How to Conduct Due Diligence on Vintage NFTs Like Twitter Eggs (CryptoEggs) and BlockHeads

Thinking about investing in a highly speculative asset class? Do your homework!

CryptoEggs (aka Twitter Eggs) and BlockHeads History

While most people believe that more high-profile Ethereum-based collections like CryptoPunks and EtherRock were the earliest NFTs, “blockchain archaeologists” have been hard at work going back and uncovering collections that pre-date CryptoPunks and EtherRocks by 3 years!

Choosing an Egg

After joining the TwitterEggs Discord, we put in a WTB (“wanted to buy”) egg request and one of the admins reached out with current availability and prices. Due to demand, they had sold out of the least expensive eggs and only had rarer (and more expensive) eggs available (Orange, Neon, Light Blue, Dark Blue and Blue Eggs).

Our criteria for purchase (and asset valuation) was:

  • Date minted (older = better)
  • Rareness/color (fewer available)
  • Verified from a Twitter account (some Namecoin addresses used Facebook for verification)
  • Metadata never altered (the avatar image url has never been changed)
  • Budget, Risk/Reward assessment (comfort zone)

Verify an Asset’s Data on Namecoin Explorer

They offered to sell us an early orange egg (from 2014) and provided a link to view it on a Namecoin explorer:

Using Namebrow.se to view details about a Namecoin name

Verify Authenticity of NFT’s Hosted Media File

Next, we wanted to ensure that the original media hasn’t been tampered with since 2014. Today, most NFTs point to images/videos that themselves are hosted on distributed/blockchain-based filesystems like IPFS. However, in 2014 the Namecoin folks simply stuck the images in an Amazon S3 bucket.

Checking File Headers for Last-Modified Date

In order to confirm authenticity of the hosted media, we used a web-based curl-command tool like this one:

Web-based cURL utility to retrieve header information for a hosted file.

Saving Proof of Provenance and Authenticity

Since S3 buckets are not permanent, there is no guarantee that the media or bucket will be modified or deleted in the future. In order to best “future proof” the NFT, you’ll want to make every effort to permanently archive any information about the NFT that can provide provenance:

WayBack Machine (Internet Archive)

Archive.org has been preserving content snapshots for 25 years and is a great resource for going back in time to see things like early versions of websites via WayBack Machine. They also offer a url submission tool where they will cache any url at a point in time:

Wayback Machine home page with Save Page Now section highlighted
  1. The result page using the web-based curl tool mentioned in the previous section

Arweave (Global, Permanent Chain-based Archive)

Arweave is a blockchain-based “distributed hard drive” that can permanently store any archival information. Storing data here takes just a few more steps:

  1. Press the “Claim a Token” button and follow the instructions to set up a wallet (they will credit you some tokens that will cover the fees needed to archive the urls).
  2. Install the Arweave Chrome Extension and add your wallet
Arweave wallet interface showing archived URL

Should You Upgrade Your Links To Point Away From S3?

There is some discussion about the best way to preserve the media associated with each Twitter Egg and avoiding dead links. This post provides a thorough overview on how to move media to IPFS and update the Namecoin data.

Not So Fast… Is This Vintage NFT Truly “Unique”??

We had originally settled on an orange egg, but something about it seemed… off. The other eggs we checked out all had usernames that mapped to Twitter usernames, but this egg’s username was appended with “-1” and the Namebrow.se url used a different format (/i/username vs. /u/username)

Finally Finding Our Egg

We were then presented with the opportunity to purchase a (more rare) dark blue egg. It checked off all of the boxes, including the fact that “dark blue” is actually Twitter’s first genesis egg color and was minted in August 2014.

Twitter’s original 13 egg colors. Source: https://twirpz.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/egg-timer-the-history-of-twitters-default-profile-pic/
Our Dark Blue Twitter Egg! One of only 11 known to exist.

Next Steps

In a few weeks these authentic Twitter Egg NFTs (look out for fakes!!) will be available for purchase on OpenSea by way of an innovative tool called EmblemVault that allows for cross-chain transactions by wrapping an entire wallet in a token.

Further Reading:

The origin assets of the digital antiquities market (NFTs)

Links:

TwitterEggs Discord

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An emerging technology studio. We conceive, build, and launch things that make people healthier and happier. From wellness to NFTs. https://isjustawesome.com

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Awesome Labs

An emerging technology studio. We conceive, build, and launch things that make people healthier and happier. From wellness to NFTs. https://isjustawesome.com