Categories
Finance NFT

How to Choose The Right NFT Project For You

When I first began my journey into the realm of non-fungible tokens—better known as digital assets—I had no idea where to start or how to figure out which of the projects would be the right choice for me. After being in the space for close to a year and collecting numerous NFTs, I believe I have discovered a good way to choose the right project for you and your long-term investment goals.

When choosing the best NFT to buy for yourself and hold long term, it is crucial that you follow these three simple rules:

1. Always invest in NFTs that you like

First and foremost, you should always invest in NFTs that spark your interest. I mean, what’s the point of purchasing something that you don’t actually enjoy? Don’t just look for the “next best” NFT, search for the next best NFT that suits your interests.

Not everyone has the same interests, and not everyone will be able to make the same knowledgeable choice about any one NFT project because we all have different levels of understanding of the category we are choosing to invest in.

For example, if you really enjoy soccer and you know a lot about the players and the teams, it’s safe to say that a soccer NFT project would be a good category to start doing your research on. Or, if you really appreciate modern art, then you should be digging deeper into modern artists and their NFTs.

This first step is the foundation of your decision for choosing the best NFT project for you and your investment portfolio.

2. Do your own research

Who doesn’t love a little research? After you have found an NFT you are interested in, it’s time to get your hands dirty and learn everything you can about that specific NFT. Researching NFTs isn’t as easy as going to the “reviews” section and reading everything that other consumers have posted, but it’s close.

When you sit down to research any NFT, here is what I recommend you try to find as much information on as possible:

  • The creator(s)
  • The community
  • The project (brand)
The creator(s)

I think it’s important to understand that when you invest in a non-fungible token, you are actually investing in the human behind the project. Similarly to when you are betting on your favorite sport’s team, you are betting on the player’s ability to execute, not just a random team of people.

There are a few things that I personally look for when examining the creator behind a project; their past performance and ability to execute, their social status, and their ability to build brand awareness.

If you find a project where the creator has a good track record, a positive social status, and a team that seems to understand how to build a brand, then you are likely on the right path to finding the best long-term NFT for your collection.

The community

Don’t forget about the community! A good NFT project will have a healthy community following them. Signs of a healthy community include an overall positive vibe, helpful people, and a whole lot of communication from the project manager. This communication should include project updates, alerts, and assistance with any problems that community members may face.

Okay, so now you’re probably wondering where you are able to find out more about a project’s community; the answer is simple: everywhere. Allow me to elaborate.

Wherever an NFT project has a presence, you should be there observing, listening, and asking any questions you may have about the project. Some common places where you are able to observe a project’s community is on various social media platforms, Discord, and other media outlets such as blog posts and videos.

Spending a majority of your day simply observing a community is not a waste of your time at all. In fact, I would argue that it is an excellent use of your time that can help you decide if an NFT is right for you or not.

The project (brand)

Finally, the main piece of the puzzle: the project itself. The project—or as I like to think of it, the brand—is arguably one of the most important pieces to the NFT puzzle. The brand is what draws people in and keeps the demand for their assets high.

Branding is generally what draws you into a project, and it is what will continue to command your attention as more and more projects enter the space. When you do your research on a brand, make sure you like the brand and support what they stand for. Also, you should ensure that you thoroughly enjoy the products and services that the brand offers to its consumers, such as yourself. Once you have determined these three important aspects of research check-out, you are one step closer to discovering the best NFT for you and your long-term investment goals. Remember, ALWAYS do your own research.

3. Don’t invest more money than you can afford to lose

The final piece to uncovering the best NFT for your personal situation and interests should not only be considered a rule but an absolute must! Do not invest more money than you can afford to lose. In my opinion, there should be no exception to this rule.

If you invest all your savings into a project with no money to fall back on, you may be putting yourself and your family in a hard spot. Especially if you were to lose all your hard-earned money on an NFT project that ultimately ended up having less value than you had originally thought.

Personally, I try to buy into every project with the thought that the project could go to zero. I know, nobody wants to think that the project they are investing in could go to zero, but that is just the reality of the market.

In my experience, if you follow these three rules, then you will be on the right path to finding the best NFT project for you. The greatest part about following these rules is that you will feel confident and happy with your investments, and you’ll know that you have made the best choice for yourself.

Will NFTs hold their value when investing long term?

When thinking about investing in non-fungible tokens to add to your long-term investment portfolio, you may be contemplating the longevity of NFTs in the macro—rightfully so. This brings us to one of the most commonly asked questions regarding these tokens: are NFTs here to stay for the long term?

NFTs are digital assets that are minted on the blockchain, where they remain indefinitely. These digital assets are exploding in growth and utility across various industries. Social media platforms, influencers, and even big-name brands such as Budweiser, are all beginning to incorporate NFTs into their business.

In my opinion, the fact that these reputable brands are utilizing non-fungible tokens to their advantage is a huge sign pointing towards the continuance of use across all the different industries. Moreover, I believe that the market has already proven that NFTs will remain valuable for the long haul.

The number of people who are aware of NFTs and their potential value is still very minimal. I bet if you were to ask anyone within your inner circle about NFTs, they would look at you like you are crazy. That’s not to take away from the fact that NFTs are here to stay.

My point being: even though many folks are unfamiliar with this technology as of right now, the market is still booming with sales. Not to mention, many of these sales are from unknown individuals who don’t have a reputable brand backing their work, so imagine what will happen when these large companies who have unlimited resources begin integrating non-fungible tokens into their businesses.

In time, it is very likely that more and more people will look to invest in digital assets. As NFTs begin to prove their worth in the business world, the demand to collect these assets will also increase as a result.

In conclusion, finding the right NFT for you and your long-term investment portfolio is important. Remember, before choosing which NFT is best for you, make sure to follow the three simple rules: find what you like, do your research, and never spend more money than you can afford to lose.

Different Types of NFT Projects Available

There are many types of NFTs. The uninformed may think it’s simply art. It’s much more than that. What ties all NFTs: proof of ownership of an asset. All made possible by the blockchain and its universal ledger. Here are some examples:

  • Event Tickets
  • Art
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Films and Video
  • Games
  • Collectables
  • Virtual and Physical Land
  • Virtual Fashion
  • Sports
Categories
NFT Tech

Ethereum Merge Has Happened: Everything to Know About The Upgrade

Ethereum is the second most valuable blockchain following Bitcoin, and is number one in NFT transaction volume. Now, the Ethereum Merge is making its network even better.

Shortly before the merge, Buterin tweeted a quote from Ethereum researcher Justin Drake, saying the merge would reduce global electricity consumption by 0.2%.

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/VitalikButerin/status/1570306185391378434?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>

When Did the Merge Happen?

Ethereum’s mainnet merge happened on September 15, 2022. This completed Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake consensus, officially deprecating proof-of-work and reducing energy consumption by ~99.95%.

What’s Next?

Now that the merge is complete, what else does Ethereum have in store? Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin shared his updated roadmap on where Ethereum protocol development is at and what’s coming in what order.

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/VitalikButerin/status/1466411377107558402?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>

The Ethereum Merge moves the blockchain from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to proof-of-stake. This merge means that ETH holders will operate as validators opposed to energy-intensive computers doing the work, hence creating a more efficient blockchain and reducing its carbon footprint.

