Categories
NFT

Chipotle to Give Out $200k With New Crypto Video Game

Fans can now win free Bitcoin, Ethereum, Avalanche, Solana, or Dogecoin through Chipotle’s new video game to use to buy real food at stores.

On July 25th, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced the launch of its own interactive game, Buy The Dip. The announcement comes in preparation for July 31st, a special day in the hearts of all Chipotle fans, National Avocado Day.

Chipotle initially immersed itself in the crypto world in April 2021. They announced becoming the first restaurant in the United States to launch a cryptocurrency giveaway. “Burritos or Bitcoin” pledged to hand out $100,000 in Bitcoin to celebrate National Burrito Day.

The restaurant also dabbled with crypto in June 2022, when they enabled customers to pay for delicious burritos and bowls with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin amongst many other cryptocurrencies. Restaurant goers were able to pay with crypto using Flexa.

The release of Buy the Dip piggybacks off Chipotle’s recent activity within the esports world. In April 2022, the iconic Mexican food chain created a Roblox game allowing customers to earn burritos in real life. Through Roblox’s platform, gamers built burritos at Chipotle’s first location in 1993. While the game was not a wild success, it did well enough for Chipotle to create Buy The Dip.

How to Play Buy the Dip
  1. Enter the game’s website, here.
  2. Click “Play Buy The Dip” and follow the prompt to either sign into your Chipotle Rewards account or create a new one.
  3. The game can be be started by clicking “Play Now.”
  4. Players will press “start” to move the crypto line chart.
  5. Users then will click “BUY THE DIP” for a chance to win 1-cent Queso Blanco, 1-cent guac, or free cryptocurrency.
  6. If a prize is won, players will have 15 seconds to “CLAIM” their prize or “SWAP” it to earn a different one. If a prize isn’t won, you can click “TRY AGAIN” for another chance.
  7. Players will have three chances to win every day from July 25th through July 31st from 10am – 6pm

Categories
Music

Rap Legend Jim Jones Diversifies His Portfolio from Music to Crypto

Jim Jones knows a thing or two about diversifying his portfolio. A Jack of many trades, the founding member of legendary rap crew, The Diplomats has BEEN juggling multiple hustles. For more than two decades he’s crafted noteworthy rap music, while also helping launch the Saucey cannabis brand, his ByrdGang and Vamp Life imprints and other business ventures.

He’s held executive roles at record labels and currently hosts REVOLT TV’s Drip Report — a show where Jimmy gives an update on the week’s weather, as well as trending hip-hop news. In support of the digital show’s latest season, the “We Set The Trendz” rapper brought his unique approach to weather forecasting to FOX5’s Good Day New York.

“They let me do my rendition of the weather, which is pretty big,” says Jones. “To be on Fox News, especially coming from New York and being somebody like myself coming from the hip-hop culture, yet being able to infiltrate the corporations off of a show I started on Instagram is pretty dope.”

Although Jim has made it rain on more than one occasion and has created tracks like “Weatherman,” he insists that his weatherman vibes were manifested by chance. The Drip Report came into fruition organically, according to Jim. “I was in Miami while a hurricane was going on and I was able to capture the moment,” he recalls. “That moment ended up going viral, which eventually turned into what we have today— a television show and people seeing me on Fox.”

When it comes to getting money, Jim Jones is really about that life. An expert at getting to the bag, he’s an avid supporter of digital money. He details his futuristic hustle on tracks like “Mack Truck,” his 2021 collaboration with Young Thug. He has even gone as far as creating his own crypto coin. Named after one of his monikers, Capo Coin, as Jim describes it is a “social currency to be spent inside of our inner city communities at a discounted price.” You can cop it on UniSwap.

He credits his homie Noel with introducing him to the worlds of crypto and NFTs, while stressing the importance of taking the time to do independent research. “It’s where money is going,” he says. “There probably won’t be no physical dollars in the years to come. So I encourage everybody to start now on doing their research and learning what benefits them the most when it comes to these forms of currencies.”

Jim Jones’ biggest hit to date is 2006’s “We Fly High.” The get money anthem which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 featured the classic adlib: ballin’! Nowadays, the Harlem hustler has a particular outlook on what it means to ball. “The most important part of ballin’ is taking care of your responsibilities and your family. And after that, whatever you choose to do with your life and your money is on you.”

With more than twenty years in the rap game, Jim shows no signs of slowing down. The recently released remix to his Migo-assisted “We Set The Trendz” single features an all-star cast of ballers, which includes Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled and Juelz Santana. The original version was featured on his well-received 2022 DJ Drama-hosted project, Gangsta Grillz: We Set The Trendz.

From drip to lingo to all around swag, Jim and his Dipset fam have had an undeniable impact on popular culture. When asked if there are any trends that he felt he deserved more credit for being the originator of, he had this to say, “Um, no, I never looked for credit. I look for debit. I’m about cash. Credit never got me paid.” As always, Jim Jones has his mind the money.

Categories
Finance NFT

The Past Week In Crypto: October 20th to October 27th

Welcome to the new edition of “The Past Week in Crypto Adoption,” a weekly recap of companies, institutions, organizations, and individuals who are beginning to adopt crypto as a payment/work platform. With the crypto industry becoming more and more dynamic, this weekly report is meant to help you stay in the loop. The last few days saw crypto becoming more mainstream and being implemented by some of the world’s most prominent organizations across different industries.

