Magicats Interview with Spooky Dev: Alukard
Thanks to the upcoming DEX utility and our NFT community, Magicats has become the top volume NFT collection on Fantom Opera. This article highlights one of the star members of the Spooky development team who contributed heavily to the upcoming DEX feature, Magicats Staking, to be released in June 2022.
We sat down to get more background, thoughts, and advice from our Spooky dev team member, Alukard.
Patchwork: Hello Alukard! What’s your background, and which Spooky development priorities are you working on?
Alukard: One day I was doing something in my secret lair when I noticed a peculiar magical portal that usually wasn’t there, along with my pet cat sitting next to it talking to another white cat wearing a purple magician’s hat. Sights like these by themselves were nothing out of the ordinary, but when the cats noticed me, they attacked on sight and I passed out. Waking up, I found myself tied up in an alchemical lab of some sort with the cats explaining to me that “my opposable thumbs will be useful for writing smart contracts”… My friend Owen was also there and assured me these cats were generous gods and that they won’t hurt us too badly as long as we do their bidding.
What I do at SpookySwap is develop, write and maintain smart contracts. Smart contracts are pieces of programming code not unlike applications written for your PC or phone, except they are executed on the blockchain.
Almost everything you do on an EVM blockchain is an interaction with a smart contract, be it an ERC20 token, ERC721 token, a staking pool, DEX liquidity pool and swaps etc. Smart contracts are built on top of each other in a composable manner — meaning a smart contract can access and interact with other smart contracts in the same way a user could. This composability is the basis of all complex dApps, for example staking ERC20 tokens into a staking contract. Composability allows extremely powerful decentralised applications to be built, but also requires the utmost focus and knowledge from developers as any bugs in any of the layers of the code could turn out fatal for the deposited funds of users.
Can you name a few of your major contributions to SpookySwap?
Some of the more major things I have worked on at Spooky recently, in no particular order are:
- Wrote an upgrade for the BrewBoo contract that allows for more efficient decentralised BOO buybacks
- Worked on the MasterChefV2 staking contract which allows Spooky farms to have multiple reward tokens other than just BOO
- Wrote an upgrade for the AceLab xBOO staking contract that implements staking Magicat NFTs for additional yield
- Secret DEX upgrade
Other than developing smart contracts, I enjoy being a part of the Spooky DAO and taking part in planning out the future for Spooky 💫
What are your thoughts for the future of the NFT market?
Never did I honestly expect “the NFT market” would even hold up in a bear market, and it didn’t really, which we can see by the recent fall in value of major NFTs on NFT marketplaces. Gonna be real and say I expect it to get much worse for the majority of today’s NFTs which have no use-case and are, in short, just jpegs. Give or take a few projects with real utility to their NFTs, most NFTs today are similar to 2017 ICO mania where people were just outbidding each other hoping for a greater fool to buy their bags of (functionally useless) ERC20 tokens. You could have seen this across the board in 2017 with ERC20 ICOs, but the ERC20 tokens that did survive from then to today are the ones with true functionality and utility, so we could expect something similar to happen with ERC721 (NFT) tokens.
Up until recently NFTs were extremely fringe and unknown, what we’re seeing now is an explosion of their popularity mostly due to speculative trading and it remains to be seen what kind of functionality could give ERC721 tokens real utility (and thus value on the market) in the near future. The Game will go on!
What are your goals for future NFT technology?
As I’ve touched up on in the last question, non-fungible tokens need to find some real utility use-cases in a similar manner that fungible ERC20 tokens found after the initial ICO mania phase. NFTs can be used to represent anything non-fungible in the real world, and while art is an obvious example of something non-fungible, it does not offer any “utility” per se other than the beauty in the eye of the beholder.
An example I like to use is of a real estate property (potentially located in a “smart city”) where the deed is an ERC721 token, and access to the property is controlled using electronic locks connected to the blockchain — whichever address holds the ERC721 deed token can control, using smart contracts, which wallets(people) may enter the property, and they can prove themselves by signing a transaction with their wallet. Suddenly all these P2P trustless systems built for NFT buying, selling, lending, etc. can now be used not just for pictures of monkeys but also real estate — for example you could trustlessly lend the deed NFT to rent your property to somebody else for a set amount of time. This was only one example of how tokenising real world non-fungible assets could be done.
What excites you the most about the Magicats NFT series?
The biggest thing that excites me about Magicats is… *checks note scribbled on hand* how cute they are and how they totally aren’t keeping anyone hostage.
Magicat NFT integration into SpookySwap, Fantom’s top AMM DEX, will allow people to stake their cats in xBOO staking pools and receive additional yield. We have gone through multiple iterations of designs for how exactly the math of NFT staking rewards will work out with regards to the rest of the xBOO staking functionality with the goal of providing the smoothest and best experience for all of our users, and are currently in the final steps of testing and ensuring our latest model works well and fair for all users, both shrimp and whales.
It’s important to note that this is something we are developing ourselves from scratch, and while we would love to release this sooner than later, we can’t risk any mistakes and bugs and so we need to do all the required testing. In the current release candidate design of Magicat staking, users are able to stake multiple Magicats in each of the xBOO staking pools and the amount of yield they receive depends on the MP of their cats.
Magicats gets a lot of attention by being the top volume NFT collection on Fantom, and it can benefit the most of any series if NFT popularity on Fantom grows to match other networks. A combination of upcoming DEX utility and existing popularity in the early phases of Fantom’s NFT scene means it could continue to attract collectors, DEX traders, and NFT enthusiasts.
Any advice for readers interested in becoming DeFi developers?
Networking is very important, if you’re in group chats with friends who are in similar circles you’ll be able to find a lot more opportunities and connections, the best way is to start joining public groups and meeting people. Once you are confident in your skill as a developer, finding a dev position in web3/blockchain project is as simple as finding a project looking to hire and proving to them you’re competent to do what they need. Or you could always start your own project if you’re feeling enthusiastic.