The Merge is just one part of the overall upgrade. Below, we will discuss what The Merge is and what it means for users of the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum Merge: What is it?

Currently, Ethereum operates on a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism. This mechanism requires special computers to solve arbitrary mathematical problems to prevent anybody from compromising the network. Although PoW is very effective, it is also extremely energy-intensive.

Even though Ethereum still utilizes proof-of-work, its new mechanism proof-of-stake (PoS) is currently operating parallel to it on the Beacon Chain. This chain is responsible for creating new blocks, validating them, and rewarding validators with ETH for keeping the network secure, without the use of smart contract functionality.

Mainnet will enable the new network to run smart contracts into the proof-of-stake system, and includes the full history and current state of Ethereum. This is to ensure that the transition is smooth for all ETH holders and users.

The Merge is when these two chains will finally come together. Upon completion, The Merge will successfully end the proof-of-work mechanism and initiate the new proof-of-stake mechanism.

Getty Images

What Happens Once Ethereum Merges?

The Ethereum Merge officially marks the end of the blockchain’s proof-of-work consensus mechanism and its transition to a new proof-of-stake consensus layer. The goal of The Merge is to reduce the network’s energy consumption significantly and enable Ethereum to scale to even greater heights.

Considering the Beacon Chain is solely used for the testnet merges, it has not been processing transactions on the mainnet. Rather, it’s been reaching consensus on its own state by agreeing on active validators and their account balances.

After The Merge, the Beacon Chain will be the engine for all network data, including execution layer transactions and account balances.

The Merge gets us one step closer to achieving the full scale as outlined in the Ethereum vision.

According to Ethereum, a post-merge cleanup upgrade will be implemented to address other features and will take place very soon after The Merge is complete.

To ensure a successful merge, developers are minimizing additional features that could delay it. This means those of you waiting to withdraw staked ETH will have to wait a while longer after The Merge is completed.
Also, let’s not forget about the Shard chain portion of the upgrade. Originally, Ethereum developers planned to work on the Shard chain before The Merge to address the current scalability issue. However, with layer 2 scaling solutions in high demand, the priority has shifted to swapping proof-of-work for proof-of-stake.

Common Misconceptions Regarding The Merge

It’s easy to get lost in all the talk that’s going around on Twitter and elsewhere. Below I will outline some of the most common misconceptions regarding The Merge as stated on Ethereum’s official website.

The Merge will reduce gas fees

Contrary to popular belief, gas fees will remain the same post Merge. Gas fees are determined by network demand relative to the capacity of the network. The Merge eliminates the use of proof-of-work, transitioning to proof-of-stake for consensus, but does not change any parameters that directly influence network capacity or throughput.

Transactions will be quicker

Transaction speed will largely remain the same on layer 1. On proof-of-work, the target was to have a new block every 13.3 seconds. On proof-of-stake, blocks will be produced 10% more frequently than on proof-of-work. This is an insignificant change that is unlikely to be noticed by users.

You can withdraw your staked ETH

Users are not able to withdraw their staked ETH post-merge. The main focus is to get the transition from PoW to PoS, as a result, actions like this were put on the back burner. The following Shanghai upgrade will enable staking withdrawals.

When withdraws are enabled, stakers will all exit at once

Validator exits are rate limited for security purposes. After the Shanghai upgrade enables withdrawals, all validators will be incentivized to withdraw their staking balance above 32 ETH. These funds do not add to yield and are otherwise locked. Depending on the APR (determined by total ETH staked), they may be incentivized to exit their validator(s) to reclaim their entire balance or potentially stake even more using their rewards to earn more yield.

Full validator exits are rate limited by the protocol, so only six validators may exit per epoch (every 6.4 minutes, so 1350 per day, or only 43,200 ETH per day out of over 10 million ETH staked).

Staking APR is expected to triple post-merge

According to Ethereum, more accurate predictions reveal a 50% increase in APR post-merge, not 200%. This isn’t the result of an increase in protocol ETH issuance (ETH issuance after The Merge is decreasing by 90%), rather it’s the result of a reallocation of transaction fees that will start going to validators instead of miners.

The Merge will cause network downtime

The Merge is designed to ensure a smooth transition to proof-of-stake with no downtime. The Merge is triggered by terminal total difficulty (TTD), which is a measure of the total mining power that has gone into building the chain. When the criterion is met, blocks will go from being built using proof-of-work in one block to being built by proof-of-stake in the next.

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Things to Be Aware of Post-Merge

Although the long-term impact of Ethereum’s Merge will be significant, there are some things you should be aware of before it happens to help you prepare.

Despite changing from proof-of-work, the entire history of Ethereum since genesis remains intact and unaltered after the transition to proof-of-stake. Any funds held in your wallet before The Merge will still be accessible after The Merge. No action is required on your end.

That being said, at least one proof-of-work fork will carry on post Merge. This means there will be two versions of your NFTs (one on PoW and one on PoS).

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/adamamcbride/status/1557854237513551873?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>

Even though everything is being done to protect users after the merge, there is still a concern for a potential replay attack. Essentially, this attack replicates transactions on one blockchain and executes them on another.

This attack isn’t guaranteed, but it is worth mentioning as it’s still a possibility. So what can you do to protect your assets?

  • Delist any NFTs that you have for sale. This decreases the likelihood that an unwanted transaction will go through.
  • You can transfer your assets on the PoW chain to a new wallet.
What Does Ethereum Merge Mean For Users?

The Merge of the main chain with the Beacon Chain aims to solve a lot of problems.

More scalable

The ultimate goal of the upgrade is to make Ethereum more scalable. That means the network needs to be capable of handling thousands of transactions per second to make transactions faster and more cost effective to use. 

In comparison, Visa claims to have the ability to handle 24,000 TPS. However, they average around 1,700 TPS with an estimated 150 million transactions per day. So, if Ethereum can successfully scale to be able to handle thousands of transactions per second, mainstream adoption becomes much more of a reality. The Merge is a big step in the right direction to increasing scalability of the network.

Increased security

The more blocks that are verified on Ethereum, the more secure the network becomes. As the adoption of Ethereum continues to grow, the protocol becomes more secure against all forms of attack. Even though proof-of-stake is secure, it’s a more complicated system. But, if executed properly, the result will be an even more secure network.

Better sustainability

Today’s Ethereum network is not environmentally friendly. The amount of energy consumed by the special computers designed to solve equations is outrageous—not to mention expensive for those who set them up. Since proof-of-stake removes high-power computing from the consensus algorithm, it’s claimed that the network will become 99.95% more efficient than it is today.

All that being said, there is a common misconception that The Merge will reduce the current gas fees. It won’t. Gas fees will remain the same. But, there’s still hope. The Merge is just part of the macro upgrade that is taking place on Ethereum. Of course, the end goal is to reduce gas fees, we’re just not quite there yet.

What About Triple Halving?

On August 5, 2021 Ethereum executed an upgrade known as the London hard fork. This fork brought on a major change in the form of EIP-1559—a code that began to remove ETH from circulation and changed how transaction fees on Etherum work.

Currently, anyone who makes a transaction on the blockchain pays a base fee that is burned (rather than going to miners). Burning is the process of sending something to an inaccessible address. ETH is sent to a burn address that takes it out of circulation. 

Although new ETH is created every time a block is added to the chain, a small amount of ETH is also disappearing, causing a deflationary pressure on the network.