1. FTX buys ad space in the upcoming Super Bowl

FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange that is the name sponsor of the Miami Heat as well as a sponsor of Major League Baseball, has announced they will buy ad space in the upcoming Super Bowl. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried stated that this sponsorship is natural since “Sports fans are 2x more likely to buy crypto, while avid sports fans are almost 3x more likely to do so”. Super Bowl is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, with over 90 million viewers. The ad space will reportedly cost $5-6 million. With a plethora of crypto companies such as FTX sponsoring sports teams and events, crypto adoption is likely to become even more mainstream.

2. Adobe adding “Prepare as NFT” button in Photoshop

Adobe has announced that they will launch an option that will make it possible to verify NFT creation authenticity. Named “Content Credentials,” the feature will allow NFT creators to link their Adobe ID with their crypto wallet to verify that they are the creator of an NFT. While this does not prevent someone from minting an NFT with the same image, it clarifies who the creator is. Considering that authenticity is a big part of any NFT’s value proposition, this feature can be useful and shows that more companies are adapting to the crypto/NFT industry. 

3. Mastercard to enable banks to offer crypto services.

Banks represent one of the biggest industries in the world and are a critical aspect of the everyday life of people around the world. One of the world’s biggest financial services companies, Mastercard, has announced that it will integrate crypto services into its network. In cooperation with crypto company Bakkt, Mastercard will enable banks in its network to offer programs such as having loyalty program points for hotels or airlines be converted to cryptocurrencies. Banks adopting cryptocurrencies and offering crypto-based features is a turning point for both industries and signals potential future growth for the crypto industry. 

4. FDIC Chairman says that regulators are exploring ways to make it possible for Banks to hold Bitcoin.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has announced that a team of US regulators is working towards “Providing a more straightforward path for Banks to hold Bitcoin. We need to allow banks in this space because if we don’t bring this activity into banks, it will be created outside of it. Then the federal regulators won’t be able to regulate it.” stated Chairman Jelena McWilliams. Suppose banks in the US end up holding Bitcoin. In that case, it will serve as a positive signal for a huge part of the potential buying market that is waiting for traditional institutions to embrace cryptocurrency. 

5. Twitter planning to use Bitcoin to facilitate commerce in its platform

Twitter CFO Ned Segall has stated that “ Bitcoin will be a great way to facilitate commerce on the platform.” Twitter is a social media platform that has over 200 million users. Jack Dorsey, the company’s co-founder and CEO, has repetitively stated his belief in Bitcoin and Blockchain and has announced several products related to this field. These products include “Bluesky,” a decentralized social network, as well as “Tips,” the feature that allows users to tip each other through Bitcoins Lightning Network. The fact that Twitter, a social media app with over 200 million daily active users, considers Bitcoin a key part of its platform shows that there is a belief in the acceptance that its users/customers will have for Bitcoin and crypto-related products. 

Categories
eSports Gaming

Esports Organization TSM Changes Its Name for $210 Million

Team SoloMid (TSM) first hit the esports scene in 2009. And since then, they’ve morphed into one of the top-ranking teams in League of Legends and have signed partnership deals with a laundry list of reputable companies. With additional teams across other hotly contested multiplayer games, such as Fortnite, Hearthstone, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, TSM has earned itself the right to be recognized as a force within the thriving world of esports.

Last Friday (June 4), TSM let the world know of a blockbuster deal that may just increase their global scale and notoriety in the coming years. The esports organization announced a $210 million, multi-year partnership with FTX that has resulted in the cryptocurrency exchange company securing exclusive naming rights for TSM. That surprising bit of news has now resulted in a name change for TSM – now you can all say hello to TSM FTX. With that shift to a new moniker and a massive influx of income, TSM FTX now has the funds needed to further its expansion efforts and dish out cryptocurrency to its players and organizational employees. Another plus when it comes to TSM and FTX’s new deal is TSM going ahead and purchasing $1 million in FTT, which happens to be FTX’s native cryptocurrency token.

Founder and CEO of TSM Andy Dinh explained his excitement over this new deal in a lengthy press release statement: “When I met Sam Bankman-Fried, I immediately knew we had to work together. Not only did TSM FTX fit perfectly as a brand, Sam is an innovative CEO that is in every way ahead of his time. Against all odds as a young ambitious entrepreneur, he has been able to disrupt markets by making smart decisions and by surrounding himself with smart people. He has proven that you can build a multi-billion-dollar business that can grow incredibly fast at scale – all while charging a fraction of what other platforms charge, and creating a culture of community and focus on social impact. This deal is extremely important to the future of our organization, but it was equally as important for me personally to partner with such a visionary leader. Just as a shared passion of gaming connects people around the world across ages, continents, and language barriers, Sam built a company that connects the world around a shared value of currency. I am extremely proud he chose to work with TSM.”

Founder and CEO of both FTX.com and FTX.US Sam Bankman-Fried responded in kind with some glowing comments about this newfound partnership: “We’re really excited to work with TSM. Their team has gone above and beyond both in-game and out, and rightfully established itself as the premier team in esports. We’ve also been really impressed working with them: they have the drive, creativity, communication, and generosity that we find combined in very few places.  In the end our partnerships will only be as strong as we make them, and we think that TSM will be able to help massively expand the presence of digital assets outside the traditional landscape. We’re also proud to work with them to give back to the world.”

While this deal yields a whole lot of positive news, there’s one major negative that has come from it. TSM FTX has been barred from using their new name or sport that name on jerseys during livestream broadcasts of Riot Games’ League of Legends and Valorant. This rule has been put in place due to Riot Games’ strict guidelines around outside partnerships with cryptocurrency exchange companies. In a statement to Dot Esports, Riot head of esports for North America and Oceania and interim LCS commissioner Chris Greeley spoke on the new ruling: “The TSM and FTX sponsorship deal does not break any LCS sponsorship rules, but crypto exchanges fall under a category of sponsorship that carries activation restrictions. As a result, TSM’s new naming convention and FTX brand placement on TSM jerseys will not apply to the LCS or other Riot Games esports in North America.”

