Gassed Up Gensler
Crypto Politics. Capitulation. And some Gen Art History.
👋🏽 Hello everyone, gm gm, WELCOME BACK to another edition of the Overpriced JPEGs newsletter, where we’re catching you up on the world of web3, NFTs, and the metaverse.
Can you believe we’re half way through our Overpriced JPEGs Happy Hour Tour?! This week we headed to LA, where Carly chatted with Kevin Rose and Frank DeGods on a wide range of topics, from PROOF’s new Spotify deal to Frank’s unorthodox use of AI tools to [redacted]. Catch the episode on OPJ next Wednesday!
🤷🏽♂️ Are We There Yet?
Well, well, well … It’s been another relatively lackluster week in NFTs, with prices slightly ↗ gas way ↘ and volume running ↔️ … oh, and Franklin’s back. Sort of.
Seriously though, we had a bit of a mixed bag with the market splashing signs of equal parts bullishness and desperation:
🔴 Top Blur airdrop farmer MachiBigBrother blames its “broken” model for draining liquidity providers to zero
🟢 Alpha Centuari Kid sold out The Broken Keys - a collection two years in the making - with top winning bids in excess of 30E and 731E in total sales
🔴 NFT platform Paraspace leaders aired their dirty laundry in a Twitter spaces after employees publicly accused the CEO of misappropriating funds. The space was mediated by Zeneca, because, well, Zen 🕊
🟢 Yuga’s HV-MTLs have revealed, and people are as excited as you can expect them to be in this market
🟡 Ledger held an impromptu Spaces to address concerns after its latest product, Ledger Recover, was leaked on Reddit. It’s designed to give peace of mind and decrease friction for n00bs, but some longtime Ledger users fear centralization and overreach
🟢 This gold ape sold for a massive 530 ETH to Pimp Capital
🔴 Andy Chorlian shuts down Tessera & Escher, citing an unsustainable biz model; was also recently charged with involvement in alleged securities manipulation scheme
Even meme coins’ main character moment is dwindling to more of a supporting cast role
Yes, we’re fully aware a shitcoin raised $6.9M in < 72 hours despite several warnings from CT elites. We’re just choosing not to let it take up any more air than it’s already gotten, except to say if you own one of the 9k+ wallets that bought $BEN, then may we interest you in some $GREED 😈
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⚔️ Team Stark All the Way
In the broader cryptosphere, there’s a lot bubbling under the surface and it def feels like the volcano’s on the brink of eruption
For starters, the SEC finally responded to Coinbase’s petition for regulatory clarity and we got a live look at Gensler delivering the news:
Given the established precedent of denying relief to petitioners resulting from government delays, it’s possible the SEC gets away with the stall tactics. But Coinbase’s lawyer already has his next move queued up and he’s got the unfettered support of the largest lobbying group in the country, the US Chamber of Commerce
This might be the year crypto goes prime time in our nation’s capital, with the DOJ cracking down on exchanges and politicians finally making digital assets and blockchain a priority talking point (this Bankless interview w/NY Rep. Ritchie Torres is such a good listen)
Yup, this whole space is giving serious GoT energy and everyone’s just out here sharpening their swords for the glorious Battle of the Bastards
🪱 Looking Back to Get Ahead
Earlier this week The Milk Road unearthed this interesting tweet comparing the weekly volume leaderboard in 2018 v. 2023
Spoiler Alert: There was zero overlap. No surprise there, but it got me thinking about all the groundbreaking innovation and progress that artists, creators and builders have made in web3 and I thought I’d pay homage to a few of my favorites here
The Worm is an elusive, onchain 1/1 NFT on a mission to visit every wallet on the blockchain. It’s been wriggling for 670 days, squirming into ~1,171 wallets, including dozens of top artists, premium collectors, and tight-knight communities (view the full list here).
The Worm’s had a storied history involving blessings, scammers, and cult-like twitter spaces where new disciples are birthed. It’s no doubt an integral part of NFT lore, and there is no greater symbol of how “early” you are than the numbered Hologram it leaves behinda after departing your wallet.
The first 100 disciples were airdropped this Bryan Brinkman gem in 2021, and this week the legends Ambition, Minimizer, and RaptorNews delivered an ambitions collection that intricately reflects the individual path of each of The Worm’s first 1000 disciples
Chromie Squiggles are anything but elusive, and they certainly haven’t been on a mission to visit my wallet (yet) 😭… But you simply can’t have a convo about NFT innovation w/o mentioning the “first, iconic, and largest” in the Art Blocks ecosystem
Squigs are badass bc they’re historically significant and their aesthetic simplicity is just so satisfying. But also Snowfro just has a refreshingly humble background and sounds like a genuinely nice human.
