August 13, 2022
Issue No. 15
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: Ethereum Completes Final Testnet Merge; New Privacy Standard Proposal for NFTs
- NFTs: Table Tennis X Web3
- Gaming: Path of Exile's New Expansion Brings in Roguelike Gameplay; Blockchain Should be "Invisible”
- Ather Labs’ Backers: Bitkraft Ventures Participates in Nerdystar’s $5.8M Seed Round
- Legal Landscape: U.S Treasury Bans Tornado Cash; Netherlands Arrests Suspect
Blockchain & DeFi Developments
Ethereum Completes Final Testnet Merge; Tentative September Dates for Ethereum’s Merge
Having largely successfully completed its Final Testnet Merge on Goerli, attention, and public interest have shifted to the Proposed Dates that Ethereum will finally transition to Proof of Stake. Yesterday, in a circulated memo amongst Ethereum Developers, 3 dates were largely proposed - Sept 15, 16, or 20. In light of this news, $ETH’s price has also seen gains, with its price currently hovering slightly below $2k, which is almost a 100% gain from a month ago.
New Privacy Standard Proposal for NFTs
A new proposal for adding Privacy Features for the ERC-721 token standard using zk-SNARKs was tabled earlier this week.
With the new proposed Token Standard, users will be able to theoretically send an NFT to others, without anyone else except the new owner being able to see who the owner is - effectively shielding the transaction details seen on the public blockchain.
Taiwan turns to IPFS as Critical Infrastructure Defense against Cyberattacks
With heavy volumes of cyber attacks on key Taiwan Web2 Infrastructure (almost 21x the previous daily record, at 15k Gigabits) in the wake of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the Taiwanese government has adopted IPFS Technology to defend its critical infrastructure.
In a testament to the resilience of the decentralized peer-to-peer design, despite the heavy cyber attack load, those key infrastructure points have not been successfully attacked thus far.
Table Tennis X Web3
World Table Tennis (WTT) which is part of the governing body for the sport, has announced that it will be exploring Web3 and NFT-focused projects moving forward.
Michael Brown, WTT's chief financial officer, added: “WTT has been researching and planning its entry into the Web 3.0 space for over 15 months now, studying and analyzing ways in which we can create greater fan engagement through Web 3.0.”
As per the official statement, this partnership will see digital collectibles, metaverse experiences, play-to-earn and move-to-earn gaming being released. This also means that table tennis will join other popular sports like basketball and football that have seen both governing bodies and individual clubs join in on the NFT movement.
“In many cases, we will be appealing to first-time wallet holders,” NFT Tech CEO Adam De Cata said in an email. “Using NFT technology, we will actively explore the 'IRL' utility and access possibilities such as tickets to tournaments, training facilities, and online broadcasts to VIP events.”
Games & Blockchain Gaming
Path of Exile's New Expansion Brings in Roguelike Gameplay!
Path of Exile has always been known for its complex depth of content, strong difficulty scaling, and the option to customize your own endgame with each expansion. This upcoming expansion will add to those strong points with a unique dungeon crawler and almost roguelike experience.
The Lake of Kalandra expansion will allow players to open portals to travel to a completely new game zone, the mirrored lake that granted Kalandra her powers of duplication. The lake manifests reflections of the forsaken continent “Wraeclast”, which emerges from its misty surface as you approach. Fight through these dangerous encounters which you assemble to uncover Kalandra's mysteries and earn her rewards!
Players will be able to assemble their own battlefield with the Mirrored Tablets found around the world. Each Mirrored Tablet will provide the option for players to select a number of "encounters" and assemble it on the empty tablet. After you have filled up your blank tablet with the encounters, a portal can be opened to the Mirrored Lake, where you will face the set of unique encounters you have created and the foes will be reflected onto the lake for you to challenge.
More encounters and encounters furthest from the lake entrance usually yield the most rewards, but there is a catch! As you stray deeper into the lake by adding encounters that put you further from the lake entrance, the difficulty will be amped up significantly for those encounters which are furthest from the lake! So take your time and make sure to assemble a tablet that you could conquer at your current power.
Unique Jewellery loot will also be something to look out for when fighting in the lake. There is a reflection system that will duplicate a piece of rare jewelry with an opposite set of stats. For example, if you get an item with +1000 STR and -100% dmg amplification, the reflection system will duplicate this jewelry and give you the option of selecting another one that has -1000 STR and +100% dmg amplification. The player will only be able to choose one of these to take back! Might be a difficult choice in certain cases, but with the right rolls, you might end up with just what you need.
With this new expansion, players can have fun creating their own battlefields, designing their most ideal encounters, and have a chance to get some amazing items. The new game mode gives a sense of control to the player and involves them in the decision-making process, and this allows them to stay engaged with the game longer to try out different things on their own!
- Content Reveal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWChrPIFiME
- Patch Notes: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3293287
Blockchain Should be "Invisible”
As we shared back in Issue 9, the number of steps involved to onboard a casual gamer onto a blockchain game is way too complicated. Gamers are turned away or even lost by the number of things to learn and understand before they can start getting into a blockchain game.
Developers of upcoming P2E blockchain games are finding ways to make this process smoother for the gaming community. Some are trying out different crypto networks, having different formulas to manage sustainable price points and purchases within the game economy, and coming up with new ways to educate the gaming community.
Com2uS president Kyu Lee, who spoke at Korea Blockchain Week 2022 in Seoul, explained one of the downfalls of entering the Web3 gaming space is current gatekeeping. New users must purchase nonfungible tokens (NFTs), set up a wallet, and involve themselves with a centralized exchange in most cases — all before even playing the game.
