July 16, 2022
Issue No. 16
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: StarkWare Announces Native Token for StarkNet
- NFTs: Lending Startup Supermojo Raised $6M for New NFT Financing Services
- Gaming: ART, The Underappreciated Twin of Gameplay; HexRoast Brings in the “Oracle System” to Keep Coin Prices Stable
- Legal Landscape: Serving Legal Documents via NFTs to Anonymous Individuals
Blockchain & DeFi Developments
Web3 Projects Selected for Disney’s Accelerator Program
Disney’s 2022 Accelerator Program focuses on projects building the ‘future of immersive experiences through AR, AI and NFTs’, and 6 Web3 projects were selected:
- Polygon - Ethereum Scaling Platform
- Flickplay - Social Media App
- Inworld - AI
- Lockerverse - Storytelling Platform
- Red 6 - AR
- Obsess - Web3 Virtual Store Platform
StarkWare Announces Native Token for StarkNet
StarkWare announced that StarkNet, its layer-2 scaling technology, will launch a native token with the following purposes, reports Decrypt: 1. Transaction Fees on StarkNet 2. Governance 3. Blockchain Consensus Mechanism
The token is expected to go live in September 2022, and airdrops for early adopters/users were not immediately clarified, which was equally met with anger from some users lambasting the proposed token distribution, reports TheDefiant.
Lending Startup Supermojo Raised $6M for New NFT Financing Services
The NFT industry has experienced massive user growth, yet the NFT financing market has lagged the overall growth of the industry. Financing options are generally limited to peer-to-peer and peer-to-pool protocols that are not intuitive or accessible to the average NFT buyer.
Supermojo is the new startup from two ex-Ripple executives who want to make the NFT buying and holding process more straightforward for consumers, in part by offering buy-now-pay-later services. The company raised $6 million in seed funding from BH Digital, DRW Venture Capital, Intersection Growth Partners, and other investors.
The platform facilitates point-of-sale financing to improve the NFT purchase experience and collateralized lending for improved post-sale liquidity. Supermojo’s initial focus will be on partnering with marketplaces and storefronts that serve the $25B NFT Market.
“Digital goods will be the largest market in the world, so it is extremely important to provide an experience accessible for all people, especially those without crypto expertise,” added Mr. DeWitt Head of Product and Engineering. “Supermojo’s checkout financing and lending infrastructure lowers the barrier of entry for new users and moves us closer to a future of frictionless, digital ownership.”
Games & Blockchain Gaming
The Underappreciated Twin of Gameplay: ART
The gameplay in Muramasa: The Demon Blade is nothing to write home about. Weapons are grossly imbalanced, no real exploration and hunting for secrets or clues unlike similar style games such as Hollow Knight, the maps are flat so you can pretty much run on a straight line from one end to the other to complete the level, plus you would face the same enemies, again and again, making the gameplay quite boring. However, the game is one of the best 2D side scroller Action RPGs with strong ratings across most reviews. So what did the game get right?
Visually Stunning: The development team consisted of just 20 people, mostly made up of artists, and it plays as such. The atmosphere that the developers created keeps players visually hooked and wanting to see more! Everything in the game was hand drawn and animated using custom software derived from flash with a few 3D elements infused in. Everything in Murasama, the maps, the enemies, and even the food animations, is a visual treat for the player.
History and Culture: The game leans heavily on the Japanese Artstyle specific to the EDO period, the final period of traditional Japan. Even the food of that period was researched and recreated as a game mechanic. The game allows you to cook or visit restaurants which are not necessary for game completion, however, the player can get to experience the eating animations which are satisfying to watch. The 108 blades in the game are a reference to the number of sins in Buddhist mythology. The boss fights also include Gods from Japanese mythology. The game goes all out to reflect the history of Japan and show off the depth of research on Japanese Culture.
Synergy: The story itself was based on the legend of Muramasa whose swords were thought to contain his bloodlust. The developers wanted to keep the story rooted in the Japanese theme so they opted not to dub the voice acting into other languages. As you enter new maps, fight new enemy types, or just decide to enjoy a meal, the music changes to fit the theme of whatever you are doing. The art style synergizes seamlessly with the careless hack & slash gameplay which is brought together by the amazing music.
"Donkey Kong Country proves that players will put up with mediocre gameplay as long as the art is good." - Shigeru Miyamoto - Designer, producer, and game director at Nintendo
Muramasa: The Demon Blade is an excellent example that showcases the value of art in gaming and how art can give the edge for success.
