The Good, The Bad & The Institutions
Airphoria. CT Beefs. And TradFi Enters the Chat.
👋🏽 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.
🍸 Happy Hour Tour Alert 🍸
Tickets are available tomorrow for the 5th stop on our OPJ Happy Hour Tour!! Carly and Betty from Deadfellaz will be live from Los Angeles on Friday, July 7 at the Danvas Art Gallery.
OPJ NFT holders can head to OPJTour.com to reserve tickets tomorrow, Friday, June 23, at 12p EST and all holders in the Deadfellaz ecosystem can claim tix next Monday, June 26. We can’t wait to see you there!!
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It’s been a mixed bag of a week in web3, with equal parts innovation and exasperation on the timeline. We thought we’d share a bit of both today, along with all the latest news on the mass TradFi movement into crypto.
😃 The Good
Pudgy Penguins are already the best in the game at incentivizing brand ambassadors, but they upped the ante by offering compensation and Soulbound tokens for owners of physical pudgies who make and share their unboxing videos
Memeland continues its quest toward domination with the launch of [TBC], a teleburn of 111 of its top-tier NFT, ‘You the Real MVP,’ from Ethereum to Bitcoin Ordinals
Nike and Epic Games aren’t wasting any time making moves on their exciting collab, introducing Airphoria, an Air Max-themed Fortnite experience
Interestingly, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney pointed out that Epic isn’t getting into NFTs, but they have tools for devs and are therefore ‘neutral’ and don’t prohibit NFTs in platform
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😩 The Bad
Despite a laundry list of catalysts on the short- and long-term horizon, Yuga FUD is at an ATH and there is no shortage of thread000r + influenc0o0r takes on the matter [see: Cirrus. Liam. Dingaling. Luca.]
Yuga announced a June 29 Season 1 start for its eagerly anticipated HV-MTL Forge amidst the FUD, but it appears to have done little to assuage most skeptics, as Apes have since went sub-40E and MAYC dipped below 8E
*Chiru Labs, ‘in light of the information,’ decided not to extend the grant that funded her role at Azuki
🤨 The Institutions
When it rains it pours. And it’s absolutely storming on the institutional crypto front. We’ve gotten battered by headlines over the past week, so let’s dive in:
EDX Markets, a new crypto exchange backed by Citadel, Fidelity, and Schwab, has gone live, hoping to reach an untapped pool of sidelined crypto investors with its non-custodial model that adopts rules and investor protections from TradFi markets
Unlike traditional exchanges, EDX doesn’t directly hold clients’ digital assets during trading, instead, it runs a marketplace where firms agree to execute trades, using its platform to agree on prices
They’re also launching with just 4 tokens: BTC, ETH, litecoin & Bitcoin Cash
Despite 30+ so-far unsuccessful filing attempts for spot Bitcoin ETFs by various firms, heavyweight BlackRock threw its hat in the ring with a filing late last week
All eyes are on this application, which names: 1) Coinbase as both its custodian and a potential risk-factor, given its SEC embroilment; and 2) Nasdaq as the entity overseeing pricing data (an effort to mitigate market manipulation concerns, which is the main reason most ETFs are denied)
While the SEC has yet to approve a single spot Bitcoin ETF, BlackRock has an impressive 575-1 record for getting its ETFs approved, and it’s application has sparked a flurry of new and renewed filings from other firms, including Invesco, WisdomTree, and Valkyrie
Global banking giant DeutscheBank this week also applied for regulatory permission to operate a custody service for crypto in a move aimed at increasing fee income
The markets have largely reacted to the news favorably, with BTC topping $30k and approaching one-year highs
As for CT and decentralization maxis, on the other hand, well, let’s just say the jury’s still out …
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Market conditions force Crypto payments firm Wyre to close up shop
UK parliament is in the final phase of cementing stablecoin & crypto regulations
