This is the story of LONDON, a project that nearly didn’t exist, was shipped at the nick of time, and filled with highs and lows that a b-movie studio would drool to buy the IP rights for. london.pob.studio
LONDON had many names before it was given the moniker it has today. There was no intention for an ERC20 token, a DAO, or any capacity to be historically relevant. The first murmurs of the project concept was actually called IMPASSE. At the time, we were not aware of the LONDON hard-fork and more so unaware of what lies in POB studios future.
We were a rag tag bunch of NFT creators in a space that just started to figure its own bearings around NFT projects. We managed to hit a home-run with HASH and the community loved it. We had so much more to say around HASH and eager to say it. We were NOT planning for any other project after HASH for the year. We had our focus on S1: SAGA, the Historians DAO, and growing the project at large.
Even with our focus on HASH, we continued to explore other ideas and we had a personal affiliation with the idea of playing around gas prices. Gas prices were honestly a perfect meme: it was consistently shitted upon by the community, and our relationship with it was rather 1 dimensional, if its up, its expensive and ‘bad’, if it’s down, it’s cheap and less ‘bad’.
We were aware very early that a project that plays around gas prices was a golden opportunity for the studio. Nobody was thinking about gas prices as an integral part of the NFT art experience; everybody was just trying to mitigate gas wars. To that, we eventually drafted a full spec for this ‘Gas price project’ and called it MINT.
TLDR: MINT was a simple collection of NFTs that were mint-able only at an exclusively low gas price. There were no ERC20 token, hard-fork interaction in the original spec. It did have the ambitions to be a grand social experiment held with crypto mechanics.
As much as we were elated with the MINT concept, there was one aspect of the project that stuck out as a sore thumb.
One of the key design features of MINT was that it had to ‘end’ after some time. The project can not allow minting into perpetuity because of the temporal quality of MINT. The project was about gas price and manipulating it, so when the manipulation occurred is very important.
For example, if a 1 gwei txn for MINT were to occur during a 100 gwei average gas price environment would be a completely different story then a 1 gwei txn during a 15 gwei gas price environment.
The project needed an era of time that was unforgettable and can provide context to the relative difficulty of manipulating the gas prices. To that, we had a bitter taste in our mouth for the MINT project. There was no ceremony to it, no reason for it to end but because MINT demanded of it. It lacked a reason to exist.
It would be months after we drafted the MINT spec and the release of S1: SAGA for HASH that we revisited the conversation of a future project from POB studios. Our focus was still on HASH and shipping the features but we started to get a bit restless for something new.
In retrospect, there was so much working against LONDON’s existence. We were still ‘bearish’ on the studio creating a new project. We were well aware of how stretched thinly we would be if we were to start something, and the market was in a ‘NFT hangover’ and we weren’t too eager to release something into the quieter market sentiment.
That all changed one random lunch break and I was skimming twitter. I kept seeing shill tweets about ETH as a deflationary currency and finally decided to read one of the influencers thread on the subject. Honestly, at the time I made no connection between EIP-1559, the LONDON hard fork to the MINT project. I read the threads largely as a ETH maxi feeling happy about my ETH bags.
It was a random afternoon grabbing groceries when I decided to read the EIP-1559 spec proper while waiting for the self-checkout line to clear when it started to hit me. LONDON hard-fork was going to ‘get rid’ of gas prices. I was elated because that was what MINT was missing, the hard-fork is the perfect temporal/historic meme that MINT needs to be grafted on. It gave the MINT project a reason to end, a reason to exist in the first place (as a critique of gas prices), and a reason to have value.
This was a huge light bulb moment. We knew MINT was a once in this year opportunity, but it soon become a once in your LIFETIME opportunity in the form of LONDON. We had the hard-fork coming up in a few months (this moment occurred out in late May) and such a radical change to gas prices wont EVER happen again (maybe when the MERGE occurs).
I wish this moment was something from the movies, some moment of triumph and then a swift building montage to success. In reality, it was a very sobering moment. LONDON needed to exist, and POB studios might just be the only folks who will do it. That meant that, at whatever means necessary, we needed to find the time to ship LONDON.
But before we start slinging code, we need to figure out exactly what we are building.
This is Part 1 of 3 on the story of LONDON. A story that I look back at fondly but in the moment was filled with its moment of stress and terror. Stay tuned for part 2 were we talk about the birth of $LONDON and the build up to the hard fork