Gamers who love to grind should take note that players will be able to earn MANA by finishing quests. And since Chainbreakers uses Decentraland’s MANA as its currency, LAND buyers now have the perfect use for those leftover tokens. Those who are interested in participating in the presale, but don’t have any MANA yet, can find more info on buying MANA in the walkthrough below.

If your favorite part about playing World of Warcraft was armoring up your toon and earning big stacks of gold (perhaps even selling some of that gold for real money), this game is for you!

Buying Chainbreakers items on OpenSea: the walkthrough

So, you’ve already got MetaMask and some ETH, and you’re interested in purchasing some Chainbreakers items on OpenSea, but you’re not sure where to start.

First, check out the Chainbreakers category. You’ll find items there listed for ETH, and you’ll be able to buy them in the familiar way, just like any other item on OpenSea. To purchase a Chainbreakers item outright, click the item, then click ‘Buy Now’.

After that, follow the MetaMask prompts, and as soon as your transaction is mined, you’ll be the proud owner of your Chainbreakers item.

If the item is out of your price range, or if you think that it’s overpriced, click ‘Make an Offer’ instead. Then, select the currency you’d like to make your offer in, enter your offer amount, and click “Continue.”

You’ll be redirected to a page where you can modify and confirm your offer.

When you click “Confirm Offer,” you’ll see a MetaMask popup asking for your signature. When you sign, you’re agreeing to make the exchange (as always, there’s no gas required to make offers!). Then, it’s up to the seller to accept or decline.

You can always make an offer in the currency of your choice, regardless of what currency the listing is denominated in.

But what if you don’t see the item you want in the main Chainbreakers category? In that case, you can head over to the Chainbreakers Presale category, where you’ll find the full range of Chainbreakers items, from common maces all the way up to legendary swords. Let’s see about buying an epic axe.

Click on the item you’re interested in.

If you’re already MANA-rich, just click “Preorder Now,” confirm your MetaMask transaction, and the Chainbreakers presale contract will mint a fresh axe, just for you. But supply is limited, so move quickly! After its supply cap is reached, an item is no longer available in the presale category.

[NOTE: During the drafting this article, the Blade Obscura sold out. If you can’t live without one, check out the listings on OpenSea!]

Not sure how much MANA you’ve got? You can check your supply with tools like Balance and Ethplorer. Or, view your balance on MetaMask by clicking on the MetaMask extension, then clicking the hamburger button in the top left of the popup, and finally scrolling down to MANA. If you don’t see MANA listed, MetaMask is saying your supply is zero.

If you’ve got your eye on an item, but you don’t have enough MANA for it, you can acquire MANA in a few different ways. If you’re already comfortable with AirSwap or another DEX, you can buy MANA there.

If not, go directly to the source: https://market.decentraland.org/buy-mana

To recap: there are two ways to engage with Chainbreakers items on OpenSea. You can trade items that already exist in the main Chainbreakers category, using all the OpenSea features you know and love. Or you can bring a brand new item into existence by making a purchase with MANA in the Chainbreakers presale category. Either way, you end up with the same beautiful, badass end product. But depending on which items are available and which currencies you’re holding, one option may be preferable to the other. Whether you buy from either category on OpenSea or straight from the Chainbreakers marketplace, you’ll be able to see all the action in your activity feed.

Check out this article for details on the difference between the items you can buy now and the items that will drop in-game.

So, now you’ve managed to secure a handful of the rarest items, and you’re looking to flip your surplus supply for a profit? Consider listing them on OpenSea! Why list your Chainbreakers items on OpenSea?

Keep your items in your wallet while they’re on sale

You can create an auction for a Chainbreakers item but keep it in your own wallet while it’s on sale. That way, you can still use your Chainbreakers item while it’s on the market! You can learn more about this feature here.

List Chainbreakers items without paying gas

Once you’ve set up your OpenSea account, you can list your Chainbreakers items without paying gas or waiting for confirmations from the blockchain. When you list a Chainbreakers item, you just sign the listing with MetaMask. When the item is purchased, the buyer submits a transaction, and the deal is done.