A similar scenario has already been experienced on the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin’s most recent halving occurred on May 11, 2020, when BTC rewards were reduced from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC. At that time, Bitcoin was $8,800.

Then, as many of us know, it nearly doubled in price over the next six months, and today 1 BTC costs about $31,000.

Now Ethereum is about to experience what’s referred to as “Triple Halving”.

In theory, the combination of EIP-1559 and The Merge into a proof-of-stake mechanism, would represent a “triple halving,” as they would reduce sell pressure by an estimated 90%. 

The Merge will cut rewards for new blocks drastically from 12,800 ETH to 1,280 ETH per day (about 90% according to Blockchain analytics firm IntotheBlock), creating a system where more ETH is burned via gas fees than is created daily. As a result, ETH will become a deflationary asset, where before, it was an inflationary one.

Because the amount of ETH issued post-merge is expected to drop by 90%, many are speculating that the price of ETH could skyrocket. But, no one knows if that will happen for sure.

90%, many are speculating that the price of ETH could skyrocket. But, no one knows if that will happen for sure.

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What Happens After The Ethereum Merge?

Ultimately, The Merge gets us one step closer to achieving the full scale as outlined in the Ethereum vision. The main goal of The Merge is to expedite the transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.

According to Ethereum, a post-merge cleanup upgrade will take place after The Merge.

To ensure a successful merge, developers are minimizing additional features that could delay The Merge. This means that those of you waiting to withdraw staked ETH will have to wait a while longer after The Merge is complete.

Also, let’s not forget about the Shard chain portion of the upgrade. Originally, Ethereum developers planned to work on the Shard chain before The Merge to address the current scalability issue. However, with layer 2 scaling solutions in high-demand, the priority has shifted to swapping proof-of-work for proof-of-stake.

What Are Shard Chains and How Will They Affect Ethereum?

The Shard chains aim to expand Ethereum’s capacity to process transactions and store data, but are not used for executing code. These shards will be rolled out in numerous phases and will gain more features over time.

Sharding is often used in computer science to split databases horizontally to spread the load. 

In Ethereum’s case, sharding will create new chains known as “shards”. Hence, reducing network congestion and increasing transactions per second and providing additional, cost effective, storage layers for applications and rollups to store data while still maintaining the same security of the Ethereum mainnet.

The Shard portion of the upgrade will likely occur some time in 2023.

Trent VanEpps

In reality, The Merge is the next sensible step in the Ethereum upgrade process. The ultimate goal is to make Ethereum more scalable, secure, and sustainable. Although The Merge won’t complete the upgrade entirely, it gets us closer to completion and to mainstream adoption.

What Happens to ETH After ETH2?

The term ETH2 is no longer considered proper terminology. The reason being is that The Merge will combine two chains to make one new chain. There will only be Ethereum. To better distinguish these terms, ETH is now regarded as the ‘execution layer’, which handles transactions and execution.

And ETH2 is now known as the ‘consensus layer’, which is solely responsible for handling the proof-of-stake consensus.

Will The Price of ETH Increase Post-Merge?

There are no guarantees that the price of ETH will increase after The Merge. However, current trends indicate that it’s a possibility. In the last 30 days leading up to the completion of the Goerli Merge, the price of ETH has spiked nearly 70%, reaching over $1,900 and steadily maintaining.

If this trend continues, there’s no telling how high the price of ETH could be after a successful merge. The sky is the limit.

Categories
Art NFT

‘How to Avoid Gas Wars: 6 Strategies to Know

If you have spent any time in the NFT community on Twitter and Discord or have friends who are buying NFTs, you may have heard of the dreaded ‘gas war’. Due to the thousands of transactions that happen during the release of some of the high-volume NFT projects that are released daily, gas wars happen because of congestion on the Ethereum Network.

What is ‘gas’?

Gas, often measured in ‘Gwei’ (an extremely small unit of measurement for Ethereum. One Gwei = 0.000000001ETH), is the cost necessary to perform a transaction on the Ethereum network. The cost of gas per transaction is determined by the supply and demand of the network’s miners. The more transactions seeking to be fulfilled, the higher the cost of the transaction. Priority is given to those who pay higher gas fees, which is what creates the ‘gas war’.

So what is a gas war?

Minting (which is the term used for creating a new NFT) an NFT collection or drop often happens with large amounts of transactions being entered at the same time. Since a lot of these drops have a limited supply ranging from 1000-10000 items, there are a limited number of transactions that can get approved on the network. Collectors who are competing for a popular NFT drop by a famous artist or brand will pay large amounts to prioritize their transactions. A gas war occurs when these competitors repeatedly pay higher and higher sums in order to have a successful transaction. This results in newer NFT collectors—who do not have the principal capital to pay for large gas transactions—getting excluded from the NFT collection, and often results in the loss of valuable community members.

6 Strategies for Avoiding Gas Wars
1. Presales and Whitelists

As a result of gas wars inevitably taking a toll on NFT communities who commit their time to spreading the word and hyping the project, but end up losing out because of costly transaction fees, creators are coming up with new ways to allow everyone to get a fair opportunity at minting their collections.

2. Mint Passes

Usually available during a few days or weeks, mint passes guarantee the collector the ability to redeem an NFT during the official drop without having to worry about gas wars. Collectors can leisurely buy mint passes as they become available ahead of the NFT drop. These mint passes are usually redeemed through the process of ‘burning’ or transferring an NFT to a specific wallet address. Some creators will take a snapshot (a record of all the holders of a certain NFT) and use that to then airdrop the collection to holders instead of going through the usual minting process.

3. Presales

Presales are often rewarded to early supporters or community members by opening up the minting process early to a select portion of the community (usually done through a whitelist). By breaking up the minting process into smaller categories, there is less congestion of the Ethereum Network during the minting process, which mitigates high gas prices. 

4. Raffles

Raffles and giveaways are done by the creators of collections in order to incentivize community members to stay active and diligent for project announcements. Raffles are a way to randomly reward community members with access to redeeming and receiving an NFT, which enables the collector to bypass the stress of securing a spot during the minting process. 

5. Whitelists

Whitelists are a list of names and wallet addresses collected that allow certain community members to be guaranteed a spot for minting a new NFT collection. There are a variety of ways creators develop whitelists, including community involvement and the early support of other NFT projects made by the creator. Whitelists are a way to guarantee that every person on the list will be able to mint the determined amount of NFTs during the release of a collection.

6. Secondary Marketplace

What happens if you miss the presale deadline or don’t make it onto the whitelist? Instead of forcing your way through the minting process and paying ridiculous fees to mint an NFT collection, a lot of the time creators will not reveal it right away. This reveal sometimes takes up to 24 hours or several days. This allows collectors who missed the presale to still buy into a collection on the secondary market. The most common secondary marketplace for collections is OpenSea. Often times, there will be a premium on the original mint price of the NFT, but the secondary marketplace still leaves an opportunity for collectors to invest in a creator’s project.

Categories
NFT

Stepping into Sneaks,¬†Courtyard’s Latest Connected Collectible Concept

Sneaks is a new concept by Courtyard NFT that enables collectors to buy, sell, and trade physical sneakers on the blockchain. It acts as a new, safe, and efficient way to vault your favorite shoes.

