More on NFTs & Art
9 months ago
An employee of OpenSea might get a 40-year prison sentence for insider trading using NFTs.
The space had better days. Those greenish spikes...oh wow, haven't felt that in ages. Cryptocurrencies and NFTs have lost popularity. Google agrees. Both are declining.
As seen below, crypto interest spiked in May because of the Luna fall. NFT interest is similar to early October last year.
This makes me think NFTs are mostly hype and FOMO. No art or community. I've seen enough initiatives to know that communities stick around if they're profitable. Once it starts falling, they move on to the next project. The space has no long-term investments. Flip everything.
OpenSea trading volume has stayed steady for months. May's volume is 1.8 million ETH ($3.3 billion).
Despite this, I think NFTs and crypto will stick around. In bad markets, builders gain most.
Only 4k developers are active on Ethereum blockchain. It's low. A great chance for the space enthusiasts.
An employee of OpenSea might get a 40-year prison sentence for insider trading using NFTs.
Nathaniel Chastian, an OpenSea employee, traded on insider knowledge. He'll serve 40 years for that.
Here's what happened if you're unfamiliar.
OpenSea is a secondary NFT marketplace. Their homepage featured remarkable drops. Whatever gets featured there, NFT prices will rise 5x.
Chastian was at OpenSea. He chose forthcoming NFTs for OpenSeas' webpage.
Using anonymous digital currency wallets and OpenSea accounts, he would buy NFTs before promoting them on the homepage, showcase them, and then sell them for at least 25 times the price he paid.
From June through September 2021, this happened. Later caught, fired. He's charged with wire fraud and money laundering, each carrying a 20-year maximum penalty.
Although web3 space is all about decentralization, a step like this is welcomed since it restores faith in the area. We hope to see more similar examples soon.
Here's the press release.
Understanding smart contracts
@cantino.eth has a Twitter thread on smart contracts. Must-read. Also, he appears educated about the space, so follow him.
1 year ago
ERC721R: A new ERC721 contract for random minting so people don’t snipe all the rares!
That is, how to snipe all the rares without using ERC721R!
Introduction: Blessed and Lucky
Mphers was the first mfers derivative, and as a Phunks derivative, I wanted one.
I wanted an alien. And there are only 8 in the 6,969 collection. I got one!
In case it wasn't clear from the tweet, I meant that I was lucky to have figured out how to 100% guarantee I'd get an alien without any extra luck.
Read on to find out how I did it, how you can too, and how developers can avoid it!
How to make rare NFTs without luck.
# How to mint rare NFTs without needing luck
The key to minting a rare NFT is knowing the token's id ahead of time.
For example, once I knew my alien was #4002, I simply refreshed the mint page until #3992 was minted, and then mint 10 mphers.
How did I know #4002 was extraterrestrial? Let's go back.
First, go to the mpher contract's Etherscan page and look up the tokenURI of a previously issued token, token #1:
As you can see, mphers creates metadata URIs by combining the token id and an IPFS hash.
This method gives you the collection's provenance in every URI, and while that URI can be changed, it affects everyone and is public.
Consider a token URI without a provenance hash, like https://mphers.art/api?tokenId=1.
As a collector, you couldn't be sure the devs weren't changing #1's metadata at will.
The API allows you to specify “if #4002 has not been minted, do not show any information about it”, whereas IPFS does not allow this.
It's possible to look up the metadata of any token, whether or not it's been minted.
Simply replace the trailing “1” with your desired id.
These files contain all the information about the mpher with the specified id. For my alien, we simply search all metadata files for the string “alien mpher.”
Take a look at the 6,969 meta-data files I'm using OpenSea's IPFS gateway, but you could use ipfs.io or something else.
Use curl to download ten files at once. Downloading thousands of files quickly can lead to duplicates or errors. But with a little tweaking, you should be able to get everything (and dupes are fine for our purposes).
Now that you have everything in one place, grep for aliens:
The numbers are the file names that contain “alien mpher” and thus the aliens' ids.
The entire process takes under ten minutes. This technique works on many NFTs currently minting.
In practice, manually minting at the right time to get the alien is difficult, especially when tokens mint quickly. Then write a bot to poll totalSupply() every second and submit the mint transaction at the exact right time.