Accept bids for your Chainbreakers items

Not sure how to price your Chainbreakers items? You don’t have to! Other users can bid on a Chainbreakers item (even if it’s not on sale!) without any action from its owner. The owner can immediately fulfill these bids and receive WETH in exchange for the Chainbreakers items.

Get more exposure

Thousands of early adopters browse OpenSea for all sorts of game items, collectibles, digital artwork, and more. By listing your Chainbreakers items alongside other collectibles, you gain a ton of exposure.

Interested in joining the Chainbreakers discussion? Check out their Discord channel. Or to see what else is brewing in the world of NFTs, join us over at the OpenSea Discord channel.


Interview: Phil from CryptoGameTalk, Part One

Last week, I joined Phil from the CryptoGameTalk Discord server for a talk about crypto gaming, community building, and NFTs. We covered those topics, not to mention private key management, paying taxes on CryptoKitties earnings, and even talked a bit about how to make the world’s best smoked brisket macaroni and cheese.

Phil’s humble demeanor is more consistent with his roots (Pennsylvania) than with his demographic (late 20s) or the scale of his earnings as a gamer (substantial). He was one of the earliest adopters in crypto gaming and he continues to be one of the most dedicated explorers of the space.

CryptoGameTalk is a server that hosts an ongoing, in-depth discussion of dapps. Its focus, as the name suggests, is crypto games, but the conversation reaches related topics including on chain gambling, dapp development, and the Ethereum toolchain. Since its inception in early January 2018, the server has grown to 6273 users.

You can follow our conversation across this three-part series.

Part One

Dan: Do you have an elevator pitch for your server?

Phil: Since the beginning, I saw an opportunity to build a community of people interested in this stuff, because it didn’t seem like there really was any place for it yet. And since CryptoKitties used Discord and a lot of other games started using Discord, I decided to go with Discord. Since then, it’s grown a bit and I think most people in the sphere have some general recognition of it. I think its value lies in the community and creating access to a bunch of people who are experienced with this stuff, people who have interacted with dapps.

Our developer community is great in terms of auditing contracts and fixing bugs in other developers’ code. Sometimes a new developer will show up asking for a review and, right away, the people in my community will immediately point out things that they could have done better to optimize for gas efficiency, or to avoid bugs. I think that’s really the valuable thing.

Also, we keep an eye out on each other to try to stay safe. Obviously, there’s a lot of bad actors and scams. So, part of our value prop is watching out for each other and helping one another avoid these bad things.

Dan: I’m curious about the screening process for when a new dev shows up and says, “Hey, I’ve got an idea.” How does that flow usually work?

Phil: Well, usually a new developer would come from one of two perspectives. Either they are some entity, some game studio or whatever, and they’ve decided to enter into crypto games. Usually, that starts them off on good ground. We don’t have as much concern if they decide to keep some of their code unverified.

Or on the other end of the spectrum, there are these complete random devs. You don’t know who they are; they’re completely anonymous. They could be just somebody fooling around with Ethereum. They say, “I’m going to make a game, a smart contract, or something.” And that’s usually where things are a little different. Whenever somebody pops up like that, especially if nobody knows who they are, there’s immediately a strong push by our community to learn about them and to understand who they are, what their goals are, and why they’ve come to our server. Usually, if they are anonymous, our community will demand that they show their code.

You know, even well-intentioned people can make critical mistakes that can really mess things up. Without public source code, you never know what’s going to happen. You never know if they put in some type of scammy functionality. Some people do that. They show up randomly, they’re just an anonymous nobody with an intention to scam people. And that’s unfortunate.

Dan: Yeah. By the way, my friend runs a bitcoin gambling site and he’s looking to pick a winner and he wants to split the winnings with you, are you interested?

Phil: [Laughs] Exactly. That’s a stupid one that keeps going around and around. Hopefully, everybody knows what it is by now. It’s just a scam.

Usually, the good games are the ones that leave you a little uncertain. There may be potential, but you’re not fully sure. Those games usually turn out to be more promising than the games you first discover by way of an unapologetic shill. If someone shows up trying to tell you it’s a definite thing and promises that you’ll definitely profit off it this year, that’s trouble. They might say, “This is definitely going to moon, China is going to wake up.” It’s nonsense shilling behavior. When people are overly confident and say, “Oh, you should do this because you’ll make money,” usually that’s a red flag. It’s not that easy, you know?

