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The Verge

The Verge

10 months ago

Bored Ape Yacht Club creator raises $450 million at a $4 billion valuation.

Yuga Labs, owner of three of the biggest NFT brands on the market, announced today a $450 million funding round. The money will be used to create a media empire based on NFTs, starting with games and a metaverse project.

The team's Otherside metaverse project is an MMORPG meant to connect the larger NFT universe. They want to create “an interoperable world” that is “gamified” and “completely decentralized,” says Wylie Aronow, aka Gordon Goner, co-founder of Bored Ape Yacht Club. “We think the real Ready Player One experience will be player run.”

Just a few weeks ago, Yuga Labs announced the acquisition of CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. The deal brought together three of the most valuable NFT collections, giving Yuga Labs more IP to work with when developing games and metaverses. Last week, ApeCoin was launched as a cryptocurrency that will be governed independently and used in Yuga Labs properties.

Otherside will be developed by “a few different game studios,” says Yuga Labs CEO Nicole Muniz. The company plans to create development tools that allow NFTs from other projects to work inside their world. “We're welcoming everyone into a walled garden.”

However, Yuga Labs believes that other companies are approaching metaverse projects incorrectly, allowing the startup to stand out. People won't bond spending time in a virtual space with nothing going on, says Yuga Labs co-founder Greg Solano, aka Gargamel. Instead, he says, people bond when forced to work together.

In order to avoid getting smacked, Solano advises making friends. “We don't think a Zoom chat and walking around saying ‘hi' creates a deep social experience.” Yuga Labs refused to provide a release date for Otherside. Later this year, a play-to-win game is planned.

The funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, a major investor in the Web3 space. It previously backed OpenSea and Coinbase. Animoca Brands, Coinbase, and MoonPay are among those who have invested. Andreessen Horowitz general partner Chris Lyons will join Yuga Labs' board. The Financial Times broke the story last month.

"META IS A DOMINANT DIGITAL EXPERIENCE PROVIDER IN A DYSTOPIAN FUTURE."

This emerging [Web3] ecosystem is important to me, as it is to companies like Meta,” Chris Dixon, head of Andreessen Horowitz's crypto arm, tells The Verge. “In a dystopian future, Meta is the dominant digital experience provider, and it controls all the money and power.” (Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen sits on Meta's board and invested early in Facebook.)

Yuga Labs has been profitable so far. According to a leaked pitch deck, the company made $137 million last year, primarily from its NFT brands, with a 95% profit margin. (Yuga Labs declined to comment on deck figures.)

But the company has built little so far. According to OpenSea data, it has only released one game for a limited time. That means Yuga Labs gets hundreds of millions of dollars to build a gaming company from scratch, based on a hugely lucrative art project.

Investors fund Yuga Labs based on its success. That's what they did, says Dixon, “they created a culture phenomenon”. But ultimately, the company is betting on the same thing that so many others are: that a metaverse project will be the next big thing. Now they must construct it.

More on Web3 & Crypto

Matt Ward

Matt Ward

2 months ago

Is Web3 nonsense?

Crypto and blockchain have rebranded as web3. They probably thought it sounded better and didn't want the baggage of scam ICOs, STOs, and skirted securities laws.

It was like Facebook becoming Meta. Crypto's biggest players wanted to change public (and regulator) perception away from pump-and-dump schemes.

After the 2018 ICO gold rush, it's understandable. Every project that raised millions (or billions) never shipped a meaningful product.

Like many crazes, charlatans took the money and ran.

Despite its grifter past, web3 is THE hot topic today as more founders, venture firms, and larger institutions look to build the future decentralized internet.

Supposedly.

How often have you heard: This will change the world, fix the internet, and give people power?

Why are most of web3's biggest proponents (and beneficiaries) the same rich, powerful players who built and invested in the modern internet? It's like they want to remake and own the internet.

Something seems off about that.

Why are insiders getting preferential presale terms before the public, allowing early investors and proponents to flip dirt cheap tokens and advisors shares almost immediately after the public sale?

It's a good gig with guaranteed markups, no risk or progress.

If it sounds like insider trading, it is, at least practically. This is clear when people talk about blockchain/web3 launches and tokens.

Fast money, quick flips, and guaranteed markups/returns are common.

Incentives-wise, it's hard to blame them. Who can blame someone for following the rules to win? Is it their fault or regulators' for not leveling the playing field?

It's similar to oil companies polluting for profit, Instagram depressing you into buying a new dress, or pharma pushing an unnecessary pill.

All of that is fair game, at least until we change the playbook, because people (and corporations) change for pain or love. Who doesn't love money?

belief based on money gain

Sinclair:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Bitcoin, blockchain, and web3 analogies?

Most blockchain and web3 proponents are true believers, not cynical capitalists. They believe blockchain's inherent transparency and permissionless trust allow humanity to evolve beyond our reptilian ways and build a better decentralized and democratic world.

They highlight issues with the modern internet and monopoly players like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Decentralization fixes everything

If we could give power back to the people and get governments/corporations/individuals out of the way, we'd fix everything.

Blockchain solves supply chain and child labor issues in China.

To meet Paris climate goals, reduce emissions. Create a carbon token.

Fixing online hatred and polarization Web3 Twitter and Facebook replacement.

Web3 must just be the answer for everything… your “perfect” silver bullet.

Nothing fits everyone. Blockchain has pros and cons like everything else.

Blockchain's viral, ponzi-like nature has an MLM (mid level marketing) feel. If you bought Taylor Swift's NFT, your investment is tied to her popularity.

Probably makes you promote Swift more. Play music loudly.

Here's another example:

Imagine if Jehovah’s Witnesses (or evangelical preachers…) got paid for every single person they converted to their cause.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as their faith and wealth grow.

Which breeds extremism? Ultra-Orthodox Jews are an example. maximalists

Bitcoin and blockchain are causes, religions. It's a money-making movement and ideal.

We're good at convincing ourselves of things we want to believe, hence filter bubbles.

I ignore anything that doesn't fit my worldview and seek out like-minded people, which algorithms amplify.

Then what?

Is web3 merely a new scam?

No, never!

Blockchain has many crucial uses.

Sending money home/abroad without bank fees;

Like fleeing a war-torn country and converting savings to Bitcoin;

Like preventing Twitter from silencing dissidents.

Permissionless, trustless databases could benefit society and humanity. There are, however, many limitations.

Lost password?

What if you're cheated?

What if Trump/Putin/your favorite dictator incites a coup d'état?

What-ifs abound. Decentralization's openness brings good and bad.

No gatekeepers or firefighters to rescue you.

ISIS's fundraising is also frictionless.

Community-owned apps with bad interfaces and service.

Trade-offs rule.

So what compromises does web3 make?

What are your trade-offs? Decentralization has many strengths and flaws. Like Bitcoin's wasteful proof-of-work or Ethereum's political/wealth-based proof-of-stake.

To ensure the survival and veracity of the network/blockchain and to safeguard its nodes, extreme measures have been designed/put in place to prevent hostile takeovers aimed at altering the blockchain, i.e., adding money to your own wallet (account), etc.

These protective measures require significant resources and pose challenges. Reduced speed and throughput, high gas fees (cost to submit/write a transaction to the blockchain), and delayed development times, not to mention forked blockchain chains oops, web3 projects.

Protecting dissidents or rogue regimes makes sense. You need safety, privacy, and calm.

First-world life?

What if you assumed EVERYONE you saw was out to rob/attack you? You'd never travel, trust anyone, accomplish much, or live fully. The economy would collapse.

It's like an ant colony where half the ants do nothing but wait to be attacked.

Waste of time and money.

11% of the US budget goes to the military. Imagine what we could do with the $766B+ we spend on what-ifs annually.

Is so much hypothetical security needed?

Blockchain and web3 are similar.

Does your app need permissionless decentralization? Does your scooter-sharing company really need a proof-of-stake system and 1000s of nodes to avoid Russian hackers? Why?

Worst-case scenario? It's not life or death, unless you overstate the what-ifs. Web3 proponents find improbable scenarios to justify decentralization and tokenization.

Do I need a token to prove ownership of my painting? Unless I'm a master thief, I probably bought it.

despite losing the receipt.

I do, however, love Web 3.

Enough Web3 bashing for now. Understand? Decentralization isn't perfect, but it has huge potential when applied to the right problems.

I see many of the right problems as disrupting big tech's ruthless monopolies. I wrote several years ago about how tokenized blockchains could be used to break big tech's stranglehold on platforms, marketplaces, and social media.

Tokenomics schemes can be used for good and are powerful. Here’s how.

Before the ICO boom, I made a series of predictions about blockchain/crypto's future. It's still true.

Here's where I was then and where I see web3 going:

My 11 Big & Bold Predictions for Blockchain

In the near future, people may wear crypto cash rings or bracelets.

  1. While some governments repress cryptocurrency, others will start to embrace it.

  2. Blockchain will fundamentally alter voting and governance, resulting in a more open election process.

  3. Money freedom will lead to a more geographically open world where people will be more able to leave when there is unrest.

  4. Blockchain will make record keeping significantly easier, eliminating the need for a significant portion of government workers whose sole responsibility is paperwork.

  5. Overrated are smart contracts.

6. Tokens will replace company stocks.

7. Blockchain increases real estate's liquidity, value, and volatility.

8. Healthcare may be most affected.

9. Crypto could end privacy and lead to Minority Report.

10. New companies with network effects will displace incumbents.

11. Soon, people will wear rings or bracelets with crypto cash.

Some have already happened, while others are still possible.

Time will tell if they happen.

And finally:

What will web3 be?

Who will be in charge?

Closing remarks

Hope you enjoyed this web3 dive. There's much more to say, but that's for another day.

We're writing history as we go.

Tech regulation, mergers, Bitcoin surge How will history remember us?

What about web3 and blockchain?

Is this a revolution or a tulip craze?

Remember, actions speak louder than words (share them in the comments).

Your turn.

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

5 months ago

Nomad.xyz got exploited for $190M

Key Takeaways:

Another hack. This time was different. This is a doozy.

Why? Nomad got exploited for $190m. It was crypto's 5th-biggest hack. Ouch.

It wasn't hackers, but random folks. What happened:

A Nomad smart contract flaw was discovered. They couldn't drain the funds at once, so they tried numerous transactions. Rookie!

People noticed and copied the attack.

They just needed to discover a working transaction, substitute the other person's address with theirs, and run it.


Nomad.xyz got exploited for $190M

In a two-and-a-half-hour attack, $190M was siphoned from Nomad Bridge.

Nomad is a novel approach to blockchain interoperability that leverages an optimistic mechanism to increase the security of cross-chain communication.  — nomad.xyz

This hack was permissionless, therefore anyone could participate.

After the fatal blow, people fought over the scraps.

Cross-chain bridges remain a DeFi weakness and exploit target. When they collapse, it's typically total.

$190M...gobbled.

Unbacked assets are hurting Nomad-dependent chains. Moonbeam, EVMOS, and Milkomeda's TVLs dropped.

This incident is every-man-for-himself, although numerous whitehats exploited the issue... 

But what triggered the feeding frenzy?

How did so many pick the bones?

After a normal upgrade in June, the bridge's Replica contract was initialized with a severe security issue. The  0x00 address was a trusted root, therefore all messages were valid by default.

After a botched first attempt (costing $350k in gas), the original attacker's exploit tx called process() without first 'proving' its validity.

The process() function executes all cross-chain messages and checks the merkle root of all messages (line 185).

The upgrade caused transactions with a'messages' value of 0 (invalid, according to old logic) to be read by default as 0x00, a trusted root, passing validation as 'proven'

Any process() calls were valid. In reality, a more sophisticated exploiter may have designed a contract to drain the whole bridge.

Copycat attackers simply copied/pasted the same process() function call using Etherscan, substituting their address.

The incident was a wild combination of crowdhacking, whitehat activities, and MEV-bot (Maximal Extractable Value) mayhem.

For example, 🍉🍉🍉. eth stole $4M from the bridge, but claims to be whitehat.

Others stood out for the wrong reasons. Repeat criminal Rari Capital (Artibrum) exploited over $3M in stablecoins, which moved to Tornado Cash.

The top three exploiters (with 95M between them) are:

$47M: 0x56D8B635A7C88Fd1104D23d632AF40c1C3Aac4e3

$40M: 0xBF293D5138a2a1BA407B43672643434C43827179

$8M: 0xB5C55f76f90Cc528B2609109Ca14d8d84593590E

Here's a list of all the exploiters:

The project conducted a Quantstamp audit in June; QSP-19 foreshadowed a similar problem.

The auditor's comments that "We feel the Nomad team misinterpreted the issue" speak to a troubling attitude towards security that the project's "Long-Term Security" plan appears to confirm:

Concerns were raised about the team's response time to a live, public exploit; the team's official acknowledgement came three hours later.

"Removing the Replica contract as owner" stopped the exploit, but it was too late to preserve the cash.

Closed blockchain systems are only as strong as their weakest link.

The Harmony network is in turmoil after its bridge was attacked and lost $100M in late June.

What's next for Nomad's ecosystems?

Moonbeam's TVL is now $135M, EVMOS's is $3M, and Milkomeda's is $20M.

Loss of confidence may do more damage than $190M.

Cross-chain infrastructure is difficult to secure in a new, experimental sector. Bridge attacks can pollute an entire ecosystem or more.

Nomadic liquidity has no permanent home, so consumers will always migrate in pursuit of the "next big thing" and get stung when attentiveness wanes.

DeFi still has easy prey...

Sources: rekt.news & The Milk Road.

CyberPunkMetalHead

CyberPunkMetalHead

2 months ago

Developed an automated cryptocurrency trading tool for nearly a year before unveiling it this month.

Overview

I'm happy to provide this important update. We've worked on this for a year and a half, so I'm glad to finally write it. We named the application AESIR because we’ve love Norse Mythology. AESIR automates and runs trading strategies.

  • Volatility, technical analysis, oscillators, and other signals are currently supported by AESIR.

  • Additionally, we enhanced AESIR's ability to create distinctive bespoke signals by allowing it to analyze many indicators and produce a single signal.

  • AESIR has a significant social component that allows you to copy the best-performing public setups and use them right away.

Enter your email here to be notified when AEISR launches.

Views on algorithmic trading

First, let me clarify. Anyone who claims algorithmic trading platforms are money-printing plug-and-play devices is a liar. Algorithmic trading platforms are a collection of tools.

A trading algorithm won't make you a competent trader if you lack a trading strategy and yolo your funds without testing. It may hurt your trade. Test and alter your plans to account for market swings, but comprehend market signals and trends.

Status Report

Throughout closed beta testing, we've communicated closely with users to design a platform they want to use.

To celebrate, we're giving you free Aesir Viking NFTs and we cover gas fees.

Why use a trading Algorithm?

  • Automating a successful manual approach

  • experimenting with and developing solutions that are impossible to execute manually

One AESIR strategy lets you buy any cryptocurrency that rose by more than x% in y seconds.

AESIR can scan an exchange for coins that have gained more than 3% in 5 minutes. It's impossible to manually analyze over 1000 trading pairings every 5 minutes. Auto buy dips or DCA around a Dip

Sneak Preview

Here's the Leaderboard, where you can clone the best public settings.

As a tiny, self-funded team, we're excited to unveil our product. It's a beta release, so there's still more to accomplish, but we know where we stand.

If this sounds like a project that you might want to learn more about, you can sign up to our newsletter and be notified when AESIR launches.

Useful Links:

Join the Discord | Join our subreddit | Newsletter | Mint Free NFT

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Eric Esposito

7 months ago

$100M in NFT TV shows from Fox

Image

Fox executives will invest $100 million in NFT-based TV shows. Fox brought in "Rick and Morty" co-creator Dan Harmon to create "Krapopolis"

Fox's Blockchain Creative Labs (BCL) will develop these NFT TV shows with Bento Box Entertainment. BCL markets Fox's WWE "Moonsault" NFT.

Fox said it would use the $100 million to build a "creative community" and "brand ecosystem." The media giant mentioned using these funds for NFT "benefits."

"Krapopolis" will be a Greek-themed animated comedy, per Rarity Sniper. Initial reports said NFT buyers could collaborate on "character development" and get exclusive perks.

Fox Entertainment may drop "Krapopolis" NFTs on Ethereum, according to new reports. Fox says it will soon release more details on its NFT plans for "Krapopolis."

Media Giants Favor "NFT Storytelling"

"Krapopolis" is one of the largest "NFT storytelling" experiments due to Dan Harmon's popularity and Fox Entertainment's reach. Many celebrities have begun exploring Web3 for TV shows.

Mila Kunis' animated sitcom "The Gimmicks" lets fans direct the show. Any "Gimmick" NFT holder could contribute to episode plots.

"The Gimmicks" lets NFT holders write fan fiction about their avatars. If show producers like what they read, their NFT may appear in an episode.

Rob McElhenney recently launched "Adimverse," a Web3 writers' community. Anyone with a "Adimverse" NFT can collaborate on creative projects and share royalties.

Many blue-chip NFTs are appearing in movies and TV shows. Coinbase will release Bored Ape Yacht Club shorts at NFT. NYC. Reese Witherspoon is working on a World of Women NFT series.

PFP NFT collections have Hollywood media partners. Guy Oseary manages Madonna's World of Women and Bored Ape Yacht Club collections. The Doodles signed with Billboard's Julian Holguin and the Cool Cats with CAA.

Web3 and NFTs are changing how many filmmakers tell stories.

Alex Mathers

Alex Mathers

2 months ago   Draft

12 practices of the zenith individuals I know

Follow Alex’s Instagram for his drawings and bonus ideas.

Calmness is a vital life skill.

It aids communication. It boosts creativity and performance.

I've studied calm people's habits for years. Commonalities:

Have learned to laugh at themselves.

Those who have something to protect can’t help but make it a very serious business, which drains the energy out of the room.

They are fixated on positive pursuits like making cool things, building a strong physique, and having fun with others rather than on depressing influences like the news and gossip.

Every day, spend at least 20 minutes moving, whether it's walking, yoga, or lifting weights.

Discover ways to take pleasure in life's challenges.

Since perspective is malleable, they change their view.

Set your own needs first.

Stressed people neglect themselves and wonder why they struggle.

Prioritize self-care.

Don't ruin your life to please others.

Make something.

Calm people create more than react.

They love creating beautiful things—paintings, children, relationships, and projects.

Hold your breath, please.

If you're stressed or angry, you may be surprised how much time you spend holding your breath and tightening your belly.

Release, breathe, and relax to find calm.

Stopped rushing.

Rushing is disadvantageous.

Calm people handle life better.

Are attuned to their personal dietary needs.

They avoid junk food and eat foods that keep them healthy, happy, and calm.

Don’t take anything personally.

Stressed people control everything.

Self-conscious.

Calm people put others and their work first.

Keep their surroundings neat.

Maintaining an uplifting and clutter-free environment daily calms the mind.

Minimise negative people.

Calm people are ruthless with their boundaries and avoid negative and drama-prone people.

Thomas Smith

1 month ago

ChatGPT Is Experiencing a Lightbulb Moment

Why breakthrough technologies must be accessible

ChatGPT has exploded. Over 1 million people have used the app, and coding sites like Stack Overflow have banned its answers. It's huge.

I wouldn't have called that as an AI researcher. ChatGPT uses the same GPT-3 technology that's been around for over two years.

More than impressive technology, ChatGPT 3 shows how access makes breakthroughs usable. OpenAI has finally made people realize the power of AI by packaging GPT-3 for normal users.

We think of Thomas Edison as the inventor of the lightbulb, not because he invented it, but because he popularized it.

Going forward, AI companies that make using AI easy will thrive.

Use-case importance

Most modern AI systems use massive language models. These language models are trained on 6,000+ years of human text.

GPT-3 ate 8 billion pages, almost every book, and Wikipedia. It created an AI that can write sea shanties and solve coding problems.

Nothing new. I began beta testing GPT-3 in 2020, but the system's basics date back further.

Tools like GPT-3 are hidden in many apps. Many of the AI writing assistants on this platform are just wrappers around GPT-3.

Lots of online utilitarian text, like restaurant menu summaries or city guides, is written by AI systems like GPT-3. You've probably read GPT-3 without knowing it.

Accessibility

Why is ChatGPT so popular if the technology is old?

ChatGPT makes the technology accessible. Free to use, people can sign up and text with the chatbot daily. ChatGPT isn't revolutionary. It does it in a way normal people can access and be amazed by.

Accessibility isn't easy. OpenAI's Sam Altman tweeted that opening ChatGPT to the public increased computing costs.

Each chat costs "low-digit cents" to process. OpenAI probably spends several hundred thousand dollars a day to keep ChatGPT running, with no immediate business case.

Academic researchers and others who developed GPT-3 couldn't afford it. Without resources to make technology accessible, it can't be used.

Retrospective

This dynamic is old. In the history of science, a researcher with a breakthrough idea was often overshadowed by an entrepreneur or visionary who made it accessible to the public.

We think of Thomas Edison as the inventor of the lightbulb. But really, Vasilij Petrov, Thomas Wright, and Joseph Swan invented the lightbulb. Edison made technology visible and accessible by electrifying public buildings, building power plants, and wiring.

Edison probably lost a ton of money on stunts like building a power plant to light JP Morgan's home, the NYSE, and several newspaper headquarters.

People wanted electric lights once they saw their benefits. By making the technology accessible and visible, Edison unlocked a hugely profitable market.

Similar things are happening in AI. ChatGPT shows that developing breakthrough technology in the lab or on B2B servers won't change the culture.

AI must engage people's imaginations to become mainstream. Before the tech impacts the world, people must play with it and see its revolutionary power.

As the field evolves, companies that make the technology widely available, even at great cost, will succeed.

OpenAI's compute fees are eye-watering. Revolutions are costly.