a journey of onboarding and đź’© coining

Austin Thomas Griffith


There exists a smart contract on xDai, a side-chain of Ethereum, that allows speculators to buy and sell emojis. These đź’©coins fluctuate in value based on the hashes of mined blocks. Participants can earn a profit buying low and selling high.

This experiment is at an intersection of usability and onboarding with simple games that reflect the nature of our ecosystem. It’s really more of a bounty than an economically sound product. The goal of the player is to drain the bank of xDai which can be exchanged for real cash.

Participants will receive a paper wallet containing a private key:

After scanning this private key with their camera phone, users will have a wallet that is preloaded with $5 of 🤑emojicoin. This coin can be used to buy and sell emojis as they fluctuate in price.

If you have followed along with our Cypherpunk Speakeasy events, you know that the Burner wallet was built to run on top of an ERC20 token deployed to xDai. This helps us control the custom logic of the token and how it can be withdrawn:

Each account also has an allowance to offramp up to $100 in 🤑emojicoin from the bank to xDai. They can choose to immediately offramp their $5 to fiat or continue playing the game by investing in 💩coins:

The bank holds all the xDai that can be exploited, keep an eye on the prize:

To win, players must buy and sell coins as prices fluctuate. With a single tap of a finger they interact with the smart contract without even knowing it.

Participants can use the “Exchange” button to move between currencies and trade their 🤑emojicoin for real value:

Exchange ETH<->DAI with uniswap.exchange or DAI<->xDai with the POA bridge.

You can see in the contract that the prices of the đź’©coins are based purely on the average of random hashes coming from mined blocks. This system is meant to be gamed and that is part of the fun.


Once people have something analogous to cash in their pocket they will want some way to use it. We are exploring many paths within the Burner to further engage users. This is meant as a small study to see if functionality beyond just sending and receiving tokens is possible within the wallet.

Could we possibly turn the Burner into a platform for developers building decentralized apps/games to engage new users?

Onboarding in motion…

I handed out 50 paper wallets to a room of students and 80% of them were buying and selling đź’©coins within the first 5 minutes. No wallet download, no seed phrase to memorize.

The graph below illustrates the onboarding pretty well. You can see the moment, around 11:40AM, I handed out the wallets…

Within minutes, 80% of the room was playing and they didn’t stop until the bank was empty!

chart thanks to Splunk blockchain team (y axis is # of transactions)

The organic “thumb traffic” averaged more than 1000 transactions/hr.

Later that night the traffic spiked around 10PM as the students begin to automate the process with scripts. When I asked about the student’s methods to poke around on the contract, he said his first stop was using OneClickDapp. Props to my dude Patrick Gallagher for that one!

chart thanks to Splunk blockchain team (y axis is # of transactions)

Within 24 hours, the bank was empty. Players were able to accrue enough coin to trade for all the xDai in the bank.

In total, the students racked up a massive 22,764 blockchain transactions in the 24 hours of game activity. If we subtract out the accounts that ran scripts, we are still left with a staggering 6000 transactions made by hand to the smart contract from less than 40 students in a day on their phones.


The Burner is turning out to be a pretty great way to get adoption. I think it can be extended beyond just sending and receiving to incorporate more complex smart contract interactions. In the long term I think it would be great to make it modular and allow for third party apps.

The entire development process for this project was within the scope of a hackathon…

For my next Labs project I’d like to #BUIDL with the community…

Let’s build another simple game like this into a white labeled burner wallet for the Ethereal Virtual Hackathon! If you are interested in joining me virtually to build a fun little game in the Burner, post your ideas and/or bandwidth to contribute to the hack here:

“Build a Burner game with me for the Ethereal Virtual Hackathon” https://github.com/gitcoinco/skunkworks/issues/96


Huge thanks to Dr. Joseph Gersch and his students of the CS481 class at CSU! Can you believe there were 61 kids enrolled in a class called, “Blockchain Principles and Applications”? That’s amazing! The future is bright for decentralization!