Letter 13: A Curious Year of Lessons
On Curious, HeyMint, Launchpad, and what comes next
Time is a funny thing: a year can pass in an instant, or plod on for eternity.
Web3 somehow does both.
The repetitive nature of the degen lifestyle risks putting us all on auto-pilot as we drudge our way through day to day. But at the same time, the space we reside in is one that can slow to a halt the moment we are forced to learn new skills and adapt, or are put into unfamiliar territory, (which is ALL. THE. TIME).
I’m no exception. I feel as though only a few weeks have passed since I started my job, yet here I am, tasked with reflecting upon how a year has already come and gone for Curious Addys.
So today I’m going to do something a bit different—I’m going to get nostalgic.
It’s time to celebrate our accomplishments of the past year. In doing so, hopefully it helps illuminate the work and adaptation that goes into just a single year of being in crypto, NFTs, or web3.
Our First Year
“I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me, but because of the path that lies behind me.” - Morpheus
So what exactly did we do in our first year? That is an excellent question, but one without a simple answer.
We first popped onto the scene during our NFT launch for Curious Addys, selling 5,000 Addys at 0.08 ETH. This was done despite the fact that we did not have luck on our side: when we launched on November 10th, 2021, Ethereum was at an all time high, pushing $4800 (as I write this, ETH is sitting at a meager $1200 USD).
Fun fact: we initially had a price window in mind and were considering going as high as 0.1 ETH, but dropped it down to 0.08 before launch to account for the price surge.
Curious Addys has the notable honor of being the first NFT collection to feature a 100 day refund option baked straight into the smart contract! Refunds, while risky, turned out to be a smart decision. Not only was it a great demonstration of the power, customization, and trustless nature of smart contracts, it—coupled with our transparent and doxed team—helped to establish early branding and trust in our product at a time where rug pulls were even more common than they are today, and most people chose to remain anonymous.
Behind the scenes, we also built a reputation as consummate smart contract developers. We’ve been fortunate to work with so many amazing people. Over the past year we’ve helped Zeneca launch the ZenAcademy Genesis and ZenAcademy 333 collections, Kingship, Code Green - Heal Pass, World of Women Galaxy, Amber Vittoria’s Memories of a Masterpiece, The Littles Frens as well as their interactive Playside game.
Our actions have not gone unnoticed, as over the past year we have gotten the attention of Forbes, Nas Daily, Messari, Okcoin, Wired, Elle, PBS, and more.
Zeneca: A Thought Leader & Compass for Web3
It cannot be overstated how much Zeneca has done for us, both as an advisor and as a friend.
His support, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the space was particularly essential in our earliest days, and went a long way to helping our project become a success. Many of our earliest members were people who only took a chance on us after seeing our association with him, and the kind words he had to say about us.
That relationship has only strengthened over time, as ZenAcademy and Curious Addys are now officially sister communities.
If you aren’t already following Zeneca, Zencaps, or Zendaily, you’re missing out on free gold.
Fun fact: after his earliest shout-out about us, literally thousands of members joined our ranks on Discord in a matter of hours. It was like a raid—if raids were positive and made of curious well-wishers. I was there when it happened, and the all-nighter I pulled to welcome and inform the new members is what drew Mai and Ben’s attention, and took me from just a passionate member, to a part of the team.
Another pivotal relationship we formed early on was with Randi Zuckerberg; we were also lucky to count ourselves among the first cohort of groupHUG, the creative accelerator by Randi and her co-founder Debbie Soon.
Randi has taken the leap into all things web3, become an innovator in the space, and been an all-around champion for Curious Addys.
Fun fact: we were introduced to Randi through Ally, one of the co-founders of Meta Angels and CEO of Stellar, who we first befriended on our Discord server.
Bonus Fun fact: Randi’s first minted NFT were actually two Curious Addys NFTs!
Nuseir Yassin is the founder and CEO of Nas Company. He rose to fame by creating 1000 one minute videos about literally any subject that fascinated him. Our CTO, Ben Yu, first met Nuseir at Harvard, and was the subject of a number of his videos.
Curious Addys was also featured by Nas Daily earlier this year, in which Nuseir met up with Mai & Ben to speak about NFTs.
Nuseir has since explored a number of web3 ventures, and begun developing courses about it. We partnered with his company Nas Academy, making three web3 related courses, including: Master NFTs in 7 Days, Crypto for Beginners, & How to Get Started with Web3 Development (all of which have since been folded into a larger curriculum they’ve developed).
Fun fact: Mai & Ben first met each other through Nuseir, in Japan!
Earlier this year we debuted Curious.xyz, a Q&A site which enables people to ask any question they might have about web3 and get it answered, be it about NFTs, crypto, DeFi, smart contracts, or more. With over 1700 questions already asked on the platform, it goes to show the benefit in having a trusted location where anyone can find the answers they seek.
Curious features a leaderboard, and badges which can be won as certain criteria are met. It also rewards new users to the platform who ask or answer a question with a lovely piece of art by Vintage Mozart (sent out to our new users about once per month).
Curious.xyz was also many people’s first experience with a SBT (soulbound token), a non-transferable form of NFT which has many specific use cases. On our platform, this “Curious Credential” can be earned by asking and answering a certain number of questions. Once received, you can see your details dynamically update as you use the platform, anytime you view it on OpenSea.
While Curious.xyz may not be our main focus at the moment (it’s simmering as we attend to Launchpad and some other plans on the horizon), we still see a lot of potential in the platform, particularly once a new bull run emerges and the space is overrun with new users who have nothing but questions.
Fun fact: before we had a name for it, Curious was called Ember. Traces of that origin can still be seen in the flame shaped logo with the e inside of it.