In a Reddit post comment labeled under League of Legends, Andy Dinh responded to Riot Games’ decision: “The deal carves out name on broadcast and jersey logo on both league and Valorant. But FTX will still be sponsoring our league and Valorant players in content, social, live-streaming and in person events. Which has more visibility than Riot’s broadcast. Hope this clears things up.” That “more visibility” obviously has a hint of big boy talk in it that speaks to the larger scope and reach of TSM FTX. It’ll be interesting to see how TSM FTX’s teams will look on-screen with their new jerseys in other games without those same restrictions put in place. Watching the world of esports and crypto combine in such a manner paints a promising picture of more organizations going the same route in the future.

Categories
Grind Money

Binance vs. Coinbase: Which Platform is Better?

Let’s compare Binance and Coinbase side-by-side. Binance and Coinbase are two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Many wonder how the two platforms chalk up head-to-head. If you are looking to deep-dive into a crypto exchange platform, you most likely stumbled across these names along your research journey.

One company spawned in the tech-enthused towers of Shanghai, while the other emerged in the VC-ridden hills of Silicon Valley. Despite being two of the three largest crypto exchanges (Huobi Global is the other), Binance and Coinbase have two very different platforms built for different users.

Like many crypto-related products, Binance and Coinbase offer access to different coins and/or platform features based on user location. Some countries take a harder stance on retail trading for cryptocurrencies, whereas other countries completely embrace it.

That makes it difficult for exchange platforms to determine universal rules for all users. Sometimes, it runs them into legal trouble. It’s important to understand your local laws and regulations to determine whether Binance or Coinbase, or any other crypto exchange platform, is the best option for building out your portfolio.

Now we’ll take a closer look at the platform features, currencies offered, and the pros/cons of both Binance and Coinbase. Last, we’ll compare the ease of use and security for each platform. By the end of the article, we hope you will be able to 1) know what to expect from a coin exchange 2) understand what type of coin exchange fits your needs.

Coinbase Overview

Let’s look at Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in North America by trading volume. The American company was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong, a former Airbnb engineer. Since its launch, Coinbase has grown from an obscure San Fran startup to a $86bn+ publicly traded company. The exchange platform now boasts over 43 million verified users and is the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world behind Binance and Huobi.

Coinbase platform features

Coinbase operates in over 100 countries as both a mobile app and web platform on iOS and Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. Coinbase allows you to buy, sell, exchange, send and receive its approximate 50 available cryptocurrencies. They also allow you to check prices and chart data for many other coins.

The remote-first company also offers Coinbase Pro with no upfront cost. It permits users to access premium features like lower fees, real-time charting tools and higher-level trading. So why don’t they charge you extra? It really depends on how much you trade. Coinbase Pro uses a maker-taker business model, where orders that provide liquidity (maker orders) are charged different fees than orders that take liquidity (taker orders).

Put simply, Coinbase makes its money off trader fees.

Coinbase currencies offered:

Coinbase offers about 50 cryptocurrencies to send, receive, and/or trade (what you can do depends on the coin). When you think about the more well-known coins like BTC, ETC and LTC, you can assume it’s on Coinbase. Other popular coins like DASH were added in 2019 as part of its growing portfolio of supported currencies.

The list is certainly not exhaustive, but it covers all the bases for a beginner-intermediate-level trader who does not want to dive too deep into the volatile world of altcoins.

Coinbase Pros:
  • Coinbase is an easy solution for users looking to purchase Bitcoin. In crypto, there is a slight barrier to entry for users with US bank accounts (regulations are slowly evolving). Coinbase makes it easy to link your bank account, buy crypto, convert your crypto to fiat and send it back to your bank account. It sounds simple, but the more you immerse yourself in the world of blockchain, the more you’ll appreciate a product that can efficiently accomplish that.
  • Coinbase is also a large player in the space, so you can trust their customer support and infrastructure. They will not respond immediately (none of them do), but their system as a publicly-traded company is robust enough to warrant some accountability.
  • Coinbase is highly liquid, making it a safe choice for investors in a volatile market. You can confidently expect Coinbase to retain your funds.
Coinbase Cons:
  • Unless you are a Coinbase Pro member, exchange fees are high. Coinbase charges 0.50% per trade, which is higher than most of its competitors.
  • Like most centralized exchanges, Coinbase controls user wallet keys. That means you technically don’t own your cryptocurrency, you own a digital asset that Coinbase is holding on your behalf. This is seen as a bad thing because it creates a higher security risk and goes against the original intention of decentralized currency.
  • Limited coin selection. Compared to other exchange platforms, Coinbase does not offer a large variety of altcoins for users. This is partly due to restrictions enforced by US regulators, but Coinbase is still adding more coins to its platform.
  • Customer service is slow. One of Coinbase’s advantages is its institutional-like infrastructure. That includes a deep customer service team. So you can trust them, but for whatever reason, they are still painfully slow. When you run into an issue that needs troubleshooting, expect to wait a few weeks to resolve it. Keep in mind: the industry standard for customer service in crypto is notoriously awful. Coinbase is no exception.

Coinbase is far from perfect. But for US users, it is a clear frontrunner. No other platform in North America can match their security, reliability, accessibility, and ease of use. The high exchange fees are not ideal, but that’s the price you pay for a low barrier to entry. More technical users can seek alternatives, but your everyday trader should be willing to pay a premium for a streamlined crypto exchange service.

If you haven’t already, you can sign up for a Coinbase account here.

Binance Overview

Coinbase is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in North America: impressive. Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.