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/sneaks_nft/status/1567549495361294337?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>

Every month, the team highlights a coveted IRL sneaker from different brands, share its story, and release a limited number of pairs as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain at market price.

Courtyard
Dunk Low X UNION Pistachio

The first Sneaks drop took place September 8th and featured the Union Dunk Low as a homage to what the sneaker represents for bridging two worlds together. 

Here’s how it works:

<code><blockquote class="tiktok-embed" cite="https://www.tiktok.com/@nft137/video/7141453112212016430" data-video-id="7141453112212016430" style="max-width: 605px;min-width: 325px"> <section> <a target="_blank" title="@nft137" href="https://www.tiktok.com/@nft137?refer=embed">@nft137</a> Sneaker heads — thoughts? <a title="nft" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/nft?refer=embed">#nft</a> <a title="sneakers" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/sneakers?refer=embed">#sneakers</a> <a title="sneakergame" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/sneakergame?refer=embed">#sneakergame</a> <a title="shoes" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/shoes?refer=embed">#shoes</a> <a title="nfts" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/nfts?refer=embed">#nfts</a> <a title="digitalassets" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/digitalassets?refer=embed">#digitalassets</a> <a target="_blank" title="♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim" href="https://www.tiktok.com/music/Aesthetic-7072513628145977346?refer=embed">♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim</a> </section> </blockquote></code>

The buyer is simultaneously issued a Connected Collectible
NFT complete with an identical 3D rendering of the sneakers to show off virtually (left), while the metadata contains a photo of the corresponding physical pair.

The NFT acts as a digital receipt for proof of ownership and authenticity, and enables the physical asset to be traded on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea without having to be moved or re-authenticated at each sale.

Owners can hold, trade, or at any point, they can burn the NFT to have the physical pair shipped anywhere in the world.

Sneaks brings the experience of collecting sneakers further into the digital era. The technology enable collectors to own and trade coveted IRL sneakers in a new way, without the common frictions of the physical world. Instead of having stacks of boxes cluttering up your room, have peace of mind that part of your collection is safeguarded in the most secure place, ready to be shipped to you at a moment’s notice.

For those who value sneakers as investments, Sneaks unlocks the ability to sell anywhere in the world with the click of a button, rather than deal with the hassle of listing, packaging, and shipping. Or it can simply be a future-forward way to embrace the “one to rock, one to stock” mentality. 

How Secure is it?

Sneaks, through Courtyard, is powered by Brinks. Brinks is the global leader in secure logistics and asset protection.

Through the partnership, Brink’s will provide secure storage for all physical goods connected to Courtyard’s physically-backed NFTs.

“This partnership between a crypto native startup and a well established security institution opens up a new ecosystem for physically-backed NFTs, which will alleviate the common frictions of trading collectibles in the physical world,” says co-founder and CEO of Courtyard, Nicolas LeJeune.

Check out this conversation ONE37pm had with the Sneaks team to learn more:

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/137pm/status/1567574898314199040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>

Stay updated with the Sneaks team through Twitter and its official website.

Categories
NFT

Meet the Female Creators Behind Terrible Pets

While many in the Twitterverse have been spending their time during this NFT market correction licking their wounds and dwelling on the terrible decisions they made, or didn’t make, other creators and investors in the space have taken the opportunity to innovate and make something…terrible

About one year after pivoting their existing company to a web3 model in the fall of 2021, CEO Adam Altman and his double-digit, full-time team are dropping their first project of their Terrible Pets collection. According to their Medium article, the Terrible Pets collection,  “will pioneer a novel format and way to use NFTs that we’re so finger-licking lit about. We have apps built already that make ‘making stories’ with the Terrible Pets content easy, fun, and social. And there will be many Terrible Pet NFTs to make those experiences as awesome as they can be.”

ONE37pm had a chance to chat with three of the full-time members to talk about the Terrible Pets collection and their initial collection launch happening in September, the Terrible Potatoes. 

What are Terrible Pets?

Terrible Pets is a “first-of-its-kind” NFT collection where the community collects and utilizes NFTs based around a cast of eight main characters, the Terrible Pets. In conjunction with the deep and layered backstories that these characters have through content put out by the team, holders use their NFTs as building blocks to create comedic memes, stories, and comics that provide for an innovative way of content creation utilizing this co-creation model.  

What are the Terrible Potatoes?
Terrible Potatoes

Terrible Potatoes is the first collection from the Terrible Pets ecosystem. It is a limited collection of 707 customizable genesis NFTs that serve as an early access pass to the TP ecosystem and a sub-community of early adopters who can help drive the direction of future projects in the Terrible Pets universe. 

“It’s a pass to everything we intend the community to become,” says Verena Ortlieb, Artist and Head of Creative.  Ortlieb, who has worked with startups for the last ten years, emphasizes that this small, intimate group will play a big role in the collaborative future of the brand. “We wanted a small collection for the potatoes because the potatoes are our base community and we really want to make it possible for potato holders to work with us, create with us, and have a big influence on what we are doing and what the TP universe looks like,” says Ortlieb. 

“707 happened because it spells, TOT,” she adds.

How is this project different from all the others?

“As a project, the major differentiated utility of our NFTs is that they are building blocks for content, individual moments of a focused small cast of deeply built-out characters whose stories will be told through and with the crowd.”

While many Discord communities have fallen into the pattern of waiting passively to be spoon fed the next announcement to create some excitement in their server, the Terrible Pets team envisions a strong (and fun) collaborative ecosystem of kind users & creators who want to learn, bond, and create together. The TP team sees its job as a project to make it fun, social, and worthwhile for people to partake in the creative process.” 

The sense of creativity in the community is evident right from when users can “choose their own bespoke traits” from Terrible Potato at the time of mint. “We want to give people something from the start that people can interact with,” says Ortlieb. “I’m really excited with what they do with what we give them.”

“I have always been interested in new ways to get content to fans and communities, ” says Laura Schwartz. Schwartz, who has previously worked production development at MTV, Quibbi, and the LA stand-up comedy circuit, is in charge of all of the content creation in the Terrible Pets universe.

“When we pivoted in this direction, I was really excited at the opportunity to create content for a new audience and the new challenge of how to create content.” Schwartz, who produces the scripted podcasts which are vital in understanding the backstory of the characters in the Terrible Pets universe, understands the importance of this innovative co-creation model and believes it has the makings to be successful. This model is something “that traditional media is scared of,” but the people will be excited about it.” “People want community and we have a community that wants to hang out and take risks together,” she adds. 

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Who are the characters?

Instead of hundreds or thousands of characters, or PFPS, the Terrible Pets has a cast of eight main characters, all having documented storylines within the universe, and all relatable on some level given their issues.

“It’s a collection of characters working through their own unique traumas, together,” notes Schwartz.

Laura Schwartz

Every character in the Terrible Pets universe is meant to be a heightened, entertaining, yet ultimately relatable example of someone struggling to exist within and relate to our modern world. We have a variety of characters from everywhere on the gender spectrum, including men, women, and non-binary characters. 

“I’m trying to make our (characters) special, fun, and authentic.” says Julie Greiner, who writes and has built out the storylines for the eight main characters in the TP universe. “We hate them , but love them at the same time,” says Greiner of the characters. “We feel for them, but we’re frustrated,” she adds as her and Schwartz nod in agreement to the characters and themes giving off Bojack Horseman vibes.

Although there is an overlay of “saucy comedy,” the characters and their issues definitely appear to lay the foundation to uncover some deep conversation on real issues and trauma. Llamacorn and Popa, are “women that have the spotlight on them,” and both have large social media followings. From afar, they might have all they dreamed of, but in reality they are far from okay, and according to Greiner’s storylines, they “will allow us to explore women’s unique struggles as public figures in the social media age.”

Schwartz adds that many of these conversations are especially important to those currently in the web3 space. “A lot of people have trauma, a lot of people have issues in this space, and our characters have heightened issues,” she notes.

Only four of the eight characters and their respective backstories have been revealed to the community so far but as the community builds and more content and collections are released, members of the community will definitely have more to work with in terms of context.

The Terrible Potatoes collection mints in September for .05 ETH. Currently, there is no set mint date for any other drops in the Terrible Pets collection. To potato with the team or get more information, visit https://www.terriblepets.com/ for more information.

Categories
NFT

DraftKings Launch ReignMakers NFT Based Fantasy Football Program

In football, there’s a game inside the game. No, I’m not talking about the chess game that coaches play as they tweak strategies continuously throughout the game, I’m talking about fantasy football. For decades friend groups, co-workers, and even families have been getting together to participate in the fantasy game mode where you play a mock GM in an attempt to outscore your opponent every week. 

Since fantasy football has moved online, there has been no real evolution in the game. Long term dynasty leagues and other forms of bidding leagues have become more prevalent, but they’re still nothing we haven’t seen before. DraftKings is attempting to make the next big rendition of fantasy football with their new Reignmakers Football NFT based fantasy football game. Here is everything you need to know about Reignmakers Football and how to participate!

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What Is Reignmakers?

Reignmakers Football is DraftKing’s newest version of fantasy football, with an added twist that gives the user more ownership. Through the DraftKings Marketplace, which launched in August of 2021, users can buy and sell different tiers of NFT’s that correspond with NFL players, to be used in weekly fantasy football competitions. 

The rarity tiers range from Core, Rare, Elite, Legendary and Reignmaker. The scoring for the games will be the same as a regular fantasy football league, with different rules for each competition. This seems like a no-brainer for DraftKings who have already shown heavy interest in what’s possible with WEB3 technology.

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How To Play?

The best way to participate in Reignmakers Football is through DraftKings fantasy app. It’s a Seamless process for people using the fantasy app, as the Reignmaker contest’s will be listed similar to the normal weekly fantasy competitions DraftKings offers. All players available for purchase will be in the DraftKings Marketplace. 

New users will be able to find a starter pack with a set of free players to use. This starter pack will give you enough to participate in the lowest level contests and let you get an idea of how the fantasy competitions work. Weekly prizes will include a combination of cash prizes ($1 mill a week), and contests where NFT’s are rewarded. Different prizes like in-real-life experiences and potential tie-ins to other DK rewards could be announced in the future. 


I was a little skeptical to dip my feet in, but once I got to ripping packs I didn’t look back. I was able to acquire the free starter pack and pulled Allen Robinson II along with other notable players. I took my chance at the $9.99 ‘SuperStar’ pack which gives a guaranteed core player who’s considered a superstar in the NFL. My luck seemed to pay off today and I pulled a core Josh Allen, with the cheapest one on auction up for $28! This gets me even more excited to watch the NFL kick off on September 8th and to participate in Reignmakers. Find me on twitter @justincohen24 and let me know what you pull!

Categories
NFT Tech

What are Layer 2 (L2) Solutions in the Blockchain and Why Are They Important?

But First, What Is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a fundamental concept in understanding the way cryptocurrency works. But it’s not only limited to its application in crypto.

The blockchain is a database that stores information from transactional records in a universal ledger. Assets are traded and tracked on the blockchain, reducing risk and cutting costs for everyone involved. 

Blockchain allows you to send money to a friend in seconds without worrying about banking fees and other charges. You can also store cash in an online wallet and don’t need anyone’s permission to move it or transfer ownership.

Every block on the blockchain has a specific number of transactions. When a new block generates on-chain, it’s added to each network node’s ledger and uses distributed ledger technology (DLT).

A key concept of blockchain is that it’s decentralized, which allows for transparency and real-time access to assets. Being decentralized also enables the network participants to be collectively responsible for the security, as opposed to having a centralized entity like a bank or governing body.

Other fundamentals of blockchain technology include being immutable and distributed. Since the ledger is immutable, you can always trust that the information is accurate because no one can alter it.

Since the blockchain is also distributed, it potentially protects users from network attacks and other instances of fraud and cybersecurity threats.

Layer 1 vs. Layer 2: What are The differences

Layer 1 is the main blockchain network in charge of on-chain transactions, while Layer 2 is the connected network in charge of off-chain transactions

What are layer 2 solutions?

Layer 2 is a term used for solutions created to help scale an application by processing transactions off of the Ethereum Mainnet (layer 1) while still maintaining the same security measures and decentralization as the mainnet. Layer 2 solutions increase throughput (transaction speed) and reduce gas fees. Popular examples of Ethereum layer 2 solutions include Immutable X, Polygon, and Polkadot.

Why are layer 2 solutions important?

Layer 2 solutions are important because they allow for scalability and increased throughput while still holding the integrity of the Ethereum blockchain, allowing for complete decentralization, transparency, and security while also reducing the carbon footprint (less gas, means less energy used, which equates to less carbon.)

Although the Ethereum blockchain is the most widely used blockchain and arguably the most secure, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with some shortcomings. The Ethereum Mainnet is known to have slow transaction times (13 transactions per second) and expensive gas fees. Layer 2s are built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, keeping transactions secure, speedy, and scalable.

Each individual solution has its own pros and cons to consider such as throughput, gas fees, security, scalability, and of course functionality. No single layer 2 solution currently fulfills all these needs. However, there are layer 2 scaling solutions that aim to improve all these aspects; these solutions are called rollups.

What are layer 2 rollups?

Rollups are layer 2 scaling solutions that perform transaction operations off the main Ethereum blockchain, but still post the transaction data onto layer 1. Considering the transaction data is on layer 1, rollups are secured by the same layer 1 security measures. In fact, this is the defining feature that rollups offer to users.

There are three properties of a layer 2 rollup: 

  1. Transactions are executed outside of layer 1 (reduces gas fees)
  1. Data and proof of transactions reside on layer 1 (maintains security)
  2. A rollup smart contract which is found on layer 1, can enforce proper transaction execution on layer 2, by using the transaction data that is stored on layer 1

Ultimately, rollups require users like you and me to stake a bond in the rollup smart contract, which encourages users to verify and execute transactions correctly. 

Rollups are useful because they reduce fees, increase transaction throughput, and expand participation. There are two kinds of rollups with different security measures:

  1. Optimistic rollups assume transactions are valid by default and only runs computation, via a fraud proof, in the act of a challenge
  2. Zero-knowledge rollups runs computation off-chain and submits a validity proof to the main-chain
Optimistic Rollups:

Optimistic rollups sit in parallel to the Ethereum Mainnet on layer 2 and don’t perform any computation (mathematical equations) by default. Instead, after the transaction is complete, they submit the new state to the Ethereum Mainnet, essentially notarizing the transaction.