Dan: Yeah. Never is. Couldn’t possibly be. So, the people who show up with the promise of profit raise the alarm. It’s definitely a bad sign. Their game is likely to be either a scam or low quality.

Is it fair to say that the people who come from game studios, the well-known people who have something to lose, are producing better games? Or is it equally likely that somebody who comes from crypto towards gaming, as opposed to coming from gaming towards crypto, could produce an equally good game? And could you cite an example on either side?

Phil: I’m on the fence about this. I would say it’s possible for the scrappy crypto devs to produce better games. I mean, for the people coming from game studios, they’re coming from an entirely different mindset and trying to fit traditional gaming into the blockchain.

Whereas, there’s this crop of random experiments, with devs fooling around, creating games based on other popular dapp concepts. We often find their work really interesting because they’re just iterating on tried and tested concepts, already proved by people interacting with them on the blockchain. The freelance crypto devs tend to build off those proven ideas.

It can go either way. I haven’t really seen any blatant scams coming from anyone with that traditional gaming background. So, I think the game dev background provides users a little more confidence, but at the same time, sometimes we see these game studios trying to put these ridiculously complicated concepts on the blockchain. The games get really awkward and bulky, which is a major turn off for users. The studios’ efforts sometimes turn out to be less user-friendly than some of the simpler concepts that come from experimentation and iteration on what people are already playing on the blockchain.

Dan: What do you mean you say, “ridiculously complicated concepts on the blockchain [that] get really awkward and bulky?” What are you referencing?

Phil: It’s just a general principle. I’m not pointing fingers or naming names.

But the thing about some of these games that you mentioned, like Gods Unchained: they can’t be fully on chain. That would be impossible. Owning the cards, sure, that works on chain. But, imagine if you tried to accomplish all that game functionality on chain. I don’t think that would work, with every single card played in every single move handled on chain. Without some scaling solution, making that work would be a very difficult task. I think MLB Crypto Baseball will take the same approach, too, putting some core game functionality off chain or on side chains, even.

The limiting factor is usually gas costs. ETH TOWN had some interesting and more complex games like their Moon Factory, but the thing about that was their gas costs. Given the current level of throughput, that can really eat at the users. It’s not conducive to a good user experience.

Dan: Yeah, that’s a tricky balance, right? If you don’t put enough on chain, it’s not meaningful to involve blockchain in your game at all. But, if you’re too much on chain, the experience becomes intolerable. So, there’s an optimal balance and I think we’re still, as a community, finding it. What’s the sweet spot look like for you? Is asset ownership on chain enough to make a game interesting? Or do you want to see some core mechanics on chain, too?

Phil: I think we’re starting to see this more nuanced combination of on chain and off chain functionality. In my opinion, ownership on chain is very good. It ensures that all those assets are yours in a real and undeniable sense. But then, you can use them off chain in a more centralized and convenient way.

A good example of one of the games that I think is too bulky on chain is Etheremon. It’s a great concept, basically Pokemon-ish things on the blockchain, but they’re doing a lot of things on chain, like the battles and whatnot. I remember it being very expensive in gas fees. It can feel very cumbersome.

So, I think we’re starting to see a shift away from the idea of pure decentralization. You used to hear, “Oh, we want everything completely decentralized.” I think people are starting to realize that isn’t necessarily ideal when it comes to crypto gaming. Assuming you’re dealing with a team that’s operating in good faith, taking some of those operations off chain or putting them on a side chain produces a result that’s more optimal. In the right situations, trusting somebody else can have a lot of benefits.

Dan: What improvements to the onboarding experience are you most excited about?

Phil: I think that as time goes by, we’ll see ways better ways to interact with and explain the blockchain. MetaMask is the primary way of interacting with these decentralized applications right now. And it’s a great tool, for now. You know, it works really well. But it’s still pretty raw.

I remember my first time using it for CryptoKitties. A lot of it, I didn’t fully understand. And I remember getting all these stuck transactions because I didn’t use enough gas and replacing transactions and whatnot. I feel like there could be a much smoother way of showing and depicting all this stuff. You know, really dumbing it down. I would hope that the intermediaries that we use interact with the blockchain will improve substantially in the next year.