Binance was founded in 2017 by developer and fintech entrepreneur Changpeng Zhao. The company was originally based in Shanghai, China, but moved its headquarters to Japan and then the Cayman Islands amid mounting pressure on cryptocurrencies from government authorities.

As a behemoth in the Bitcoin world, Binance has gotten a lot of press… both good and bad. They have also been targeted by regulators on numerous occasions. In May 2021, it was reported that the IRS and US Department of Justice investigated Binance for tax violations and financial crime.

Because of this strained relationship with US regulators, users based in US locations cannot access Binance services. Instead, US-based users must use their sister company binance.us, a more limited version of their flagship product.

Before you count off Binance for ethical concerns, it is important to put Binance’s journey into context. They are a major competitor in a fast-growing, previously unregulated market aimed at disrupting institutions and decentralizing financial systems. You are going to hit a few bumps along the way. And it is hard to find any multi-billion dollar company in the cryptocurrency space with a perfect track record. Plus, these clicky headlines have little impact on the actual user experience of Binance, which is quite popular.

So let’s take a closer look at Binance’s platform features, currencies offered, and the pros/cons of using Binance. Then, we’ll compare Binances’ ease of use, security, and product offers directly to Coinbase.

Binance Platform features:

Binance operates similar to Coinbase, as a mobile app and web-based platform. Users can trade over 500 cryptocurrencies and altcoins, plus access to high-level trading tools like limit orders, market orders, and margin trading.

Binance Currencies offered:

Binance offers over 500 cryptocurrencies. So too many to list here. But it is important to note how there are a few key cryptocurrencies not available on Coinbase that Binance offers like Harmony; Coinbase only recently added Dogecoin.

Binance Pros:
  • Binance offers some of the lowest fees in the industry. Users pay 0.02% to 0.10% purchase and trading fees compared to Coinbase’s 0.5%.
  • Binance has a plethora of options for both beginner and advanced traders looking to make different types of transactions.
  • Binance allows transactions for many different coins compared to other major competitors.
Binance Cons:
  • US customers cannot use Binance; they have to use binance.us, a significantly more limited product
  • Although Binance’s platform is useful for all skill levels, it can also be quite complicated to navigate because there are so many options. The UI is not as intuitive as Coinbase.
  • Binance has no built-in digital wallet.

If you do not reside in the US, you can sign-up for Binance here.

Binance vs. Coinbase: Ease of Use

Coinbase is the easier option for beginner retail traders. Think of Coinbase as the Robinhood of stock trading, and Binance as the Fidelity or Charles Schwab. For a low-volume trader in the US looking for quick, convenient crypto trading options, Coinbase is the clear choice. Binance is also somewhat easy to use for beginners, it’s UI is just geared more toward users already well-versed in the crypto space.

Neither company is beloved for its customer service. However, Binance is a bit more responsive (IMO) due to their live chat features and social media team. Good luck getting Coinbase to respond to a ticket.

Binance vs. Coinbase: Security

Both exchanges are considered safe, but Coinbase is generally considered a more reputable company. As we mentioned early, Binance had a falling out with US regulators due to accusations of tax fraud and money laundering. German regulators also warned Binance for failing to publish an investor prospectus.

Coinbase is no darling child for security features, but they do a good job complying with regulators. You can feel secure putting your money in Coinbase, but I highly recommend setting up 2FA or other security measures to keep your account safe.

Most hacking occurs at the user level, with scammers setting up spoof emails and texts pretending to be the company. Although they are centralized exchanges, both Binance and Coinbase use cold storage to keep your data from hackers. 2% of Coinbase’s funds are kept in hot storage (making it more vulnerable), but Coinbase will insure your loss of funds if a security breach occurs at the company’s side.

Binance vs. Coinbase: Currencies Offered

Like we mentioned above, Binance offers over 500 cryptocurrencies compared to Coinbase’s 47, making it a difficult comparison. The main reason Coinbase has fewer currencies is because US regulators have taken a harsher stance on certain altcoins. Binance has made the decision to not remain US compliant and instead ban US users. It is possible for US-based users to operate under a VPN and still use Binance services, however.

Should I try Binance or Coinbase?

So, is Binance or Coinbase right for me?

If you live outside the United States, I’d recommend using Binance. The fees are lower, they offer more coins, and it’s worth the extra learning curve in the long-term if you are serious about building a crypto portfolio. Once you learn how to get your way around Binance’s platform, it will be much more beneficial to use.

You can’t beat their supported coins list, and with such a large infrastructure, you can feel confident about the security of your funds. As mentioned, most hacks/security breaches occur on the user-side, not the company-side.

For US users, Coinbase is the industry-standard. Anyone with a smartphone and a bank account can buy and sell Bitcoin in seconds. That’s a powerful form of technology that propelled Coinbase to its near $100 billion valuation.

Sure, the prices are high, but unless you want to spend hours reading and researching the best way to retain full control over your crypto, just use the app and pay your fees. You can’t underestimate the value of saving time.

For more serious US-based crypto traders, there are certainly other options to consider, and I’d recommend exploring them. At the most basic level, use Coinbase to buy your crypto and then send it to a cold-wallet or MetaMask. You don’t have to use one service for all your crypto needs.

Happy trading!

Categories
Grind Money

Get to Know CryptoStache: A Beacon of Information In The CryptoVerse

Navigating the wide world of cryptocurrency can be quite daunting for newcomers. You can do all the Google searches in the world for the terms Basic Attention Token, NFT’s, Ethereum, etc. But without proper guidance, you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed by the constantly evolving crypto space and its latest trends.

If you’re desperate for a savior to make sense of all this, then allow us to introduce you to Shea Newkirk aka “CryptoStache.” The crypto guru runs a personal blog where he gets into the nitty-gritty of all things bitcoin and crypto. Besides offering readers a treasure trove of worthwhile advice to follow, CryptoStache also dishes out useful information and insightful podcast sessions on his growing YouTube channel. 

To say that CrytpoStache is a man of many talents would be a severe understatement – his Twitter bio describes him as a bitcoiner, blockchain gamer, content creator, entrepreneur, musician, and designer. And he sports a pretty sick handlebar mustache to boot. His cryptocurrency knowledge reaches far and wide, which is why our very own Tyler Schmitt spent some time picking his brain and learning about his interesting backstory.

Tyler kicked his conversation with CryptoStache off by letting him provide us all with a brief breakdown of who he is and what he does in the crypto world. “All NFT roads lead back to ‘Stache. That’s how I set it all up, guys. For years, I’ve been laying the tracks and now the time has come. I’m all about stashing my crypto. And the tagline is not just clever, it’s literally what I built my educational platform on from the very beginning when I first started doing it. It’s an underlying ethos to what I’m doing here in crypto. I got started in the industry in really 2013, is when I really slowly took a look at Satoshi’s [Nakamoto] [The] White Paper. And that’s when it was like BOOM!”

CryptoStache went on to explain how he initially got put on to the cryptocurrency scene. “The first time was like early 2012 and I was just surfing around on Reddit’s and news forums out there. And I saw a link where someone was talking about magic internet money. And I was like ‘that’s weird. Magic bitcoin money? Alright…’ So I clicked the link, go to the website, and it’s like right there. Hey, buy Bitcoin!”

Tyler then asks if CryptoStache considered himself a techie at that point in his life. “I’ve been a techie my whole life. I started building computers when I was like 14 years old. I taught myself how to code at 16 and do graphics, HTML, and all that good stuff.” CryptoStache also delved into his teen years and noted how he didn’t look like your average nerd. “I look cool. I don’t look like a nerd. I was always good at really hiding it. Because in high school, that was not the cool thing. I did sports too, so when I’m at home I’m computing. It was a crazy kind of juxtaposition.” As the interview goes on, CryptoStache covers a wide range of topics, such as his working past in the field of architecture, his crypto know-how, and his interest in blockchain gaming.

Be sure to listen to the full conversation between Tyler and CryptoStache to fully immerse yourself in all the goings-on playing out in the cryptocurrency medium. And do yourself a favor and give CryptoStache a follow on Instagram and Twitter.

Categories
Finance NFT

Get to Know CryptoStache: A Beacon of Information In The CryptoVerse

Navigating the wide world of cryptocurrency can be quite daunting for newcomers. You can do all the Google searches in the world for the terms Basic Attention Token, NFT’s, Ethereum, etc. But without proper guidance, you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed by the constantly evolving crypto space and its latest trends.

If you’re desperate for a savior to make sense of all this, then allow us to introduce you to Shea Newkirk aka “CryptoStache.” The crypto guru runs a personal blog where he gets into the nitty-gritty of all things bitcoin and crypto. Besides offering readers a treasure trove of worthwhile advice to follow, CryptoStache also dishes out useful information and insightful podcast sessions on his growing YouTube channel. 

To say that CrytpoStache is a man of many talents would be a severe understatement – his Twitter bio describes him as a bitcoiner, blockchain gamer, content creator, entrepreneur, musician, and designer. And he sports a pretty sick handlebar mustache to boot. His cryptocurrency knowledge reaches far and wide, which is why our very own Tyler Schmitt spent some time picking his brain and learning about his interesting backstory.

Tyler kicked his conversation with CryptoStache off by letting him provide us all with a brief breakdown of who he is and what he does in the crypto world. “All NFT roads lead back to ‘Stache. That’s how I set it all up, guys. For years, I’ve been laying the tracks and now the time has come. I’m all about stashing my crypto. And the tagline is not just clever, it’s literally what I built my educational platform on from the very beginning when I first started doing it. It’s an underlying ethos to what I’m doing here in crypto. I got started in the industry in really 2013, is when I really slowly took a look at Satoshi’s [Nakamoto] [The] White Paper. And that’s when it was like BOOM!”

CryptoStache went on to explain how he initially got put on to the cryptocurrency scene. “The first time was like early 2012 and I was just surfing around on Reddit’s and news forums out there. And I saw a link where someone was talking about magic internet money. And I was like ‘that’s weird. Magic bitcoin money? Alright…’ So I clicked the link, go to the website, and it’s like right there. Hey, buy Bitcoin!”

Tyler then asks if CryptoStache considered himself a techie at that point in his life. “I’ve been a techie my whole life. I started building computers when I was like 14 years old. I taught myself how to code at 16 and do graphics, HTML, and all that good stuff.” CryptoStache also delved into his teen years and noted how he didn’t look like your average nerd. “I look cool. I don’t look like a nerd. I was always good at really hiding it. Because in high school, that was not the cool thing. I did sports too, so when I’m at home I’m computing. It was a crazy kind of juxtaposition.” As the interview goes on, CryptoStache covers a wide range of topics, such as his working past in the field of architecture, his crypto know-how, and his interest in blockchain gaming.

Be sure to listen to the full conversation between Tyler and CryptoStache to fully immerse yourself in all the goings-on playing out in the cryptocurrency medium. And do yourself a favor and give CryptoStache a follow on Instagram and Twitter.

Categories
Grind Money

Beeple’s “Everydays — The First 5000 Days” Sells For Nearly $70 Million

If you haven’t started investing in, or even learning about NFTs, now would be the time to start doing so. Mike Winkelmann, aka the digital artist Beeple, has sold his piece “Everydays — The First 5000 Days” for $69.3 million, shattering the record for digital artwork sales and making it one of the biggest sales in the history of Christie’s Auction House.

