May 8, 2022
Issue No. 1
EDWIN ONG, JOEL COLON, ASHRAF AHMAD
Welcome to this week's AtherXplorer, covering the latest in gaming, blockchain, and everything in between.
This week’s top picks include:
- Blockchain & Defi: $36M of JUNO Tokens Moved to Wrong Address
- Gaming & NFTs: Path of Exile finds a new way to make the game harder; More than one way to tell a story; The Darkside of Otherside; Coinbase Woos the NFT Marketplace Crowd to its NFT Marketplace Platform; Kraken Eyes a Slice of the NFT Marketplace $41 Billion Dollar Pie
- Legal Landscape: Debated European Union Bill (MiCA) Attempts to Expand its Regulatory Scope to NFTs
Blockchain & DeFi Developments
$36M of JUNO Tokens Moved to Wrong Address Due to Dev Error & Lack of Validator Due Diligence
Validators in a Blockchain Project can sometimes be seen as a practical implementation of the Swiss Cheese Model of Risk Management which is heavily used in industries where failures are extremely costly (be it financially or in human lives).
However, the latest JUNO saga seems to suggest a set-up where validator groups that are disinterested or do not have key expertise relating to the management of this particular type of risk (in this case, blockchain development), do not seem to work too well.
Mistake 1: Developers “copy and pasted” the wrong destination address. Mistake 2: 120 Validators passed the upgrade with the wrong destination address.
Bear Market Accumulation & Yield - Alpaca Finance “Saving Vaults” Upcoming Product
Bear Markets are traditionally known as the time to accumulate your ‘bag’, be it stocks or even cryptocurrencies.
Alpaca Finance, ranked 36 in TVL (Total Value Locked) amongst all DeFi Protocols, across all Chains is set to be launching a new Automated Investment Strategy to accumulate Tokens that you believe will make a comeback in the next Bull Market. Using their proprietary tech and unique positioning in the market as one of 2 Main Leveraged Yield Farms (The other being Alpha Homora, Ranked 46), Alpaca Finance provides a solution where you would be able to hold on to your Digital Assets while growing the quantity of the Digital Assets using leverage (at no liquidation risk), meaning that Users look can look forward to benefiting in both quantity growth as well as value growth when the next Bull Market comes along. Backtests for this strategy seem to suggest that APYs are at 28% for Bitcoin and 30% for Ethereum. However, do note that past performance is not an indicator of future performance.
NFTs, Games & Blockchain Gaming
Path of Exile finds a new way to make the game harder!
This upcoming expansion, Sentinels, will allow players to push themselves even harder by providing players with a custom way to make the game more difficult! With already endless customization options and hardcore late-game content, this hefty update will be sure to quench the thirst of the veterans in the P.O.E universe.
Where Diablo 3 offers a more “casual” gameplay experience, Path of Exile does the opposite, as they introduce elaborate skill trees with nearly endless customization options and difficulty spikes that can be very punishing for wrong builds. P.O.E continues to attract hardcore gamers who want a real challenge!
As you uncover and collect “sentinels” dropping as loot from monsters, they can be deployed in battle to spice up your difficulty (since the game isn't already hard enough) if you're feeling up to the challenge! There are three classes of Sentinel drones with each class exhibiting unique behaviors, different enhancements to powers, and a variety of perks and modifiers. Will you be trying out P.O.E: Sentinels?
Custom domains, themes, password protection, and more—no code required.
- Gameplay Trailer: Path of Exile: Sentinel - Official Expansion Trailer - YouTube
- Full Patch Notes: Patch Notes - Content Update 3.18.0 -- Path of Exile: Sentinel - Forum - Path of Exile
- P.O.E vs Diablo: DIABLO 3 vs. PATH OF EXILE: Which ARPG Is Better? (lootandgrind.com)
More than one way to tell a story
Facts tell, and stories sell. NFT Projects have come up with a number of ways to tell their stories. Some just write it on their website for everyone to read. Some others release comics to further immerse their community into the lore. STAR ATLAS will release an eight-episode podcast series that will take listeners on the journey of a falsely convicted android bounty hunter, also further expanding on the greater Star Atlas lore. These stories and new initiatives get the community even more so excited about the full release of the Game.
A quote from the Star Atlas CEO states:
“Star Atlas has been designed since inception to empower a new generation of gamers, creators, and dreamers to rebuild the world to alternative constructs and standards. A true digital Rebirth of the human species. We choose to build a metaverse and MMO embodied by true self-sovereignty. The vision for which would be impossible individually, but inevitable collectively.”
Surely an ambitious project, there is not much at all released with regards to any “real” gameplay at the moment. Is it too good to be true? Or will the project live up to its expectations? We will find out soon enough!
The Darkside of Otherside
The much anticipated Otherdeed for Otherside NFTs went live on Saturday night. The NFTs are supposed to be “the key to claiming land in Otherside,” Yuga Labs’ upcoming metaverse game!
Launched by Yuga Labs, the startup behind the popular NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), Otherdeed managed not only managed to burn More Than $157M (more than 20,000 ETH) in Ethereum but couldn't hold up its floor price for too long, leaving investors seeing red.
Crashing down to 3.4ETH from an all-time high of 8.7ETH, the decreasing demand has left most buyers holding their bags for now.
Otherdeed fans who didn't manage to mint also took a hit as well as $APE drops as much as 40% and is currently trading around $13.49 down from a high of $23 around the time of the Otherdeed mint. Some investors remain bullish on $APE and yuga labs while others complain about making huge losses as they sell and exit the market.