Even Etherscan… it can be intimidating to people. But, imagine if somebody made an Etherscan-Lite that provided a more verbal experience. Something that specifically explained to you exactly what was happening in these transactions in easier terms. I think that would be a step in the right direction — something to iron out the creases and make the edges a little less rough on the user experience.

All this stuff will improve as the years go by. If you were to go on the internet 20 years ago, it would be kind of confusing. You might not understand the whole stack and it could be intimidating. But nowadays, when you get a new Mac or PC, it’s this very user-friendly experience to go from zero to browsing. Setting it up is easy. Anyone can do it. You just follow instructions. Then, after you get that simple understanding, it’s easier to dive into the technical side of it.

Dan: Would you take me through the experience of buying your first cryptocurrency, buying your first CryptoKitty, and selling your first CryptoKitty? What was that experience like for you?

Phil: At the point CryptoKitties launched, I had some Ether, just because I picked some up during that ridiculous bull run.

Dan: How did you acquire it?

Phil: Through Coinbase. And I actually bought some bitcoins back when they were $10, but didn’t manage to hang onto them. It wasn’t until late 2017 when I decided to give it another try.

And then I heard about CryptoKitties and I thought, “This is cool. How do I do it?” And I saw, “Go Install MetaMask”. I’m looking back at my initial transactions now. I remember not understanding why any of my transactions weren’t going through and wondering how my new transactions could get stuck behind earlier transactions with lower gas.

I feel like that’s there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement on the MetaMask paradigm. It should be easy to replace a transaction if it’s slow. I remember, back then, people were just on Discord telling each other, “You have to go to MyEtherWallet, get set up, put in the transaction, and then you can either cancel or replace it.” I didn’t really understand exactly what it was doing for a while. I kind of just did it on faith.

It’s not impossible for someone who is experienced with technology to pick up on the existing workflow pretty quickly, but for there to be more adoption, developers would have to start framing UX from the perspective that a lot of users don’t have deep technical chops. You know, kind of provide a much more toned down approach.

Dan: Yeah, I think there will always be a contingent of crypto diehards who like the hard way that gives them more flexibility. To extend your PC and Mac analogy from earlier, there will always be Linux users. There will always be people who want to compile it themselves.

But at this point, developers believe that all users are really protective of each Wei. They say to themselves, “We can’t be doing anything automatically that spends money on a user’s behalf.” But some users want that sort of functionality.

What do you do for key management? What lessons can I learn from your security practices?

Phil: Obviously, you always have to write down your keys. Whenever you create a new wallet, that’s very essential. Even if you don’t think you’re going to use it for much. I’ve seen a lot of people who thought they wouldn’t forget it, but then their browser crashed, or it locked them out. And then they lost that wallet forever. So, yeah, definitely write it down.

One thing you can even do, if you’re worried about people finding your key or seed phrase, is use an internal code in your own mind. You write down your phrase, but you use your favorite encryption method as you do it. For me, it provides another layer of protection. Even if somebody found my key, they wouldn’t know what was going on in my mind when I wrote it down.

Dan: Badass! That’s awesome. That is that is deep protection.

If you’re investing that kind of mental energy, it seems like a safe inference that you’ve got something to protect. Also, it just so happens that internally at OpenSea you’re called “Phil the Whale.” So, in general terms or at whatever level of specificity you’re comfortable with, would you share what you started with and where are you now?

Phil: I started with a thousand dollars. And… I… I mean, I don’t want to get into too much detail. People that know my addresses can see some of the amounts that I transact in. I wouldn’t say that I’m set for life. But, you know, I’ve been able to accumulate enough ETH through playing these dapps that I feel comfortable now and I believe I would be for the foreseeable future.

Dan: What was your best dapp? What’s your biggest earner?

Phil: It’s tough to say because it’s hard to remember the details. I know CryptoCelebrities would have been a big earner for me, but then I eventually bought some more celebrities on OpenSea, hoping that they would eventually sell. So, there’s a discrepancy between my actual earnings and what’s on the contract, on the books.

That actually brings me to a point that I think would be very useful for people. I recently coded a little script in R to show a net profit and loss from each wallet-contract interaction. It’s really crude, but tax season coming up and I think that it’s in each user’s best interest to play by the rules and report anything profit that they’ve taken out.