Optimistic rollup transactions are written into the main Ethereum blockchain, further optimizing transactions by reducing the cost of gas.

Advantages of optimistic rollups include:

  • Low gas fees 
  • Increased throughput
  • Smart contract capability
  • Security (guaranteed by the Ethereum Mainnet)

Disadvantages of optimistic rollups:

  • Long withdrawal time (challenge periods can last for weeks)
    • If a fraudulent transaction is discovered, the rollup will automatically call a fraud-proof and run the transaction’s computation using the available written data, leading to long withdrawal times if the transaction is challenged.

There are several applications of optimistic rollups that you can integrate into your own dapps:

Zero-knowledge rollups:

Zero-knowledge rollups (ZK rollups) bundle thousands of transactions off the main Ethereum chain and create cryptographic proof which is known simply as SNARK (succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge). This is called validity proof, which is posted to the Ethereum Mainnet.

The smart contract for a ZK rollup keeps the data of all transfers on layer 2 and the data can only be edited with a validity proof. Meaning, ZK rollups only need validity proof, opposed to all the transaction data. This function decreases the cost to transact due to less data being included.

When it comes to ZK rollups, there is minimal hesitation when moving assets from layer 2 to layer 1, considering the validity proof has already been approved by the ZK rollup and has already authorized the transaction.

Advantages of ZK rollups include:

  • Near instant transfers 
  • Not vulnerable to the attacks that optimistic rollups may be affected by
  • Still secure and decentralized

Disadvantages of ZK rollups:

  • Validity proofs are extreme to compute for smaller applications with less on-chain activity
  • A user can influence transaction ordering
  • Some rollups don’t offer Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) support

There are numerous applications of ZK rollups that you can integrate into your own dapps:

Ethereum layer 2 solutions have some serious potential to change the blockchain landscape for the better. Layer 2 solutions ensure that users are able to maintain all the safety measures used on the Ethereum Mainnet while still being able to transact quickly and at little to no cost for users.

This type of technology may encourage more people to try out the Ethereum blockchain and everything it has to offer. Also, keep in mind that many layer 2 solutions are still in their beta phase, meaning you should research everything in-depth and always remain curious and cautious when exploring the various layer 2 solutions.

Categories
NFT Tech

What is the Metaverse? A Beginners Guide

Since Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of Facebook to Meta, many people were caught off guard and are now left in the dark as to what Meta is and what the future of the metaverse means. 

Additionally, big-name brands that we love such as Addidas have taken the plunge into the metaverse. Offering their NFTs holders the ability to unlock exclusive access to virtual land experiences and free collaborative merchandise. So, what is the metaverse exactly?

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a combination of numerous technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality, and eye-tracking. All of these elements are used to create the ultimate virtual experience within a virtual universe. Examples of a metaverse include Fortnite, Roblox, and The Sandbox.

The term metaverse was first mentioned in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel, Snow Crash, published in 1992. Although the term isn’t new, the thought of living in a virtual world might feel a bit futuristic, but in reality, we are already living in a very digitized world.

Ready Player One

“Even though it was initially marketed as a new kind of massively multiplayer online game, the OASIS quickly evolved into a new way of life.”

If you have ever watched the movie Ready Player One, which is set in the year 2045 where much of humanity uses virtual reality to escape the real world, then you understand the concept of operating in the metaverse.

Currently, some metaverses like Somnium Space support several popular VR goggles including Oculus, Vive, and Stream. However, all you really need to enter most metaverses is just a desktop computer and a solid internet connection, meaning the barrier to entry is minimum.

If you’re curious to know how you can enter the metaverse, make sure to check out our article Explaining the Top 4 Metaverses, where you will learn what each popular metaverse offers, as well as how to enter each space.

What’s in the metaverse?

The metaverse and its contents remain a mystery to many. After exploring the metaverse myself, I noticed several elements you will find within the virtual space.

The metaverse contains a number of different elements such as 3D avatars, digital assets, games, businesses, and various events that support an entire virtual economy. As a user, you can monetize your creations, meet with friends, participate in virtual events, and even host business meetings.

While exploring the metaverse you may quickly realize that it offers many of the same features that you might find in the real world. 

The one major difference with the metaverse is that you can travel the world all from the comfort of your own home, using just your computer and VR goggles if you have a pair. As well, you can literally teleport to different locations. Whether you want to teleport to the next city or even the next room, you can do it all in the metaverse.

Why is the metaverse important?

Understandably, many people might fail to gauge the importance that the metaverse has in our society. So, why is the metaverse so important?

The metaverse is important because it offers humans an in-person way to connect and communicate from anywhere in the world virtually. Furthermore, the metaverse supports a whole virtual economy where users can enjoy numerous activities like building a business, networking with others, and even hosting family gatherings.

Just imagine for a second that you and your family aren’t able to get together for the holidays, so instead, you put on your VR headset and join each other in the same room virtually. You can still enjoy each other’s company, play games together, and even explore other metaverse worlds all from your own home.

The same can be said for business meetings and even training sessions. You and your colleagues can all sit around the same table, view the same presentation, and then discuss matters further in a completely immersive environment. Then once the meeting is over, you can simply take off your headset and be back at home with your family.

More so, the metaverse allows you to actually create a real business within the confinements of any virtual land you own.

For example, you can build and monetize a recreational arena where others can come to play games and host events, open a VR clothing store, and even monetize your skills as a builder in the metaverse where you can charge users a fee in exchange for an architectural structure or other digital creation.

This will, in turn, create more job opportunities, as there will be a demand for developers, virtual architectures, and much more. Really, your imagination is your limit, and this is especially true in the metaverse.

Ultimately, the metaverse allows you to be anywhere, anytime, and with anyone in a realistic setting. This convenience may further improve your relationships and your ability to receive hands-on training and guidance from home.

What currency is used in the metaverse?

Of course with new economies comes new types of currencies, and not all metaverses use the same currency.

In the metaverse, the only type of currency accepted is cryptocurrency. There are different types of cryptocurrency used depending on which metaverse you’re in. An example is Decentraland, where their native currency is MANA.

Other metaverses like Cryptoxles make it easy for users and allow you to transact with more common crypto such as ETH.

Examples of the metaverse

As of today, there are several metaverses that are currently available for anyone to explore, and some even support a thriving community with thousands of users.

Popular examples of the metaverse include Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, Roblox, Somnium Space, and The Sandbox. Metaverses like CryptoVoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium space are advertised more so as VR platforms, whereas Roblox and The Sandbox are better known as online gaming platforms.

If you aren’t familiar with any of these platforms, no worries. Other games like Fortnite and Minecraft are considered to be modern-day metaverse as well. In fact, Fortnite CEO Tim Sweeney has described Fortnite’s user experience as a metaverse because it is a virtual 3D space that combines gaming with non-gaming elements.

Overall, the metaverse is still in its infancy, but that’s not to say that the potential for innovation isn’t huge. The number of brands building within the metaverse is increasing at a rapid pace. Atari, Addidas, Google, Microsoft, Nike, and Sony are just a few of the companies that are currently building their brand in the metaverse.

How do you enter into the metaverse?

Visiting the metaverse is simple. First, choose one of the several metaverses available that you wish to participate in. Next, you may be required to get your own crypto wallet along with some cryptocurrency for in-game use depending on the metaverse. Finally, create your avatar name and account before venturing into the metaverse.

