Category: blockchain

How To Get Started with Play-to-Own Games: Sunflower Land, built on Crypto and NFTs.

Crypto game Axie Infinity generated over $2.2 million in revenue during a single month (March 2022, via to Axie World). 

However, there are newer play-to-own crypto games like Sunflower Land which are accelerating their own growth by building exciting products and fostering growing communities.

Sunflower Land is currently the TOP dapp in the Polygon Ecosystem. [5]

How does Play to Own gaming work?

Sunflower Land enables players to earn crypto and NFTs from you planting and harvesting crops.

The game provides a relaxing experience that feels like Animal Crossing meets Farmville.

When you play a crypto game like Sunflower Land, you become a member of the community and contribute to the game by playing it. 

If you’re going to spend time playing a game regardless, why not earn some money while you’re there?

When you sell crops and craft items, you are “burning” the tokens, helping to advance the ecosystem and create scarcity given the innate tokenomics of $SFL.

During the first day that Sunflower Land was released in beta, about 15,000 farms were created, and has since grown its user base exponentially. (Open Beta has a max of 100,000 farms)

Your First Step: Mint a Farm in Sunflower Land

Because each farm is minted as an NFT, you need a crypto wallet in order to setup your farm. 

It costs 1 $MATIC to mint a farm and start playing and costs 0.1 MATIC to sync / save your progress on-chain. 

This means, you actually need to add the Polygon Network to your wallet, and ensure you bridge some MATIC token over from Ethereum Mainnet. 

For more information on how this works, refer to this post on bridging.

You earn $SFL token by selling virtual crops in Sunflower Land

Aside from falling into the Play-to-Own genre, Sunflower Land is also considered an idle game, where the game continues playing even when you aren’t active on the screen. 

This works because each crop takes a certain amount of time to reach harvest, so you end up having to wait for the crops to grow, like farming in real life. 

3 minutes left on potatoes in sunflower land

There are no actions for a player to take during the waiting period, so you can literally earn crypto while you sleep.

Sunflowers grow the fastest – ready to harvest 60 seconds after planting. From there, more expensive crops also take longer to harvest, which require less work, but are also less financially productive per unit of time.

The game begins with a few crops to be harvested and sold to the shop for profit, which enables you to buy more seeds and continue to grow your farm. 

With these initial earnings, you can purchase seeds from the shop and then you’re on the journey to farming!

The $SFL Token Contracts Enable You To Move Money Into and Out of The Game:

After releasing the game in public beta early April 2022, the Sunflower Land team plans to launch the official token contracts on May 9. 

You won’t be able to trade $SFL on any exchanges or marketplaces until those contracts go live.

Once the $SFL token contract goes live, players will be able to move assets into or out of the game via blockchain transactions on the Polygon Network.

Sunflower Land Game Progression: Appease the Goblins to Increase Usable Farmland

In order to maximize productivity, farmers want to plant as many crops as possible. Unfortunately, Goblins guard areas of the map where you might like to plant crops. You have to progress in the game for a little bit in order to pay the goblins off to leave your farm.

In order to get the first goblin out of the way, you must combine resources by taking pumpkins to the “kitchen”, exchange 5 pumpkins and some SFL token and they will let you make pumpkin soup, which coerces the first goblin to leave. 

Now you have 10 squares to farm, effectively doubling the amount of your productive land you have to work with.

At this point, your goal is to increase your farm’s productivity, yet you still have a significant portion of farmland locked. 

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to attain the resources to unlock that farmland until you progress more. It takes time. 

Also, some items are locked and aren’t available to purchase and use until you get further along in your Sunflower Land journey.

Another attainable step in the game is saving up $1 and crafting an Axe, which enables you to harvest trees to get wood, which is used to craft other items like pickaxes to mine iron and gold.

Your goal at this point is to continue opening up more farmland… the next two goblins are guarding 6 squares each. 

To appease the first goblin and get him to leave, he requests sauerkraut, attainable from the kitchen. 

To get sauerkraut, the kitchen requests 10 cabbages and 2.5 $SFL. Now that you have 10 squares, you can get 10 cabbages after just a single harvest, which takes 2 hours.

Saving up 2.5 $SFL is required in order to get rid of another goblin and free up more farmland.

Sunflower Land Strategy to Maximize Productivity: Keep $SFL Token Reserves in your Wallet

To generate ROI, you need to plant and harvest crops. In order to do so, you need $SFL token.

It’s easy to overspend $SFL crafting axes or buying food for the goblins. 

The best strategy, however, is to save up $SFL before doing so, or else your farm’s productivity could be hindered. 

Basically, you want to make sure you have enough $SFL  to plant another round of crops after purchase. 

When you prioritize having crops growing before spending money on tools and items, you will ensure that there is no downtime in farming. 

When you deplete your $SFL funds, you are not able to productively plant a full field of crops again until you save up enough money, which takes time. 

Your progress will thus slow / stagnate until you can buy seeds again and plant.

The Mysteries of Sunflower Land

The game does, however, leave a few mysteries to be discovered.

Who is Bilk Noggin? May he rest in peace….

And, what hides behind the clouds at the far end of the map? What will these unlockable areas of the map bring to the game?

Only time will tell. As the development team unlocks new areas of the map with future developments, Sunflower Land players have a lot of excitement on the roadmap ahead!