You could even look for the token you need in the mempool before it is minted, and get your mint into the same block!
However, in my experience, the “big” approach wins 95% of the time—but not 100%.
“Am I being set up all along?”
Is a question you might ask yourself if you're new to this.
It's disheartening to think you had no chance of minting anything that someone else wanted.
But, did you have no opportunity? You had an equal chance as everyone else!
Take me, for instance: I figured this out using open-source tools and free public information. Anyone can do this, and not understanding how a contract works before minting will lead to much worse issues.
The mpher mint was fair.
While a fair game, “snipe the alien” may not have been everyone's cup of tea.
People may have had more fun playing the “mint lottery” where tokens were distributed at random and no one could gain an advantage over someone simply clicking the “mint” button.
How might we proceed?
Minting For Fashion Hats Punks, I wanted to create a random minting experience without sacrificing fairness. In my opinion, a predictable mint beats an unfair one. Above all, participants must be equal.
Sadly, the most common method of creating a random experience—the post-mint “reveal”—is deeply unfair. It works as follows:
- During the mint, token metadata is unavailable. Instead, tokenURI() returns a blank JSON file for each id.
- An IPFS hash is updated once all tokens are minted.
- You can't tell how the contract owner chose which token ids got which metadata, so it appears random.
Because they alone decide who gets what, the person setting the metadata clearly has a huge unfair advantage over the people minting. Unlike the mpher mint, you have no chance of winning here.
But what if it's a well-known, trusted, doxxed dev team? Are reveals okay here?
No! No one should be trusted with such power. Even if someone isn't consciously trying to cheat, they have unconscious biases. They might also make a mistake and not realize it until it's too late, for example.
You should also not trust yourself. Imagine doing a reveal, thinking you did it correctly (nothing is 100%! ), and getting the rarest NFT. Isn't that a tad odd Do you think you deserve it? An NFT developer like myself would hate to be in this situation.
Reveals are bad*
UNLESS they are done without trust, meaning everyone can verify their fairness without relying on the developers (which you should never do).
An on-chain reveal powered by randomness that is verifiably outside of anyone's control is the most common way to achieve a trustless reveal (e.g., through Chainlink).
Tubby Cats did an excellent job on this reveal, and I highly recommend their contract and launch reflections. Their reveal was also cool because it was progressive—you didn't have to wait until the end of the mint to find out.
In his post-launch reflections, @DefiLlama stated that he made the contract as trustless as possible, removing as much trust as possible from the team.
In my opinion, everyone should know the rules of the game and trust that they will not be changed mid-stream, while trust minimization is critical because smart contracts were designed to reduce trust (and it makes it impossible to hack even if the team is compromised). This was a huge mistake because it limited our flexibility and our ability to correct mistakes.
And @DefiLlama is a superstar developer. Imagine how much stress maximizing trustlessness will cause you!
That leaves me with a bad solution that works in 99 percent of cases and is much easier to implement: random token assignments.
Introducing ERC721R: A fully compliant IERC721 implementation that picks token ids at random.
ERC721R implements the opposite of a reveal: we mint token ids randomly and assign metadata deterministically.
This allows us to reveal all metadata prior to minting while reducing snipe chances.
Then import the contract and use this code:
What is ERC721R and how does it work
First, a disclaimer: ERC721R isn't truly random. In this sense, it creates the same “game” as the mpher situation, where minters compete to exploit the mint. However, ERC721R is a much more difficult game.
To game ERC721R, you need to be able to predict a hash value using these inputs:
This is impossible for a normal person because it requires knowledge of the block timestamp of your mint, which you do not have.
To do this, a miner must set the timestamp to a value in the future, and whatever they do is dependent on the previous block's hash, which expires in about ten seconds when the next block is mined.
This pseudo-randomness is “good enough,” but if big money is involved, it will be gamed. Of course, the system it replaces—predictable minting—can be manipulated.
The token id is chosen in a clever implementation of the Fisher–Yates shuffle algorithm that I copied from CryptoPhunksV2.
Consider first the naive solution: (a 10,000 item collection is assumed):
- Make an array with 0–9999.
- To create a token, pick a random item from the array and use that as the token's id.