With more than 68k+ collectors, 227k+ entries, and 3k+ allowlists, HeyMint, our free allowlist manager, was built and launched in a bear market to better support creators who didn’t want to spend the exorbitant fees of some of our competitors. We’ve already saved creators millions of dollars in unnecessary fees; a gesture we believe is good for the growth of the market, especially during these uncertain and volatile times.
Launching and discovering allowlists with HeyMint is easy as pie and remains completely free for all of our users.
Although our newest product, Launchpad has already seen numerous contract deployments and is quickly proving to be the most robust no-code smart contract generator on the market. Launchpad enables anyone—even with no knowledge of programming or Solidity—the ability to launch their own project, and do anything you’d expect: setting public and presale prices, creating allowlists (with HeyMint), determining your max mints per wallet/transaction, as well as handling art generation, metadata, mint buttons, and anything else you may need.
We also have a growing list of premium features including: marketplace blocklisting, soulbinding, staking, refunding, loaning, free claims, burn to mint, and whatever else our users require. Development continues at a breakneck pace, as more and more features will continue to roll out over the coming months.
For the time being, Launchpad is also completely free. However, we will be implementing monetization in the future. At that point, all of our standard features will remain free, but premium features such as staking, refunds, and so forth will have a small charge. We should have more specific details about what that entails towards the end of the year or the beginning of next.
Between our allowlist manager and our no-code smart contract generator, we can help every step of the way in bringing your collection to the world!
It seems pretty obvious, but I’ve gotta assume that if you’re reading this, you’re already aware of our newsletter.
With the bear market setting in, and more time on our hands, our newsletter was born as a Substack, with the first letter published July 26th, 2022. For those who prefer Revue, we’re there as well, although I write and optimize all of our newsletters on Substack.
The first seven letters were written on a weekly basis in order to build up a foundation of content. We’ve since moved to roughly every other week, and may continue to experiment with timing, but you can expect at least two high quality letters each month.
This marks our 13th letter, and I have no intention of stopping. To the contrary, we’ve seen a good amount of growth since the beginning (both in subscribers and views) and even in a bear market where everyone is leaving, people seem to keep finding and enjoying our content.
If you haven’t already, I’d love it if you hit that button below!
One of our core strengths as a team is being willing to explore and experiment with any idea that tickles our fancy.
In the same year that we brought out Curious, HeyMint, and Launchpad, we also had four other releases in various stages of completion, which are currently on the back burner. That’s not to say that any of the following are shelved forever, but our attention is certainly focused elsewhere for the time being.
Experiment 1: Virtual Trading Platform
Early on, we made a virtual trading platform for our users which would follow the market and allow you to simulate investing and monitoring 100k of pretend money into whatever cryptocurrencies you chose. We did this so that people new to crypto could try their hand at playing the market without any of the risk.
Although it’s still up and works reasonably well, it never really caught on with our community.
Experiment 2: Curious Addys’ Interactive Tutorial
There was a time very early on when Curious Addys was considering making a game.
While we definitely pivoted not long after, we did end up exploring and launching an interactive tutorial meant to guide newcomers in learning the basics: setting up their first wallet, minting their first NFT (a cute turtle), and teaching them how to use the secondary market to buy and sell (a hermit crab).
I won’t bother sharing the link to the tutorial, as the first part required us to send you MATIC, and the second part required the use of the Rinkeby testnet, which has been depreciated since October 2022.
Fun Fact: if you’re in our Discord server and type /octofacts you’ll be treated to some delightful octopus knowledge (verified and provided by OctoNation). Did you know that an octopus’s polarized vision allows them to see nearly invisible critters, like jellyfish? Or that Octopus eyes focus like a camera, with the lens moving in or out (as opposed to our eyes, which use muscles to squeeze the lens to focus)? Cool, right?
Experiment #3: Portfolio Tracker
The Portfolio Tracker was built for our community by request as a simple and free alternative to paid ones on the market.
It monitored total cost, total value, floor price, % growth, and more. It would also factor in your gas charges at the time of purchase, and allow you to manually override values whenever needed.
While it worked well at the time, it’s no longer in tip-top shape, which can mostly be attributed to a slight dependence on OpenSea’s janky API and the fact that, once again, it didn’t make a whole lot of waves in our community.
Experiment #4: Octodad (Custom Discord Bot)
Something we never advertised much, Octodad is a custom Discord bot we built for our server (and which we’ve lent to a few of our friends and partners). It was never made commercially available, as we were just using it to solve our own problems within Discord.
Octodad is fitted with a lot of lovely security features, a robust banning system, can scan for infractions, and more. We also use Octodad to disperse POAP claim links for prizes and events, gather wallet addresses from the community, and so on. It has a number of other features as well, but those will remain secret for the time being.
Fun fact: we also used Octodad to run our Q&A platform entirely within Discord, before deciding to make curious.xyz.
Lessons Learned & The Year Ahead
Over the past year, Curious Addys Inc. has gone from just the married co-founders Mai Akiyoshi (CEO) and Ben Yu (CTO), to a team of around a dozen passionate individuals who have all happily executed a number of projects together and learned a lot in the process.
So what’s next?
Well, the year isn’t over yet, and we’re still looking to refine and expand our products that are already on the market: Curious, HeyMint, and Launchpad are all things we are quite proud of, and we plan to build off of those accomplishments.
For next year, 2023 will be a year of continued growth, monetization, and experimentation.
This newsletter too, will continue to grow alongside it. The best thing about web3 is the endless rabbit hole of subjects you can pursue, and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.
This is a constantly evolving space; we’re here to explore it to the fullest.
Written by: Brad Jaeger
Director of Content @ Curious Addys (say hi on Twitter!)
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Curious Addys to the moon!