But the thing is, that can be really difficult, with a sea of all these transactions. So I foresee an area of growth, that hasn’t really been explored yet, of basically creating analysis websites where you can easily see your ins and outs on each application. If dapps were to continue growing to a large scale, that stuff would be essential. It’d be useful if anyone ever needed to provide the proof of how they were able to accumulate, or even to show their losses if they wanted to write off a loss. It’s all on the blockchain, but it’s kind of murky and muddy. That would be a really cool thing for someone to build.

I thought of trying to build a product like that, but I’m not sure if I really would want to. I feel like that could be something up your alley. I know you’re pretty good with statistics and whatnot. Kind of like a dapp portfolio. Imagine if that were on OpenSea, for example, and you could get a list of transactions for someone’s wallet and their net profit.

Dapp Volume sort of does it, but they’re wrong with a lot of their statistics. I don’t know why. I just think they’re overestimating volume. I’m not sure exactly how they’re doing it, but I think that’s a type of product we’ll start seeing popping up soon.

Dan: What’s the two-year plan look like for you? Do you have any ambition to find a technical co-founder and set off building that? Create a proof of concept and raise a round? Is that something that interests you? Do you want to go in the entrepreneurial direction? The financial direction? Games? What’s your two-year plan? Your five-year plan?

Phil: For me, my problem is that I always have a lot of ideas, a lot of things that I see potential in, but it’s hard for me to commit myself to one. I’m simultaneously managing my community, keeping my connections live, talking to people, and using dapps. That, usually, takes the bulk of my time.

And I enjoy it, you know? I kind of enjoy just being a floater. I’m not sure if I would really enjoy feeling bound to something. I kind of like having the ability to float around. I’m very happy to supply people with my ideas and advice, to suggest things.

There have been situations where I advocate for products to be built and then eventually somebody makes it. I think it works out for me, for all of us in the long term. But yeah, it’s something that I consider. I think I’d be in a good position. It would really have to be something that speaks to me and resonates with me for me to commit myself to it.

Dan: It’s funny that you say that you like to be a floater. Your server CryptoGameTalk is sort of an institution in a dynamic scene. So, it’s ironic that you say that you like to float around while you’re managing one of the most stable places in the space.

Phil: I think for a while I’ve been saying that I’m going to make a website and stuff and try and build off of the existing product. It’s still something on my “possibly-to-do” list. But, I don’t know. I don’t feel any need to rush. I feel it’s pretty valuable just staying where I am and doing what I’m doing: trying to be an honest person, trying to help support this scene.

It’s not like there’s too much competition right now. It’s more about trying to get people in from the outside. For adoption to hit escape velocity, we’ll need people from the outside who have never played dapps. I would estimate that about half of all dapp users are exposed to more than one dapp.

Sometimes you get these exceptions where a community forms of people who stick with just one dapp. Maybe they like CryptoKitties and they just want to stick with that. There are some people who only play Gods Unchained and they just want to stick with that. But I think that a significant portion of people is made up of repeat players. They are interested in dapps as a whole and kind of keep an eye on the scene. You know, obviously, a lot of people in my server are of that mindset.

Dan: In a sense, you’re better positioned than anybody to provide insights on that debate, but in another sense, you’re probably biased towards thinking that it’s all repeat players because the repeat players are drawn towards your server. What games have brought in new users?

Phil: I think each new large scale dapp does bring in some new people. I would say that a decent number of the new people discover that crypto gaming is not their thing and they don’t end up sticking around. But I think, little by little, more people are becoming aware of the dapp ecosystem as a whole. There’s value in having a diversity of dapps out there, so that more people can be onboarded and exposed to this stuff and see how interesting it can be.

Dan: I agree that offering a diversity of daps is important, to cater to different needs of different users. But I’m also bullish on the network effects that a diverse set of dapps can generate.

Can you talk a little bit about the superstars in your community?

Phil: The regulars seem to have changed a lot as time goes by. A lot of the people with higher roles in my server aren’t necessarily as active as they used to be. The structure was designed almost a year ago — six months to a year ago. From time to time I’ll try and change things up and make everything more balanced.

