The $GREED Experiment: From a joke tweet to the top of Twitter Trending
In this article I will try to walk you through the evolution of The $GREED Experiment since before the first tweet to the big finale where thousands of subjects posted the same statement on their Twitter.
Other topics I want to cover in future articles during the next few days are people’s reactions before and after the reveal, security concerns and best practices, and my own conclusions and lessons learned. For now I wanted to start with just the story about how I even decided to do this, as that’s what most people were interested so far.
How it all started
It was very late night on Friday (5AM on Saturday really), and I was just chatting with Dylan about everything and anything while scrolling through Twitter on my other screen, considering finally going to sleep. As we were talking about the shitcoin plague that was happening, we found it funny how during those 5 minutes we were on that topic, both of us discovered several new shitcoins on Twitter.
Finally, Dylan found another new token that had just been announced on the Twitter account of a well known individual. He asked me if I knew him and I really wanted to start screaming about how shitty I felt about this space in that moment.
With what I was feeling some others would go to Twitter and write something like:
“We should hold people more accountable and stop normalizing the practice of leveraging your name to cashgrab and move on with no consequences. How can you all not understand someone is just using your greed to take your money? Think before you ape, you’re almost guaranteed to lose money playing these stupid tokens”
That really isn’t my style, my first instinct is quite different, but I want to make that same point. For some reason, I feel like if I push it over the top people will get the message louder, idk. Anyway, I go and write something like “Are you guys ready for $GIVEMEMONEY? RT, notifications on, airdrop!”. I learn that if the coin name has more than 6 characters, Twitter doesn’t make it into a hashtag. So I’m thinking of something shorter to replace it with.
Then finally, $GREED comes to mind. I feel like “greed” is great, makes the same point, people will understand what I’m trying to say. Hopefully I make 1 out of 7 people that will see my post rethink before throwing more money away directly into the pockets of another person abusing their influence. Keep in mind, at that point I had 2,700 followers and getting 20 people to engage with my posts meant that I was super ultra funny that day.
I write the tweet, I decide to add 1 more line that means nothing and space all lines apart because Maurice taught me just a few days back about how taking more screen space does wonders with the Twitter algo, and I press “Tweet”.
Finally I even go and make this joke in one of the discord servers:
While getting ready to go to bed, it already becomes a bit obvious that most people did not get the point I was trying to make. The tweet started performing too well and I thought to myself “shit, guess it was not obvious enough, maybe I should have been way more over the top”. But, it was way too late anyway, let’s see what tomorrow brings.
The day after
When I wake up, I have 50+ DMs, almost double the followers I had 6h ago, the tweet is doing crazy numbers.
Even though Dylan starts disagreeing with my approach, I feel like I have to try and double down as obviously I just didn’t make it strong enough for people to get the point. I feel like I’m accepting the loss if I don’t. What could I say so everyone goes “Ah lol now I get it”? If I ask everyone to quote my tweet and then also shame themselves publicly, saying “DOING IT BECAUSE OF GREED”, that should do it, right? This ends the whole thing and we move on. Right?
Wrong. I doubled down, people quadrupled down. Things were becoming crazy. By now I had 7k followers. I had over 200 DMs. Part of them were just directly asking for a presale, part of them were trying to open a conversation with something else. You can’t imagine how many people magically remembered to get in touch after months or even years of no contact. I even had several people representing VC funds asking how can they get involved in the presale.
Copycat accounts started appearing. Tens of Voshys and dozens of Greeds, both Twitter accounts and tokens launched. In a panic attempt to stop people from getting scammed, I go and create a token called $GREED, with 0 supply and post about it. I was hoping everyone having that token mint address makes them less likely to throw money in every token called $GREED while thinking it has anything to do with me.
While creating this mint, I was still a bit optimistic that I can somehow turn this around into a “haha j/k, let’s all learn something!” moment. So, I created this mint with both mint and freeze authority, hoping that at some point I can try to use it to educate about all the possibilities of tokens on Solana: how easy would it be for someone with mint authority to print 10x the current supply with 1 click, how they could freeze tokens in your wallet… And explain how anyone can check and verify these things.
Well, now what?