SOURCES

  1. https://docs.sunflower-land.com/fundamentals/tokenomics
  2. Play to Own: https://philipla.substack.com/p/blockchain-games-play-to-earn-play-and-own?s=r 
  3. Axie World https://www.axieworld.com/en 
  4. Utility for Rare collectible items in the game: https://opensea.io/collection/sunflower-land-collectibles 
  5. https://dappradar.com/rankings/protocol/polygon

Sunflower Land Proposal: Allow Farm Switching

First, I love the game Sunflower Land.

In addition to being fun, the strategic aspect of the game makes players exercise their analytical brain muscles, and also helps those new to blockchain technology learn the fundamentals of crypto, NFTs, tokenomics, scarcity, and more.

I’m the one who wrote a blog post covering how the game developers are focusing on “people over profits”.

I speak for myself and almost the entire community when I say that we are on-board and in agreement with Sunflower Land’s mission to create an open-source decentralized game with anti-botting rules and no-multi accounting.

That being said, a few of the current rules should be improved.

The multi-accounting rule currently does not allow players to farm switch under any circumstances.

I believe that changing this rule will help preserve the intrinsic value and utility of the farms themselves, the official SL NFT tokens.

What is “Farm Switching” in Sunflower Land?

Farm switching is the process of a player switching from one farm to another, while only using one farm at a time.

In order to comply with the multi-accounting rule, when a user switches farms, they will have to cease all productive processes in the former farm.

According to the rules, players may only have 1 IN-USE farm at any time.

Let’s be clear: we are not talking about playing in more than 1 farm at a time. That is multi-accounting, which we can all agree is not good for the game.

However, at present, any type of farm switching, even while preserving only 1 IN-USE farm at a time, will be flagged as multi-accounting and will result in a ban.

Farm switching is not allowed today.

Based on the community’s interpretation of the rules during a few discussions in the Farmer’s Chat on 4/25/22, it seems there is consensus among the community that farm switching would be considered multi-accounting and break the rules.

sunflower land farm switching
source: SFL discord server, Farmers Chat

No one wants to break the rules.

What is a players “IN-USE” farm?

A player’s “IN-USE” farm is the SINGLE farm in which that player is making progress at any given point in time.

“Progressing” in a farm is defined as having crops planted waiting to be harvested, or ores or wood waiting to be ready.

For example, in the screenshot below, the farm is “Progressing” because it has a few minutes left on potatoes before they are ready to be harvested.

sunflower land in progress farm

Today, the rules allow players to purchase as many farms on secondary markets as they so choose – while it is completely within the rules to own other farms, once you purchase a farm, it is illegal to ever use that farm, given the current multi-accounting rules.

The game should be able to keep tabs on all players and ensure everyone only has no more than 1 IN-USE farm at a time, and that no player ever making progress in multiple farms simultaneously.

The goal of multi-accounting rules in the first place is to ensure that no subset of players are able to artificially accumulate and amass tons of resources and gain an unfair advantage over other players.

This ensures that the game remains fun for everyone and is not over-controlled by whales with large holdings.

Of course we agree with this.

However, we do believe users should be able to switch their IN-USE farm to another farm, as long as their account is not progressing in more than 1 farm at a time.

Why should Farm Switching be allowed and implemented?

Utility is so important in Play-to-Own games. We need a process enabling users to switch legally, as long as the player has no more than one IN-USE farm.

Presently, the only utility that a farm on secondary markets will have is for someone that has NEVER played sunflower land and NEVER minted a farm.

For anyone that has ever played the game, it is illegal to ever switch farms (its illegal to forever stop using original mint farm and use only that new farm).

If there is no switching process currently defined within the rulebook / docs, then how will farms purchased on secondary ever have utility?

All farms are not equal.

A farm that has all 22 squares unlocked and the goblins freed is going to be more productive than a brand new farm with less farmable land.

This farm is more desirable and would thus be more valuable on a secondary market, if a player decided to sell their farm.

The principles of play-to-own games would suggest that users should be able to buy, sell, and trade, and USE these different types of farms at their own will.

Example scenario: where Farm Switching makes sense

Let’s say I purchase a farm on secondary and then sell the original farm that I minted.

Now I only have 1 farm in my wallet (SL token)

However, if I start using this new farm, this is technically “multi-accounting” based on community consensus in the Discord.

Farms purchased on secondary are un-useable by current players. Because of this, those farms have 0 utility.

This is a problem if the Sunflower Land game seeks to create a real market and economy for NFTs and tokens in the SFL ecosystem.

Can Sunflower Land allow Farm Switching and still avoid multi-accounting?

Yes.

Players will only be able to use one farm at a time. (defined as an “IN-USE” farm, below).

Players will only legally allowed to make progress in 1 single IN USE farm at a time.

Players must finish all in-progress tasks and actions before switching to another farm.

Players SHOULD be allowed to Farm Switch as long as there are no in-progress processes in the current IN-USE farm.

Sunflower Land should encourage both in-game and out-of-game economies

Most of us were attracted to Play-to-Own because we want to find a game that is actually awesome and fun to play, where we also have autonomy and ownership over all of the in-game items that we acquire.

Sunflower Land team, as I’ve written about before, is doing a great job of this overall.

Perhaps a user starts playing the game, and after realizing how much they love the game, they are willing to purchase some items and stuff to make the game experience more fun for them.

However, a few statements made by the team were surprising, given the seemingly evangelistic vision to create a decentralized, open sourced, play-to-earn game.

According to the FAQ on the Sunflower Land Discord, buying farms and other resources on third party markets is discouraged.

sunflower land faq about secondary sales
via SFL discord

What’s the likely explanation for the Team making this statement?

Don’t forget, the game is still in Open Beta: the team is still testing the software and contracts. There are issues and bugs that need to be worked out.