- Remove that value from the array and shorten it by one so that every index corresponds to an available token id.
This works, but it uses too much gas because changing an array's length and storing a large array of non-zero values is expensive.
How do we avoid them both? What if we started with a cheap 10,000-zero array? Let's assign an id to each index in that array.
Assume we pick index #6500 at random—#6500 is our token id, and we replace the 0 with a 1.
But what if we chose #6500 again? A 1 would indicate #6500 was taken, but then what? We can't just "roll again" because gas will be unpredictable and high, especially later mints.
This allows us to pick a token id 100% of the time without having to keep a separate list. Here's how it works:
- Make a 10,000 0 array.
- Create a 10,000 uint numAvailableTokens.
- Pick a number between 0 and numAvailableTokens. -1
- Think of #6500—look at index #6500. If it's 0, the next token id is #6500. If not, the value at index #6500 is your next token id (weird!)
- Examine the array's last value, numAvailableTokens — 1. If it's 0, move the value at #6500 to the end of the array (#9999 if it's the first token). If the array's last value is not zero, update index #6500 to store it.
- numAvailableTokens is decreased by 1.
- Repeat 3–6 for the next token id.
So there you go! The array stays the same size, but we can choose an available id reliably. The Solidity code is as follows:
Unfortunately, this algorithm uses more gas than the leading sequential mint solution, ERC721A.
This is most noticeable when minting multiple tokens in one transaction—a 10 token mint on ERC721R costs 5x more than on ERC721A. That said, ERC721A has been optimized much further than ERC721R so there is probably room for improvement.
Listed below are your options:
- ERC721A: Minters pay lower gas but must spend time and energy devising and executing a competitive minting strategy or be comfortable with worse minting results.
- ERC721R: Higher gas, but the easy minting strategy of just clicking the button is optimal in all but the most extreme cases. If miners game ERC721R it’s the worst of both worlds: higher gas and a ton of work to compete.
- ERC721A + standard reveal: Low gas, but not verifiably fair. Please do not do this!
- ERC721A + trustless reveal: The best solution if done correctly, highly-challenging for dev, potential for difficult-to-correct errors.
Did I miss something? Comment or tweet me @dumbnamenumbers.
Check out the code on GitHub to learn more! Pull requests are welcome—I'm sure I've missed many gas-saving opportunities.
Read the original post here
1 year ago
A Guide to VeeFriends and Series 2
VeeFriends is one of the most popular and unique NFT collections. VeeFriends launched around the same time as other PFP NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Vaynerchuk (GaryVee) took a unique approach to his large-scale project, which has influenced the NFT ecosystem. GaryVee's VeeFriends is one of the most successful NFT membership use-cases, allowing him to build a community around his creative and business passions.
What is VeeFriends?
GaryVee's NFT collection, VeeFriends, was released on May 11, 2021. VeeFriends [Mini Drops], Book Games, and a forthcoming large-scale "Series 2" collection all stem from the initial drop of 10,255 tokens.
In "Series 1," there are G.O.O. tokens (Gary Originally Owned). GaryVee reserved 1,242 NFTs (over 12% of the supply) for his own collection, so only 9,013 were available at the Series 1 launch.
Each Series 1 token represents one of 268 human traits hand-drawn by Vaynerchuk. Gary Vee's NFTs offer owners incentives.
Who made VeeFriends?
Gary Vaynerchuk, AKA GaryVee, is influential in NFT. Vaynerchuk is the chairman of New York-based communications company VaynerX. Gary Vee, CEO of VaynerMedia, VaynerSports, and bestselling author, is worth $200 million.
GaryVee went from NFT collector to creator, launching VaynerNFT to help celebrities and brands.
Vaynerchuk's influence spans the NFT ecosystem as one of its most prolific voices. He's one of the most influential NFT figures, and his VeeFriends ecosystem keeps growing.
Vaynerchuk, a trend expert, thinks NFTs will be around for the rest of his life and VeeFriends will be a landmark project.
Why use VeeFriends NFTs?
The first VeeFriends collection has sold nearly $160 million via OpenSea. GaryVee insisted that the first 10,255 VeeFriends were just the beginning.
Book Games were announced to the VeeFriends community in August 2021. Mini Drops joined VeeFriends two months later.