For those unfamiliar with NFTs, here is a comprehensive breakdown of the phenomenon and how these “non-fungible tokens” are a potential gamechanger in not just the world of finance but also the arts, culture, gaming, and beyond.

“Everydays — The First 5000 Days” is a JPG file that contains a collage of images that was created by Beeple, so while most art sales are for one single painting, this contains practically everything that the artist has created since he first began posting his work online in 2007.

Beeple is known for creating surreal pieces of art that reflect the culture of the time, whether that be politics, culture, music, and everything in between.

This is also not the first time that Beeple has made a killing from an NFT sale. Back in February, his piece “Crossroads” sold for $6.6 million in Ethereum. It’s clear that people love Beeple’s work and see that it has more value than one might think at first glance.

In another first for Christie’s, “Everydays” was the first NFT sold by the auction house and was also the first piece to be purchased using Ethereum.

Just yesterday, the NFT called “Crypto Punk 7804” was sold 4,200 ETH, which is the equivalent of $7,566,173.88, thought to be the largest transaction involving NFTs up to that point.

If that sale and today’s auction of “Everydays” is any indication, it’s the world of NFTs and digital art will constantly be in flux, and this sale might not be top dog for long.

Categories
Art NFT

Beeple’s “Everydays — The First 5000 Days” Sells For Nearly $70 Million

If you haven’t started investing in, or even learning about NFTs, now would be the time to start doing so. Mike Winkelmann, aka the digital artist Beeple, has sold his piece “Everydays — The First 5000 Days” for $69.3 million, shattering the record for digital artwork sales and making it one of the biggest sales in the history of Christie’s Auction House.

For those unfamiliar with NFTs, here is a comprehensive breakdown of the phenomenon and how these “non-fungible tokens” are a potential gamechanger in not just the world of finance but also the arts, culture, gaming, and beyond.

“Everydays — The First 5000 Days” is a JPG file that contains a collage of images that was created by Beeple, so while most art sales are for one single painting, this contains practically everything that the artist has created since he first began posting his work online in 2007.

Beeple is known for creating surreal pieces of art that reflect the culture of the time, whether that be politics, culture, music, and everything in between.

This is also not the first time that Beeple has made a killing from an NFT sale. Back in February, his piece “Crossroads” sold for $6.6 million in Ethereum. It’s clear that people love Beeple’s work and see that it has more value than one might think at first glance.

In another first for Christie’s, “Everydays” was the first NFT sold by the auction house and was also the first piece to be purchased using Ethereum.

Just yesterday, the NFT called “Crypto Punk 7804” was sold 4,200 ETH, which is the equivalent of $7,566,173.88, thought to be the largest transaction involving NFTs up to that point.

If that sale and today’s auction of “Everydays” is any indication, it’s the world of NFTs and digital art will constantly be in flux, and this sale might not be top dog for long.

Categories
Grind Money

NFTs Are Changing the Music Industry Right Before Our Eyes

Special thanks to Cooper Turley of Audius and Jeremy Stern of Catalog for feedback. 

An NFT by electronic musician Jacques Greene recently sold on Foundation for 13ETH — over $23,000 US. 

The audio-visual clip teases out a few seconds of an unreleased song of his called ‘Promise’.

https://foundation.app/jacquesgreene/promise-640
Foundation

But this purchase is for more than just the artwork itself. As Jacques writes, “this NFT represents not only a 1of1 AV but the publishing rights to the song upon its release, in perpetuity.”

Now this, to me, is an incredibly exciting thing to see. And not only because Jacques and I are both musicians and both from Montreal.

But because this is one more early example that nudges us ever closer to the following hypothesis: That we are at the beginning of a massive overhaul of this thing we’ve collectively decided to call the “music industry”. And that every facet of said industry will feel the aftershocks of this tectonic shift.

Welcome to the Stone Age

I recently wrote a beginner’s guide to NFTs and spoke of how they are about to change pretty much everything. This article both zooms out of NFTs and into the wider edges of what we can call the web3 revolution, and it zooms in on where these changes meet music. 

To create a succinct story around what this future of music will look like would be a fool’s errand. We are just beginning to touch these new tools for the first time. It’s like we’re in the Early Stone Age, and we just accidentally made the first hammers ever. We’ve just picked them up, and we’re feeling their weight; we’re hitting them against things and seeing if something goes boom. 

So instead of speculating on exactly where this all goes, this article walks through five examples of people, projects, and platforms that are giving these brand new hammers a good smacking. 

This is in no way an exhaustive list. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of experiments underway. 

My hope is that these examples begin to outline for you the possibilities of what’s to come. I encourage you to use the infinite landscape of your imagination to color in the rest. 

Alright, back to Jacques Greene

In his tweet thread announcing the ‘Promise’ NFT drop, Jacques Greene said that he recently “got out of a long, pretty bad publishing deal.” Now that he’s an independent songwriter, he’s elected to sell the publishing rights to this song to whoever wins the auction. 

That could theoretically be anyone. It could be a fan, a friend, another publisher who feels they could do better with his music. Maybe a music supervisor who already has some placement ideas for ‘Promise’ and wants more skin in the game. 

By creating an NFT around these rights, they become not only verifiably ownable but also tradeable. Once the song is released, the demand for these rights may go up as the song grows in popularity. Maybe the NFT changes owners. Maybe it changes owners a hundred times. 

The NFT could also theoretically be fractionalized, meaning it could be cut up into smaller pieces and sold to multiple owners. Maybe a fungible token is created that represents fractional ownership of the NFT, enabling hundreds, thousands, millions of people to participate in the publishing rights of this one song.

Of course, these different scenarios might be discussed and decided upon in a separate agreement between Jacques Greene and the primary buyer. While the proof of ownership of this NFT will be stored on the Ethereum blockchain, the actual flow of rights and royalties is not baked into the smart contract.

But you can begin to see a future where they are baked in. What happens when agreements that were once paper contracts turn to code? Suddenly the flow of rights and royalties becomes way more agile, flexible, malleable. Suddenly the options a creator has with the ownership and therefore incentives tied to the success of their work approach near infinity.

A custom built NFT Shop by 3LAU

We just saw how your superfan could, in theory, become your publisher. Clearly, the roles and relationships between artist, core team, and fan are beginning to blur. 

Another artist is committed to the continual blurring of these lines in 3LAU. 

The electronic artist has been immersed in the crypto scene for many years and has been essentially carving the path for musicians into the realm of NFTs. 

After a number of successful NFT drops, 3LAU — along with the team at Original Protocol — has now built his own custom NFT auction and marketplace. On Thursday, February 25th, the bidding will open for 33 rare Vinyl NFTs that represent his best-selling album Ultraviolet

The winner of these NFTs will also receive access to unreleased music, limited edition physical vinyl, and the top bidder will win the opportunity to create a custom song with 3LAU himself. Talk about an intimate connection with the artist.

https://nft.3lau.com/
3LUA

In a recent Clubhouse room announcing the project, 3LAU shared his vision of creating a long-term, close-knit relationship with his collectors. He plans for these NFTs to have ongoing utility, providing access to future exclusive content and closer access to him and his work. 

Because he’s built a custom marketplace, 3LAU truly gets to create whatever he wants. The art of the project extends past the actual music and into open questions like “how can I provide more value and access for fans, and how do I want to monetize that value?”

In a lot of ways, this release format gives the best of both worlds to creators and collectors. 

3LAU gets to own his platform and marketplace. But the actual NFTs live on the Ethereum blockchain, and therefore transcend the digital “walls” of his website. They can be moved about the wider Ethereum network — showed off in a VR gallery-like GeniusCorp’s Cryptovoxels vinyl shop, or bought and sold on Opensea or other marketplaces. 

It’s like owning a game skin, but the game’s environment is the entire (new) Internet. The use cases are truly endless.

Catalog: The Bandcamp for NFTs

Not everyone is going to build their own NFT shop. Catalog gets this. So they are building out the Bandcamp for audio NFTs. 

https://catalog.works/
Catalog

Set to launch within the next few weeks, Catalog allows artists to press 1-of-1 digital records as NFTs. These NFTs do not represent the rights or royalties associated with the song (like we saw with Jaques Greene’s) but act more like a canonical representation of an artist’s work on the blockchain. As the team puts it, 

“Catalog records represent the true original version of your work online. These are unique, one-of-one records that exist on the internet forever, beyond the limits of our platform, and can be traded in open markets.”

This means that fans can now own the original pressing.

McKenzie Wark

The future of collecting may be less in owning the thing that nobody else has, and more in owning the thing that everybody else has.

https://www.e-flux.com/journal/85/156418/my-collectible-ass/

As we spoke about in the guide to NFTs, this is a bit of a mental jump for us. We’ve learned to think of digital content in a certain way, but the perception of stuff on the Internet as tactile, distinct goods will increase as we venture deeper into the web3 renaissance. And with that, the verifiably original pressing of “Hotline Bling” for instance will hold tons of value. 

The same way we learned last week that the Nyan Cat meme is worth 300ETH to someone.

Another inherent aspect of Catalog NFTs (as with all the NFTs we’ve discussed) is the artist or creator fee. This is a percentage that the artist sets at the time of minting, which is paid to the artist every time that NFT sells on the secondary market, in perpetuity. 

This is another huge shift for artists, allowing them to capture the increasing value of their work overtime. An artist on Catalog will be able to capture the cultural value of their art as it grows, over and above the traditional royalties earned. 

Catalog intends to become a community-owned project, which means its artists and collectors will eventually control the majority of the network and its decisions. They are also building on top of the Zora Protocol, which has created a type of NFT structure (called a zNFT) that bakes the actual market into the NFT itself. This means that Catalog doesn’t take any transaction fee, and as a zNFT moves about the Ethereum ecosystem, so too does its market. 

This is truly “platformless media”.

Audius: The web3 Steaming Model

Alright, so we’ve covered a bunch of NFT projects and technologies that are just bursting with potential. 

But what’s about streaming music? Does that fit into all of this? Or are we stuck with the same old “Spotify model” forever?

Streaming platform Audius intends to give that last question a resounding “no!”

https://audius.co/
Audius

Audius is building a decentralized streaming platform. What this means is that the actual content uploaded to the site doesn’t exist on servers that are owned and operated by Audius itself. Instead, distributed “operators” are incentivized to run nodes that store the content and metadata on the platform. This allows for a whole lot of fun stuff, which we’ll get into shortly. 

The beauty of Audius is that, while all this is running under the hood, the average user has no idea. Using Audius feels like using any other streaming platform you’re accustomed to. You just…play music. Make playlists. Do the things. 

Because of its ability to abstract away all of the friction that usually comes along with a lot of early crypto tech, Audius has seen a huge wave of early adoption — with over 2.6 million monthly active users. Every user on Audius has a crypto wallet, and most don’t know it yet.

