July 23, 2022
Issue No. 12
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 Developments
Polygon Announces ZK Rollup Testnet (Polygon zkEVM)
Polygon has announced Polygon zkEVM, which in their words, is the “first Ethereum-equivalent scaling solution that works seamlessly with all existing smart contracts, developer tools, and wallets, harnessing advanced cryptography called zero-knowledge proofs.” The ZK Rollup Testnet will likely be launched in Summer 2022 ( by Q3 2022), with a mainnet launch scheduled for early 2023, and it is designed with the ability to allow developers to move virtually any Ethereum smart contract onto Polygon zkEVM without needing to alter its code, with an initial throughput of 40-50 transactions per second.
Lido to Offer stETH on Layer 2 Networks
Lido has announced plans to offer stETH on Layer 2 Chains, in a bid to entrench itself in the DeFi ecosystem, while adding further use cases for its synthetic ETH token. At present, Lido is eyeing an expansion into Arbitrum and Optimism, however, no timeline has yet been officially announced.
Epic Games CEO Comments on Minecraft NFT Ban
Mojang Studios announced it is banning integrating NFTs into its game. Part of the rejection of NFTs stems from rules in place to ensure all players have access to the same functionality; for example, there are rules around how people charge for server access. The developer says "NFTs, however, can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft."
This has led to major projects like NFT Worlds and Llamascape being affected as the whole foundation of their project is built on Minecraft using the base game client. NFT Worlds sells NFTs tied to "world seeds," which can be used to create Minecraft worlds. To date, the project has generated over $75 million in transaction volume at today's crypto prices. After Mojang Studios' announcement, the minimum price for an NFT Worlds NFT cratered, from 3 ETH ($4,500) to 1.4 ETH ($2,100) at the time of writing. Its token was also down over 70 percent.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney commented that "Developers should be free to decide how to build their games, and you are free to decide whether to play them. I believe stores and operating system makers shouldn’t interfere by forcing their views onto others. We definitely won’t"
Games & Blockchain Gaming
Monster Hunter Sunbreak - Creating Depth One Step at a Time
The latest expansion: Sunbreak, is another huge success for the Monster Hunter Series, bringing a new set of challenges and unique mechanics for players to explore and experiment with! Let’s take a look at some of them. Switch skill swap: Monster Hunter Rise created a new level of depth by introducing Wirebug switch skills which allow players to perform unique weapon attacks or buffs to enhance their playstyle. Normally, players would need to equip their preferred switch skills before going into battle, however, with the expansion, players will be able to perform a “switch skill swap” which will allow them to change skills in the middle of a battle seamlessly. The introduction of swapping skills in the middle of a battle creates great depth and also encourages players to explore a more creative playstyle.
Master Rank: It’s essentially an entirely new full-sized adventure stacked on top of Monster Hunter Rise’s base game, featuring harder versions of the game’s beasties alongside a new lineup of Sunbreak Monsters, and requires players to have finished the whole base campaign and leveled up their hunter a decent way just to play it.
Anomaly Quests: These endgame quests are special hunts against Monsters driven mad by the Qurio creatures encountered throughout the story. These monsters are exceedingly powerful and have a few unique mechanics, and they will also reward the hunter with special materials that can be used to craft some of the highest-tier equipment.
Monster Hunter is able to time after time, use whatever already exists within the game and enhance them to create more depth and content for players. Enhancing older monsters and afflicting them with a disease to make them more powerful, simply allowing players to switch skills in the middle of a battle or ramping up the difficulty and creating a new ranking system and calling it Master Rank. If we look at them one by one, they seem minor, but as we put them all together, we get an expansion.
Final Fantasy NFTs! Linking Digital Products with Physical Collectibles
Square Enix has partnered with blockchain gaming firm Enjin to release NFTs based on the Final Fantasy franchise. The publisher will release 2 NFT that won’t be purely digital products, however, they’re tied to physical action figures and trading cards based on the smash role-playing game (RPG) Final Fantasy VII. The first release of packs of physical trading cards in spring 2023 will sell for $4 per six-card pack. Each comes with a code to redeem for a single NFT trading card minted by Enjin on its Efinity platform, which is built on the Polkadot blockchain. The second will come in November 2023. Square Enix will release a limited edition action figure of the game’s star, Cloud Strife. Both the standard figure and “Digital Plus Edition” will come with a code to redeem an NFT certificate of authenticity, but only the latter comes with an additional NFT: a digital replica of the physical toy. Square Enix has chosen to focus on its use of the Efinity Parachain, a layer 1 proof-of-stake solution that does not require energy-intensive mining and is run by a company committed to being carbon neutral by 2030.