GaryVee's book "Twelve and a Half: Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients for Business Success" inspired Book Games. Even prior to the announcement Vaynerchuk had mapped out the utility of the book on an NFT scale. Book Games tied his book to the VeeFriends ecosystem and solidified its place in the collection.
GaryVee says Book Games is a layer 2 NFT project with 125,000 burnable tokens. Vaynerchuk's NFT fans were incentivized to buy as many copies of his new book as possible to receive NFT rewards later.
First, a bit about “layer 2.”
Layer 2 blockchain solutions help scale applications by routing transactions away from Ethereum Mainnet (layer 1). These solutions benefit from Mainnet's decentralized security model but increase transaction speed and reduce gas fees.
Polygon (integrated into OpenSea) and Immutable X are popular Ethereum layer 2 solutions. GaryVee chose Immutable X to reduce gas costs (transaction fees). Given the large supply of Book Games tokens, this decision will likely benefit the VeeFriends community, especially if the games run forever.
What's the strategy?
The VeeFriends patriarch announced on Aug. 27, 2021, that for every 12 books ordered during the Book Games promotion, customers would receive one NFT via airdrop. After nearly 100 days, GV sold over a million copies and announced that Book Games would go gamified on Jan. 10, 2022.
Immutable X's trading options make Book Games a "game." Book Games players can trade NFTs for other NFTs, sports cards, VeeCon tickets, and other prizes. Book Games can also whitelist other VeeFirends projects, which we'll cover in Series 2.
VeeFriends Mini Drops
GaryVee launched VeeFriends Mini Drops two months after Book Games, focusing on collaboration, scarcity, and the characters' "cultural longevity."
Spooky Vees, a collection of 31 1/1 Halloween-themed VeeFriends, was released on Halloween. First-come, first-served VeeFriend owners could claim these NFTs.
Mini Drops includes Gift Goat NFTs. By holding the Gift Goat VeeFriends character, collectors will receive 18 exclusive gifts curated by GaryVee and the team. Each gifting experience includes one physical gift and one NFT out of 555, to match the 555 Gift Goat tokens.
Gift Goat holders have gotten NFTs from Danny Cole (Creature World), Isaac "Drift" Wright (Where My Vans Go), Pop Wonder, and more.
GaryVee is poised to release the largest expansion of the VeeFriends and VaynerNFT ecosystem to date with VeeFriends Series 2.
By owning VeeFriends NFTs, collectors can join the VeeFriends community and attend VeeCon in 2022. The conference is only open to VeeCon NFT ticket holders (VeeFreinds + possibly more TBA) and will feature Beeple, Steve Aoki, and even Snoop Dogg.
The VeeFreinds floor in 2022 Q1 has remained at 16 ETH ($52,000), making VeeCon unattainable for most NFT enthusiasts. Why would someone spend that much crypto on a Minneapolis "superconference" ticket? Because of Gary Vaynerchuk.
Everything to know about VeeFriends Series 2
Vaynerchuk revealed in April 2022 that the VeeFriends ecosystem will grow by 55,555 NFTs after months of teasing.
With VeeFriends Series 2, each token will cost $995 USD in ETH, allowing NFT enthusiasts to join at a lower cost. The new series will be released on multiple dates in April.
Book Games NFT holders on the Friends List (whitelist) can mint Series 2 NFTs on April 12. Book Games holders have 32,000 NFTs.
VeeFriends Series 1 NFT holders can claim Series 2 NFTs on April 12. This allotment's supply is 10,255, like Series 1's.
On April 25, the public can buy 10,000 Series 2 NFTs. Unminted Friends List NFTs will be sold on this date, so this number may change.
The VeeFriends ecosystem will add 15 new characters (220 tokens each) on April 27. One character will be released per day for 15 days, and the only way to get one is to enter a daily raffle with Book Games tokens.
Series 2 NFTs won't give owners VeeCon access, but they will offer other benefits within the VaynerNFT ecosystem. Book Games and Series 2 will get new token burn mechanics in the upcoming drop.
Visit the VeeFriends blog for the latest collection info.
Where can you buy Gary Vee’s NFTs?
