The Building Blocks of Adventure


Many articles and forums have discussed the Loot (for Adventurers) project. Most of the content around Loot focuses on its speculative value and its promise of one day being a fantasy franchise as large as Game of Thrones. Some critics have even dismissed it as a "dead" project with no intrinsic value.

I want to offer a different perspective on the project and its significance. To me, Loot illustrates the potential of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) as building blocks for something greater.


Let me explain.

We consider atoms to be the building blocks of the universe. On their own, atoms are diverse in their properties and characteristics. However, bonding with other atoms makes them molecules with complex traits and behaviors. Cells combine to form tissue. The process continues until you have complex organisms like you and me with unique thoughts, emotions, and experiences that form our personalities and worldviews.

Since its launch, teams worldwide have rallied to help turn Loot from a simple list of random words on a black background into a vibrant ecosystem of collaboration and co-creation. In this context, let's delve deeper into the Loot (for Adventurers) project. My aim is not only to provide a comprehensive guide to understanding the inner workings of Loot but also to show you how the project utilizes blockchain technology to tap into the creativity of its community.

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What is Loot?


Loot (for Adventurers) is the brainchild of Dom Hoffman, a renowned figure in the Web3 community and the co-founder of Vine. He had a track record of working on cutting-edge Web3 projects such as Blitmap and Nouns.

Dom's expertise in blockchain technology and NFTs set him apart from others in the community. He recognized that NFTs were more than just digital images with collectible value. They are a new form of digital matter that developers can use to create a new web infrastructure that could revolutionize the Internet.

Driven by his passion for experimentation and pushing the boundaries of NFTs, Dom developed Loot (for Adventurers) which he announced on August 27, 2021, in a tweet.



The first 8,000 Loot NFTs, known as Loot bags, were offered for free, with early collectors only required to pay the Ethereum network fee to mint the token onto the blockchain.

Dom released the project under CC0, which means anyone may use it for any purpose they see fit. There was no set plan or intended purpose. Loot was Dom’s gift to the internet.

Given his reputation in the NFT community, the entire collection sold out within a few hours of its release. At its peak, the original Loot NFTs were selling at an average of ~10 ETH (around $38k at the time), generating tens of thousands of dollars in trading volume on the secondary market. As of the present date, the floor price for Loot NFTs is much more moderate at 0.5 ETH ($800). However, the market price alone does not tell the whole story.


On The Surface


At face value, Loot NFTs aren’t much to behold. They consisted of eight lines of white text in size 14 serif font on a black background.

Those outside of the NFT community were befuddled by the project's success. The common understanding of NFTs was that they should be art or PFP avatar collections. But this wasn’t art. It was just words. A ten-year-old could have created these NFTs!

Many in the NFT community also initially ignored Loot, seeing it as another passing trend. They were preoccupied with finding the next big hit like Crypto Punks and Bored Ape Yacht Club.

By every metric, Loot NFTs should have been worthless. So what is it that made them so popular?

Let’s start with the image itself.


What you are looking at here is a list of equipment for a yet-to-be-created Fantasy MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). For those who have played a fantasy MMO before, what these lines of text represent is immediately apparent. But if you’re still struggling to understand, let me give you a hint.


Figure 3: Diablo III Inventory Pane

That’s right, each line of text represents gear a character would wear in a fantasy MMO game like Diablo III, World of Warcraft, EverQuest, or Skyrim.

The structure of each Loot NFT includes the following elements:









Understanding that these lines of text represent randomized adventure gear, let's take a closer look at the structure of these items.

Observe Figure 2 again. What do you notice about the first line of text?

"Grim Shout" Grave Wand of Skill + 1

By analyzing its components, it's clear that this is not an ordinary weapon. One can infer that the base weapon is a Grave Wand, which a Mage Class character with an affinity for dark magic would likely use. However, it's important to remember that Dom did not provide any statistics or descriptions for these items, leaving it up to the observer to interpret their appearance, function, and intended user.

The "of Skill" component can be interpreted as the item belonging to the Order of Skill, one of the 16 orders described in the Loot contract. The "Grim Shout" and "+1" components indicate that this particular Grave Wand is more powerful than a standard magical weapon.

The possibilities for interpretation are endless.


Numerous other clues exist throughout the remaining 8,000 original Loot NFTs from the original collection. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that anyone will completely comprehend Dom's original vision for Loot.

Dom's goal was not to create a game or fantasy universe himself but to provide a spark for others to use the unique properties of the blockchain to come together and build it collectively. It was intended to be the catalyst for a decentralized fantasy universe managed and curated by its community of enthusiasts.


A Deeper Look


Dom knew that some NFT collectors would ignore Loot because of its appearance or only buy it for speculation. However, he also knew that some people with a genuine interest in the technology would look deeper and examine the Ethereum smart contract behind it.

The Loot NFTs aren't as straightforward as they seem at first glance.

