Infinity Keys Thesis
Welcome to Infinity Keys. There’s treasure everywhere.
In this post, the Infinity Keys founding team presents the rationale, vision, and cultural aims of Infinity Keys. We outline the core product vision of Infinity Keys as a treasure hunt platform, why it matters in the current technology meta, introduce the team, and show Infinity Keys’ first steps as a technology product and community.
What is Infinity Keys?
Infinity Keys is building KeyMaker, a platform that provides tools to create no-code Web3-enabled treasure hunts. Builders can lock digital treasure on the blockchain to incentivize a wide variety of player actions aimed at unlocking the treasure. This model aims to extend engagement by providing incentivized activities that can act as proof-of-effort to reduce botting for launches, enable brands to give ticketed experiences to provably passionate online fans, provide access control for NFT or smart contract interactions, promote cross-community collaborations, and more.
All of this cross-metaverse infrastructure is first presented in a casual genre Web2 puzzle game format, where anyone can play or build simple puzzles with retroactive Web3 treasures if the player decides to setup a wallet (and soon claim Web3 treasures when hunts are solved). Casual players will have zero need to use Web3 for many hunts, and can opt out of the Web3 experience completely if they so desire. However, IK will enable composable Web3 features and digital asset ownership to provide depth of experience and tangible digital treasures for builders who wish to provide those experiences. This is a gentle onboarding method where players can join Web3 at their own pace, while enjoying the benefits of the game itself first and foremost, and then moving to a deeper Web3 experience when they are ready, all within the scope of a builder's intended experience.
We’re focused on building a product where the player doesn’t need to know what RPC endpoint or hashing algorithm they use, but players can verify hunts and claim treasure on-chain if needed. We’re building an incentivized, accessible game that comes with the benefits of transparent and secure decentralized systems.
In order to grow our own community, Infinity Keys is also developing a series of treasure hunt puzzle games where players work to solve mysteries, achieve success across traditional and Web3 games, collect digital items, and ultimately unlock digital treasure. The clues can be anywhere, analog or digital. While the initial games are created and curated by the Infinity Keys team and friends, the community will create and launch their own hunts to guide players on their own unique adventures.
The community can gather in the IK official channels to plan, seek, and solve hunts. Initially, curated Infinity Keys hunts will live on https://infinitykeys.io/puzzles, and over time collaborating brands, projects, and builders will create their own pathways to take players on immersive escape room-like experiences across various metaverses, games, and more. The IK Team will take the first steps in building these games to demonstrate how builders and collaborating projects can use clues, keys, and treasure for novel experiences.
Web3 Treasure Hunts
In the popular Sci-Fi story Ready Player One, we watched characters unlock a series of puzzles created by a lone gazillionaire for a single treasure in a solitary IP-heavy metaverse. Now, using the power of Web3 and NFTs, anyone can be both a hunt creator and a player. Real digital treasure will unite players as they explore the wider digital world and bring others into their own favorite games, communities, and experiences.
The features of Web3 give Infinity Keys a unique set of mechanics to create gaming experiences for both players and builders:
- Players can own digital items and decide what to do with them
- Digital game items can be cross-game, cross-metaverse, and still retain utility for players
- Rewards can be distributed fairly and without reliance on a centralized business entity
- All types of builders can use Web3 infrastructure to create their own experiences extending and enhancing engagement with games
Web3 provides a number of new technologies that reframe the way we think about games. NFTs and the underlying blockchains provide an in-game item ownership model where the user owns the item itself, and control of digital items does not have to be left up to a single company to decide. Ownership using Web3 composability standards can even allow game assets to have utility beyond their homeworlds—they can exist across games and metaverses. Web3 infrastructure also provides certainty and availability guarantees. Smart contracts' public and immutable nature allow assets to be locked and unlocked in a secure, transparent, and verifiable manner.
Using these Web3 features, numerous builders in the past several years have launched treasure hunts as promotional events to engage their communities. Digital treasure hunts lend themselves to many of the features used in blockchain and smart contract technology, such as using private keys as a mechanic for opening treasure or referencing on-chain records. Because of the push for decentralization and transparency, builders can rely on secure methods for accessing open data and create games requiring players to hold particular items, have visited particular places in virtual worlds, or have interacted with a given set of smart contracts.
Unfortunately, thus far games that use these technical features tend towards a poor user experience for both builders and players. One needs a sophisticated level of technical expertise to build smart contract-based treasure hunts, and players need a relatively rigorous understanding of technical aspects of virtual machines, blockchains, and wallets to play. So while the mechanics are available, they are not very accessible.