Hopefully, once all the contracts and the game officially leaves beta and is 100% live, the game developers will encourage this economy to emerge from the Sunflower Land ecosystem.

When that happens, enabling farm switching as well a NFT trading on 3rd party platforms is crucial to ensure the the NFTs maintain their utility.

Encouraging 3rd party purchases and sales is the nature of play-to-own games.

Yes, the game is created to be focused on people over profits and is more than simply earning tokens. But the whole point of Play-to-Own is having the freedom and autonomy to trade in-game items.

It should be up to the user to buy or sell any in-game item on secondary.

If the game devs truly want to foster a free-market economy that the game strives to create, this is critical to implement.

When should Farm Switching processes be implemented?

The game should enable farm switching as well as encourage 3rd party sales / purchases after the Open Beta version of the game has been thoroughly tested and finalized.

As stated above, it is 100% understandable and OK for the development team to discourage the trading and 3rd party commerce while the game is in Open Beta version still.

The most important thing for the game at this point is making sure the contracts are safe, secure, and that

Farm switching should be allowed after the contracts are live and ready to go.

Players Learn About Crypto and NFTs in Sunflower Land Online Game

Sunflower Land gives players a Crash-Course in Crypto Education

If you are new to blockchain and crypto, try out Sunflower Land, a game that is an interactive, learn-by-doing educational blockchain course. 

By simply playing the game, you become familiar with blockchain technology in a fun and entertaining way.

Additionally, you’ll learn how to setup a self-custodial wallet, starting your journey into the world of crypto and NFTs.

If you don’t quite understand cryptocurrency or how it works, play this game to learn about how the blockchain can power new monetary / incentive systems in both gaming and real life.

Learn NFTs: Rarity, Scarcity, and Trading Beyond the Sunflower Land Ecosystem

Even if you’ve never purchased or owned an NFT before, Sunflower Land provides an easy way to learn the ropes and how to leverage NFTs – all of which have real in-game utility.

By playing the game, you gain experience with NFT minting, as well as the actual utility of NFTs, getting to use them to advance the game. 

goblin crown NFT fro Sunflower Land
Goblin Crown NFT, tradable on OpenSea

You own all your items. They’re NFTs!

Because the in-game assets are built on the ERC-20, ERC-721 and ERC-1155 protocol models, all of the items are compatible with the most popular web3 platforms in use today such as Opensea, Uniswap, Quickswap, or even Rarible.

Every single item in the game is an NFT. 

All items in the game are owned by you, the player.

When you craft a tool or mine an ore like gold, you can sell and trade these NFTs on secondary markets like OpenSea and others. 

Of course, you’ll need to learn a few things before trading and exchanging NFTs in web3. We highly recommend reviewing this guide to crypto wallets before getting started.

Because all items are tradeable outside of the game, the value of everything in the game will be determined by the market.

Learn how free-market economics affect the price and value of Sunflower Land NFTs

There are factors both within and outside of Sunflower Land affecting the price and value of tokens and NFTs.

These economic factors create markets based on rarity, scarcity, and in-game utility, which makes some items more valuable than others. 

As described in the Sunflower Land documentation, “if the price of Gold sharply increases, a natural side effect is that NFTs that require Gold also increase on Open Sea.” [1] 

Sunflower Land Players Learn Cryptocurrency Tokenomics, via native $SFL token

Once you play and figure out the tokenomics of Sunflower Land, the knowledge you gain is applicable to the rest of the crypto industry. 

Playing the game and earning $SFL token by planting and harvest crops helps provide macro context for how crypto works. 

“if the price of Gold sharply increases, a natural side effect is that NFTs that require Gold also increase on Open Sea.”

In the game, you burn tokens in order to purchase items, which lowers the $SFL token circulating supply, making the token more scarce over time.

According to the docs, “While the total supply increases and the rewards lessen, the amount of circulating supply also decreases as SFL is burnt.” [1]

Many cryptocurrency assets follow similar models to this. ETH, for example, is burned via transaction fees in the proof-of-stake model (post-merge). 

Likewise, the token contracts of $SFL also implement a “halvening” model, which bitcoin famously leverages as well. After a certain number of …

SFL supply
$SFL token supply the first day the game was released.

Learn Principles of Economics in Sunflower Land

For someone who procrastinates, playing sunflower farmers gives you an excuse to take a break from work and check your farm.

Sunflower Land teaches you basic principles of economics. revenue minus expenses gives you profit, which stays in the bank (or in the case of web3, your crypto wallet). 

The game also teaches you about productivity, because some crops are financially more productive than others.

As far as financial productivity of crops goes, sunflowers are the most productive. However, Sunflowers also require the most work.

They could be the most fun, however, because they are more active and you get to plant and harvest more frequently, every minute.

Players learn about resource conservation. 

There are only a certain number of seeds to buy in stock. After they run out, you must sync your farm on the blockchain the re-up the resources.

It costs 0.1 Polygon to do so, which effectively sets the lower limit floor of the goods somewhere around that price.

Games are a great way to learn things.

Gamification can create a fun and engaging way to learn just about anything.

The creators of the Sunflower Land did not set out to create a gamified blockchain educational course. 

Still, in the creation of a truly decentralized and open-source crypto game, Sunflower Land has become an excellent place for newbies to experiment and learn the fundamentals of blockchain – from NFTs to crypto, wallets and more in an interactive, hands-on way.

