More on NFTs & Art
1 year ago
Why I Love Azuki
Azuki Banner (www.azuki.com)
Disclaimer: This is my personal viewpoint. I'm not on the Azuki team. Please keep in mind that I am merely a fan, community member, and holder. Please do your own research and pardon my grammar. Thanks!
Azuki has changed my view of NFTs.
When I first entered the NFT world, I had no idea what to expect. I liked the idea. So I invested in some projects, fought for whitelists, and discovered some cool NFTs projects (shout-out to CATC). I lost more money than I earned at one point, but I hadn't invested excessively (only put in what you can afford to lose). Despite my losses, I kept looking. I almost waited for the “ah-ha” moment. A NFT project that changed my perspective on NFTs. What makes an NFT project more than a work of art?
The Azuki art drew me in as an anime fan. It looked like something out of an anime, and I'd never seen it before in NFT.
The project was still new. The first two animated teasers were released with little fanfare, but I was impressed with their quality. You can find them on Instagram or in their earlier Tweets.
The teasers hinted that this project could be big and that the team could deliver. It was amazing to see Shao cut the Azuki posters with her katana. Especially at the end when she sheaths her sword and the music cues. Then the live action video of the young boy arranging the Azuki posters seemed movie-like. I felt like I was entering the Azuki story, brand, and dope theme.
The team did not disappoint with the Azuki NFTs. The level of detail in the art is stunning. There were Azukis of all genders, skin and hair types, and more. These 10,000 Azukis have so much representation that almost anyone can find something that resonates. Rather than me rambling on, I suggest you visit the Azuki gallery
If the art is meant to draw you in and be the project's face, the team makes it more. The NFT would be a JPEG without a good team leader. Not that community isn't important, but no community would rally around a bad team.
Because I've been rugged before, I'm very focused on the team when considering a project. While many project teams are anonymous, I try to find ones that are doxxed (public) or at least appear to be established. Unlike Azuki, where most of the Azuki team is anonymous, Steamboy is public. He is (or was) Overwatch's character art director and co-creator of Azuki. I felt reassured and could trust the project after seeing someone from a major game series on the team.
Then I tried to learn as much as I could about the team. Following everyone on Twitter, reading their tweets, and listening to recorded AMAs. I was impressed by the team's professionalism and dedication to their vision for Azuki, led by ZZZAGABOND.
I believe the phrase “actions speak louder than words” applies to Azuki. I can think of a few examples of what the Azuki team has done, but my favorite is ERC721A.
With ERC721A, Azuki has created a new algorithm that allows minting multiple NFTs for essentially the same cost as minting one NFT.
I was ecstatic when the dev team announced it. This fascinates me as a self-taught developer. Azuki released a product that saves people money, improves the NFT space, and is open source. It showed their love for Azuki and the NFT community.
Community, community, community. It's almost a chant in the NFT space now. A community, like a team, can make or break a project. We are the project's consumers, shareholders, core, and lifeblood. The team builds the house, and we fill it. We stay for the community.
When I first entered the Azuki Discord, I was surprised by the calm atmosphere. There was no news about the project. No release date, no whitelisting requirements. No grinding or spamming either. People just wanted to hangout, get to know each other, and talk. It was nice. So the team could pick genuine people for their mintlist (aka whitelist).
But nothing fundamental has changed since the release. It has remained an authentic, fun, and helpful community. I'm constantly logging into Discord to chat with others or follow conversations. I see the community's openness to newcomers. Everyone respects each other (barring a few bad apples) and the variety of people passing through is fascinating. This human connection and interaction is what I enjoy about this place. Being a part of a group that supports a cause.
Finally, I want to thank the amazing Azuki mod team and the kissaten channel for their contributions.
So, what sets Azuki apart from other projects? They are shaping a brand or identity. The Azuki website, I believe, best captures their vision. (This is me gushing over the site.)
