June 25, 2022
Issue No. 8
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: Solana Labs announces plans to release Smartphone in 2023, and the launch of an SDK for creating Mobile Web3 Apps
- NFTs: Magic Eden Raises $130 Million in Series B Funding; Ledger Announces NFT Marketplace + Enterprise Services Platform
- Gaming: How games innovate with Character Deaths; Ex Sony Veterans dive into Web 3.0 Open World Game: Ashfall
- Legal Landscape: SEC Directive on Custodied Assets Called into Question
Blockchain & DeFi Developments
Chainalysis launches Crisis Hotline for Organizations who are Victims of Crypto Crime
A 24/7 Hotline has been launched by Chainalysis to support Organizations who were targeted by a crypto-related cyber attack or ransomware demand. Chainalysis hopes that with the rapid turnaround and immediate tracing, it can help prevent criminals from cashing out, as well as allowing law enforcement of the various jurisdictions to catch these criminals, reports Coindesk.
Solana Labs announces plans to release Smartphone in 2023, and the launch of a SDK for creating Mobile Web3 Apps
Solana Labs has announced the following: Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) - Available for Download Here 1. An SDK to enable to development of native Android apps built on the Solana Blockchain 2. Seed Vault - A software custody solution that keeps Private Keys and Seed Phrases secure on an Android device. 3. Solana Pay - Enables mobile payments (like Google Pay or Apple Pay) 4. Solana Dapp Store - Access to Web 3 DApps (like Play Store or App Store)
As a further push in this direction, Solana Labs will also be releasing its own Android Smartphone called Saga (Estimated Retail Price of $1000) - which is set to release in early 2023, and preorders deposits ($100 USD) have started here: https://store.solanamobile.com/
Magic Eden Raises $130 Million in Series B Funding
Magic Eden is an NFT platform made for the Solana Network that facilitates the buying, selling, and minting of NFTs. The NFT transactions are very similar to Ethereum, except that users will have a 0% listing fee and only 2% transaction fees, which lowers the entry barriers for new and seasoned NFT buyers and creators. SOL tokens are the medium of payment for fees.
Like OpenSea, Magic Eden also offers some great features like showcasing upcoming launches on it’s site, users creating and minting their NFT seamlessly with the Magic Eden launchpad which provides its very own worldwide customer support, and many filters and stats selections for NFTs that users might want to purchase.
Magic Eden recently announced that it has raised $130 million in its latest Series B funding round, which was led by Electric Capital and Greylock Partner. These funds raise the NFT marketplace’s valuation to a whopping $1.6 billion.
According to a report by The Block, investors were attracted to Magic Eden due to its large presence on the Solana blockchain, which is second in popularity among metaverse enthusiasts to Ethereum.
Magic Eden currently ranks as the third-largest NFT marketplace in terms of trading volumes, which is impressive considering the platform was launched less than a year ago.
Games & Blockchain Gaming
How games innovate with Character Deaths
1—Games that change themselves when you die
This type of gameplay is the cornerstone of the Roguelike genre. Experiencing death means that your character gets a fresh experience in the next playthrough. The player might be able to experience a new section of the narrative, spawn into new maps, have the ability to choose new weapons and skills, or even fight new enemies, by simply dying! Not only does this make death more consequential but it cuts out repetition & removes the ability to commit stages to memory. In Griftlands, a rogue-lite deck builder, the type of card upgrades you get and the enemies and allies you face varies drastically every playthrough. The game wants you to fundamentally understand the mechanics and master them to excel and progress on to harder stages.
2—The Dynamic Narrative
In Shadow of Mordor, your Death can have a massive impact on the organizational charts of Sauron’s army. Orcs that successfully kill off Talion become more powerful and may challenge other orc captains and get promoted to a higher rank!
Not only do these orcs get promoted, but they might also remember you now, creating a little Dynamic Narrative that might lead to a satisfying revenge kill for the player.
3—Buddy or Resurrection mechanics in multiplayer games.
Most games provide the players with a “second chance” system, where players on the brink of death have a chance to perform a set of actions and come back to life. Like in Prey where you are sent to the spirit world to defeat and kill some birds to get your health back. Multiplayer games innovate with death by providing the opportunity for party members to resurrect or revive each other.
In Gears of War 3, players are provided a chance to revive their fallen comrades to give them an opportunity to play on, however, must carefully navigate across the mobs closing in to destroy the whole squad!
The same old boring way of dying (game over & restart) may not be the best way to deliver character death to the player, and there can be some innovative ways to weave in Death to create a stronger game or story. Let’s explore!
Ex Sony Veterans dive into Web 3.0 Open World Game: Ashfall
Former Sony veterans John Garvin (ex Bend Creative Director on Syphon Filter, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and Days Gone) and Michael Mumbauer (ex-Head of PlayStation's Visual Arts support studio) announced Ashfall, the debut game of their new studio Liithos.
“Ashfall will have players fighting to survive a world scarred by global warming, the ignited volcanic Ring-of-Fire, mysterious and disruptive energy fields, and warring enclaves, beginning as a connected Single Player adventure that will evolve into a Multiplayer PVP & PVE cinematic transmedia world,” Liithos said in an announcement on the 23rd of June.
The game will begin as a 'connected single-player adventure' that eventually evolves into a multiplayer PvP and PvE world with Web 3.0 support. Players can reportedly choose to play through the Hedera Blockchain network for a build, trade, and sell experience.
