BALD-Faced Scams. Hostile Takeovers. And CryptoDickbutts up for Grabs.
👋🏽 Hello everyone, gm gm, WELCOME BACK to another edition of the Overpriced JPEGs newsletter, where we’re catching you up on web3, NFTs, and the greater world of emerging tech.
It’s been yet another mixed week in the JPEGs market.
We’re covering the highs, lows, and everything in between in today’s weekly recap. But first …
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👨🏽💼 Mergers, Acquisitions and Fresh Starts
As painfully evidenced by my hidden folder, lots of NFT projects have gone completely AWOL this year, while on the other end, teams with some combination of either deep pockets and/or strong leadership are carving out niches and finding success: DeGods. PROOF. Pudgies. And of course, Yuga (just see below).
Where it’s getting interesting is the middle layer, where the majority of web3 projects live. You know, the ones on the spectrum somewhere between capitulation and greatness. It’s in this layer that we’re seeing more acquisitions, fresh starts, and even some hostile takeovers as teams work to rebuild their treasuries, cut their losses, or pivot to more sustainable business models. This week alone:
CryptoDickbutts blew everyone’s minds when they announced they’d transfer full ownership of the entire project - including all collections, social accounts, and the multisig treasury - to the person(s) holding the most CDBs 30 days after its Season 4 collection minted out on August 1
One day after selling out the new Haas x RENGA Racing collection, artist Dirty Robot suddenly announced his ‘misalignment’ with RENGA CEO Tails and said he’ll be stepping in to replace her and rebuild the business with his vision and core values.
The First Mint founder & perennial expirimentooor LG Doucet launched a new Media Pass collection that serves as an access pass to competing in TFM Season 1. He’s being pretty tight-lipped about it, but tweeted: ‘I’ve been thinking for a long time about what it means to be a media company in web3, so today we launched the next step.’ Game on, LG.
Bottom line: It ain’t easy being a founder in web3 and no one’s doing it perfectly. I recommend Zeneca’s Lessons Learned as a First-Time Founder for anyone in need of motivation to keep going. Because you know, suffering feels all that much lighter when experienced together 👫
If you’re new here, we welcome you to join 140,434 bright + avid readers by subscribing here:
🐒 Yugatta Lot Going On
It feels a little weird to say, given what a behemoth Yuga Labs is, but the team has quietly been making some power moves this week while most of the PFP market continues to burn down around them
40 Apes + Otherdeed holders were invited to wolf down some Bored & Hungry burgers and demo Yuga’s highly anticipated Otherside metaverse. They also got sneak peeks at unreleased art and a teaser for Legends of the Mara.
Chief Creative Officer Figge emphasized that Otherside isn’t just a place for Yuga holders, but ‘a place for other communities to build things that embody their respective audiences.’
This week they brought in reinforcements to bring those grandiose ambitions of an interoperable metaverse to life with the acquisition of Roar Studios. Roar is a music, gaming, and social media startup founded in 2021 by entertainment exec Eric Reid, who will oversee development as Otherside GM.
Secret Bonus: Yuga’s getting Roar’s proprietary tech, which incorporates AI (although it’s unclear how Otherside will make use of said tech)
And it looks like we’re getting news sometime today about Wreck League, a new gaming partnership between Yuga, nWayPlay, and Animoca Brands. nWP got its start issuing Olympic Pins NFTs on Flow and recently partnered with Cool Cats on its new game, so we’ll be keeping tabs.
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🤡 Bald-Faced Lies
No, it’s not just you. It’s been a particularly grift-y week in web3 + crypto (and that’s saying a lot). Here’s a short list of all the wild stuff that went down.
The US Dept. of Justice supposedly wants to go after Binance for fraud, but they’re worried it’d cause a run on the exchange á la FTX 2022. Any new charges would be on top of previous claims made by the SEC and CFTC.
Meme coin $BALD launched on Coinbase’s L2, Base. Assumed to be a nod to CEO Brian Armstrong, the coin quickly surged to a $80M market cap before its deployer rugged the LP by suddenly pulling $20M worth of liquidity, tanking the token
In a total plot twist, sleuths began linking SBF and/or his trading firm Alameda Research to $BALD based on previous Tx’s from the deployer’s addy, old voting patterns on Sushi proposals, and prior farming activity
Bankless, CoinDesk, and Adam Cochran alluded to or backed the Alameda connection theory, with researcher Igor Igamberdiev claiming it’s definitely someone from Alameda and most likely former CEO, Sam Trabucco
Several pools on DEX Curve Finance were also hacked to the tune of $70M this weekend in a separate liquidity exploit
SEC sued crypto influencer Richard Heart for allegedly using $12M+ in investor funds to buy luxury goods
Pauly0x launched $PNDX, a sort of gamified LP that would result in contract buys for $PEPE, which he’s been shamelessly shilling for months. True to form, there were major flaws in the contract that allowed anyone to transfer coins to anyone else, resulting in losses totaling $2.2M dollars and the token price cratering.