SOURCES

  1. https://docs.sunflower-land.com/fundamentals/tokenomics
  2. Play to Own: https://philipla.substack.com/p/blockchain-games-play-to-earn-play-and-own?s=r 
  3. Axie World https://www.axieworld.com/en 
  4. Utility for Rare collectible items in the game: https://opensea.io/collection/sunflower-land-collectibles 

The Case Against Bots: 3 Reasons Bots Ruin Play-To-Own Games

How Do We Prevent Players from Using Bots in Sunflower Land?

When players use bots in an ecosystem like Sunflower Land, the game loses value at its core. 

If assets and progression in the game can be attained without a person actually playing it, then those bot-users gain an unfair advantage over the other players. 

The people who don’t use bots will get discouraged and frustrated having spent real time playing and advancing their farms, while another group of players was able to achieve a greater level.

When people don’t play the game for the sake of playing it, the game loses its appeal to players. 

Once the game is no longer fun for these formerly engaged players, the community surrounding the game starts to dissipate. 

Its difficult for game devs to identify people using bots

It is hard for even the most technical developers to understand how many players have implemented bots to play for them.

It is a challenging technical problem that involves reviewing website log data, among other techniques.

Fortunately, the game developers of Sunflower Land have implemented strict no bot policies in the game. 

Additionally, the mobile version of the game is playable on an app like Metamask using the dapp browser… you just need a crypto wallet.

While the SFL developers have stated that this is strictly against the rules and you will get banned if you try to do this, there is a chance that some people are using bots in a way that is undetectable from the game developers noticing. 

People that use bots get blacklisted, which marks out your Farm NFT with a red X as shown in the image. Don’t be one of those people!

Good work to the SFL team for keeping the community strong and free of bots!

blacklisted and banned farms in sunflower land
blacklisted / banned farms in Sunflower Land

Play-to-Own Crypto Game Sunflower Land is more than just Earning Tokens

Yes, you can earn Crypto and NFTs by playing games in web3.

With crypto games like Axie Infinity generating multiple millions of dollars in revenue per month, it is difficult to ignore the numbers.

Whether or not you want to play games simply for fun or to earn money, wouldn’t it be great if games could optimizes for both?

Whereas Axie Infinity is considered a “Play to Earn” game, an innovative team from Australia has come up with a better model – Play to Own

Play to Own games bring a new framework to crypto and NFT gaming in which playability is taken into account before the money making aspects.

The Play to Own model seeks to establish a fun and engaging environment for players first and foremost. Without this aspect, NFT based crypto games are not sustainable.

What is Play-To-Own Gaming?

Play-to-Own games are attractive to players because it is possible to earn financial rewards within the game, as well as freely trade items and tokens outside of the game. 

These unique features are enabled by blockchain technology. 

Play-to-Own is different from the popular “Play-to-Earn” gaming model. 

Play-to-Earn is actually an unsustainable game model because people will use the game solely to extract money.

This is bad for the game because no value is organically flowing back into the game.

Play-to-Own games are a better model because they place the in-game experience ahead of financial incentives. People before profits.

Play to own is not about making money. It’s about making memories. Steve Woody

The difference with Play-to-Own is that the game creates a place where people go just because they enjoy playing. 

The ability for players to own and trade tokens and items is simply a means to enhance the game, enabling people to continue playing the game for fun. [2] 

Of course, users can decide to cash out and sell their tokens and items if they decide to quit playing. 

When players have this enhanced level of freedom to leave with their rewards at any time, game developers are incentivized to develop a truly great game where people want to stick around and interact with each other.

When the primary focus is making the game / product great, the downstream impact is a fun game with great financial incentives as well.

For a blockchain game to succeed with crypto and NFT economics, there must be a balance of players who play for the sake of enjoyment with those who play solely to earn money and convert the token into fiat.

For a play-to-own game to work, there must be an active cohort of players consistently being a part of the game and helping to build a bit of “community”.

Sunflower Land is an example of a Play-to-Own game that does a good job of this.

Sunflower Land Community:

As developers seek to maximize fun and enjoyment for gamers, communities form. 

As with almost all web3 projects, value follows community, and community follows utility. 

If the game is fun and engaging, a community could naturally form around the game itself.

The larger the community, the larger the network effects and thus the more valuable the entire ecosystem becomes.

Sunflower Land has a strong community where people from around the world come together to discuss the game.

  1. GitHub: Sunflower Land has an active developer ecosystem and is thus still being developed and improved. The roadmap has quite a few exciting features on the horizon.
  2. Discord: the Sunflower Land Discord group is extremely active and with FAQ’s describing common fixes as well as a support ticketing system for technical issues.

The bull case for Sunflower Land: Community Oriented Developers and Founders

Sunflower Land is unlike other crypto games because there was no pre-sale/pre-mine of the SFL token. 

Additionally, the game is completely open source, and community run at its core. 

As described by the documentation under “Tokenomics”, the team of developers have a commitment to ensuring this aspect of the game remains true:

“We are paid directly with the fees generated by the player driven economy. We succeed when people play and our goal is to design tokenomics that engage users for the long term.” [1]

Before you can play Sunflower Land – or any crypto game – you need a crypto wallet.

SOURCES

  1. https://docs.sunflower-land.com/fundamentals/tokenomics
  2. Play to Own: https://philipla.substack.com/p/blockchain-games-play-to-earn-play-and-own?s=r 
  3. Axie World https://www.axieworld.com/en 
  4. Utility for Rare collectible items in the game: https://opensea.io/collection/sunflower-land-collectibles 

Top 4 Best Crypto and NFT Wallets in 2022 (and which one you should use)

When you purchase crypto for the first time, you will probably use an exchange.

