🦄 Recap: DeFi Week of Feb. 20
Hello Defiers. Well, we’re coming to you on a somber weekend. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week was shocking, and The Defiant immediately went to work reporting on this calamity will impact the crypto community in the embattled nation, and abroad.
Brady Dale reported on how blockchain dev teams inside Ukraine are at once struggling and galvanizing to complete projects amid the violence. Sam Haig reported on how a newly formed UkraineDAO is pulling together community members to provide support for people inside the country. The project includes core members PleasrDAO, the DeFi collective from which FreeRossDAO spun out, Trippy Labs, an NFT studio, and the famed protest art group Pussy Riot. Rest assured, The Defiant will continue to report on these and other efforts to support crypto folk impacted by the war.
Meanwhile, check out Owen Fernau’s insightful feature on how metaverse land, of all things, is maintaining its value even as the rest of crypto craters. In a similar vein, Sam Haig delved into how the gaming guild YGG is making nimble moves (including using regional subDAOs) to weather the downturn in GameFi. Rounding off the news, Brady reported on the strange auction of CryptoPunks at Sotheby’s that was pulled at the last minute.
Don’t miss our Weekend Read, David Liebowitz’s fascinating diary of his experience at ETHDenver. David writes about the state of play in web3, focusing on both the technology and cultural sides of the story. His take on the import of zero knowledge proofs is worth the price of admission alone.
Tune in to Camila Russo’s podcast with Edan Yago of Sovryn; they spoke about the slow buildout of Bitcoin DeFi. And Robin Schmidt’s take on how to survive a bear market is a must-watch video for these turbulent times.
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Our Inbox Dump newsletter, which is exclusive to paid subscribers, is where we include the updates and announcements that flood our DMs each week and didn’t make it to The Defiant’s content platforms. Sometimes announcements here didn’t meet the bar to become a news story, sometimes they may have slipped through the cracks, or they came late and we haven’t had a chance to cover. We also include a compilation of DeFi and crypto funding rounds in the past week so you have these in one handy place.
Edan Yago is a co-founder of Sovryn, a Bitcoin-based lending protocol. He’s maybe the first Bitcoin builder we have had on our show and that’s because DeFi on the first blockchain network has been slow to pick up — but Edan says that’s about to change.
Ethereum and other smart contracts platforms have evolved over time with use cases like tokens, DAO’s and NFTs flourishing. Meanwhile, Bitcoin has mainly looked from the sidelines. Edan says there has been a gradual mentality shift, as Bitcoiners accept the first cryptocurrency should be able to support a wider array of use cases to become the backbone of a more decentralized financial system.
✨ Scaling Breakthroughs and a Thriving Culture: Here’s What I Learned About the State of Web3 at ETHDenver
Contributing writer David Liebowitz came away from Denver with a lot of takeaways on the state of DeFi and what happens next.
Coming back after a year hiatus, tens of thousands of experienced builders and curious beginners alike descended upon ETH Denver. The conference came at a crucial turning point for the industry as a whole.
It was earlier this month that the likes of Coinbase and FTX bought Super Bowl commercials and The New York Times and Business Insider reported on the exodus of talent to Crypto/Web3 companies from Silicon Valley. There’s no doubt that crypto and Web3 have captured the imagination of ordinary people and that has inspired many to wait hours outside confabs like ETH Denver in the brisk mile-high air to get a taste of the action.
Coming into the event, I was excited to see all my friends once again whom I’d met on the conference circuit. I’ve only been part of the circuit since BTC Miami in early June 2021 and since then have had the privilege to meet some of the smartest, most talented, and driven individuals I’ve ever come across. As the circuit progressed over the next eight months, I met individuals that considered themselves more a part of Web3 than crypto, a sign of how much the wider community is segmenting even in these early stages of adoption.
Crypto is often associated with finance and the technical aspects of blockchain which was the topic of discourse for over the past decade. Web3 on the other hand refers to the “social layer” of crypto that is more accessible to the masses and has only become a common term over the past half year or so.
In which Samuel Haig delves into the mystery of gaming guilds and weathering the downturn…
It wasn’t that long ago that GameFi was riding high. Led by Axie Infinity, play-to-earn gaming emerged as a cultural and economic force in DeFi. With in-game rewards incentivizing players and enabling many to meet living expenses, a new model had been born. Between the beginning of March and the November peak, Axie’s governance token, AXS, multiplied in value 110 times, bestowing the venture with a $10.5B market capitalization.
But like everything else in crypto, GameFi has tumbled since those November highs. And AXS has lost 60% of its value. Meantime, Smooth Love Potion, its in-game coin that drives much of its tokenomics, has crashed 95% since July.
Even so, many gamers are playing games other than Axie Infinity. Many players also use play-to-earn, or P2E, to supplement their income and are not solely reliant on GameFi revenues to support themselves. That’s continuing.
So what comes next for GameFi? Was it just a bubble, or, as so many believe, is it an innovative new model with staying power that will endure a bear market? To get some answers, The Defiant interviewed P2E gamers representing top gaming guild Yield Guild Games (YGG).
In which Owen Fernau unearths a market doing just fine in the bear market…
It’s a stark reality. The cryptocurrency market has lost 40% of its value since peaking in November, and even web3 supporters have accepted that a bear market has arrived with no end in sight.
And yet, there is one asset that has been quietly and steadily holding fast during this sell off — metaverse land. Yes, that’s right, real estate in the virtual world had tracked the larger market’s surge to all time highs last fall but rather than drop it’s remained elevated despite some tapering.
In fact, weekly metaverse land sales broke 6,000 ETH for the first time starting on Nov. 14 and hasn’t dropped below that level since, according to WeMeta, a platform which tracks metaverse “worlds” like Decentraland. Land in the metaverse is typically represented by NFTs.
Guest writer Dave Weisberger argues thatCanada’s crackdown on financial and crypto accounts reinforces Bitcoin’s utility and purpose.
If you had Canada proving the need for a censorship-resistant, store-of-value on your 2022 bingo card, well, you are smarter than me, but, here we are…
With the extraordinary invocation of the decades old Emergencies Act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acted to crush the self-styled Freedom Convoy of truckers who jammed the capital, Ottawa, several weeks ago to protest strict Covid vaccine policies.
For the truckers and their supporters, this was an act of civil disobedience. And yet Trudeau’s government froze demonstrators’ bank accounts and encouraged doxxing of contributors to their cause.
While Trudeau believed the step was necessary, he unwittingly proved how important Bitcoin can be to the cause of individual freedom worldwide. With Bitcoin, Ethereum and the rest of crypto suffering a profound selloff, the timing is important. The Canadian government’s action reinforces Bitcoin’s central anti-censorship thesis, and its utility. And that development is a decidedly bullish signal amid the noise of the last few months.
Guest writer James Whitley says web3 has the potential to change worlplace behavior for the better.
Last week, it hit me: I was actually working at my first job putting together bankruptcy exit plans for a failing airline the year our protocol’s intern was born. After a bit of a panic and checking to see if my address was updated so I’d receive my AARP card (yes – I’m exaggerating), I spent a little more time reflecting on how I, a finance and management professional with nearly 18 years of experience, found myself as a contributor to a cutting-edge DeFi protocol.
So why exactly would I choose a web3 opportunity rather than any of the numerous other startups I’ve decided not to pursue? Web3 is uniquely positioned to upend the age bias that exists in the traditional startup world because it’s cheaper and quicker to scale, positions older founders in a positive light for their careers, and facilitates the step-change innovations in industries that require a deeper level of expertise.
Blockchain Teams in Ukraine Struggle and Galvanize as Russia Invades Their Country Crypto has always been global, but the crisis created by Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine this week has dramatized just how global it has truly become.
Pussy Riot Helps Newly Formed UkraineDAO Mobilize Support and Raise Funds Via NFTs Pussy Riot, the famed feminist punk protest group, helped form a DAO on Thursday to assist Ukrainians as they cope with the Russian invasion of their country.
Sotheby’s Landmark Auction of 104 CryptoPunks Lot Was Withdrawn at Last Minute It was supposed to be a landmark event for the world’s oldest auction house: on Wednesday night Sotheby’s held a single-lot sale of 104 CryptoPunks carrying the estimate of $20-$30M, the highest-valued estimate for an NFT or digital art ever offered at auction.
CeFi Meets DeFi as Celsius Joins Forces with Maple Finance on Crypto Lending Protocol Celsius, a centralized crypto lending platform, has become the first CeFi lender to launch a pool on Maple Finance, a decentralized protocol facilitating undercollateralized cryptocurrency loans to institutions, the venture said today.
NFT Market Still Hot As Invisible Friends NFTs Rocket to 10 ETH Floor At Launch Invisible Friends, a much-hyped NFT collection of 5,000 animated invisible characters, hit a floor price of 10 ETH ($24K) as soon as the early access sale commenced on Feb. 23.
Jump and Three Arrows Lead $1B LUNA Buy to Secure UST Against Black Swans Terra’s stablecoins, primarily UST, will now be backstopped by Bitcoin. A billion dollars worth of BTC will be set aside by the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) to act as a backstop for UST and other Terra stablecoins in case they lose their pegs, as first reported by The Block.
Staking Race Quickens as Rocket Pool Draws 1% of Ethereum’s Validators in Three Months Rocket Pool, an Eth2 staking provider, now accounts for 1% of Ethereum’s network validators just three months after launching.
From Pudgy to Tubby: Overweight Felines Dominate NFT Volume OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace, has a new contender atop its daily volume leaderboard.
Delong Shares Lessons Learned at SushiSwap and the Need for Hierarchy in DAOs in Provocative Talk at ETHDenver “I think Uniswap Labs is doing a great job,” Joseph Delong, founder of a forthcoming DeFi project called Astaria said during a talk at ETHDenver 2022 on Friday.
Ethereum’s Old Guard Meets the Newbies at ETHDenver and There Are So, So Many of Them CryptoPunks are relatively old, as far as Ethereum history goes, but the notion of punks as a community is newer. Tegan Kline, CEO of The Graph, a blockchain data company, told The Defiant about a 50-plus punk breakfast that took place Sunday morning toward the end of ETHDenver 2022.
Thanking all the amazing Defiers for the support and love this week (and always)!
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🧑💻 ✍️ Stories in The Defiant are written by Brady Dale, Owen Fernau, Sanuel Haig and yyctrader, and edited by Edward Robinson, yyctrader and Camila Russo. Videos were produced by Robin Schmidt and Alp Gasimov. Podcast was led by Camila, edited by Alp.
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