Ather Labs’ Backers
Dragonfly Capital Raises $650M for Third Crypto Fund
The new fund will allow Dragonfly to lead rounds in later-stage companies, the firm said.
Dragonfly Capital has closed its third fund with $650 million in the capital, pushing the firm’s assets under management to around $3 billion, a company spokesperson told CoinDesk. The fund will focus on all stages of blockchain and crypto companies creating “new digital economies.” Limited partners included global investment giants Tiger Global, KKR, and Sequoia China, among others.
CoinDesk previously reported on the existence of the fund in January when regulatory filings showed a $500 million target.
The new Dragonfly Ventures III fund more than doubles the $300 million raised in the firm’s prior two funds combined. The new fund’s size puts Dragonfly in the same league as Sequoia Capital and Bain Capital, which each recently made nearly $600 million in crypto commitments, and further proves that the venture capital frenzy that drove record-high fund sizes last year hasn’t slowed down.
Founded in 2018, Dragonfly Capital’s investment portfolio includes smart contracts platform Avalanche, layer 1 blockchain platform Near Protocol, DAI token creator MakerDAO, and zkSync creator Matter Labs, among others.
The new fund will allow Dragonfly Capital to lead rounds in later-stage companies, Dragonfly Capital General Partner Tom Schmidt told CoinDesk in an email.
“Since inception, we have always backed founders at the earliest stages and continued to back our portfolio companies into later stages. We haven’t always had the funds to lead further rounds and double down on teams we believe in,” Schmidt said. “With Fund III, we can back teams throughout their lifecycle and new founders as their companies mature.”
Gaming industry veterans raise capital for Web3 studio
Gaming industry professionals formerly of EA, Disney and Epic Games have raised $4 million for Playmint, a new venture studio developing massively multiplayer on-chain games, also known as MMOCG. The seed round was led by BITKRAFT Ventures with participation from Ethereal Ventures, Cherry Ventures, Play Ventures and 1kx. Playmint’s first title is called The Crypt, a loot-based dungeon game that’s built on the blockchain.
bloXroute secures $70M from major investors
Blockchain distribution network provider bloXroute has raised $70 million in funding to continue developing scalable infrastructure services for the cryptocurrency and DeFi industries. The Series B funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Dragonfly Capital, Jane Street, ParaFi Capital, Blindspot, GSR, and others. The company recently launched its Blockchain Distribution Network, which is said to overcome network congestion to provide users with reliable information about buy and sell orders.
Coinbase Woos the NFT Marketplace Crowd to its NFT Marketplace Platform
Coinbase has announced that its NFT Marketplace will be entering Beta, and anyone will be able to create an account, even if they did not preregister for access in late 2021. Further, in a bid to attract Users to its fledgling NFT Marketplace has announced that it would be charging 0% Marketplace Fees for a Limited Period of Time.
The Coinbase NFT Marketplace also seems to have integrated Machine Learning as part of its key features in the marketplace, promising user recommendations based on what the user buys, what is trending, and other user actions taken on its platform.
Kraken Eyes a Slice of the NFT Marketplace $41 Billion Dollar Pie
Kraken, one of the OG Centralized Cryptocurrency Exchanges, announced its foray into a Custodied NFT Marketplace on 3 May 2022. This is not the first time that a Centralized Exchange has decided to dip its toes into the NFT Market - Coinbase had also earlier announced its intention to enter the NFT Marketplace space in late 2021, and has since launched its NFT Marketplace in Beta to a waitlist of more than four million users - however, has struggled to so far attract Users to its platform.
National Policies & Legal Updates
Global Tax Enforcement Chiefs Announce Guidelines for Identifying Money Laundering Activities in NFT Sector
This document was created to help partners and private entities who are related to the NFT Industry, to identify potential illicit activities undertaken by criminals and syndicates, in order to “assist in the fight against tax crime and money laundering involving virtual assets”.
The report provides 16 Strong Indicators with 8 Moderate Indicators for consideration.
Debated European Union Bill (MiCA) Attempts to Expand its Regulatory Scope to NFTs
Coindesk reports that the latest iteration of the MiCA Bill (Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation), attempts to expand its scope of regulatory influence over NFTs. In the latest iterations, NFT Creators/Projects intending to operate within the EU’s influence have to be a legal person/organization, as opposed to a decentralized entity - in order to extend legal consumer protections. The motivations behind this were stated to be due to the swaths of NFT scams and frauds in recent months, which called the ‘integrity’ of NFTs into question.
90% of Central Banks Surveyed (n=81) are Exploring CBDCs: Bank for International Settlements
This BIS report found that 9 out of 10 Surveyed banks in End 2021 were either engaging in a) Research, b) Proof-of-Concept, or c) Pilots in CBDC (Central Banking Digital Currencies).
Generally, the introduction of CBDCs across various economies worldwide has been heralded as a precursor to a wider range of acceptance of Digital Assets across the general populace and is seen as a path to paving the way to more mainstream acceptance of Cryptocurrencies.
The survey also asked Central Banks how likely would a CBDC be introduced in their Country - with 68% responding that it was likely to be introduced within the next 1-6 years.
Note: The Bank for International Settlements is an International Financial Institution owned by 63 National Central Banks that represent 95% of the World’s GDP. Apart from its role in being the “Banker’s Bank”, it also provides economic analysis on major strategic issues impacting Central Banks. Source
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