In the initial announcement of Loot, Dom provided a link to etherscan, a blockchain explorer for the Ethereum blockchain, where his followers could mint the original Loot NFTs.

For those unfamiliar with NFTs, etherscan allows users to view and interact with smart contracts, including viewing transaction history, contract source code, and token information.

At the time, the smart contract source code for most NFTs primarily served as a reference point that other applications, such as secondary marketplaces like Opensea, could use to locate a link to the image for a specific NFT.

Therefore, if you owned an NFT depicting a monkey, you did not truly own the image. Instead, you owned the code, which functioned as a link to the image of the monkey hosted on another server or network, such as the IPFS (Interplanetary File System). However, the Loot smart contract was much more interesting.

Loot is a fully on-chain project, meaning that all elements of the NFT, including metadata and images, are stored and rendered directly on the Ethereum blockchain through the smart contract.

Through etherscan's 'claim' function, the initial Loot owners could mint their unique Loot NFTs by connecting their crypto wallet and choosing a number between 1 and 8,000. The smart contract would then execute the source code to randomly generate a list of adventurer gear, as previously described, and render the image on the Ethereum blockchain as an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic). SVG images are smaller in file size than JPEGs, making them an ideal choice for storing images on the blockchain as they require less space and data, resulting in lower minting transaction costs due to reduced Ethereum block space usage.

The image generated by the smart contract was eight lines of white text on a black background.


Yes, you understood that correctly.

The Loot NFT images were all drawn by a computer.

Let’s examine the source code that generated the images we know and love.

The source code adheres to the ERC-721 token standard, a set of guidelines for creating and managing non-fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. As a result, most of the code is standard, and we can disregard it for the most part. However, the interesting parts can be found towards the end, where Dom included Easter eggs for those curious enough to uncover them.


When examining the smart contract for Loot, it may appear relatively straightforward. The items are generated randomly from a pre-existing list of item components and descriptions.

Upon closer examination, however, a rich and complex world emerges. For instance, adventurers may have hunted dragons and demons or been hunted by them, as indicated by the presence of dragonskin and demon hide items. The appearance of words such as "Divine" and "Holy" suggests that this world has a religious aspect.

The world of Loot quickly becomes far more expansive than you would imagine by only looking at the NFT image. This world features character classes, item weights, power levels, hierarchy, and a timeline.


Dom has provided the foundation for creating a fully-realized world, complete with societal order and conflict, providing endless opportunities for storytelling and game-making. This realization was a significant shift in perspective for the early supporters of Loot.


Following this realization, weekly calls among Loot enthusiasts worldwide began to take place, discussing potential ideas for the world of Loot. The community came together to establish some basic principles and a vision for the project.

One of the community's leaders, Timshel, who has been a prominent figure since the beginning, worked with others to develop a comprehensive framework for this vision. Those interested in creating something within the Lootverse can find it at this link.

Timshel created this Lore Development Kit (LDK) to serve as a guide for other writers, developers, and creators looking to build something within the Loot universe (AKA the "Lootverse.") The LDK is a set of guidelines that aims to provide a framework for creating stories, games, and other content within this world. The Lootverse canon could thus be quickly absorbed by anyone new to the ecosystem and used in whatever work they created.


While all of this is certainly intriguing, it may not be immediately clear why it matters that this list of adventurer gear exists as a fully on-chain NFT. After all, for decades, people have been coming together to create fantasy worlds for games like Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer without the use of NFTs. How is this any different?

To fully understand the significance of this, we must look at the unique properties of the blockchain and how it enables interoperability with other blockchain-based applications.


The Composability of Loot NFTs


There are multiple reasons a creator may build a fully on-chain project. Storing everything on-chain imbues the entire NFT, including the image, with the unique properties of the blockchain, such as provenance, scarcity, and immutability. Putting the NFT on-chain ensures its permanence, as long as there is at least one computer running Ethereum software on the planet, so it will never be censored or lost.

But wait, there’s more!

In addition to the properties described above, a fully on-chain NFT is also composable, meaning it can work seamlessly with other blockchain apps. These properties allow the NFT to exist as a versatile form of digital matter within the vast ecosystem of the blockchain.


And when I say a new form of digital matter, I mean that quite literally.

Consider the carbon atom. Carbon is a prominent element in the universe because of its ability to form a wide variety of stable compounds, including those essential for life, such as carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids.

Its versatility as a building block for many different compounds makes it a crucial element in astrobiology, the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. Its presence is a potential indicator of past or present life on other planets. Because of this, carbon is often referred to as the "Building Block of Life."

Carbon's unique properties facilitate its ability to form multiple covalent bonds with other elements, making it a versatile element that can create various compounds. Carbon's versatility is evident in the many everyday items that contain it, including diamonds, gasoline, sports equipment, carbonated beverages, and even the air we breathe.


This concept of versatility through bonding brings us back to blockchain composability. Blockchain Composability Composability refers to the ability of different software components to be combined in various ways to create new functionality or build more complex systems.


