Issue #38
Week 22 2021

BAYC vs. Meebits!

Whatโ€™s going on here now? I thought NFTs were declared dead this week. Donโ€™t tell that to ZฮžNFT Garden Society, Crypto Sergs, and especially not the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Meebits communities! After an exciting recent Beeple EveryDays release a bit of a friendly rivalry was spurred between these two new, exciting, and popular NFT tribesโ€ฆ

No Way! His follow-up Tweets suggest things are about to get hot!

Curious Beeple, primarily because I canโ€™t figure why these two projects would be at odds with each other to begin with. Both NFTs launched a few months ago, both sold out in a matter of hours, though the release of each project was handled differently. Beyond that, the floor prices of each project have been a matter of recent debate and even bragging rights between holders of NFTs from both series. I was able to buy some Meebits which I think are already amazing and still have incredible unrealized potential as well. On the other side of the coin, I missed out on the BAYC launch entirely. I went to sleep never having heard of them, and woke up to learn they existed and they were already sold out. Regardless, I think the artwork is good and the Apeโ€™s attributes and expressions are pretty funny too. They make solid profile picture NFTs right out of the gate. They have a formidable community supporting them as well, so donโ€™t go thinking this was a one sided fight...

Another Beeple EveryDay and shit is on!

Definitely instigating, but with amazing art I must say! Crypto Twitter is home to daily spats over all kinds of NFT rivalries, disagreements, and challenges. This particular matchup has plenty of participation and action from both corners too, as both communities boast several thousand members. Some participants even took things up a notch, simulating video game battles between various Meebits and BAYCs.

Just as quickly as โ€˜issuesโ€™ between Meebits and BAYC arose they seemed to have been resolved, and in the wake of this bit of commotion there seems to have been a noteworthy uptick in respective floor prices as well as community engagement. Interesting. Of course many had a hunch this was mostly just for fun, entertainment, and perhaps a bit of well earned attention. People in both gangs seem to have made some new friends and perhaps even come away with a newfound respect and interest in their NFT contemporaries.

Just as quickly as issues arose they seemed to have been resolved. This was a fun way to bring together two unique NFT groups together to entertain a friendly cross-town rivalry. One which actually seems to have brought some positive attention to both projects, even encouraging a bit of positive price activity. Of course it also seems to have encouraged a bit more friendly one-upmanship between the fellow competitors as newcomers continue to arrive with a tough decision to make about what their first NFT should be...

This event, whether organically inspired, somewhat staged, or maybe a bit of both, has actually been a lot of fun among a couple of great groups of peers, enjoying the NFT space for all the right reasons. All just fun, games, and no hard feelings, right?

 I dunno.. I'm seeing some real passion here...

Yeah. Better keep a close eye on these dueling NFTs!

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Revolution BTC

At this week's Miami Bitcoin conference a recording of Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador, was played. He has proclaimed a legislative proposal is being submitted that will make Bitcoin a completely legal form of money in the country. If the bill were to pass, this would make El Salvador the first country in the world to regard bitcoin as both a reserve asset and a legal tender. The wait might not be long either, Bukele claims heโ€™ll be sending the bill to Congress next week!

"We hope that this decision will be just the beginning in providing a space where some of the leading innovators can reimagine the future of finance, potentially helping billions around the world."

- Nayib Bukele

The central bank of El Salvadorโ€™s adopting bitcoin as part of its reserves is a massive move, allowing citizens to transact with the BTC as legal currency is incredibly bullish and yet another regulatory hurdle for the world's top market cap cryptocurrency. A partnership with the digital wallet company Strike has been formed with the country of El Salvador to build the necessary financial infrastructure to sufficiently support blockchain technologies.

Jack Mallers, the founder and CEO of Strike, suggests that adding bitcoin to their reserves in support of the country of El Salvador will be nothing short of revolutionary. โ€œThis is the shot heard 'round the world for Bitcoin. What's transformative here is that bitcoin is both the greatest reserve asset ever created and a superior monetary network. Holding bitcoin provides a way to protect developing economies from potential shocks of fiat currency inflation.โ€ Strangely, Jack might be having a bit of tough luck at the momentโ€ฆ

This isnโ€™t the only significant and positive legal news for BTC coming this week either. Texas Governor Greg Abbot announced the signing of a law creating a legal framework for crypto investments throughout the state of Texas. There are many other U.S. states currently debating crypto legislation as well who might feel inclined to quickly follow Texasโ€™ lead.

