#26 NFTs as a funding tool, Coinbase's Instagram for NFTs and happy birthday Carbono
Moonbirds, the latest NTF breakthrough project, was a bold funding mechanism for a media company.
(cheap influencer trick coming…)
Many people have asked us about sponsorship opportunities in this newsletter. So far we hadn’t considered any opportunity seriously - Carbono Insights was our way of reaching out and building a network for Carbono. But we want to open the door now and see what it looks like outside. So if you have a project that you want to put in front of the eyes of an international audience of crypto amateurs and enthusiasts, let us know! We will read you at firstname.lastname@example.org
Moonbirds. NFTs as a funding mechanism
Suppose I told you that the latest sensation in the NFT space is some automatically generated pixel art animals that people are buying for astonishing amounts of money to use as their profile pictures. You might say, “...really?”. Like, when is the space going to get enough of these different combinations of the same ingredients?
Yet here we are again. This new collection is Moonbirds: a set of 10.000 (yes, they also used the 10k number) cute little creatures, and it has broken records with over $281M in sales. The reason being, probably, that they have masterfully recapped under one collection some of the best practices in the NFT space, and then added their own flavor. Moonbirds have gathered all the lessons that other collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club have gathered, sometimes thanks to talent, others to luck.
First things first: Moonbirds have an impeccable pedigree. The team behind it is the creators of Proof, a collective birthed by Kevin Rose, a successful Web 2 entrepreneur, founder of Digg, who turned into a content creator and evangelist of NFTs. PROOF is his last creature. In its epicenter, it’s a podcast, but it has generated an adjacent community where you can find faithful believers and collectors, including the likes of Beeple or Gary Vaynerchuck.
Moonbirds as a JPG take advantage of all the tropes that have become classics in crypto projects:
the pixelated style, reminiscent of Cryptopunks, feels like home in a digital environment
10k supply, smartly distributed between team and previous community members.
the animal-themed general cuteness
But where Moonbirds have taken the best practices of previous NFT success cases and carried them to the next level is in the utility they have attributed to the token.
From the perspective of the buyer, owning a Moonbird goes beyond owning a jpg. The tokens offer access to the exclusive PROOF community via Discord and a pass into a future Moonbird-based metaverse where quality content and networking are promised.
From the project's perspective as a startup, Moonbirds are upfront about being a fundraising tool. Rose and company aim to create what Yuga Labs has eventually decided to make: a full-blown media company. A brand, in this case, based on the PROOF Collective, that will ultimately provide exclusive content, networking opportunities, and a metaverse for Moonbirdites to meet and share knowledge.
Within one day of launching the Moonbirds mint raised ~$60M in capital for PROOF Holdings, the web3 media company that will build new products for the PROOF Collective community. March of the Moonbirds
So even if we are again staring at 10.000 pairs of pixelated animal eyes, this time, this is not just another manifestation of crypto’s hoarding urges but an example of a well-reasoned, well-built, and fun crypto-native crowdfunding mechanism.
⬡ Six Angles
We select six topics to illustrate the very different angles crypto can be approached from. We could choose dozens, but six is the atomic number of carbon… and otherwise we'd be writing for ages.
1. One year of Carbono Insights 🎉
Happy birthday to us.
Carbono Insights turns one year with this issue. We launched our first post on April 25th, 2021. It’s been a fantastic ride we never want to leave.
We made a lot of space for Coinbase, Elon, or Bitcoin’s criticism for its energy consumption in our first weeks. It’s fun to see that crypto feels like it’s too fast to handle, yet some things remain the same after a year.
Along the way, we’ve had the opportunity to
shamefully shill explain some of our projects: Abacus Carbono, our regulated crypto fund based in Malaysia; Botto, our venture into the overlap between AI art, DeFi, and DAOs, and PepeWTF, our side hustle turned into the lighthouse of one of the most fun and welcoming communities of collectors.
We hope our newsletter has helped you keep up reasonably well with crypto, understand some concepts, and get familiar with technologies, projects, people, and, more importantly, memes.
We’ve gathered a great community of ~700 readers in Spanish and ~1000 in English, and we would love to keep growing. So if we may ask you for a couple of things before getting on with blowing candles, would you please...
…tweet out a happy birthday?
…share this newsletter with a friend
2. NFTs | Coinbase launches their NFT marketplace 🛒
Coinbase recently unveiled their much-awaited NFT marketplace to a general sigh of disappointment. The project had been announced months ago and gathered a queue of 3 million users eager to become the firsts to play. But ever since the announcement, many things have happened. OpenSea kept growing amid glitches, scandals, and malpractices, and competition increased with the likes of LooksRare, bringing true decentralization by creating the token that OpenSea refuses to launch, which would reward users in the best Web 3 “tradition.”
Coinbase’s site has been criticized for being buggy and faulty. Old-school NFT flippers don’t seem too impressed by the efforts.
Nevertheless, their marketplace brings some interesting perspectives. Significantly, the social media approach. Coinbase NFTs leaves a special place for owner profiles and social interactions such as follows, likes, and algorithmically curated timelines (like Tiktok’s For You page).
