Etherization — 2016 in-game NFTs

Adam McBride
5 min readDec 14, 2021
Screengrab of the 2016 Etherization map

NFT archaeology has uncovered the very first in-game NFTs on Ethereum and — as of the time of this writing — the third oldest NFTs on Ethereum. It also throws its hat into the ring as the first play-to-earn game on Ethereum and one of the firsts on any blockchain.

The NFTs represent cities that were used in Etherization, a strategy game that was deployed on September 16, 2016.

Screenshot of Etherization’s contract deployment date

The Etherization world is made up of 1,156 cities spread out over a 34 by 34 map.

At the start of the game, players paid 2 ETH to receive a city (for 1 ETH) and 1 ETH worth of supplies. These supplies could be used to build buildings, make tools, and supply the player’s army. Players could attack neighboring cities with the hopes of claiming the city and any of the buildings and supplies contained within.

Revenue was earned when an element was built requiring material provided by the type of city you owned or by conquering other cities and getting some of their treasury.

YouTube video introducing Etherization from September 10, 2016

Over the past month, the developer has worked to turn off all of the gaming mechanics so that owners of each NFT are safe from attack and the possibility of losing their NFT. This was done by turning off the secondary “utilities” contracts that were responsible for the in-game mechanics and replacing them with a wrapper which also serves to create a seamless minting process to get the NFTs onto Opensea.

*Edit December 16, 2021— Each of the cities is part of the 2016 contract and when a player claims a city the attributes are assigned — city type, name, description, and image. This action was done previously by the utilities contract but is now done by the wrapper contract. The images for each city were made in 2021 to replace the color blobs that were assigned as part of the original game. The developer had always planned for each city to have its own design but never got around to doing that work in 2016.

DISCLAIMER: Anything you do after this is 100% on you. Any lost funds, failed investments, or other unforeseen consequences are 100% on you. I am not responsible in any way. Turn away if you do not accept 100% responsibility.

Please read everything before proceeding and DYOR.

2016 Main Contract:

Wrapper Contract:

City Names Contract:

How To Claim an NFT

Step 1: Go to:

Step 2: Connect your wallet by clicking the “Connect” button in the top right-hand corner

Step 3: Click on an unoccupied square on the map.

Step 4: Accept the terms and conditions, then click “Confirm”

Step 5: Confirm the transaction in your MetaMask

IMPORTANT: Gas should be up to a maximum of around 0.07 ETH ($250) if it is way more than that REJECT the transaction as it is possible that city has already been claimed. Be careful and don’t lose your gas!

Step 6: Once the transaction has been processed, refresh the webpage. You will now see your city has been populated. If you click on your city you will see a description and a link to view your NFT on Opensea.

Note: The images may take some time to populate onto Opensea.

How to See Ownership on the 2016 Contract

Step 1: Go here:

Step 2: Click “Get City”

Step 3: Get your cityID number by clicking on your city on the map

Step 4: Enter your cityID number into the cityID box and click “Query”

Step 5: Copy the long string of numbers that pops up

Step 6: Go here:

Step 7: Paste the number into box #29 and hit Query. Your address should pop up.

A little More Information

The developer, Vedran Kajic, is fully doxxed and is excited about working with the community to grow the uses for Etherization in a Web 3.0 world.

He is particularly interested in the possibility of building out an L2 version of the game to support the historical aspect of the NFTs.

I have asked him to join the Discord today so that everyone can meet him.

Funny enough when asked about how many cities he currently — these are the greyed out areas on the map — Vedran told me “Six, but my mom has around 15” 🤣

So Vedran’s mom is officially the Etherization whale!