In another forward looking announcement out of this week's Miami Bitcoin conference. Bitcoin infrastructure startup Blockstream and the online payment service Square have announced a partnership to build one in the U.S. based on renewable energy. Company leaders Adam Back and Jack Dorsey have agreed to create an open-source Bitcoin mining facility in the United States driven by solar energy.

Energy consumption of Proof of Work cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in particular having long been a concern worth addressing. Now as mainstream and institutional adoption has taken place the matter is being approached directly and practically with an eye on the incentives. There is no reason not to focus on the obvious abbundance of renewable energy now available to address the heightening BTC energy demands. Not to mention the potential financial savings to be realized by utilizing more forward looking energy solutions. Renewable energy is something being sought after across so many industries, initiatives like this one which plan to focus on the sharing of data gathered and findings made regarding the successful impact the undertaking has had. We'll all be interested to see how effective such an operation can be, and how many others will respond in kind.

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Are NFTs Dead?

This week a tweet went viral claiming that NFTโ€™s are dead. This prompted a discussion to figure out if NFTs are actually dead.

Like with everything in crypto, if an outsider questions the legitimacy and longevity of crypto, itโ€™s bound to get a response from the crypto community. Many in the community claim that NFTs are not dead and that we are just in the beginning of NFT adoption.

The one argument that keeps coming up from loud voices in the community is the comparison of crypto and NFTs to the adoption of the internet. They draw parallels between these two and say that NFTs are the next big thing.

Letโ€™s explore the data to figure out if NFTs are dead.


Letโ€™s first start with the number of active wallets. There was a peak in March in the number of unique wallets, with around a 45% drop since then. This chart suggests fewer people are buying NFTs than the explosion that was seen in March.

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Fewer people buying NFTs translates to a smaller number of sales. This chart shows thereโ€™s also been a drop in the number of NFT sales.

chart-2

Based on the data, itโ€™s hard to make the argument that NFTs are dead. Sure, NFT sales are down from the explosion in March, but they are still higher than sales numbers from February. The main contributors to NFT sales decline are high gas fees, high ETH prices, and less media attention. 


High gas prices and fees seem to have affected the amount of new adopting NFTs. It discouraged new and small investors from jumping into the market. It doesnโ€™t help that ETH shot up in value. Many people started to hodl their ETH rather than spending because they could make more money from just hodling than flipping an NFT. ETH just became too valuable to use. Also, NFTs became a sort of fad in March which led to the explosion we saw. The mainstream media covered the explosion and got more people into it, but peopleโ€™s attention went elsewhere once they stopped. 


NFTs are not dead. We are barely scratching the surface in the possibilities of what NFTs can do. It is also easy to forget that Binance is coming out with its own NFT marketplace, allowing more people to enter the space. NFTs have a bright future ahead; itโ€™s exciting to see what will happen next. 


But, the one good thing that came out about the claim that NFTs are dead is this bop.
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Vitalik TLDW

This week Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, went on the Lex Fridman Podcast. In the podcast, Vitalik answered questions about SHIB, ETH 2.0, government regulations, and more. We compiled the most interesting parts of the episode for your reading pleasure. 

Lex Fridman: Letโ€™s first talk about Shib inu...in a crazy move, you were given half of SHIBโ€™s total supply. You burned aka destroyed 90% of it, that's worth $6.7 billion. And you donated 10%, that's worth 1.2 billion at the time to the India COVID-19 Relief Fund, saying you don't want to be the locus of this much power. This is fascinating. Why and how were you able to walk away from this much money and this much power?


Vitalik: The Shiba people were clever, the Shiba people...dumped (their coin) into my cold wallet... Basically, they sent a lot of these dog tokens into this wallet where I, it was very difficult for me to access it. But then I saw these code tokens, I saw more and more people talking about them. And then at some point, I realized that these things are worth billions of dollars. And like, no, there's lots of really good things that you could do with that amount of money. And it would actually be a waste to just like, see it go. So I made the decision that like I would actually power through and figure out how to safely like basically get my private key... at the time, I actually did not even, like have any idea of how much you would be able to get right because like on paper, the dog tokens are $7 billion. But like, in reality, it's a very illiquid market, are you gonna crash it by yet? I actually donated 20% and dumped 80%. The COVID India group got one batch and then there's another group that got another batch. 


