The next cycle of Web3 founders + All the Web3 news you missed this week
Despite the crypto downturn, I’ve been presently surprised by the steady stream of new Web3 founders I’ve met over the past month. Many are coming from different tech verticals and just starting to build their first products in Web3. Their stories often follow a similar timeline:
~24 months ago: Started to look seriously at the crypto / Web3 space after ignoring the earlier hype cycles. Many were drawn in by the new defi products and the emergence of token based communities
~12-18 months ago: After some personal experimentation / investment in the space, they started to formulate their own thesis on the future of decentralized economies/products.
~6 months ago: They started to narrow in on specific product/business ideas that they may want to work on within Web3. Partnered up with a co-founder they met in some Discord group and started product experimentation.
~1-3 months ago: Built a MVP or honed in on a direction to focus on and have now decided to raise a seed round.
Seeing this cycle first hand makes me think there will be a meaningful number of Web3 companies that start in this next phase.
Here’s the Web3 news from the past week
Following in the footsteps of Voyager Digital, the crypto lending firm Celsius has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Celsius, which froze customer accounts last month, has 100,000-plus creditors and $167 million in cash to continue operations while it restructures.
In its first 24 hours, GameStop’s newly launched NFT marketplace facilitated roughly $1.98 million in sales — $44,500 for GameStop itself, which takes a 2.25% cut of transactions. While that’s a pittance compared to the $16.5 million that GameStop otherwise does in revenue each day, it also puts the company in “the odd position of being a relatively major player in a rapidly shrinking market.”
Reviews of GameStop’s NFT marketplace aren’t exactly glowing. As Paul Tassi at Forbes writes: “The most generous way you can describe GameStop’s NFT marketplace is as an OpenSea knockoff with generally worse artwork. While NFTs have rarely been a shining beacon for artistic prowess, especially some of the most popular collections like Bored Apes and Cryptopunks, there are some truly…bleak things on display in GameStop’s store.”
Nansen’s Q2 report on the state of the NFT market shows that June had the lowest sales volume of the year so far, though there’s some hope to be found in the number of returning monthly users, which trended upward in June, and first-time buyers, which has held steady since March.
The government of Shanghai has big plans for the metaverse, per a new policy paper. The goal is for its metaverse industry to reach $52 billion by 2025, supported by advances in VR headsets and 5G technology as well as the creation of 10 international “chain-owner” enterprises.
The metaverse paradox: Why the industry needs standardization (World Economic Forum)
As tech players like Meta, Bytedance, and Sony roll out their metaverse offerings, we’re likely to see a “highly-fragmented market of competing ecosystems, provided and operated by the biggest tech companies of our time, fighting for market dominance in the next-technology era.” These businesses face a paradox: They’re ready to dive into the metaverse, but the sector’s fragmentation prevents executives from making confident decisions about their products.
The anonymity and niche communities of the early metaverse have fostered a certain “beauty, freedom, and creative spirit,” which, writes Katherine Cross, could be bulldozed by corporate interests in the same way that Web 2.0 was. Cross proposes several principles to guide regulation of the metaverse: the assumption that users have inalienable rights (such as privacy and anonymity), the recognition of online life as real life (with corresponding penalties for stalking, harassment, and crime), and the prevention of the corrupting influence of crypto.
Web3 game developers are attempting to shed the image that their products have among distrustful gamers — namely that blockchain-based games are financially volatile, environmentally damaging business schemes that have no real entertainment value. Their strategy? Creating games that are free to play, built on carbon-neutral blockchains, and are fun even if you’re not earning a cent.
Off topic stories I found interesting
For the low, low price of $17-18 a month, BMW is offering a subscription plan that allows car buyers in the U.K. and South Korea to unlock the heated seat function already installed in their vehicle. Predictably, this move — which at this point does not affect BMW customers in the U.S. — elicited negative feedback on social media. "Welcome to microtransaction hell,” tweeted one individual.
In case you missed it - this was the most opened article from last week’s news roundup
Chevy held its first NFT auction in late June, with proceeds going to the charity DonorsChoose and the winning bidder receiving a Corvette Z06 in a one-of-a-kind color. Alas, nobody bid, even after Chevy extended the auction’s deadline.
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.