how we did it and what we learned

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Inspired by the potential of Web 3.0, our team at Band Protocol were on to disrupt how information in the (crypto) world is curated. We had big ideas and were ready to take on the world.

On a regular Saturday, while we were busy coding away, as usual, the market decided to also do its usual 2018 move — it crashed. We used to think $6,000 BTC was the floor, well, we could not be more wrong. Many of our favorite crypto companies had to do layoffs. Miners that we knew shut down their operations. And, many of our friends stopped talking about crypto altogether. This is generally not a good thing. It was truly a Saturday blue so we decided to play Exploding Kittens to relieve the tension. Yeah, we figured we should train ourselves to avoid getting rekt.

But, then came the eureka moment…

We quickly realized that this game was so simple yet so fun and could also be applied to crypto. Instead of avoiding the explosion, we avoid getting rekt in the crypto market. Instead of different animal cards, we can apply crypto memes and all the wrong things that happened during the last bull run, for example, those dubious practices like announcing 1,000 of non-existed partnerships. You may survive by playing various cards or doing special actions, such as secretly relocating an exploding kitten card, just like how you would secretly relocate from the US (or China) to Malta.

We quickly threw the game aside and started brainstorming. We want to make crypto fun again! Hours passed by, we were deep in the zone, making sure we have sourced the best crypto meme in the market. This can become a keepsake for everyone still believing and surviving the market crash.

By the next morning, we printed the cards out and tested over ten multiple variations. Shitcoin Survivors was no longer an idea. It became a real game. It’s a fun, fast-paced, crypto-themed card game you can play with your friends and family. The game is between 2–5 players and each player starts with 8 cards in their hands and a draw pile in the middle. The end goal is to NOT get rekt (a rekt card). Yep, just like real life.

Excited for what we had created, we also learned a few key things along the way:

  • The objective must be clear

We wanted Shitcoin Survivors to be fun AND funny. Thus, we made the cards easy to understand and relatable for most crypto people. These criteria prompted us to be laser-focused on the objective rather than our personal opinion of what is good and what is not. That means we couldn’t make fun of any shitcoin because most people might not understand (surprising but true, not everyone owns shitcoins).

It reminded us of design research philosophy, taking a customer point of view rather than our own when designing a product.

We came up with “Shitcoin Survivors” name through a consensus vote, neither delegation nor staking required. To us, the name refers to both the actual crypto users who are still following the market and the actual winner of the game (last man standing style). However, this name does create a barrier to advertise the game. While “shit” does not offend us, it seems to offend the mainstream media and placement ads so we couldn’t really advertise it as much as we’d like. Mainstream media loves our idea but the name is frowned upon. Nonetheless, we doubt that it will for our crypto friends.

Like real life, crypto is still frowned upon and faces a barrier to adoption. We think Web 3.0 is a good idea and the mainstream may be intrigued, but NOT everyone will support it. Thinking from a mainstream point of view is, therefore, important.

  • Balancing the game is very difficult

We went through many iterative processes: printing the cards out manually, trying them out, going back to the drawing board, adjusting parameters, such as the number of cards, the effect of Regulator card, the effect of People card, etc.

As with building a product, go-to-market is very difficult. There are many uncontrollable and external factors that influence how our ideas (and business) will pan out.

  • Start small but have a way to scale

Many of us wonder why we decided to start with an actual physical card instead of an online game, like one of those 1,000 dapps on EOS and Tron. It comes down to both MVP and objective of the game.

While we are confident in our meme-curating ability, we are not sure if the rest of the community will share a similar sense of humor. Building real online game will take a much longer time and resource to prove our point while designing actual cards and launching an Indiegogo campaign allow us to test our ideas within a matter of days.

We also want this to be fun and there is a reason why board game is still popular — the human interaction, the laugh and the inside joke make this game 100x better than playing in on a screen with a random dude on the other side of the world. We figure we can build an online game if this really becomes popular.

This sounds remarkably like how we should approach our crypto solution. Instead of spending millions of dollar and years trying to build a breakthrough solution (and delay your listing, ahem), maybe all we need is a small incremental solution that we can iterate on. #shipordie

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