Jumping into the OM while making sure the glass is 47.5% full (Issue #18)
This week we saw the future of the open metaverse... and its dystopian alter ego.
This week Memelord Musk tried to buy Twitter while Punk6529 continue to demonstrate what seizing the memes of production really looks like. Meanwhile, Meta proposed a ludicrous model for spoils-sharing, Bored Ape Yacht Club’s first movie drew nearer, and an NFT photographer climbed to new heights.
Right, let’s get straight into it!
Adjacent to the world of NFTs, the biggest news of the week was Elon Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter for $54.20 a share (or ~$43 billion/~1,43 million ETH) — a move that Twitter is now trying to torpedo via a “poison pill” tactic that would see the company issuing additional shares to dilute billionaire’s 9.2% stake and make a takeover if not impossible, then at least exceedingly painful, protracted, and punitive. Musk, meanwhile, has threatened to dump his holdings if the deal falters, a move that would doubtless dent the share price, even if only temporarily.
We say “adjacent,” because Musk hasn’t shown much interest in NFTs themselves, but has dabbled in the world of cryptocurrencies — from Tesla first accepting (and then reneging on accepting) Bitcoin as payment for its vehicles, to pumping up the price of memecoin Dogecoin. All of which is to say, Musk’s Machiavellian maneuvering might be the biggest news of the week in the realms of crypto and social media… but it’s not the NFT world’s leading headline.
Instead, that honor belongs to Punk6529 and metaverse-builder/digital gallery creator service Oncyber. The pair have teamed up to create OM, an open metaverse (“OM,” geddit?) accessible via smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, or VR headset that not only showcases Punk6529’s impressive NFT collection and offers an impressively slick user experience… but which hints at the modular, interoperable, non-Meta-controlled future web3 advocates often wax lyrical about.
Users visiting from a computer use the WASD or arrow keys of their keyboards to navigate, their mouse or trackpad to move the camera, and the spacebar to jump. And oh do we encourage you to try the jumping.
One of the catchphrases most often attributed to the Punk6529, who’s perhaps best known for regularly producing Twitter threads as lengthy as they are informative, is the entreaty to “seize the memes of production.” It’s worth unpacking this a little in light of the launch of OM.
Most people don’t care about the technical intricacies of Bitcoin, the distinctions between proof-of-work or proof-of-stake blockchains, or how yield farming works. But as NBA Top Shot, Bored Ape Yacht Club, or Adidas’ “Into the Metaverse” drop demonstrate, they can be made to care about NFTs.
NFTs are a Trojan Horse that can get people caring about decentralization, permissionlessness, immutability, and the other virtues inherent in blockchain technology. Moreover, giving them an awe-inspiring, beautiful, experiential way to encounter NFTs might be a way to make acceptance even more painless.
OM has only just been unveiled, so it’s hard to predict what it’ll turn into. But considering some of the simplest possibilities — like the option for collectors to host permanent group shows of the same artist’s work they collectively hold, curated virtual exhibitions or events, or opportunities for new artists to reach and sell to collectors directly — we’re excited to see where the project goes, and what sorts of competitive initiatives it inspires from rivals.
The exhaustive and lengthy explanatory thread about OM from Punk6529.
Raoul Pal’s equally lengthy podcast with Punk6529 about OM.
🐑 Sleep matters 💤
Sounds rare 🎧
Art of the Matter
On Monday, our weekly Twitter Spaces series hosted by Jessica Angel and Craig Wilson will have a very special guest taking the stage to talk about the challenges that face NFT collectors if (or when) the platforms they use cease to exist… or merely miss a storage bill payment.
The guest in question is none other than Jason Bailey (AKA Artnome), an NFT OG who’s run into this very issue himself. Bailey is a self-described “art nerd” who — among other things — is working to ensure the cultural artifacts emerging from the ongoing digital art revolution aren’t lost to history. He’s also the founder of Club NFT.
You can set a reminder to join the Spaces session from the Tweet below:
Probably nothing 🤔
Now that’s Epic 🏰
Epic Games, the company behind the video game Fortnite and the game-and-VFX-creation tool Unreal Engine announced this week that it’s raised $2 billion that’ll go towards realizing its metaverse plans. The round was led by Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony and Lego’s holding company Kirkbi. Whether you think that’s a good or a bad thing likely depends on your position on legacy companies using their deep pockets to finance metaverse plays.
But considering Fortnite is already a proto-metaverse with millions of users, and Epic is embroiled in a battle with Apple over the gatekeeping of its App Store and the pound of flesh it demands for access to it, this has all the markings of a precedent-setting Web2 vs. Web3 showdown/landgrab.
Thrice as nice 🐵
Coinbase, the exchange that’s both the entry point for many of the crypto curious and the butt of innumerable jokes (given how long it’s been teasing its forthcoming NFT marketplace), is planning a trilogy of films featuring Apes from the Bored Ape Yacht Club Universe.
The question on many people’s lips (and Twitter feeds) is whether the films will arrive before or after the long-promised marketplace does, and whether the films will suffer the same quality consistency challenges faced by other iconic trilogies (Star Wars 😬, The Godfather 😢, The Matrix 😭). What’s clear is that something is coming (eventually) and it’s definitely something.
Bag boosters 💰
The week that was (April 8 - 15, 2022) 🗓
Last week’s chart saw Azuki in the top spot. This week, it’s slipped out of the top five, pushed out by Imposters Genesis Aliens, and newcomer project “Moar” from Catalan artist, Joan Cornella. The rest of the top five is stacked with the usual suspects: BAYC, MAYC, and CryptoPunks. Arcade Land and Clone X continue to stake their respective claims, and another newcomer, Los Muertos World, makes a compelling argument we should be paying it at least some attention.
🍿 The future is bleak 🧮
Get Zucked 💸
Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, plans to let third parties sell items in its Horizon Worlds metaverse, which is currently only accessible via its Oculus virtual reality headsets. So far, so good. The problem is, Meta intends to take 47.5% of the price creators charge users for their wares. Which seems like a lot, given Horizon Worlds’ avatars don’t even have bottom halves.
For added laughability, items likely won’t be transferable. In other words, they’ll only be useful inside Facebook’s walled virtual reality garden. Which is pretty much the antithesis of Web3.
The company was likely emboldened by the 30% toll Apple levies on its App Store. But, inflation aside, the difference between Meta and Apple is that Apple owns all of the onramps to its store, people really want access to its store, and it pioneered the app model and built a whole new industry around it.
Facebook may think it’s on a similar trajectory, but most people working to build an open metaverse (or metaverses) beg to differ. First, Facebook has a major reputation problem. Second, no one’s clamoring to get into Horizon Worlds. And third, plenty of alternative nascent metaverses (Fornite, Decentraland, Sandbox) already exist.
The next step is alternative hardware. But don’t worry, companies like Somnium Space are building that, too.
To the moon 🌜
Photographer, activist, and acrophiliac Drift dropped an image and video last week that sold well. Really, really well.
You can now buy a Rug Pull Rug (which is, as the name suggests, a rug emblazoned with the logos of famous rug pulls).
Bored Ape Yacht Club and Superplastic released a range of 13-inch BAYC vinyl toys at a price point of $222 each that sold out. Some variants were limited to holders of specific NFTs, and two were available for public sale. Curiously, despite the NFT-themed wares, transactions had to take place in fiat. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
On a related note, BAYC’s token ApeCoin may be coming to consumer stock trading app Robinhood. Robinhood recently added Doge-inspired meme cryptocurrency Shiba Inu, Polygon’s token Matic, Compound’s token Comp, and Solana to its roster, so the suggestion it might extend its reach to include ApeCoin is hardly outlandish.
In unrelated news, Mr. Buterin would like a word with the world’s city planners regarding airport placement.
🪡 Thread of the week 🧵
Goats only 🐐
Whether you’re a North Korean hacker or a Southern Californian slacker (or an over-achiever from either), you should be watching or listening to Goats and the Metaverse.
In each episode, collectibles OG and entrepreneur Stan “The Goat” Meytin and Metaversal co-founder and CEO Yossi Hasson talk about digital and IRL collectibles, NFTs, and the week’s news worth knowing. This week, they look at three new NFT projects under 1 ETH, unpacked Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter, and offer their take on the CC0, omnichain, Tiny Dinos NFT project.
Check out the latest episode here:
Aside from providing invaluable insights into digital art and collectibles, Stan and Yossi are also putting together a collection of NFTs dubbed “The Goat Vault.” When the show hits 5,000 subscribers on YouTube, one of those lucky subscribers will win the contents of the vault which, at last count, was valued at over $TKTKTK.
Money <> mouth 💸
Each week we’ll offer you a look at an NFT project we’ve invested in and the motivation behind it. This week we’re looking at “Chromie Squiggle #436.”
The Chromie Squiggle collection is one of the most iconic and immediately recognizable generative art projects in the NFT realm. Arguably — along with other heavyweights like Tyler Hobbs — Squiggles put generative art on the NFT map. For added pedigree, they’re the work of Erick “Snowfro” Calderon, the founder of the pioneering generative art platform Art Blocks, and they’re entirely on-chain. That’s a perfect recipe for historical relevance if ever we’ve seen one.
Until next time, see you in the Metaverse.