If you go to the website, turn on the dope playlist in the bottom left. The playlist features a mix of Asian and non-Asian hip-hop and rap artists, with some lo-fi thrown in. The songs on the playlist change, but I think you get the vibe Azuki embodies just by turning on the music.
The Garden is our next stop where we are introduced to Azuki.
We're creating a new brand together.
A metaverse brand. By the people.
A collection of 10,000 avatars that grant Garden membership. It starts with exclusive streetwear collabs, NFT drops, live events, and more. Azuki allows for a new media genre that the world has yet to discover. Let's build together an Azuki, your metaverse identity.
The Garden is a magical internet corner where art, community, and culture collide. The boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are blurring.
Try a Red Bean.
The text begins with Azuki's intention in the space. It's a community-made metaverse brand. Then it goes into more detail about Azuki's plans. Initiation of a story or journey. "Would you like to take the red bean and jump down the rabbit hole with us?" I love the Matrix red pill or blue pill play they used. (Azuki in Japanese means red bean.)
Morpheus, the rebel leader, offers Neo the choice of a red or blue pill in The Matrix. “You take the blue pill... After the story, you go back to bed and believe whatever you want. Your red pill... Let me show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Aware that the red pill will free him from the enslaving control of the machine-generated dream world and allow him to escape into the real world, he takes it. However, living the “truth of reality” is harsher and more difficult.
It's intriguing and draws you in. Taking the red bean causes what? Where am I going? I think they did well in piqueing a newcomer's interest.
Not convinced by the Garden? Read the Manifesto. It reinforces Azuki's role.
Here comes a new wave…
And surfing here is different.
Breaking down barriers.
Building open communities.
Creating magic internet money with our friends.
To those who don’t get it, we tell them: gm.
They’ll come around eventually.
Here’s to the ones with the courage to jump down a peculiar rabbit hole.
One that pulls you away from a world that’s created by many and owned by few…
To a world that’s created by more and owned by all.
From The Garden come the human beans that sprout into your family.
We rise together.
We build together.
We grow together.
Ready to take the red bean?
Not to mention the Mindmap, it sets Azuki apart from other projects and overused Roadmaps. I like how the team recognizes that the NFT space is not linear. So many of us are still trying to figure it out. It is Azuki's vision to adapt to changing environments while maintaining their values. I admire their commitment to long-term growth.
To be honest, I have no idea what the future holds. Azuki is still new and could fail. But I'm a long-term Azuki fan. I don't care about quick gains. The future looks bright for Azuki. I believe in the team's output. I love being an Azuki.
Thank you! IKUZO!
Full post here
1 year ago
6 Rules to build a successful NFT Community in 2022
Too much NFT, Discord, and shitposting.
How do you choose?
How do you recruit more members to join your NFT project?
In 2021, a successful NFT project required:
Twitter and Discord bot-filled
Goal was quick cash.
2022 and the years after will change that.
These are 6 Rules for a Strong NFT Community in 2022:
THINK LONG TERM
This relates to roadmap planning. Hype and dumb luck may drive NFT projects (ahem, goblins) but rarely will your project soar.
Instead, consider sustainability.
Plan your roadmap based on your team's abilities.
Do what you're already doing, but with NFTs, make it bigger and better.
You shouldn't copy a project's roadmap just because it was profitable.
This will lead to over-promising, team burnout, and an RUG NFT project.
Building a great community starts with giving.
Why are musicians popular?
Because they offer entertainment for everyone, a random person becomes a fan, and more fans become a cult.
That's how you should approach your community.
A great team helps.
An NFT project could have 3 or 2 people.
Credibility trumps team size.
Make sure your team can answer community questions, resolve issues, and constantly attend to them.
Don't overwork and burn out.
Your community will be able to recognize that you are trying too hard and give up on the project.
BUILD A GREAT PRODUCT
Bored Ape Yacht Club altered the NFT space.
