Chris Osborne

This Week in Crypto

Are NFTs the golden ticket to winning over new users for social media platforms? Snapchat, Meta, and Reddit sure do hope so.

This week in crypto;

Celsius Reaches A Boiling Point

A month after freezing customer accounts and putting the blame on “extreme market conditions,” Crypto company, Celsius, has begun the process of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At one time one of Crypto’s most prominent lending spaces, with over 8 million in loans and 12 million in assets as of May 2022, Celsius has been sitting in a simmering pot of water for the past several weeks.

Last week the crypto company was sued by a former investment manager who alleges that Celsius failed to hedge risk, artificially inflated prices of its digital coin, and engaged in activities that amounted to fraud.

3AC’s Bitter Fall

As one of the leading crypto hedge funds in the world, Three Arrows Capital (widely known as 3AC) joins the likes of Celsius and Voyager in filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. Headed by two-young and loudly confident crypto influencers, Su Zhu and Kyle Davies, the hedge fund faces an intensely bitter fall after doubling down on investments following Bitcoin’s fast drop from its $68,000 peak this year.

Using borrowed money, the pair continued to place bets that crypto would make a quick rebound, incapable of envisioning what has now turned into a reality: Bitcoin continues to drop, and trading is under $20,000 as of July 1st, 2022.

NFT Snapchat Lenses

Despite the ongoing “Crypto-Crash,” social media platforms are reaching for digital assets in their race for new users and higher platform engagement. The Los Angeles-based social media platform Snap is set to test a new feature that allows NFT creators to showcase their designs as augmented reality filters on their Snapchat platform.

NFT artists will be able to mint or create NFTs through an off-platform third-party service that will allow a transfer of their designs back to Snap for use as Lenses. The social media platform, popular with millennials and younger gen-z audiences, does not plan to charge creators for showcasing their NFTs but instead is looking to third-partis who may be able to assist creators in monetizing their designs.

STEPN Reports $122.5M in Q2 Profits

As most news coming from the crypto world today seems to be a story of doom and destruction, Solana-based game platform STEPN announced $122.5M in second-quarter profits. Like the “play-to-earn” model, STEPN’s “move-to-earn” model awards users in cryptocurrency for their step count registered on the STEPN application.

Although the STEPN team has said it will take a few weeks to develop, they have announced their plans to leverage 5% of profits to establish a buyback and burn program for their native GMT coin. They also announced plans to allocate capital reserves for enhancing already existing features.

What Crypto-Crash?

Unphased by the current downturn in the crypto-market, the crypto-focused venture capital firm, Multicoin Capital, announced its third fund worth $430 million on Tuesday. A sizeable chunk of the fund comes from co-founders Kyle Samani and Tushar Jain, with Samani stating that he and Jain are the largest limited partners of the fund.

Samani says that a third of the Multicoin Venture fund has already been invested, with plans to fully deploy the funds by the middle of next year at the latest. The firm continues to focus on start-ups and “bold entrepreneurs” that increase web3’s adoption and unique vision on how to apply cryptocurrency in a variety of industries.

Reddit Launches NFT Avatar Marketplace

Get them while you can! Reddit has soft-launched an NFT avatar marketplace that allows users to use a blockchain-based avatar for a fixed rate. The social network has placed tens of thousands of NFTs up for sale from a set of 90 original designs.

Users who purchase Reddit’s limited-edition NFTs are granted licensing rights to use the image as an avatar on and off the Reddit platform. The NFT Avatars are currently available for members of the r/CollectibleAvatars invite-only subreddit at fixed fiat currencies, ranging from $9.99 to $99.99.

Saber Labs Founders Launch Protagonist

Yet another crypto capital venture fund is making a big splash amidst the crypto-crash. Founded by the people behind Solana-based cross-chain decentralized exchange, Saber Labs, the firm, Protagonist, is launching with $100 million in funds.

The Miami-based venture capital firm plans to invest in and incubate early-stage web3 protocols and start-ups across verticles. The primary industries of interest are said to be gaming, infrastructure, security, and privacy. Protagonist has stated that they have plans to develop and incubate their own protocols in-house.

The fund’s other founders include entrepreneurs and angel investors George Boussis, founder and executive chairman of Raise and Slide, and Harry Hurst, co-founder and co-CEO of Pipe.

Liquidity Provider Hacked for $8 Million

A liquidity provider of Uniswap lost $8 million (7,500 ETH) in a phishing attack. The hacker targeted the victim prior to the attack using a fake Uniswap airdrop token as phishing bait. When claiming the token, the victim interacted with a malicious smart contract that gave the hacker complete control over the victim’s wallet. The hacked wallet was providing $8 million to a WBTC, USDC liquidity pool on Uniswap version 3 at the time of the attack.

The hacker exited the wallet’s liquidity position, swapped assets, and transferred them out of the wallet while routing the funds through a transaction mixer on the Ethereum network, Tornado Cash.

Playboy Soon to Launch “MetaMansion” in The Sandbox

Playboy has announced the launch of their virtual version of their famous Playboy mansion on the gaming platform, The Sandbox. Named the “MetaMansion,” Playboy has plans to use this space to provide exclusive experiences that will first be accessible by holders of their already circulating Rabbitar NFTs. The Sandbox, which also hosts Snoop Dogg’s Snoopverse, stated they would be placing neighboring NFT land plots for sale later this quarter.

Playboy delved into NFTs last April with their series of tokenized centerfolds on Nifty Gateways and has since shown determination to find early success in Web3. You can expect the raunchy and iconic “lifestyle” brand to continue expanding its web3 offerings.

Shanghai Allocates $1.5 Billion in Metaverse Services & Products

As part of Shanghai’s attempt to lead the way in the economic recovery of China, the city has announced its intention to allocate $1.5 Billion to Metaverse Development. The 10 billion yuan ($1.5 Billion) in assets will go towards creating and developing 10 leading companies and 100 modestly sized firms dedicated to “benchmarking products and services.”

The head of Shanghai’s Economy and Information Technology Committee, Wu Jincheng, said that the investment in the metaverse would drive transformation in various industries in the real economy. Wu shared that there is “huge market value” in the sectors of metaverse products and services, low-carbon energy projects, and smart terminal technology, with all three estimated to be worth $224 Billion combined by 2025.

Defi Llama Yield API Free to All

Defi Llama, the decentralized finance analytics dashboard that tracks such chains as Ethereum (ETH), Terra (LUNA), Avalanche (AVAX), and Fantom (FTM), has opened their yields API to all visitors.

Their yields API covers the latest data from all pools, predictions, historical APY, and TVL of a pool, all visible on their frontend for easy reading. Access to their API remains free for all.

Gamestop Dives In

Gamestop has finally debuted its long-awaited online NFT marketplace in its attempt to modernize the business and adapt to its consumers’ increasing adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Now open to the public for beta testing, the platform allows users to buy, sell, and trade using their digital wallets, including the recently released Gamestop Wallet. The debut of the Gamestop NFT Marketplace comes at a moment when the company is exploring new avenues to invest in a digital future. GameStop recently had several years of financial struggles, largely due to their behemoth store-front count across the USA amidst the videogame industry’s rapid shift online.