While centralized exchanges have a number of benefits, you often do not have direct control over your digital assets when keeping them there.

Establishing your own self-custodial crypto wallet enables you to access dapps, transact in crypto, trade NFTs, as well as attain greater control and sovereignty over your money.

For this reason, its a good idea to move some of your crypto off the centralized exchange and into your own non-custodial wallet.

The next step is actually getting your first real crypto wallet setup. The good news is you can access the blockchain from any wallet provider. Think of the wallet as your portal to the world of web3. Yes, some portals are better than others, but at the end of the day they should all take you to the same place.

There are 4 wallets that stand out from the rest of the market as being the best:

The Winners for the Best NFT / Crypto Wallets:

Best All Around

Trust Wallet

  • Many assets hosted
  • Ultra secure
  • Large community
  • NFT Optimized
  • Free to use

Best for Beginners

Coinbase

  • Buy with $USD
  • Easiest on-ramp
  • Buy popular tokens
  • NFT optimized
  • Free to use

Most Secure

Ledger Nano X

  • Max security
  • Offline, cold storage of your cryptocurrencies.
  • No NFTs
  • Costs $149.00

Best for Ethereum

Metamask

  • Ethereum optimized
  • Compatible with ERC-721 and ERC-1155 NFTs
  • Most popular ecosystem
  • Explore layer 2 rollups and web3 dapps
  • Browser and Mobile compatible
  • Free to use

1. All-Around Best Crypto / NFT Wallet: Trust Wallet

Trust Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: Non-Custodial
  2. Hot or Cold? Hot
  3. Security:
    • Open Source
  4. Tokens Supported: Supports 53 blockchains and over 53 million different assets.
  5. Price: Free
  6. Ease of use:
    • Easy to use compared to most crypto wallets.
    • As with any new system, it takes some getting used to but there are many instructional guides available.
    • Includes a Dapp browser which lets you connect to various web3 tools and dapps.
  7. Devices Supported: Mobile crypto wallet
  8. Popularity:
    • 168,000 reviews in the app store
    • has a very active user community with forums and comments where community members discuss topics and answer questions.
  9. NFTs Compatibility:
    • Displays images of your NFTs readily, as well as enables you to send and receive them.
    • Only displays NFTs from within the Ethereum Ecosystem. Not compatible with Solana NFTs, for example.
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: you can buy crypto using your credit card.
    • Staking: you can earn 11% APR on quite a few different coins.
    • Multisig: No

Trust Wallet Overview:

For the general user, Trust wallet is great because it has a huge community, open forum discussion, and supports one of the largest number of different assets of any wallet on the market.

For the user looking to stake crypto, you can earn a sizable yield on your assets as well.

From owning some of the most well-known blue-chip assets, to buying and trading NFTs on the Ethereum Ecosystem, as well as browsing dapps within the web3 internet, the Trust wallet provides a well-rounded experience within crypto and NFTs for any user.

2. Best Beginner-Friendly Crypto / NFT Wallet: Coinbase Wallet

Coinbase Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: Self-custodial aka Non-custodial
  2. Hot or Cold? Hot
  3. Security:
    • Open Source
  4. Tokens Supported: The Coinbase wallet supports popular tokens like BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, XRP, XLM, and DOGE, all EVM-compatible and ERC 20 tokens, as well as some stable-coins like DAI. (read more)
  5. Price: Free
  6. Ease of use:
    • User friendly and easy to learn.
    • There are many instructional videos on YouTube to help new users learn the ropes.
    • Supports dark mode.
  7. Devices Supported: Browser and Mobile crypto wallet
  8. Popularity:
    • 103,000 app store reviews.
    • One of the most popular and well-known crypto exchanges has a large team behind the product.
    • Publicly traded company
  9. NFT Compatibility:
    • NFTs supported and displayed.
    • ERC-721 compatible.
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: support credit / debit direct purchases for crypto. Easy cash on ramp
    • Staking: Earn interest via smart contracts.
    • Multisig: not supported
    • Anything else? view crypto price movements directly from the app.

Coinbase Wallet Overview:

One of the largest publicly traded crypto exchanges in the world has a non-custodial wallet available for download.

The Coinbase wallet is best for beginners because it enables you to link your existing account on Coinbase.com to your self-custody wallet in order to move some of your funds off exchange.

Having the big tokens supported like Ethereum and Bitcoin as well as Polygon is key. Although it doesn’t have as many coins available as other wallets, it is great for getting started.

As staking is supported, this is a good opportunity for beginners to learn a bit more about DeFi and experience earning some yield on their assets, if that is within your risk tolerance.

One of the downsides to Coinbase is that you can’t use it in some jurisdictions, like Hawaii.

3. Best Crypto Wallets for Security: Hardware Wallets (Ledger Nano X)

Ledger Nano X Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: non-custodial
  2. Hot or Cold Storage? Cold
  3. Security:
    • Most secure hardware / cold storage. Open Source. Keeping your coins and NFTs offline and protected.
  4. Tokens Supported: over 5,500 tokens supported
  5. Price: $149.00
  6. Ease of use: Setting up the Nano Ledger X takes less than 30 minutes.
  7. Devices Supported:
    • Mobile friendly via bluetooth connection. Bluetooth enabled, access your wallet via your phone.
    • Install up to 100 dapps at a time.
    • You also have access to the Ledger Live, a browser and mobile wallet that enables you to access your funds on the go, if you don’t want to bring your physical hardware wallet with you.
  8. Popularity:
    • Ledger wallets have thousands of reviews on Amazon.
    • There is a community on Reddit with over 86,000 members.
    • Ledger Academy provides intro information for people to learn about crypto, such as how to keep their assets safe.
  9. NFT Compatibility: does not display your NFTs
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: no
    • Staking: no
    • Multisig: no

Ledger Nano X Wallet Overview

Ledger, a French company, has a number of hardware products designed to store crypto and NFTs in the most secure way possible.

