🚀 How Yuga Labs Became a $4B NFT Juggernaut in a Year
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Bored Ape Creators Target Metaverse with New Land Venture
By Owen Fernau
RIGHT-CLICK NFTs are irrational. They don’t make any sense. A JPEG you can instantly copy with a right-click of your mouse? And the cheapest Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT costs 146 ETH, or $416,000? That’s a down payment on a house… a really nice house.
ABSURD FLOOR PRICE Many Bored Apes go for much more. How is this even possible? And yet non-fungible tokens and their magical ability to make the ubiquitous unique have defied all the naysayers, and a punishing bear market. Cryptocurrencies as a whole have lost a fifth of their value this year but the floor price for Bored Apes has has soared 131%. Absurd? Yes, indeed. But NFTs are pumping.
SPINOFFS Perhaps no venture has maximized this strange craze like Yuga Labs, the mysterious outfit behind Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and its many spinoffs. In March, the Miami-based enterprise raised $450M in a round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, bestowing the NFT studio with an astonishing $4B valuation. Not bad for a year-old company, eh?
ZEITGEIST Yuga was also key in releasing ApeCoin last month. The token’s $5.5B market cap already eclipses that of every DeFi project. Oh, and in March the company also acquired the intellectual property rights for CryptoPunks, arguably the second buzziest NFT collection. Meanwhile, BAYC has captured the web3 zeitgeist, with celebs ranging from Snoop Dogg to Madonna to Paris Hilton to Super Bowl champion Tom Brady joining the club.
METAVERSE Now on Apr. 30, Yuga is gearing up another NFT mint for a project called Otherside, which is largely anticipated to be a metaversal world of some kind. That Yuga posted a teaser with computer animation strong enough to make Pixar blush has helped turn up the hype meter for Otherside to a fever pitch.
Flurry of Developments Signals Crypto Adoption
By Jason Levin
TIDAL WAVE If progressive decentralization comes in waves, this week there was a tsunami. And it struck in widely different areas. On the asset management front, Fidelity, the largest U.S. provider of 401(k) retirement plans, said on Tuesday that it planned to let accountholders invest in Bitcoin.
FIDELITY With $2.2T in 401(k) assets, Fidelity has long been a leader in its industry so this move could have far-reaching ramifications. Abigail Johnson, Fidelity’s CEO, has been a vocal crypto supporter for years. The only catch is employers need to approve the Bitcoin program (unsurprisingly, Michael Saylor’s team at MicroStrategy already signed up).
ARGENTINA On the political front, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, the mayor of Buenos Aires, said on April 26 that Argentina’s capital city plans to let taxpayers settle bills in cryptocurrency. Rather than being paid directly in crypto, the government will be paid in Argentine pesos following conversions carried out by crypto firms. The decision comes only a few weeks after Rio de Janeiro said it would allow some real estate taxes to be paid with crypto starting in 2023.
By Jason Levin
NEWS Ox Labs, the maker of Matcha, the popular DEX aggregator, and a key partner for Coinbase on its fledgling NFT offering, has a mountain of fresh capital to work with. On April 26, 0x Labs raised $70M in a round led by Greylock Partners.
HEXADECIMAL “When we were starting 0x almost six years ago, we had this thesis that everything of value would eventually be tokenized,” Amir Bandeali, co-founder and co-CEO of 0x Labs, told The Defiant. With this thesis in mind, they named their company after the hexadecimal address 0x at the beginning of every token.
BACKBONE 0x Labs offers Matcha, the search engine for tokens; 0x API, which supplies multi-chain aggregated liquidity as a service; and 0x Protocol, the “backbone for decentralized exchanges.” 0x has enabled over $157B in tokenized value to flow across 43M+ trades.
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SURGE April hasn’t been kind to crypto. But there is one unlikely bright spot: ApeCoin (APE), the native token for the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) has surged 37% as investors prepare for Yuga Labs’ upcoming virtual land sale on April 30.
TOP 100 For just about everything else, the end of April can’t come fast enough: only nine of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization have posted gains this month, according to data from CoinGecko. The total crypto market cap dropped more than 18% this month and now stands at $1.8T.
DAMAGE Bitcoin is down 16% in the last 30 days and Ether has fared slightly better, down 13%. The damage wasn’t limited to crypto, however. Global equities have softened as inflation concerns take center stage. The S&P 500 is down 7% this month and the tech-heavy Nasdaq has plunged over 12%. In fact, crypto has outperformed major tech stocks this year.
Web2's Missed Opportunities are About to Be Remedied
Guest writer Spencer Graham makes the case for a new era in crowdfunding.
EMBRACE Web3 promises to advance crowdfunding far beyond what Web2 is capable of. To fulfill this promise, we must fully embrace the trust-minimization ethos of Web3 as well as its technology.
WEB2 With Web2 platforms like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and WeFunder, individuals, non-profits, and startups can call upon donations and even venture funding from their communities. It’s a powerful innovation. But as we all know, there are problems with these Web2 platforms.
ACCESS The first problem is access, which limits the amount of funding available to projects and worsens inequality. Many would-be funders are blocked from accessing these platforms, including marginalized groups like sex workers, residents of countries with sanctioned and/or authoritarian governments, and large portions of the world that lack financial payment infrastructure.
ACCOUNTABILITY The second problem with Web2-based crowdfunding is power and accountability. The Web2 crowdfunding platforms are large, centrally controlled companies. Their size grants them market power to extract outsized fees, and their centralized nature creates vectors for governments or executives to block access to many would-be funders.
In this episode we sit down with Andre Cronje, a renowned DeFi developer and the creator of Yearn. We talk about the reasons behind rallying for regulated crypto, leaving the crypto badlands, the Solidity launch on Fantom, and much more.
Edward Snowden, the former U.S. defense contractor whose leaks ignited a worldwide debate about internet surveillance, played a secret role in the creation of the privacy-enhancing cryptocurrency zcash (ZEC).
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has hit out at his state’s BitLicensing regime, claiming that it stifles innovation and economic growth.
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Carson’s Sudden Exit from Moonbirds Team Leaves NFT Investors Miffed Ryan Carson, the chief operating officer of the Proof Collective team that launched the Moonbirds NFT collection on April 16, is leaving to start an NFT fund.
New Project Puts NFT Investing on Autopilot The financialization of NFTs continues. The latest development is the deployment of an automated market maker (AMM) called sudoAMM, which is specifically designed for NFT trading.
🧑💻 ✍️ Stories in The Defiant are written by Owen Fernau, Samuel Haig, Jason, Levin, DeFiDad, and yyctrader, and edited by Edward Robinson, yyctrader, and Camila Russo. Videos are produced by Robin Schmidt, Alp Gasimov and Daniel Flynn. Podcast is led by Camila, edited by Alp.
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