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web3 Magic & Efficiency
How Dastardly Ducks innovated in blockchain efficiency.
Recently, I launched an NFT project I co-created called Dastardly Ducks, where people can purchase one of 10,000 ducks that live on the Ethereum blockchain. Despite being an indie project that we only sunk the bare minimum of financial resources into — because we were very broke and had none — it took off, with all 10,000 being bought out in less than six hours. There are many things that came together here, but many praised the efficiency of the smart contract.
In the lead-up to its release, I was swarmed with hatred from the anti-NFT segment of Twitter over the environmental problems surrounding NFTs. These are almost entirely due to the reliance of a few blockchains on Proof of Work mining, which leads to people filling warehouses full of chips in order to race to be the first to validate transactions. This, admittedly, included the chain on which Dastardly Ducks were released, Ethereum, which is in the process of phasing this out — but it will not be complete until later this year. These NFTs will wind up on Proof of Stake soon but are not yet.
However, we wowed people with a breakthrough smart contract that built off of work released just a week prior by another NFT project called Azuki. Though their launch did not allow for batch minting on the scale that we did, they released a white paper that proposed circumventing the way of minting NFTs that coders on Ethereum typically use — but with an indistinguishable end result in terms of what lives on the blockchain.
Though I explain how this works in greater detail on the smart contract’s GitHub page, the premise is simple enough for non-technical people to understand. Typically, NFTs, even when someone makes a bulk purchase, are minted individually. This means that a lot of resources are still consumed, and that consumption is reflected to the person buying in “gas” costs — which are often outrageous for bulk purchases.
We offered 12-pack “egg cartons” of Dastardly Ducks to hatch that encouraged people to mint a lot at the same time, which enabled us to mint the NFTs in bulk transactions on the blockchain using innovative techniques. This lead to dramatically lower gas costs that most buyers expected, with 12-pack buyers often paying less than 20% of the gas costs they expected due to how much more efficiently they are minted than the average Ethereum NFT — even among prestigious projects.
In order to solve environmental problems, we cannot pretend new technological innovations will go away, we must learn how to use them in responsible ways. Proof of Stake dramatically reduces the electrical consumption. Ethereum will use over 99.99% less power soon. But it is important also to find ways to use blockchains more efficient anyway.
Thank you for being a part of proving that clever engineering can both lead to growth while dramatically reducing resources consumed. As Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”