weekly recap of the crypto ecosystem featuring news, notes, tokens, charts & more
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tl;dr: boomer market correlation, embrace stablecoin & energy narratives, LOOKS keeps shipping, bridge wars continue, & NFTs are isolated. let’s get to it.
news & funding:
Framework Ventures raises $400M for new crypto fund, with $200M dedicated to the blockchain gaming sector
Polygon announces “Supernet” chains along with $100M for their development to attract application specific customizable networks similar to AVAX subnets
Stripe announces crypto payouts for select Twitter monetization products through USDC on Polygon; “we plan to add support for additional rails and payout currencies over time”
CertiK, audit/security, raises $60M after $88M @ $2B valuation two weeks ago
The Sandbox ($SAND) reportedly raising $400M @ $4B valuation
CoinDCX, Indian crypto exchange, raises $135M, valuation @ $2.15B
Flipside Crypto, blockchain analytics, raises $50M @ $350M valuation
21Shares to launch physically settled BTC & ETH ETFs in Australia
WonderFi Technoliges acquires Coinberry exchange for $38.3M
Illumina Capital looks to raise $50-$70M for direct token investments
Coinbase NFT marketplace goes live in beta for select customers
Spruce, web3 log-in & portable identity/data control, raises $34M series A
Privy, web3 data protection & messaging service, raises $8.3M seed round
Bastion, lending/stableswap on NEAR w/ $450M TVL, raises $9M series A
Justin Sun confirms Tron will launch USDD algo stablecoin with 30% APY backed by $10B in crypto collateral
Kucoin launches $100M fund to support early-stage NFT projects
Kadena, POW blockchain, launches $100M ecosystem grant for web3
Aptos, L1 blockchain from former Diem network devs, announces partnership with Google Cloud for node infrastructure; Aptos raised $200M seed in March
Crusoe Energy Systems, flare gas BTC miner, raises $505M to continue expanding operations after announcing pilot program with Exxon previously
Scroll, ETH ZKR scaling solution, raises $30M series A
BlockApps, ETH compatible enterprise blockchain, raises $41M
Rario, cricket NFT platform a la TopShot, raises $120M series A
Limewire, yes that Limewire, raises $10M in token sale to scale music NFT platform; plans public LMWR token sale later this year
Limitless, Next Earth creator, launches $60M fund to invest in their ecosystem
thoughts & notes:
Narrative Building — Stablecoins & Efficient Mining
I’ve previously touched on these topics in the March 26th edition of Round Tripping but understanding stablecoin adoption & mining are crucial to pushing the industry forward and worth reiterating with topical news.
Stripe and USDC. As linked above, Stripe announced their rollout of crypto wallet integrations and payouts in USDC, a massive step in the correct direction. While the initial impact is to a small subset of Twitter users, the idea of global access to dollar backed USDC further solidifies regulators need to acknowledge stablecoins as an innovate way to spread dollars across the globe. Stripe’s embrace of crypto rails to better provide access to a 24/7, global user base is monumental considering their seat in global payments and titling their blog “Expanding global payouts with crypto” is a welcome sight.
BTC Mining. Everyone is aware of the mainstream misunderstanding of crypto energy use, and seeing Crusoe Energy Systems, who innovates in previously wasted flared gas mining, raise $505M to scale their operations is another step forward. Partnering with energy giants such as Exxon and Conoco Phillips to repurpose wasted energy and add stability to the energy grid through BTC mining is a narrative worth highlighting, repeating, and embracing. Read/listen to Nic Carter on this topic as the energy debate isn’t going anywhere.
STEPN & Crypto Enabled Incentives
Axie, Helium, STEPN and real-world token incentives. STEPN is consuming every corner of CT as one of the lone bright spots in the current market. While people opine on the token price, emissions, stability of the model, etc. what’s exciting is the ability for unique crypto enabled token distribution to incentivize people across the world to participate in building networks at rapid scale.
While STEPN may or may not result in exploited mechanism design similar to Axie, they both highlight web3’s ability to incentivize and reward people for their participation in growing a network. Helium (HNT) is one of the original creators of this similar model applying a different mechanism that incentivizes users to purchase and distribute hardware across the globe that provide LoRaWAN coverage in exchange for HNT tokens. There are now 750k+ hotspots spread globally participating in the HNT network, with orders of magnitude less upfront capital costs to Helium building on crypto rails compared to the hardware costs traditional companies would require.
While much of gamefi, NFT creation & funding, metaverse building, etc. is largely an oversaturated meme, STEPN, Axie, and Helium are primarily the reason the space garners insane excitement and funding. The scale and rate of adoption crypto enabled networks, when built correctly, can reach in timeframes as short as weeks or months is unprecedented and continuously attracts the imagination of countless funds, buildooorrs, and speculators.
tokens (7d returns):
LOOKS — +15%
Looks Rare continues shipping and innovating, most recently with their update on distributing listing rewards. Looks rewards are applicable to the top 25 collections ranked by a rolling 24 hour average while listing price of eligible collections has to be within 1.5x the global floor price.
Everyone wants an NFT marketplace and a share of OpenSea’s fee market. LOOKS is becoming a viable competitor as they incentivize users to list high volume/value collections distributing rewards for doing so and obtaining marketshare through a top down approach. While trading higher value collections always made sense on LR because of their rewards, they now have the ability to garner long tail NFT volume as new, popular collections often enter the rolling 24 hour average.
APE — +36%
Speculation surrounding the awaited BAYC land sale escalated to start the week as we approached the one year anniversary of BAYC’s release. Evaluating the speculation and previously leaked details, specifically that APE was going to be the token necessary to purchase the land, ignited the initial run upwards that looked to stall on 4/20.
APE rediscovered momentum last night (+16% 24hr) and carries it into my current writing this morning as speculators reacted to this tweet that began to circulate, further confirming the mint for BAYC land will occur in APE. Details on when the sale will occur are still up in the air, but the strong indicators are the sale is imminent and APE is necessary.
STEPN — +36.5%
Other Coin News:
Connext announces $NEXT token as the bridge wars continue accelerating
Maker to integrate StarkNet ZK L2 scaling solution next week
Stargate (STG) staking goes live
Synapse (SYN) releases xAssets, turns native tokens into multi-chain enabled
Bastion token is now live along with a thread of what they offer to NEAR
GenesysGo, decentralized storage/RPC on SOL, releases Shadowpaper
RUNE continues building & collecting BTC yield as Erik Voorhees outlines here
around the ecosystem:
always read Cobie — new post on “staking” & an overview of APE coin
Knower with a topical rundown on all things within the crypto ecosystem
Electric Capital’s great post on software eating capital & venture
Avi with a short thread on his always great current market thoughts
LedgerStatus backed/created flip.xyz goes live in beta
NoSleepJon is back with another reading list
@swombat with a good moonbirds/NFT/future of venture funding thread
tweets of the week: