Issue #31
Week 15 2021

Snowden's First NFT

On Friday, April 15th, the internet’s white knight Edward Snowden sold his first NFT, called “Stay Free” on Foundation. The piece was a truly historical event for the NFT community and the Foundation app.

Stay Free

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The piece is a unique portrait shot by photographer Platon of Edward Snowden. The NFT is made entirely out of the pages of a US Court of Appeals decision that the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance violated the Patriot Act and did not allow the agency to surveil American’s phones. 

The NFT was sold for 2,224 ETH, this sets a new record for the Foundation platform and is one of the top five NFT auction sales. It was bought by a decentralized autonomous organization called, PleasrDAO. The DAO is a group of NFT collectors that came to be when they purchased the pplpleasr’s collab piece with Uniswap “x*y=k.”

The NFT sale was set up as a charity auction for a non-profit he is a part of, Freedom of the Press Foundation.

All proceeds will go to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a non-profit that strives for a free press and provides journalists with tools to develop open and secure communications with their contacts. Snowden is the president of the board of directors for this non-profit.

Edward Snowden: American government contractor turned most wanted man in the world.

Edward Snowden is an American whistleblower known for his leaks about the NSA’s surveillance program on the public. He was a former US contractor working in various jobs within the US Intelligence community. In 2013 he released documents to the press showing the NSA was spying on regular civilians. His leak showed the US government was operating without any public oversight and outside the limits of the US Constitution.

Snowden is a true champion for truth and transparency. He risked his life and career to warn the world of an overreaching government. These principals have struck a chord with people, and this is one reason why his NFT sold for so much.  

Some parallels can be seen between Snowden’s work and decentralized markets. Like how Snowden fights for transparency and freedom, the decentralized market’s whole purpose is for no one person or entity to take control of the Defi space. The blockchain allows for anyone to track any transaction and transparency in a financial space.

This NFT sale is another example of countless times that NFTs deliver justice. They take back the power from the powerful and restore it to the people. A great example of this is the meme NFTs that have been published these couple of weeks. Other people have profited off these memes, and finally, NFTs allow the creators to make some money back. NFTs let the voiceless be heard; with NFTs, there is no need for a big publisher or corporation. We are still exploring the limits of NFTs, and it is exciting to see how will NFTs change the power structure in the world.

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PAK KYC WTF!

It’s only been about a month since Christies held their high-end, record setting Beeple NFT auction. Now rival auction house Sotheby’s, established in 1744, has completed its first major NFT event as well this week!

‘The Fungible Collection’ event, featuring an assortment of artworks created by pseudonymous artist Pak was hosted by Sotheby’s between April 12-14 on the Nifty Gateway platform. Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart said Pak’s ‘The Fungible Collection’ would “challenge us to rethink what we know about digital art and ownership,” and “scrutinizes our understanding of value,”. Stewart has also stated his belief in the past that NFTs have “staying power”, and the prestige auction house selected Pak as their first NFT artist because they wanted to work with “one of the most established artists in the space”.

Pak is an especially well known, long time, highly experienced digital artist who has a massive social media following. The mysterious artist is perhaps best known as the creator of Archillect, an AI bot built with the purpose of discovering and sharing visual media art. The AI combs the internet for content that it ‘thinks’ is most likely to trend on the platforms it posts on, Twitter and Instagram. Pretty cool! In this most recent event, for better or worse, the multiple new Pak releases took on an assortment of forms.

Digging deeper, ‘The Fungible Open Edition’ consists of digital cubes. They were available for purchase at between $500 and $1500 each. The number of cube units purchased determine the tier of ‘Fungible’, and in turn, the number of tiny cubes found within the resulting wireframe cube NFT rendered for the purchaser of the units.

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Over the course of three days, NiftyGateway and Sotheby’s allowed the purchasing of ‘The Fungible Open Edition’ at set prices for periods of 15 minutes. On day 1: $500 per cube unit, day 2: $1,000 per unit, day 3: $1,500 per unit. Overall the three day open edition sale resulted in 3,080 unique buyers purchasing 23,598 cube units worth approximately $14 million. Wow!

