May 23rd, 2022

In our first post, we talked about what makes web3 different, to recap:

  1. Web3 communities are vastly different than web2 communities. Subscribers are now stakeholders, and this brings new utility.
  2. There is no single utility that draws the masses. Investors are as diverse as the projects they support and there are many. The single thread is building a strong community to push the value.
  3. Building these communities is difficult. It’s now more important than ever to curate a strong community to stand by your project.
April 23rd, 2022

What is web3? What makes it different?

This is probably the most often asked question among friends interested in what I’m building. ‘What is it? How is it different? What’s driving all the interest and growth?’

Web3 is taking the world by storm. Buzzwords like NFT and DAO are beginning to permeate mainstream culture, funding is pouring into the space by the millions, but why?

February 17th, 2022

In my two previous posts, I introduced and explained the first version of “Make It Snow” - a social giveaway app built on the Avalanche chain. The primary problem we ran into was front running bots: bots that monitors data in the mining pool and pays extra gas fee to “get ahead” of a transaction. To solve this problem, we implemented a “commit and reveal” strategy. By doing this, however, we sacrificed user experience by requiring users to commit two transactions before claiming their giveaway reward.

The reason for the above complexity stems from how data in blockchain transactions are open for all to inspect. This makes “password” or “secrets” impossible to keep.

As a commenter asked in my previous post, “Why not use Zero Knowledge Proofs?”

February 8th, 2022

In my last post, I introduced Make It Snow: a social giveaway dapp enabling social airdrops in chat groups and communities. For each drop or giveaway, the creator commits a certain number of tokens before sharing out to groups. The first X people to “claim” can win a portion of the tokens. In this post, I’m going to share with you the engineering challenges behind the project and the lessons we learned.

When we first devised Make It Snow, we thought it would be a very easy starter project - a quick foray into writing and deploying solidity code. How hard could it be to take some tokens and split it among N people?

function claim() {
	if (claimsLeft != 0) {{ value: splitAmount }("")

Done, right?

February 1st, 2022

On Tuesday February 1st, over a billion people around the world will celebrate Lunar New Year. In the week that follows, “red envelopes” will be exchanged among friends and family as a symbol of good luck and fortunes.

While red envelopes are most common during Lunar New Year, they’re also used through out the year to celebrate special occasions: weddings, graduation, birthdays, etc. The psychology behind these envelopes are fascinating. Under normal circumstances, giving $5 or $10 cash to a friend would be insulting no matter how genuinely you congratulate them. Yet, wrap it around a red envelope, and suddenly everyone is happy and celebratory. Some has explained this phenomenon as “tricking the human brain to think socially instead of economically.” Socially speaking, we are suppose to be appreciative of all gifts and good wishes. Economically, $5 is cold and insulting. Red envelope - and to a certain extent gift cards - trick us into thinking socially.

In 2014, Tencent capitalized on this social phenomenon by launching “WeChat red envelope.” They began with two types of envelopes: individual and group. “Individual” is easy to understand; it’s just the traditional concept digitized. “Group” envelopes are much more interesting. The sender is allowed to specify not only the total gift amount and message, but also how many winners could claim a portion of the rewards (randomized). So for a group of 50 people, the sender might choose to only have 10 rewards. This setup creates a race to grab the rewards and the randomness leads to a lottery-esque outcomes.