Fake estate


February 10, 2022

In honor of my friends who are adulting full time, here’s a roundup of hard news for once: the meta housing market, DeFi regulation, and… web3 Yu-Gi-Oh memes. 

Chad & El Prof


$43,824.96 | -1.49%

$3,113.55 | -3.97%

$1.16 | -3.14%

$107.89 | -5.81%

$0.1534 | -3.61%

$0.00003113 | -5.12%

$4.21 | -5.21%

(Price changes reflect past 24 hours as of 2.10.22 @ 4:20 PM EST.)

  • Crypto’s total market cap has bounced 15% this week so degens are still clinging to the mechanical bull.
  • Dip buyers might be considering dipping for real in the wake of looming regulatory measures — including a forthcoming executive order urging crypto regulation as a matter of national security. 

Fake estate

Image: Fortune

Real estate just got a little more fake. The auction for the first home in the U.S. sold as an NFT — arranged by fake estate altcoin platform Propy — kicked off this morning at 202.5eth. Despite an alleged 7000 interested bidders, only 1 person bid in the end. Assuming the anonymous, description-less profile that bid the base price belongs to an actual human, the first NFT home ever went for a cool $625k. Fittingly, the listing is located in Gulfport, a 90% white city a few hundred miles north of Miami that used to be a sundown town well into the 1950s. Florida Man strikes again. 

An ‘NFT home’ just means that, in this case the non-fungible string of immutable characters constituting an NFT links to a property title, not a JPG. Actually, since title deeds can’t legally be represented by tokens, it technically just links to ownership of an LLC that owns the property. Also, a custom mural by a local Florida, because the Ponzi can’t fall far from the scheme. So, really, it’s no different from a traditional transaction, just way more complicated, but with a unique marketing bent that, in theory, appeals to thousands, and, in practice, appeals to one Russian bot. 

The real money, turns out, is in bonafide fake estate. Metaverse worlds like Sandbox and Decentraland command floors of 3.7 and 4.9eth, respectively, for parcels of virtual land in their open world No Man’s Sky knockoffs. And Shiba Inu, no doubt fearing Elon might never tweet about them again, announced recently they’re getting into the land grab game, too. Of course, physical earthling land demands inherent value due to its scarcity, resources, and, you know, actual existence. Meanwhile, its digital equivalent can be drummed up by any asshole with a computer and cursory GTA V modding experience, but… I guess it’s Meta’s verse and we’re just living in it. 

Like I do not know what permanent is

Image: Foundation / Pedro Baez

I’m as much of a softboi as my sn0b profile picture suggests, so the thought of getting a bunch of needles repeatedly drilled into my back in the name of self-expression is a dark one to me. My fiancé sports an entire sleeve of ink she designed herself, and while I respect the unbeatable creative creds it gives, for the longest time, I couldn’t bring myself to join in. Pain points aside, my aesthetic tastes flip flop more often than Joe Manchin. The permanency just would not work for me. But, it being the bodily manifestation of blockchain immutability and all, I finally gave in and got my company logo tattooed on my back. Those 5 minutes of simple line art were the longest in my life. 

All that to say, tattoos and NFTs go hand-in-hand, as evidenced by our Stud today, Pedro Baez, who began creating within the traditional Japanese style of tattooing, before morphing into a cartoonist, and within the last week, an NFT artist with collections on Opensea and the user-curated Foundation platform. The artist’s best pieces feature a friendly demon character in a dissociative state, overwhelmed by the limitless nature of reality, which I find both adorable and, you know, relatable. Support Jose by checking out his personal site. (Squarespace. Barf. Give us a call.) 

Evidence based information

Image: Twitter

And, in other, more worthy news:

  • hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry of all things will tee up future regulation with a debate on whether to classify cryptocurrencies as commodities (gold, oil, etc.) or securities (stocks, bonds, et al). So, basically old white men will decide whether fake money is fake money or fake money. 
  • Days after Coinbase announced a similar (although not similarly widely accepted) feature, Apple announced intentions to integrate crypto into its Apple Pay. If it goes through, crypto would be accepted as currency at 90% of all U.S. retailers by the end of 2022. Big deal? Probably. But about as boring as it is inevitable. 
  • The Reddit-approved NFT trading card game, Skyweaverlaunched today. I had a friend tell me last night she got into NFTs because they reminded her of collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards in the 5th grade. Well? It’s time to d-d-d-d-d-d-duel.

The negotiations were short

Image: Reddit

This morning marked Episode 1 in the Forbes SPAC 2 IPO Saga, in which Binance, an international cryptocurrency exchange, will finance the merger by purchasing one of the largest stakes in the company, in the publisher’s move to becoming a publicly traded entity and transform their operations digitally, to the tune of $200M. More boring than the opening crawl to The Phantom Menace? Sure. But bear with me here. 

If it is not yet obvious why Binance, a DeFi giant, would purchase a controlling stake in Forbes, the company that ranks the richest people and is a major player covering financial news, then let me theorize for you. For media companies, large brand presence and domain authority are incredibly expensive to develop and establish. Influence over the masses doesn’t necessarily translate to mass income, and while advertising dollars are lucrative-ish, they don’t cover the costs of developing quality media assets. So, these brands become prime acquisition targets for corporations looking to shape public opinion, as they provide a functional utility to influencing their business’ bottom line.

(See also: AT&T and TMZ/CNN; Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post/MGM Studios/IMDB; Mark Cuban and a bunch of niche, NFT-shilling Instagram accounts.)

Quality media assets are scarce and difficult to produce. So rather than generating it themselves, corporations go out and purchase war chests with the artillery pointed in their direction, and, as soon as they have the launch codes, they press the red button. Given the authority and influence a media property like Forbes commands, and the clear relationship of wealth and finance to the decentralized finance industry, there’s no shortage of ways for Binance to leverage the brand to shape the future of DeFi to their material gain. In other words, crypto degens are young and naive. Controlling them will not be difficult.

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