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Hmmm.. Which of these Non-Fungible ‘Fungibles’ should I buy? That 5.5 ETH one looks especially nice!

Personally, I most enjoy the variety found in high-supply non-fungibles. Digital generative art series lend to variety so readily it might seem implied the most exceptional and interesting projects composed of thousands of pieces of art, distributed to thousands of purchasers would include it. With that in mind, it seems to me the primary purpose in participating in this open edition auction was to take part in a somewhat novel digital performance. A chance to be part of a Pak auction. Certainly not a cheap experience, but you were there! Ticket stubs can make great keepsakes. Lets see what else you could have taken home.

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  • The Cube is a unique, “one-of-one” NFT that will be given to the individual who purchases the most Open Edition cubes by the end of day 3.
  • Complexity is a collection of 100 NFTs that will be given to the following 100 individuals who purchase the most Open Edition cubes by the end of day 3.
  • Equilibrium is a "four-of-four” where each edition will be sent to the winner of specific criteria:
  1. The Cryptographer (#1 of 4): The person who solves the puzzle will be rewarded one of the four Equilibrium NFTs. See (here) for Pak's puzzle.
    The Hunter (#2 of 4): The collector who acquires any piece of art by Pak from its initial marketplace for the highest amount on the secondary market will receive one of the four Equilibrium NFTs.
  2. The Influencer (#3 of 4): The individual that posts #PakWasHere to the biggest social media audience will receive one of the four Equilibrium NFTs.
  3. The Oracle (#4 of 4): The person who most closely estimates the total sale of the entire collection prior to the auction beginning on April 12 will receive one of the four Equilibrium NFTs.
  4. The Builder is a set of 30 NFTs that will be given to artists, builders, and creators who have paved the way for Pak and other NFT artists. The recipients, to be determined by Pak, are those without whom extraordinary leaps in the evolution of media and art would not have happened.
  • The Switch is a unique, “one of one” NFT that demonstrates the evolution of artwork in the digital realm. The Switch is developed to change form at a specific point of time in the future, known by Pak. The evolution is determined and rendered immutable by smart contracts, or self-executing code on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • The Pixel is a single pixel statement. It is created to validate.
    The Pixel is a digitally native artwork visually represented by a single pixel (1x1). It is a token that signs the most basic unit of a digital image in a traditional global auction house. It is a tiny mark to carry digitally native art to a potential future history.

As you can see ‘The Switch’ and ‘The Pixel’ auctions went quite well for Pak! I’m intrigued by just what secret change ‘The Switch’ might undergo upon changing hands once more. I’m even more intrigued by ‘The Pixel’. A piece some might say I shoulda / woulda / coulda minted and auctioned off myself. Makes you wonder, would anyone be interested in the very same ‘The Pixel’ if it was a piece created by Dr. Terminus? Also worth noting, technically it was not the artist Pak who minted these artworks, but rather the Nifty Gateway address.

There were a few other surprises left unspoken by many regarding the recent Pak auction.  One of which in particular stood out to crypto enthusiasts, especially considering just how much the artist embraces personal anonymity...

Though this Sotheby’s NFT auction can certainly be considered a boon to the overall NFT space, we’re left with a few questions worth asking. What was most particularly special, new, or enduring about this Pak drop? Who was this auction really for? What is the intended purpose of the KYC information collected? Was this Sotheby's Pak drop so impressive that attendees happily paid a pseudonymous artist to dox themselves?

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Let's Talk Turkey, and Crypto

News came Friday, April 16th that Turkey’s central bank has now banned the use of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets for all purchases.

This latest ban reasons that the use of virtual money “may cause non-recoverable losses” and “undermine the confidence in methods and instruments used currently in payments” Additionally, that crypto assets are “neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority”.

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Thank goodness they are looking out for us

It is worth clarifying that Turkey’s most recent ban doesn’t prevent Turkish citizens from trading cryptocurrencies, for now. Put simply, the new legislation published by the central bank states that cryptocurrencies and other such digital assets based on distributed ledger technology cannot be used, directly or indirectly, to pay for any goods or services.

