"Make It Snow" for Lunar New Year

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.

This twist on a traditional concept has countless use cases. For friends / family groups, it serves as an failsafe mechanisms to message each other even when there’s nothing interesting to share. The demonstration of goodwill, the need to reciprocate among family members, and the sheer randomness leads to conversations. After all, even the most rebellious teenagers can’t resist grabbing a few dollars from their uncles and aunts.

For interest groups with hundreds of members, community managers use group envelopes to gather attention. Perhaps the group has been dead for a few days or perhaps there’s an important announcement / event about to take place. Community managers can drop a group envelope, get everyone to pay attention, and re-engage the group effectively at minimal cost.

A few weeks ago, my teammates and I started brainstorming pet projects that can help us get our feet wet in web3 development. Given the vibrant Discord communities across web3, we naturally wondered, “Why not bring a concept that has lit up Chinese WeChat groups to every crypto community in the world?”

Today, we are launching the first version of Make It Snow: a dapp enabling social giveaways in discord groups and beyond. To “make it snow” , simply

  1. procure some Avalanche tokens
  2. create a giveaway - specify the total prize, the number of participants, and a social passphrase
  3. share the giveaway (along with the passphrase) to your favorite group
  4. wait for everyone to jump in and grab their rewards!

We think Make It Snow can be a fun way to engage communities and celebrate special moments. In addition, it can incentivize users who are still on ETH to try out newer chains like Avalanche.

Building Make It Snow was a lot harder than we expected. In subsequent posts, I will share some of the engineering challenges we encountered and how we went about solving them. Stay tuned by following me on Twitter.

(Edit: The second post has been published)

Until then, check out Make It Snow and leave your feedback via Twitter. Can’t wait to hear from y’all.

Happy Lunar New Year!

P.S here’s a sample giveaway (pwd: snow)

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