Do Kwon gets four months in a Balkan prison for forging docs; US and South Korea still seeking his extradition from Montenegro
Wallet integration, chat messaging, and cross-chain integration help advance adoption of web3 usernames
Coinbase & CashApp will begin beta testing Jack Dorsey-backed Bitcoin wallet ‘Bitkey’ in a couple weeks
Person who bought Beeple’s First 5000 Days NFT for $69M sues for trademark infringement
FTX has already paid $200+M in legal and advisor fees to wind up the exchange, while users and creditors still wait in limbo to access their funds
Crypto.com is allegedly deploying internal market-making teams to trade tokens for profits
🌐 web3 + NFTs
German Intelligence Agency releases dog-themed PFP collection in effort to recruit new talent to help mitigate cybercrime
Floor teases Apple Pay integration for its NFT portfolio app
Blur adds a ton of mobile support (sweep, bid, list, lend, BNPL, portfolio mgmt) plus finally enables browsing on desktop & mobile w/o wallet connection
DeLabs dropped a limited edition merch bundle of 333 tees + orange trucker hats
CBS News profiled Beeple with an interview direct from his new studio + gallery in Charleston, SC
Okay Bears embarks on Bitcoin journey; will inscribe Golden Glow-eyed Bear ordinals
Gmoney introduces framework for Network Points aimed at rewarding buyers for paying royalties
Nouns: A Movie is debuting this week; Nouns DAO snags a Producer credit
DeeZe gives a somewhat bearish take on collecting Tezos NFTs based on the weakness of the chain’s currency
📈 Brands + Biz
Mercedes is piloting an in-car app that displays digital art
Metalwood + Hypebeast created a LE capsule collection only available to those who minted an AmEx POAP at the US Open in Los Angeles
The Voice taps into ‘the world of deep immersive engagement’ with blended entertainment in the metaverse
Mastercard files new trademark app for blockchain + crypto transaction software and ‘interconnecting virtual asset service providers for crypto transactions’
Animoca Brands secures a strategic investment from Mitsui & Co., one of Japan’s largest trading companies
Marvel Studios founder David Maisel shares his thoughts on creating a new universe with emerging technologies
NFC tags are becoming a staple as luxury fashion brands crossover into web3
Fast food chain Wendy’s is doling out IRL rewards to people engaging in activities in its virtual world, Wendyverse
Starbucks Odyssey drops its first OE stamp, available for 48 hours beginning June 22
🤖 AI + Metaverse
Etherscan drops beta version of an AI-powered code reader to audit NFT and crypto smart contracts in minutes
Alethea AI integrates ChatGPT, enabling iNFTs with generative AI capabilities
Improbable reveals plans for its metaverse, MSquared
Sam Altman says OpenAI is considering opening an app marketplace for AI models
The Verge and NY Mag explore the hidden human labor behind AI
Former FTX US President is back with an AI company that uses ChatGPT to help customers with trading
Global bank HSBC files new trademark apps for metaverse banking, consulting & financial services; virtual credit cards; and NFTs
Recording Academy says ‘only human creators’ are eligible for Grammys under new AI protocols
The Weeknd and Binance launch ‘Metaverse Dimension,’ a 3D treasure hunt that unlocks exclusive content and rewards
Unchained Crypto explored whether AI is a tool for artistic expression in its AI Art Hackathon recap
Roblox creating a new 17+ age category with more graphic content and adult themes; requires IDs and selfies
On the fourth stop of our Overpriced Happy Hour Tour, Carly is joined in Miami by two powerhouses, Double Down Founder Mags Kala and Vayner3 President Avery Akkineni. They cover the highs and lows of investing in web3, where AI meets the blockchain, and how brands are navigating this era of regulatory uncertainty.
Carly and Gavin are back with another weekly recap. They’re talking: The rise of Ordinals, Hinman docs, and ApeCoin DAO politics. Later in the pod, they’re joined by Galxe’s Charles Wayn, who shares deets on their recent Linea zkEVM partnership and building community engagement. Catch up here!
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