July 2, 2022
Issue No. 9
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: HTC Launches New “Metaverse” Phone, the HTC Desire 22 Pro; Napster Publishes their Litepaper V1
- NFTs: Campground - A Blockchain with Ease and Comfort of Being Paid as Usual; LimeWire Launching its NFT Marketplace
- Gaming: The Importance of Quality Assurance in Gaming; Helping Casual Gamers Enter the Blockchain Gaming Space
- Legal Landscape: EU Finalizes Crypto Regulations and AML Rules; US Department of Justice Files Charges Against 4 Cryptocurrency Fraud Cases
Blockchain & DeFi Developments
HTC Launches New “Metaverse” Phone, the HTC Desire 22 Pro
HTC has launched its new Metaverse-compatible phone, with both crypto and NFT functionality, reports Decrypt. It comes pre-loaded with apps that:
1. Access and Manage Crypto
2. Access and Manage NFTs
3. Purchase NFTs in a Digital Marketplace
4. “Create your own Virtual Space” Additionally, it is touted to work well with HTC’s VR headset, allowing users to “explore” the metaverse. The announcement video can be viewed here:
THORChain Mainnet Live on 7 Networks
After its inception in 2018, THORChain’s Mainnet is finally Live and supports 7 Networks at launch. These networks are:
2. Ethereum & ERC-20 Tokens
3. BNB Chain & BEP-2 Tokens
6. Bitcoin Cash
7. THORChain / RUNE
More networks are planned to be supported, with Cosmos and Avalanche cited as examples.
With the recent wide-ranging exploits against Bridging Protocols, THORChain’s product seems to be increasingly crucial in the Web 3 space.
Dev Documents are available here, for projects who are looking to explore integration with THORChain’s Cross-Chain Swap capabilities.
Napster Publishes their Litepaper V1
Napster, one of the original disruptors of the music industry back in the 2000s, is coming to Web3. Previously dedicated to P2P technology that focused on sharing music, they’ve recently released the first version of their Litepaper.
The Litepaper describes Napster’s plans to integrate its services into the Web3 ecosystem. Specifically, they will launch a “decentralized music-first ecosystem to the benefit of fans, music makers, and rights holders”.
The Napster 3.0 Ecosystem will empower artists and fans alike and will involve the use of a new $NAPSTER token.
More details are included in their Litepaper.
Campground - A Blockchain with Ease and Comfort of Being Paid as Usual
Campground envisions a world where creators can bootstrap their viral moments, and delivers on this vision by pairing its flexible content creation engine with exceptional creator economics powered by blockchain.
Via the "trails" access pass, Content Creators will be able to create and share their content on the platform. Unlike any NFT marketplace or other blockchain-based creator economy solution, creators can be paid as usual via Campground's proprietary system in fiat currency (USD) directly by their followers, without having to invest in or receive payments in cryptocurrency.
Campground boasts a 95% revenue-sharing model with its content creators, unlike Youtube, which has a 55% revenue-sharing model, or Tik Tok, which shares 8% of revenues. We will see how this new project can provide creators and users with a vibrant and competitive content-sharing platform upon its public beta launch @July 7, 2022!
Games & Blockchain Gaming
The Importance of Quality Assurance in Gaming
Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the most anticipated video games of 2020. Following the massive success of Witcher 3, CD Projekt Red, the Polish studio behind the video game showcased the game with impressive gameplay trailers and buy-in from celebrities including Keanu Reeves—which fueled the hype train.
However, what the gamers experienced was far from what was advertised in the trailers. Cyberpunk 2077 was nearly unplayable with a multitude of glitches and bugs. It was rife with errors, populated by characters running on barely functional artificial intelligence, and largely incompatible with the older gaming consoles meant to support it.
Despite most of the bugs and glitches fixed as of patch 1.5 and most recent reviews citing the game as a good experience, the reputation of the developer has been scarred due to the poor experience provided to gamers upon release.
So what happened? Many articles have come up speculating what happened with the game. However, there are a few key learning points that developers can take away from this particular case.
1. Loss of Communication
Marcin Iwinski mentioned that "This all happened while working from home, with all the challenges resulting from the COVID-related restrictions. A lot of the dynamics we normally take for granted got lost over video calls or email. And we took that hit too".
Game development requires various departments to understand and communicate with each other consistently. Having proper meetings and ensuring quality communication would have made things better for the game.
2. Underestimating the Adjustment to the Console Version
Even though CD Projekt Red understood the hardware gaps, the team could not adapt to constantly improving their in-game streaming (feeding the engine with what you see on screen) service for old-gen consoles. The team faced an immense challenge they had not anticipated.
3. Quality Assurance (QA) did not find many of game-breaking bugs by the launch date.
In the end, it was baffling that CD Projekt Red released the most anticipated game of the year, in the state it was in. The Quality Assurance for Cyberpunk 2077 was outsourced to Quantic Labs, which did most of the testing work. The QA was supposed to discover all the game-breaking bugs, errors, and exploits, however as it turns out, the QA department from Quantic Labs was lacking in several areas. They reported inaccurate team sizes working on testing, sent inexperienced testers to work on the game, and sent CDPR thousands of relatively pointless bugs which took up a lot of the development time.
Quality Assurance is absolutely crucial as it is the last line of defense before the game is released to the public and to the scrutiny of gamers. As more blockchain game developers aim for bigger and higher quality games with multifarious in-game economies, quality testing is more important than ever!
