TL;DR — Radi.Cards — the first NFT eCards. We let you send eCards to your friends using crypto.
It’s (crypto) winter and it’s not true that there will be nothing good come out of it.
Few months back
I’ve joined the Ethereum community by designing analytics for Non-Fungible Token (NFT) called CryptoDecks.co with two good friends, Toby and Diego. New to the scene and being a designer, the only way to learn is “the hard way” as doses of crypto knowledge are to be taken after breakfast everyday. The world of decentralized application is not the most user-friendly place but my goal is to turn it into one. So I’ve learned, I’ve failed, I’ve succeeded and yet I’ve failed again. This is the usual cycle of life.
People in the Ethereum community build things that not so many people in the world could appreciate but we do not give in to that. If we don’t succeed at first, we try harder to make our work more useful and usable and if we fail, we learn and then we get back up and try again. This is the usual cycle of life. And I know that these people are my kind of people. So I’ve made a lot of friends.
Cryptocurrency prices crash. I knew about it when I was at the conference taking place in Berlin. My friends sent me a couple of screenshots of the downward slopes of the crypto prices. Some days after, stories about companies’ funds being cut and people losing their jobs are all over the place. “Growth” is the anti-thesis of this phase.
Beloved NFT ghetto
I’ve always thought of the NFT projects as a some sort of a warm designer/artist ghetto corner in the crypto universe. People residing in the same ghetto tend to know each other pretty well. We may have our projects running at the same time but nonetheless we’re friends. We make some profits but not much and by much I mean Augur’s much not Apple’s much.
Users interested in NFTs are more art collectors than crypto traders. Two key concepts in art are scarcity and authenticity, which we replicate digitally by issuing such “unique tokens”.
People collect for various reasons. Some, to make money. But most people do it for an inner motivation — collecting is, in fact, one of the most basic human behavior.
Few weeks back
Toby called me up in the afternoon to talk about an idea of an NFT as a gift for this holiday season. I thought it was a good idea but it still does not make so much sense to “gift the collectible”. Why would someone buy something that one likes so much to give away. This goes against human behavior. Aren’t we all more of a hoarder, a forager, a gatherer than a giver?
Then it led me thinking — what do people tend to give as a gift during this season? For sure there are Christmas gifts. But this is only limited to the Christian culture. From where I come from, where 96% of the population is Buddhist, we do not celebrate the birth of Jesus the same way as people do around here. Ours involve a commercial version of Santa Claus and a lot of walk around the shiny shopping malls.
But there is one common behavior. People from all cultures do send cards.
Cards are the kind of gift that transcend cultures and religions. Although the content of each card may be subject to cultural relativity, the card itself is not.
Why don’t we mint NFT as a card instead of a gift. I told Toby who didn’t need to be further convinced.
Fun but good
Making holiday cards with friends is for sure more fun than doing it alone at home.
This NFT card project is meant to do with friends and better yet — to do it as a way to give back to the Internet community. First we talked to Diego, a full stack engineer and our co-founder from CryptoDecks. Then our friends Andy, James and David from KnownOrigin and Jon and Charles from SuperRare. They are all in. These two projects are the top of league when it comes to aesthetic on the blockchain. Perhaps our NFT card ideas are not that bad after all.
More friends are joining forces few days after. Daniel a stellar designer from Pheme, Matty from MetaCartel and Chris from Registree. Following the spirit of decentralization, our team consists of people from all over the globe from the UK, Thailand, Italy, South Africa and New Zealand.
In addition, we’ve partnered up with many projects in the community: Ethberlin, 0xcert.org, blockcities.co, bounties.network, blockpunk.net, churchofconsensus.org, metacartel, opensea.io, colony.io, astroledger.org. Not to mention talented artists who donated their artwork to the project: 0xbull, Cristiana Vettor, XCOPY, uly128, Ophelia Fu, HEX0x6C, Stina Jones, Aktiv Protesk, Hugh D’Andrade, Hernan Wave, Stas Leontyev, laazeecat and Oficinas TK.