But the power of this decentralized library of content and code is immense. First, the content transcends the platforms. Much like the “platformless media” of NFTs, this means that the music and its streaming data are not beholden to the continued existence of Audius itself. If the website disappears tomorrow, the content is still there so long as the nodes stay online. This content is also completely open and permissionless, meaning anyone can build anything that “hooks in” to it.

You and I can build another frontend website that takes all the same content as Audius, but ours is better because we really like the color pink, and our whole website is pink. (If you wanna do this, please DM me.)

Or, in a more impactful example, we can build out ways of monetizing this content in up-until-now completely unexplored ways. 

And this is exactly what Audius itself is attempting to build. With the rollout of their native token $AUDIO, artists, curators and fans alike will be able to play in the experimental sandbox of earning and trading coins on the platform. Audius’ vision is to have its platform and the eventual uses of $AUDIO be community-led. 

But make no mistake, if we, the artists, don’t like how things are going down on Audius, we can build our own new frontend. That’s the beauty of it! No siloed control means more freedom for artists and audiences alike. 

Right now, Audius is completely free, and artists are encouraged to upload content, build playlists, and establish their following. The longer-term vision is to roll out monetizing products that allow artists to get really creative with their rollouts. And because the idea is to be a community-led initiative, it is the artists themselves who get to ideate and vote on what gets built. 

How about an album that charges listeners a set amount once they’ve listened through the album twice? Or a song that changes endings when you tip the artist? How about a song where the first 100 listeners get a percentage of future earnings? Or, a favorite example of mine from a podcast with the Audius founders, what about a gated album that can only be streamed at a certain altitude? Mile high club just got a whole new meaning. 

Up until now, we’ve been given very few options in how to distribute and monetize music. Highly centralized and opaque systems like Spotify and Apple Music get to essentially dictate what a song is worth. But this is a rather flat and boring way of doing things. The world of music is diverse. An artist’s catalog itself is filled with all sorts of different flavors and sounds. Why can’t the distribution and monetization of that music be just as eclectic?

Tokenized Communities and $RAC

We’ve looked at a lot of the ways that content online is changing, and we’ve begun to outline how the distribution of this content can create stronger ties between artist and fan. 

Now let’s dig a bit deeper into how online communities are about to take on a whole new level of meaning in our lives. 

The grammy-award winning artist and remixer RAC has been dipping into the world of crypto for quite a while, leading highly successful initiatives with his audiovisual NFTs and redeemable token drop $TAPE.

In October of last year, he announced the creation of his own artist token $RAC. He included an initial distribution plan of $RAC to his most loyal audience — Patreon supporters, Twitch supporters, etc. 

https://blog.ourzora.com/home/introducing-rac
Zora

A social token like $RAC allows the artist to create strong ties with his community that transcend any one platform. Up until now, we’ve been building our Instagram followers and our YouTube subscribers and the like. But these relationships are truly owned by the platform itself and not the creators. 

A community token allows you to attribute value to your online family and allow that value to flow through that family in any number of ways. These are the building blocks for creators and communities to build their own online worlds. 

One growingly common use-case for a social token is to act as admission to a gated Discord community. To access certain locked Discord channels, you’d need a certain amount of $RAC. Another popular community doing this is Friends With Benefits, which currently requires you to hold 55 $FWB in your crypto wallet to gain access. 

But Discord entry is just the beginning. This provides a community with the power of its own economy. As the community grows, so too does the value of its economy and, therefore its token. This value can then be used to incentivize those within the community and those who want in — in any manner of direction. The ways a social token can be used are thus limited only by the creativity of that artist and community. 

The $RAC token is built on Zora’s protocol. Platforms like Mintgate and Seed Club are a few others playing in this social token space. 

We just covered a whoooole lot.

And yet, we’ve barely begun. We didn’t even touch on how this stuff leaks into live events and ticketing, PROs, data flow, and tons more. 

One could go through all of this and say, jeez, we are really on our way to turning the arts into this hyper-financialized space that’s all about money. 

That’s one perspective. But this is how I see where we are currently at… 

The arts are now entering the blockchain ecosystem, a space that has in a lot of ways been shaped by those who got here first. The DeFi (decentralized finance) space exploded in 2020 and laid the cultural groundwork within this new world. 

But now artists are coming. And the culture is shifting — the words we use are changing, the ways we design and build things are changing.

In a recent YouTube Live, Jon-Kyle of Mirror said, “it’s not ‘let’s make the world feel like we live in a bank’… it’s ‘let’s make the rest of the world feel broken’”.

As you dive deeper into these new technologies, the current online world does start to feel entirely broken. And boy, oh boy, does the music industry feel broken… 

In December 2020, I — like all artists on Spotify — received my 2020 Artist Wrapped analytics. The number that struck me most was that 170 listeners streamed my catalog more than any other artist on Spotify. I was blown away. Like, there are a lot of artists on Spotify. And you listened that much to Lil’ ol’ me? 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/70JkpECHBzs79FOYemfHwk?si=gswjhntvRVKqemEB8lk0Bw
Spotify

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the discovery tools that Spotify has built for artists like me to find fans. But don’t you find it strange that I have no idea who those 170 people are? That I have no way of finding them, reaching them, telling them “thank you, I love you, let’s be best friends”? 

Doesn’t that feel broken?

We are still in the Early Stone Ages of the Internet. 

And we just made the first hammers ever. What will we build?

Bonus Round: EulerBeats

Getting into all this? Good. Here’s a little homework for ya if you want to go deeper…

Step 1 — Read this tweet:

Step 2 — Now read this tweet:

“DAO” stands for a Decentralized Autonomous Organization. We’ll get more into what those are in a future article. 

Step 3 — Visit eulerbeats.com, and good luck getting any other work done today.

https://eulerbeats.com/
EulerBeats