The only real difference among the Ledger line of products is the number of features like which assets are supported. From a security perspective, all hardware wallets are equally secure because they keep your assets offline, aka in “cold storage”.

Ledger Nano X is the most advanced, and robust wallet from the Ledger line of products.

Granted security is of top priority here, the Nano X supports the most tokens and has the best screen display for usability.

4. Best Crypto Wallets for Ethereum Ecosystem: Metamask

Metamask Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: non-custodial
  2. Hot or Cold Storage? Hot
  3. Security:
    • Most popular wallet to use in the Ethereum ecosystem, enabling you to connect to web3 dapps as well as EVM powered networks such as Polygon and Optimism. Open Source. Your coins and NFTs are easily accessible.
  4. Tokens Supported: all ERC-20 tokens and EVM compatible NFTs (ERC-721 and ERC-1155)
  5. Price: Free
  6. Ease of use: Quick setup, many tutorials online as well as instructional how-to’s in the Metamask support site. As with all self-custodial wallets, make sure you store your private key in a safe, secure location.
  7. Devices Supported:
    • Browser and Mobile enabled. Access your wallet via computer or your phone.
  8. Popularity:
    • Most popular web3 wallet to date with more than 21 million active users.
    • Large Metamask community with forums and more.
  9. NFT Compatibility:
    • Displays your NFTs on mobile, but the functionality could be improved.
    • As the NFT display system is not optimized, Metamask users often find themselves going to OpenSea or Quixotic to view their NFT portfolios as opposed to the wallet display.
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: yes, via credit card, however transaction fees can be high.
    • Staking: no
    • Multisig: no

Metamask Wallet Overview

Metamask, an open-source software wallet built by Consensys, is by far the most popular wallet by user count in web3 as of 2022.

The wallet is focused on crypto and NFTs that leverage the Ethereum protocols, ERC-20, ERC-721, and ERC-1155. Additionally, the ability to add Ethereum Virtual Machine networks to your wallet makes bridging to layer 2 rollups easy and user-friendly.

For people that want to explore the emerging world of web3 decentralized applications (dapps), using a Metamask wallet is the way to go.

Crypto Explained in Under 200 Words: Blockchain-as-a-Currency

Crypto Explained in 156 words

The idea of cryptocurrency is not super novel – digital currency has been used in video games for decades.

Before blockchain, in-game currency never had real value because someone could just copy and paste the code, and counterfeit money would be undetectable.

Similarly, when transacting in cash with $USD, the US mint has made our dollar bills unique and difficult to forge, although someone could still attempt to pay you in counterfeit currency.

Before cryptocurrency, digital currency did not have value in the real world.

Crypto is Blockchain as a Currency

Ideally, money is difficult or impossible to counterfeit. Fortunately for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, MATIC, and Doge, counterfeit is programmatically impossible.

In the 2009 Bitcoin White paper, the counterfeit money problem was solved (dubbed the “double spend problem”) was solved, and cryptocurrency was invented.

The paper details highly technical cryptography enabling Bitcoin – the first cryptocurrency – to serve as the future method of exchanging value on the internet.

Bitcoin is simply a magical currency that sits on top of the more elusive technology called blockchain.

Go bankless and get a self-custodial crypto wallet:

5 NFT Projects Worth Holding Long-Term

One of the hottest trending topics on the internet over the last few months has been NFTs.

not investment / not financial advice. do ur own research.

NFTs are digital collectibles that usually give the owner some sort of exclusive access – whether to artwork, discord groups, or even in-person events. Anyone can create and launch an NFT, in the same way that anyone can start a business and sell a product or service, but with NFTs, the underlying value of the asset is based on rarity, utility, and social hype. Those who want to be a part of a niche community are able to prove their ownership by having the NFT.

While any industry experiencing exponential growth will attract questionable (i.e. scam) projects, those of us who are long-term bullish on NFTs and crypto focus on the fundamentals and maintain ownership in NFT projects with competent teams and strong communities.

But market optimism may fade in the future; as the hype-cycle predicts, the peaking highs are often followed by steep cliffs.

My involvement with NFTs over the last few months has been complicated. I’ve been largely focused on my day job and, when the waves are good, sneaking out to surf while trying not to forget about my responsibilities. Investing has always been a long-term play and something I don’t feel the need to make changes to very often. Besides, everyone in the Ethereum community is patiently waiting for the Merge.

My NFT Plays:

As always, NONE of this is advice, guidance, or suggestions. Please don’t take anything here as investment advice and always do your own research.

The seven NFTs cost me $5,766.92 – and, according to estimates based on floor price, I’ve lost about $505.98 on paper when you include transaction fees.

Despite losing money in some areas, the projects below are the ones I’ve chosen to hold for the long term. Whether that means during a bear market or bull, I believe in these projects for the reasons I’ll share below.

That being said, its time to shill some NFTs:

1. Surf Punks NFT

After hearing about an NFT that gives holders access to surf sessions at wave pools around the world, I was interested. Seeing Koa Smith post something about it on Instagram as well as involvement from YouTubers like Nathan Florence made me realize there was a significant amount of hype behind the project.

