📝#80: Mass Adoption?

Hey, it’s Marc. ✌️

This week’s field notes, your 100% signal in Web3:

  • Pudgy Penguin announced its parent company, Igloo Inc

  • Solana launched new feature that could bring Web3 to millions

  • OneFootball (230M active users) and Animoca Brands launch 'OneFootball Club'

  • Standard Chartered’s new spot crypto trading desk

  • Binance secured VASP license from Dubai

  • Apple and Meta delayed AI features in Europe

  • Anthropic upgrades to Claude 3.5 Sonnet – the best consumer model yet?

Let’s dive in. 🦈 | Read time: 4min

📚 Top 6 Reads

  • AI in Finance. By Citi. Link

  • Solana brings Web2 to Web3. By Marc Baumann Link

  • DePIN meets DeFi. By Alpha Unhashed. Link

  • How NFT royalties work: Designs, challenges, and new ideas. By a16zcrypto. Link

  • From ripples to waves: The transformational power of tokenizing assets. By McKinsey. Link

  • How Monster Beverage is Fueling a Renaissance. By Kyla. 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

From plastic to pixels

  • Pudgy Penguins and NFT licensing platform OverpassIP have revealed their new parent company, Igloo Inc.

  • They continue in building out an end-to-end IP ecosystem that could drive mass adoption beyond traditional crypto users.

Stepping back: Launched in 2021, Pudgy Penguins is one of the most successful NFT collections, evolving beyond crypto and emerging as a physical toy brand.

  • Pudgy Penguins toys have sold over 1M+ units, with launches in 2,000 U.S. Walmarts, Smyths Toys Superstores, Target, and Amazon.

  • It has surpassed Pokemon, Star Wars, and Disney in GIF views.

  • Recently, the floor price of Pudgy has flipped BAYC.

  • It has also emerged as a content platform with a strong following on Instagram (1.4M) and TikTok (460K).

Read our deep dive on Pudgy Penguin here.

Why it matters: Pudgy Penguin's strong community and unique branding make it a key entry point for new users. Igloo Inc.'s teased platform, Redacted, will further boost the consumer onboarding process with on-chain experiences, which could bring more people into the Pudgy world.

The punchline: Pudgy Penguin's strategic growth under Luca Schnetzler is evident. Teaming up with Mythical Games for an immersive mobile game was the latest move in building up its IP universe.

More on Web3:

  • Unstoppable Domains launched a marketplace allowing users to trade tokenized ".com" and other web3 domains. This marketplace supports both crypto and traditional payment methods. Link

  • Solana launched Blinks and Solana Actions, enabling users to do on-chain transactions through social media, websites, and QR codes, supporting Phantom, Backpack, Jupiter, Tensor, Sanctum, Meteora, and other dApps. Link

  • Milady Maker NFT holders are eligible for 31.7M $ZK tokens. This 10K generative PFP NFT collection inspired by street-style tribes has 5,072 unique holders. Link

  • Mark Cuban sells over $100K in NFTs from his collection, including Pudgy Penguins and BibleNFTs. This comes amidst a general decline in NFT sales volume across the market. Link

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🌎 Crypto & Macro

  • Standard Chartered to launch spot trading desk for Bitcoin and Ether, becoming one of the first major banks to enter the spot crypto trading market. Link

  • Dex Screener has launched its meme coin launchpad Moonshot, a competitor to Pump.fun on Solana. Over 7K meme coins have already been created on the platform. Link

  • SIX Digital Exchange announces the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is extending its wCBDC experiment, involving more financial institutions and transactions. Link

  • Bybit has surpassed Coinbase to become the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange. This surge is fueled by its spot trading offerings, primarily driven by Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies by market cap. Link

  • Asian currencies hit a 19-month low, with Devere's CEO predicting continued weakness and a bearish outlook for the rest of 2024. Link

🎙️ Podcast Highlights

Episode: Transforming media and food with Web3

In our latest podcast episode, we had the pleasure of hosting Zack Guzman, founder of Trustless Media & host of Coinage. Trustless Media is a company that builds media outlets with co-ownership by the audience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Decentralized Collaboration: The DAO Co-op model fosters decentralized decision-making and engagement, enhancing content quality and audience loyalty.

  • Creator Independence: Web3 offers creators a direct connection to their audience, reducing dependency on traditional media platforms and allowing for more authentic and engaging content.

  • Ownership & Influence: Web3 shifts the power dynamic, enabling audiences to co-own media outlets and actively shape content.

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

🎮 Gaming

OneFootball & Animoca Brands launch 'OneFootball Club'

Why it’s important: Built on the L2 blockchain base, it’s the first digital football club designed to recognize and reward the most engaged football fans globally.

Zooming in:

  • Founded in 2008, OneFootball has over 200M active users, backed by top football clubs worldwide, and partners with over 200 clubs, leagues, and broadcasters.

  • OneFootball Club: Since February, the alpha version engaged 300K+ users, with the next phase launching in July 2024.

  • Moca Network Partnership: Introducing the .football digital passport to track and reward fan engagement.

  • New Game: Launched "OneFootball: Striker" on the blockchain-powered gaming platform "Arc8".

They have ventured into web3 before but shut down their AERA NFT marketplace in 2023 due to low user engagement and financial struggles, including significant debt to football leagues.

“The OneFootball Club for the first time allows football fans to participate in the value creation of their engagement. Not only will we offer unique and exclusive rewards, in the future, our ambition is to extend into other football experiences across the industry, unlocking unique opportunities for brands, clubs, and services to offer value to football fans.”

– Patrick Fischer, CEO of OneFootball

Why it matters now: OneFootball is betting on loyalty. They aim to onboard 200M football fans to Web3 through gamification and digital collectibles, integrating Web3 into their Web2 ecosystem.

Their vision? To become the top football marketplace for content, services, and products. Early traction is impressive, with 300K+ users and a growing waitlist.

This initiative boosts fan interaction and sets the stage for engaging Gen Z, addressing the decline in sports viewership among younger generations.

More on Gaming:

  • Sequence, a Web3 gaming platform, partnered with Transak to simplify crypto purchases within games. This collaboration aims to improve the user experience for gamers and developers in the Web3 gaming space. Link

  • Web3 games raised over $160M between 2023 and 2024, with a surge in weekly gaming transactions. The report highlights the growing interest of major Web2 studios in the Web3 gaming space. Link

  • Web3 Game Con, Asia's largest Web3 gaming expo, will be held at ABS2024 in Taipei. Link

  • Yaku Corp, a metaverse game developer, partnered with XAI, a blockchain company, to leverage XAI's technology for smoother gameplay and transactions within the Yaku metaverse. Link

🤖Data & Insights

  • Databricks plans to pursue automated data intelligence. At its conference, they announced key initiatives: open-sourcing Unity Catalog, acquiring Tabular to enhance data format support, and making its entire platform serverless. Link

  • Databricks' focus on Artificial Intelligence attracts investors, who see it as a potential advantage over competitor Snowflake in the data market. Link

🧠AI + Metaverse

Anthropic upgrades Claude AI to Claude 3.5 Sonnet

Anthropic has unveiled Claude 3.5 Sonnet, its latest advanced large-language model. It boasts double the speed of its predecessor, Opus, at a fraction of the cost.

What you should know:

  • Anthropic introduces 'Artifacts'’ enabling real-time interaction with Claude in a side panel workspace.

  • With this upgrade, Sonnet exceeds competitor models in key metrics, delivering twice the speed of Claude 3 Opus at just one-fifth of the cost.

  • It can be accessed for free on Claude and the Claude iOS app, with higher rate limits for Pro and Team subscribers, and via Anthropic API, Amazon Bedrock, and Google Cloud's Vertex AI.

  • This upgrade surpasses competitors like GPT-4o across benchmarks for reasoning, code, math, and knowledge abilities and has also passed the ‘AI Mirror Test.’

Source: Anthropic

Why it matters: Anthropic's launch of Claude 3.5 Sonnet represents a major leap forward in AI capabilities, surpassing competitors like GPT-4o, Gemini Pro, and Llama. This advancement expands AI applications across education, finance, simulations, research, and gaming and raises questions on the pace and direction of AI development amid rapid release cycles, given Claude 3.0's debut in March 2024.

Is Speed the Only Race? AI firms emulate Apple's marketing but face a complex reality. Rapid updates branded as Sonnet and Haiku may be confusing for users. This rapid release cycle is more like a sprint than a deliberate strategy, potentially diverting focus from creating user-friendly AI solutions.

Source

More on AI:

  • OpenAI acquires Multi Software Co. for its developer collaboration platform and Rockset to enhance its retrieval infrastructure for GPT-4. Link

  • Endiatx is developing a swallowable robotic pill called PillBot for gastrointestinal examination. They are in clinical trials and aim to launch commercially in the US by early 2026. Link

  • Apple and Meta delayed launching new AI features in Europe due to concerns about violating EU regulations on data privacy and anti-trust. Link

  • EssilorLuxottica, the eyewear firm that partnered with Meta on smart Ray-Bans, has had talks with other tech firms interested in smart eyeglasses. Link

  • StabilityAI raises $80M in funds with its new CEO, Prem Akkaraju. Link

🪙 Regulation Update

  • MiCA regulation in Europe mandates crypto companies to disclose environmental sustainability data: asset-referenced tokens (ART) and e-money tokens (EMT) by June 30, 2024, and all crypto asset service providers by January 1, 2025.Link

  • Turkey's parliament passed a crypto bill imposing fines of up to $182,600 and prison terms of up to five years for unauthorized operations. Crypto asset service providers must now obtain approval from the Capital Markets Board. Link

💰 Money Moves

New funds & grants:

  • Polygon: The Community Grants Program has allocated 35M MATIC to support builders, teams, and creators driving growth and innovation in the Polygon ecosystem. Link

  • Blast: Phase I airdrop is live and will distribute 17B BLAST tokens amidst criticism. Link

Funding rounds:

  • Hut8: Infrastructure company secured $150M funding and plans to venture into AI. Link

  • HeyGenHeyGen: AI company announced a new $60M Series A funding. Link

  • Conduit: Web3 compute company raised $37M Series A led by Paradigm and Haun Ventures. Link

  • PQShield: Research startup has raised $20M Series A. Link

  • ORA: Oracle protocol has raised $20M to tokenize AI models. 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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