May 21, 2022
Issue No. 3
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: Vitalik Buterin co-writes a Paper on a Widening Path Forward for Ethereum; Aave Launches Decentralized Social Media Identity Base Layer
- NFTs: Instagram NFTs are here; Magic Eden Tops OpenSea in Daily Trading Volume as Solana NFTs Heat Up
- Gaming: “Unlock NFT Power” - Integrating more brands into the Game Ecosystem
- Legal Landscape: Singapore High Court recognizes NFTs as Assets in Landmark Injunction
Blockchain & DeFi Developments
Vitalik Buterin co-writes a Paper on a Widening Path Forward for Ethereum
The authors envision a future state where Ethereum powers a “Decentralized Society” ecosystem via the use of “Soulbound” Tokens (non-transferrable, visible, but possibly revokable-by-the-issuer), where wallets/accounts become a digital identity, representing the owner’s commitments, loans, credentials, and affiliations, Twitter User Jason Levin shares.
They then outline and theorize the various use cases of these “Soulbound” Tokens, with some use cases as follows:
- On Social Legitimacy and Memberships - Conceptually, think of Blockchain Issued Degrees, Proof of Attendance (POAPs) for Courses or Events, or even Country/Marina Club Memberships
- On Undercollateralized Financial Lending based on Social Equity - Conceptually, think of Bank Loans that are given based on your Social Security/Credit Scores.
Download the Paper Here:
Addressing Customer Service Struggles in Web3 - VillageDAO
ConsenSys, the team behind the Metamask wallet, has partnered with LivePerson to announce the creation of VillageDAO, which aims to build a solution to deal with a lack of Customer Support in Web3, reports Decrypt.
VillageDAO aims to onboard interesting projects, and by offering perks and rewards, they hope to onboard each project’s community members as participants, and expert representatives in that product - this theoretically empowers Web3 brands to “self-solve”, and should enhance community engagement, enable community members to assist with customer service, incentivizing community members to contribute to the platform and its partner brands, reducing the burden on Web3 brands and removing scalability limitations, as mentioned in a thought piece by CoinYuppie.
Aave Launches Decentralized Social Media Identity Base Layer on Polygon
Lens Protocol represents a new direction for Money Market Protocol, Aave. Positioned as a decentralized base layer social identity platform - Lens grants users the ability to create an NFT Profile, with all social functions being tagged to the NFT itself, and returning “true ownership” of one’s identity to the individual, which is composable across different Dapps.
“Ownership over not only the content you create online but also your profile and social network is long overdue. Empowering users is what Lens aims to achieve.” - Stani Kulechov, Aave
The Protocol currently has 50+ Apps under development which leverages the NFT Identity, building in areas like:
To understand what Lens Protocol has in mind for Gaming: Link
Instagram NFTs are here!
Instagram, is one of the most popular media-sharing platforms in the world. The core purpose of Instagram is to allow users to share images and videos with their audience. With the power of blockchain technology, many artists have onboarded their artwork as NFTs and sold them as digital collectibles. The goal for Instagram heading into this NFT ecosystem would be to “improve the experience, help them create more monetization opportunities, and bring NFTs to a broader audience”
Instagram’s new features are not made available to everyone & they soon plan to increase the amount of access provided to creators and collectors. For now, with the latest update, 16 artists, NFT creators, and collectors have been empowered to use the Instagram Digital Collectible features such as:
- Connecting their digital Wallet
- Sharing of Digital Collectibles
- Automatic tagging of both creator and collector.
In the past, with artists only getting exposure for their NFTs via Twitter or Facebook, the support that Instagram will be providing creators and collectors is great news for artists who have been yearning for more exposure for their NFT artwork.
Games & Blockchain Gaming
The Importance of Skill Trees
It feels like you can’t release a unique, interesting, and fun game these days without something called a “skill tree”
Skill trees typically branch out to various specializations of skills and offer players unique ways to boost their power throughout the game. Good skill trees also offer the player to choose skills to fit their playstyle.
Two players can start the same game and select the same character but the playstyle can vary drastically as player A can choose to be a stealth archer and Player B can go for the typical warrior who charges into the thick of battle to slash all his enemies. Whatever the player chooses to go for, there are options within the game to support the playstyle specialization. At the same time, there are certain situations where it can be slightly punishing to have selected a certain skill route. For example, specializing in your skill tree to become a rogue archer in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and being put into situations where you are fighting 10 skeletal warriors in an enclosed space is not really to your advantage.