Helping Casual Gamers Enter the Blockchain Gaming Space
Many casual gamers have read about or tried to download blockchain games with the hopes to earn some cash. However, a lot of them are turned off by the number of ludicrous steps required to set up the whole process. Learning about gas transactions, setting up a crypto wallet, approving transactions, sending crypto from your MetaMask wallet to an exchange, and converting in-game currency to fiat. With all these steps, no wonder casual gamers are not adopting blockchain games fast enough.
Battlefly joins with TreasureDAO and tries to take a step towards improving casual gamer adoption by powering the game with the $MAGIC token (operating on the Arbitrum network) which allows the project to retain an accessible price point. Through the token, BattleFly opens the gate to a wider gaming community so a sustainable, diverse, and durable game ecosystem can thrive.
TreasureDAO is a gaming ecosystem that bridges blockchain and Metaverse gaming projects that utilize the $MAGIC token. BattleFly joins a roster of over 50 upcoming projects powered by $MAGIC, connecting the game to a diverse network of audiences and blockchain experiences. What other steps can blockchain games take, that can allow casual gamers to quickly pick up and play without going through the difficulty of digesting the chunk of steps to take to start earning or playing? As the industry evolves, hopefully, gamers find blockchain games just as easy to pick up and play as traditional games.
Ather Labs’ Backers
KonvoyVentures Participates in Echo3D’s Latest $5.5M Funding Round
The New York company hopes to change the way 3D, AR, and VR content is stored and streamed. The aim is to reduce the file sizes and development times for 3D objects used on websites and apps.
Other investors included Remagine Ventures, Konvoy Ventures, and Space Capital. The announcement comes on the heels of Qualcomm’s previously announced Snapdragon Metaverse Fund and six months after Echo3D’s previous $4 million raise back in October 2021.
Yield Guild Games (YGG) Launches New Content Hub: The YGG Playhouse
YGG is launching a new space for content creators to collaborate and develop effective content that enriches the community. This space is called “The YGG Playhouse”, with one of their premieres being an NFT Gaming Reality Show.
LimeWire Launching its NFT Marketplace
LimeWire, known as one of the “OG” P2P file-sharing software of its time, is launching its NFT Marketplace. The expected release date is @July 6, 2022.
X2Y2 Releases Brand New SDK that Allows Websites to Integrate their Marketplace
In its recent Tweet, X2Y2 announces that their brand new X2Y2 SDK has been released. NFT Projects or other websites that want to provide instant trading of NFTs to their website users via X2Y2 simply need to integrate the SDK on their website.
You can find the GitHub repository here: https://github.com/X2Y2-io/x2y2-sdk
Coinbase NFT Releases Multi-Wallet Support, “Following” Feed, and More
Coinbase NFT is making moves to provide necessary features to its user base and stay on par with its competitors. They released many features in the month of June, including:
The Coinbase NFT Multi-Wallet feature allows users to connect up to 10 addresses to their account, which will show all NFTs included within all wallets. Users can simply switch between wallet addresses to approve trading transactions, similar to the multi-wallet integration in the Ather Labs Dashboard.
Users can view a feed that contains their friends’ activity, such as recent NFT trades & mints, and also allows users to like or comment on these posts—similar to traditional social media.
They also recently released Full ERC-1155 Support and “Delayed Listings”, the latter of which allows users to set a future date for listing their NFTs.
National Policies & Legal Updates
EU Finalizes Crypto Regulations and AML Rules
The European Union (EU) has finalized two key legislative policies this week, its Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulatory framework, as well as anti-money laundering (AML), rules within the eurozone. Key Points for the MiCA Framework: 1. Stablecoins that end up being widely used as a means of payment (e.g. EURt - Euro Tether) will be capped at 200 Million in Transactions / Day 2. Stablecoin providers will have to maintain segregated and insulated reserves that are sufficient to ensure the redemption rights of holders 3. NFTs, while discussed to be regulated, were ultimately primarily excluded from the Regulatory Framework, unless they can be split up or fractionalized. 4. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) will be given powers to prohibit the Crypto Asset Service Providers from providing crypto-based services or block the distribution and/or sale of crypto-based assets if determined to be a threat to investor protection, market integrity or financial stability of the Euro Markets. Key Points for the Eurozone AML Rules: 1. Customer Identity will need to be Verified and Recorded for All Crypto Transfers (Travel Rules) between Two Regulated Digital Wallet Providers (A wallet managed by a Crypto Asset Service Provider like Coinbase), regardless of the amount. 2. Customer Identity will not need to be Verified and Recorded if the Transfer is to an Unhosted Private Wallet (e.g. User Privately Owned Wallet), and if the transfer value is below 1000 Euros.
US Department of Justice Files Charges Against 4 Cryptocurrency Fraud Cases
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced criminal charges against 6 individuals across 4 Fraud Projects on @June 30, 2022. These projects are: 1. NFT Rug-Pull, Fraud of $2.6 Million - “Baller Ape” 2. Crypto Ponzi and Unregulated Securities of $100 Million - “EmpiresX” 3. Falsified Initial Coin Offering of $21 Million - “Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services” 4. Falsified Commodities Scheme of $12 Million - “Circle Society” The charge against the Baller Ape NFT Project Creator, Le Anh Tuan, marks the 2nd time that the DOJ has gone after an NFT Rug-Pull, signifying its willingness to continue expanding its protection to consumers in the NFT sphere.
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