🦄 Recap: DeFi Week of March 20
Hello Defiers! Happy weekend!
The story this week: eye-popping Web3 salaries and NFTs shifting into new gears… Owen Fernau did the rounds on web3 job boards and discovered that compensation for devs is running at about the same level as web2 stalwarts like Google and Facebook. Oy… If that’s not bullish signal…. It’s our special report this week
Google searches for NFTs might be down since peaks late last year but Owen Fernau delved into a fascinating new report from Nansen to learn how the market is shifting into a mature, new phase. The upshot: lots of successful new projects.
Then again, the space remains pretty wild. Check out Sam Haig’s dispatch on how Arthur Cheong, a leading collector and crypto investor, got hacked for 60 NFTs by a phishing scam. Sam also reported on how Anchor leapfrogged Aave in TVL; Sam has been keeping tabs on the controversial Anchor for weeks now.
Robin Schmidt and his video crew caught up with Raoul Pal to learn why the influential investor bought an Ape for 140 ETH. You won’t want to miss this amazing interview. And contributing writer Mason Marcobello brought us the saga of Pepe the Frog, the OG meme that has now also become a rarified NFT. It’s a wonderful account of the journey this popular amphibian has made to iconic status.
Another friend of The Defiant, David Liebowitz, recently returned from ETH Rio with a travelogue of his typically insightful observations and discoveries on web3. Dave finds fertile ground in Brazil for an innovative boom if the DeFi community can overcome the challenges that have long dogged the South American nation.
Public goods have never been more important in DeFi. To get the skinny on the latest, tune into Camilla Russo’s podcast with Kevin Owocki, the founder of Gitcoin. He’s a true legend in DeFi who has built such a valuable project that goes right to the heart of this whole proposition.
We also have a full menu of op-eds, and primers on Uniswap and MetaMask.
Do you want to make a real difference in the Ukraine crisis? Until March 24th, if you donate to help improve the situation in Ukraine on Gitcoin your funds will be matched by a pool of over $700,000 using the power of quadratic funding.
In some cases, 1 DAI can be matched up to 50x, so even small amounts are meaningful. Peace is a global public good, and it's become increasingly clear that we have to work to collectively maintain it. For more details, check out http://gitcoin.co/grants and go to the "Support for Ukraine" category.
Public goods are good.
Gitcoin grants sustain web3 projects with quadratic funding
The open economy is taking over the old one. Subscribe to keep up with this revolution. Click here to pay with DAI (for $100/yr) or sub with fiat by clicking on the button below ($15/mo, $150/yr).
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⍺ DeFi Alpha Newsletter
Kevin Owocki is the founder of Gitcoin, which helps coordinate crowdfunding for projects and software developments on the Ethereum blockchain. With 300,000 builders and over 25,000 funders, Gitcoin has become a key pillar of the Ethereum nation, making sure public goods can survive and thrive. We talk about how Gitcoin was born as a reaction to the ICO era, after Kevin realized many of the business models and funding mechanisms on Ethereum were broken. Open-source software is carrying a huge weight, while its builders are not being properly compensated or incentivized, and Gitcoin wants to change that.
Kevin also dives into Gitcoin’s transition into a DAO and how the GTC token now fits into the platform. We also chat about Kevin’s recently published book titled “Green Pilled: How Crypto Can Regenerate the World.” It explores the intersection of programmable money, game theory, mechanism design, and the goal of getting from Degen Finance to Regen Finance.
📺 First Look: Aave V3 launched: Higher Borrowing Power, Cross Chain Txns, & Improved Risk Management
The Catch: Web3 Projects Jack Up Comp With Token Incentives
By Owen Fernau
Web2 giants like Google and Facebook have long been beacons for talent seeking cushy paydays, and for good reason — senior software engineers at all five FAANG companies make well over $300,000 a year, according to levels.fyi.
It didn’t take long for web3 to catch up. Jobs with similar lofty income levels have emerged at web3 startups. A senior Solidity engineer position at Silo Finance, a lending protocol, recently turned heads with a reported salary ranging from $300,000 to $750,000.