There are some important things to look out for when designing skill trees, just because some of them may be…. extremely boring. Here are some of the things to avoid when making skill trees
- Making the skills boring: Making the upgrade in the skill tree to do a few points of extra damage or improving some health with an upgrade is not something a player is really looking forward to. Brand new powers to access, such as in Mass Effect, or brand new attacks to unlock, like in Assassin's Creed Odyssey would be a way to spice up the gameplay!
- Acquiring Skill Points: Some games give you skill points for simply playing the game, however, this might not be the most interesting way to acquire these skill points and might even be a wasted opportunity. In the game Prey, players would acquire skill points by exploring the map and doing side quests. It allows the designer to encourage a certain playstyle and definitely motivates the player to take a different direction & a more conscious approach to acquire skill points, rather than just leveling the character or giving the player skill points for free.
- Navigating the skill menu: A lot of skill tree menus are pretty boring to navigate or can sometimes be way too tedious like the skill tree in Path of Exile. They also tend to take you to another menu and out of the game world to allow the gamer to upgrade these skill points. Skill Tree menus should fit the playstyle and momentum of the game. For example, in Hades, where the gameplay and momentum are fast, the skill selection pops up quickly and easily with 3 skills to select. Gives the option for the players to select the skills in a fast and easy way that doesn't break the momentum of the gameplay for the player.
Skills & skill trees provide an opportunity for the game designer to bring in a whole new level of innovation. It can make the game extremely fun, and interesting and even increase the game’s replayability. A bad skill tree can make the game boring, and stale and cause the death of the game very quickly.
“Unlock NFT Power” - Integrating more brands into the Game Ecosystem
The “Unlock NFT Power” program, also known as the Thetan Arena Partnership Program aims to promote brand awareness for its partners with the help of its ecosystem. This means that Thetan Arena will be incorporating partner visuals & branding images into their game in two ways. The first is by offering brands to purchase “Customize hero skin” packages to customize a Thetan hero to match the brand’s own NFT Character or design. In the below example, we can see a custom YGG skin for the Thetan hero “Phoenix”
The second way is by offering brands to purchase a “Customize cosmetics” package to design custom cosmetics within the game such as flags and avatar images that players can use to represent their profile picture on the Thetan App and their marketplace.
According to the article linked below “Thetan Arena wants to engage with the community by integrating more and more brands into its ecosystem. According to their presentation, they want to incorporate diversity into the Thetan World” Collaborations between different NFT projects are a common practice nowadays, however, noticed mostly to happen among Profile Picture NFT projects. Thetan Arena has introduced a unique way to incorporate collaborations that bridge the gap between PFP projects and projects in the Play 2 Earn Genre.
Ather Labs’ Backers
Dragonfly Capital Led a $15M Raise for Bitkeep Crypto Wallet, at a $100M Valuation
Singapore-based crypto wallet BitKeep announced @May 18, 2022 the close of a $15 million Series A round at a $100 million post-money valuation. The funding will help BitKeep develop a cross-chain decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to give ecosystem ownership to wallet users.
- Dragonfly Capital led the round. Other participants included: KuCoin Ventures, A&T Capital, Foresight Ventures, SevenX, Matrixpor, Bixin Capital, Danhua Capital, Peak Capital, and YM Capital.
- The investment marks the largest bet on a wallet company by Dragonfly Capital.
Cointelegraph Research Launches Venture Capital Database
[NON-BACKER VC NEWS]
A new database from Cointelegraph Research, available for a $500 fee, tracks VC activity in the crypto and blockchain industry in detail.
Cointelegraph Research has put together an industry-leading database that documents this development. It keeps track of all publicly announced VC funding rounds and contains over 5,000 records of venture capital deals in blockchain made over the past 10 years.
Not only does this data provide valuable insight into the level of innovation and future potential of the space, but it also gives early cues regarding potential projects to invest in. VC investors have a nose for promising technologies and are known for spotting auspicious projects long before their coin pumps and hits the mainstream news.