NFTs, as I've alluded to, are not just digital images; they are software with a multi-media component, often displayed in the form of an image file. For example, in the case of Loot, that image is the SVG with a black background and white text.

Composability is not a new term invented by blockchain developers. It drives the majority of web applications today.

For instance, you may have seen a company website with a Google Maps feature with directions to their physical location. This is possible because the web developer obtained an API (Application Programming Interface) key, which allows their webpage to communicate directly with Google's database and incorporate that feature into the company website.

Blockchain applications are unique because they don't need an API key. They're like a big open playground where anyone can play and build whatever they want. This makes it easy for different software components, like NFTs, to work together seamlessly and create new and exciting applications.

This opens up a whole world of possibilities for new and creative ideas.


Loot Molecules


Loot, on its own, isn’t much more than a bunch of on-chain metadata. It represents the minimum level of fidelity that an NFT can have while still being interesting and valuable. However, these simple NFTs can be building blocks for something greater.

Think of it like playing with LEGOs. Each LEGO brick might not be that interesting, but when you put them together, you can build all sorts of cool things. That's what several teams of developers did with Loot. They started creating different games, world maps, and tools that use Loot in new and exciting ways.

These derivative projects are what I call "Loot molecules." They're like chemical compounds, composed of different pieces that come together to create something new and unique.

Some examples of Loot molecules include mini-games, a virtual world where players can go on adventures, a library of stories created by the community, and tools to create guilds or customize your Loot character. These projects take the basic building block of Loot and turn it into something more significant, with unique properties that Loot did not include on its own.




Let's take, for example, HyperLoot. HyperLoot is one of many visual layers on top of Loot. The HyperLoot website allowed Loot NFT owners to connect their wallets and view the items in their virtual bags. These items were displayed on a customizable robotic character and could be further personalized with traits from other CC0 projects. HyperLoot characters are also CC0 and will be usable in a platform fighting game called “CC0 Wars,” inspired by Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. games. The HyperLoot characters have already been used as metaphorical LEGO pieces in other applications, including an interactive comic book by HyperVenture that featured the story of a Hyperloot character in a cave adventure with a Nouns character.

Do you understand what's happening here?

Similar to how molecules contain atoms but have unique qualities that atoms don't possess, HyperLoot includes Loot but is not restricted by it. It has evolved into its own thing. It serves as a game character, a personal profile picture (PFP), and a distinct seed for new narratives. It has become something greater than the sum of its parts.




The Realms project is an innovative initiative in blockchain composability. It is where adventurers in the world of Loot can embark on their journey. The project began as two separate teams: Realms (for Adventurers) and Bibliotheca. The former created computer-generated Map NFTs representing different locations within the world of Loot, while the latter was designed for Loot NFT owners to manage their inventory. Together, these teams formed the BibliothecaDAO, a decentralized organization that helps shape and guide the future of this world.


The Realms project is not just a mere component of Loot but a whole organism with its own governing body and a team of skilled developers. The project is a shining example of the power of community collaboration and resource pooling. The community has driven the project's growth and success over the past sixteen months, fueled by a shared passion for building applications for the world in which they are invested. What began as a collection of 2D maps has evolved into an interactive 3D atlas, complete with on-chain heightmaps, locations of Loot characters and their bags, crypts and caverns, and much more.


The Realms team is on the verge of releasing the alpha version of their game, Realms: Eternum, which is similar to Age of Empires. In the game, realm owners can construct cities, gather resources, and raid other players' realms for in-game assets. The project has already gained recognition and awards for its contributions to blockchain development, particularly for its innovations in constructing on-chain games on StarkNet, a layer two network built on top of Ethereum that enhances scalability and lowers transaction costs.


Initially inspired by Loot, the project has become much more significant. The team harnesses the capabilities of blockchain technology to create an ecosystem, inviting new gamers and developers to participate in the Lootverse.





Loot began as a playful experiment in collaborative world-building. But it has achieved something far more significant - it has unlocked the untapped potential of blockchain composability.

Loot is one of the earliest examples of how NFTs can act as "idea atoms," giving form and function to intangible concepts, such as creating a fantasy universe. And, in turn, empowering developers to build new and complex applications, like HyperLoot and Realms, on top of them.

Loot's decentralized and community-driven nature, built on blockchain technology and operating under a "no rights reserved" CC0 license, has many fans excited about its potential to become a cultural phenomenon on par with Star Wars. However, unlike Star Wars, it will be governed and maintained by a community of creators and enthusiasts rather than a centralized entity like Disney.

The insane valuations seen at the start of the project in September 2021, when NFTs were in the middle of a major bull run, may not reflect its current value. However, we have yet to tap into the vast potential of what can be created using and building upon the foundation of Loot.


It is yet to be determined if the project’s end goal will ever come to fruition. But one thing is certain:

Loot is not dead.



Source : [The Building Blocks of Adventure]( by raulonastool - Substack - Start a paid newsletter by raulonastool / January 30, 2023

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