High level vision, aspiration, and vibes of shell

Memes, vibes, and use cases

The original shell website placeholder displayed a list of memes that were used to center around during initial product development.

Most of the phrases are just abstract vibes and different ways of saying the same thing, but they do generally allude to shell use cases:

Iterative experimentation

Quickly ship a simple NFT collection with a specific distribution / minting scheme. Iterate on product functionality (the engine) over time in rapid, community-driven cycles of feedback β†’ adjustment.

Symbolic composition

Explore data-oriented composition. Use token or collection storage values in place of physical composition mechanisms (such as staking) to unlock new ways of permissionlessly combining protocols.

Artistic exploration

Embrace the NFT medium as a new frontier for artistic expression. Create dynamic NFTs within a body of work, or interoperable collections, or layered mechanisms on top of standard art NFTs.

Emergent interaction

Allow cross-collection NFT communities to gradually coordinate via incremental engine upgrades. Codify social-layer interactions with on-chain mechanisms as they organically evolve. Build systems within existing NFT networks.

Network debugging

Similar to product prototyping. Explore cryptonetwork design for NFT products and platforms. Debug various game mechanics or community interactions / mechanisms with very little tech and development investment. Use the UI as a protocol dev tool.

NFT mechanism research

Try out new NFT mechanisms and functionality. Distribute NFTs to a group of ideal test subjects and researchers, then hot-swap business logic to try different experiments.

Product prototyping

Use shell for beta testing NFT-based product ideas rapidly before committing to fully custom contracts and work. Use the shell subgraph, UI, and framework to skip boilerplate and focus on business logic for MVPs.

Dynamic NFTs

The simplest use-case for shell is building dynamic NFTs. On-chain logic can be used to dynamically determine metadata or create on-chain SVG images (a la uniswap v3 LP NFTs, loot, and nouns)


Similar to symbolic composition. Let people BYO-NFTs to other higher-level protocols based on things like mint data or token storage. Create micro standards around how this data should work or be used, and let the community explore bottom-up interoperability experiments.

Play-oriented design

Similar to iterative experimentation. Build stuff that seems fun and interesting, or weird. Collectively iterate as a community to try out new things. Roll back to previous versions to backtrack or revisit old mechanisms. Stick with what’s fun and interesting and stay playing the infinite game with your friends.