SNAILTREE - a catastrophe on the blockchain

End the year with a bang… to your wallet

There’s a hundred different ways to use your cryptocurrency. 99 of these are about taking your money.

Snail games aim to turn losing propositions into fun game theory experiments, where you might even make a profit.

So far, we’ve got:

Meshing pyramids like P3D with fomogames like F3D, and sprinkling it with a little bit of idle gaming. With smoother curves and extra payouts from other games, it’s meant as longterm value for everyone involved.

In essence, SnailThrone is a gamified developer fee players can share. This way, Snail games can be truly decentralized: there is no hardcoded rentseeking for the developer, but instead a share of the ether flows into the Throne.

As volume decreases, the remaining SnailThrone players enjoy a greater share of external profits. And when volume increases, SnailThrone players can make ETH as in a traditional pyramid or fomogame. In the grand scheme of things, the expected value turns positive for longtime holders, regardless of their entry point.

Fleshing out the concept of idlefarms such as the shrimp game, with expanded features. The game turns into a race with a very low cost of entry, where the right moves could net a nice payout for smart players.

SnailFarm 3 is a competition, with the underlying goal of sustainability. As each player spends a little to try their chance, their sum can replenish the contract beyond the victory pot.

This scenario has played out so far, as the pot grew from 0.5 ETH in the first round to almost 1 ETH by Round 7. We will see how the situation changes in the following weeks.

To be released tomorrow at 4pm GMT, SnailTree is a high-risk mock HYIP scheme, and the main topic of this article.

There’s no actual Snails in SnailTree, so enjoy this image instead

What’s a “HYIP”?

High-Yield Investment Programs are websites offering extremely high returns on investment, typically on a daily basis.

They’re Ponzi scams.

Targeting unsophisticated investors, these scams make no effort to specify the source of their returns. The magic word “investment” is coupled with a top-level domain, and fake testimonials encourage the next sucker to fill the pockets of the previous entrants.

Provided the website owners don’t simply take the money and run!

As tempting as this model is (we love money as much as anyone else), SnailTree is going a slightly different route.

The long con: provide real value, grow your community. Then poof, money

Finding the Problem

The first obvious issue: in centralized solutions, HYIP owners can run with the money at any time.

Thanks to Ethereum, we don’t have to worry about that. A smart contract with verified source on Etherscan guarantees no exitscam can occur. As long as the code is simple enough, those who know can audit, and those who don’t know can trust those who do.

Let’s move on to the way a HYIP works.

People deposit their money, and are able to withdraw x% per day.

Once x% * days is above 100%, the earliest investors start making a profit. Off the back of new money…

The more volume there is, the more people can make a return. But as earlier entrants never stop getting a profit, the winner to loser ratio inevitably decreases, and the scheme collapses once the flow of new money cannot sustain payouts.

The only “strategy” in a HYIP is to get in early, and convince enough fools to bail you out. This doesn’t make for much of a game!

This is a real game. Or so we’ve heard

Building the Solution

SnailTree starts by following the usual premise: we promise an unreasonably high 4% per day. Once you “invest” your ether, you become the proud owner of a digital Tree, which constantly produces ether. You can withdraw that ether at any moment.

(But let’s not claim those returns are coming from “investments” in the global bank of Turkmenistan. You only get as much as comes into the smart contract.)

Then, we add new things to the formula: a jackpot, and some pseudo-tokens players can use to try to claim that jackpot.

Once a player wins the jackpot, a new round starts.

Splitting the game in rounds let us fix the permanence of early entrants: when a player joins a new round, his Tree is slashed by 20%.

A player’s Tree will never disappear; yet over the longrun, unattended Trees become small enough their payouts are irrelevant.

This is Chad. Chad likes to come after a round ends

This takes care of impossibly endless returns, but doesn’t fix the early entrant problem. What can we do about that?

Let’s go back to the pseudo-tokens. Called “Pecans” to keep on with the Tree theme, these tokens can be given at any time to the smart contract to rise a global progress bar.

The player who fills up the progress bar wins the round jackpot.

There wouldn’t be much incentive to give Pecans if their use boiled down to fill up the bar. Players would hoard Pecans until they had enough to fill up the bar in one swoop, all by themselves.

So, we reward Pecan gifts with ETH. The formula incentivizes giving Pecans early; which creates a choice between a guaranteed reward now, or a gamble on the chance you might be the one to fill the bar and win the jackpot.

Choose carefully

Players receive Pecans from two sources.

First, whenever they claim their ETH rewards from their Tree, they also receive a number of Pecans.

We’ll address the second source of Pecans later.

While ETH rewards work at a fixed rate of 4% per day, Pecans follow a slight exponential curve. Waiting twice as long before claiming results in more than twice the Pecans.

For best results, players should wait as long as they can. However, the longer they wait, the greater risk other players claim first, fill the bar, and win the round.

To complicate matters further, SnailTree offers the traditional “reinvestment” option designed to fool “investors” into keeping their money into the Ponzi. This option is called Grow Tree.

In SnailTree, this special reinvestment action doesn’t merely give you a proportional increase in the size of your Tree and ETH payouts. Grow Tree adds a personal boost to that, which is a straight multiplier to the Pecan rewards you get.

Players can now choose between claiming their ETH, or delaying their rewards for further payouts. But can they Grow their Tree fast enough to make up for the eventual loss in Size, if a new round begins? Will the extra Pecans they obtain give them a shot at victory, or ultimately cripple them?

The right choices will depend on how other players act as well.

They will never, ever, act the way you want

So, what about the second way to get Pecans?

Whenever players “invest” their ETH into the game (an action referred to as Planting a Root), they receive a number of bonus Pecans.

This bonus is proportional to the ETH invested, but also to the time spent since nobody else has Planted a Root.

With this, we have our the next piece of the puzzle to solve the early entrant advantage. As volume dries out, the number of bonus Pecans will rise. A savvy player can jump in at the right time and buy his way to a jackpot claim.


Fun != Safe

We’ve got a game that should offer several choices for players, and no clear-cut way to dominate. Whoever comes up with the best strategy stands to reap most of the rewards.

It’s possible for a player to come in with a smaller investment than average, manage to fill up the progress bar, and step out with a greater jackpot.

Bigger fishes should also find ways to influence the pace of the game to their advantage.

In the end, we’re dealing with a zero-sum game. The winnings of any player come from the pockets of another player.

Not only that, we deal with exponential growth math and player-controlled rhythm. There’s no telling how SnailTree will turn out.

Consider it a high-risk game theory experiment, with a good chance of disastrous results for anyone involved.

“Don’t invest what you’re not willing to lose” would be an euphemism. In SnailTree, we go with the following mantra:

YOU WILL LOSE ALL OF YOUR MONEY.


If you still want to check us out, find the SnailTree at 
https://snailking.github.io/snailtree/
We’re a friendly bunch on Discord, and we will do everything we can to dissuade you from throwing your money at the game. So feel free to meet us at 
https://discordapp.com/invite/JU8P4Ru
Too close for comfort? Then follow us on Twitter at 
https://twitter.com/EtherSnailFarm

Thank you for your interest in SnailTree!