Real money, fake money, Internet money, Monopoly money. No matter the modifier, it’s never been clearer: guapismo is and will always be the most important thing on the Internet.
Chad & El Prof
(Price changes reflect past 7 days as of 1.18.22 @ 4:20 PM EST.)
- Winter storms continue and I don’t mean Izzy.
- Bitcoin and Ethereum are being outperformed by Cardano, a cleaner and cheaper chain. Gas prices for the formers totaled around $44m last week. For the latter? ~$75k. A marginal win for rational acting consumers everywhere.
Fake money meets fake money
Hours ago, Coinbase made the groundbreaking announcement that its forthcoming NFT platform / OpenSea competitor will accept debit and credit Mastercards. I know right? You’ll be able to use legal tender to purchase goods in an online marketplace? What is the metaverse coming to?
Jokes aside, this is a pretty huge deal in terms of mainstream adoption of web3. Currently, the path to enter the space is complex: set up an account with a crypto exchange platform, link it to your bank account, set up a crypto wallet, link it to your exchange account, buy currency in the latter, transfer it to the former, spend it on a PNG, rinse, repeat.
On top of that, exchanges on different chains require different wallets. (MetaMask for Ethereum / OpenSea; Phantom for Solana / SolSea; Temple for Tezos / OBJKT; etc.) The inertia to take the sheer amount of steps required for adoption has surely stopped many consumers who otherwise would embrace web3.
It will be massive for Coinbase and its new marketplace — before the announcement, the waitlist for their platform was already around 2.5m people. It’s also big for Mastercard, the first major credit card company to classify NFTs as digital goods. (To date, most crypto buys are only supported by debit.)
But, without a doubt, it’s biggest for us, as we’ve been touting custodial wallets and web2-friendly exchanges as the only fuel that can spark the widespread adoption necessary to blast web3 to the moon. Of course, now our little bootstrap operation is competing with a $1b corporation, but it’s cool. We’ll accept validation in any form.
Fuck your .io
Turns out finding a new collectible profile picture club to review each week got a little soul draining. Who’d’a thunk it? So, instead, I’ve resorted to finding my studs irl.
Once upon a time, we considered launching an Artist Investment Fund. In the end, unfortunately, we realized throwing money at creatives we fuck with is not a scalable business model. But it did lead to some cool summer walks around downtown Ann Arbor to clear my mind and take in the latest works from the center of the Michigan art scene, a graffiti-covered alley, imaginatively named… Graffiti Alley.
There, I discovered Oleg Kolbasov, aka @animal.money, a Detroit-based muralist and a digital caricature artist who may well be a genius, if his publicly displayed and vividly realized existential crises are anything to go off. His works appear to be set in a nondescript interdimensional space melting under immense pressure, which, like all great art, hits hard and close to home.
Sure, the Total Recall quote in his IG bio (‘Open your mind…’) foreshadows the overdose of edgelordom present in some of his images, like this one, in which a disembodied hand pets a cat while another finger fucks a wave. Ironically, though, this makes @animal.money an even stronger candidate for a lucrative life among the degens. Because, if the past six months have taught me anything, it’s that there’s no better way to spend fake Internet money than on bestiality-adjacent psychedelia.
What does it say about the sorry state of discovery in the web3 art market that an artist tailormade for digital primetime has had better luck spreading his work via back-alley graffiti than on OpenSea? Beats me. But we don’t like to focus on the negatives. We’re a solution oriented team. We thoroughly encourage Mr. Kolbasov to hop on the adoption train, and we’re here to help if he so needs. In the meantime, you can support him in the old-fashioned way: real money exchanged for real things.
DAOs running from property laws like
Another day, another honorary distinction given to a truly dumb decision made on the blockchain. Armed with a dearth of copyright law knowledge and an outsized admiration for the God Emperor of Dune (slash Timothee Chalamet), the so-called SpiceDAO saw fit to raise €12m and spend €2.6m to buy a copy of a screenplay for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed Dune adaptation. It was valued by Christie’s at €55k.
This insane overbid can in part be chalked up to the mistaken assumption that, in buying the book, the DAO was also buying the right to produce a 10-hour animated series based on the screenplay. Because NFTs and ownership rights and democracy. I guess? Of course, it doesn’t work that way, a realization that soon descended upon the SpiceDAO Discord, swift and vicious as a sand worm. Dune won’t enter the public domain until 2060, at which point your little brother could make it into a big budget hentai if he so desired. Until then, the rights are owned by the author’s estate. And an old book is owned by an Internet chatroom, which now also owns 1000 less eth.
As easy as it would be to write this mass idiocy off as another common tragedy / tragedy of the commons, there’s an added wrinkle that really cements the dishonor of these Kramer Award recipients. Because ‘Christie’s doesn’t like DAOs’, the SpiceDAO founder, Soban ‘Soby’ Saquib, cashed out his own ethereum to make the purchase, and now is asking for a refund on the sale, and, while we’re at it, his tax bill.
At worst, this could all be a premeditated move on Soby’s part to raise €12m for a coincidentally useless product, creating a reserve of untraceable currency in his own name with no consensus on where to spend it. At best, he found the degens with the most ethereum and least common sense to fund some garden variety tax evasion. Either way, SpiceDAO deserves our award. Clearly, fear isn’t the only mind-killer.
Don't pass go
The biggest bag in the history of gaming was just blown on a bet on the metaverse. Microsoft agreed to buy Activision Blizzard — of CoD, Candy Crush, and Leroy Jenkins fame — for $70b. It’s a record in the sector, but not without its controversy:
- Microsoft is positioning the acquisition in the press as a move into both mobile gaming and the metaverse; i.e. just another web2 giant buying web3 territory.
- Sold at 45% higher than Activision’s stock value prior to the announcement, it’s a major windfall for a CEO and company plagued by abuse allegations.
- Yet another bazillion dollar corporation just passed go, and there’s speculation that its opponents on the boardwalk are already flipping through the rulebook to see if jail is on the table.
It’s an exciting announcement for those who think the future is virtual. It’s a bummer for those who think said future should be controlled by those native to the new ecosystem, not just stalwarts with $150b in cash reserves. No matter who wins this meta game of Monopoly, rest assured, it won’t be us. But in a weird way it is comforting to know we’re not the only ones breaking the rules.