Effortlessly browse NFTs for sale with the Discover feed. We’ll make personalized NFT recommendations to save you time searching for them. As you engage with the marketplace, recommendations will improve based on what you buy, what’s trending, who you follow, and more.
Maybe critics do not realize that we have been interacting with NFTs in a market-first approach. Whoever onboards the following 3 million people into NFTs will most likely do so by making concessions to the more social side of token ownership.
3. Self-regulation | Andre Cronje is back and wants a regulated crypto ecosystem ⚖️
Andre Cronje is back. One of DeFi’s godfathers and the brain and hands behind projects like Yearn Finance or Keep3r, Cronje left crypto abruptly at the beginning of March, reportedly responding to the toxic community around DeFi. His departure sent shockwaves across the valuation of all the tokens his projects touched.
In the last weeks, Cronje reappeared with two posts, where he surprisingly hints at a possible comeback related to the promotion of crypto regulation. His return has been widely commented on, proving that the decentralized ecosystem of crypto still loves its central charismatic figures.
Cronje has published two blog posts. One, criticizing crypto culture: The rise and fall of crypto culture
(C)rypto ethos is concept like self-sovereign rights, self custody, self empowerment. Crypto culture is concepts like wealth, entitlement, enrichment, and ego.
Crypto culture has strangled crypto ethos.
In this first post, he also writes this segway into the article he would publish later:
A professor once told me “contracts are there for the bad times, not the good times”. Regulation, and legislation is the same. They are there for the bad times, when you most need it, not the good times, when its all honeymoon and champagne.
I now more than ever see the need, or even necessity for regulation, not as a mechanism to prevent, but as a mechanism to protect
The second post is about the need for regulation: Crypto Regulation vs. Regulated Crypto. In this second post, DeFi’s godfather says that his next goal will be to build a regulated version of crypto, with these topics as leading issues.
PCI & DSS HSM compliant Custody solutions
Risk, Credit, & Desirability reporting & compliance
Multi-currency payment channels & infrastructure
Clearinghouse & Stock exchange tokenization portals
Senior Secured Floating Rate Corporate Defi Bonds
Crypto ETFs and Mutual Funds
4. Sanctions | Tornado Cash blocks sanctioned wallets 🌪️
The last chapter of the Axie Infinity Hack drama is about sanctions. The US authorities identified the authors of the recent theft of +$600M through the Ronin network bridge as the well-known North Korean group Lazarus. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added Lazarus’ identified addresses to the list of internationally sanctioned wallets. Among many others, Tornado Cash then proceeded to block those addresses.
Tornado Cash is one of the most popular mixers in the market. Mixers are smart contracts that obfuscate the origin of certain funds by mixing them with others so that ownership can no longer be traced. They are the most convenient gateway for stolen funds into fiat.
There are two stories about the fact that Tornado Cash has complied with these sanctions:
one about compliance and cooperation. Mixers know they are in the spotlight and want to prove that they can be an agent of good. Especially since they were mentioned as a tool that could help Russia evade sanctions.
The other one, on the other hand, is about decentralization. Because Tornado Cash blocked the address from the frontend, but cannot prevent Lazarus’ addresses from interacting with the smart contract directly.
5. Metaverse | Zuckerberg’s cut 🤑
Mark Zuckerberg’s company keeps revealing more information about his vision of the metaverse. But, unsurprisingly, the latest news has not been too well received.
Horizon Worlds is one of the ecosystems Meta promotes the most. A metaverse full of applications and potential, where users will eventually be able to sell virtual land and assets.
But Zuck’s metaverse will include a 47.5% take rate on the sale of virtual items. So even though Goldman Sachs thinks Meta and Apple are building the best technology for the metaverse, they are certainly not the most advanced at implementing the cultural innovations in the Web 3 ethos.
6. TradFi | Bitcoin’s spot ETF 🦘
Spot Bitcoin ETFs are about to become a reality...in Australia.
The ETFS 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (EBTC) and the ETFS 21Shares Ethereum ETF (EETH), which track the price of bitcoin and ether in Australian dollars, are fully backed by the respective assets held in cold storage by Coinbase. ETF Securities launches bitcoin and ethereum ETFs
Both ETFs are expected to list on the Cboe Australia exchange on April 27.
The approval of a Bitcoin Futures ETF in the US was the catalyst for one of the most recent bull runs in Bitcoin in late 2021. Despite its faults in design (look up roll costs to understand why futures ETFs are often not the best investing option), the first Bitcoin ETFs opened a floodgate of new investors who were eager to get exposure to cryptoassets.
Australian regulators seem to be less sensitive to the SEC's fears towards a spot ETF. The risk of price manipulation by market participants is one of the main reasons American regulators claim that prevents them from letting more investors access regulated investment products.
If you enjoyed this issue, don’t forget to share. Carbono Insights is also available in Spanish. Share your thoughts and comments with Carbono at email@example.com, or through Twitter: @carbono_com, @raulmarcosl and @miguelatcarbono