Other eye-popping postings have crossed the wires: TempleDAO, an OlympusDAO fork, posted a job paying $300,000 to $900,000 and it quickly made the rounds on Twitter. LooksRare also offered a package that topped $600,000, according to The Daily Ape.
ETH Rio Showcased Nation's Promise But Old Challenges Like Corruption Loom
David Leibowitz returned from ETH Rio inspired, and a touch concerned, by what he found on the South American nation’s thriving web3 space.
In a week filled with discussions, building, and excitement, ETH Rio brought together crypto-natives and crypto-curious from all over Latin America and beyond to exhibit what has been brewing in the region.
Latin America presents a unique opportunity for crypto and Web3. The continent’s history has been turbulent and the majority of people here know all too well what it feels like to get “rugged” by their governments whether it be through rampant inflation, restrictive monetary policy, or blatant corruption. Yet, with a combination of a large online population, a growing pool of talented developers, and the desire to improve their situation there is fertile soil for crypto and web3 to take root.
Many of the industry’s most influential figures are noticing this. Binance Founder and CEO CZ made a surprise appearance at the conference to announce the exchange’s plan to expand into Brazil. CZ is meeting with government officials in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro as he eyes where to set up shop for his Brazilian headquarters.
Binance will face competition from entrenched incumbents such as Mercado Bitcoin and Mexico-based Bitso, both unicorns that collectively have about 7 million users. In addition, heavyweights Coinbase, Crypto.com, and others are attempting to expand in the country, too.
The Defiant Saga
Popular Amphibian Has Come Home to Web3 After a Wild Journey
In which Mason Marcobello tells the tale of the omnipresent amphibian and his metamorphosis into a DeFi icon.
It’s no secret to veterans and newly indoctrinated DeFi “degens” that memes are as indelible a part of web3 as NFTs. And when it comes to anthropomorphic characters nestled throughout the NFT world, there’s nothing more at home than Pepe the Frog. You see this character everywhere, on Discord servers, Twitter, Telegram channels, and at crypto events.
While Pepe may not be getting the kind of buzz that Bored Ape is, check this out In October, a one-of-one Rare Pepe NFT called “Pepenopoulos” sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $3.6 million. It was created in 2016.
Pepe the Frog dates back to 2006, when it appeared in a Matt Furie comic called “Boy’s Club.” Several years later, due to the Cambrian-like explosion of social media, the character quickly evolved into a standalone meme, gaining popularity on Myspace and 4chan. It was first released as NFTs six years ago on a peer-to-peer marketplace called Counterparty.
Designers Must Dial Back the Cash Grab and Step Up Innovation
Guest writer Will Deane says gamers’ skepticism of NFTs can be addressed with one simple step — listen to them.
NFTs are hot. The art, fashion, and food industries have embraced them. So has Hollywood and professional sports leagues and stars. But there’s one group that isn’t interested: gamers. While some game developers are eager to implement NFTs, many are appalled by what they see as a greed-motivated cash grab.
Well-known brands like EA and Ubisoft received enormous backlash from the gaming community (including their employees). Critics argued that introducing NFTs into gameplay through play-to-earn (P2E) gaming would turn the recreational gaming world into a hyper-consumerist place gamers want to escape from.
Blockchain games need to take a different approach to receive acceptance from the broader gaming community. Rather than presenting NFTs and other digital assets as a speculative earning opportunity, blockchain game developers should address problems their technology can solve.
Everything You Want to Know About the Decentralized Crypto Exchange
In 2021, the GameStop/AMC short squeeze episode demonstrated how traditional finance is full of obfuscation. Retail traders expected their trades to execute immediately. However, it turned out that an investor’s trade goes through several intermediaries, multiple congressional hearings and lawsuits later showed.
Brokers, clearinghouses, and market makers are intertwined with overlapping interests, best exemplified by Robinhood’s payment for order flows (PFOF) business, which sells its trading data to hedge funds on the side.
