2020-nEthV — the EtherVirus

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

The ERC-721 Standard

The ERC-721 standard for non-fungible tokens has been around for a while now. If you’re reading this article, odds are you are at least familiar with NFTs. If not, way back in the distant memory that is 2018, I wrote a series of articles about the ERC-721 standard. They’re pretty comprehensive and people seem to like them, so if you want to familiarise yourself I suggest you start there.

Stuff should be cooler

There are plenty of clever and creative people working on all sorts of projects right now — and I don’t pretend to know them all — so what I’m about to say shouldn’t be interpreted as a sleight against anybody specific. But I’ve always thought that NFT projects all feel a bit sterile and dormant. Don’t get me wrong, they often have great art-work, and I’ve seen all sorts of snazzy front-end magic, but I always strongly got to the feeling that all that was just fancy dressing on an otherwise stale cake.

Growing life on chain

For those savvy about how Ethereum works, the reason why our CryptoKitties don’t wander around the blockchain is simple — nothing happens without a transaction. There are no fully-on-chain automated processes, if you want something to change, a transaction has to happen to pay for those bits to change. You could rig up some ugly thing to automatically make transactions but that’s just centralisation with extra steps (expensive ones).

A sick day well spent

Well last week I had an extremely mild cold. To even call it that would be to vastly exaggerate. I felt a little sick for a day or two.


The working title for my project was Pathogen721. In fact, that’s the name of the smart contract. The idea was to make an NFT which rather than being collected, traded and coveted, was an object to be avoided. Obviously not ignored, because we all get 1000 air drops a day that we ignore. But I wanted to create a project where NFTs have negative value.


A quick detour to talk about this mutation. Some of you may be thinking:

strain += (block.timestamp%STABILITY+1)/STABILITY;

Patient Zero

Back to the origin story, once I had the idea for the project, and since I had taken a day off anyway, I whipped up the smart contracts in an afternoon and built the rest around it over the following week. It’s now just over a week later, and I’ve just deployed to the mainnet. It may not be the shiniest NFT project you’ve ever seen, but for something whipped up by a solo dev who (as far as he knew) was on deaths door, in about a week, I’m pretty happy with it.



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