Lex Fridman:  A couple of weeks later, do you regret any aspect of that decision?


Vitalik:  I'm sure there was some things that I probably could have done better. I was actually talking to some of these charities and I was impressed by just how much money they managed to get out of selling some of these coins. So I probably could have done better by just talking more with the traders and actually ensuring that they know that they can do a better job of maximizing the value of all of them. But it was a very stressful time. And I did have to act quickly. I did manage to make a lot of donations before a few  days before the Great crypto crash happened. 


Lex Fridman: Do you see Ethereum as essentially a mechanism to fight for social causes?


Vitalik: I definitely see Ethereum as being a mechanism to fight for definitely some specific things that are social causes. The fact of creating an open financial system that anyone can participate in, no matter where they are in the world, that's a social cause. Just, giving people the ability to organize and create projects, even if it's five people in five different countries. I think that kind of inclusiveness, I think that's a social cause. And it's a core crypto value at, but then at the same time, like the other important, and if part of the magic of Ethereum, that you have to balance that against is that it is also this open platform where ultimately, you know, the thing that go the things that are on Ethereum is just the things that the community makes of it.


Lex Fridman:  When it comes to government regulation of crypto, what's the best case scenario? What's the worst case scenario?


Vitalik: The best case is that blockchain continue to prosper. And we figure out scalability so that people can actually start doing things on block... And there's just enough public support and just enough people that see that crypto is clearly doing a lot of good things...The worst case scenario would, be people, suddenly flipping and going into moral panic mode, and saying like โ€œthis technology is used by like, you know, insert bad group over the day.โ€ And then I don't think governments have the ability to ban crypto to the extent of just completely preventing blockchains from existing, but they definitely have the ability to really marginalize that.


Lex Fridman: Can you briefly summarize your vision on how a ETH 2.0 will make a ETH more scalable, secure, and sustainable?


Vitalik: The big two things that are happening is proof of stake and sharding. So proof of stake is a consensus mechanism...in proof of stake, instead of relying on people with computers that are just constantly cranking out hashes 24/7(proof of work), as your unit of economic resources, you just use a holdings of coins inside the system. So proof of stake, you don't really need that much electricity, you just need a little bit to run a regular computer, you can run proof of stake validators on computers that you already have. So it's just much less resource intensive.


Lex Fridman: What is sharding?


Vitalik: So sharding basically says, instead of just increasing the parameters, what we're going to do is we're going to change the blockchain architecture in such a way that each individual node in the blockchain only needs to store a small portion of the data and only needs to process a small portion of the transactions. 


Lex Fridman: When do you think the merge to proof of stake will happen?


Vitalik: I think early 2022 was the most realistic. There's nothing new. There's definitely still like an optimistic case of it happening this year. But the realistic thing to count on is definitely the early part of the very early part of next year.


Lex Fridman: What do you think about the explosion of NFT's in the recent months?


Vitalik: I was definitely surprised by NFT's in particular, like I even actually think might be on record somewhere on some tech conference panel where it was one of those overrated or underrated sections that asked about NFTโ€™s and I said,  I think NFT's are overrated. Yeah. And, you know, in retrospect, that turned out to be quite wrongโ€ฆ.The nice thing about NFT's would be well, if you're an artist and you can just mint NFT 's and this is a source of revenue, it's like great, that's another stream of revenue for me no creative work that often does still get get underfunded. And that's amazing.

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The Shameless Shilling

What is MurAll?

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One of the core primitives of blockchain thatโ€™s what. Of all the DApps and blockchain networks out there, not many products have explored itโ€™s possibilities. This is what initially sparked the creation of MurAll: a digital collaborative mural that โ€œlivesโ€ on the blockchain with its entire history recorded on the blockchain. Meaning you can see the state change over time, or replay itโ€™s history to see how it has evolved over time. The fact that all image data is hosted on the blockchain ensures that it is well distributed which in turn guarantees that it remains accessible to everyone without being shut down or censored. 

Additionally, the censorship-resistant nature of the blockchain provides users who want to make a statement (no matter how controversial) a platform to do so. Further, the pseudo-anonymous nature of the blockchain will mean people are able to make art or statements on the canvas without fear of being identified, unless they wish to claim ownership by making a transaction.