Ather Labs’ Backers
Immutable Launches $500M Venture Fund for Web3 Games — BITKRAFT and Arrington Capital to Collaborate
Non-fungible token (NFT) scaling platform Immutable launched a $500 million venture fund focused on Web 3 games and NFT projects, according to a statement Friday.
- The new venture fund will also build on the Immutable X protocol through token grants and investments. IMX is Immutable X’s native token.
- Immutable said the fund will collaborate with crypto and gaming investors including BITKRAFT, Animoca, Arrington Capital, Double Peak, Airtree, King River Capital, and GameStop.
- Immutable Ventures has invested in Web3 companies and NFT startups including Starkware, Stardust, PlanetQuest and Topology.
- Some of the names already building on Immutable include GameStop (GME), TikTok, Opensea, Ember Sword, and more.
Alameda Research enters into $500M Loan Agreement with Voyager
Trading platform Voyager Digital takes a loan from trading firm Alameda Research because of its exposure to crypto venture capital firm Three Arrows Capital (3AC).
Ledger Announces NFT Marketplace + Enterprise Services Platform
Crypto hardware and security firm Ledger is launching a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace and Web3 services platform for enterprises, the company announced Wednesday at the Ledger Op3n conference at NFT.NYC. Ledger is also rolling out other products focused on Web3 education and security.
The company’s NFT marketplace, Ledger Market, prioritizes security and transparency. According to Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier, clear-signing, a process that helps NFT traders avoid scams, is something that has been lost “in the wave of Web3 innovation,” as proper security is “one of the industry's biggest problems.”
Ledger Market is partnering with brands, such as LVMH's Tag Heuer, NFT collection DeadFellaz and Brick/Babylon, to list their assets on the marketplace.
Ledger is also launching Ledger Enterprise Create, a platform where companies can scale their Web3 projects and securely move into the NFT space.
eBay Acquires NFT Marketplace KnownOrigin for Undisclosed Amount
E-commerce giant eBay (EBAY) has continued its push into digital collectibles by acquiring U.K.-based non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace KnownOrigin, according to a press release on Wednesday. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
- KnownOrigin was founded in 2018 and has facilitated $7.8 million in trade volume since launch, based on figures presented by DappRadar.
- "With this acquisition, we will remain a leading site as our community is increasingly adding digital collectibles," said Jamie Iannone, CEO of eBay, in a statement.
- Last month, eBay released its debut collection of NFTs in partnership with Tezos- and Polygon-based NFT platform OneOf. It began selling NFTs in 2021.
- In February, KnownOrigin raised GBP 3.5 million ($4.3 million) in a Series A round that was co-led by crypto venture capital firms GBV and Sanctor Capital.
ParaSwap Launches Peer-to-Peer NFT Trading App
Decentralized exchange (DEX) aggregator ParaSwap announced Monday it’s releasing a peer-to-peer non-fungible token (NFT) trading app, the first of its kind on Apple’s App Store.
The app allows sellers to create custom orders for their NFTs that can be sent directly to buyers. Using ParaSwap’s DEX engine on the backend, both parties would be able to transact in their preferred token.
The app also touts its own native wallet, tapping Ramp as a fiat on-ramp. The app will have zero trading fees for the first three weeks (or until $500,000 is spent) as a promotion, with gas fees on the platform for non-Ethereum transactions being permanently refunded.
Uniswap Labs Acquires NFT Startup Genie
Uniswap Labs said Tuesday it has acquired NFT marketplace aggregator Genie in a push to support trading of non-fungible tokens "soon."
The terms of the deal weren't disclosed, and neither was the fate of the Genie team. A representative didn't immediately return a request for comment.
"NFTs will be integrated into our products, starting with the Uniswap web app, where soon you'll be able to buy and sell NFTs across all major marketplaces. We'll also integrate NFTs into our developer APIs and widgets, making Uniswap a comprehensive platform for users and builders in web3," a blog post said, referring to application programming interfaces.
Notably, Uniswap Labs plans to conduct a 12-month USDC airdrop for "historical Genie users."
National Policies & Legal Updates
Crypto.com obtains in-principle approval for a license to provide services in Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has awarded Crypto.com with an in-principle approval for its Digital Payment Token license, at the ‘Major Payment Institution’ level - which is the highest regulated licensing level in the current framework. These licenses are highly coveted due to the number of Web3 Organizations being headquartered in Singapore, and recipients (like FOMOPay) provide a means to bring working funds in and out of the state in an overboard manner. This brings the total number of in-principal licenses awarded by the island state to a mere 14, despite more than 196 applications made so far, reports Coindesk.
SEC Directive on Custodied Assets Called into Question
The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s directive on April 11, 2022, that provided advice that Customer’s Digital Assets held by a firm should be treated as assets belonging to the firm’s balance sheet is being called into question as ‘overstepping’ by lawmakers, reports Coindesk. Under the directive, if a firm undergoes bankruptcy proceedings, the Digital Assets deposited by Customers would not be ringfenced, and would technically form part of the bankruptcy estate - a stark difference from how custody assets are currently dealt with in the banking industry. Compliance with this directive had spurred Coinbase to declare in its public filing that Customer Assets could be caught up with the company’s in a hypothetical bankruptcy - an announcement that was not positively looked upon by Coinbase’s Users. The US Federal Reserve is evaluating the current position with lawmakers, and changes to the directive may seem likely given that lawmakers on both political sides have signaled their disagreement with this direction.
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