Subject matter experts often have an eccentric and quirky nature.
Keir Finlow-Bates is no exception. Keir has the ability to convey highly technical information in a consumable format, coupled with timely humor. I've thoroughly enjoyed his in-depth presentations on all things Blockchain.
He's a Blockchain developer/ researcher, SME (top 1%) in the blockchain dev field. He's warmly referred to as "The Blockchain Gandalf" within the Developer community. He's also the author of the book "Move Over Brokers Here Comes The Blockchain" – an educational, entertaining, and irreverent exploration of the significance of blockchain technology. Although he is British, he lives in Finland for its gentle climate, low taxes, and cheap alcohol.
As the title suggests Finlow-Bates is the architect behind the biggest airdrop the Ethereum world has ever seen. He added " And it's even more pointless than $DOGE. What a fun start to 2022." Previous to the airdrop Keir had developed on Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Finlow-Bates recounted how a sleepless night turned into an epic coding endeavor, that went straight onto Ethereum Mainnet, with no Testnet in sight.
"Last night I couldn't sleep. So, I did what any sensible Solidity developer would do - I got up and wrote and deployed an ERC20 token contract on the Ethereum mainnet that I believe constitutes the largest token airdrop ever seen."
He went on to say "It is called DETS, and every single Ethereum address has received 100 of them. Yes, every single address, making it the biggest airdrop in Ethereum history, to the best of my knowledge.
Here's a link to the contract on Etherscan: https://etherscan.io/address/0xe7c4F86Ab703343b055433ceE05252158cbb305B
Yep, that's right. Every Ethereum wallet address or contract address that exists or may exist in the future currently has a balance of 100 DETS. Unless they transfer some away to someone else.
Even Vitalik Buterin currently has at least hundred of them (see: 100000000000000000000 wei DETS in address 0xAb5801a7D398351b8bE11C439e05C5B3259aeC9B):
Now, an Ethereum address consists of 40 hexadecimal characters. And for each character there are sixteen possible options, namely 0 to 9 and A to F. If you paid attention during the combinatorics section of your mathematics curriculum, you would know that there are a total of 16^40 possible ETH addresses possible.
Which is about 1.5 quindecillion token airdrops, for a total value of 0.15 sexdecillion DETS.
We are talking about numbers with forty-eight or more zeroes following them, so ... pretty big ones. With really cool and suggestive names."
"You can't," says Keir. "Because that's not how tokens work, and this affords me a great opportunity to explain how tokens on the Ethereum blockchain."
A token contract is a ledger, that keeps track of who owns what, and ensures that the balances can only be changed by the person (or contract) holding the private key to a public key with a balance recorded against it.
This is similar to the way in which a bank keeps a ledger of who owns how much money and is supposed to only change the balance of a bank account balance if the account holder requests it. Or their delegated accountant.
Or the government, if they want to seize assets. Or an embezzling bank employee. Or the automated charging software for standing orders.
So, just as your bank balance isn't "in your wallet" in the real world (it's on a database in a bank IT center), your token balance isn't "in your crypto-wallet".
As a Solidity developer, I can deploy a contract that instantiates a token ledger, which says that your Ethereum address has a balance of those tokens.
"I like explaining things about blockchain - just go to my YouTube channel if you don't believe me. There are over 600 short videos there covering all sorts of interesting things about the technology, psychology, sociology, and philosophy of blockchain.
I also wrote about the risks associated with airdrops. Some of the contracts involved contain malicious code (sometimes carefully concealed so a cursory glance or even a one- or two-day audit won't reveal them).
Some of the airdrops use social engineering to orchestrate a pump and dump. It's the wild west out there, so be careful, and don't rush in on a wave of FOMO. Consider every transaction you make and every request on a web3 site you sign carefully.
Note that DETS does not involve any web3 websites or signing random nonces, so that risk isn't present here."
In closing I asked Keir if he had any closing thoughts: "Blockchain development is like writing poetry. You would think that the restrictions and rules imposed would be limiting, but for some reason they actually help you find meaning in surprising places and surprises in meaningful places."