Given that this would be my first NFT and mint was happening the following day, figuring out how to move funds to Metamask was a challenge of its own.

My initiation to the NFT game became hard-won when the exchange wouldn’t let me move funds. Familiarizing myself with the intricacies of web3 wallets via trial and error, I finally secured the 0.15 ETH for mint plus extra for transactions fees.

After minting surf punk 246 for 0.15 eth pre-reveal, I later purchased my second Surf Punk, number 273, for 0.69 ETH. The advantage of owning two Surf Punks is that you can bring a friend to events.

Months later and @TheSurfPunks community has been growing at a pace that feels organic. I’ve met and surfed with other holders in Hawaii, hosted Twitter spaces and spoken with the founder Andre, and the Surf Punks treasury has reserved the entire Waco, Texas wave pool for a private holder-only event in March.

surf punks nft

2. Ranchy Rednecks

Twitter Spaces definitely become a source of edu-tainment about NFTs for hundreds of people every day including myself. One evening in December, during the Late Night Degens Twitter space, 3LAU, Steve Aoki, and like 500 other people helped 13 year old Nick sell out his NFT project in 2 hours.

The excitement that everyone had during that Twitter space was too much to not want to be part of it. So I decided to get in at mint price. Unlike my Surf Punks mint, I elected to mint two of these from the beginning.

I believe that purchasing two or three of an NFT in which you have conviction is a better move than buying just one because if it pops, you’re going to want to sell one to take profits and still be a part of the community. Owning more than one allows you to do that.

ranchy rednecks nft

3. Ethereum Name Service (ENS) Names

After I learned that the .eth extensions would serve as your web3 username and wallet address, I immediately needed one.

As someone who builds websites and is a proponent of owning your own domain name / internet identity, the vision of ENS really makes sense, similar to the .com top level domain names of the traditional internet.

I purchased two ENS:

  • Epigenome.eth – after doing cancer research in college and majoring in chem, I believe in epigenetics as one of the key industries to help cure diseases and even extend human life one day.
  • LNR.eth – means love n respect; 3-letter ENS names are quite rare. With only 17,576 combinations, there’s a good chance that the 3-letter ENS names become more valuable as more people are onboarded to web3.

The way it works is that users pay to register and extend registration of the ENS name. Prices are currently set at $5/year for names 5 characters or longer, $160/year for names 4 characters in length, and $640/year for names 3 characters in length.

I do believe that ENS names will become much more valuable as web3 gains traction and becomes more ubiquitous – like many areas of web3, we’re still so early.

Additionally, ENS Domains were launched April 2017 – before Curio Cards and even CryptoPunks. Historical NFTs – that is, those first few NFT projects between 2015 and 2019 – are more valuable to some people because they were first and are thus are more original, more authentic, and more rare.

ENS is undoubtedly an OG NFT and depending which one you own, may become super valuable some day.

The floor price of various ENS names on OpenSea is around 0.006 eth as of 3/13/22, with sales in the last day of as much as 1 ETH.

Purposefully under-estimating the floor price as 0 in my Spending History Table at the bottom provides a realistic viewpoint and helps ensure I don’t over-inflate my own expectations of the portfolio.

4. Kooks NFT (number 69)

This NFT is unique in that it was a whitelist gift, and there was no cost or transaction fees associated with acquiring it. Additionally, it is the only NFT on the Polygon Network that I own

@KooksNft is a smaller project right now, but I was able to meet the founder during a Twitter Spaces event that I hosted and he growth of the NFT space means Kooks could serve a valuable position as helping educate people on surf etiquette and respecting the ocean.

5. Full Send Metacard

The Nelk Boys prank videos have been going viral across social media for years. Kyle’s candidness and ability to go off-script is a skill that few creators have.

Boasting 7.27M subscribers on YouTube, watching the Nelk Boys brand grow, improve the quality of the content, form partnerships with the UFC, and finally launch an NFT has been truly incredible. After bringing UFC owner Dana White onto the podcast, Dana is now a Metacard holder which is honestly so sick.

I’ve been following these guys on Instagram and YouTube but once I heard about their NFT launching, I knew that I had to jump on board.

Since I was not on the white list, my initial plan was to purchase one on secondary between the time of whitelist and the time of public sale.

I needed to think strategically.

With over 200,000 Discord members, the project was bound to sell out immediately and so the chances were almost zero that I would be able to get a Metacard during public sale.

During the Metacard minting event, with so much hype and website traffic, OpenSea CRASHED which made it impossible to purchase on secondary there.

At this point, the only way to get a Metacard was to venture into the web3 alternative exchanges – basically the real wild wild west of the internet, where you really have to watch out to protect yourself from getting scammed or having your assets stolen.

The risk of doing this is that you could easily end up buying a fraudulent NFT if you don’t verify that the smart contract and addresses are legit. After digging into Etherscan block explorers, downloading CSV files, and matching addresses, I made sure that I wasn’t about to pay for something fake.

I found a legit Metacard on secondary BEFORE the public sale started and successfully paid for and transferred it to my wallet.

With Full Send gyms on the horizon and new hilarious videos dropping every week, I couldn’t be more stoked for the future of Metacard community.

If you haven’t seen @KyleForgeard and the Nelk Boys’ YouTube videos, look them up immediately. Pranks and comedy is valuable for everyone, because we all need to laugh.

I’m still diamond-handing all of these to the moon.

Did I spend too much money on NFTs, or is this simply a healthy diversification of funds into a risky yet potentially exponential asset class?

You can analyze my spending history table below for yourself.