In the vision of Com2uS, users can just start playing without the hassle of initial integration.
“After you hit a certain level, you will earn virtual currency that can be converted into tokens. Then you actually download your wallet, and then it converts your assets. The purchasing approach is really different from most of the Web3 games out there in the market.”
As blockchain technology integrates with major global industries, the underlying foundations “should be invisible” says Lee. Instead, the focus should shift towards content creation, it is in this area that protocols can set themselves apart.
"That's the role that we want to play. We want to fill the exact needs that have pushed Web2 developers to migrate into the Web3 space.”
Ather Labs’ Backers
Arrington Capital Moonbeam Growth Fund Makes Strategic Investment in DAM Finance
AtherLabs Backer Arrington Capital’s Moonbeam Growth Fund makes a strategic investment in dPRIME Asset Modules Finance (”DAM Finance” or “DAM”), a protocol for creating purchasing power from cross-chain token portfolios, and is pleased to share that it has received funding from the Arrington Capital Moonbeam Growth Fund.
The investment in DAM Finance is the third major investment by the Arrington Capital Moonbeam Growth Fund, a recently launched $100m fund to fuel the Moonbeam ecosystem.
DAM facilitates purchasing power from the broadest range of blockchain-secured collateral, including the long tail, yield-generating, and real-world assets. In the protocol, borrowers deposit baskets of tokens in a single transaction to mint dPRIME, a Dotsama stablecoin on Moonbeam.
Bitkraft Ventures Participates in Nerdystar’s $5.8M Seed Round
Line Games' web3 gaming arm Nerdystar announced a $5.8 million seed round to produce blockchain games based on some of the brand's most successful web2 titles.
South Korean investment firm Blocore led the round, which also saw participation from Ather Labs’ Backer Bitkraft Ventures, FTX Ventures, GuildFi, Formless Capital, VistaLabs, Seum, and SBXG. The company previously received $5 million from Line Games, bringing its total funding to almost $11 million.
Nerdystar launched in February this year with Line Games’ former head of business, Alan Huh, as CEO. It currently has a team of more than 100 developers and artists, most of whom are transplants from Line Games’ Oozoo studios.
Line Games is an affiliate of the Japanese social media giant Line, which itself launched a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace earlier this year.
In emailed comments to The Block, Huh said Nerdystar has plans to develop features such as a marketplace and a DAO and offer NFT staking. The company is looking at DAOs as a way of granting players a greater ability to develop and operate games as they desire.
It also plans to read and analyze users’ on-chain transactions to provide them with personalized NFT items.
“For example, if the user is interested in investments and trades, we will provide NFT items that could contribute to the game economy. If the user is more down to playing games, an NFT item that could boost their gameplay will be provided,” Huh said.
The company's first game, Desperado B218: The Scars of Exos, will launch by the end of this year on Polygon through Nerdystar’s blockchain gaming platform, Luxon.
Magic Eden Proposes to Launch an NFT Marketplace Exclusive to BAYC
Magic Eden, one of the top NFT Marketplaces to date, has recently created a proposal within the ApeCoin community. They’ve also shared a Twitter thread summarizing the proposal, which you can read here.
Their proposal states that their “vision is to build the ApeCoinDAO marketplace, the home for $APE holders to buy and sell ApeCoinDAO NFTs, including but not limited to BAYC, MAYC, and BAKC”, and that the ultimate goal of this marketplace would be to provide more utility for ApeCoin ($APE).
Summary points of the Magic Eden proposal can be found below:
- Transaction fees of 0.75% for those who trade with $APE and are holders of an NFT within any of the BAYC collections; otherwise, the base transaction fee is 1.5%.
- The marketplace would be hosted on the ApeCoin Official Website.
- Magic Eden proposes to build it for free, at no cost to the ApeCoin DAO.
- They plan to include a Merch store and potentially launchpad capabilities to support community projects
Decentralized NFT Marketplace “SudoSwap” Reaches All-Time-Highs
Sudoswap, a decentralized NFT marketplace hit all-time-high daily trade volumes yesterday at ~900 $ETH.
The marketplace features sudoAMM, an Automated Market Maker which enables users to trade NFTs within custom curves in individual liquidity pools.
National Policies & Legal Updates
Troubled Crypto Lender, Vauld, has Assets frozen by Indian Authorities
The Indian Enforcement Directorate, a government agency overseeing financial crimes, has frozen $46 Million worth of assets from Vauld, who filed for Bankruptcy last month.
Vauld has been accused of criminal activity in the form of “predatory lending practices” and abetting crime via lax checks.
U.S Treasury Bans Tornado Cash; Netherlands Arrests Suspected Developer
Popular Web3 Privacy Tool, Tornado Cash, which hosts a service to allow users to make transactions on the Ethereum Network more private was sanctioned by the U.S. Government on Monday, citing that the service was used by bad actors like the North Korean-sponsored hacking organization, Lazarus Group and the criminals responsible for the recent $7.8 Million Nomad Bridge Hack. After the announcement, Tornado Cash’s website is no longer reachable, and its GitHub Repo has been taken down as well. In related news, Netherlands’ Fiscal Information and Investigation Service, a government agency responsible for investigating financial crimes, has arrested a 29-year-old developer for his suspected involvement in Tornado Cash. The Agency has not ruled out further arrests, as its focus shifts to investigating DAOs that may “facilitate money laundering”.
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