What are mfpurrs?

Virtual Alaska
5 min readAug 22, 2023

mfpurrs are 10,000 original pixel art cats, inscribed and immortalized on the Ethereum blockchain as “Ethscriptions”.

I had the idea for mfpurrs when I saw the first Ethscription ever, which is a cat peering out on society, plotting its downfall. I loved it and knew I had to meme it.

Ethscription 0, May 26th 2019

I found it hilarious that someone discovered a new way to put images on-chain…and then instantly used it for a damn cat meme. They paid $0.19 in gas fees to slap that cat jpeg on Ethereum, where it will live forever in the calldata of an old transaction.

A cat on Ethereum as a Data URI

I wanted to meme it but I also wanted to honor it, so I knew that whatever I did would need to be on Ethscriptions. It just so happens that Ethscriptions is a fantastic medium for pixel art, so it felt right to do a large pixel art collection in honor of our cat overlord.

My web3 journey includes work on pixel art collections like Dooggies, but I am not a pixel artist myself. So I pitched the idea to Ariana, an ultra-talented artist, and she brought these Ethscription-native cats to life!

mfpurr base model

We worked together for several weeks to create the collection, going back and forth on the base model, scheming up ideas for traits and drawing inspiration from other collections. I wanted to have some rare furs, so I made sure that we had:

  • 9 Gold furs, similar to the 9 Alien CryptoPunks
  • 96 Black and White furs, similar to the 96 Genesis Mooncats
  • 420 Cheshire furs as a shoutout to web3’s weed culture

When we were ready, we teamed up with my big-brain friend, Max, to release these cats into the wild. Max created mfpurrs.com for people to mint random mfpurrs and “ethscribe” them for free (they just paid gas fees).

On 7–18–23, it only took about 3 hours for the mfpurrs to fully inscribe out! Or so we thought…

We didn’t realize that we generated 398 duplicate mfpurrs in our 10,000, which means that only 9,602 mfpurrs got inscribed. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I knew that we could do something badass with these last 398 mfpurrs.

I saw PRguitarman talking about mfpurrs in the Ethscriptions Discord. For those that don’t know, PRguitarman is Chris Torres, the creator of the legendary 2011 meme Nyan Cat (and he’s a really cool dude too). As fellow cat pixel art enthusiasts, I chatted Chris up about the the collection and asked if he would create some art for mfpurrs too. What happened next blew my mind…

Chris’ 1 of 1

Chris created the most perfect, most beautiful, most amazing Nyan Cat mfpurr! I asked if he’d be down to inscribe it as a 1 of 1 in the collection. Not only was he down for that, but he also let us use some of his custom pixel art for the rest of the mfpurrs we needed to mint.

We inscribed 40 mfpurrs each with his custom Rainbow Mayhem, Mushroom Paradise, Jazz, and Purple Waves backgrounds. We also inscribed 231 mfpurrs with his iconic Nyan Noggles.

To finish out the collection, I asked Ariana to make seven 1 of 1s, for herself, me, Max, and Tom / Hirsch (the founders of Ethscriptions.com).

I tweeted at sartoshi, the creator of the mfers, as a shot in the dark…I thought he deserved a 1 of 1 for inspiring the ethos and style of the mfpurrs. He was into the idea and we came up with the only non-pixel art mfpurr in the collection as his 1 of 1!

sartoshi’s 1 of 1

We released the Nyan Cat mfpurrs in the wild on 8/21/23. Holders with at least 1 mfpurr had a chance to inscribe, but it was a very limited release and they went quickly (after we sorted out a small issue with the smart contract). Between the 9,602 mfpurrs we minted in July, the 391 Nyan Cat mfpurrs, and the seven 1 of 1s, we successfully inscribed 10k mfpurrs on Ethereum!

The mfpurrs name and design is obviously from mfers (I’m a big fan). We’re an “original derivative” of mfers that encourages other original derivatives. mfpurrs are CC0…we hosted our finished art and our individual trait art on Github, and we welcome anybody to make cool stuff with it. We’re in the process of making CC0 mfpurr sprite sheets that will empower artists, animators, and devs to build cool stuff with the cats.

Like mfers, the mfpurrs don’t have anything to prove. You can’t phase or FUD us, we’re literally just cats on the blockchain. Cats do what they want and mfpurrs do what they want. We opensourced everything (GitHub) so that anything mfpurrs-related is in the public domain, allowing complete freedom for the cats to roam and evolve. There is no “official” mfpurrs social media or Discord because there is nothing official about it. The idea of mfpurrs is owned by everyone and the cats don’t care about who has power, who wants what, or what people are worried about. mfpurrs just observe the chaos and understand that human society shall be enciphered.

— UPDATE —

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote “What are mfpurrs?”

Since mfpurrs do what they want, we’ve done some fun stuff!

We created a service for holders to name their mfpurrs permanently on Ethereum, through our custom MFPurrsNamingAgency smart contract designed by Max.

Ariana designed some amazing sprite animations to let the community run wild with. Remember, everything in mfpurrs is open source and in the public domain.

Speaking of open source, we released the entire project on the mfpurrs Github. The idea of mfpurrs is owned by everyone and now so are the assets!

Written by Virtual Alaska

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