In general, entering the metaverse is very easy, requires minimal effort, and is user friendly. Now, you’re likely wondering what some of the top metaverses are and what each one offers compared to the next. After hours of research, here are some of the top metaverses explained.

1. Cryptovoxels
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Cryptovoxels is a user-owned virtual world built on the Etherum blockchain that consists of a city known as Origin City. The streets of Origin City are owned by the corporation, whereas the individual parcels are owned by people like you and me. 

In order to get started exploring the Cryptovoxels metaverse, all that you really need is a computer and a steady internet connection. Cryptovoxels does not require you to install an Ethereum wallet or even own a parcel to be able to interact with the world. Rather, simply head to Cryptovoxels.com/Play to start exploring this virtual city.

Along with exploring Origin City, users are capable of creating, buying, and selling their own assets by using the in-game voxel builders, and then trading them on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.

For currency, Cryptovoxels previously had its own in-world currency called $COLR. As of June 2020, however, the token has been announced dead after Cryptovoxels decided to transition into using ETH as their preferred currency for all transactions.

When navigating through Origin City, you will notice that the overall function is smooth and user friendly. You can easily view the explorer while navigating to bring up a list of parcels and events, which you are able to teleport directly to. 

If you are curious about the metaverse and you desire a little taste for yourself, I believe that Cryptovoxels is a great place for you to start in order to get a hang of things in the virtual world.

2. Decentraland
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Decentraland is another popular space in the metaverse which is also built on the Ethereum blockchain. In Decentraland, you can purchase virtual real estate known as LAND, which is stored on the Ethereum blockchain in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT).

In order to obtain your own lot of LAND in Decentraland, you need to get a hold of Decentraland’s fungible ERC-20 cryptocurrency, MANA. With MANA, you are able to burn or spend it, in exchange for your own parcel of LAND. A parcel in Decentraland measures 16 meters by 16 meters, or 52ft by 52ft.

If you want to try Decentraland without getting a wallet, that’s fine. You can still roam around the virtual world, customize your avatar, and communicate with others, but you won’t be eligible to receive rewards or attend the various virtual events.

Additionally, it gets even more exciting with Decentraland’s very own marketplace, where you are able to trade and manage all of your digital assets. The Decentraland marketplace allows you to buy and sell parcels, as well as estates of LAND, digital wearables, and even unique avatar names.

3. The Sandbox
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The Sandbox was originally developed as a game for mobile devices and Microsoft Windows by Pixowl, and was released in 2012. However, in August 2018, Animoca Brands acquired The Sandbox in order to develop a whole new kind of game—a voxel based blockchain game—where users have the ability to earn from their in-game creations.

There’s more than 166K land pieces available in The Sandbox, which are split in two separate categories: regular land (96 meters by 96 meters), and estates (a combination of several land pieces used for building online experiences).

As for the assets, they are minted in the form of ERC-1155 tokens, which essentially act as a dual purpose fungible and non-fungible token, and are often used for in-game assets. These assets represent user-generated content like game characters and accessories. 

If you couldn’t tell, games represent the core of The Sandbox’s virtual world. You are able to build your own game and assets with no coding skills, thanks to The Sandbox’s easy to use interface. The creation tool VoxEdit, allows you to create your own in-game assets, while the Game Maker lets you build 3D games for free which you can then monetize.

There are numerous means to earn rewards and cryptocurrency playing The Sandbox. All you have to do is play games, make games, and create assets.

The Sandbox ensured that building games and creating assets is easy for anyone to do. After becoming a verified artist through the creator fund, you can export your creations to The Sandbox marketplace and start earning cryptocurrency as a reward for your creative talents.

4. Somnium Space
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Perhaps one of the lesser known metaverse worlds right now is Somnium Space, which is advertised as a new virtual reality world that is open, social, and present.

Somnium Space has created a virtual reality world with its own economy and currency, all tied together seamlessly. The platform is available from any device in 2D mode, or you can take advantage of VR technology and really submerge yourself in the metaverse from both your desktop and mobile device.

As far the VR technology goes, Somnium Space allows you to enjoy their virtual world using all of the major VR headsets. In fact, Somnium has partnered with Sony to take advantage of their 3D model creation technology, which permits users to build their own avatar characters effortlessly.

Moreover, Sony’s VR space inside of this special metaverse is the first of its kind! From what I can tell, Somnium Space appears to be extremely focused on scaling their community and offering users the ability to monetize their virtual land and assets.

Something I find exceptionally beneficial in this metaverse is the potential to analyze gaze tracking (measuring where people look), user engagement, and conversion rates.

If this doesn’t excite you and scare you at the same time, I don’t know what will. I believe that the opportunity to build something very user-centric in a virtual environment—and have the option to monetize your creations—is huge!

Somnium Space keeps the community at their forefront with daily meetups, an events calendar, and consistent communication across all their social media platforms. Although Somnium Space may not be the go-to metaverse right now, I’m confident that this community-focused virtual reality world will be one of the top in due time.

The future of the metaverse

The metaverse is new, exciting, and full of so much opportunity. You are able to meet new people, create your own assets, and monetize your creations like never before. Welcome to the future. Welcome to the metaverse.

Google Trends
Google Trends

A quick search on Google Trends shows a huge spike in the search volume of the metaverse right around October 2021. Meanwhile, VR has seen a healthy fluctuation in search volume dating all the way back to December 2015.

I think this is a clear sign that the potential of the metaverse is about to be unleashed in the coming years, along with an abundance of opportunity, especially for those who are curious enough to explore the space early.

So, are you ready to explore the world from home? If so, jump into the metaverse and check it out, an entire world full of opportunity awaits.

Categories
NFT

How Swoops NFTs Are Changing the Sports Fan Experience

For decades and decades, the sports fan experience has remained relatively the same. Millions of people tune into games, pay to watch in person, and follow along the 24/7 news channels to keep up with their favorite sports. The Swoops NFT project is hoping to change that and give the everyday sports fan a chance at ownership and the ability to make decisions with real consequences. 

Swoops is an NFT basketball game that allows fans to own, trade, and collect digital assets that correspond to fictional basketball players. The eventual goal is for Swoops to become a legitimate sports league with media coverage of players, drafts, and events that rivals traditional sports. 

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By offering the everyday sports fan a chance to be an owner, general manager, or coach, roles reserved for a select few in traditional sports, Swoops is democratizing the basketball landscape.

ONE37pm sat down with Manish Sinha, the CEO and co-founder of Swoops, to learn more about the exciting project and the team behind it. 

ONE37pm: What’s your background as a sports fan and when did you decide that you wanted to work in sports instead of exclusively being a fan? 

Manish: So I grew up during the Shaq and Kobe era with the Los Angeles Lakers and that was really when I became a sports fan through and through. I caught the tail end of Michael Jordan’s [Chicago] Bulls career and played basketball casually as a kid and into adulthood. I’ve always been a big gamer too, playing NBA2K and other sports games like that. 

What brought me into Swoops was the promise of ownership. With traditional video games, you turn it on, you move the player around and then you turn it off and that’s the extent of your relationship and interaction with the video game and I’ve always wondered, alongside my cofounder David, if there was a way to reimagine that so that’s what brought me to Swoops. 