Need a VeeFriend NFT? Gary Vee recommends doing "50 hours of homework" before buying. OpenSea sells VeeFriends NFTs.
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Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike
10 months ago
10 Years of Trying to Manage Time and Improve My Productivity.
I've spent the last 10 years of my career mastering time management. I've tried different approaches and followed multiple people and sources. My knowledge is summarized.
Great people, including entrepreneurs, master time management. I learned time management in college. I was studying Computer Science and Finance and leading Tanzanian students in Bangalore, India. I had 24 hours per day to do this and enjoy campus. I graduated and received several awards. I've learned to maximize my time. These tips and tools help me finish quickly.
I don't remember when I read the article. James Clear, one of my favorite bloggers, introduced me to the Eisenhower Box, which I've used for years. Eliminate waste to master time management. By grouping your activities by importance and urgency, the tool helps you prioritize what matters and drop what doesn't. If it's urgent, do it. Delegate if it's urgent but not necessary. If it's important but not urgent, reschedule it; otherwise, drop it. I integrated the tool with Trello to manage my daily tasks. Since 2007, I've done this.
James Clear's article mentions Eisenhower Box.
Greg McKeown's book Essentialism introduced me to disciplined pursuit of less. I once wrote about this. I wasn't sure what my career's real opportunities and distractions were. A non-essentialist thinks everything is essential; you want to be everything to everyone, and your life lacks satisfaction. Poor time management starts it all. Reading and applying this book will change your life.
Essential vs non-essential
Most of us make corporate calendars. Peter Njonjo, founder of Twiga Foods, said he manages time by putting life activities in his core calendars. It includes family retreats, weddings, and other events. He joked that his wife always complained to him to avoid becoming a calendar item. It's key. "Time Masters" manages life's four burners, not just work and corporate life. There's no "work-life balance"; it's life.
Health, Family, Work, and Friends.
The Brutal No
In a culture where people want to look good, saying "NO" to a favor request seems rude. In reality, the crime is breaking a promise. "Time Masters" have mastered "NO". More "YES" means less time, and more "NO" means more time for tasks and priorities. Brutal No doesn't mean being mean to your coworkers; it means explaining kindly and professionally that you have other priorities.
To-Do vs. MITs
Most people are productive with a routine to-do list. You can't be effective by just checking boxes on a To-do list. When was the last time you completed all of your daily tasks? Never. You must replace the to-do list with Most Important Tasks (MITs). MITs allow you to focus on the most important tasks on your list. You feel progress and accomplishment when you finish these tasks. MITs don't include ad-hoc emails, meetings, etc.
Most people don't journal or plan their day in the developing South. I've learned to plan my day in my journal over time. I have multiple sections on one page: MITs (things I want to accomplish that day), Other Activities (stuff I can postpone), Life (health, faith, and family issues), and Pop-Ups (things that just pop up). I leave the next page blank for notes. I reflected on the blocks to identify areas to improve the next day. You will have bad days, but at least you'll realize it was due to poor time management.
Time or money? When you make enough money, you lose time to make more. The smart buy "Time." I resisted buying other people's time for years. I regret not hiring an assistant sooner. Learn to buy time from others and pay for time-consuming tasks. Sometimes you think you're saving money by doing things yourself, but you're actually losing money.
This post is a summary. See the full post here.
10 months ago
5 ways to never run out of article ideas
“Perfectionism is the enemy of the idea muscle. " — James Altucher
Writer's block is a typical explanation for low output. Success requires productivity.
In four years of writing, I've never had writer's block. And you shouldn't care.
You'll never run out of content ideas if you follow a few tactics. No, I'm not overpromising.
Take Note of Ideas
Brains are strange machines. Blank when it's time to write. Idiot. Nothing. We get the best article ideas when we're away from our workstation.
In the shower
In our dreams
During dull chats
In the gym
No accident. The best ideas come in the shower, in nature, or while exercising.
(Your workstation is the worst place for creativity.)
The brain has time and space to link 'dots' of information during rest. It's eureka! New idea.
If you're serious about writing, capture thoughts as they come.
Immediately write down a new thought. Capture it. Don't miss it. Your future self will thank you.
As a writer, entrepreneur, or creative, letting ideas slide is bad.
