What goes down... must go up? (Issue #4)
Buckle up buckeroos.
We’re only a week into 2022 but it’s already provided all sorts of delights and terrors. In the delight corner: the NFT bull market is in full swing. In the terror corner: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies have taken a pounding, and geopolitical upheaval means we might see more of the same for a while.
So check your laces are tied, fasten your seatbelts, and hold onto your hats, because this is a rollercoaster not a horse-and-carriage stroll through a park.
Right, let’s get straight into it!
There’s an adage that when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. The same can often be said of Bitcoin, the vicissitudes of which tend to sway the fortunes of the rest of the crypto market. This week Bitcoin has continued the downward trend which marked the end of 2021, hovering under $42,000 at the time of writing. Ethereum, meanwhile, is down to around $3,200, a double-digit percentage fall from a week ago.
Of course, Bitcoin still climbed 60% last year, and Ethereum far outpaced it by gaining 260% over the same period, so anyone who bought a year ago shouldn’t feel too hard done by this year’s movements. Despite these downturns for the leading tokens, though, NFT markets are absolutely on fire.
OpenSea not only secured an additional $300 million in funding this week (at a $13.3 billion valuation, which is wild given it wasn’t even a unicorn 18 months ago), but is also on course to break records for monthly sales volume, and the number of unique wallets interacting with it continues to grow.
Also, when ETH prices dip, market activity climbs, as those holding it feel more inclined to spend it and less attached to it. The converse holds true, too. When ETH is climbing NFT volumes dip. Could that mean adding stable coin support to marketplaces in 2022 to counter that volatility? It might.
Whatever happens, it shouldn’t come as a surprise then that we’re of the view that the market tumult has a silver-lining… or a gold-hued one, at least. It’s a golden opportunity to buy the NFTs you’ve been eyeing at a significant discount. And anyone who’s been on this ride for long enough will know, what goes down may go to zero… but it may also go up again.
Many NFT projects are going to go to zero, or to something near it where they’re abandoned and languish on marketplaces because it’s not even worth spending the gas required to burn them. But others are going to the moon, and some of those moonward-bound ones haven’t even been minted yet.
It may have seemed like last year was the year of PFPs, and that this year was set to be the year of DAO dominance. But it’s looking like it might be a case of both/and, rather than either/or. Newer PFP projects like Alien Frens, Psychedelics Anonymous, and Invisible Friends are just getting started, and each day the number of DAOs grows, along with the variety of initiatives they’re undertaking, and the number of novel mechanisms they’re employing.
At the same time, generative art is evolving and maturing, and big brands and celebrities continue to pour into the NFT space. In other words, it’s still early. And en route to creating the great NFT omelet, many NFT eggs are going to necessarily be broken. So hang in there. And stay hungry.
The 2021 NFT Year in Review report from 1confirmation.
We believe the Metaverse should be open, decentralized, and owned by the collective, not a single entity. This is why we are launching the MetaLetters DAO, to give our growing community the power to shape great art with a purpose.
Collectively, we will activate creators, invest in their training, and partner with organizations that, like us, believe in a more equitable web3. Members will propose and vote on the projects we support through the MetaLetters DAO Treasury.
To this end, we’re inviting artists to contribute to our visual identity and participate in our organic growth by creating letters that artistically and collectively spell our name: M-E-T-A-V-E-R-S-A-L.
Artists can submit letters by sharing their designs to Twitter with the hashtags #WeAreMetaversal, #MetaLetters, and by tagging @HelloMetaversal. Submissions open on Monday, January 10, and close on Friday, January 20. Thereafter, we’ll select a finalist for each letter, and let Twitter decide the winners.
The top three will win NFTs from notable creators, all 10 finalists will have their work printed on T-shirts to be distributed at ETHDenver, and the winner will have their MetaLetter auctioned by the MetaLetters DAO.
Read all about submitting a letter to MetaLetters and more about the project here.
The Disney Metaverse 🐭
We don’t know exactly what Disney’s Metaverse is going to look like, but we do know the House of Mouse is touting a headset-free experience, and that it owns some of the most recognizable (and valuable) IP on earth, from its own creations to those its acquired, like the Star Wars franchise. Whatever Disney has in store, it’s going to be huge, slick, and arrive with an incredibly eager and loyal fanbase ready to lap it up.
Advantage Decentraland 🎾
The Australian Open may have turned away Novak Djokovic, but it’s welcoming NFTs and the Metaverse into its orbit with open arms. The Grand Slam tournament is creating 6,776 “AO Art Balls” and using Decentraland to help it divide up its courts into 6,776 virtual blocks, one for each NFT. As the tournament unfolds, data about each block on the court will be added to the corresponding NFT’s metadata.
NFTs on your TV 📺
Samsung’s announced its latest smart TVs will include support for displaying NFTs along with a marketplace aggregator. In a press release announcing the move, the South Korean electronics giant explained the new NFT application will feature “an intuitive, integrated platform for discovering, purchasing and trading digital artwork.”
One of the devices getting the new NFT-friendly feature set is the 2022 model of The Frame, a TV that’s designed to look like a framed painting or photograph when not in use, making it the perfect device for displaying digital art.
To further improve the experience, Samsung’s also releasing an optional wall mount and stand for its new displays that’ll rotate them to vertical orientation with the press of a button on the remote control. Do we want to try buying NFTs or searching Nifty Gateway with a TV remote? Absolutely not. Is this gimmicky? Sure thing. But does it point to greater mainstream adoption? You bet it does.
Pay for your digs with Doge 🛏
Last year Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, put out a call for users to tell it which features they’d most like to see added to the platform. The results are in, and the top suggestion is the option to pay for bookings using cryptocurrency.