I’d also be curious to hear how you think NFTs will play a role in peoples’ lives over the next 3-5 years. Share a comment at the bottom and let me know what you thought.

Spending History Table (via estimates)

Playing Conway’s Game of Life on StarkNet

Conway’s Game of Life is a simulation-based computer game where life-like structures emerge from the rules governing movement of the squares on screen.

From such simple rules, the Game of Life the entities on screen behave with completely unpredictable and complex interactions.

A basic, web2 version of the game can be played at the two links below:

There are also a number of mind-blowing YouTube videos on this type of thing, where “emergence” occurs from particle motion after basic rules are codified. [1]

To play the Game of Life on the StarkNet platform, visit the following link: https://www.gol2.io/

In order to play the game on StarkNet, you need a Argent X wallet. Fortunately, Argent X is pretty easy to setup as a browser extension. [2]

Since the game is new and currently in Alpha development, I used the Goerli test net to try the game for the sake of experimentation, because it does not feature live transaction data.

Game of Life on StarkNet Goerli Testnet

Conclusion

I did notice that transactions unfortunately take quite a long time to process.

While the game is interesting and it’s exciting to see new developments on Ethereum Layer-2 scaling solutions like StarkNet, I’m not sure that featuring this particular game on a blockchain is worthwhile.

Since evolution data doesn’t need to be stored and the game is really just for entertainment and viewing the progress of the simulation overtime, users who are curious about the Game of Life are better off trying it in the web2 versions I’ve shared above.

Sources

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=makaJpLvbow
  2. Consensys blog post: https://consensys.net/blog/cryptoeconomic-research/layer-2-and-scaling-solutions-march-2022-week-1/

The 8 Greatest Podcasts on Crypto, NFTs, and Web3 for 2022

Podcasts are one of the easiest ways you can learn more about crypto, NFTs, and blockchain because you can listen passively while doing something else.

Here are the best crypto podcasts that you will find:

The Daily Gwei

the daily gwei ethereum podcast about crypto

Anthony Sassano’s consistency in publishing this podcast about the Ethereum Ecosystem is unmatched – I don’t believe there’s another show that happens as regularly as the Daily Gwei. With episodes coming out at least every weekday, I’m thankful to be able to rely on this podcast for my daily dose of alpha. Additionally, Anthony Sassano does an excellent job of articulating the value proposition for Ethereum in a way that non-technical users can understand.

Where to start: start with the most recently published episode. This show is another daily-update style show, covering what’s happened in the last day in the Ethereum ecosystem.

Bankless

bankless podcast icon about crypto, focused on ethereum ecosystem

David Hoffman and Ryan Sean Adams cover everything crypto, with a focus on the Ethereum ecosystem. The “Bankless” movement suggests the narrative that humans should have custody over their private keys, without 3rd party centralized intermediaries. The show also has YouTube videos for people who enjoy that format more.

Where to start: There are so many incredible episodes that you could honestly just pick one and dig in. Having hosted Vitalik on the show on multiple occasions, you could always start there. I also highly recommend the episode with Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. Lastly the “Ultra Scalable Ethereum – Modular vs. Monolithic Blockchains” episode was particularly enlightening. This is one episode you absolute must hear if you care about the future of blockchain scalability.

Modern Finance

modern finance is a podcast that focuses on crypto's impact on finance

Internet legend Kevin Rose focuses on crypto and how it relates to the future of finance broadly.

Where to start: The episode with the Bankless guys was top-notch. Unfortunately the episodes are not published too regularly on the show, but when something is published, it is worth a listen. I’m looking forward to going back and listening to the episode with the Brave Software CEO, Brendan Eich, as well as the episode with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Into the Ether

into the ether ethereum crypto podcast

Eric Conner and Anthony Sassano cover updates from Ethereum overall.

Where to start: given that the episode covers current events and timely updates, I would just listen to the most recent episode!

The Defiant – Defi Podcast

defiant podcast focusing on defi, crypto, and blockchain broadly.

Camila Russo brings builders and users within blockchain technology and DeFi onto the podcast and does a really good job of asking the tough questions.

Where to start: the episode with Vitalik Buterin was particularly interesting, Camila did a great job of asking devil’s advocate style questions and we get to see how Vitalik responds.

DeCent People

decent people, a podcast covering decentralized applications featuring many crypto experts.

Matthew Leising does a great job of bringing Ethereum experts onto the show and digging into not only the projects they’re working on, but also a contextual background of their lives and how they got started.

Where to start: The conversation with Meltdem Demirrors was the first episode I heard, and it was really interesting hearing about her background in bitcoin, and her story about testifying in front of congress.

Up Only: Chats with Crypto Experts

up only, a podcast featuring crypto experts and whales

Cobie and Ledger host a show every so often where they get together and ramble on all things crypto. Both Cobie and Ledger do a great job of keeping the conversation candid and unscripted, and don’t hold back. It would be great if podcast episodes were released episodes more often, but regardless, the content is always solid.

Where to start: Anytime the founder of Ethereum appears on a podcast to share his ideas, its worth a listen. In addition to having a wide-ranging discussion about the internet and future of crypto developments, Vitalik shares his thoughts on anti-aging and life extension.

Proof

proof, a podcast covering NFT projects

Kevin Rose focuses specifically on NFTs and artwork on the blockchain, bringing artists, collectors, and curators on the show to talk about all things non-fungible.

Where to start: I enjoyed the Particle Collection episode and hearing about the Banksy painting being fractionalized and sold as 10,000 individual pieces. Despite my best efforts, I was not able to get access to mint a Banksy Particle. Still a great show, though.