How I became a Crypto Quadrillionaire without writing a single line of code…
People that know me know that I think that most “crypto tokens” are a joke. While there certainly are innovations in this wild-world of cryptographic ledgers and even some of the coin based projects built on top of them, for each one of those there are at least 1000 absolute garbage projects. When those projects have tokens or coins, we affectionately call them “shitcoins” in the business. Their only real value in this world is to speculate on a price rise then dump on less sophisticated and unsuspecting n00bs, turning them into your bagholders who have lost so much money they only have an unshakeable belief in the vision you made up left. As my friend Tim Swanson and I have joked, those that have figured this out, and mastered this cycle become “coin nihilists”:
But what if we could take this one step further? What if we could use the amazing Austrian economics embedded with the tokenomics to execute a token that is all pump, but with none of the dump? Perhaps we could execute the next step in crypto nihilism…
Enter PitchToken Klassic… or PTK for those in the know…
First a little story time, generously written up by my friend Tim at the time, and re-posted here after coerced agreement.
Just before the Deconomy event in Seoul last April, a few of us nihilists had arrived early.
After several beers and pizzas we concocted a really dumb coin that was so silly, that there is no way it could exist: enter Pitch Token. The gist of it is: someone who wants to pitch an idea to you, has to first pay you in pitch tokens. And then, if the investor likes the idea, the investor will invest pitch tokens back into your company. And you can’t sell the pitch tokens for less than they were bought for because of a centralized order book: all pump, no dump! Circular flow of a useless coin!
Well, a few of us decided to spread the good word of pitch token at Deconomy. And after Day 1, one of us had the bright idea to Google it (yours truly). Turns out that someone already made it and even did an ICO with that Pitch name. Sad, there is no more satire in this world : (
So not missing a stride, Tim did what anyone else would have in his shoes: announced a fork, Pitch Token Klassic, which is more in-line with the original fake philosophy but this time, with negative gamma block times. And also DLT all the way down. Just wait for the grey paper and squiggly maths.
Fast forward to this September. Meltem Demirors, a crypto hedge fund manager, put out what I thought was a silly Tweet.
I’ve been critical of the ICO space, but will admit that I have helped companies working in the space (my advice has generally been to not do an ICO) and even attended a conference or two that received ICO sponsorship, including one run by a supranational organisation. Unfortunately, I was unable to flip my plane tickets for 100x on to retail clients like many VCs do with ICO tokens, which would have made her point more apt, but I digress…
Wanting to feel left out of the ICO economy no more, I decided to embark on the path to not only become part of the shitcoin economy (tm), but to become a majority of it. I was also determined to not waste any of my time on the useless part of crypto… coding… so went straight for the “BUIDL” option of having a beer, Tweeting a lot and using already available GUI tools.
Having already built a “community” with PitchToken Klassic (we have Telegram and WhatsApp groups that served to organise ourselves whilst in Seoul), I figured that half the battle was already won. And so decided that publishing a whitepaper would be unnecessary.
The next step was to launch the token. While drinking beers with friends on a recent trip to London, I learnt that our good friends over at ConsenSys made it all too easy with the TokenFactory. I also had to do the onerous steps of downloading the Brave Browser, MetaMask, and acquring Ether (ETH) — I already had about 0.2 ETH floating around from a giveaway, which was more than enough. This took me a grand total of 5 minutes, then I was good to go.
The TokenFactory was incredibly simple, give your token a name, decide how many tokens you wanted then hit go (MetaMask makes you confirm things, but that is just a click-through).
At the time, it cost about $3.18 in gas to pay for the creation of my ERC20 token. Behind the scenes commands were sent to the Ethereum network and PTK went live: https://etherscan.io/tx/0x53d4372b7647f5af6a3836bad17ece70e199cca6698aec06566625cec3f1442e
I realised shortly thereafter that I had made a mistake, and that those 17 decimal places went to the left of the supply, not the right, so rather than 15.3 Billion, I had only created 0.000153… Also this is permanently in the Ethereum blockchain… oops.
Undeterred by this setback and still armed with spare ETH to throw at the problem, I soldiered on. So I went back to the Ye Olde TokenFactory and tried again (which someone pointed out was technically a fork within the first hours of existence), this time with less decimals and more zeros. A few moments later, success:
Now I had Billions of worthless tokens. While I already felt rich (despite being $6.50 in ETH poorer), I needed external proof to the world through the only thing that mattered coin market capitalisation! Because PTK is a decentralised movement I skipped over the needless task of going to Binance, Coinbase or one of the other centralised platforms which didn’t vibe with the decentralised ethos of PTK (or my $40 budget… or my desire to not get in trouble with the SEC).