ONE37pm: If you had to give a quick 30-second pitch to your average NBA or NBA2k to try Swoops, what would be your main hitting points? 

Manish: If you want to be a team owner or GM, usually you have to be a millionaire or billionaire. With Swoops we’re changing that, we’re democratizing that ownership so that anybody, including you, me, or anyone, could be such a person. 

We’re doing that behind the technologies and the promise behind the blockchain and NFTs and making this new sport and new league of virtual basketball. 

ONE37pm: To build on that a bit, sports are one of the biggest industries around the world, a multi-hundred billion dollar industry, but in traditional sports fans see little to none of that value end up back in their pocket. 

How does Swoops use Web3 technology to change this and do you see this as the future of sports where fans get a bigger piece of the pie? 

Manish: The hard truth here is that as a fan your ability to change the game is really limited. Usually, you can pick up a video game, you can watch it on TV, can gamble on it, or you can play fantasy sports. In each one of those cases, as you said Noah, your ability to capture the value generated from the game is very low and as a fan you’re never able to change the events that happen on the court, in the arena, and the promise behind Swoops, in fact, our mission, is to change that by making it possible for anybody to be a GM and an owner, and also to be a coach and have the ability to change what happens in the game.

Swoops

To your question of how, one of the biggest innovations that has come out of crypto and the blockchain itself are NFTs. What that specifically means is the ability for a person to have unique ownership over a digital asset. What we’re doing is we are using and leveraging that technology to create fictional basketball players, fictional Swoops players, that are each NFTs and then minting them and releasing them to the wider world so that fans around the world can collect these NFTs and trade them and swap them and then enter them into cash prize contests which is what the Swoops app will be about. 

ONE37pm: With Swoops, there are all these fictional players and that might be a challenge for traditional basketball fans coming over in getting to know these players but I know that there are big plans to build out a whole ecosystem around the different players like you would expect in traditional sports with media coverage and more. 

Can you speak a bit about the next steps in building out the ecosystem as well as the grand plan? 

Manish: We call this the “Swoopsverse” and it’s our take on what a virtual basketball league looks like. It starts with podcasters sharing strategies on how to win in the simulator. It starts with YouTube streamers releasing strategy guides on how to play on Swoops, which players are doing well, and which are suffering. It involves people commentating just like news commentators in the real world talking about our draft which will happen four times a year as each Swoops season is three calendar months. 

If we can recapture all these moments that happen in the real world with the real NBA around strategy, new players coming in, who’s up and who’s down, and all that media coverage that happens already with the real league. If we can find ways to replicate that, I think we’re on the path to creating our own sport and our own league. 

ONE37pm: How would you say that building in public has presented opportunities or challenges for Swoops thus far? 

Manish: Building in public is our strategy to talk about what we’re doing and get the community involved in it. If you know anything about Web3, you know that everything is open source, in fact, all the code is on the blockchain through smart contracts. We really believe in that ethos and we try to follow it as much as we can. 

Obviously, one explicit challenge is that we’re building a simulator that runs a 5 vs 5, 48-minute basketball game. Now that simulator necessarily must remain a closed-source black box because it’s what we’re challenging our users to figure out so there are some hard limitations as to how much we can share with the public. 

What we’re doing a lot around and continually improving on is finding our cadence with our user base, releasing updates, and talking about changes that we’re working on or that will happen in the future. At the end of the day, these are material assets that in some cases will be worth thousands of dollars so it’s really important for us to be transparent with what we’re building, how we’re building it, and striking a balance with creating a game that’s got a black box, mystery component embedded inside of it. 

ONE37pm: Can you expand on the daily SwoopsGM challenges that are offered right now and the similarities and differences that product has to the full Swoops product? 

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Manish: Totally, SwoopsGM is our warm-up to the real thing. SwoopsGM stands for Swoops general manager and if you’re into crypto it can also be Swoops good morning. It’s a small, fun game where we release a daily lineup of real NBA players and we challenge our fans and users to submit five players that they think can beat our set of five players. 

There’s a strategy element here. The player pool is selected by us so you have to be creative in who you pick from that pool. There’s also a salary cap so each player has a price attached to them and your job as a user, and to play the game, is to find five under the salary cap that can beat the five that we put together. 

If we do our job with SwoopsGM it becomes this wonderful top-of-funnel lead generator for Swoops itself. You have to remember that crypto and NFT games still occupy a niche within crypto-native and crypto-casual users. If we think of our user base as a concentric circle, that beginning one is that crowd, the crypto-natives, around that though are casual DFS players, people who play fantasy sports. If we do our job right with SwoopsGM, we’re going to reach some of those casuals and bring them into our world. 

ONE37pm: Swoops is an exciting opportunity that shows the possibility of Web3 technology in the sports world. Why do you think sports and Web3 are such a good matchup together and what do you see are the opportunities for Web3 technology past Swoops in the sports world? 

Manish: A big piece of Web3 is democratization so that everyone can become an owner and that lines up perfectly with our vision of democratizing sports ownership. It was perfect that the blockchain and NFTs, in particular, are exactly what we are leveraging to take our message forward. Beyond that, sports have always had a set of people who want to engage deeper with it. You see that with the success of DraftKings and FanDuel, people really want to engage with the game in a deeper way. 

A big piece of crypto is also financial and the ability and hope to make money in a contest. We’re happy about that and we hope we can bring in people who want to engage with the game in a deeper way and make some money while doing it. 

Swoops GM will be available to play on mobile and desktop at gm.playswoops.com

Categories
NFT

Meta Integrates NFTs into Instagram in Over 100 Countries

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that NFTs will be integrated into Instagram in over 100 countries following a series of tests.

The world’s most used social media platform Meta, formerly known as Facebook, teased NFT expansion into Instagram in May of 2022. Now, there are plenty of reasons for NFT connoisseurs to be excited with the tease being confirmed with this official announcement:

“Today we’re starting international expansion to 100 countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and the Americas. Additionally, we now support wallet connections with the Coinbase Wallet and Dapper, as well as the ability to post digital collectibles minted on the Flow blockchain.

“In order to post a digital collectible, all you need to do is connect your digital wallet to Instagram. As of today, we support connections with third-party wallets including Rainbow, MetaMask, Trust Wallet, Coinbase Wallet and Dapper Wallet coming soon. Supported blockchains at this time include Ethereum, Polygon and Flow. There are no fees associated with posting or sharing a digital collectible on Instagram,” META stated.

Allowing users to post their digital art from the Flow, Ethereum, and Polygon blockchains will add a completely new element to the app. On top of collaborating with those blockchains, Instagram will include support for virtual wallets like Dapper and Coinbase Wallet.

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One of the most exciting features is that posting a digital collectible on Instagram will be completely free to the user. Basically, people can now flex their NFTs to the world for no cost, while having ownership proof of the digital asset.

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Notably, Meta is publicly traded, meaning the company is unable to internally make all the calls about its future within Web3. Thus far, shareholders seem bullish on the future of crypto and NFTs.

If one thing is for sure, this is a very positive sign for the direction of Web3. Arguably the most storied company over the past 25 years, with an incredibly scintillating CEO, has just made a massive step in the right direction for digital art. While all this is happening in the bear market, who knows what the potential of Web3 will be when markets turn around.