Potion Unlock NFTs: Deep Dive on Design

On February 14th 2022, Potion Labs unveiled Potion Unlock, a novel NFT game designed to release the Potion Protocol into the public domain whilst bootstrapping a decentralized community.

Potion Labs (now Ntropika Labs)
7 min readFeb 28, 2022

Since then, there has been great interest in the design of the NFTs that form the basis of the game. This article will explain the thinking behind the concept, including the choice of symbology and the key challenges faced during the design process.

Why NFTs?

Potion Labs needed a launch mechanism that was fully compliant with EU legal regulations and fully aligned to the ethos of “aggressive decentralization”. Many ideas were suggested to answer this brief, but in the end it was NFTs that appeared as the perfect value driver.

As you are no doubt aware, there has been a massive increase in Web3 NFT projects over recent months. For this project, the team was particularly inspired by the clever designs and innovative nature of NFT pioneers such as Loot for Adventures, Art Blocks, and CityDAO.

Why data-driven design?

Data Visualization art is a branch of design which aims to present facts and information in easy-to-digest graphical formats. It’s particularly useful for communicating complex data, such as that found in insurance options contracts. This led to the idea of building a visual language, based on proprietary symbology, that could achieve the project’s main aims: uniqueness, identity, tech stack representation, and brand narrative consistency.

Introducing the Kelly Dictionary

Given that the Potion Protocol is based on the Kelly Machine, it made sense to utilize this concept in the NFT design. The outcome was the Kelly Dictionary, a book of 10 thousand insurance options that have been generated by the machine and embedded into NFTs.

Each NFT contains every attribute that an insurance option must have, as well as a segment of the password that the community needs to unlock the protocol source code.

The result? A technically-minded DeFi design that reflects the innovative and disruptive nature of the Potion community.

The Kelly Dictionary

NFT Symbolism

Now you know the background, it’s time to focus on the various symbolic elements contained in the artwork. Each visual characteristic of the NFT has value and meaning. Together, the elements create an abstract symbol that represents the Kelly Potion recipe.

NFT Symbolism

Central overlapping circles

Three core attributes are displayed in the center of the image:

Strike (Price)

(Covered) Asset


Central overlapping circles

(Covered) Asset

Assets were selected for their brand reputation and market impact. They were then placed into three different categories:

Crypto Native: network tokens picked from the top 10 cryptocurrencies based on capitalization (according to a snapshot taken on Nov ‘21).

Source Coingecko

DeFi: protocol/governance tokens sorted by TVL and split into the subsets of lending, derivatives, DEXes, and asset protocols.

Source DeFiPulse

Metaverse: top 5 protocol tokens based on capitalization (according to a snapshot taken on Nov ‘21), in recognition of this emergent web3 area.

Source Coingecko

Each category was given its own visual symbol and stained with the brand color palette.

The final library showcases the main players acting in the crypto space right now.

Assets and Categories

Strike (Price) and Duration

These assets are represented by the two overlapping circles that contain the asset.

Max Strike: the maximum % price that the insurance will cover, ranging from 65% ITM to 135% OTM

Max Duration: the coverage time window set for the insurance, ranging from 1 day to 60 days

Strike (Price) and Duration

Peripheral Attributes

The artwork at the top and bottom of the NFTs is used to display calculations and parameters from our Kelly Machine. This is a crucial part of their uniqueness: these symbols represent the bonding curve governing the insurance option.

There are two main attributes:

  • Training (years and months)
  • Curve Parameters
Peripheral attributes


Together, years of training and months of training display the time window within which the bonding curve has been trained.

By counting the number of curves at the top you can find the years, and by counting the number of solid lines at the bottom you can find the months.


Curve Parameters

Kelly optimal bonding curves can be simply described with a hyperbolic cosine function using 4 parameters. On the NFT, the parameters of the insurance contract are displayed on the corners A, B, C, and D.

Kelly bonding curve parameters

Secret and Naming Convention

The last two parts of the design to discuss are related to the embedded secret and generative naming; these attributes add empowering eccentricity and ownership to the concept.

Secret and Naming Convention


As previously mentioned, each NFT contains a segment of the secret needed to unlock the Potion Protocol. This segment is embedded in the NFT metadata and also displayed in the artwork.

Symbolically, the secret is represented by an auto generated pattern based on a rune alphabet. This alphabet uses rectangular modules to create 36 alphanumeric characters. This is then transformed into OTF form and added to the artwork’s background.

Note: If you are wondering whether it is safe to display the secret in this way, don’t worry! What is displayed is just a fragment of the encrypted password, so even if the rune alphabet is deciphered nobody will have access to the final password.

The Rune Alphabet

Naming Convention

Naming is the final sprinkling of magic on the design concept. A predefined convention translates the insurance parameters into a metaphorical potion made up of different sized vessels and levels of power.

The Naming Convention translates:

Duration + (Covered) Asset + Strike (Price)


Size of Vessel + (Covered) Asset + Potion Power (elixir)

The main rules governing the generation of the names are:

  • The higher the duration, the larger the vessel.
  • The higher the strike price, the stronger the potion power (elixir)

This results in a unique NFT representing a metaphorical potion.

Naming Convention


There are 6 NFT types or “rarities” in the game, each with a different “decryption power”, giving the various players different capabilities and powers. Each NFT rarity will also have a different “redundancy” level, so no single holder can block the resolution of the game.

The existence of these rarities turns the game into a metaverse, with scarce NFTs becoming more valuable due to their smaller supply. The various colors and attributes drive the identity and citizenship of the Potion DeFi community.

It’s also worth mentioning that the rarities create an infinity of possible plays, allowing Potion Unlock to be a true open-ended crypto economic game.

Decryption power works by distributing a ‘fragment’ of the password (the secret) to each NFT. The higher this is, the more decryption power you yield, and the more leverage you have in the Unlock game.

Redundancy works by distributing repeated pieces of the password. The lower this is, the rarer and more valuable your NFT secret is.


Final Thoughts

This design journey was as challenging as it was exhilarating. Potion Labs worked hard to create a robust, decentralized model that combined art, technology and math into a strong brand narrative.

The solution resulted in:

  • The Kelly Dictionary, a book of 10,000 unique metaverse identities specifically created for the Potion Unlock game
  • A collection of NFTs that reflects the technological break-through achieved by Potion Labs R&D
  • A design inspired by data visualization techniques that displays complex information through compelling symbols
  • A commemoration of the Potion Protocol and Unlock game as historical breakthroughs

Join the auction starting on March 14th 2022 by whitelisting yourself at onboarding.potion.auction. Once whitelisted, you’ll be ready to participate at potion.auction.

Ready to play?