10 min read

How Fox’s Blockchain Creative Labs engages and rewards Krapopolis fans

A Krap Chicken NFT from Fox's new animated TV show, Krapopolis

Imagine the pitch meeting. It’s an animated show set in Ancient Greece. You lead with the creative genius of Dan Harmon (yeah Rick & Morty’s Dan Harmon, where have you been), backed by an epic cast that includes Richard Ayoade and Matt Berry from The IT Crowd. Then, throw in the endless potential for humor with plots centered on a dysfunctional family, but there’s a twist. The family, they are humans, gods, and monsters of myth and mayhem. This all collides with the NFT world—welcome to Krapopolis.

We sat down with Matt Bilfield, Director of Product Strategy at Blockchain Creative Labs (Fox’s web3 media and creative technology startup), to chat about how his team leverages blockchain technology to create unique tokengated experiences to nurture, engage, and reward future superfans of Krapopolis. 

From Krap Chicken NFTs and scavenging for eggs to voting on show scenes and content/merch exclusives, this is a newfound realm where the audience has some feather in the game. Take that, primetime. 

So before you bounce over to IMDB and hit the “Trivia” tab, or fill up your coop with new Krap Chickens (check out the full collection here), get all the intel on how Krapopolis breaks new ground as the first network TV show built with blockchain technology in mind.


Fox's Krapopolis animated TV show
Fox's Krapopolis, a new animated show from Dan Harmon set in mythical Ancient Greece.


Why is Fox building an animated show that embraces blockchain technology?

Fox has always been an innovator when it comes to television and participation. Think back to the American Idol days. People didn’t have text messaging on their plans and we had Ryan Seacrest on air saying, “Text this number to vote.” That was a huge moment not only in TV history, but tech history. People who never sent a text message, were now texting a show.

"So there’s an opportunity to use tech to create deeper experiences for fans, to bridge what has traditionally been unidirectional and make it interactive. We want to take fans who love the content and allow them to participate—allow fandom to expand and give it a home." — Matthew Bilfield

Every show navigates differently, but animation and NFTs just seem like a natural fit. The current NFT culture is cartoon-based. So our test case had to be with those early adopters, the degens and people playing in this space for a while. There’s little friction there. They understand that you buy first, then kinda hang out and watch us build. 

With Krapopolis, the creators were in line with the executives. It was all about creating opportunities to connect with fans on a deeper level. Who wouldn’t want to do that? But the key is finding a balance between show participation and keeping it meaningful. 

Dan Harmon is incredibly talented at what he does. I don’t think he’s looking for the community to tell him what happens in the show. So how do you get people involved in a way that they’re excited, that doesn’t take away from the narrative, or interrupt the production workflow? 

When implementing voting, we let Krap Chicken NFT holders vote on episode elements: Like “choose the sacrificial goat”, or “which sailor gets slapped by the Kraken”? Even though the show hasn’t aired yet, we have people voting. And once these episodes air, they’ll see their impact.

So it’s this idea that you can start having fans participate and know about your show before anyone’s even seen it. It just gives everybody a head start.


A series of two images, Blockchain Creative Labs' Key to Krapopolis NFT attribute and show voting available fans holding a Krap Chicken NFT style=
Blockchain Creative Labs' "Key to Krapopolis" NFT attribute and show voting for Krap Chicken NFT holders.


Voting on show elements before your series premiere is such a cool element. You’ve primed your audience and motivated them to engage before a single episode.

Exactly. We’re also showing animated clips in our viewing room so people get a sense for the comedy and have something to look forward to. 

Other behind-the-scenes content is in the works too, like “How did the show come to be?” or “What was the character development?”

And on top of that, the Krap Chicken NFTs themselves all have attributes that are pulled directly from the show. So if your chicken has a sword, a wheelchair, a mermaid, it’s not just made up. It’s an element from some character in an episode—nothing’s completely random.  

As people start watching, they’ll see how the attributes of their NFT were inspired by the show itself. It will be these moments of delight, something they personally own is essentially getting famous on TV. And if fans really enjoy a particular episode, it only makes their NFT that much more meaningful to them.

We also had two opportunities for Krap Chicken owners to get written into the show as a background character with “Key to Krapopolis” NFTs. One was auctioned off and the other was an online scavenger hunt for fans. This took fan engagement to a whole new level.


So you’ve inverted the process. Fans own the memorabilia before the fact.

Right. And the reason it’s chickens is because they are a form of currency in the show. We also built in this egg reward loyalty system where the chickens lay an egg into your wallet every day. There are other mechanisms in the works where people can earn eggs—like show voting, contests, Discord games, scavenger hunts. The plan is for people to use these loyalty rewards to upgrade their NFTs.