Infinity Keys is addressing this mismatch by creating a significantly lower barrier to entry in both the player-facing puzzle game and the no code builder’s platform. In its first iteration, IK will present a casual genre web-based game with frequent low-to-medium difficulty puzzles. The player doesn’t need a Web3 wallet to play or win, but they may need to join a community to get the best support on tricky hunts. As players engage more with the games, achievements, and community, they will gently find their way to more advanced hunts, puzzles, and their commensurate rewards.
The Infinity Keys Core Game
The game begins when players find clues, hints, or leads on Infinity Keys’ public communication channels, through partner communication channels, or maybe stumble across a new clue as they poke around online. They might see a cryptic tweet, photo, encoded symbols in a video, a message in a smart contract interaction or page source, a split-second billboard message, or any creative messaging the hunt builder wants to send out into the world.
It is up to the players to work out how the clue acts as a key.
Once the players have an idea of what to do, they must submit the key. Maybe the player must accomplish a task in a metaverse, earn an achievement in a console game, hold a particular Web3 game item NFT, or solve a word puzzle—whatever the hunt requires, the player submits this accomplishment as a key on the corresponding infinitykeys.io puzzle page to unlock the treasure or the next stage of a hunt.
What Are Keys?
Keys can be text-based inputs or data inputs from Web2 or Web3 sources. In this way IK builders can require a wide variety of possible actions in metaverses, digital games, or deep understanding of existing media content.
Passcodes can be a string of letters, numbers, or symbols. Perhaps the clue was an anagram for the passcode to access the keys, or the clue requires a cipher to reveal the true passcode. These components are up to the builder, and the players must work to think through the puzzle challenge. Many of the first IK games will be passcode-based puzzles.
Hunts can also require the player to commit to an action on Web2 platforms, such as following a particular social account, sending a message using a particular hashtag, or finishing an achievement on an existing console or PC game. Web API infrastructure and Chainlink oracle infrastructure enable a vast design space for off-chain data that can be used in future hunts.
More relevant for metaverse and NFT projects, Hunts can require the player to connect a Web3 wallet and verify that they have interacted with a configurable set of smart contracts. Keys could include any type of on-chain information that is organized and associated with a wallet, such as holding a specific type of NFT, interacting with a specific set of DeFi contracts, having a wallet older than a determined set of time, having verified identity through a proof-of-humanity protocol, etc. An early use case will require players to engage with specific metaverse assets such as land, embedded games, or other NFTs. In this way builders can create a step-by-step quest across metaverses, social accounts, and more to create themed and fun group experiences without using significant developer resources.
Is There Treasure?
Yes! Once the keys are submitted, players can unlock and claim the treasure. Treasure can be a wide variety of digital items or actions, including:
- Free-to-mint NFTs
- Adding a wallet address to a whitelist
- Adding a wallet address for a retroactive airdrop
- Pay-to-mint NFTs
- ERC-20-type token bundles
- Yield-bearing tokens
- Permissions to access the next steps of a hunt
- Addition to an email list
- Access tokens with Discord (or other social platforms) gating
Infinity Keys Hunts are made up of four core components, Treasure, Keys, Clues, and Community.
Treasure can be NFTs, tokens, access permissions, and more. Each of these types of assets can be a final treasure itself OR a step in a longer multi-stage hunt. As the IK platform features expand, there will be exciting new use cases for Web3 innovations such as dynamic NFTs that provide the option to first distribute treasure via a hunt, then update the treasure NFT at an appropriate time (such as according to external data like weather, sports, or other events). If you've read this far we want to encourage you to read this paragraph again - it is a very exciting design space for Web3 use cases!
The component submitted to the IK puzzle to unlock the treasure. Keys can be passcodes, phrases, numbers, API authentication, NFT verification, or other smart contract and Web3 wallet verifications. For NFTs, applying these as keys brings the social and cultural community elements of NFTs to composable Web3 technical possibilities.
The hints that help the player figure out what and how to submit keys and claim treasure. Clues can be anagrams, riddles, encrypted messages, verification codes, metaverse experiences, videos, and images, and greatly vary in difficulty. The IK team is building initial hunts with clues that range in difficulty, so anyone should be able to solve some level of hunt and claim treasure, however, there should always be the potential for secret passages, hidden pathways, and rabbit holes to maintain mystery and the untapped opportunity for the clever and persistent.