Ather Labs’ Backers
Dragonfly Capital Continues Investing during Bear Market
AtherLabs Backer Dragonfly Capital led a $13M pre-Series A funding round for XLD Finance, a DeFi Infrastructure Startup.
XLD Finance offers cross-border decentralized finance tools for emerging markets. The funds are intended to go toward product development and hiring engineers, according to a press release provided to CoinDesk.
Additionally, Dragonfly Capital participated in Hashflow’s $25M Series A funding round.
Hashflow is a DeFi trading platform that claims to be “The New Standard in DeFi Trading” given that they use a request-for-quote (RFQ) model to manage pools. They plan to use the capital for scaling the product, expanding the team, and launching structured products later this year.
Delphi Digital Releases In-Depth Crypto Gaming Report
AtherLabs Backer Delphi Digital recently released a report about The Future of (Crypto) Gaming.
Some of the topics included in the report:
- The Magic Circle → A high-level framework to understand why people are drawn to games
- The history of game monetization
- How blockchain can improve gaming
- The current generation of crypto games
- Using crypto to monetize around games
You can read the full report below (note: it’s a lengthy but worthy read!)
The Future of (Crypto) Gaming - Delphi Digital
It's no secret by now that most gamers hate crypto. We've witnessed heavy community backlash around announcements such as Ubisoft Quartz and even more recently with Dr DisRespect's Midnight Society. Video game commentators such as Asmongold, Josh Strife Hayes, and many more continue to hound the sector-often with good reason.
GameStop’s NFT Marketplace First Week Sales Top CoinbaseNFT’s Total Volume
It’s been a week since our last
In that time, trading volume has reached over 5K ETH (or approximately $7M+ in current ETH prices), which is higher than the trading volume of CoinbaseNFT, which has been approximately 1.9K ETH since its public launch on May 4.
Binance NFT Releases “Mint NFT” Feature
Users are required to KYC and get 2 followers on their account as requirements to unlock this feature.
Afterward, they can essentially create an NFT collection, which allows them to create NFTs within that collection.
Check out the thread below for more details 👇
Solanart Integrates Chainlink Price Feeds to its NFT Marketplace
Although at first glance it might seem like a small feat, integration of Chainlink price feed ensures that Solanart users can trade based on the actual (live) prices of SOL.
By integrating the industry-leading decentralized oracle network, Solanart has access to high-quality, tamper-proof price feeds needed to help display USD-based prices for the NFTs listed on our marketplace.
This will provide our users with stronger assurances that NFTs priced in USD more accurately reflect current market conditions.
National Policies & Legal Updates
United Arab Emirates Unveils Metaverse Strategy, Targeting Addition of $4B to Economy by 2030
Dubai has announced its strategic intention to attract more than 1000 companies, particularly in the fields of blockchain and the metaverse, alongside the creation of 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030, reports the UAE’s official news agency.
This initiative will likely precede significant investment from UAE in the following years on the pillars of Web3 Education and Training, alongside multiple government-supported metaverse experiments and trials, as well as significant infrastructure and regulatory support.
Taiwan Looks to Ban Credit Card-related Crypto Purchases
Taiwan’s financial regulator, the Financial Supervisory Commission has issued a mandate for credit card agencies in Taiwan to cease allowing crypto purchases using Credit Cards within three months, reports Coindesk.
South Korea Postpones Planned 20% Crypto Tax Once Again
South Korean Government Officials have confirmed that the planned 20% Crypto Earnings Tax on its taxpayers has been delayed by another 2 years, until 2025, reports Coindesk. Under the South Korean Tax Framework, the 20% Tax on Crypto is applied on crypto gains exceeding 2.5 Million KRW (~$1.9k USD) in a one-year period.
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