As an automated market maker (AMM), Uniswap does away with obfuscation and centralization. Embracing decentralized finance (DeFi) instead of centralized finance (CeFi), Uniswap has exploded in popularity. Its total value locked (TVL) has multiplied 137 times since February 2020, to $7.5B. (TVL shows how much cryptocurrency is committed to a protocol and is a key measure of its strength.)
A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Binance Smart Chain With MetaMask
By Arya Ghobadi
In this article, we’ll show you how to add BSC network to your MetaMask wallet. If you have yet to read our primer on setting up MetaMask best to do that first. Click here.
When you enter MetaMask,the first thing you’ll see is that it’s an Ethereum wallet and it is connected to the Ethereum mainnet. This won’t work with the Binance Smart Chain dApps and you could potentially lose your funds by sending them to addresses that you can’t actually use so we need to connect our MetaMask wallet to the Binance Smart Chain nodes.
There are two ways to do it: One is automatic and the second is manual. First, we’ll show you the automatic way. So go to a dApp on Binance Smart Chain like PancakeSwap.
Anchor Leapfrogs Aave as Top DeFi Lending Protocol With $14B TVL Anchor, a stablecoin yield protocol representing more than 53% of Terra’s Total Value Locked (TVL), has overtaken Aave to become the third-largest dApp in DeFi.
Meme Stonk GameStop Taps Loopring for Beta NFT Marketplace Gamestop’s highly anticipated NFT marketplace has been launched in beta. But it arrives with a surprise: It will be powered by Loopring instead of Immutable X, its recently announced partner.
Friday Wrap: Markets On Track For Second Week Of Gains Crypto markets are consolidating their gains from Thursday, buoyed by global risk-on sentiment and news that Russia may turn to Bitcoin as a payment option for gas and other commodities as Western sanctions bite.
NFT Market Shifting Into New Growth Phase: Report With every week that goes by it becomes clearer that peak NFT has passed. Or does it? It’s true. Google searches for the term “NFTs” are down by almost a third from mid-January. And daily volume on OpenSea has fallen more than 65% since Feb. 1, according to data from DuneAnalytics.
Polkadot Parachains Launch $250M Fund To Grow Ecosystem Polkadot’s network is rallying behind Acala’s aUSD stablecoin. Nine Polkadot parachain teams launched a $250M Ecosystem Fund to support early-stage startups building Polkadot and Kusama-based dapps that support Acala Network’s aUSD stablecoin, according to a March 23 announcement from Acala.
Australian Bank Drops Anti-Crypto Stance and Embraces Stablecoins In an about face, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), has become the country’s first bank to mint an Ethereum-based, AUD-denominated stablecoin dubbed the A$DC, the bank said in a statement on March 23.
Phishing Exploit Pinches 60 NFTs From Top Collector The perpetrators of a sophisticated hack have stolen more than 60 NFTs from noted collector Arthur Cheong, the founder of DeFiance Capital. Works from the valuable CloneX and Azuki collections were among those lost to the attackers.
Crypto Tourists Exit Amid Bear Market Bummer, Search Data Suggests Is crypto boring again? That may be one interpretation of search data The Defiant examined this week. Key search terms relating to crypto have been declining since January, suggesting that retail traders and DeFi tourists are exiting the sector.
Ether Burn Rate Plunges to Seven Month Low Ethereum’s burn rate has plummeted to its lowest level since EIP-1559 was introduced in August 2021.
Market Roundup: BSC Flexes its DEXes as Terra Surges Binance Smart Chain’s DEXes still rule. That’s the upshot of heavy action in the crypto markets as bulls battle bears to retake control of the narrative.
Thanking all the amazing Defiers for the support and love this week (and always)!
The Defiant @DefiantNews🗳️DAOs may be disruptive, but that doesn’t mean they won’t thrive within legal boundaries. Rather than resisting regulation, DAOs should welcome compliance as a strategic way to legitimize and grow, says @ryanmberkun, founder of @useteller. Read more👇 https://t.co/2fuIhPGDx1
🧑💻 ✍️ Stories in The Defiant are written by Owen Fernau, Samuel 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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