Unlike current blockchain art platforms which are centralised platforms with their own rules on who can be a part of their systems and what art is to be displayed, our ethos fits with the principle of complete neutrality that blockchain technology has enabled. We have levelled the playing field by creating a place that does not judge what it is to be an artist. Where those with status in the art world would be on the same level as artists just starting out. No gatekeepers, no application process, just a permissionless place to express yourself artistically without judgement.

Additionally, all artwork produced on MurAll is put on-chain in the event-log storage through our custom image compression mechanism, built from the ground up with blockchain in mind. This  means all artwork is on one of the most secure, most distributed, and most reliable storage media available.

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Using tokenomics over centralisation

One issue with having a completely neutral protocol for drawing artwork is that it can be used for bad as well as good. This is why MurAll requires PAINTโ€Šโ€”โ€Ša fixed supply token synonymous with real life paint, in that once it is used for a drawing it cannot be used again. Just like you canโ€™t take paint off a canvas in real life and reuse it, the PAINT tokens used in drawing on MurAll are burned as part of the transaction. We created enough PAINT to be able to cover MurAll in its entirety a maximum of 21,000 times, meaning MurAll has a finite lifespan. As more artwork is drawn on MurAll the supply of PAINT reduces, thus making the PAINT rarer, increasing itโ€™s value. This ensures that only those who truly want to draw on MurAll will use the PAINT, and those who would only waste it will sell it to those who want to draw on MurAll regardless of the cost of PAINT.

Possible drawbacks of the PAINT tokenomics

One possible scenario that could play out at the beginning is that due to there being a large supply of PAINT initially artists would not be as incentivised to produce high quality art, as PAINT will be cheap and plentiful, potentially resulting in an initial phase of low quality art. Further, a possible consequence of the deflationary aspect of PAINT is that some people may want to draw solely in order to reduce the global supply of PAINT (i.e. to increase its rarity and therefore its value), thus those people may not produce high quality artwork on MurAll as their intentions are not driven by the desire to paint but are instead driven by greed. This is why we have yet another incentive structure, the process of painting on MurAll mints an NFT of the artwork you produce on MurAll.

As an NFT of your artwork is minted in the process of painting on MurAll, it is in the artistโ€™s interest to paint something high quality/meaningful because they can sell the NFT later. Low quality artwork, or artwork without meaning will be a lot harder to sell, if they can sell it at all.

PAINT_Logo

In addition, due to the fixed supply of PAINT and its deflationary nature, the amount of NFTs possible to produce from MurAll is also limited since NFTโ€™s can only be produced while there is PAINT to use on MurAll. Once the global PAINT supply runs out, no more MURALL NFTs can be minted, thus they have this additional rarity attributed to them.
We believe these 2 tokenomics working together in tandem will ensure high quality content is painted on MurAll. Artists are expected to be incentivised and rewarded for producing high quality art, thus circumventing the need for centralised control/censorship of the artwork produced on MurAll.

Since MurAlls release back at the end of January we've seen a surge in interest from artists:
- 215 paintings on Ethereum
- 1237 paintings on Polygon

Our Polygon implementation has also enabled artists to afford to cover the entire 2048 x 1024 pixel mural in a single image divided into pieces which was far too expensive to do on Ethereum. We are currently working on an NFT bundler to allow these individual pieces to be wrapped together and displayed as one.

Looking forward we have plans to grow our decentralised art ecosystem, including a truly decentralised marketplace governed by a DAO putting participants in control of the curation process, as well as fees generated by the marketplace to be shared among participants, and much more!

Visit our site

Read our Litepaper 

See our Roadmap

Join our Discord

Follow us on Twitter

Join our Telegram๏ปฟ

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Artist profiles:

alcrego

A. L. Crego 

A. L. Crego walks comfortably in the midpoint between the stillness of the picture and the continuous but condemned to an end frame of the film. This self-taught digital artisan utilizes impressive loops to directly represent his very own mental images in gif format generating a hypnotic visual mantra. 

Understanding the web as the new street, Crego also collaborates with many street artists in a bid to give motion to their pieces in these new digital walls. He is considered one of the pioneers of street art gifs. 

He also works with Augmented Reality apps, playing with the newborn "digital public space" and making questions about the concept of museums, art, and even reality. 

For Crego, gif format is not only a way of creating and watching art but a new way of thinking.

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