Obviously I done fucked up. This is now way past the point of resolving it with a simple “lol you’re all dumbasses”. If I did that, people would learn nothing and I would look like a jerk who really wanted to launch a token and then changed his mind.
This was still crazy to me, looking back at my tweets, I still couldn’t believe people thought I was actually doing this. Shit.
This was the first time I also reached out to some of the people close to me to run some crazy ideas by them.
A lot of ideas were thrown around, my mind was jumping to weird places. The only thing I was 100% sure about was that I can’t let anyone lose any money because of me. Launching a token “for real” was out of the question. But, can I somehow take this forward and be sure that nobody loses any money? Can I double down more?
Nobody can sell frozen tokens. That was the idea that seemed like the base of anything that made sense. But what can I really do with that? Well I guess I can leave it frozen forever in everyone's wallet as a “greed stamp” and make a point. That’s kind of cool. It didn’t seem like enough though.
The final missing piece was inspired by the Mad Lads whitelist mint. They were asking for the write permissions on Twitter and there was no way of claiming your whitelist without granting them those permissions. I felt very uncomfortable with it, but nobody seemed to care.
What if we do the same, and actually add another lesson on top? It seemed perfect because not only could we teach about something more, but it could help us make this truly viral, just imagine thousands of accounts tweeting at the same time…
This was slowly shaping up to be not only a lesson on greed and FOMO, but also on security and best practices.
The full plan was finally there. The problem was, this was not easy. This required writing a smart contract, making the frontend that connects to Twitter, wallet and the smart contract, Twitter API setup, integration and database handling backend… This was so much work for something that started as a joke tweet. I was not sure it was worth it, but I really wanted to do it.
First person I called was Prasko, a developer who I’ve known for 15 years and who is working as the only full time developer in my consultancy agency BlastCtrl (Twitter: BlastCtrl). He was of course not too excited with me coming on Sunday with this crazy request, but he said he’ll think about it and have a look.
It was quite clear I will need a day or two to even confirm if I can pull this off. But if there was any chance for this to become a reality and to really prove a point, I wanted to be sure I’m not lying or leading people on. So I went even harder on pointing out that me doing this would be very wrong.
One of the crucial moments happened that Sunday night when Armani Ferrante started his weekly Twitch stream. It was pure luck, I refreshed Twitter and saw the notifications. I open the stream and there he is, answering questions about his NFT collection.
Now call me old fashioned, but I am nostalgically a bigger fan of the genius dev Armani than the NFT collection founder Armani. So I get an idea. What if I ask Armani to write this smart contract for me, on stream? Fully expecting him to say no, I jokingly ask if he’s still coding and how about a little “bounty for beer”. To my surprise, he accepts and asks me what I need. I explain the requirements, of course without explaining why I need it, and Armani actually codes a simple version that ended up being used as a base for the final contract we used. You can see it yourself, Armani uploads his streams to the YouTube channel:
Disclaimer: Armani had NO clue what the contract was for, and we had zero contact outside of the Twitch stream. I only reached out yesterday to tell him in advance that I will mention him and give him credit.
At that point it was 7AM already for me, Armani pushed the code to his github, gave me the link. I sent it to Prasko and just said “here, made your life a bit easier, let’s do it”.
I woke up to an “OK” from Prasko. Why waste time say lot word when few word do trick? And that was it, I knew it was on.
I knew Prasko can adapt the smart contract and do the frontend, the only missing piece was everything around Twitter. Considering I was already talking to Dani about this, a close friend with the similarly silly sleeping schedule, I wanted to get his partner and my acquaintance Marcos on this. I knew he could do this if he had time. The response was he had no time as this would have taken him 5 days.
So, as you do, I started to make fun of him by saying that this is 1 hour of work and jokingly asked how bad is he. That of course resulted with him accepting to do it, to prove a point. Seems like I can trick people into doing things when I’m trying, not only by accident! This was good news.
With Maurice, Dylan and Dani helping me stay sane with my ideas and Prasko and Marcos now developing the platform, it was clear now that this is actually happening. The $GREED Experiment was now defined.
Getting to the finish line
Not being able to know how long it would take to have the platform ready, I focused on making sure my messaging against everything that’s going on became even stronger.
I even decided I would put another quoteRT requirement and make it even worse than the one before. I wanted to ask everyone to say “my greed is endless”. I was still hoping this makes a lot of people finally realize what was going on.
