The web3 adoption arms race accelerates. As if daily life wasn’t feeling enough like a Michael Bay movie already. So prepare for the coming ̶n̶u̶c̶l̶e̶a̶r̶ crypto winter with everything important on the Internet.
Chad & El Prof
(Price changes reflect past 24 hours as of 1.20.22 @ 4:20 PM EST.)
Hypebeasts love their collabs
StockX has laced up and joined the web3 race with the launch of their ‘Vault NFTs‘ on Tuesday. Personally, I wouldn’t want to go for a run in a pair of $5,000 Chunky Dunkys but I understand the temptation. Moreso than any of the dozens of brands hopping into the blockchain arms race, StockX’s unique ecommerce model — a cross between hypebeast auction house and cultural stock exchange — feels tailormade for NFTs.
Noteworthily, the company has also integrated web3 in an interesting way that plays to their strengths, rather than awkwardly working it into an existing and rapidly dated business model. (Looking at you, Walmart.) Vault NFTs will correspond to a physical pair of sneaks in the StockX warehouse. In addition to a somewhat underwhelming JPG, the buyer gets early access to promotions and drops, as well as the ‘opportunity to take possession’ of the shoes at any time.
However, StockX appears to view the NFTs mainly as an ‘alternative asset class’ — allowing for, essentially, sneakerhead day trading. Buyers and sellers who see sneakers as simply another investment vehicle will no longer have to bear the burden of bourgeoise headaches like authentication or shipping times. Instead, they can just trade a digital image of a shoe that represents a string of random numbers and characters in a database that represents the value of the shoe, which really puts the ‘meta’ in ‘metaverse’, but who am I to judge? A judgmental person. That’s who.
StockX also seems to be pushing the lower costs / environmental impact narrative, although the initial Vault NFTs are minted on the Ethereum blockchain, so, like, probably not. Still, in the arena of billion dollar corporations shilling NFTs (see below) this one feels like a W. Guess slow and steady really does win the race.
Not on 4chan anymore
I couldn’t bring myself to end the week on a Dud, but considering the top selling projects on OpenSea are currently yet another generative ape PFP and a collection of gifs evidently designed to induce epileptic seizures, I’m back to wishfully exploring web2 hubs for the next Stud of web3.
Today, I landed on Haylie Mousseau, another metro-Detroit native, and no I’m not biased, why would you suggest such a thing? Murals and canvases make up most of her work, along with the sort of Etsy-ready DIY work that’d have a VSCO girl salivating all over her Puka necklace. If this doesn’t sound like the literal opposite of the edge lordly NFT dreck I’m stuck reviewing most weeks, check out this Instagram post where she prepares for #VanLife to the musical stylings of Darude – Sandstorm.
Toto? I’ve a feeling we’re not on 4chan anymore.
Yes, this is a very different vibe and side of the Internet from where I usually reside. Why? Well, it’s not just the soft tone landscapes, pictured above, mixing the Adobe southwestern style with the washed down aesthetics of the latest social media marketing optimized color palette. Nor is it the fun cartoon characters she creates, perfect for a print, t-shirt, or their own endlessly mockable PFP project someday.
No, mainly, I’m here because these are the sort of creators NFTs should support. Not just hustlebros, scammers, and tech companies looking for a trendy angle. Our peers over at NFTS.WTF recently ran an awesome piece highlighting artist-run avatar NFT collections, which we love to see. But many talented artists have yet to adopt web3. If Mousseau can create such immersive landscapes with just brushstrokes, we’re sure she could crush an animated gif, and her natural gift for merchandising would thrive under our artist management model. For now, support her the OG way, here.
...in this economy?
Last Friday, the altcoin Propy was listed on Coinbase and consequently spiked in value by 227%. Which gives us a solid excuse to plug yet another curious use case. Propy (PRO) is an Ethereum side-chain designed to virtually purchase real estate. PRO tokens are used to complete transactions such as deed contracting, and, as of late, as a convenient way for crypto influencers to double their money. Thanks Biden.
The stated aim of the blockchain-based exchange is to ‘protect the real estate industry from scams and wire fraud’, which feels like a strange fit, but hey. The customer knows best, right? PRO opened the year trading at $1.47, and hit a high of $4.11 yesterday. Of course, it’s down almost a dollar now, and may very well continue to oscillate wildly while swing trainers hold on like a hammered college student on a mechanical bull until the hype dies down and web3 Twitter finds the next shiny new toy, or, God forbid, an exciting use case actually proves itself to be useful.
Seize the data
There’s been some social media hype recently regarding Meta (totally, maybe, eventually) officially entering the metaverse. Color me yowza’d.
Turns out, despite an onslaught of obligatory thinkpieces, this pomp and circumstance (read: a couple high profile tweets) is as devoid of quality and content as the company involved. Basically, back in December, a lead with the Instragram product team said the platform is actively investigating how to integrate the display and sale of NFTs through the platform. So, like, the company infamous for making an over-publicized pivot into blockchain tech is now exploring blockchain tech. Or, as we like to call it in web3 world, breaking news.
To be fair, hype and speculation is exactly what web3 success is built on, a lesson Zucc has clearly learned since 2019. (Check out $LIBRA, Facebook’s smash success of a cryptocurrency, to see what I mean.) But what bothers me isn’t really the obvious redundance of this news cycle. Rather, it’s that Meta, despite rebranding as the same custodial data wallet that the most promising web3 companies hope to build, continues to use their web2 advertising strategies to extract value from users, contradicting the whole damn point of a decentralized ecosystem in the first place.
If you’ve been following the letter for a while now, you know we recently launched our own NFT collection, sn0bs, to experiment with using web2 tools to create a user-friendlier web3. We tried to use Facebook to promote them. We promptly got banned. Why? For selling a blockchain product. I know right? So Meta of them. Honestly it wouldn’t surprise me if Meta’s NFTs were not compatible with any blockchain but their own — which is no longer Libra, by the way, but now Diem. Personally, I prefer Carpe. They sure do know how to seize the data.
As a former Google Ads product expert, I like to think I’m pretty well-versed in FAANG companies’ data fuckery. Web2 giants — and the VCs backing them — love their walled gardens, and hate any innovations that threaten them. Their entire business model revolves around centralized ownership of your information, the literal opposite of the theoretical utopia of democratized data that stays giving hard-ons to degens. Blockchain integration and a new name won’t change a thing.
Maybe one day someone will show consumers how valuable their data really is, and they’ll stop giving it to Facebook for free. Until then? Well. We all know Zucc’s track record with democracy.