Introducing Popcorn Royale on Base, the easiest interactive NFT experience ever

Eric Feng
4 min readJan 26, 2024

Ten years ago this May, the first ever non-fungible token (NFT) was sold. Live on stage at the Seven on Seven conference, metadata for an animated gif called Quantum was written to the Namecoin blockchain, then subsequently transferred from one Namecoin wallet (belonging to artist Kevin McCoy) to another Namecoin wallet (belonging to entrepreneur Anil Dash).

The world’s first NFT sale ever at the Seven on Seven 2014 conference

Two thoughts crossed my mind while watching a video of this seminal event in NFT history. First, it’s incredible that this pioneering moment would eventually lead to over $60 billion in NFT sales by over 10 million people over the next decade. And second, it’s even more notable that the experience of using the blockchain hasn’t changed much over the past 10 years.

The Wallet Barrier

Wallets are a fundamental component of the blockchain and web3. They are how users create their crypto address (or identity), interact with blockchains, and manage their data and permissions. But unfortunately, wallets can be hard to understand and setup. That’s because just as blockchain technology is rooted in cryptography, so too are wallets. When setting up and using a wallet, users have to navigate through cryptography concepts like public and private keys, seed phrases, and digital signatures. This complexity has inevitably created a barrier to mass adoption and usage of web3.

At Cymbal, we want to build human readable blockchain products so that crypto and web3 applications can be easier to use and understand. You don’t have to know anything about networking to use the Internet, and you shouldn’t have to know anything about cryptography to use the blockchain.

But that’s easier said than done when users still need to setup a wallet to perform any action in web3. To send and receive digital money, to use a DeFi application, to mint an NFT, you need to first create a wallet. That was the case 10 years ago when Kevin McCoy sold the world’s first NFT to Anil Dash using their Namecoin wallet addresses. And that’s still the case today.

Or I should say, that was the case until today.

Introducing Popcorn Royale

Cymbal is thrilled to work with Coinbase Developer, the most trusted onramp and infrastructure provider for onchain builders, to launch an exciting new NFT experience: Popcorn Royale, which takes the wallet out of web3. Popcorn Royale is the latest version of our popular survival sweepstakes game featuring NFTs minted on Base, the secure, low-cost, builder-friendly Ethereum L2. It’s the follow up to our earlier sweepstakes game, Basecamp, which was one of the Top 5 most transacted Base NFT projects of all time on OpenSea. We’re back again with Popcorn Royale where one lucky winner will win $7,500.

With Popcorn Royale, you can mint NFT tickets (which we’re calling popcorns) to play without needing a wallet. This experience is powered by Coinbase Wallet as a Service (WaaS), which allows for fully functional blockchain wallets to be invisibly embedded into our app. All you need is a phone number to get started and from there, Coinbase takes care of everything else.

After verifying your phone number, Coinbase WaaS creates a wallet behind the scenes (secured by multi-party computation cryptographic technology) that has all the capabilities of any other blockchain wallet, including minting a Popcorn NFT ticket. There’s no longer the need for you to setup your own wallet and deal with the hassle of seed phrases and private / public keys and bridging across chains — your embedded wallet takes care of all of that complexity for you.

If you ever do want to jump into the deep end of web3 and manage your own wallet, you can easily convert your embedded wallet into a self custodial wallet like Metamask or Coinbase Wallet by exporting the private / public keys. With WaaS, you’re always in control.

If you’re a developer and interested in new Coinbase Wallet as a Service features, you can apply to their early access program here.

Popcorn Royale starts today, January 26th, at 9am PT. Visit https://cymbal.xyz/popcorn to mint your free NFT ticket until January 29th at 9am PT. Popcorns are limited to 1 per person, but you can earn up to 9 more for referring friends. Or, you can also purchase extra popcorns on OpenSea as these NFTs are tradable (just like with past Royales). Then on January 29th, over the course of 5 days, we’ll start eliminating (or popping) each popcorn at random until only one popcorn remains in the bucket. The lucky owner of that last popcorn NFT will win $7,500 in USDC.

Best of all, Popcorn Royale will be hosted by our friend and NFT degen from The Netherlands, MinisterOfNFTs. Throughout the Popcorn Royale, Minister will be reporting on all the activity on Twitter (at both @MinisterOfNFTs and @cymbalxyz) and also directly on Cymbal, where you can also explore stats, rankings, and AI powered insights about NFTs. If you think Minister is funny and entertaining now, just wait until there’s prize money involved too!

Visit Cymbal.xyz today to play Popcorn Royale on Base alongside MinisterOfNFTs, and join in on the easiest interactive NFT experience ever, thanks to Coinbase Wallet-as-a-Service.

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Eric Feng

Current: Co-founder of @cymbalxyz, Co-founder of @GoldHouseCo Ventures. Past: @Meta (via Packagd), GP at @KleinerPerkins, and CTO of @Hulu and @Flipboard.