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Celebrity power in Web3 + All the Web3 news you missed this week
One trend I’ve noticed in the past few months of gathering Web3 news is the constant presence of celebrity in Web3 projects. They range from tech celebrities like Kevin Rose with his Moonbirds NFTs or 50+ celebrities such as (Tyra Banks, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mila Kunis) that are party of BFF or Tom Brady & Gisele at the Crypto Bahamas conference. I expect that as the number of Web3 projects/companies increase, we’re going to see more reliance on star power to help launch the massive day1 attention people have come to expect out of the gates with each new NFT, Token Launch, DAO formation, etc.
Here’s the Web3 news from the past week
Web3 is “an opportunity not to be missed,” Emmanuel Macron said in an interview ahead of the French presidential election. Macron, who sought to establish France as a “start-up nation” during his first term, has his sights set on making the country a global tech player. Noting that France had three unicorns by the end of 2017 and now has 26, he’s targeting “100 French unicorns and 10 European giants” by 2030, with that growth fueled by investments in developer training and coding classes for school-age children.
Musicians, visual artists, and other creatives are turning to Web3 not just for its potential as a revenue stream, but as a deeper way of engaging fans. That may take the form of NFTs, virtual concerts, or direct conversations with artists.
While current insurance policies largely insulate VCs against the effects of crypto hacks and fraud, startups are much less protected because their theft coverage typically excludes digital assets. The bad news, per TechCrunch, is that without buy-in from banking regulators, “insurers hoping for protections to emerge could be waiting a while.” For now, startups can turn to certain crypto-native wallet protection products, or use a patchwork of products to bolster their insurance coverage.
Flowty, a peer-to-peer NFT lending marketplace, has secured $4.5 million in funding to build out its platform and team. Based on the Flow blockchain, Flowy allows borrowers to list their NFTs as collateral for loans, which lenders can fulfill if they like the terms. (The platform takes a cut of each loan.)
After several months of mystery, a cube-shaped NFT from the Nike-owned virtual fashion startup RTFKT has been opened. It turned out to be Nike’s first digital sneaker drop: Each cube contains a pair of customizable “Nike Cryptokicks,” a style modeled on the Nike Dunk.
Ryan Carson, the former COO of the Moonbirds NFT collection, has come under fire for potentially using insider knowledge to buy up a swath of Moonbirds before the price soared following its initial mint — and then exiting the group to start his own NFT venture fund. Founder Kevin Rose said the move went against internal policy, noting that they plan to put in place a new communications policy moving forward.
Why DAOs Will Have $1 Trillion AUM Within 10 Years: Crypto VCs (Business Insider)
Right now, DAOs own about $11.3 billion in crypto. Imran Khan, a founding member of the Web3 accelerator Alliance, expects that in 10 years, such organizations will possess $1 trillion in AUM — on par with what traditional financial organizations currently have on their balance sheets.
What exactly is the metaverse? It’s murky. With several possible definitions, Alex Wilhelm writes: “This is the precise gray area that has allowed anyone working with digital communities, or really digital assets more generally, to claim the label. The result is that everything is the metaverse, which is the same thing as saying that precisely nothing is.”
On May 9, Meta will open its first “Meta Store” — which, to be clear, will be a real-world location in Burlingame, California. Shoppers will have the chance to demo products including Portal devices, Ray-Ban Stories, and the Quest VR Headset, which will in turn allow Meta to “closely study how customers interact with its products before expanding its retail stores to more locations.”
According to several current and former Meta employees, Mark Zuckerberg is obsessed with the metaverse, but a lack of “coherent strategy” around the project is sewing corporate chaos. "It's basically fomenting disorganization and anxiety," one employee told Business Insider.
How I Grow My Portfolio With DeFi (Nasdaq)
With a personal portfolio largely comprising Bitcoin, Keegan Francis breaks down how to use the various DeFi applications on the market, including collateralized lending and yield farming applications.
After 15 years in business, the user-generated gaming platform Roblox has hit 50 million users per day, with an average of 2 to 2.5 hours spent in its ecosystem. Chief business officer Craig Donato detailed the state of the company, from its approach to working with brands to its outlook on the metaverse. “We’re absolutely game for interoperability,” said Donato.
For this week’s interview, I looked at OlympusDAO, which is aiming to create a decentralized reserve currency backed by a community-owned treasury. In the spirit of decentralization, the organization connected me with community member Asfi Shaheen for the interview. We spoke about why Shaheen decided to become involved with OlympusDAO, the benefits of human-first governance, and the challenges of uncollateralized stablecoins.
I meant to include this explainer video in my previous post
Crypto millionaires are pouring money into Central America to build their own cities (MIT Technology Review)
El Salvador has plans to create a so-called “Bitcoin City” near the Conchagua Volcano, with its power coming from geothermal energy and its economy running on Bitcoin. This model has been taken up by crypto investors who are “trying to persuade other governments to create semi-autonomous zones that double as laboratories for economic experimentation, claiming it will stimulate growth and enrich nearby communities.” But in Central America, which has a history of corporate colonialism and economic exploitation, there’s a looming question of who would actually benefit from these Bitcoin Cities.
In case you missed it - this was the most opened article from last week’s news roundup
Inside 3 Crypto Funds' Investor Decks (Newcomer)
Crypto funds are raising billions of dollars right now. After reviewing several fund decks, Eric Newcomer breaks down exactly how they’re selling themselves to investors — to such booming success.
NYC Web3 Meetups
I’ve been hosting a regular series of Web3 in person get togethers in NYC. They range from small table breakfasts to larger happy hours. If you’re interested in attending or sponsoring one of these events sign up here:
Hi, I’m Andrew Chang - I created the Web3 Roundup to share what I’m learning in this space. I’ve spent my career at the forefront of the technology industry in areas such as crypto/blockchain (Former COO @ Paxos, co-founding partner of Liberty City Ventures), video and adtech. I learn by meeting with founders, investors and other thought leaders and approach Web3 with the same enthusiasm – and skepticism – I had about crypto/blockchain technologies 10 years ago.