Well-designed hunts should have a clear audience of players they are built for, whether it’s a Web2 fan community on Reddit, a savvy Web3 gaming guild, or the native Infinity Keys community, considering how players will approach and enjoy a puzzle is a critical step in the game design process. Over time, the IK community will create their own hunts using IK infrastructure, and the IK vision is to create a space where those hunts and builder contributions can thrive and be rewarded.
The Infinity Keys team is building a game engine for anyone to create and launch their own treasure hunts that can incentivize a varying range of human actions and interactions. We’re also building a range of hunts and games for our own community of players and builders as the core gameplay. With this community, we aim to co-create a system by which anyone can play games, learn to build puzzles of their own, contribute and discover treasure, and help others journey through multiple metaverses. To accomplish this, we propose these core values to guide us:
There’s treasure everywhere.
Each hunt experience, achievement, or asset claimed using the Infinity Keys game engine is a treasured representation of an individual’s lived experience and progress in IK hunts. Alongside that, each builder, community member, and team member, and any contributions are treasures. Individuals are treasures to the world—by building or sharing a hunt that is exciting, this project and the community are enriched. The core team will share treasure everywhere by giving the community tools to share parts of themselves through the ability to lock unique, verifiable assets into digital spaces, and light the path for creating good games.
Make good games.
Make: Create the goals, rules, and objectives, or make an experience in playing the game with others that is meaningful, memorable, and unique.
Good: Games adhere to the rules, surprise and delight players, leave players with something learned at the end, and do no intentional harm.
Games: Experiences that provoke a feeling of play by working within the rules and intended spirit of the system.
Treat people with kindness and respect.
All people deserve kindness and respect. Respect is telling people when they’ve succeeded or failed, and kindness is telling them in a way that lets everyone maintain their dignity. These are fundamental human rights.
These core values guide Infinity Keys as we build a platform and nurture a community; we expect reciprocal treatment and nurturing from the community in turn.
Growing Infinity Keys.
A platform to allow the IK team to launch hunts and puzzles in a fast and regular cadence. The initial version of Clortho has been built and shipped as the MVP engine of Infinity Keys. These Season Zero hunts can be found on infinitykeys.io, and many more Season Zero hunts are coming soon.
The purpose of these initial hunts is to:
- Test and expand the Clortho platform - this is the early version of a future public-facing tool to create no-code hunts.
- Playtest passcode and hunt games that can scale in terms of creation and provide input on hunt challenge levels.
- Build an early community.
- Create a shipped product to demonstrate the IK potential for collaborators and early community members.
Infinity Keys Alpha Trophies
Some of the early IK Hunts will reward players with on-chain treasure in the form of NFT achievements. Players can work together to solve puzzles, complete game tasks, and more to claim achievements with a variety of metadata categories that may be used in future games.
There are several core objectives for this approach:
- Reward early players with tangible digital assets - these assets can be referenced in future hunts as they are on-chain NFTs, or as access checks for future IK products and features.
- Test the Infinity Keys platform’s ability to mint and scale NFT collections across relevant blockchain layers.
- Demonstrate the potential for using 1155 NFT structures as achievements for later releases of Infinity Keys and co-branded hunts.
Keystones are early supporter NFTs with platform benefits that will translate to various elements in the IK game system. An NFT mint will be conducted with details on the structure to be determined at a later date.
Corresponding and gated Keystone Hunts are special holder-only hunts with greater challenges and rewards than the IK Alpha Trophy hunts.
We will solicit feedback from the community as we build towards a Keystone NFT with platform utility, but here are draft features that the Keystone NFT may include:
- Special access to additional clues and hints for various IK hunts
- Admission to IK special events
- Secured whitelist or airdrop spots for IK and co-branded NFT mints that occur on the IK platform
- Access to private Discord channels
- Preferred status for IK co-branded hunts including time bonuses
- Discounts on future KeyMaker premium features (KeyMaker is the Infinity Keys no/low-code creator’s platform. Clortho is a part of this broader platform.)
IK Season 1
An upgraded season of achievement puzzles, including:
- Categorized achievement hunts for player specialization
- Keystone hunts
- Community-generated hunts
- Geolocation-based hunts
- Niche media hunts
- Event-based hunts
- Co-branded hunts
- Collaboration/threshold hunts
KeyMaker 0.10 Platform
- Platform-native smart contracts
- IK Season 2 with expanded hunts and achievements
- Custom profiles
- KeyMaker: Basic creator features
- Zuul: On-chain treasure management
- Clortho: Off-chain puzzle setup
IK V1.0 and beyond
- Themed IK seasons
- Native token launch
- Daily Hunts
- Profile with experience points and leveling
- Advanced hunt dashboard
- KeyMaker upgrades and expansions: Zuul & Clortho + Gorgias: Clue and Community Support Module
- Builder submission module
- Puzzle/hunt submission
- Community voting and ranking
- Builder payment infrastructure
- Community treasury governance module
- Mobile Apps
Infinity Keys Technology Stack
Unlike Web2 systems, which involve centralized databases controlling outcomes, Web3 is not vulnerable to a middleman withholding rewards. Infinity Keys believes in smart contract technology for its ability to transparently, reliably, and trustlessly execute its code as defined—every time. We intend to use these unique tools wherever reasonable within Infinity Keys to minimize points of failure where an event host could improperly issue rewards.