HexRoast Brings in the “Oracle System” to Keep Coin Prices Stable
A major obstacle for playing to earn games would be keeping coin prices as stable as possible as the game economy goes live. There are a few features that HexRoast brings in that might help them achieve this goal.
Firstly, winning can’t be bought with NFTs in HexRoast. Historically in the play-to-earn (P2E) gaming experience, purchasing NFTs is essential to advancing successfully in the game. Conversely, in HexRoast, your NFTs don’t help you win battles. Instead, your purchased NFTs will increase the ‘Game Chest’, and fights will be won by tactical decisions
The new oracle system adjusts the price of in-game chests and slots depending on the coin rate on the exchange. Although the price of in-game chests and characters in USD remains the same, all in-game purchases are made with the game’s coin, whose value changes.
When the coin rate decreases — players need more coins to buy an in-game collectible.
When the coin rate increases — players need fewer coins to buy an in-game collectible.
The Oracle System ensures that when the exchange rate of the coin falls, the value of the game chests increases. By contrast, when the exchange rate grows, the chest falls accordingly.
The game will also have a commission for withdrawing coins to the wallet, decreasing from 50% to 0% in 40 days.
Ather Labs’ Backers
Dragonfly Capital Leads Quadrata’s $7.5 Million Seed Round
AtherLabs Backer Dragonfly Capital led the seed round, accompanied by other institutional investors such as Franklin Templeton, Abra, GSR Ventures, Orange DAO, Fellows Fund, GreatPoint Ventures, and August Capital — Prominent Angel investors include Balaji Srinivasan (FRM Coinbase), Ryan Selkis (Messari), Mathieu Nouzareth (The Sandbox), Zeneca (ZenAcademy) and Wilson Lee (The Littles).
Quadrata’s purpose is to improve the web3 Identity and Reputation. The funds raised will be used to grow their ecosystem and integrate hundreds of dApps. They also plan to offer their Quadrata Passport to millions of users. This passport is expected to host verifiable identity information and compliance review ratings with the help of privacy-preserving and Sybil-resistant technology.
Kyber Network’s $KNC Token Added to Grayscale’s “Assets Under Consideration”
Great news for AtherLabs Backer Kyber Network!
As per Grayscale’s website, the “Assets Under Consideration” category “lists some digital assets that are not currently included in a Grayscale investment product,” but are assets that they are paying attention to as part of their exploration and are considered possible candidates for future investment products.
GameStop Launches Beta Version of their NFT Marketplace
The beta version of GameStop’s NFT Marketplace launched on July 11, 2022.
Per GameStop, this NFT Marketplace allows gamers, creators, collectors, and other community members to buy, sell and trade NFTs. The Company’s NFT marketplace is a non-custodial, Ethereum L2-based marketplace. Users can connect with GameStop’s Wallet, with WalletConnect, or with MetaMask.
During their launch day, NFT sales amounted to approximately 1.8K ETH (approximately $2M with current ETH prices of around $1.1K/ETH). A 2.25% commission fee earned by GameStop amounts to around $40K in total revenue for the first day of the Marketplace.
As of today, the total trading volume on the Marketplace amounts to approximately 3.5K ETH (roughly $4M). As such, GameStop has earned approximately $90k in revenue within the first four days. Only time will tell if they are successful!
You can access GameStop’s NFT Marketplace at https://nft.gamestop.com.
OpenSea Lays Off About 20% of their Staff
NFT Marketplace OpenSea has laid off about 20% of its staff, tweeted CEO Devin Finzer on July 14, 2022.
Among Finzer’s notes to his staff, he mentions that they (OpenSea) “plan to treat them with great care”, and that they will be “provided with generous severance, healthcare coverage into 2023, and accelerated equity vesting…”
His notes also mention the following:
“Nevertheless, the reality is that we have entered an unprecedented combination of crypto winter and broad macroeconomic instability, and we need to prepare the company for the possibility of a prolonged downturn….” “The changes we’re making today put us in a position to maintain multiple years of runway under various crypto winter scenarios…”
Finzer also mentions that OpenSea is confident that they will only have to perform this Layoff process once.
National Policies & Legal Updates
Serving Legal Documents via NFTs to Anonymous Individuals
Litigation against Anon Individuals in the Blockchain space has traditionally been difficult, usually with many hoops required in order to identify a person to serve. Interestingly, UK’s High Court has recently allowed Legal Documents to be served as NFTs sent to Wallet addresses, CoinDesk reports, in an interesting new application of NFTs.
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