SEC Drops the 🔨
LV NFTs. Franklin 2.0. And the All-Out War on Crypto.
👋🏽 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.
Thanks to everyone who made it out to the 4th stop on the Overpriced Happy Hour Tour in Miami this week, where Carly sat down for a live interview with Vayner3’s Avery Akkineni and Double Down’s Mags Kala.
Be on the look out for that interview coming out next Wednesday 6/14 and stay tuned for ticketing info for our July 7 event with Deadfellaz’ Betty in LA 🤩
🔨 SEC’s Crypto Crusade
We’re guessing Apple was pretty miffed this week after Gensler and his minions stole their Vision Pro thunder by announcing - via this absolute troll of a tweet, no less - that the SEC was slapping Binance and its founder CZ with a slew of charges, including mishandling customer funds, lying to regulators & selling unregistered securities
The next day Gensler landed the one-two combo, suing Coinbase for operating an illegal securities exchange. Coinbase’s lawyer learned about the complaint on Capitol Hill, minutes before testifying on an important crypto bill that would - ironically - provide a pathway for oversight and consumer protection, along with market structures and asset designations … you know, so we no longer need to unravel statements like this to figure out whether or not ETH is a security
The lawsuits aren’t apples to apples: Coinbase is being charged with not registering as a securities exchange (relatively straightforward), while the SEC alludes to some shady behaviors behind closed doors at Binance (which is already battling similar charges filed by the CFTC in March). The SEC also took the extraordinary step of filing a TRO to freeze Binance.US assets.
Importantly, CZ was charged as an individual alongside Binance in both the SEC and CFTC suits, alleging he was secretly controlling Binance.US and inflating its trading volume
We also saw the SEC specifically call out 10 tokens as securities, none of which were BTC, ETH, or LTC. But you know where those tokens were mentioned? In the CFTC case against Binance, where all 3 were declared commodities. Are the SEC and CFTC in cahoots?! 🤔
Also interesting: The SEC did not name XRP, even though it’s embroiled in another suit with Ripple, which it’s accused of selling XRP as an unregistered security
Whew. Are you still with me? This is rich stuff, but definitely worth paying attention to. And even more than that, it’s worth actively advocating for if you’re a believer in the decentralized future we’re all striving to achieve.
If I’ve learned anything working in politics, it’s that 1) Your voice matters, so seriously, email your legislators, become an advocate at Crypto 435, and make your voices heard; and 2) People in high places do a lot of political posturing. Gensler is showboating, and he may well be getting in over his head, considering the office can’t even handle its existing caseload.
Seriously though - novel, meaty cases like this are expensive and lengthy. With bipartisan interest in crypto growing, there’s a greater-than-zero percent chance we see meaningful crypto regulation before these cases go to trial. And in the meantime, we’re looking forward to watching the Coinbase comms team keep working their magic.
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👯♀️ Hopping on the Brand Wagon
The war on crypto may be raging, but big brands have not gotten the memo. Major companies from Nike to Warner Bros. are forging ahead with NFTs, web3 ‘experiences’, and - the thing we all love to hate - phygitals ❤️🩹
Louis Vuitton is selling soulbound NFTs that pair with physical replicas of its popular Treasure Trunks and serve as access passes to future products [at $42,000 each, they’ll cost you a pretty penny - and they aren’t tradable]
Despite catching shade for its lackluster Lord of the Rings ‘web3 movie experience,’ Warner Bros. appears to be dusting off the same old playbook for Superman. These are essentially 4K re-releases of the OG films on the blockchain, with ‘dynamic menu options and easter eggs.’ 🥱
To be fair, they did bank a quarter mil on LoTR, so if it ain’t broke …
Plus, let’s not forget this is the same team that brought us salad fingers. We can only set the bar so high
Mercedes Benz minted out its first collection, ‘Maschine,’ in a dutch auction. 1,000 artworks by gen artist Harm van den Dorpel were minted at a resting price of .24 ETH, flipped for a quick 50% return on Blur, then settled back around mint price
Formula 1 recently touted the debut of its NFT ticketing service at the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix, offering collectors both access to the race and future loyalty benefits. Cryptopunk Sam Simmons attended the race and gave this first-hand account of his experience (spoiler alert: it wasn’t good)
🪱 Elsewhere in Web3