Infinity Keys hunts and puzzle logic use the transparent and composable nature of blockchain and EVM transactions to easily look at wallet contents, past interactions, and other data across any EVM chain. Recent experiments with omni-chain NFTs are good examples of how IK can use the multi-chain composability to create inclusive game experiences regardless of the player’s preferred choice.
We’ve chosen to build the Infinity Keys home contracts using Avalanche. The Avalanche C-chain is EVM compatible, meaning that the C-chain provides an avenue for relatively frictionless development. But below this stack, Avalanche brings an entirely novel consensus mechanism with it. Avalanche consensus selects a subset of validators at random, meaning there is less latency and cost than Ethereum, with higher throughput than classic consensus, which requires waiting for participation from all nodes. Importantly Avalanche’s consensus achieves these improvements while still maintaining a level of security and decentralization approximate to the full set of nodes—since it is still selecting nodes from the entire set. Additionally, Avalanche has the unique advanced benefit of sub-networks or subnets. These subnets offer massive horizontal scaling since they are, in effect, their own chain and not burdened by the transactions of the main chain. Infinity Keys could leverage these subnets to, in effect, have an entire blockchain to itself, rather than competing with other dApps for blockspace.
For future features, Infinity Keys intends to use Chainlink DONs configured with custom external adapters in order to verify external events that are part of a quest. Chainlink DONs allow us to have a network of nodes that monitor external, real-world events. They then come to consensus among themselves about the correct state of the event and report that state back on-chain. This effectively takes the value proposition of decentralized consensus that blockchain offers and extends it to off-chain events as well. By decentralizing not only the smart contract back end but the data input as well, we maintain end-to-end decentralization and avoid quest data becoming a centralized point of failure.
Listening to an Active Community
The appetite for inclusive and rewarding casual games in Web3 is very high. The Infinity Keys team intends to provide space for a community of enthusiasts to grow, first as players, then as builders, and ideally as protocol governors. The initial IK community strategy will focus on organic growth by providing meaningful game experiences and listening to early players as playtesters. The Infinity Keys Alpha Trophies are free-to-mint (excluding gas) NFTs that signal early participation and will provide a map for IK to build future treasures and gates into games.
In addition to games, there are a number of community-focused campaigns that are organic, yet closely aligned with expanding the IK ecosystem, such as:
- Game Design Hacker Houses - Dedicated spaces for in-the-weeds game builders to workshop, prototype, and network
- Live and Virtual Social Events - Watch parties, hunt jacking, memes, clue parties, etc
- Twitter Spaces & Podcast guesting & raids
- Technical hackathon bounties
As the IK platform expands to support community-generated content, we will explore how community governance and ownership can provide a wide range of opportunities for creators, organizers, collaborators, and players. We are taking a deliberately undefined and open approach to community organization to first determine how an Infinity Keys community wishes to organize. In this spirit, we are first seeking playtesting feedback to help build fun and engaging games, and as IK grows, give the community more voice and control over Infinity Keys as an open platform.
Andy Boyan, Ph.D.
Co-Founder Andy Boyan, Ph.D. is a former media professor and long-time crypto and Web3 advocate. His academic video games research focused on psychological and behavioral effects via game mechanics and design. In Web3, Andy has worked in research, marketing, and creative media for Ava Labs, Chainlink Labs, and Status before leading Infinity Keys.
Co-Founder Gage Mondok has a decade of computer/software engineering under his belt along with a lifetime of tech hobbyist tinkering. It’s this interest in tech that got him into Bitcoin mining but it was later, when Ethereum opened up the potential with smart contracts, that it became a passion. He is particularly interested in “real-world” externally connected blockchain applications which led to his strong conviction in Chainlink including time spent working at Chainlink Labs. That same desire to push for real-world applications led him to co-found Infinity Keys.
