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Ethereum merge complete + All the Web3 news you missed this week
The Ethereum merge was completed Sept 15th, all is well. Read more about it in this recap post by Coindesk:
On September 15, Ethereum completed “the Merge,” a transition that moved it from a proof-of-work blockchain system to a proof-of-stake system, which promises to be more secure, more scalable, and much more environmentally friendly. “Ethereum should now consume 99.9% or so less energy,” reports CoinDesk. “It's like Finland has suddenly shut off its power grid, according to one estimate.”
Finally we can stop speculating what a “post merge” world looks like! And now on to all the other Web3 news you missed this week.
Here’s the Web3 news from the past week
The attack on bodily autonomy implicit in the overturning of Roe v. Wade highlights the need for “informational autonomy” on the internet. David Chaum argues that while true privacy is impossible in a Web2 world where tech companies are constantly collecting and selling our data, cryptography offers solutions to this problem, enabling people to conduct their business confidentially — whether they’re seeking out reproductive services or making a financial transaction. But, writes Chaum, “If Web3 doesn’t provide every individual with informational autonomy, if it isn’t truly decentralized and democratically managed, it’s just Web2.1 in fancy dress.”
NFTs Can and Will Be So Much More (CoinDesk)
Beyond creating a new medium for creative expression, NFTs offer several potential benefits to the art world. They could help solve issues of provenance (according to a former Metropolitan Museum director, roughly 40% of works that crossed his path were “fakes, forgeries or misattributions”), while providing artists with a better way of receiving royalties (putting to bed, perhaps, the trope of artists only striking it rich in the afterlife).
Sony will launch its PlayStation Stars loyalty program in select markets in Asia later this month, before rolling it out to the US and Europe in the following weeks. The rewards available through the program include “digital collectibles” in the form of characters and virtual renderings of PlayStation’s gaming devices, which, writes the Verge’s Mitchell Clark, “Sony insists are not NFTs or based on the blockchain.”
Starbucks has finally revealed its big foray into Web3. “Starbucks Odyssey” is part rewards program, part NFT platform, part metaverse play: Members can play coffee-related games to earn “stamps” (NFTs), which come with bonuses like “a virtual espresso martini-making class or access to exclusive merch and events.” (The regular Starbucks rewards program, on the other hand, gets you free coffee.)
Chipotle launches a new menu item in Roblox’s metaverse (VentureBeat)
This week, Chipotle debuted its Garlic Guajillo Steak on Roblox. Users could go to the Chipotle Grill Simulator on the platform and participate in a cooking class teaching them to make the new menu item; the first 100,000 people to do so could then collect on a free Garlic Guajillo Steak IRL, before it launched to the public on Wednesday.
Companies innovating in the metaverse need to consider three categories of risk: physical hardware, cryptocurrency, and identity. To a certain extent, Web3 evangelists’ hopes for the metaverse could make risk management more difficult. “Implementation of safeguards against these breaches in privacy will only increase in difficulty if the future metaverse ideal — one large, interconnected web of metaverse territories where identities and assets are entirely portable — comes to fruition,” writes Gaurav Kapoor of identity-related threats.
It’s New York Fashion Week, and while most designers are staging their usual runway shows, the event production firm Nolcha Shows is offering a metaverse spin on things. Using augmented reality, attendees at its fashion week pop-up could experience clothing designed by Web3 native brands.
Roblox wants to advertise to gamers ages 13 and up in the metaverse (Washington Post)
Roblox has an audience that’s growing up fast — 54% of users were under 13 last year, and now more than 50% are over that age — so the game platform is adding age guidelines to its content, labeling games as appropriate for all ages, 9+, or 13+. The company is also gearing up to launch “immersive ads” for users over 13 next year, a move that has some concerned about the damaging effects that could have on young minds.
Web3 games and metaverse projects rake in $748 million in August (Investing.com)
Crypto winter notwithstanding, August brought promising news for Web3 games, in the form of nearly $750 million in investment in the space (a 135% bump from July). This year so far, blockchain-based games have raised roughly $7 billion.
In case you missed it - this was the most opened article from last week’s news roundup
Coindesk - Ethereum Merge: What You Need to Know: this a good TL;DR article on what is happening and why. To summarize their FAQ
Will Ethereum fees decrease after the Merge? No
Will Ethereum transaction speeds increase after the Merge? Yes, but barely.
Will the Merge increase the price of ether (ETH)? It’s hard to say.
Is proof-of-stake better than proof-of-work? There are tradeoffs.
When is the Merge happening? Around Sept. 15th, 2022
Can I become an Ethereum validator or staker? Yes, if you have some ETH.
Will Ethereum users or ETH holders need to take any action after the Merge? No.
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.