Occasional triple-digit annualized returns are solid evidence of this. To start exploring the darlings of private equity and take advantage of our extensive database of deals, visit the Cointelegraph Research Terminal. The VC database is available for preview and purchases alongside cutting-edge industry reports on DeFi, NFTs, GameFi, mining, and more.
YGG Partners with African blockchain Infrastructure, Cassava Network
Yield Guild Games has partnered with Cassava Network, an African blockchain infrastructure that can be implemented in any existing Web2 applications to give users exposure to Web3 rewards. Rather than migrating users from existing apps to blockchain-based solutions, Cassava Network brings blockchain to the apps where users already are. Its developers are also committed to improving the lives of people in Africa and around the world through widespread blockchain adoption.
Cassava Network is backed by a multi-function app and wallet, which allows users to explore rewards, manage assets, trade NFTs, perform in-app swaps, access staking pools, engage with DeFi protocols and interact with Web3 platforms through the in-wallet browser. It will initially launch on Solana and move to other blockchains as it develops.
Magic Eden Tops OpenSea in Daily Trading Volume as Solana NFTs Heat Up
The Solana-based marketplace has seen far more transactions than its Ethereum counterpart in the last 24 hours.
The Solana non-fungible token (NFT) market is beginning to find its stride, with daily transactions on the ecosystem’s leading marketplace, Magic Eden, now topping OpenSea, its Ethereum blockchain counterpart.
According to weekly data from DappRadar, Magic Eden has seen roughly 275,000 daily transactions (which includes purchases, bids, and listings) compared with OpenSea’s 50,000, according to weekly data from DappRadar.
The difference in the ways NFT traders are interacting with the two platforms is likely, in part, a result of network fees on the different blockchains. At the time of writing, the gas fees to buy a single Ethereum-based NFT on OpenSea are around $30, with Solana fees being less than a cent.
OpenSea does, of course, offer Solana NFT trading of its own. They announced the integration in early April. But usage on the platform has so far lagged behind the hype, with Solana NFT sales on OpenSea being around 9% of Magic Eden’s since launch, according to data from Magic Eden.
Binance NFT Platform Implements New Features in March & April 2022
Among the list of new features are:
- Users of Binance NFT can now conveniently access Binance NFT within the Binance App.
- Binance also upgraded its search and filter functions, so users can now find the NFT they are looking for more easily. Moreover, users can now filter NFTs by their Properties.
- Buyers can make offers on fixed-priced NFTs and Mystery Boxes, and Sellers can choose to reject or accept offers.
- Users can now subscribe to get notifications before a Mystery Box sale.
- To make purchasing NFTs a smoother experience, Binance implemented new NFT payment features.
- Users can now view History of Distribution: Airdrop, and Subscription Mechanism.
National Policies & Legal Updates
Singapore High Court recognizes NFTs as Assets in Landmark Injunction
An injunction from the Singapore High Court was issued to stop the sale and transfer of a Bored Ape Yacht Club (#2162) NFT that was alleged “wrongfully acquired” on NFTfi, reports The Straits Times, Singapore’s National Paper.
This court injunction, the first in Asia, as well as the first global commercial dispute, implicitly means that the Singapore High Court recognizes NFTs as an Asset/Legal Property.
Interestingly, if you subscribe to the ‘Code-is-Law’ philosophy, the defendant was well within his rights to seize BAYC #2162 as per the governing Smart Contract code in NFTfi - If you are interested to learn more, please refer to the Source Article.
El Salvador’s President Hosted Financial Reps from 44 Developing Economies to Discuss Bitcoin Adoption
From Monday to Wednesday this week, President Nayib Bukele, known for revolutionizing El Salvador by recognizing Bitcoin as a Legal Tender, and for ‘buying the dip’, invited and promoted the use and adoption of Bitcoin to central banks and financial officials across 44 developing countries from Latin America, Africa, and South Asia, CoinDesk reports.
Portugal Introduces Cryptocurrency Tax in an Unexpected U-Turn
Portugal will be introducing a taxation framework for Crypto in the near future, according to the Portuguese Minister of Finance, Coindesk reports.
Previously, the capital gains tax for Crypto in Portugal was zero, with investors viewing it as a tax haven. However, that is set to change, likely bringing tax rates closer to the current capital gains tax for financial investments in Portugal, at 28%.
Also, gains from Staking or Yield Farming allegedly will also fall under the new policy framework but has yet to be fully fleshed out.
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