Now, just because people have asked for it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, but it’s telling that people are asking nonetheless… and it seems Chesky is listening. He’s previously spoken about crypto and in the Twitter thread revealing the results of the survey he added that the company is working on most of the most popular suggestions already.
🤭 Wow, just tag us next time 🎲
Freezing apes and hotheads 🥵
OpenSea froze trading on a selection of NFTs stolen from gallerist Todd Kramer, in what’s sure to become a canonical reminder of the importance of getting to grips with cold wallets before someone purloins over $2.2 million worth of NFTs (most of them Bored and Mutant Apes) from your hot wallet.
While getting hacked is the worst, the fact that any entity could “freeze” trading in what’s meant to be a fundamentally decentralized space did have some critics understandably gnashing their teeth. Of course, OpenSea couldn’t stop the stolen NFTs moving per se, but could choose to disallow trades of them on its platform. The reason that matters is that OpenSea’s platform is so dominant.
Expect to see more of these tussles as 2022 unfolds and more online wallets inevitably fall prey to scammers, fraudsters, and thieves.
Have you ever wanted to spend 319 ETH (~$1.2 million) to buy an acre of land on a minuscule Fijian island populated exclusively with other crypto fans and where every location, menu item, or activity is named for some sort of crypto-related pun? Nope? Us neither. But, if you have a change of heart, a Spanish startup will gladly accept your Ethereum to make it a reality.
The proposed island/micro crypto state is dubbed “Cryptoland,” and its accompanying 18-minute promo video was torturous to watch as it must’ve been expensive to make. We say “was,” because it’s tragically been removed from YouTube, despite still being the first link on the website’s landing page.
Gone too are the universally scathing comments that followed beneath said video. The unabridged “Why paper” has been pulled too, but for now the website remains, along with its lofty promises for a crypto native utopia.
If this does sound like something you’d be into, may we suggest avoiding buying plots 29, 49, or 50, each of which is next to “Club Vladimir,” a club/casino that only admits plot owners, making it… well… not very exclusive on a tiny island where all the residents have bought a plot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It's perhaps telling that Cryptoland — should it ever come to fruition IRL — will also be home to “The Bitconnect Memorial,” which is — we kid you not — a “tribute to the most notorious of crypto scams.” Not, as Molly White points out, a memorial to the victims, but rather to the scam itself. Yikes.
🛒 Metaverse retail as imagined in 2017 🛍
To the moon
Yes, Twitter is still working on NFT profile pic verification:
And GameStop, one of the great “memestonks” of 2021, has opened its NFT Marketplace to creators.
At the close of 2021, Eminem became the latest celeb to climb aboard the Bored Ape Yacht Club, paying 123.45 ETH ($452,000) for his Ape, which admittedly does look a lot like him, and isn’t a massive purchase when you’re Mr. Marshall Mathers.
On the other end of the musical spectrum, Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath fame has an NFT project called CryptoBatz. Because of course he does. What’s really interesting about CryptoBatz, though, is its interoperability with other projects. So, for instance, if you hold one and also hold an Alien Frens, you can have your Bat bite your Frens and generate a whole new NFT. Batz are dropping in two weeks, and you can expect competition to snap them up to be fierce.
Meanwhile, 2022 is off to an incredibly bullish start. Just this week, XCopy chalked up a new all-time high sale on a 1/1 of 1,630 ETH (nearly $6.2 million) for the appropriately titled piece, “All Time High in the City.”
And titan of the TradFi world, Visa, has added its first Solana-focused start-up to its Fintech Fast Track incubator: Zebec, a continuous settlement protocol that harnesses Solana’s ability to handle high transaction volumes.
Whether you’re into PFPs or Art Blocks, hard HODLing or fast flipping, or just dipping your toes into the world of NFTs and collectibles you should be watching or listening to Goats and the Metaverse.
Each week, collectibles OG and entrepreneur Stan “The Goat” Meytin and Metaversal co-founder and CEO Yossi Hasson sit down with a guest to talk about digital and IRL collectibles, NFTs, and the week’s news worth knowing. The team is on vacation for just a little longer, but is putting out a selection of bite-sized clips of key takeaways from the archive. Check out one of the latest 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 $60,000.
Series Ayeeeee! 💰
The big news at Metaversal HQ this week was that we closed our Series A round and raised $50 million. The oversubscribed round was co-led by CoinFund and Foxhaven Asset Management, and also counts among its participants Collab+Currency, Dapper Labs, Digital Currency Group, Franklin Templeton, Galaxy Vision Hill, Narwhal Ventures, NGC Ventures, Rarible, Rockaway Blockchain Fund, 6ixth Event Fund, Spartan Capital, Synthetix founder Kain Warwick, Theta Blockchain Ventures, and Trousdale Sarosphere.
We’ll be using these funds to expand our curation and investment capabilities in 2022. Which is to say, we’ll continue investing in iconic NFT projects and in the creators and companies helping to build the open Metaverse. We’ll have more info to share soon about some of the exciting projects we’re working on.
Money <> mouth 💸
This week Creature World released a range merch, and we’ve loved watching the project go from strength to strength and the burgeoning community become as enthusiastic and devoted to it as Cole is himself.
It’s that devotion to the project and promise of its longevity that first attracted us to Cole and his work, and he’s done an amazing job building a great community. We can’t wait to see what’s next for the Creatures.
We’re keenly watching music NFT platform Royal, which has its first drop next week featuring none other than Nas. You can bet demand is going to vastly outstrip supply. But it’s more than the hype that has us interested.
Buyers of the NFTs will get a share of the streaming royalties. That model has the potential to upend streaming as we know it, not only for musicians but for fans. Royal isn’t merely a fascinating platform, its first drop is going to be an important proof of concept. You can bet Spotify will be watching as closely as we are.
Until next time, see you in the Metaverse.