Top 29 Web3 News in 2023
Year In Review
👋🏽 Hello everyone, gm gm, WELCOME BACK to another edition of the Overpriced JPEGs newsletter!
Today, we’re talking about the top 29 news of 2023 that shaped the web3 industry to what it is today.
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In the spirit of the holidays, I'm keeping it brief but exciting.
Today's newsletter is a special one: a quick dive into the top 29 crypto and web3 stories of 2023.
These highlights are handpicked to give you a snapshot of the year's most significant developments.
Here’s an infographic with the top news from 2023.
Now, if you’ve got some time to spare, let’s take a deeper look into each event. ⏬
January 1st – Solana Dead at $8? 💀
Things didn’t look good for Solana at the start of the year – every metric was at all-time lows!
$SOL was at $8
TVL was at $200 million
Daily onchain volume barely surpassed $50 million
When that happened, we published a report on Solana, suggesting that its best times were still ahead.
What a comeback it's been for Solana!!
January 25th – dotSWOOSH Studio Launch 👟
Nike introduced their web3 studio, which allows the community to co-create Nike products.
February 14th – $BLUR Airdrop 🎈
The airdrop was probably the biggest part of a great marketplace war, which started in 2022 with the launch of Sudoswap – a marketplace without royalties.
The NFT community woke up to the fact that royalties weren’t enforceable onchain…
So Blur launched its marketplace in October 2022, with no royalties and a 0.5% platform fee (cheaper than anyone), and promised an airdrop, which happened on February 14th.
As a reaction, OpenSea dropped their platform fees and made creator royalties optional.
Despite their efforts, OpenSea continued to lose market share because traders were flocking to Blur to farm the Season 2 airdrop.
In August, OpenSea decided to drop royalties entirely. Yuga Labs said they were leaving OpenSea as a result.
On Nov 21st, BLUR Season 2 airdrop was complete, while OpenSea was still lagging behind.
A big year for NFT marketplaces.
February 23rd – Coinbase Announces Base L2 ⛓
The ‘onchain’ narrative was born with the announcement of Base.
March 16th – Arbitrum Airdrop 🔵
Arbitrum Foundation dropped 1.162 billion $ARB tokens, worth a whopping $1.4 billion today.
It was by far the biggest airdrop this year.
Fun Fact: Over $55 million in $ARB tokens were not claimed – this money went to the Arbitrum DAO treasury.
March 17th – Balaji’s $1M Bet 😲
Balaji made a crazy $1 million bet that Bitcoin would go to $1 million in just 90 days because the dollar would hyper inflate. He lost!
While we’d love for Bitcoin to be at $1 million right now, we’re grateful that the dollar didn’t hyper inflate – that would’ve been very dark for the economy.
April 12th – Ethereum’s Staking Unlocked 🔗
Ethereum’s Shappella upgrade occurred successfully on April 12th, allowing any stakers to unstake their positions.
While many were expecting a big withdrawal, new stakers actually flocked to stake onchain.
May 11th – WorldCoin x Optimism 👁
WorldCoin is a project aiming to distribute digital currency to as many people as possible worldwide, using a unique biometric orb to scan users' irises for identity verification.
In May, they announced that they’re building their platform on top of the Optimism mainnet.
Sam Altman, the most important CEO in tech right now, is building on an Ethereum L2. 🤯
May 16th – Ledger Recover FUD 😨
Ledger decided to launch ‘Recover’ – an optional & paid service which would help users regain access to their secret phrase in case they lost it.
The crypto community raised concerns about the security, wondering how it’s possible for Ledger to find out your secret phrase.
Many started to boycott Ledger, but we clarified the situation here.
May 19th – Pudgy Toys on Amazon 🐧
The NFT project of the year, Pudgy Penguins, launched their Pudgy Toys on Amazon.
June 5th & 6th – SEC Sues Binance & Coinbase 🧑⚖
Binance was sued for commingling funds, while Coinbase was sued for ‘operating as an unregistered broker’.
While people thought these lawsuits were identical, they weren’t.
The Coinbase lawsuit was a nothing burger while the suit against Binance proved to be a big problem.
June 8th – 55 Cryptocurrencies Deemed Securities
The reason Binance, Coinbase and even Kraken got sued was because ‘they listed securities on their platform’.
Along with the lawsuit, the SEC issued that these 55 currencies were securities.
Just 1 months after this, they said that XRP wasn’t a security (keep reading 👇), which means that most of these aren’t either.
