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The Notcoin Story: In Conversation with Co-Creator Sasha Plotvinov

source-logo  blockchainreporter.net 02 April 2024 16:57, UTC

In an era where digital currencies and blockchain technology are reshaping our world, one project has emerged as a beacon of innovation and accessibility: Notcoin. A simple clicker game conceived in the minds of Sasha Plotvinov and his team at Open Builders, Notcoin has swiftly escalated into a phenomenon, captivating over 24 million users on Telegram since its inception.

This staggering number not only surpasses the user acquisition rates of giants like Ethereum and Solana combined in 2023 but also places Notcoin on par with household names in the gaming industry in terms of concurrent online users. Amidst this whirlwind of success, the core of Notcoin remains its mission to democratize the world of Web3, making blockchain technology accessible and engaging to the masses.

We had the privilege of sitting down with Sasha Plotvinov, the co-creator of Notcoin, to delve into the origins, challenges, and aspirations of this groundbreaking project. Through his insights, we explore the journey of Notcoin from a fledgling idea to a viral sensation, the role of community and feedback in its development, and what the future holds for this intriguing blend of gaming and blockchain technology.

Q1. Sasha, could you share the story behind the inception of Notcoin and the core mission you had in mind? How did the idea evolve into the game that has now captivated millions on Telegram?

We knew we wanted to create a clicker game, and this intention quickly evolved into the Notcoin project in its current form. Clicker games aren’t a new concept. We drew inspiration from Cookie Clicker, which attracted millions of players even before cryptocurrency became a mainstream topic.

Our team recognized the potential of games like these to introduce new users to blockchain. We aimed to lower the entry barriers by offering a user-friendly gateway into the world of Web3. We also wanted to do this the right way: to focus on transparency, fair distribution, and showcase a realistic vision of what crypto adoption could look like on a massive scale.

Many projects aren’t truly decentralized; they’re tokenized but controlled by a select few. We wanted to distribute tokens to a huge number of people, with one thin layer in the form of a simple clicker game, and see what happens!

Q2. With Notcoin achieving unprecedented user engagement levels, surpassing even major ecosystems like Ethereum and Solana in user acquisition, what do you believe are the key factors that contributed to this viral success?

People love to collect things and to earn rewards for their activity. The game allowed newcomers to try crypto out for free, and blockchain enthusiasts were eager to interact with a viral project to see what the craze was all about.

We made sure to cater to everyone. On X (formerly Twitter), we chatted with the crypto OGs and dove deep into the project. But, inside the app, we kept it simple and user-friendly for everyone, blending the best of Web2 simplicity with the innovation of Web3. Building the game on Telegram came with huge benefits.

The messenger app has a really strong crypto community and it’s a simple platform that doesn’t require anything extra to be installed before playing Notcoin. Plus, our game design encouraged users to invite others, so our growth was essentially on autopilot. We didn’t spend a dime on marketing — it was all word of mouth and community buzz.

Q3. The dopamine-inducing mechanics of Notcoin have been a huge draw. Could you delve into the design process and how you ensured these mechanics would resonate so well with your audience?

We didn’t really think about it, to be honest. We aren’t game designers ourselves and we had never developed a game before. Our approach was simple — let’s make clicking on a button a satisfying experience and prioritize fun. We also recognized the value of competition in driving engagement. That’s why we implemented a leaderboard feature to encourage users to compete with one another and add an element of rivalry and excitement.

Q4. Notcoin has been lauded as a potent onboarding tool for the blockchain. Can you discuss how the game’s design and integration with Telegram Premium and TON Space wallets have facilitated this?

There’s a major component for onboarding built right into the game: the community bot functionality. People who want to earn more Notcoin can complete campaigns, like those that prompt you to set up a TON Space wallet, or those that reward Telegram premium users. These have been a major driver of growth.

Q5. With the token mint on the horizon, how do you plan to transition your massive user base into on-chain users, and what impact do you anticipate this will have on the Notcoin ecosystem?

Our strategy for setting up a Wallet and receiving Notcoin mirrors our initial approach with the game -— eliminate barriers and simplify the process. Currently, our focus is on ensuring a smooth transition after the token mint. Any blockchain will face challenges when millions of new users begin setting up wallets and initiating transactions.

With TON’s impressive ability to scale, we’re confident we’ve chosen the right chain for the task. The token mint is expected to result in unprecedented transaction volumes, potentially marking the largest increase in user activity in crypto history. We’re carefully planning each stage of the transition to prepare for this so that we can avoid overloading our systems while prioritizing user experience.

Our aim is to facilitate a fair launch and listing, ensuring all tokens are fully unlocked from day one. Although this presents challenges, we’re working closely with the TON Foundation, The Open Platform (TOP), and their key projects, so we’re feeling confident!

Q6. Every project faces its set of challenges, especially one as innovative as Notcoin. What were some of the biggest hurdles your team encountered, and how did you overcome them?

One of the major hurdles we faced, especially at the very beginning, was managing user overload. Testing an application can only go so far, and it’s a completely different challenge when the activity of real users surges. Our users come from all around the world, and every region has its own set of internet connectivity challenges.

For instance, users in Amsterdam might have a seamless connection, but those in regions like India or Dubai could encounter issues with internet stability, ping, or VPN usage. Balancing the user experience globally while ensuring our servers didn’t crash was a tricky task.

Q7. How has community feedback shaped the development of Notcoin, and what role do you see the community playing in the future trajectory of the game?

The community owns Notcoin. Because soon, the community will own nearly all $NOT tokens! This structure means that our team can’t unilaterally decide the project’s direction. Instead, we rely on the community’s input and engagement to guide our decisions. Looking ahead, we see an even greater role for the community in deciding where Notcoin goes!

Current feedback varies. Some see Notcoin as just a viral clicker game with a whole load of hype, while others see it as a long-term movement that’s completely separate from typical cryptocurrencies dominated by speculative trading. All we know is that, with a Telegram community of around 4.5 million, the Notcoin ecosystem has a lot of influence on the crypto world.

Q8. As Notcoin continues to grow, how is your team addressing scalability and sustainability, ensuring that the game remains accessible and enjoyable for an ever-expanding user base?

From a technical standpoint, it’s safe to say we’ve learned a lot! Currently, we’re investing a lot to maintain a seamless experience for our users. We’re prioritizing user experience and keeping the game enjoyable. We recognize that, at its core, Notcoin is a clicker game, and these games have inherent limitations in terms of long-term entertainment value.

This is something that’s completely normal for simple games, and we embrace it. Looking ahead, we’re already transitioning into the next phase of Notcoin’s evolution, which will offer a different experience from the current clicker format. Our team is hard at work on this new phase, and we’re excited to roll it out very soon. Watch this space!

Q9. Notcoin has introduced many to blockchain who might not have engaged with it otherwise. Do you see Notcoin playing a role in blockchain education, and if so, how?

Notcoin has acted as a gateway to blockchain for lots of people who were curious about crypto. We’re happy to have introduced them to the world of Web3! Right now, we’re developing educational materials designed to be engaging and accessible to users of all levels of expertise.

These materials will simplify complex concepts, making blockchain technology more approachable for newcomers. It’s hard to fully understand Notcoin’s impact on blockchain education as we aren’t fully on-chain yet. We do know, however, that the introduction of Notcoin pre-market vouchers has already generated significant activity on the TON blockchain.

Who knows what will happen next? Over time, as we gather more data, our understanding of Notcoin’s educational role will become clearer. With TON set to onboard hundreds of millions of new users, it’s crucial to cater to those who aren’t already familiar with crypto.

Currently, there are fewer than 100 million crypto-savvy users, which is a small fraction compared to the massive audience of Web2. Notcoin is going to play a massive role in bridging the gap between Telegram users and TON’s ecosystem.

Q10. Given Notcoin’s success, what future do you foresee for Telegram Mini Apps in the Web3 space, and how might they continue to drive mass adoption?

Mini Apps were only introduced relatively recently, but, so far, I’ve been impressed with their simplicity and the control and power they give developers. Notcoin’s success showcases the potential of Telegram Mini Apps in the Web3 space. I think they’ll dominate mobile applications in the near future. Messenger applications have such clear utility too, integrating the social aspect whilst lowering the barriers to entry.

We’re lucky to have the crypto community on Telegram, and lucky that Telegram integrated TON Space, tokenized usernames, and anonymous numbers. We’re in conversations with other projects on other chains too, but, for the moment, we’re confident that building on TON and leveraging Telegram’s user base is the key to driving mass adoption.

Q11. What advice would you give to developers and entrepreneurs looking to create impactful dApps or Web3 games, especially those aiming for mass adoption?

Do it with style. Don’t try to cheat your community or your player base. Experiment and don’t be afraid to release something that isn’t fully ready – you’ll learn a lot!

Q12. Finally, can you share any upcoming features or projects from Open Builders that Notcoin fans and the wider Web3 community can look forward to?

Absolutely! We’re gearing up to introduce a groundbreaking DeFi tool in just a few weeks, so keep an eye out for that. Within Notcoin itself, we’re working on a system that will allow users to simultaneously earn and burn Notcoin. This will benefit users by allowing them to continue to earn rewards while contributing to the growth of projects and helping newcomers to explore Web3. It’s a win-win scenario that we’re excited to implement.

At NotDAO, we’re embarking on a new journey that goes beyond tokenomics. We want to be a part of a community where individuals are united not just by tokens, but by Notcoin’s ethos. The true value lies in experiences, emotions, relationships, and the knowledge gained along the way. Tokens serve as tools to facilitate these experiences but aren’t the ultimate goal.

Interview Summary

As our conversation with Sasha Plotvinov draws to a close, the journey of Notcoin unfolds as a narrative of innovation, community, and the democratization of technology. From its inception as a simple clicker game inspired by the likes of Cookie Clicker, Notcoin has evolved into a global phenomenon, bridging the gap between the complex world of blockchain and the everyday user through the familiar interface of Telegram.

Sasha’s insights reveal a project deeply rooted in the principles of accessibility, transparency, and user engagement. The staggering user acquisition and engagement levels of Notcoin not only underscore the project’s success but also highlight the untapped potential of Web3 technologies to reach mainstream audiences.

The integration of gaming mechanics with blockchain technology, coupled with the strategic use of Telegram’s platform, has propelled Notcoin to the forefront of the conversation on how to drive mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. As we look to the future, the anticipated token mint and the evolution of Notcoin from a game to a comprehensive onboarding tool for blockchain technology underscore the project’s ambition.

Notcoin stands as a beacon for what is possible when innovation meets a genuine desire to make technology accessible and enjoyable for all. Thank you, Sasha Plotvinov and the Notcoin team, for sharing the remarkable story of Notcoin with us. We eagerly await the next chapters of this journey, as Notcoin and Open Builders continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the ever-expanding universe of blockchain technology.