📝#76: AI Tokens, Musk & Penguin Games

RTFKT x Nike. Mercedes-Benz' Web3 Strategy. Pudgy Penguins x Mythical Games. The Sandbox launches DAO. PayPal goes Solana. MasterCard launches crypto credentials. Musks xAI with $6B funding & more.

Hey, it’s Marc. ✌️

I’m the founder of FiftyOne Ventures. This is you’re weekly overview of what matters in Web3:

  • ⚒️ Web3 infrastructure for brands: MoonPay launches new offering.

  • 📊 The big AI token merge: Three major players in decentralized AI merged. All you need to know.

  • 🔥 xAI: Elon Musk is now competing against Microsoft, Google, and OpenAI and raises $6B.

In our latest podcast we untangle Mercedes-Benz’ Web3 strategy.

Let’s dive in. 🦈

📚 Top 5 Reads

  • On the Ethereum ETF. By Muneeb. Link

  • Coingecko crypto industry report Q1 2024. Link

  • Reflections on Bitcoin’s blocksize war. By Vitalik Buterin. Link

  • Apple’s emerging AI Gameplan. By Michael Parekh. Link

  • A profile of Anthropic and its CEO Dario Amodei. Link

Boson Protocol – Real Web3 Commerce, with Web2 UX

As the next bull market emerges, so does a new crypto-rich, Web3-savvy demographic, who are demanding authentic Web3 commerce experiences. Uniquely, with Boson, you can sell physical things as NFTs, with a slick Web2 experience while running on a fully decentralized Web3 backend. No more Web3 washing required!

✨ Web3 & Consumer

Infrastructure for Brands⚒️

The competition among blockchain infrastructure increases:

  • This week, MoonPay, a blockchain payments infrastructure firm, has launched Web3 Tools, a platform designed to simplify blockchain initiatives for brands

  • It combines features like authentication, identity verification, token-gating, collectibles, and ticketing.

  • MoonPay has built this platform using technologies from its acquisitions of NFT solution ethpass, Plex Labs, and Nifty’s.

Why it’s important: Today, brands must work with many partners for their Web3 projects. Choosing the right ones is a major challenge.

Be smart: Identity (e.g. Civic), payments, loyalty, and marketplaces have been offered by separate companies. All-in-one offerings will increasingly pop up.

Devil’s advocate: Many infrastructure start-ups have pivoted away from brands towards a more crypto-native target group. Agencies, like Vayner3, saw mixed results.

Why? Long sales cycles, lengthy education sessions, and not enough consumer adaption.

The question begs: Are we too early to make money on this? Maybe. MoonPay will find out.

More on Web3:

  • RTFKT announced they will be selling a limited supply of Nike Genesis shoes on the SNKRS app on June 13th. Link

  • Cristiano Ronaldo unveils 4th NFT collection with Binance. Link

  • Adidas launched box shoes on Roblox. Link

  • Red Bull launches digital art drop with Kjetil Golid. Link

Podcast: Mercedes-Benz’ Web3 Strategy

In our latest podcast episode, we're on air with Max Orgeldinger, responsible for Mercedes-Benz NXT. Mercedes-Benz NXT is a dedicated platform by Mercedes-Benz for digital art and collectibles.

"We really wanted to make sure that whatever happens, if someone looks back ten years from now, they don't cringe; they think, 'How could they do that?'"

Listen to it on Spotify, Youtube, or Apple Podcasts.

🎶 Dive into the Power of the Music Industry with GETREEL33! 🎶

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 📅 Live-Webinar 🕒 | 06.06.2024, 8pm CET | 🎁 Special offer for FiftyOne Insights subscribers with the code: PROMO51V-5%

🌎 Crypto & Macro

The Big AI Token Merge📊

AI tokens have been hot this year. And it’s getting hotter:

Why it’s important: ASI aims to offer a decentralized alternative to AI development, challenging the dominance of Big Tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI. This is crucial because it promotes greater democratization and accessibility of AI technology.

Be smart: AI tokens have shown impressive performance this year with a market cap of $39.9B, with gains ranging from 60% to 250% year-to-date, surpassing even Nvidia.

(Source: Kaiko)

Punchline: The formation of ASI represents a significant milestone in the decentralized AI movement.

More on Crypto:

  • Mastercard launched a feature dubbed Crypto Credential, which will allow users to send and receive crypto via username, removing the wallet address aspect entirely. Link

  • U.S. House passes anti-CBDC bill. Link

  • Ethereum layer 2 Taiko goes live on the mainnet. Link

  • PayPal adds stablecoin to Solana Blockchain. Link

  • Ripple pledges $25M to pro-crypto PAC for 2024 elections. Link

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🎮 Gaming

  • Pudgy Penguins is teaming up with Mythical Games to launch an upcoming mobile game for the pengus in 2025. Link

  • The SandBox launches a DAO. Link

  • Arbitrum proposes a $250M incentive for Web3 game development. Link

🧠Artificial Intelligence

xAI: Musk Attacks🦈

  • Elon Musk’s AI company, xAI, has successfully raised over $6B, reaching valuation of $24B.

Why it matters: Termed "Plan B" for X, this initiative marks a pivotal strategic maneuver amidst stiff competition in the AI sector.

Strategic play:

  • xAI plans to build a "Gigafactory of Compute," a supercomputer designed to significantly enhance processing capabilities.

  • It has access to footage from Tesla cars enhances xAI's data pool, enriching its AI models with real-world information

  • The influx of capital enables xAI to leverage Musk's diverse business portfolio, particularly X and Tesla, for data collection.

Zoom in: Notable investors include Cathie Wood's Ark Investment Management, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sequoia Capital. Ark's stake now represents 2% of its total holdings, underscoring the fund's commitment to xAI's vision.

(Source: The Economist)

Noteworthy: Microsoft also plans for build a $100B supercomputer, “Stargate” for OpenAI

The big picture: Access to data is a massive competitive factor in the race for AI and supercomputers will be essential for processing these massive datasets efficiently.

More on AI:

  • Nvidia beat all expectations in its most recent earnings release; stock Rallies on a 600% profit explosion. Link

💰 Money Moves

  • Atropos Health, has raised $33M in a Series B funding round, to accelerate pharmaceutical R&D with AI. Link

  • Cysic: ZK proof generation layer, closed Pre-A fundraising round of $12 million, led by HashKey Capital and OKX Ventures. Link 

  • Mighty Jaxx: Singapore-based phygital company closed Series A+ round with $20 million funding. Link

  • GaiaNet: Secures $10M to build a decentralized network for open source LLM and AI agent. Link

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


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

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