June 16th – BlackRock Spot Bitcoin ETF 🟠
BlackRock’s Spot Bitcoin ETF filing marked one of the biggest milestones for crypto in 2023, as it totally legitimized this space and sped up the process of getting a Spot ETF approved for Bitcoin.
July 14th – XRP is Not A Security 🥳
This means that 90% of cryptocurrencies today are also not a security, which marks them as safe!
August 1st – BASE Onchain Summer 🟡
Coinbase’s L2 – Base – went live in late July and a meme token called $BALD rose to almost $100 million market cap.
This generated a lot of attention for Base, who, on August 1st, launched possibly one of the greatest marketing campaigns in web3 – Onchain Summer – a 30-day period of daily NFT mints & other fun onchain activities.
August 7th – Paypal Launches USD Stablecoin 💲
PayPal announced the launch of their own stablecoin: $PYUSD, an Ethereum-based token.
Later, this stablecoin was integrated into Venmo, a neo-bank used by 83 million Americans.
August 11th – FriendTech Goes Wild 🫂
FriendTech, a social app where users can hold the keys of their favorite influencers, launched on Base and saw overwhelming success.
This application then went on to generate insane value for an entire ecosystem.
August 29th – Grayscale Wins Lawsuit Against SEC 🏆
Grayscale filed a lawsuit against the SEC for being discriminated against in the SEC’s decision of disapproving the Spot Bitcoin ETF.
Grayscale won this lawsuit & the SEC had to review their application again.
September 5th – Visa on Solana 💳
Visa announced that they were extending their stablecoin settlement capabilities to Solana. In my opinion, this is what started to make people realize that Solana isn’t dead.
Shortly after this, MakerDAO looked to fork Solana, who became the hottest kid on the block.
September 24th – Pudgy Toys in Walmart
Pudgy Penguins launched its toys in Walmart in what probably was the biggest week for NFTs in the past years.
October 11th – Farcaster Goes Public 🌐
The first fully onchain and decentralized social application, Farcaster opened its doors for everyone, putting pressure on competitors like Lens & DeSo to open up themselves.
November 3rd – SBF Found Guilty 🖕
After FTX’s collapse in 2022, Sam Bankman-Fried's fraud trial concluded with a guilty verdict, and he faces decades in prison.
November 9th – BlackRock ETH ETF
BlackRock didn’t just file for a Bitcoin Spot ETF this year, they also applied for one for Ethereum.
Once the BTC ETF is approved, one for ETH will follow shortly.
November 21st – Binance DOJ Settlement
Binance accepts a $4 billion fine in their settlement agreement with the DOJ while CZ pleads guilty to fraud charges and steps down as CEO.
November 28th – Illuvium on Epic Games Store
The most anticipated web3 game (built on Immutable) launched on the Epic Games Store, a platform used by over 230 million gamers.
December 1st – Solana Airdrop SZN Begins
The $PYTH, $JUP & $JTO airdrops injected over $1 billion into the ecosystem, and every other project started to tease airdrops.
Also, this led to onchain points becoming the new meta for the rest of the year.
December 7th – Flipkart Launches L2
Flipkart, the Amazon of India, with 350 million customers, launched an L2 using Polygon’s CDK tool-kit to scale its onchain loyalty program.
December 15th – Ledger & NFT Trader Hacks
The Ledger Connect Kit – aka the ability for users to connect to dApps using their Ledger – was exploited. Users were asked to DO NOTHING – anything they did would make things worse.
A few hours later, NFT Trader got exploited and everyone who used this platform in the past had their NFTs exposed – instead of doing nothing, people were asked to revoke all permissions.
2 of the biggest hacks this year happened within hours – insane.
December 19th – Inscriptions Going Mad
Inscription NFTs made their way from Bitcoin to EVM chains & congested a bunch of networks.
90% of all transactions on Avalanche were inscriptions
Arbitrum went down for over 1h because of congestion
What are inscriptions? Read all about 'em here.
Wrapping Up 🧵
What a year…
$BTC, $ETH & $SOL are up 100s of % YTD
Billions of dollars have been airdropped
Solana had the greatest comeback of all time
Pudgy is definitely the NFT project of the year
The SEC got its ass whooped
Onchain apps have started to go mainstream
We got rid of all bad actors in crypto
We’re closer than ever to a Spot Bitcoin ETF
And guess what? It can only get better from here!
On January the 1st, a newsletter will hit your inbox, containing our top predictions for 2024. We’re more bullish than ever & I suspect you are too.
Here’s to an even better year in crypto. 🍻
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and not financial advice. Conduct your own research and consult a financial advisor before making investment decisions or taking any action based on the content.