🦄 Recap: DeFi Week of Nov. 21
Hello Defiers! Happy Weekend! And Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S.
We all have much to be thankful for this year, yes? Just look back at the state of play in crypto 12 months ago. NFTs were only beginning to bubble to the surface of the culture — now they’ve become a cultural phenomenon and NFT is the word of the year, according to Collins Dictionary. DAOs, too, were only beginning to surface. Now they are posing a fascinating challenge to venture capitalists in the race to support promising DeFi startups. There was less than $20B locked in DeFi — now there’s more than $200B, with an explosion of new protocols and dapps.
For us at The Defiant there is one more development to celebrate — The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-Hackers Is Builing the Next Internet with Ethereum is to be produced as a feature film, complete with an NFT community to support the production. The book by our chiefess, Camila Russo, is the definitive origin story of Ethereum. To see it come to life in the cinema, plus support emerging artists producing a special collection of NFT artwork in connection with the film, is a milestone for The Defiant, and we hope, the DeFi community at large.
So Defiers, let’s give thanks to all the hard work, creativity, and good fortune that’s come our way these past months. The best part is this all just getting started…
Still, it pays to be sober-minded and analytical about DeFi, and to that end the intrepid Brady Dale investigated the potential black swans that could sink decentralized finance. He returned with a deeply reported feature on the vulnerabilities of stablecoins USDT and USDC. It’s a must read for anyone in the space.
Likewise, Owen Fernau chronicled the simmering tensions over Ethereum’s gas fees; they exploded in quite the Twitter spat last weekend. The same angst cropped up in the ConstitutionDAO story. Sam Haig reported on how donors are chafing at the gas fees and other transaction costs that are eating into refunds as the DAO dissolves. And rising fees in Avalanche are also spurring a scramble for solutions.
Yet gas fee stress was tempered by surprising boomlets, too. Yyctrader weighed in with a report on the frenzy sparked by Wolf Game, the latest play-to-earn star. And Geoff Cook, the co-founder of Base, talked to Camila Russo in our podcast about how to build brands in crypto. In the wake of Robin Schmidt’s scintillating interview with Ice Cube last week, he and his video team tackled “cracks in the DeFi narrative.” Great stuff!
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In this week’s episode Camila Russo spoke with Geoff Cook, co-founder of Base, a design studio with huge clients from all industries, including The New York Times, MoMA, ING Bank and large-scale projects like JFK’s Terminal 4 and the Meatpacking District in New York. Geoff hopes to soon add crypto to the list.
He recently wrote an article stating that "For Crypto, Branding Could be the Highest Currency,” as the success of these projects will rely on communicating complex concepts and features to gain mass adoption. We discuss that crypto is in its teenage years in terms of branding: crypto, and especially DeFi projects, are rebelling against traditional finance and web2, but they’re still seeking to belong to a group and are not expressing their own individual characteristics and values. This is making all DeFi brands look alike. Geoff says that a company, or in the case of crypto, a protocol, that wants to build a powerful brand needs to figure out the story they want to tell. They need to know exactly what they stand for, what their purpose is, and who their user is. Next comes identifying how to communicate that to their core user.
📬 Inbox Dump #33
Hello Defiers! Welcome to Inbox Dump 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.
At The Defiant we cover the most important DeFi-related news and developments but we know many of you are hunting for projects before they are fully developed and before they are newsworthy. Our goal with this installment of the newsletter is to help you find them. Look at this as the starting point to DYOR.
We also include a compilation of DeFi and crypto funding rounds in the past week so you have these in one handy place.
Keep in mind these have been unedited. With that —here we go!
[This post is exclusive to subscribers]
We asked a simple question: What black swan events could sink DeFi? Brady Dale investigated and found that crypto leaders worry most about the stability of two major stablecoins.
If decentralized finance were a character in a fable, we could imagine it as a rebel warrior taking on the world — traditional finance in particular. Then we can think about that rebel’s different body parts as composed of the industry’s best projects so far.
So, its two fists might be Uniswap and Curve, the decentralized exchanges that are letting people put their resources behind a lot of ideas and move them around quickly as one fades and another looks promising.
Basic financial products that let people do recognizable financial work but in a decentralized way, like Compound, Synthetix, Cover and dYdX, might be the arms that make our warrior strong. Ethereum itself would be — obviously — the heart, while long term plays — like Yearn, Convex and Index Co-op — might be thought of as the left brain and NFTs and crypto hijinks (like Jay Pegs Auto Mart) as the right brain.
But what are the legs? What are the projects that, if they were to be cut out from under it, would make our metaphorical warrior fall to earth?
New Layer 2 Boba Leapfrogs Optimism and Races Past $1B in TVL Boba Network, a scaling solution for Ethereum has jumped out of nowhere to hit $1B in total value locked, according to L2BEAT.
Crypto.com’s Cronos Chain Nears $1B in TVL as Token Jumps 350% It’s been a great month for Crypto.com, the world’s fourth largest cryptocurrency exchange. CRO, the company’s native token, is up 350% in the last 30 days and hit an all-time high of $0.96 on Nov. 24.
The Story of Ethereum to Become a Movie and NFT Collection “The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto Hackers is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum,” the hit book by Camila Russo detailing the history of Ethereum, is about to be made into a movie with its own NFT-driven community.
Rising Fees on Avalanche Trigger Scramble for Solutions Transaction fees are a touchy subject in crypto.First there was Ethereum, with simple trades on Uniswap going for over $100, as of Nov. 23, according to Etherscan. Now, in the wake of a weekend Twitter war in which transaction fees played a central role, users are reporting on the social network that fees on Avalanche, another Layer 1, are creeping up as well.
ConstitutionDAO Irks Donors as Gas Fees and Transaction Costs Eat Into Refunds ConsitutionDAO, the group that fell short in its bid to purchase the first edition copy of the U.S. Constitution, has announced that it will dissolve and return all funds to contributors.
Wolf Game NFTs Spark Frenzy with Sales of $52M in Five Days There’s a new game in town. Wolf Game, a new play-to-earn concept that brings together NFTs and DeFi on the Ethereum blockchain, has taken crypto by storm and players can’t get enough.
Twitter Fight Between VC and Devs Stirs Angst Over Ethereum Gas Fees Crypto Twitter, the heart of web3 discourse, had its most raucous weekend in recent memory. The clash kicked off with an incendiary tweet from Zhu Su, co-founder of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, a juggernaut in web3 investment.
Acala Network Wins Polkadot’s Parachain Slot as Auction Shifts to Next Phase Acala Network secured Polkadot’s first parachain slot on Nov. 18, winning the auction with a bid of 32M DOT (worth roughly $1.3B at the time) that was supported by more than 81,000 unique addresses. Acala Network is now slated to go live alongside the next four parachain auction winners in mid-December.
Thanking all the amazing Defiers for the support and love this week (and always)!
🧑💻 ✍️ Stories in The Defiant are written by Brady Dale, Owen Fernau, Sanuel Haig, Bailey Reutzel, and yyctrader, and edited by Edward Robinson, yyctrader, Bailey Reutzel, and Camila Russo. Videos were produced by Robin Schmidt and Alp Gasimov. Podcast was led by Camila, edited by Alp.
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