This is going to be fun.
Our plan is to work on this project on a pro-bono fashion and to give all income after deducting gas costs to the charities which have aligned values and goals with the Ethereum community. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is on the top of our list.
Earlier this year, I went to Devcon and had a chance to listen to one of the best talks in years. I first went in the room half asleep and got woken up by the guy on the stage talking about how “Code is speech” is recognized by the US government as a result of the winning case in the 9th circuit court and Appellate division. If they didn’t, encryption stronger than what a Raspberry Pi can handle would all be outlawed.
This guy was in fact Cory Doctorow, whom I didn’t know back then that he was known among the cyber punk community. I got his name from Mamie from the Ethereum Foundation as I was asking for the name of the guy who talked about “Code is speech”. Cory was kind enough to later intro me to the Development Director of EFF, Aaron Jue, who gave us full support on our initiative.
With a limited amount of time and resources we got down to building. Firstly the designers from our collective started to flesh out some basic wireframes and UX flows on Figma. Once we had a rough idea of the structure and flow we were after we then got down to the #BULD.
BlockRocket, the guys who built KnownOrigin, got a basic ERC721 contract built and tested with a simple vue.js front end project and build pipeline going to wire it all together. We decided the first release would be as simple as possible in regards to the tech, deciding to go for a client side only webapp utilising IPFS for card images and using Infura as our access point into the network. Once we had a rough and ready working version myself, Chris, Diego, Matt, Daniel and the rest of the team got down to making it look and feel slick. What we have ended up with is a simple but effective first release or MVP where future iterations can build on top of this.
Best things in (Internet) life are for free
True love, friendship, compassion and sympathy are uncontestedly some of the best things in life and you never have to pay for them (for those who live by paid-for type of love or friendship, I sympathize with you). For most of us, Internet is in this category (re: best thing in life). What would our lives be like if we have to pay for all the knowledge and all the fun we can get online?
Free Internet is the foundation of free societies. Therefore, the best things on the Internet should be free. That’s why we knew right away that all the cards on RadiCards should be free as well. After all, it’s a deep dark crypto winter and many people have just lost their jobs. They shouldn’t be forced to donate if they don’t feel comfortable to do so. By giving RadiCards away for free, everyone can help spread the word about our fundraising effort for EFF. Also, we make sure that this will happen by borrowing the magic power of cats.
Joy by the year’s end
It took two weeks and a boat full of commitment from our team to design, develop and deliver RadiCards dapp. We take care that your friends and families who are crypto noobs can enjoy RadiCards as much as you do. For the first time in the NFT history [add a hero-theme song here] you can send NFT to friends by email and via chat app.
Oh and we also have a feature where you can add a censorship-resistant message at the back of the card. The message will be public — but imagine for a second — that no governments, no authorities, not even us can take down your message because it will be on the blockchain. The decision is all yours. What will you say?
How does it work, you may ask. First you pick your most favorite RadiCard, pay for gas,* add recipient’s email address or ETH wallet address, add censorship-resistant message and voila!
You can send RadiCards to anyone without ETH wallet address but as a sender you need to have one. There would be no problem for us, technical-wise, to make an Internet standard eCard of the Web2.0 but we refuse to do so. We do believe that a small dose of education of the decentralized web is needed as we want you to know that you have a safer, more private and secure way to enjoy the Internet. CryptoKitties is one among the dapps out there that helps onboard so many new people into the decentralized web and we do hope we will be the next.
So now it’s your turn.
RadiCards is now live on Ethereum mainnet. All you need to do is install an ETH wallets (MetaMask, Trust wallet, Coinbase wallet, Status), get your first ETH from the exchange (Coinbase, BitStamp, Gemini, BitBay) and you are ready to rock.
Have a lovely time by the year’s end and we hope to see you soon at https://radi.cards.
To get updates about the radiCards project, follow us on Twitter @radi_cards and soon we will be publishing more stories on Pheme.app