This news comes after months of economic uncertainty for Turkish citizens, who have begun to exchange their local currency, the Lira, for Bitcoin in greater and greater numbers. Suddenly, cryptocurrencies are simply reduced to being “excessively volatile and can be used for illegal activities”. As if the Lira could not be described in exactly the same way!

Crypto assets entail significant risks to the relevant parties due to the following reasons:

  • They are neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority,
  • Their market values can be excessively volatile,
  • They may be used in illegal actions due to their anonymous structures,
  • Wallets can be stolen or used unlawfully without the authorization of their holders, and
  • Transactions are irrevocable.

Is there anyone investing in Bitcoin who isn’t completely aware of and comfortable accepting these risks?

It is considered that their use [crypto assets] in payments may cause non-recoverable losses for the parties to the transactions due to the above-listed factors, and they include elements that may undermine the confidence in methods and instruments used currently in payments” the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey said in a press release titled the “Regulation on the Disuse of Crypto Assets in Payments.

Turkey isn’t the only country looking to take tough measures on digital assets. Morocco has already put a similar ban in place, and now India is also poised to potentially enact laws banning cryptocurrencies, potentially making any trading or even holding of crypto assets a punishable offense. Earlier this year word came of the potential for an official digital currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The bill aims to outlaw all private cryptocurrencies in India, allowing for only certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses. This sets a bad precedent for other countries dealing with economic issues of their own. Though in the past similar regulatory moves made in Nigeria had little to no effect on crypto prices, it's a slippery slope...

Every country treasures its monopoly on controlling the supply and demand. They don’t want other monies to be operating or competing, because things can get out of control

-Ray Dalio

KAAAW!

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The Rise of Doge

Dogecoin has risen by more than 5000% this year. This week seems to be the most incredible pump of them all for Doge. 


In its truest form, Dogecoin is just a meme coin that is a great introduction coin for the DEFI beginners. It has a strong community based around it and it has to be one of the most fascinating coins DEFI has to offer. 


Origins:


The coin started as a joke in 2013 between two software engineers, Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus. Jackson saw the two most popular things in 2013, the Shiba Inu meme and Bitcoin, and decided to combine them. Through Reddit and Twitter, it was able to pump by more than 300% in the first two weeks.  

Dogecoin has seen many pumps fueled by the internet throughout its history. But those pumps are nothing compared to what has happened in 2021.


The first significant pump came in late January and lasted until early February of this year. This pump was mainly fueled by the tweets of Elon Musk and Redditors coming off of their battle with the GME stock. Many people were looking for new investments after GME and turned to the meme coin.


Dogecoin seems like the perfect fit for the people of WallStreetBets:
  1. It is a meme, so people could relate to it and laugh that they owned such a stupid coin.
  2. It’s supported by Elon Musk, the demigod of millennials and wannabe tech millionaires.
  3. Dogecoin was a decentralized coin, meaning no one was regulating it. After seeing the manipulation of the US government and Wall Street, the people Reddit saw the power of DEFI.
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The Doge Army is probably one of the world’s strongest armies. In 2014 they came together to crowdfund a sponsorship to get Nascar driver Josh Wise to advertise the coin on his car. And just last month it was announced a new car will be sponsored by Doge. This love and community from so many people are what sets it apart from other shitcoins.

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2014 Car

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2021 Car

 This week Dogecoin had another major pump and shot to the moon. It rose by more than 400%.


The growth of Dogecoin has been insane. It has caught the attention of Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, and Slim Jim all tweet or mentioning it this week. Since the beginning of the year, it has gone from $0.005 to an ATH of $0.41. It is now the 6th biggest coin based on market cap.

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One interesting note is Google trend data shows that Doge is mainly an American phenomenon. While the rest world keeps its focus on Bitcoin, American investors are distracted by the meme.

The best way to describe how Dogecoin was able to pump is by only saying that anything is possible if the internet puts its mind to something. Celebrities and regular folks came together and pumped this coin. It might just be a joke, but it can’t be denied how crazy this moment is. 
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