I recommend using Evernote, Notion, or your device's basic note-taking tool to capture article ideas.
It doesn't matter whatever app you use as long as you collect article ideas.
When you practice 'idea-capturing' enough, you'll have an unending list of article ideas when writer's block hits.
More books, films, Medium pieces, and Youtube videos I consume, the more I'm inspired to write.
What you eat shapes who you are.
Celebrity gossip and fear-mongering news won't help your writing. It won't help you write regularly.
Instead, read expert-written books. Watch documentaries to improve your worldview. Follow amazing people online.
Develop your 'idea muscle' Daily creativity takes practice. The more you exercise your 'idea muscles,' the easier it is to generate article ideas.
I've trained my 'concept muscle' using James Altucher's exercise.
Write 10 ideas daily.
Write ten book ideas every day if you're an author. Write down 10 business ideas per day if you're an entrepreneur. Write down 10 investing ideas per day.
Write 10 article ideas per day. You become a content machine.
It doesn't state you need ten amazing ideas. You don't need 10 ideas. Ten ideas, regardless of quality.
Like at the gym, reps are what matter. With each article idea, you gain creativity. Writer's block is no match for this workout.
Perfectionism is bad for writers. You'll have bad articles. You'll have bad ideas. OK. It's creative.
Writing success requires prolificacy. You can't have 'perfect' articles.
“Perfectionism is the enemy of the idea muscle. Perfectionism is your brain trying to protect you from harm.” — James Altucher
Vincent van Gogh painted 900 pieces. The Starry Night is the most famous.
Thomas Edison invented 1093 things, but not all were as important as the lightbulb or the first movie camera.
Mozart composed nearly 600 compositions, but only Serenade No13 became popular.
Always do your best. Perfectionism shouldn't stop you from working. Write! Publicize. Make. Even if imperfect.
Write Your Story
Living an interesting life gives you plenty to write about. If you travel a lot, share your stories or lessons learned.
Describe your business's successes and shortcomings.
Share your experiences with difficulties or addictions.
More experiences equal more writing material.
If you stay indoors, perusing social media, you won't be inspired to write.
Have fun. Travel. Strive. Build a business. Be bold. Live a life worth writing about, and you won't run out of material.
11 months ago
In 5 minutes, you can tell if a startup will succeed.
Or the “lie to me” method.
I can predict a startup's success in minutes.
Just interview its founder.
I question "why" till I sense him.
I need to feel the person I have in front of me. I need to know if he or she can deliver. Startups aren't easy. Without abilities, a brilliant idea will fail.
Good entrepreneurs have these qualities: He's a leader, determined, and resilient.
For me, they can be split in two categories.
The first entrepreneur aspires to live meaningfully. The second wants to get rich. The second is communicative. He wants to wow the crowd. He's motivated by the thought of one day sailing a boat past palm trees and sunny beaches.
What drives the first entrepreneur is evident in his speech, face, and voice. He will not speak about his product. He's (nearly) uninterested. He's not selling anything. He's not a salesman. He wants to succeed. The product is his fuel.
He'll explain his decision. He'll share his motivations. His desire. And he'll use meaningful words.
Paul Ekman has shown that face expressions aren't cultural. His study influenced the American TV series "lie to me" about body language and speech.
Passionate entrepreneurs are obvious. It's palpable. Faking passion is tough. Someone who wants your favor and money will expose his actual motives through his expressions and language.
The good liar will be able to fool you for a while, but not for long if you pay attention to his body language and how he expresses himself.
And also, if you look at his business plan.
His business plan reveals his goals. Read between the lines.
Entrepreneur 1 will focus on his "why", whereas Entrepreneur 2 will focus on the "how".
Entrepreneur 1 will develop a vision-driven culture.
The second, on the other hand, will focus on his EBITDA.
Why is the culture so critical? Because it will allow entrepreneur 1 to develop a solid team that can tackle his problems and trials. His team's "why" will keep them together in tough times.
"Give me a terrific start-up team with a mediocre idea over a weak one any day." Because a great team knows when to pivot and trusts each other. Weak teams fail.” — Bernhard Schroeder
Every VC must ask Why. Entrepreneur's motivations. This "why" will create the team's culture. This culture will help the team adjust to any setback.