Cryptopunks transformed NFTs.
Many others did, including Okay Bears.
What made them that way?
Because they answered a key question.
What is my NFT supposed to be?
Before planning art, this question must be answered.
NFTs can't be just jpegs.
What does it represent?
Is it a Metaverse-ready project?
What blockchain are you going to be using and why?
Set some ground rules for yourself. This helps your project's direction.
These questions will help you and your team set a direction for blockchain, NFT, and Web3 technology.
EDUCATE ON WEB3
The more the team learns about Web3 technology, the more they can offer their community.
Think tokens, metaverse, cross-chain interoperability and more.
BUILD A GREAT COMMUNITY
Several projects mistreat their communities.
They treat their community like "customers" and try to sell them NFT.
Providing Whitelists and giveaways aren't your only community-building options.
Consider them family and friends, not wallets.
Consider them fans.
These are some tips to start your NFT project.
1 year ago
How to Explain NFTs to Your Grandmother, in Simple Terms
In simple terms, you probably don’t.
But try. Grandma didn't grow up with Facebook, but she eventually joined.
Perhaps the fear of being isolated outweighed the discomfort of learning the technology.
Grandmas are Facebook likers, sharers, and commenters.
There’s no stopping her.
Not even NFTs. Web3 is currently very complex.
It's difficult to explain what NFTs are, how they work, and why we might use them.
1. Everything will be ours to own, both physically and digitally.
Why own something you can't touch? What's the point?
Blockchain technology proves digital ownership.
Untouchables need ownership proof. What?
Digital assets reduce friction, save time, and are better for the environment than physical goods.
Many valuable things are intangible. Feeling like your favorite brands. You'll pay obscene prices for clothing that costs pennies.
Secondly, NFTs Are Contracts. Agreements Have Value.
Blockchain technology will replace all contracts and intermediaries.
Every insurance contract, deed, marriage certificate, work contract, plane ticket, concert ticket, or sports event is likely an NFT.
We all have public wallets, like Grandma's Facebook page.
3. Your NFT Purchases Will Be Visible To Everyone.
Everyone can see your public wallet. What you buy says more about you than what you post online.
NFTs issued double as marketing collateral when seen on social media.
While I doubt Grandma knows who Snoop Dog is, imagine him or another famous person holding your NFT in his public wallet and the attention that could bring to you, your company, or brand.
This Technical Section Is For You
The NFT is a contract; its founders can add value through access, events, tuition, and possibly royalties.
Imagine Elon Musk releasing an NFT to his network. Or yearly business consultations for three years.
It's worth millions.
These determine their value.
No unsuspecting schmuck willing to buy your hot potato at zero. That's the trend, though.
Overpriced NFTs for low-effort projects created a bubble that has burst.
During a market bubble, you can make money by buying overvalued assets and selling them later for a profit, according to the Greater Fool Theory.
People are struggling. Some are ruined by collateralized loans and the gold rush.
Finances are ruined.
The same happened in 2018, during the ICO crash or in 1999/2000 when the dot com bubble burst. But the underlying technology hasn’t gone away.
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1 year ago
Can space-based solar power solve Earth's energy problems?
Better technology and lower launch costs revive science-fiction tech.
Airbus engineers showed off sustainable energy's future in Munich last month. They captured sunlight with solar panels, turned it into microwaves, and beamed it into an airplane hangar, where it lighted a city model. The test delivered 2 kW across 36 meters, but it posed a serious question: Should we send enormous satellites to capture solar energy in space? In orbit, free of clouds and nighttime, they could create power 24/7 and send it to Earth.
Airbus engineer Jean-Dominique Coste calls it an engineering problem. “But it’s never been done at [large] scale.”
Proponents of space solar power say the demand for green energy, cheaper space access, and improved technology might change that. Once someone invests commercially, it will grow. Former NASA researcher John Mankins says it might be a trillion-dollar industry.
Myriad uncertainties remain, including whether beaming gigawatts of power to Earth can be done efficiently and without burning birds or people. Concept papers are being replaced with ground and space testing. The European Space Agency (ESA), which supported the Munich demo, will propose ground tests to member nations next month. The U.K. government offered £6 million to evaluate innovations this year. Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, and U.S. agencies are working. NASA policy analyst Nikolai Joseph, author of an upcoming assessment, thinks the conversation's tone has altered. What formerly appeared unattainable may now be a matter of "bringing it all together"
NASA studied space solar power during the mid-1970s fuel crunch. A projected space demonstration trip using 1970s technology would have cost $1 trillion. According to Mankins, the idea is taboo in the agency.
Space and solar power technology have evolved. Photovoltaic (PV) solar cell efficiency has increased 25% over the past decade, Jones claims. Telecoms use microwave transmitters and receivers. Robots designed to repair and refuel spacecraft might create solar panels.
Falling launch costs have boosted the idea. A solar power satellite large enough to replace a nuclear or coal plant would require hundreds of launches. ESA scientist Sanjay Vijendran: "It would require a massive construction complex in orbit."
SpaceX has made the idea more plausible. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket costs $2600 per kilogram, less than 5% of what the Space Shuttle did, and the company promised $10 per kilogram for its giant Starship, slated to launch this year. Jones: "It changes the equation." "Economics rules"
Mass production reduces space hardware costs. Satellites are one-offs made with pricey space-rated parts. Mars rover Perseverance cost $2 million per kilogram. SpaceX's Starlink satellites cost less than $1000 per kilogram. This strategy may work for massive space buildings consisting of many identical low-cost components, Mankins has long contended. Low-cost launches and "hypermodularity" make space solar power economical, he claims.
Better engineering can improve economics. Coste says Airbus's Munich trial was 5% efficient, comparing solar input to electricity production. When the Sun shines, ground-based solar arrays perform better. Studies show space solar might compete with existing energy sources on price if it reaches 20% efficiency.
Lighter parts reduce costs. "Sandwich panels" with PV cells on one side, electronics in the middle, and a microwave transmitter on the other could help. Thousands of them build a solar satellite without heavy wiring to move power. In 2020, a team from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) flew on the Air Force's X-37B space plane.
NRL project head Paul Jaffe said the satellite is still providing data. The panel converts solar power into microwaves at 8% efficiency, but not to Earth. The Air Force expects to test a beaming sandwich panel next year. MIT will launch its prototype panel with SpaceX in December.
As a satellite orbits, the PV side of sandwich panels sometimes faces away from the Sun since the microwave side must always face Earth. To maintain 24-hour power, a satellite needs mirrors to keep that side illuminated and focus light on the PV. In a 2012 NASA study by Mankins, a bowl-shaped device with thousands of thin-film mirrors focuses light onto the PV array.
International Electric Company's Ian Cash has a new strategy. His proposed satellite uses enormous, fixed mirrors to redirect light onto a PV and microwave array while the structure spins (see graphic, above). 1 billion minuscule perpendicular antennas act as a "phased array" to electronically guide the beam toward Earth, regardless of the satellite's orientation. This design, argues Cash, is "the most competitive economically"
If a space-based power plant ever flies, its power must be delivered securely and efficiently. Jaffe's team at NRL just beamed 1.6 kW over 1 km, and teams in Japan, China, and South Korea have comparable attempts. Transmitters and receivers lose half their input power. Vijendran says space solar beaming needs 75% efficiency, "preferably 90%."
Beaming gigawatts through the atmosphere demands testing. Most designs aim to produce a beam kilometers wide so every ship, plane, human, or bird that strays into it only receives a tiny—hopefully harmless—portion of the 2-gigawatt transmission. Receiving antennas are cheap to build but require a lot of land, adds Jones. You could grow crops under them or place them offshore.
Europe's public agencies currently prioritize space solar power. Jones: "There's a devotion you don't see in the U.S." ESA commissioned two solar cost/benefit studies last year. Vijendran claims it might match ground-based renewables' cost. Even at a higher price, equivalent to nuclear, its 24/7 availability would make it competitive.
ESA will urge member states in November to fund a technical assessment. If the news is good, the agency will plan for 2025. With €15 billion to €20 billion, ESA may launch a megawatt-scale demonstration facility by 2030 and a gigawatt-scale facility by 2040. "Moonshot"
1 year ago
How to make a >800 million dollars in crypto attacking the once 3rd largest stablecoin, Soros style
Everyone is talking about the $UST attack right now, including Janet Yellen. But no one is talking about how much money the attacker made (or how brilliant it was). Lets dig in.
Our story starts in late March, when the Luna Foundation Guard (or LFG) starts buying BTC to help back $UST. LFG started accumulating BTC on 3/22, and by March 26th had a $1bn+ BTC position. This is leg #1 that made this trade (or attack) brilliant.
The second leg comes in the form of the 4pool Frax announcement for $UST on April 1st. This added the second leg needed to help execute the strategy in a capital efficient way (liquidity will be lower and then the attack is on).
We don't know when the attacker borrowed 100k BTC to start the position, other than that it was sold into Kwon's buying (still speculation). LFG bought 15k BTC between March 27th and April 11th, so lets just take the average price between these dates ($42k).
So you have a ~$4.2bn short position built. Over the same time, the attacker builds a $1bn OTC position in $UST. The stage is now set to create a run on the bank and get paid on your BTC short. In anticipation of the 4pool, LFG initially removes $150mm from 3pool liquidity.
The liquidity was pulled on 5/8 and then the attacker uses $350mm of UST to drain curve liquidity (and LFG pulls another $100mm of liquidity).
But this only starts the de-pegging (down to 0.972 at the lows). LFG begins selling $BTC to defend the peg, causing downward pressure on BTC while the run on $UST was just getting started.
With the Curve liquidity drained, the attacker used the remainder of their $1b OTC $UST position ($650mm or so) to start offloading on Binance. As withdrawals from Anchor turned from concern into panic, this caused a real de-peg as people fled for the exits
So LFG is selling $BTC to restore the peg while the attacker is selling $UST on Binance. Eventually the chain gets congested and the CEXs suspend withdrawals of $UST, fueling the bank run panic. $UST de-pegs to 60c at the bottom, while $BTC bleeds out.
The crypto community panics as they wonder how much $BTC will be sold to keep the peg. There are liquidations across the board and LUNA pukes because of its redemption mechanism (the attacker very well could have shorted LUNA as well). BTC fell 25% from $42k on 4/11 to $31.3k
So how much did our attacker make? There aren't details on where they covered obviously, but if they are able to cover (or buy back) the entire position at ~$32k, that means they made $952mm on the short.
On the $350mm of $UST curve dumps I don't think they took much of a loss, lets assume 3% or just $11m. And lets assume that all the Binance dumps were done at 80c, thats another $125mm cost of doing business. For a grand total profit of $815mm (bf borrow cost).
BTC was the perfect playground for the trade, as the liquidity was there to pull it off. While having LFG involved in BTC, and foreseeing they would sell to keep the peg (and prevent LUNA from dying) was the kicker.
Lastly, the liquidity being low on 3pool in advance of 4pool allowed the attacker to drain it with only $350mm, causing the broader panic in both BTC and $UST. Any shorts on LUNA would've added a lot of P&L here as well, with it falling -65% since 5/7.
And for the reply guys, yes I know a lot of this involves some speculation & assumptions. But a lot of money was made here either way, and I thought it would be cool to dive into how they did it.
1 year ago
Web3 Needs More Writers to Educate Us About It
WRITE FOR THE WEB3
Why web3’s messaging is lost and how crypto winter is growing growth seeds
People interested in crypto, blockchain, and web3 typically read Bitcoin and Ethereum's white papers. It's a good idea. Documents produced for developers and academia aren't always the ideal resource for beginners.
Given the surge of extremely technical material and the number of fly-by-nights, rug pulls, and other scams, it's little wonder mainstream audiences regard the blockchain sector as an expensive sideshow act.
What's the solution?
Web3 needs more than just builders.
After joining TikTok, I followed Amy Suto of SutoScience. Amy switched from TV scriptwriting to IT copywriting years ago. She concentrates on web3 now. Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are seeking skilled copywriters for web3.
Amy has found that web3's basics are easy to grasp; you don't need technical knowledge. There's a paradigm shift in knowing the basics; be persistent and patient.
Apple is positioning itself as a data privacy advocate, leveraging web3's zero-trust ethos on data ownership.
Finn Lobsien, who writes about web3 copywriting for the Mirror and Twitter, agrees: acronyms and abstractions won't do.
Web3 preached to the choir. Curious newcomers have only found whitepapers and scams when trying to learn why the community loves it. No wonder people resist education and buy-in.
Due to the gender gap in crypto (Crypto Bro is not just a stereotype), it attracts people singing to the choir or trying to cash in on the next big thing.
Last year, the industry was booming, so writing wasn't necessary. Now that the bear market has returned (for everyone, but especially web3), holding readers' attention is a valuable skill.
White papers and the Web3
Why does web3 rely so much on non-growth content?
Businesses must polish and improve their messaging moving into the 2022 recession. The 2021 tech boom provided such a sense of affluence and (unsustainable) growth that no one needed great marketing material. The market found them.
This was especially true for web3 and the first-time crypto believers. Obviously. If they knew which was good.
White papers help. White papers are highly technical texts that walk a reader through a product's details. How Does a White Paper Help Your Business and That White Paper Guy discuss them.
They're meant for knowledgeable readers. Investors and the technical (academic/developer) community read web3 white papers. White papers are used when a product is extremely technical or difficult to assist an informed reader to a conclusion. Web3 uses them most often for ICOs (initial coin offerings).
White papers for web3 education help newcomers learn about the web3 industry's components. It's like sending a first-grader to the Annotated Oxford English Dictionary to learn to read. It's a reference, not a learning tool, for words.
Newcomers can use platforms that teach the basics. These included Coinbase's Crypto Basics tutorials or Cryptochicks Academy, founded by the mother of Ethereum's inventor to get more women utilizing and working in crypto.
Discord and Web3 communities
Discord communities are web3's opposite. Discord communities involve personal communications and group involvement.
Online audience growth begins with community building. User personas prefer 1000 dedicated admirers over 1 million lukewarm followers, and the language is much more easygoing. Discord groups are renowned for phishing scams, compromised wallets, and incorrect information, especially since the crypto crisis.
White papers and Discord increase industry insularity. White papers are complicated, and Discord has a high risk threshold.
Web3 and writing ads
Copywriting is emotional, but white papers are logical. It uses the brain's quick-decision centers. It's meant to make the reader invest immediately.
Not bad. People think sales are sleazy, but they can spot the poor things.
Ethical copywriting helps you reach the correct audience. People who gain a following on Medium are likely to have copywriting training and a readership (or three) in mind when they publish. Tim Denning and Sinem Günel know how to identify a target audience and make them want to learn more.
In a fast-moving market, copywriting is less about long-form content like sales pages or blogs, but many organizations do. Instead, the copy is concise, individualized, and high-value. Tweets, email marketing, and IM apps (Discord, Telegram, Slack to a lesser extent) keep engagement high.
What does web3's messaging lack? As DAOs add stricter copyrighting, narrative and connecting tales seem to be missing.
Web3 is passionate about constructing the next internet. Now, they can connect their passion to a specific audience so newcomers understand why.