Because I couldn’t take the risk of having someone dump PTK, I figured that I should outsource the management of the price of PTK to someone I trusted, myself. I’d also heard good things about what wash trading can do for a token, so decided to give that a shot! On the plus side, because PTK was on Ethereum, which is “sufficiently decentralised”, it followed that everything that happened from here out was equally decentralised (sorry SEC Director Hinman, no take backsies!).
The first stop was over to Instex, a new Decentralised Exchange (DEX) that will let anyone trade any ERC20 token. Permissionless Innovation!
After reading the spartan documentation, which mainly consisted of a Medium post and a couple of Tweets, I thought that I had it figured out. Instex and several other DEXs use something called “wrapped ETH” or WETH to trade against tokens. You can think of it like turning ETH into an ERC20 token which can be redeemed against ETH later.
I needed to have a trading partner, so I setup a second wallet on MetaMask, named “PTK_bagholder” (the first being “PTK_baller”). But again, all of this was highly decentralised.
For a first trade, any good ICO needs to trade at a reasonable price to give proper upside, so it was decided to go with 1 PTK = 0.00005 ETH or about $0.0113 at the time. Given that there are 15.3 Billion tokens that would produce a respectable $173 million market cap. As PTK_baller and PTK_bagholder only had a small amount of ETH dedicated to this project, the volume would have to be small, 100 PTK or about $1.13 would do the trick (market cap only looks at the level of the trade, not the volume).
PTK_baller set an offer, and PTK_bagholder matched (it was all decentralised of course, because blockchain!). After sitting and waiting 30 minutes, I then decided that something was wrong with Instex. So the orders were cancelled and I found an alternative, Tokenjar.io.
TokenJar is another DEX, which does essentially the same things as Instex, but gave me a nice short, easy to remember address for PTK trading, which was nice of them.
Frustrated with the experience over at Instex, it was felt that PTK had had enough BUIDLing to merit a higher market cap, so PTK_baller and PTK_bagholder decided, independently and at an arm’s length, to trade 1 PTK for 0.009 ETH or about $2.03 ($31 billion market cap, or about $8 billion more than ETH at the time).
Obviously everyone was excited with the rapid progress of PTK, getting listed on the same day as your ICO is a token’s raison d’etre.
The decentralised network of PTK traders traded a few more times, moving the price up to 1 PTK = 10 ETH, or about a $2 260 per PTK, which gave a $3.5 Trillion market cap (vive le Pitchening!). This seemed close to fair for a few hours’ work by the hard working PTK team, also MetaMask was acting up and I was leaving for the weekend.
I had forgotten that there was one trade left on and the next day, while I was contemplating life from next to a field in the depths of Brittany I had noticed that PTK had dropped from 1 PTK = 10 ETH to parity with ETH. Sacrebleu! While this was a major setback for the team, they decided that a sell-off was a natural correction and that the technical analysis suggested that this was a setup for the moon shot.
Monday morning rolled around, and I needed to share this story with the world. PTK_baller and PTK_bagholder also decided that they weren’t done trading. Through completely independent market forces, which were likely attributable to the underlying fundamental analysis of the PTK community, the market bought the price up to 1 PTK = 100 ETH ($23 200), then 1 PTK = 1 000 ETH ($232 000). Being a relatively large PTK holder myself — with meagre 100% of the total supply (though I have promised to send Swanson $1 Trillion in PTK to compensate for using his likeness in this post, I guess this means that calling him a ‘nocoiner’ is no longer accurate)— I was quite happy to see my investment rise from $0 to, a rather respectable, $3.6 Quadrillion after a mere 3 days.
Of course, now that I had become richer than Craig Wright himself, I wanted for only one thing, a chart for PTK. Luckily, the good people over a TokenJar were already ahead of me:
Given all this decentralised trading going on, it was no surprise that PTK had become one of the most heavily traded pairs on TokenJar that day (it was at #2 but I forgot to do a screenshot then).
Several hours later PTK had the honour of being traded on another DEX, EtherDelta, which was the first DEX on Ethereum (afaik). Having a second venue makes a token legitimate, so this was great progress, as a result the price rose somewhat to 1 PTK = 1 107.67 ETH (~$258 310). A cool $3.95 Quadrillion market cap.
For the next steps, we also look forward to CoinMarketCap recognising PTK’s #1 ranking, with approximately 34 500 times the market cap of Bitcoin.
Until then I will be HODLing PTK and picking out which Lambos I want to drive on the moon…