Elizabeth Barnes, MA, is an experienced researcher working in the tech industry, with roots in qualitative human behavioral research, privacy, and Web3. While working with a staking-as-a-service validator, Figment, Elizabeth embedded herself in various Web3 protocol communities, including the Cosmos Hub, Celo, and Secret, to improve their governance models and address solutions for long-term protocol growth.
Formerly a small business operator, Aaron was inspired to learn to code when he discovered Ethereum for the first time and the possibilities unleashed through the power of smart contracts. After finding a software industry home at a healthcare startup first as a support engineer and later as an integrations engineer, Aaron moved fully into the Web3 space in April 2021 as a freelance coder and project manager. RaidGuilder ⚔️, MetaCartelian 🌶️, MetagameOctopi 🐙.
Hamilton Evans, MS, is a former graduate student at the California Institute of Technology studying physical chemistry. His research involved the development of entangled photon sources for deep-UV spectroscopy. During graduate school, his interests expanded into Web3 where he began freelance work developing smart contracts and helping others launch NFT projects. After moving into the Web3 space full time in March, he is excited to join the Infinity Keys engineering team.
Tawnee Allport is a front-end developer specializing in React. Her passion for learning and creating new things eventually culminated in teaching herself how to code. Recently, through various freelance projects, she was introduced to the Web3 space, and is looking forward to building with the Infinity Keys team.
Kori B. Riddick
Front-end developer Kori B. Riddick formerly worked as a senior event coordinator/producer for a scavenger hunt company based in NYC. Her time in event production and working in various trades led her back to her roots as an engineer. Initially earning a degree in electrical engineering, she went back to school to learn front-end web technology. With the engineering mindset gained in school and a passion for coding and puzzles, she is excited to be part of the engineering team that’s helping to build Infinity Keys.
Chris Bloom - Advisor
Mr. E - Advisor
Mr. E is a senior systems designer at a AAA game studio. He’s been in AAA game development for over 13 years. His design specialties include traditional disciplines like action-game combat design and 3D level design, and he’s excited to innovate in the Web3 gaming space.
JD Gagnon - Advisor
JD is a Co-founder of Rome Blockchain Labs, Inc., the collaborative brainchild of innovative and inspired professionals in the Decentralized Finance field relating to blockchain technology. Our vision as an incubator and software development firm is to create ease and accessibility to all persons while integrating the technology of Algorithmic trading (Velox), an elevated blockchain money market (BenQi), and informatics platforms (RomeNET, Rome Terminal).
Jess Urgo - Advisor
While Jessica is currently an advertising creative director, she is first and foremost an unrealist, ever dreaming of worlds that do not yet exist. Driven by curiosity and imagination, she believes in climbing the career jungle gym, not the ladder—leaping from traditional models in search of innovation and a desire for discovery. While there’s no industry nor medium she hasn’t worked in, her favorite has been experiential; a space where true connection can be made. Outside of work she is a fantasy / sci-fi nerd and geeks out on immersive puzzles and mysteries. Clients have included HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Meta, Chainlink Labs, Visit California, Amex, Fenty, David Bowie and Nike.
Ashbury Ventures - Advisor
Ashbury Ventures is the investment arm and sister company of Ashbury Legal, a law firm specializing in crypto since 2016. Headquartered in San Francisco, Ashbury Ventures invests both time and capital in blockchain projects that are propelling the space toward innovative solutions and wider adoption. Ashbury Ventures runs nodes and validators, joins DAOs, collects NFTs, invests capital and do whatever else they can to support crypto communities in the Ashbury ecosystem.
Play Infinity Keys
The opportunity for game design presented by Infinity Keys is a paradigm shift in our understanding of the metaverse. Infinity Keys allows anyone to create games within and across media properties, virtual worlds, collections, geolocation, and more across analog and digital spaces. This enables a cross-media, and cross-cultural map for others to explore, a community-building tool to give context to others, and the treasure incentivizes the whole thing.
We are incredibly energized and enthusiastic to build this vision, and we look forward to exploring the use cases, challenges, and golden moments of gameplay and community that can happen when the right game mechanics and players fall into place.
Let’s build this together. Join the community and start solving hunts, creating puzzles of your own, and thinking about the ways that niche communities can apply composable game mechanics to reconnect to others across the world.
There’s treasure everywhere.
About Infinity Keys
Infinity Keys is a treasure hunt platform where clues, keys, and treasures are hidden across any media content or metaverse. Treasures can be deeper clues, customizable NFTs, or any other digital assets on the blockchain. Join our community to get help solving your first Infinity Keys puzzle, or reach out to inquire about building a co-branded Infinity Keys hunt.