In the future, we will take a background or element from season two and make it available for purchase using eggs. It’s a way to keep people engaged in the fandom, continually letting them grow their NFT through each season. A lot of fun things to play with there.


A golden frame attribute for Krap Chicken NFT holders
A golden frame attribute for Krap Chicken NFT holders.


Where did the idea of Krap Chickens and eggs come from?

Dan. He was like, let’s do chickens. It’s a fun character. Who doesn’t love looking at chickens, especially when they’re outfitted with togas, battle armor, glow worms, and all kinds of funny things from the show. 

For our early adopters, we’ve just given them an OG stamp on their chicken which is a fun touch.


Why Shopify?

We choose Shopify because of its robust toolset. We knew you supported tokengating, loyalty redemptions, third-party fulfillment, and that everything could be done under the same roof. 

"While our goal right now is not about selling tons of merch, Shopify gives us a path to commerce and the flexibility to tokengate based on traits. That was the number one selling point." — Matthew Bilfield

We built out our commerce strategy with Lazer. It was a very collaborative process with our design team, making sure the original website and Shopify storefront were seamless and felt like the same property. On the tokengating app side, we’re using SHOPX and they’ve been awesome.


From your viewing room and show voting to the Krapopolist leaderboard, where are you seeing the most fan engagement?

Different people are enjoying different parts. Even though we have rough sketches in black and white, the viewing room gives people a look into the show. They’re starting to see things and be like, “Wait, my chicken has chains all over it!” So they can make a connection to where their trait was derived. 

Show voting is a fun component as well. As we get further along into the seasons and the show gets bigger, I’m sure it will become much more impactful.


Since Krapopolis is picked up for two seasons, how do you plan to use your NFTs to engage with fans during the off season?

That’s a really interesting question, especially for the NFT space. Television typically is so seasonal—the show airs, goes off air, and then you have this gap. I think our NFT strategy has an opportunity to shine by giving people things to do and interact with in anticipation of the next season.

Since season one hasn’t aired yet, we don’t fully have that gap filled. But I think it will include upgrades, tokengated products, previewing content in the viewing room, show voting, and giving people a window into what we’re working on. For subsequent seasons, it’ll be a valuable tool to keep people engaged.


How does your team measure success?

There are so many metrics for success, like what kind of value can we drive back to Fox in terms of creating a super fandom. With blockchain, there’s a lot more that comes along with it because we want to take all this robust tooling and re-imagine television production. 

"Ultimately though, the goal is not a couple thousand fans, but the millions of fans that watch Fox. We want to onboard the masses." — Matthew Bilfied

But the masses are going to want to have everything immediately available when they buy in. So in the future, once all these features are built, they’ll have that seamless experience from day one. This is how you earn points, or eggs. This is where you can redeem  them. This is where you can watch special content and buy tokengated products only available to you. 

The challenge here is: How do we create a product that is appealing and interesting to a person that will have to go through the effort to onboard, to take an educational journey with us? And how do we make that process super easy, where there is as little friction as possible? When we get there, it will be a game changer.


What’s on the horizon for Krapopolis and Blockchain Creative Labs?

That’s a big question. With Krapopolis, what’s number one is to increase awareness of the project, to really build on the fandom that we’re starting to see. We want to have a warm welcome from a thriving community. Right now we have Dan Harmon fans. At the moment, there are few Krapopolis fans because no one has seen the show. So we’re working on broadening that linkage, that connection between creator and fan.

"There’s so much potential for activating fans and rewarding participation." — Matthew Bilfield

Think about the shows you watch and all those people talking all day long on social media about them without any reward. I’d love to be able to say, “Hey, you just talked about Krapopolis. Here are some eggs.”


Or a nifty toga. 

Exactly. You’re getting this toga because you talked about us, for instance. There will be fun and innovative ways to encourage fans to contribute meaningfully, not just spam Twitter with #Krapopolis. It needs to be valuable content regardless of the platform that in turn gets rewarded. It’s like being part of our digital street team.


Final question: How do you see blockchain technology influencing the future of television?

I think we have a lot of hurdles to cross in the regulatory space before we can get really wild with it. But I definitely see a use case in the future as a streaming alternative, where you can buy a pass to have access to content as a whole. Then, let’s say you don’t want to watch that show anymore. Perhaps you can sell your pass and maybe get some revenue back. Whereas in a typical streaming model, you spend your $15 a month and it’s gone forever. 

The work that we’re doing right now is so different from other NFT projects. And other media companies are just starting to play in this space, so we’re navigating a lot of stuff that’s never been done before. It’s been an exercise in patience and creating clever mechanics that allow us to try new things and have a broader impact.