Franklin 2.0 is here, and his new (and improved?) self is celebrating the small wins and stepping into leadership roles with a seat on the NFT Inspect Council alongside fellow CT influencers, Elena, Wale, and Wab
Fear not, Franklin, there’s no shortage of madmen stepping up to try and fill your very big shoes (emphasis on trying)
Vision Pro early access tester Frank DeGods announced Dust Labs is giving web3 profiles a ‘based AF’ refresh with de[id], which does a whole bunch of things Elon’s engineers are probably frothing over:
de[id] + wallet: auth for Ethereum, Polygon, Bitcoin + discord & wallet delegation
de[id] + twitter: connect & get insta-followed by y00ts & DeGods account (and coming soon: one click to follow all verified holders)
Goal to create Twitter-native source of truth for verified holders)
de[id]: the actual web3 profile itself
Azuki’s been on a slow + steady ascent this month, fueled by the anticipation of *something* happening at the upcoming Follow the Rabbit event in Vegas, and increased activity since Blur added the collection to Blend
Meanwhile, DeGods briefly flipped Mutants this week and CT did not miss
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Paypal expands its vision of a more cashless future; enables on-chain transfers in hopes of creating a network effect between its 400M account holders and the 100M global crypto wallets
"We want to cement the position of PayPal as this conduit between the fiat and web3 world in an integrated way." - Jose Fernandez da Ponte, head of PayPal's blockchain team
Bankless’ William Peaster paints the big picture on the combined powers of the ERC-4337 and ERC-6551 standards
Investors accuse Elon of initiating a ‘publicity circus’ that wildly manipulated the price of DOGE in (another) class action
Wondery and Bloomberg released Spellcaster: The Fall of Sam Bankman-Fried, a five-part podcast series
Key Bitcoin industry leaders in El Salvador are pumping $1B toward alternative
energy and development costs for one of the world’s largest bitcoin mining farms
🌐 web3 + NFTs
Snowfro minted 17 Squiggs to folks he admires and appreciates in the space, as well as a handful of organizations and institutions
Fractal built a code-free way for game devs to build crypto and NFT games
Collectors can now see all of their POAPs in MetaMask’s Portfolio
OpenSea’s now auto calculates sellers’ listings based on the total desired proceeds
Yuga lawyers summarized expert surveys it conducted for its Ryder Ripps trial; says 49% of respondents using Foundation and 20% using OpenSea confused RR/BAYC with BAYC
BeautyandPunk shared this eye-opening tale about her experience claiming 39 Cryptopunks in 2017
Japanese Artist Takashi Murakami kicks off an exhibition at Gagosian gallery in France with free NFTs (catch OPJ’s recent interview with Takashi here)
Hacker Pink Drainer figures out how to phish sellers into 0 ETH private sales on Blur
VeeFriends cards will have a big presence at the world’s largest sports and trading card convention, The National
Bryan Brinkman is the inaugural launch artist for Recur’s ‘text notification’ mint product Dew Drops
📈 Brands + Biz
Puma, NBA player LaMelo Ball, and Gutter Cat Gang collab on GutterMelo sneaks and NFTs
Walmart’s incubation arm, Store No. 8, is seeking web3 commercial startups for n accelerator program focused on building next gen dCommerce apps
World of Women partners with New Zealand-based Cloudy Bay wines; IRL activations this week in Lisbon
Peloton’s Robin Arzón launches new Swagger Society site and web3 membership club
Game dev Illuvium to launch 20,000 GameStop-branded ‘Illuvitar’ NFTs on June 12
🤖 AI + Metaverse
Apple buys AR headset startup Mira, which has contracts with the military and Nintendo World theme parks
Decentraland upgrades its marketplace, featuring a revamped navigation system
Human avatars are are a thing now, and you can even create your very own AI digital twin
Online shopping is about to get a big upgrade with the advent of generative and conversational AI
Zoom now lets users send AI-generated meeting summaries without actually recording the meetings
Popular gaming platform MapleStory teased a Doodles character in its animated universe
Tom Bilyeu makes his third appearance on Overpriced JPEGs to share the latest on Impact Theory and his ‘borderless entertainment’ world, Project Kyzen. Tom talks to Carly about the impact AI has had on his progress, how money stifles emergence, and what he feels is the hardest part about starting a business.
Are we gearing up for a hot crypto summer? Carly and Gavin ponder whether we’re due for a bull run, and share takes on Memeland, the latest social engineering scam, and Mercedes Benz’ first collection in this week’s web3 recap. Catch up here!
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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