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🦄 Recap: DeFi Week of Nov. 7
Hello Defiers! Happy weekend!
This week we stirred quite a stew of stories and research in DeFi. We saw some familiar faces bubble to the surface; Joe Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys, made quite a splash with his tweet-tease that MetaMask may token up. Gavin Wood popped up, too, in Sam Haig’s story on Polkadot’s parachain auctions. The Curve Wars made some noise again — yyctrader reported a wild tale on Mochi and how Curve pulled its rewards program after outcry about its tactics.
Ethereum itself also made headlines, or more precisely, Ethereum Name Service. No sooner had ENS airdropped its governance token than it surged past $1B in market value, as Owen Fernau reported. Meantime, Metis planted a $100M marker in the Layer 2 game with a new fund, and Brady Dale reported on how social media threesome Discord, Reddit, and Twitter are buzzing about a deeper integration with crypto.
On the NFT front, Camila Russo’s podcast with Zeneca, an NFT investor and content creator, delved into how he turned into a full-time NFT trader from a professional poker player. He talked about the promise and peril of trading NFTs. Robin Schmidt returned to the happy hunting grounds of Axie Infinity with a fresh primer on the blockbuster blockchain game. Robin also took aim at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and its fear of stablecoins. That’s been a sleeper issue this year and in Robin’s capable hands its importance finally gets the spotlight it deserves.
For those Defiers who want to take a deep dive into the infrastructure of the Ethereum blockchain be sure to read Alex Shipps’ research piece on Zero knowledge proofs and scalability. It’s high-level stuff, which is what we love at The Defiant!
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In this week’s podcast, Camila Russo talks to Zeneca, an NFT investor and content creator who grew his collection of non-fungible tokens from 0 to about 3,000 pieces worth millions in less than a year. He comes on the podcast to talk about how he went from professional poker player to full-time NFT trader, and what lessons from poker he has brought over to crypto. We discuss the importance of teams and communities when investing in NFT projects, and the key signals he looks for when buying NFTs. Zeneca talks about the difficult balance of using incentives to bootstrap community, while also providing value beyond those incentives, otherwise projects become unsustainable.
Zeneca believes the NFT market has hit a downturn amid rising crypto prices because it has become saturated with the same types of projects. He believes avatars will take a back seat to projects where NFTs have utility beyond displaying the art itself and being part of a community. That’s why gaming is setting up to be the next big movement in NFTs, he says. Still, he doesn’t believe we’ve seen a true bull and bear market yet — that will come when NFTs better integrate with DeFi and leverage comes into play.
🎙 Zeneca: "The Market is Fed Up With the Same Sorts of Projects and There's a Flight to Gaming NFTs"
📬 Inbox Dump #32
Hello Defiers! Welcome to Inbox Dump where we include the updates and announcements that flood our DMs each week and didn’t make it to The Defiant’s content platforms. Sometimes announcements here didn’t meet the bar to become a news story, sometimes they may have slipped through the cracks, or they came late and we haven’t had a chance to cover.
At The Defiant we cover the most important DeFi-related news and developments but we know many of you are hunting for projects before they are fully developed and before they are newsworthy. Our goal with this installment of the newsletter is to help you find them. Look at this as the starting point to DYOR.
We also include a compilation of DeFi and crypto funding rounds in the past week so you have these in one handy place.
Keep in mind these have been unedited. With that —here we go!
[This post is exclusive to subscribers]
📺 Tuesday Tutorial: A Defiant Beginner's guide to Axie Infinity, play to earn and the Katana Dex ($SLP $AXS)
The Defiant Interview
Owen Fernau caught up with three influential investors who were way early on metaverse. They shared their thinking on the hype, and the angles they;re pursuing as the space evolves.
It’s happened. The metaverse is rapidly entering the hypiest part of the hype cycle. It’s all over the place, and it isn’t just Mark Zuckerberg’s rebranding of Facebook’s corporate name to Meta that’s cranked up the buzz. Metaverse was huge long before the embattled Big Tech chieftain signed on.
There’s been a flurry of blockbuster deals aimed at developing metaverse projects. An investment firm called Sfermion recently raised $100M from the likes of Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon. A Google Trends search shows worldwide queries for the “metaverse” skyrocketing during the week that Facebook rebranded to Meta in late October.
While some version of the metaverse appears inevitable, how it develops is up for grabs. Where will value in the metaverse accrue? And what changes are coming as the race to build the metaverse heats up? To get insight on these questions, The Defiant interviewed three of the most influential investors in the space.
In this research piece, Alex Shipp describes how Zk-proofs are a key source of innovation and a solution for deficiencies in blockchain tech.
This year, Zero knowledge proofs (zk-proofs) are making their mark as the most potent cryptographic instruments powering innovation in decentralized ecosystems.