It’s hard to name specific people because almost everybody has some sort of role. I can look at the list of online people right now. There’s me. There’s Karupin. Karupin is a great guy. He’s one of the most honest and kind people that I’ve met. I haven’t actually met him in person yet but, I’m sure I will someday. He’s a great guy.

I see Carlini there. He’s a CryptoKitties OG. He’s not around my server as much but I know he’s still grinding CryptoKitties and he’s definitely good guy. Enderhero. Ferocious. Slush. All good people. Pranked: really into CryptoKitties.

There’s klob and EtherGuy, the guys from Zethr, who I had a chance to hang out with. I got to spend some time with them in North Carolina earlier this summer and I was watching them code and everything for a while. They are really, really, talented people. They’re self made through this community.

8 Bit Trip is a ridiculously talented auditor. He is always one of the first people to catch a bug. He’s a solidity genius in my mind. And triceratops. He’s a known figure in this space. He plays a lot of dapps just as much as I do. There’s A1337 | Eth Town. Good guy. Alex | OpenSea, obviously you know him.

CryptoOpinions. Very talented guy, made a lot of great things. He was the one behind the original shrimp games and the original hot potato concept, which a lot of people enjoyed. There’s you. Dan. Good guy. [Laughter] Devin.

Louie | FairDapp. He’s started coming around here more recently, but he has a lot of good ideas. He’s building a platform type of thing for on chain gambling games. He’s really ambitious, doing some good stuff.

Mr. Blobby from Goo. Goo was a big deal at one time. He has World War Goo coming. I can say good things about so many people around here.

Dan: How about the opposite extreme? Who’s the most egregious scammer? Who’s the most obnoxious? Who are the bad actors we should be aware of?

Phil: Well the thing is about bad actors, they usually use aliases, you know? And they change their names. There was this group of scammers that were repeat offenders. That was hard. You’d have to sleuth into the blockchain to find the connections. These guys launched an unverified contract and then took everyone’s money. Me and some friends started looking at the connections and saw that they were related to some other scams. So, yeah, it’s unfortunate that some of those people are still active, preying on newcomers.

Another hot topic for us is the rise of the cloners. There are some people, as soon as a new concept comes out, they’re the first ones to copy paste it and try to create another wave of the original. I don’t want to name names or point fingers. But generally, people frown on that, when people are just relentlessly, opportunistically trying to clone others’ concepts for their personal gain.

Dan: The cloners are sort of a different breed, though, right? They’re certainly not as malicious. And while they’re not creating much value in the space, they’re not intentionally harming people directly. But I’m more interested in the difference between cloners and expanders.

Right after CryptoKitties, hundreds of clones emerged. Not a lot of them added value, but some did. So, would you mention a couple of games that expanded meaningfully on the CryptoKitties paradigm?

Phil: Well, I’ve been buying some more Gods Unchained cards. Just opening the packs is kind of addicting and being able to play them in the card game should be should be fun. I also bought into Nova tokens. Are you familiar with Nova Blitz?.

Dan: It rings a bell but I’m not really familiar. Would you tell me about it?

Phil: I think they had some advisors from Magic: The Gathering and a working game mechanic. They were going to do a platform of on chain ownership of the cards. It’s been kind of slow recently, but I did play that game a lot and I had a lot of fun. So, yeah, I’m hoping that Gods Unchained can provide a similar experience.

I’m the Community Manager for ETH TOWN and they’ve been working on a side chain strategy battle game. I’m hoping it turns out to be pretty good. They’re really good with their custom art. There have been some rough patches for the core game design, but they’re experienced mobile game developers and I think that if they keep putting in effort, they’ll eventually create something that has some decent value.

There’s a lot of gambling ecosystems coming out. Zethr was a big one that people in CryptoGameTalk have been talking about for the last couple of months. They offer users a token that receives some of the profit from the house cut on chain. I find those applications really interesting.

FairDapp is doing something like that. The developer of FairDapp has some fun concepts that build on what’s been successful in these games in the past. So, I’m excited to see what he comes up with.

I’m sure there are other things that aren’t on my mind right now. There’s just so much in the space that, sometimes, it’s hard to fully keep track of it all.