The silver lining? Despite these repeated hacks, scams and grifts, DeFi activity is as active as ever, with month-over-month activity on DEX’s up 8%
Binance started a Japan exchange that offers spot trading for 34 tokens as of August 1; claims to be complaint w/local roles
Adam Cochran suggests Worldcoin is faking demand for iris scans by paying marketing firms to hire ppl to stand in line
Once at the forefront of cross-chain interoperability, Cosmos blockchain is now at risk of becoming obsolete
Bankrupt FTX formulates a plan to relaunch its exchange by allowing offshore customers to pool their assets to create a newly rebooted platform
Shanghai implements plan to develop urban blockchain infrastructure by 2024
Fast Company says businesses may be banking on being too big and powerful for US regulators to disrupt their crypto operations
Palm network partners w/Polygon + Consensys to grow its network so its 1.7M wallet users can keep trading JPEGs
🌐 web3 + NFTs
Safary’s tracking the web3 Growth Technology landscape; says more than $600M has been invested in teams working in areas like growth analytics, community, and adtech
Tokenproof and SheFi airdropped NFTs to the most engaged attendees at the SheFi Summit, as tracked by their POAP collections
Sorare partners with Mangopay to introduce a Cash Wallet so users can transact in fiat and ETH
Suku wallet may beat Elon at his own game, offering crypto + NFT Txs directly in Twitter; users already minted 50k+ NFTs on the app last week
Beeple’s $29M sculpture Human One will be on exhibition in the US for the first time, at Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, Arkansas
50 new Chromie Squiggles were minted, including some rare gems; Collection is pretty close to minting out
Kartoon Studios, which owns the global rights to comic icon Stan Lee’s IP, sells out 8k+ collection of Stan Lee NFTs on VeVe following popular exhibit at Comic-Con
RTFKT announces RTFKT Radio, a soundcloud account featuring unreleased music, creator interviews, and all their event music
World of Women celebrated its second anniversary with a video compilation highlighting all their wins
Azurbala teases the beginning of A New Era
📈 Brands + Biz
Etihad Airways expands its web3 loyalty program EY-ZERO1; rewards users with airline miles for staking their NFTs
Electro-music hub and online store Beatport begins ‘new era for electronic music’ with creation of Beatport.io and new web3-enabled music platform
Barbie’s Margot Robbie says her Bitcoin-loving hubby has ‘Big Ken Energy’
Hurley features “surf-ready sloths” in cringey game launch on Asian marketplace Jump.Trade
Amazon Web Services improves its privately managed blockchain; Devs now able to engage with digital assets and dApps across various blockchains w/o the need for specialized infrastructure
Netflix adds salt to the wound in the Hollywood strike by posting $900k salary for an AI Product Manager role
🤖 AI + Metaverse
Computer science professor + doctoral candidate uncover jailbreak unleashing evil GPT
Google’s AI-enabled robots now run on a ‘vision-language’action’ model that gives them the ability to move far beyond seeing and analyzing the world around them
Celeb-backed (Weeknd, Paris Hilton, Will Smith) metaverse firm Everyrealm settled sexual harassment lawsuits filed by ex-employees
Forgotten Runes previews character development and gameplay for Forgotten Runiverse
Jon Rogers is back for another episode of Blockbuster! This is the fourth in a series of shows exploring blockchain disruption of the value chain in traditional media and entertainment. In this episode, Jon and Carly dissect web3 brand strategies, Warner Bros. foray into NFTs, and the big Futureverse fundraise.
In our Friday recap, Carly and Gavin share takes on Worldcoin’s controversial business model, PROOF’s successful Mythics launch, and why Yuga Labs’ IP terms of service were doomed from the start. Plus, the team behind the Gutter Cat Gang x Puma x Lamelo Ball drop join the fun. Catch it here!
Thanks again to our generous sponsor, Stickies!
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