Zk-proofs were first conceived by computer science researchers Shari Goldwassser, Silvio Micali, and Charles Rackoff in their 1985 paper, The Knowledge Complexity of Interactive Proof-Systems. Developers, system architects, and researchers in the Ethereum community — blockchain’s leading smart contract ecosystem — have spent the better part of the last three years straining their creative faculties to develop solutions — and more often, temporary workarounds.
Their goal is to remedy the blockchain’s two glaring deficiencies: the capacity to operate efficiently at scale, and to safeguard user privacy unequivocally. On both prerogatives, Ethereum’s best and brightest minds have converged on zero knowledge protocols and their ever-versatile implementations to build the next iteration of turing-complete blockchain infrastructure.
In this guest column, Lukas Schor writes how DAOs present an unprecedented to challenge to venture capitalists when it comes to backing Web 3 projects.
Investment in crypto and blockchain startups rose significantly in 2021 and changed how venture capital funding is received in Web3 projects. Now with the emergence of Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs), traditional VCs are facing competition. They have to rethink how they help companies raise money.
Despite a rocky start in 2016, DAOs have adapted and changed. Some early examples include dxDAO, DAOStack’s Genesis DAO, or MolochDAO, which have paved the way for more recent projects. Following on from surging interest in decentralised finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), DAOs are one of the most interesting topics in crypto right now.
Crypto communities springing up as DAOs are pooling their funds in DAO treasuries and enabling members to vote and decide how the project should be managed. VCs are no longer monopolizing the funding scene, and they’ll have to change how they operate, how they invest in projects, and what value, if any, they bring to the table, particularly as Web3 grows.
Polkadot’s Parachain Auctions Aim to Fulfill Promise of Scalability With much of the Polkadot community locking up DOT amid the ecosystem’s first batch of parachain lease auctions, many participants are looking to contribute via projects offering innovative liquid staking products.
Markets Roundup: Ethereum Burn Rate Surges as DeFi Tokens Post Mixed Performance DeFi assets saw a mixed performance this week, with roughly half of the sector’s leading protocols suffering drawdowns by both TVL and token. Still, sector-wide TVL and market cap have continued trending into previously uncharted territory.
Curve Turns Off Mochi’s Rewards After ‘Amazingly Scammy’ Tactics Trigger Outcry A fresh salvo has been fired in the Curve War and the Establishment isn’t happy.
The Web3 Three: Discord, Reddit and Twitter Tease Crypto Integration The big-but-not-Facebook-big companies of the social web, Discord, Reddit and Twitter, are giving crypto’s technology a much more serious look. That could mean the blockchain party will be much larger, soon.
Ethereum Name Service Jumps to $1B Market Cap After Airdrop of ENS Token ENS, the governance token of Ethereum Name Service, hit a market capitalization of $1.15B in early morning trading EST. That’s equal to about 10% of the value of GoDaddy, the 24-year-old internet domain registrar and web hosting company.
Metis Joins Ethereum Layer 2 Race With $100M Ecosystem Fund The competition to become the dominant Optimistic Rollup Layer 2 solution just got a new player and a $100M fund boosts its chances. Metis is joining the fray, where Arbitrum and Optimism have so far ruled.
Trailblazer THORChain Accidentally Front-runs THORSwap Community in Latest Woe Drama continues to hang over the trailblazing cross-chain decentralized exchange protocol THORChain, with the protocol’s treasury accidentally front-running the highly anticipated token offering of its platform, THORSwap.
ConsenSys Founder Joe Lubin Teases MetaMask Token $MASK One of web3’s most essential tools may be getting a token. Joseph Lubin, founder of Ethereum incubator ConsenSys, set off speculation a token for the non-custodial wallet MetaMask is imminent after tweeting, “Wen $MASK? Stay tuned.”
EXCLUSIVE: New NFT Discovery Platform Raises $2M From Spartan and Sequoia NFTs are crypto’s most visual offering, but exploring them is still largely driven by text searches. A project coming out of stealth this week aims to change that.
Axie Infinity’s Katana Breaks $1B in TVL After Launch of Governance Token Katana, the new automated market maker for Axie Infinity’s side chain Ronin, has attracted more than $1.2B in total value locked since launching on Nov. 4, as users load in liquidity in order to farm the sidechain’s new governance token, RON.
DOT Holders Have Pledged $800M Ahead Of First Polkadot Parachain Auction Polkadot, the eighth largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $55B, kicks off its first parachain auction on Nov. 11, and investors are lining up.
Thanking all the amazing Defiers for the support and love this week (and always)!
🧑💻 ✍️ Stories in The Defiant are written by Brady Dale, Owen Fernau, Sanuel Haig, Bailey Reutzel, and yyctrader, and edited by Edward Robinson, Bailey Reutzel, and Camila Russo. Videos were produced by Robin Schmidt and Alp Gasimov. Podcast was led by Camila, edited by Alp.
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