Notes on the upcoming Ethereum merge + All the Web3 news you missed this week
Around Sept 15, Ethereum will transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. This change is a long time coming and worth understanding. Here’s a few resources explaining what is happening and why it matters:
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.
Much has been written about the importance and implications of the merge, here are a few articles worth reading:
When Ethereum transitions to a proof-of-stake network on ~September 15 traders should be on the lookout for certain red flags indicating that things have gone awry. One suggestion from Cointelegraph: “Ethereum advocates should consider monitoring external data instead of just their own node and server. There could be delays or even erroneous warning signs, so using multiple sources of information could help one avoid being misled by data from a single website or a post on social networks.”
This is a pivotal event in the history of Crypto so expect there to be a lot of attention on this topic over the next week. And now on to the other Web3 news from the past week.
Here’s the Web3 news from the past week
A “developer gap” has some tech leaders concerned about Web3’s ability to make good on its potential. One report found that 18,500 developers were contributing to open-source Web3 projects every month, a modest number compared to the 20,000-plus software developers employed by Facebook, Amazon, and Google each — and a drop in the bucket compared to the 31.1 million software engineers working around the world in early 2022.
Web3 remains an investor magnet. The latest batch of companies to secure funding includes crypto VC firm Symbolic Capital ($50 million), content-focused Animoca Brands KK ($45 million), crypto options trading startup BITLEVEX ($50 million), and developer platform thirdweb ($24 million).
Anthony Hopkins' New Film Is an NFT (dot.LA)
“Zero Contact,” a new movie starring Anthony Hopkins, will have an unusual rollout in September. It’s being released by the startup Vuele, which will auction off an NFT that gives the owner early access to the film and a variety of bonus features. Vuele will then sell similar NFTs in a series of increasingly large drops, before eventually moving the film to more traditional distribution channels.
The TechCrunch podcast Chain Reaction interviewed James Zhang about Concept Art House, a company he founded 14 years ago with the goal of supplying art to video game developers and which now caters entirely to Web3 video game clients. Zhang, who previously worked as a concept artist at LucasArts, says that his aim with Concept Art House is to build a platform that’s “really friendly for artists in Web3” — and last year raised $25 million to do so.
Sudoswap, which launched in July, is “the first, honest-to-god, working decentralized NFT exchange with an on-chain automated market maker (AMM),” writes Reza Jafery. The liquidity provided by that AMM could have big implications for the NFT space, per Jafery: “In fact, I think this could be the spark that finally brings the excitement of 2020’s DeFi Summer to the NFT world. Call it NFT Autumn.”
Maker DAO's Existential Crisis (Bankless)
Donovan Choy recaps the drama within Maker DAO’s governance community, which stems from ideological debates over the partial centralization of its stablecoin DAI. “Maker’s existential crisis brings into focus two main centralized vectors that Maker has embraced in the past year for the sake of growth,” Choy writes: its “heavy reliance on USDC collateralization” and real world asset exposure.
Consider the metaverse applications of fitness, medicine, travel, training and education, and retail. From gamified martial arts workouts to cadaver-less surgery training sessions, there’s a strong case to be made for the possibilities of VR in these sectors.
On Sunday, LG Electronics went live with its NFT platform LG Art Lab. As LG exec Chris Jo told TechCrunch, “LG Art Lab is designed to allow millions of users in the U.S. to easily access and display NFTs, without having to interact with code or directly with a blockchain themselves.” To that end, users can access the platform directly through the home screen of their LG smart TV.
Big Tech is incentivized to market the metaverse as a totally novel concept. But, writes Tom Boellstorff, a professor of anthropology at UC Irvine, “I’ve found that the metaverse’s rich past shapes what too often appears unprecedented.” Examinations of the social implications and virtual environments of the metaverse have been going on for more than a century — in, for instance, the form of chess matches and romances that transpired over telegraph during the Victorian era.
“A nightmare, a tragedy, a dumpster fire.” These are a few choice words from a former member of the development team behind Northern Guilds, a forthcoming NFT game that will not, apparently, see the light of day, thanks to mismanagement from leadership.
Fantasy sports could provide a useful blueprint for GameFi, as it figures out how to move forward from the lackluster results of play-to-earn games. “While daily fantasy sports share synergies with sports betting, those who enter seasonal fantasy leagues ultimately do so as the next phase in their love of a specific sport as well as a social connection to their friends — rather than purely to earn,” writes Gambit Games founder Riaz Lalani. Focusing on community may be one way for Web3 games to build true fan loyalty.
Decentralized application founders and investors are incentivized to inflate their user numbers, leading to a somewhat startling finding from one bot prevention firm: In an analysis of 60 games and DApps, 40% of users were found to be bots or single entities with multiple accounts. There are ways to suss out whether a game might be filled with bots, though, including a look at its community pages: “Are there real questions and constructive debates by the community or merely activity from group admins and shilling from bot accounts?”
Off topic stories I found interesting
The 1,000 Chinese SpaceX engineers who never existed (MIT Tech Review)
LinkedIn scams are on the rise, with fraudsters constructing profiles filled with prestigious credentials and then coaching marks through “investments” in cryptocurrency, sometimes stealing millions of dollars in the process. Many of these scams have targeted people of Chinese descent outside of China, using fake degrees from top Chinese universities to build trust.
In case you missed it - this was the most opened article from last week’s news roundup
Mashable took a trip down memory lane, looking back at some of the oddest Web3 moves we’ve seen so far — from Pearson’s blockchain-based plan to track (and profit from) secondary sales of its textbooks to the non-transferable benefits attached to transferable Applebee’s NFTs.
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.