Who benefits in a decentralized web + All the Web3 news you missed this week
ApeCoin has fueled the continued discussion over who benefits the most in a decentralized web - is it the early insiders or will the benefits be truly decentralized? Read more below and the rest of the Web3 news you missed this past week.
Here’s the Web3 news from the past week
Spotify has posted two job listings for positions that deal with the emerging world of Web3. It’s not the only major tech player to do so: YouTube, Meta, and Microsoft have all name-checked Web3 in recent listings, too.
Bored Ape NFT project gets official ‘ApeCoin’ token (Techcrunch)
Yuga Labs, the startup behind the red-hot NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club, has closed a $450 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, at a valuation of $4 billion. Yuga Labs is now gearing up for the launch of a new token, ApeCoin, which for regulatory reasons will be released by an operation called ApeCoin DAO.
Despite the careful separation of Yuga Labs and ApeCoin DAO, critics argue that this move merely solidifies power among those who already have it. ApeCoin DAO has made significant token gifts to Yuga Labs, along with its founders and backers, which in turn gives them voting rights within ApeCoin DAO. “Decentralization becomes a marketing pitch — a forever promise of rewards to come, if you only buy and hold those tokens — but it’s all still centralized where it counts,” writes Casey Newton.
What Yuga Labs wants to build after raising $450M (Techcrunch)
On the back of Yuga Labs’s big fundraising news, Alex Wilhelm gives a rundown of the startup’s investor deck from February. “If things go according to plan, Yuga is about to make a lot of money,” Wilhelm writes.
MetaMask, a crypto wallet from ConsenSys, now has 30 million users — up from 21 million users just four months ago. ConsenSys CEO Joe Lubin says MetaMask is chasing “progressive decentralization” and will be launching a DAO in the near future. According to Lubin, “It won’t govern MetaMask, but it will enable the creation of novel new pieces of MetaMask to be funded.”
The Web3 accelerator Alliance reported a record number of DAOs slated to pitch investors at its demo day, representing 10.3% of all presenters.
Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang has started an entity called Lobby3 DAO, which aims to enable everyday citizens to influence the political process. With two donation tiers for individuals (priced at .07 and 1 ETH) and a third for institutions and high-net worth individuals (40 ETH), the goal is to use “the distinct rapid voting and finance powers of a DAO to direct money to issues important to its members.”
Want to improve your Amazon Web Services skills? Apparently you can now do so via “AWS Cloud Quest: Cloud Practitioner,” an online roleplaying game that rewards users for solving cloud issues with pet companions, hoverboards, and city themes.
Oscar winner Brie Larson (a.k.a. Captain Marvel) has been promoting the some·place metaverse, tweeting out a video of her avatar padding around a modernist room filled with NFT art. This move drew strong criticism from some fans, which “can be put down to the number of scams and rug pulls… that have been perpetrated in [metaverse and NFT] markets, as well as the enormous amounts of energy they consume.”
With established financial institutions growing increasingly interested in crypto, a law professor at American University has published a new paper on the risks that the sector poses to the financial system if it’s not subject to stronger regulation. The possible ramifications? “As more financial institutions pour in, the problems that have plagued DeFi -- everything from “rug pulls” to hacks that result in massive losses -- could potentially ripple through traditional finance and even raise the risk of bank runs.”
What is DeFi? A latecomer’s guide to crypto (NY Times)
As part of its “Latecomer’s guide to crypto” FAQ series, the New York Times has published a primer on DeFi.
Tim Morten, the CEO and co-founder of Frost Giant Studios and former production director of Starcraft II, has a number of concerns about blockchain-based gaming. For one, he described play-to-earn games, in which players typically buy in with a purchase of a digital item and can then make money as they play, as “dangerously close to a pyramid scheme.”
Charities have raised millions of dollars in crypto to support Ukraine, a sign of a larger movement toward donating in crypto rather than cash. There’s a tax incentive behind that: On top of the tax write-off that giving to legally recognized nonprofits provides to donors, crypto donors can avoid paying capital gains taxes on coins that have appreciated in value.
Off topic stories I found interesting
According to Carta, a startup that offers equity management and other services to privately held companies, the size of Series A, B, and C rounds in the U.S. has declined significantly between the final two months of 2021 and the first two months of 2022. On average, Series A rounds are down 29%, Series B rounds are down 26%, and Series C rounds are down 23%, with valuations falling as well.
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.