Little Butterfly

Telmo Correa
Feb 16, 2019 · 3 min read
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Picture of a fleeting memory

This story begins at the start of the new year.

A game jam competition goes live, on itch.io, celebrating works that had just entered the public domain in 2019, from all the way back in 1923:

While digging through the list of potential works, a convergence of ideas happens:

  • The song about butterflies leads itself well to exploring social connections between people
  • Art for butterflies would be very pretty
  • The game jam criteria allows for games that can be played on a browser window
  • I wanted to work with a few friends from Brazil
  • I wanted to sink my teeth into building a proof-of-concept ERC-721 project, with tokens that have their observed properties changing over time, even without user interaction

… and, from these, Little Butterfly was born.

The story for the game is simple:

  • Upon joining, you receive a flower avatar and one butterfly token.
  • Butterflies will turn into ghosts if they are not given away to another flower within 24 hours, at which point their time resets. Ghost butterflies can no longer be given away.
  • Visits from a butterfly are a one-time affair; once it is given away, it may never be transferred to you again.
  • Butterflies, whether alive or not, may be burned, moving on.

Whenever you give away (or burn) a butterfly, it leaves behind another token, a heart with its memories. This token is also a collectible, and have no restrictions on transfers.

Initial game idea was received to great success, launching just before the deadline, linking to the website domain:

… but the conversion rates we were seeing were less than impressive:

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itch.io analytics

In hindsight, this makes sense — no intentional advertisement had been made for the game, and while MetaMask is great for people who are already familiar with cryptocurrency, trying to reach a new audience is a bit trying.

The UX had not been targeted for mobile, at the time, either. Enter Fortmatic:

The idea behind their product is great — allow people to interface with the blockchain through their cellphones, without needing to install special software. The account is managed by Fortmatic, though Sean has mentioned that there may be plans to allow exporting the keys in the future.

I found their product still during private alpha, and had a great support experience. Now people might be able to look at their butterflies, flowers, and hearts on their cellphones — and let them go more easily.

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Login with your phone number

As a bonus, for the Rinkeby test network, they also add 1 ETH when signing up — all the better for new user retention. Thanks Fortmatic!

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Free 1 Rinkeby ETH when first joining

Now, some links:

  • Code for Little Butterfly is released at GitHub.
  • Contracts are verified on Etherscan for mainnet, Ropsten, Rinkeby and Kovan — Fortmatic currently only supports Rinkeby and mainnet, but that may expand in the future.

Have fun!

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