But, as you know by now, not only did that not happen, it again made things “worse”. I woke up with 14k followers, and it didn’t stop. During one 15 min phone call, I gained 1,200 more. And it just kept going up.
I just continued posting red flags. I was also very careful to not lie in any statements. I never said anyone's tokens will unfreeze. I was just threatening that some won’t. Which was true, as I knew none ever will. Other statements were all done with the same logic in mind, never say anything that’s not true.
From the development side everything was looking good except the costs that kept going up. We now knew this would be very hyped and no matter how many times I repeat that there is no advantage to claiming early, people will rush at the opening time.
I had to pay for Vercel, AWS, domain, Cloudlfare, Twitter API, RPC and deploying the smart contract. The final tally is around $800, so apart from our time, this was the cost of conducting this experiment. I got a few of DMs asking if there was a way to donate, and even though I was avoiding doing that, they convinced me they should be able to buy some beers for the devs. If you want to buy us a beer, you can do so by sending to this wallet.
Last thing to decide was the number of tokens everyone was getting and I thought it would be super funny if we leave the SEC phone number frozen in everyone's wallets forever.
Shameless shill: The tool I used to add metadata (name, symbol, logo) after creating the token is a part of BlastCtrl Tools, an ever developing toolset for the wandering Solana degen. I recommend checking it out and giving us suggestions about what to implement next.
Top of Twitter Trending
Leading to the claim phase, $GREED took over Twitter. Everyone started sending me screenshots of $GREED trending, and the number just kept rising. The biggest number I personally saw was 988k tweets, but someone told me they did catch it over a million at one point.
It was pretty crazy, everyone sending messages how their Twitter is unusable because it’s all just $GREED. I was now already closing in on 30k followers.
The time has come (To push the button)
We were finally there, ready for people to start claiming. As expected, thousands of people jumped on it right away. Our site handled everything perfectly and smoothly.
I have to mention that we made everything a bit more “shady” on purpose. I didn’t want it to look “too good”, I didn’t want anyone having that excuse. We also wanted to see if people would sign a transaction they didn’t understand on a website they never used before. You can guess the results of that.
Then the questions about Twitter permissions started coming. I was doing my best to answer them in a non-reassuring way.
Nobody was making anyone connect, and people were still getting angry. But that’s the topic for a different article.
By the end, we had over 43k Twitter accounts that connected and gave us write permissions. And we had over 55k wallets that collected $GREED tokens.
On Friday, 24h after the claim period started, the grand finale happened.
I tweeted about the claim period ending and asked if subjects can tell us how they feel publicly.
At the same time we sent out the statement tweet from as many Twitter accounts as we could (Twitter rate limit allowed 1667), sorted by the follower count.
The tweet we sent trough 1667 accounts contained a message, an image with a longer message and a link to the medium article written from the perspective of “a subject”. You can find that article here: https://voshy.medium.com/the-greed-experiment-subjects-statement-7ee6f279762c
We also changed the claiming site to a site with just “Step 5”, making it easy for people to post the same tweet themselves (considering we could only post to 1667 out of 43k accounts during 24 hours)
Thousands of people more tweeted the same thing themselves. Some on purpose, some because they thought that’s what would get them tokens I suppose.
Considering this article is already horribly too long, I want to stop at this point and talk about everything that happened after we pressed “send” on all those tweets in a separate article. Will link it here when it’s ready.
I was also trying to keep my own opinions and what was happening to me personally out of this article as much as I could, but there is definitely a lot to say in that regard. All the messages I got during this week, how people’s behavior changed towards me, how I witnessed the hype spread like a wildfire. I am going to do my best to tell that part soon too. I just wrote more text in the last 3 days than I did in the last 10 years. Sorry for the whole process being slower than optimal but if you’re still interested, I promise you it’s coming.
On the same note, explaining all the security concerns this whole process should have triggered with every subject and how to implement the best security practices in the future is another topic I will cover separately as soon as I can.
Thank you all for reading and I hope I helped change at least some people’s approach to investment decisions and security. According to the messages I’ve been getting, I did, and that makes me super happy.
See you in the next one.
EDIT: Article about privacy and security is here: