Issue #29
Week 13 2021

VISA
Breaking Bad

ETH, USDC, VISA!

Just like that, one of the largest payment networks in the world has allowed payments to be settled in cryptocurrency.

Visa, with a current market cap of over $475 billion and processioning over 150 million traditional payment transactions every day, has officially started utilizing stable coins as a settlement tool on the Ethereum blockchain. Yet another massive signal of digital currencie’s growing role in the mainstream financial industry.

ETH-VISA-USDC

USDC, the stable coin created by Circle and Coinbase, is currently being used exclusively in this Visa pilot program launched with Crypto.com and digital asset bank Anchorage, with additional partners planned for later this year. This is big news for everyone involved! The level of daily transaction volume facilitated by the Visa network has long been regarded as a high-water mark. The level to which decentralized networks like Ethereum aspire to scale. Now, Visa is taking advantage of the very decentralized technology which has previously been deemed somehow insufficient or impractical.

This marks the launch of a pilot which would allow Crypto.com to settle a portion of its obligations for their Crypto.com Visa card program in USDC.

Crypto-Com-VISA

Crypto.com Visa Card Tiers and Benefits

Up to this point using a Crypto.com Visa card for payments meant that the digital currency held in a user's cryptocurrency wallets first needed to be converted into traditional money before a purchase could be fully completed. Often adding complexity and expense for businesses. By using the Ethereum blockchain however, there is no need to convert crypto into traditional currency in order for the transaction to be fully settled. Visa has partnered with digital asset bank Anchorage to act as a custodian and completed their first transaction with Crypto.com by sending USDC to Visa’s Ethereum address at Anchorage.

Making things easier for crypto users and companies needing interaction with old world finance feels like a step in the right direction. Though there are those who aren’t totally convinced of the current wider applicability of this pilot program. Ethereum’s current scaling potential being the most widely cited hurdle to overcome, which might be addressed much sooner than many expect. Ready or not, ETH and USDC are now clearly being institutionalized as Visa has now officially utilized them both in order to wade further into the crypto space. It’s also certainly worth noting just what a crucial head start Visa stands to gain in accommodating Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) as they come available. While crypto stable coins like USDC are backed by central banks, CBDCs would be directly issued and managed by central banks. Basically a digital version of fiat. From this perspective it seems likely this is only the first step of a much larger pivot to come.

The cumulative cryptocurrency market cap now exceeds $2 trillion. Bitcoin and Ethereum are both currently trading at near all time highs. The mainstream adoption of BTC, ETH, and now stable coins is likely the largest single contributing factor behind the current bull market. Every day more and more traditional financial businesses including but not limited to banks, funds, VC’s, payment networks, and fortune 500 companies are adopting the next generation of financial technologies.

Everything has accelerated so quickly over the past months that it might be easy to mistake just how early we are in this amazing journey which seasoned crypto enthusiasts are assuredly the most prepared for!


Breaking:

PayPal will let US users pay with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin with their newly launched “Checkout with Crypto” feature!

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Uniswap V3

This video and NFT were created by pplpleasr.

It was recently used by Uniswap to promote it’s upcoming version 3 platform and sold for 310 ETH ~$520,000.00. The buyer of the NFT is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called PleasrDAO. A DAO which was specifically formed to buy this NFT!

There sure is a lot of excitement for Uniswap version 3, and understandably so. Since 2018 with the launch of version 1, Uniswap has been pushing the boundaries of decentralized exchanges (DEXs) and automated market makers (AMMs). Many improvements and new features were introduced in Uniswap version 2 just under a year ago, and since the v2 launch the DEX has managed over $135 billion in trading volume! Uniswap has become a pillar of the decentralized finance world.

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Uniswap Analytics 4-3-21

According to data collected by theblockcrypto, Uniswap activity comprises 20% to 25% of all transactions on the Ethereum blockchain each day. Uniswap also commands approximately 60% of the DEX market and caters to 15 times more users than any other Ethereum decentralized exchange.

The highly anticipated version 3 has been given an Ethereum layer-1 launch date of May 5th 2021, with a deployment on Optimism set to follow shortly after. The overview of Uniswap V3 indicates the upgraded platform is geared towards improving the decentralized exchange’s capital efficiency.

Uniswap v3 introduces:

  • Concentrated liquidity, giving individual LPs granular control over what price ranges their capital is allocated to. Individual positions are aggregated together into a single pool, forming one combined curve for users to trade against
  • Multiple fee tiers , allowing LPs to be appropriately compensated for taking on varying degrees of risk

These features make Uniswap v3 the most flexible and efficient AMM ever designed:

  • LPs can provide liquidity with up to 4,000x capital efficiency relative to Uniswap v2, earning higher returns on their capital
  • Capital efficiency paves the way for low-slippage trade execution that can surpass both centralized exchanges and stablecoin-focused AMMs
  • LPs can significantly increase their exposure to preferred assets and reduce their downside risk
  • LPs can sell one asset for another by adding liquidity to a price range entirely above or below the market price, approximating a fee-earning limit order that executes along a smooth curve

At first glance it seems Liquidity providers (LPs) will be the most impacted by utilizing the updated platform. Largely due to their ability to make markets within custom, and more specifically, narrower price ranges via what is being called ‘concentrated liquidity’. LPs provide assets to liquidity pools which Uniswap users trade against. Previously, liquidity providers needed capital ready to deploy among an infinite price range, often leaving a bulk of their available capital idle and not earning fees. Uniswap v3 allows LPs to customize the allocation of their liquidity towards more narrow ranges where most trade volume are occurring, resulting in a higher rate of return on the LP’s capital.

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Top 10 Uniswap V2 Liquidity Pairs 4-3-21

The Uniswap DEX technology has certainly helped revolutionize the world of decentralized trading. However, not all of the Uniswap version 3 changes necessarily make this an improved experience for everyone when compared to the current Uniswap version 2. Greater efficiency for LPs on one side of the coin might mean sacrificing automation on the other. Liquidity providers will likely have to regularly update their liquidity range settings in order to assure returns.

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Top 10 Uniswap V2 Tokens 4-3-21

Plenty of projects have been working on optimizing AMMs over the past years. This is clearly not an easy undertaking, as many of the more complex improvements might bring many pros, but also cons worth considering. Of course, because Uniswap is open-source others can take their publicly available code and build their own version of the DEX, as we’ve seen with SushiSwap. This time Uniswap appears to have taken steps to protect its version 3 innovations from direct cloning of the project by licensing Uniswap’s version 3 code as a business source license. After two years this code will be repurposed as an open-source GPL for the crypto community to use or build upon.

Just like the launch of v2, Uniswap v3 is an entirely separate protocol which will be deployed to run alongside the earlier versions of Uniswap. Though some might not feel too rushed to migrate to v3 as v2 has done such a great job facilitating their decentralized trading needs, it seems likely that a majority of the Uniswap user-base will indeed want to experience the latest and greatest AMM DEX technology available on the Ethereum blockchain. Optimism can’t launch soon enough!

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Immutable X

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This week Opensea announced they will support the layer 2 scaling solution, Immutable X, to trade NFTs gas free. This announcement comes with excitement as NFTs will now be traded gas free and still have the Ethereum network’s security. 

According to Opensea, this technology will provide instant trade confirmation, increased scalability, and zero gas fees.

Immutable X is an Australian company that claims to be the first layer 2 for NFTs on Ethereum. 

Quite frankly, Immutable X is the most exciting scalability solution. They claim they’re able to make at least 9,000 transactions per second, all with zero gas fees and instant trade confirmation. Also, with these fast transactions, they were able to figure out how to stay on-chain, keeping Eth’s security and not having to move to a sidechain like Matic.

Unlike other scalability solutions, Immutable X is not on another blockchain or sidechain but instead is on the Eth blockchain. By staying on the Eth blockchain, Immutable X is not compromising the security that other blockchains or sidechains have. They are also staying on the most popular blockchain that we have in the crypto space. All of this can lead to mass adoption because of its solutions in scaling the Ethereum blockchain.

The best part of Immutable X is that we can finally shut those stupid ass people who complain about NFT’s carbon footprint because Immutable X is carbon neutral.

The annoying thing of this past month is when you are talking to a newcomer on NFTs, and they bring up “WhAt AbOuT ThE CaRbOn FooTPriNT? DoN’T YoU CaRE aBoUt tHe EnVirOnMenT?” But now we can bitch slap them across the face with immutable x and their carbon-neutral plan. 

They are striving to become one of the first carbon-neutral decentralized protocols. They plan on doing this by firstly taking up less of the network per NFT mint or trade. This means less energy is needed for a transaction and less carbon is needed. Secondly, they are planning on buying carbon credits to offset each transaction made on Immutable X.

The most significant selling point of Immutable X is its zero gas fees and security. We are excited to see where this project goes because this could be a massive step for the NFT space. With zero gas fees, the sky’s the limit. For example, more artists would be able to mint NFTs, and new people would join the space because they would not be disincentivized by the high prices. It would also be fantastic for NFT buyers because we could buy NFTs that we enjoy without having the high gas fees be a problem.

Immutable X is expected to launch anytime now, and we could not be happier to see what comes.

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Squiggle DAO

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ccrrrll by Manolo Gamboa Naon

What is SquiggleDAO?

SquiggleDAO is on a mission to support the growth and cultural relevance of generative NFT art.  We will achieve this by using one of the most historically significant art series, Chromie Squiggles, as membership to the DAO.

 Wait, what?  Generative Art?  DAOs?  Squiggles? I’m lost

OK, a step back.  In the beginning we had NFTS.  These NFTs had a hash held on-chain which represented an image which was held off-chain.  If this off-chain metadata (the info that allows an image to be generated) ever got lost/corrupted, the image could never be rendered from the hash.  A few early visionaries recognised this issue and began experimenting with fully on-chain Generative Art.  Fully on-chain art has all the associated metadata (not just a hash representation) held on the Blockchain so the resulting image can always be reverse engineered.  As long as Ethereum exists, so does your image.  No NFT Rug pulls here. 

OK, so on-Chain good, off-Chain bad.  But what is Artblocks?

Art Blocks is a first of its kind platform focused on genuinely programmable on-demand generative content that is stored immutably on the Ethereum Blockchain. You pick a style that you like, pay for the work, and a randomly generated version of the content is created by an algorithm and magically sent to your Ethereum wallet. The resulting piece might be a static image, 3D model, or an interactive experience.   

Interesting. I think I’m getting it, but how do Squiggles fit into this?

Chromie Squiggles were first project that dropped on the Art Blocks platform in late 2020. Both Art Blocks and Squiggles were created by Snowfro, a Punk OG and all round legend. There are only 10,000 Squiggles that can ever be minted with around 9,100 that are currently in existence (The remaining 900ish are being reserved for individuals who help further the goals of the Artblocks). Each Squiggle is unique and has different traits, with Hypers being the rarest/most sought after.

squiggle-dao1

I think I’m up to speed - Tell me more about SquiggleDAO

SquiggleDAO acts as a foundry for artists that want to create awesome art. We’ll source, support, fund, and launch anyone that the DAO selects as an amazing generative NFT artist. Together, we will etch on-chain generative art into the history books.

SquiggleDAO will act as a place for on-chain generative art education, driving awareness of Squiggles and generative art more broadly through challenges, financing new works, and community.

The early Punks owners built an amazing community that was incredibly welcoming, helpful, and most importantly fun. Snowfro was one of those members that was instrumental in building this community.  That same ethos can be seen in the Artblocks discord and is one we are embracing in SquiggleDAO.  We are a friendly, helpful community of Squiggle fans with a passion for Gen Art…….and a Social token launching “soon”.

But where is this all heading?

Art and culture are two sides of the same coin. History has shown that artists who capture mindshare during important culture epochs ultimately end up defining that time period. We believe we are in the early stages of a new cultural epoch, and that the art of this time period will be stored on the Ethereum blockchain. With SquiggleDAO, anyone has an opportunity to be part of this history. Thought provoking stuff.

 Tasty Squiggle Stats

  • Squiggles could originally be minted for 0.035ETH
  • Current Squiggle Floor Price on opensea is 0.375ETH
  • Highest Squiggle Sale was 45ETH for a Hyper Bold 3 weeks ago
  • The rarest Squiggle (a Hyper Pipe) has never traded
  • Almost 200 verified Squiggle owners have already joined the SquiggleDAO discord

 I’m sold, where do I sign up?

Anyone can join the public SquiggleDAO Discord here

However, to access the Squiggle Gate and be amongst verified Squiggle Owners you must hold a Squiggle of any type in your wallet (details below if you don’t own one).  Just type “!join” in the #squiggle-gate channel and the CollabLand bot will work it’s magic to get you through.  It’s that simple.  

And being an early discord member is likely to be advantageous……

squiggle-dao2

Help! I’m Squiggle-less

 We all were at one point.  Opensea is your friend.  Pick one you like, and you’re good to go.

 #Socials

If you are on twitter (of course you are, you’re in Crypto) follow @squiggledao   

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GEN ART

ccrrrll-Manolo-Gamboa-Naon-

ccrrrll by Manolo Gamboa Naon

What is generative art?

Generative art is any art in which the artist gives up a certain amount of control over the artistic process, often by employing random/pseudo-random techniques for abstract creation within what is usually a somewhat specific scope. The final piece is a result of the artist's parameters and rules, as well as the absolute randomness of it’s deterministic inputs. With this perspective many things that might not seem generative at a glance actually can be regarded as such. For example, Jackson Pollock would drop paint from atop a ladder, effectively randomizing his 'strokes', but still maintaining his control over the canvas size and shape as well as color palette used.

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Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock

Why code?

Today generative art is largely achieved with computers where code provides the perfect generative artist instrument. Artists can code their desired rules, yet still allow the computer to actually craft or ‘mint’ each piece, and though computers are deterministic and predictable the artist can code randomly derived values as guided input criteria. Accordingly, the outputs generated are thematically linked because they follow the same process, but each one is completely unique and unpredictable, even to the artist. 

As a generative artist, this is my favorite part! I am pleasantly surprised much more often than not by what the computer does with my instructions. It allows me to explore my biases of curation as well as those of creation. This means that generative artwork often influences its own evolution, rather than coming fully formed by the artist’s original concept. I am sure art of other forms is similar, but I also feel that computer art is ideal for multiple very quick iterations. If I have spent ten hours on a piece and want to see what it looks like with a blue background instead of white, instead of starting a whole new piece I only have to change one code value. Too easy!

Early figures

Perhaps the earliest example of generative art is Johann Philipp Kirnberger's "Musikalisches Würfelspiel" (Musical Dice Game) 1757, in which dice were used to order precomposed pieces. However, the term generative art was first really used in the 1960s, and is often used almost interchangeably with computer art. Another one of the most recognized early works is Georg Nees' Schotter (Gravel) 1968, in which the rule and randomness is readily apparent.

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Schotter by Georg Nees

Also in 1968, Sol LeWitt began to create his first Wall Drawings, short step-by-step instructions for art to be drawn on walls.

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WALL DRAWING 797 by Sol LeWitt

"The first drafter has a black marker and makes an irregular horizontal line near the top of the wall. Then the second drafter tries to copy it (without touching it) using a red marker. The third drafter does the same, using a yellow marker. The fourth drafter does the same using a blue marker. Then the second drafter followed by the third and fourth copies the last line drawn until the bottom of the wall is reached."

Vera Molnár has influenced generative art over the course of decades with her work in geometry:

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Carambolage rouge (Red Pileup) by Vera Molnár

Lillian Schwartz worked at Bell Labs and made very significant contributions to generative animations/films, often working with chemical composition and 3D graphics.

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Pixillation by Lillian Schwartz

Processing (processing.org), one of the most popular languages for generative art today, was created at the Aesthetics + Computation group within MIT Media Lab by Ben Fry and Casey Reas in the 2000s.

For more information on generative art history and these artists, I highly recommend this Artnome article by Jason Bailey.

Why crypto?

The two most important parts of crypto are the protocol and the unpredictability. The cryptographic techniques that make blockchain possible rely upon generating hashes and signatures that are infeasible to compute in reverse. Although cryptographic signatures are determinate and dependent on the message and sender, they appear fully random so that attackers have no better method to forge them than to guess, check and repeat. It may seem simplistic, but this framework of rules and randomness resonates with generative art in a very significant way. More importantly, an artform primarily defined by code is especially apt for transmission and evolution online. Platforms like www.artblocks.io and www.ethblock.art involve input from the user as a part of the creation process. Minting a work on Artblocks generates the piece live, meaning that you can't know what you're going to get and that without you specifically minting, that specific generative piece would never exist! The collector has become a part of the artist process, an inextricable part of the art’s creation.

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Ringers by Dmitri Cherniak

Might be reaching here...

This might be a stretch, but it seems generative art could be found in anything created by a process which combines rules and seeming randomness. Through this lens generative art can be seen almost anywhere! A growing tree might be shaped by a combination of its genetic code, its DNA, and its seemingly random surrounding environment which varies greatly. How much sun or rain it gets, if it gets stepped on as a sapling, and how many storms it must endure are all unpredictable. The planets were formed according to the rules of physics and seemingly randomly distributed clouds of cosmic dust created after the formation of the Sun. Our lives are guided by our minds and principles, the rules we give ourselves. But as much as we try to control our lives and ourselves, we are equally formed by things that happen to us that are totally out of our control.

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200 ETH GF

oag

Well, another meme just sold as an NFT for an insane amount. The meme “Overly Attached Girlfriend” was just bought by 3F Music for 200 ETH. 

Overly Attached Girlfriend is one of the classic memes from 2012. The meme originated from a screenshot of a video called “JB Fanvideo.” Laina Morris made the video, and in it, she made a parody rendition of Justin Beiber’s single Boyfriend. It was taken by Reddit and quickly made into a meme, where it found itself all over the internet.

On Friday, Laina put the NFT up for a bid on Foundation for a starting bid of 0.05 ETH. The NFTs description said, “By owning the authenticated Overly Attached Girlfriend NFT, you’re guaranteed to never be alone again. Ever.”

This new pattern is seen throughout the NFT space; more and more people are finally making money off of being memed. Just last month, the face of Bad Luck Brian sold his meme as an NFT for $36,000. After years of being laughed at and being monetized by other people, NFTs have finally allowed the people getting memed to get paid.

The Buyers were 3F Music, a Dubai-based music studio. They are the recent buyers of The New York Time’s NFT (bought for $560,000) and a TIME magazine cover (bought for $248,000). They seem to be a new up-and-coming force in the NFT market.

The bidding lasted for only one day but didn’t get exciting until the final 30 minutes of bidding when a bidding war started between 3F Music and Jakov_T. Within 30 minutes, the bid for the NFT went from 20 ETH to the final price of 200 ETH.

Overly-Attached-Girlfriend-Foundation-Info

You might be thinking this was just a cash grab by another person trying to use their likeness for profit. But we see it differently, for years and years these people have had their faces on the internet not being able to make money off of their memes. But, NFTs have created a pathway for the monetization of these memes.

Like every week, we say NFTs are fantastic, and this holds true.

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