Azuki Fumbles. Akutar Summer. And Asia's Crypto Ascent.
👋🏽 Hello everyone, gm gm, WELCOME BACK to another edition of the Overpriced JPEGs newsletter, where we’re catching you up on the web3, NFTs, and the greater world of emerging tech.
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🥷🏼 Azuki’s Out of Their Element
we’re backsomething derailed when discord and group chats are poppin’ off more in a week than they have been all year. You know it’s really bad when said derailment becomes the Song A Day
Yup, the collective groan was heard far and wide after Azuki fumbled the bag with its head-scratching reveal of the Elemental art, which turned out to be inexplicably identical to the Azuki art
But let’s back up. Azuki was flying high with massive tailwinds heading into Vegas’ Follow the Rabbit, which many were expecting to be the most hype event of the year. And from the looks of it, it just may have been
Zagabond’s resurrected ‘check your wallets’ moment, however, definitely marked the top and things have pretty much unraveled from there. Holders had just 3 days to pull together funds, unwind Azuki loans, and delegate their wallets to prep for the pricey 2E, 10-minute mint windows. It was admittedly ‘not up to the Azuki standard’ in the team’s own words.
And that was just the mint. Post-reveal, as noted above, shit really hit the fan.
The end result? Azuki made a cool $40M, sucked a large amount liquidity out of market (primarily from their own holders) and tarnished the stellar reputation they worked so hard to rebuild
Tune back in to this space tomorrow where Gavin’s bringing you a deep dive on how Azuki and Yuga are suddenly in the midst of a mid-life crisis - and what they might do to fix it
In the meantime, let’s all enjoy the one silver lining of all this controversy … the memes 😈
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☘️ JPEGs Galore
Azuki may have sucked all the air out of the room this week, but there was a lot of other stuff happening. Don’t worry, I got you:
Harry Styles gave Irish fans a little taste of web3 via the EVNTZ app; Concert-goers had 100k unique interactions w/the app and 5,000 Harries even signed up for wallets
Akutars announced two big partnerships this week with Beats by Dre and Starbucks Odyssey, and delivered 5k backpacks to kids across the US
CyberKongs introduced an exciting new ERC721x standard that essentially adds 2FA to your wallets and blocks transfers of your NFTs w/o permission
Funded by Nouns DAO and led by former animators for Pixar, Netflix, and Marvel, the animated ‘The Rise of Blus: A Nouns Movie’ premiered to positive reviews
🎌 Asia’s Crypto Ascent
This photo from former CFTC Chair Chris Giancarlo made the rounds this week and it really feels like the whole ‘US is falling behind’ narrative went from an inside industry whisper to a global roar
As American firms duke it out with the SEC over who can and can’t trade crypto, Hong Kong’s largest bank already allows customers to trade BTC and ETH in ETFs listed on HK’s stock exchange
Even mainland China - notorious for its incredibly stringent restrictions - has hinted at shifts in its stance toward crypto, with the Bank of China recently issuing $28M of debt on ETH
Also: Near Foundation teamed up with Alibaba Cloud to grow its growth in Asia; $BLUR shot up 26% after being listed on the Korean Exchange Upbit; and we’d expect Binance to amplify its Asian presence given its European exodus and uncertain future in the US
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Fidelity is expected to file for a spot Bitcoin ETF on the heels of BlackRock, WisdomTree, Invesco, VanEck, and Bitwise
Canadian lawmakers published a comprehensive report supporting blockchain tech
Rep. Waters from CA gives SEC and Treasury Dept one week to weigh in on crypto bill moving through the legislature
Coinbase wins Supreme Court case that has more to do with business arbitration than crypto; ruling bolsters legal precedent for companies enforcing arbitration agreements
Switzerland’s central bank is piloting CBDC on the nation’s SIX digital exchange
A group of engineers are committed to reviving a post-Do Kwon Terra ecosystem
Bad week in court for SBF and FTX:
JPMorgan is leveraging a permissioned blockchain to settle payments for institutional clients; only processed $300B+ in 4 years (compared to $10T of payments overall on a daily basis)
Brazil’s largest exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, takes part in CBDC pilot alongside Mastercard, Cerc, and others
🌐 web3 + NFTs
Pudgy Penguins won Toy Insider’s Top Summer Toy of 2023 award
GaryVee holds creator challenge featuring Snoop Dogg; Contestants must burn an NFT and create a social vid to enter
CryptoPunks book archiving the collection’s history and community is coming this fall
Cristiano Ronaldo partners exclusively with Binance on second NFT collection, ForeverCR7: The GOAT
QMN is a token for the pizza-loving community: The stable-coin, backed by USD and/or USDT, is an officially accepted payment at participating pizzerias and pizza suppliers
Yuga Labs rumored to be opening a social house in Miami for holders to connect, collaborate, and innovate
Christie’s curates Cartography of the Soul collection to benefit the psychedelic studies
NFT minting platform Zora launches its own creator-focused Ethereum L2
Mirror enables NFT embeds in its mirror posts so readers can collect inline
All 35 of Grant Yun’s physical & digital pairing “Fall” sold out at $5,568 each
📈 Brands + Biz
Meta’s Twitter competitor is supposedly just a few weeks out from launch
Court permanently banned MetaBirkins NFT creator Mason Rothschild from ever selling Birkin NFTs again
Kendall Jenner + Kate Moss + J Balvin among celebs serving on panel of jurors in charitable NFT competition
Recent wave of bomb threats at major retailers (including Walmart, Amazon, Whole Foods) include demands for payment in Bitcoin
Bitcoin tipping features gets decentralized social media app Damus kicked out of Apple’s App Store
A popular Brooklyn bathhouse is catching heat for using Bitcoin mining rigs to heat its spa facilities
🤖 AI + Metaverse
Lego and Fortnite confirmed a collaboration is in the works. Digital Twin will bring real-world LEGO creations to Fortnite using Unreal Engine
Amazon Web Services kicks off AWS Generative AI Innovation Center with $100M to support gen AI startups
It’s now much easier (and cheaper) to generate low-quality content thanks to generative AI - read why that matters
AI-guided meditation coach Ogimi tailors sessions in real-time for users based on their specific needs and personal journey
50% of top executives reveal AI is now their #1 budget item over the next year
Swiss engineers design a VR suit for getting that full metaverse immersion feeling
CeeLo and producer THE PINK host immersive metaverse experience on CEEK platform
Ord.io founder and longtime NFT collector Leonidas joins Carly to get OPJ listeners up to speed on all things Ordinals. If you’ve ever had any questions about Bitcoin Ordinals, inscriptions, or how to get involved in this fun, new ecosystem - this episode is a must watch.
This week, Carly and Gavin are digging in on Nike’s thoughtful approach to NFTs, Goblintown going viral in the popular Twitch game Only Up!, and the mass TradFi movement into crypto. Catch up here!
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Got something to share with our readers? Leave a comment below or connect with me @hawaiianft (Sparkitysparkz) on Twitter or @jacy (Sparkz) on Bluesky 🤙🏾
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