😬 Crypto Founders Scramble as ‘Outlandish’ Era of Easy Money Ends
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VCs are Choosier About Investments in Bear Market
By Aleksandar Gilbert
SEED ROUNDS Last year, crypto founders had it easy: all they needed was an idea and a mediocre team that could put together a semblance of a crypto project. Then bam! Startups could raise $10M in seed rounds and notch $100M valuations, even before they had an actual product.
RED-HOT “The VC market for crypto was ridiculously red-hot, and so you saw outlandish valuations, outlandish seed rounds,” Corbin Page, the former head of fintech products at Consensys, told The Defiant.
SHIFT That world is now a distant memory. A sell-off in crypto that began late last year turned into a free-fall in May, with bearish investors vaporizing $1.6T in market capitalization over the last six months. The sudden shift has forced crypto entrepreneurs to adapt to a new reality — the days of easy VC money are over.
DEALS Venture capitalists that were so quick to cut checks over the past two years are now becoming far more careful when choosing where to invest their money, according to interviews with VCs. Funding rounds that used to close in weeks will probably now take months. Devs won’t land deals with just an idea. They will have to show they have a functioning product that people will pay to use.
MakerDAO Confronts Financial Losses, Member Apathy, and Complexity
By Samuel Haig
RADICAL Plagued by financial losses and apathy by its members, MakerDAO Founder Rune Christensen proposed on May 31 a radical new restructuring plan for the blue chip DeFi project.
REAL-WORLD “The governance processes and political dynamics… fundamentally aren’t compatible with the reality of effectively processing complicated real-world financial deals,” Christensen wrote, asserting that the current structure will not allow Maker to compete with the world’s top financial institutions.
UTILITY In a post to Maker’s forum titled ‘The Endgame Plan’, Christensen outlined a roadmap to improve governance, expand Maker’s utility, and bolster its sustainability for the long term. He also bemoaned the complexity and opaqueness of Maker’s structure.
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By Samuel Haig
NEWS May was a record-breaking month for Ethereum Name Service domains. More than 356,652 ENS domains were registered in May, double the previous record, according to Dune Analytics. That means customers are continuing to establish domains with the .eth address even though crypto is in the grip of a bear market.
DROP Even so, ENS’ token has lost half its value in the last 30 days compared to a 36% drop in Ether. ENS domains are NFTs that allow users to connect a ‘.eth’ domain name to cryptocurrency wallet addresses. This makes it easier to use cryptocurrency wallets by allowing its owner to request payments to a simple ‘.eth’ domain name that can be easily read by humans, rather than sharing an 64-character alphanumeric code.
CENSORSHIP RESISTANCE The service is akin to the internet’s Domain Name System, which allows users to access websites via simple domain names instead of typing in the specific IP address of each website they wish to visit. ENS domains are built on decentralized smart contracts, meaning they offer greater censorship resistance and privacy than the internet’s DNSconventional domains.
By Aleksandar Gilbert
PLATFORM The Algorand Foundation on Thursday announced the creation of a fund and “automated platform” intended to lure Terra developers stranded by the blockchain’s recent collapse.
PROJECTS The fund will distribute 1 million ALGO tokens on a first-come, first-served basis to Terra developers willing to migrate their projects to the Algorand blockchain.
THROUGHPUT Algorand, a proof-of-stake blockchain developed by MIT professor Silvio Micali, debuted in 2019 and claims to be carbon neutral with transaction throughput “on par with large payment and financial networks.”
By Samuel Haig
QUERY More and more of Ethereum’s top protocols are looking to migrate onto Layer 2. The community of The Graph, an indexing and query protocol for web3, is reviewing a June 2 proposal to expand the project on Arbitrum, an Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solution.
DELEGATORS If passed, the move will usher in a reduction in the costs incurred by The Graph’s indexers, curators, and delegators of roughly 26 times. A statement from Edge & Node, the team behind The Graph, estimates the savings could be tripled once Arbitrum’s forthcoming Nitro iteration is live.
MAGNITUDE “Deploying The Graph to Arbitrum will decrease gas costs of using the protocol by orders of magnitude…, making the decentralized network practical for a long tail of small and independent dApp developers for whom gas prices today are a challenge,” said Brandon Ramirez, co-founder and research lead at The Graph.
🔗 CFTC accuses Winklevoss-owned crypto exchange Gemini of misleading statements in new lawsuit: The Block
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has sued Gemini, the crypto exchange owned by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
TL;DR: In response to the current market conditions and ongoing business prioritization efforts, we will extend our hiring pause for both new and backfill roles for the foreseeable future and rescind a number of accepted offers.
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Struggling artist to $525,000 NFT mega sale; the story of pplpleasr The Defiant interview with Emily Yang, NFT superstar.
Flurry of Metrics Show Signs of Potential Recovery for ETH It was one of last year’s largest scandals — Nate Chastain, the former head of product at OpenSea, left under a cloud after it was discovered that he purchased NFTs before they were featured on his former employer’s homepage and subsequently sold them as the increased exposure led to higher prices.
Liquid Staking Derivatives Pose ‘Significant Risks’ to Ethereum 2.0: Report Protocols that offer liquid staking derivatives, like Lido and Rocket Pool, could undermine the integrity of Ethereum after its transition to proof-of-stake, according to a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation.
🧑💻 ✍️ Stories in The Defiant are written by Owen Fernau, Samuel Haig, Jason Levin, DeFiDad, Aleksandar Gilbert, and yyctrader, and edited by Edward Robinson, yyctrader, and Camila Russo. Videos are produced by Robin Schmidt, Alp Gasimov and Daniel Flynn. Podcast is led by Camila, edited by Alp.
The Defiant is a daily newsletter focusing on decentralized finance, a new financial system that’s being built on top of open blockchains. The space is evolving at breakneck speed and revolutionizing tech and money. Subscribers get full access, while free signups get only part of the content.
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