Next week he’s auctioning 10 unminted Squiggles in support of The ALS Association, continuing the cause of generative artists in fighting generative diseases
I sadly won’t be bidding, but will continue to daydream incessantly about owning one - and if you are too - I highly recommend Corporate Trash’s Ultimate Buying Guide. Just have some kleenex handy to wipe the drool
Notable Mentions: The remarkable story of The Lost Robbies, ripcache’s digital connection to the physical world, and the motivational tale of The Michelangelo of Microsoft Excel, which I recently learned is a constant source of Inspo for Fewocious
Binance is is citing new stablecoin guidance and restrictions on investor limits as reasons for its decision to gtfo of Canada
Gensler says SEC is ‘not behind the times’ and rules for crypto are already clear
10SQ investment firm launches $200M fund to back promising crypto startups
21-yo who bought a Ferrari in Morocco using BTC gets $3.7M fine and 18 months in prison
CZ reportedly looking for buyers to reduce his stake in Binance U.S.
Argentina bans digital payment providers from offering crypto services
If you’re in the tax extension camp, tax experts are here to share the best practices for crypto compliance before reporting those losses. Err, I mean gains.
🌐 web3 + NFTs
Memeland debuted its GM Show - focused specifically on Asia, builders, and cool vibes - to 6k+ ppl despite some technical hiccups
Pudgy Toys are coming on May 18
The Beeple x VeeFriends Everyday of a milky laser-eyed GaryVee was airdropped to VeeFriends Gift Goats and select Beeple holders; early paper sales in the .4 range
Animoca Brands released an unaudited report on its financial condition: “financially strong” w/cash + stablecoin reserves of $194M and liquid digital assets of $566M (inclusive of Sandbox’ utility token SAND)
Valhalla announced its Battle Pass loyalty program that rewards loyal holders over flippers and farmers
Helika, the data analytics firm that services Treasure, will provide engagement, retention, and growth insights for Yuga Labs gaming intiatives
Memeland kicks off Season 1 Raids; winners score booty & experience points
NFT Worlds rebrands to Topia, releases master plan to build a modernized Roblox & Minecraft rival that’s cross-compatible, creator-focused, and free to play
📈 Brands + Biz
Popular gaming franchise Assasin’s Creed dropping Digital Soul NFTs on Polygon that are redeemable for a 3D-printed character suspended in a collectible cube
Reddit releases free “Better Launch Next Time” avatars to anyone who bought or attempted to buy NFTs during its chaotic Gen3 launch
eBay is hiring a Commercial Director to “lead the success of its NFT proposition”; position reports to NFT Business Unit Head & works closely w/KnownOrigin
Hennessy engages community in bottle design-making process typically reserved for its celeb partners; Holders of Café 11 NFTs to co-create limited edition designs
Ledger and luxury streetwear brand AMBUSH are collabing on a liquid metal case for the Ledger Stax
LG Electonics files patent to enable NFT trading on its TVs; LG’s foray into NFTs began w/Art Lab marketplace tied to lesser-known network Hedera
Ghosts of Ruin is an NFT-backed Western anime series starring Rosario Dawson; NFTs will fund the show’s production; series will premiere exclusively to holders
Steph Curry rocked an orange BTC DeGods hoodie after Game 5 of the semi-finals
🤖 AI + Metaverse
Google and OpenAI are beefing it out, with Bard 2.0 dropping and ChatGPT granting browser and plug-in access to all Plus users this week. The All-In guys weigh in and experience a real-time hallucination on their latest ep and DCInvestor ran an informal CT poll
The Voice Studios in Decentraland lets aspiring superstars audition for future seasons in the metaverse; producers hope to expand reach for the show, fans, and advertisers
Starburst opens Juicyverse in the metaverse shopping experience The Mall; Go on a 3D hunt for an NFTredeemable for IRL discounts on candy purchases
Hollywood writers call for AI regulation amidst strike and growing trend of automation in the film world
The Snapchat influencer charging $1/minute to date the ‘AI girlfriend’ version of herself says it’s gone off the rails, “encouraging erotic discourse & detailing sexual scenarios”
Amazon’s reportedly working on AI gen tech called Burnham that would take its home
Fashion retailer Bershka develops a full line of AR-enabled ‘semi-digital’ clothing
Miami’s popular Wynwood venue is getting the metaverse treatment, complete with Tamagotchi-style AI pets
On the second stop of the Overpriced JPEGs Happy Hour Tour, Carly sits down with Yuga’s brand spankin’ new CEO, Daniel Alegre live in Austin. In his first major interview since taking the role, Daniel breaks down Yuga’s gaming strategy and plans for enormous growth, shares a message for regulators, and finally reveals what a Koda is 😉
OPJ partner Web3Sense created a custom dashboard that analyzes data for web3 projects, tracking the behaviors of communities and influencers. In this impactful interview, CEO Jim Borger reveals some mind-blowing stats on popular collections like Yuga Labs + Pudgy Penguins and shares how data analytics help web3 companies increase retention and drive growth.
Carly, Gavin, and Zeneca find lots to talk about amidst a decidedly downbeat market. They’ve got hot takes on Elon’s Milady’s pump, the continued meme coin mania, and the big Pudgies raise. Plus, we welcome Shira Lazar, who recently spread peace, love, and JOMO with a meaningful mint. 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 🤙🏾