Dan: Yeah, absolutely. Really, since CryptoKitties, there hasn’t been any game that’s felt like the definitive thing at the moment. There has not been a natural leader since those days.

Phil: Yeah. I think there’s a polarity to the space, though. There were two major successes so far. I believe CryptoKitties is one, it’s kind of what I would call the yang of this sphere, you know? The right side of the yin-yang, the positive intention.

And then there’s Proof of Weak Hands. Do you know Team JUST? I think they were the second highest in overall volume and users, especially with their Fomo3D release. I kind of see that as the yin, the other side of the spectrum. It’s people trying to make money and conduct gambling experiments. In my mind, those are the two dominant forces so far. Obviously, then, there are thousands of clones and similar concepts all in between those two poles.

Dan: Excellent metaphor. Ethereum is just a technology. It’s not inherently good or bad, it’s all about how to use it.

Dan: Alright, let’s take a break from crypto for a minute and talk a little bit about your outside life. You worked in a kitchen, right? What was your role in food service like? What job did you have? I worked in a pizza shop for a year and it was amazing.

Phil: I worked in a few pizza shops. I also spent a lot of time in cafes. Barista work — coffee. I’m a big coffee connoisseur, I guess you could say. I was into home roasting for a bit, with hot air popper machines. That’s a very simple way to get into home roasting. But I think I’m going to try to expand to the actual machine that was built for roasting coffee.

I enjoyed working in random, low paying jobs. As much as some people hate it at times, I found it satisfying. I’ve learned to live a very modest and humble life. I’m content with not having much. I think it set a precedent for how I’ve entered the crypto scene.

I try to give assets to new players for random things or contests or whatnot. Because at the end of the day, it’s not all about trying to make money for me. I think the cool thing is the community and what’s developing here. You know, the whole storyline that we’re all building. That’s what gives me the most satisfaction in the day.

Dan: I saw a tweet recently that took roughly that same posture on wealth. I think it was Naval Ravikant, who said something to the effect of, “Being rich doesn’t mean having a lot of stuff. It doesn’t mean having a lot of money. It means that your burn rate is less than your income rate.”

If you can make more than you spend, passively or through whatever effort you find gratifying, that means that you’re a wealthy person in the modern sense. It sounds like you have found that balance and I commend you for it.

You said to me in the past that outside of crypto, your main hobby is cooking. I love cooking, too. I love everything about food. What do you make when you want to get a break from playing crypto games?

Phil: For the past couple of years, I’ve been into smoked meats. You know, pulled pork, brisket, ribs. Even cold smoking applications like cold smoked salmon. I’ve been playing around with my smoker a lot.

The other week I made a really nice brisket mac and cheese. I caramelized some shallots and I put some whiskey in there to kind of give it a nice sweet flavor. I used mostly white cheddar and some monterey jack, with some pepper. It turned out really good. Sometimes when I make things, I’m begging my friends to help me eat it and other times I make something and then I like it so much that I don’t want other people to eat it.

I read a lot about food on the internet. If I’m interested in making something, I’ll usually look up the more niche concepts. I go on smoked meat forums and try to learn the techniques. Then I look at various types of recipes and see what I find interesting. You learn a ton from examining the differences between recipes for the same dish and seeing how different people are making it. So I look at recipes and what other cooks are doing, then I try to synthesize that with my own knowledge to make something that I believe would be the best.

Dan: We should have a crypto gaming potluck sometime!

Phil: I’m always down for that.

Dan: What’s your daily routine like? Are you a night owl? How much time do you usually spend in your server?

Phil: I go to bed late. My girlfriend yells at me for doing so. [Laughs] I usually sleep in until around 11:00 or so. You know, it depends. Sometimes I end up staying later. Since the community is international, sometimes there are things happening all around the clock that I’ll want to attend to.

Honestly, I’ve probably been spending too much time on the internet, recently. But, I mean… It makes me happy. I get satisfaction. I have so many new friends as a result of this and I like that. So, I do think that, for the sake of my long term mental health, I should probably try and balance myself a little more, you know? Spend some time doing things outside of Discord and the internet. But at the same time, it doesn’t feel like it’s really hurting me as it is.

Dan: Yeah. I’m with you there. I feel exactly the same way.

Continued in Part Two.