📝 #68: What now?

After Starbucks. Web3 loyalty for restaurants. BlackRock's first tokenized fund. RWA boom. London Stock Exchange launches ETN. Coinbase record volume. SBF gets 25 in prison. Top charts & more.

Hey, it’s Marc. ✌️

This week, I published a case study on Gucci’s Web3 strategy for Harvard Business School. It’s also conference time again! Next week I’ll be at NFT NYC. Reach out by replying to this email.

Be inspired✨

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”― Confucius

📚 Top 5 Reads

  • Culture GPT. By . Link

  • Crypto Macro Summer kicks off. By Raoul Pal. Link

  • Memecoins as the New GTM Strategy. By Li Jin. Link

  • Why Brands Should Prepare for the Rise of Super Fans. By Paul Hiebert. Link

  • Content and engagement as social currency. By fil. Link

✨ Web3 & Brands

Starbucks is out – and now? 🤔

Many reached out to me asking what the end of Starbucks' Odyssey means for the Web3 consumer landscape as a whole.

A quick recap of the most important facts:

  • Starbucks announced the end of its Web3 loyalty program “Odyssey” by March 31. Link

  • Odyssey was seen as a benchmark of a Web3 loyalty play.

  • Polygon subsidized the program with $4M. Link

  • Starbucks made $1M+ revenue in year one, that’s about as much as one of its 38,000 stores globally.

What now?

We're entering a new phase of Web3 maturity, having seen many lackluster Web3 brand activations over the past two years.

What’s next? Brands want to:

  • solve real business problems (brand affinity, engagement, loyalty, cost savings, etc.)

  • generate actual ROI

This also means that Web3 isn’t just about NFTs anymore. Brands will start looking at this more holistically. Starbucks is a first inning of that.

Zooming out: We’re seeing four big shifts, driven by a variety of fintech tools, blockchain, disintermediation and decentralization:

  • From platforms —> network

  • From transactional incentives —> ownership incentives

  • From top-down —> bottom-up

  • From social relationships —> economically beneficial relationships

Punchline: Future brands will be hyper-personalized and make consumers to co-creators and co-owners with a stake in the value they help to create.

Food onchain in New York🍔

  • Blackbird sold out membership to its Blackbird Breakfast Club in less than 24 hours. Link

  • In 2022, Gary V’s Flyfish Club became the first restaurant to offer a token-gated member’s only private dining club. It has ,327 members and is on track to open in early 2024. Link

  • Best Dish Ever launched first tokenized community-owned media brand for foodies that’s pushing out high-quality content and real world restaurant perks for holders.

Zooming in: Blackbird has raised $24 million through a16z. It aims give many independent restaurants the means to identify and reward regulars for the first time.

How it works: Consumers earn rewards, restaurants earn tokens and receive valuable customer data.

Dive deeper: Web3, the future of loyalty? Read more.

Why it’s important: Blackbird is building an open, interoperable loyalty systems with onchain tokens. Interoperability is a key promise of Web3 based loyalty ecosystems, but it’s complex. Will food be the first working use case?

More on Web3:

🌎 Crypto & Macro

Tokenization takes off🚀

  • BlackRock launched its first tokenized fund, BUIDL, on Ethereum Link

  • It enjoyed strong demand in its first week, attracting $245M in deposits.

  • The volume on Google Search trends for RWA is now surpassing Gaming. Link

  • Boson1 recently launched "Fermion," a protocol tailored for transacting high-value assets. 

Zooming in: BlackRock's BUIDL, created with asset tokenization platform Securitize, is investment in a fund that holds U.S. Treasury bills and repo agreements. 

What they’re saying: BlackRock thinks that tokenization will be the “next generation for markets” and “monumental in shaping our ecosystem.”

By the numbers: 

  • The tokenized Treasury market has mushroomed over the past year, growing nine-fold from $100M in early 2023.

  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimated tokenized assets could reach $16 trillion by 2030.

Why it matters: Tokenization makes a product more liquid, more secure, programmable and interoperable. With funds, this means instant settlement and around-the-clock subscriptions and redemptions.

  • J.P. Morgan started tokenising funds as a proof-of-concept last year.

  • UBS is testing a tokenized fund on Ethereum. 

Punchline: We’re seeing institutional adoption happening in real time.

More on Crypto:

  • The London Stock Exchange is set to go live with their own Exchange Traded Notes for BTC and ETH later in May. Link

  • A US judge sentences Sam Bankman-Fried to 25 years in prison. Link

  • Goldman Sachs sees a resurgence in crypto assets from hedge fund clients. Link

  • Coinbase International sees record daily trading volume in March. Link

🧠AI + Metaverse

  • Amazon invests another $2.75B in Anthropic, the second tranche of its planned $4B investment in the AI startup, after investing $1.25B in September 2023. Link

  • Tether, world’s largest stablecoin, creates unit focused on AI models to address real-world challenges. Link

🏗️ Start-ups & Tools to Watch

  • LimeChain: A leading blockchain consulting & development agency with 120+ chain-agnostic devs. Link*

*partner of Dematerialzd.

💰 Money Moves

  • 0G Labs: Blockchain developer raised $35M pre-seed funding to build scaling infrastructure for on-chain AI apps.

  • MyShell: Dragonfly Leads $11M Pre-Series A Round for Web3 AI Platform. Link

  • Parallel: Secures $35M Funding for Sci-Fi NFT Card Game. Link

  • Optimism to grant $3.3B in OP tokens to top ecosystem contributors. Link

That’s all for now, folks. Thank you for being part of the journey.Talk soon,

– Marc

PS: Follow me on LinkedIn and X for shorter insights.

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