7 min read

NFT Innovation Digest #65

Solana tops Santa’s naughty list / North Korean tactics exposed / Man UTD in the hot seat / It’s getting Nounish out there / China wants in
NFT Innovation Digest #65

Your #1 weekly guide to the people, products and events defining the NFT space. Brought to you by @s0f1a.eth. For exclusive discounts and opportunities, join our Telegram!

#1 Solana Tops Santa’s Naughty List

What’s happening?

Frank has really rocked the boat this time, with a major Christmas Day announcement impacting the future of the popular DeGods and Y00ts NFT collections, which have long been the top projects on (and by proxy, advocates for) the Solana blockchain. The former will bridge to ETH and the latter to Polygon, with the DUST token that powers their internal ecosystem bridging to both chains. The move is scheduled for around March 2023.

Why does it matter?

The price of Solana fell below $10 for the first time since February 2021, seeing a further 29% drop this month. While the overall bear market and the FTX collapse (major investors) are the primary sources of the chain’s woes, this latest drop demonstrates the power of NFT collections to move the needle, particularly when it comes to flagship projects on non-ETH chains. It also raises questions about the viability of non-ETH chains’ NFT ecosystems, with Frank admitting the move is motivated by growth potential.

Sources: DappRadar, CoinDesk, BSC News, NFT Evening, Decrypt, Tech Crunch

#2 China Wants In

What’s happening?

China’s NFT and crypto regulations are notoriously strict, which makes the upcoming launch of an official state-supported “digital asset trading platform” both surprising and unsurprising. A ceremony will be held in Beijing on January 1st to celebrate the new entity, which will be run by the government-backed companies China Technology Exchange and Art Exhibitions China, alongside the private firm Huban Digital.

Why does it matter?

This is China’s first official entry into NFTs, despite having allowed some limited, regulated marketplaces to date. The nature of the “digital assets” (note the Reddit-esque choice of terminology) is also of interest, as Chinese media outlets report that property rights and copyrights will also be tradable on the platform, potentially accelerating the wider adoption of trading tokenized IRL assets.

Sources: CoinDesk, Business Insider, Coin Telegraph, CryptoSlate

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#1 It’s Getting Nounish Out There

What’s happening?

Nouns, the iconic Ethereum auction-based NFT project, has already made major IRL waves through its well-funded initiatives, even featuring in a Super Bowl commercial. Next up, they’ll take over a float in California’s 134th Rose Parade on January 2nd. The idea was proposed by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, creators of Robot Chicken and co-founded by actor Seth Green and Eric Towner, who explained “We really wanted to show off the fun and positive side of Nouns and crypto.”

Image: Stoopid Buddy Stoodios

Why does it matter?

Nouns is a unique project with a vast treasury (over $30M ETH and growing thanks to the daily auction of a Noun) and a mission to build open-source IP. It is not only an important experiment in decentralized governance and NFT-based community building, but offers an alternative funding and business development structure to the dominant pre-web3 models. As Nounish culture spreads and wider audiences become aware of its power, the possibilities seem limitless.

Sources: Decrypt, Twitter

#2 Fidelity Eyes Up Virtual Financial Services

What’s happening?

Global investment giant Fidelity has filed trademark applications that cover potential metaverse investment services, virtual real estate investing, cryptocurrency trading and even NFT marketplaces. Fidelity appears to be gearing up to offer a range of investment services within virtual words, alongside the “financial administration of credit card accounts in the metaverse”.

Why does it matter?

While many web2 companies’ forays into web3 make headlines, the less splashy entry of traditional finance heavyweight Fidelity may well have more significant long-term implications for the space’s maturity - particularly when it comes to the fast-growing NFT finance industry.

Source: Coin Telegraph


#1 OpenSea Enforces Embargo

What’s happening?

OpenSea is no stranger to controversy and as a US-registered company, has enforced bans against users in US-sanctioned countries such as Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Until recently, however, it was not targeting Cuban creators. Now, Cuban-based artists are finding their accounts delisted, with the curt explanation “We comply with US sanctions law” given to a Blockworks enquiry on the matter.

Why does it matter?

The Cuban NFT community has reported similar issues with MetaMask and Known Origin, raising crucial questions around decentralization (or more accurately, its absence) in the NFT space, in spite of the permissionless crypto ideals it was built on. How long until there is serious community pushback? As generative artist Ivona Tau commented, “The blockchain is not owned by these platforms and we don’t have to use them. There are alternatives.”

Sources: Blockworks, NFT Plazas

#2 North Korean Tactics Exposed

What’s happening?

Security company SlowMist released a major report detailing sophisticated North Korean phishing attacks that have stolen thousands of NFTs via fake NFT marketplaces, mints, projects across over 500 domains. SlowMist traced this particular malicious campaign to a domain registered seven months ago, with many of the phishing websites sharing 2 key IP addresses with 372 and 320 on each.

Why does it matter?

This deep-dive investigation offers many valuable insight into the tactics and methods employed by the attackers. This information is much-needed so that the NFT community can stay vigilant.

Sources: Coin Telegraph

#3 Man UTD in the Hot Seat

What’s happening?

Copyright infringements are sadly rife in the NFT space, to say nothing of the floods of derivative projects. Earlier this week, OG Tezos artist Lucréce spotted a particularly outrageous case - at the hands of Premier League football club Manchester United no less. The likeness is so similar that fans had speculated Lucréce’s direct involvement in the club’s NFT project.

Why does it matter?

Copyright cases relating to NFTs are still at an early, pivotal stage, and the outcome of high profile incidents such as this one are important to watch. According to the latest reports, the club is in talks with Lucréce, who has cheekily asked for dinner with Cristiano Ronaldo to form part of the agreement.

Source: Crypto Potato


Read

  • Liam J. Kelly explores the all-important question: What would crypto look like without centralised exchanges like FTX? [Read here]
  • The Financial Times’ end of 2022 NFT-take? How NFT creators are diversifying to generate new revenue streams [Read here]
  • Who doesn’t love an annual roundup?! Decrypt’s list of the Most Impressive NFT Projects of 2022 [Read here] and NFT Lately’s month-by-month highlights reel are two of the best [Read here]

Listen

  • It’s been a CRAZY year. Need a recap? The NFT Catcher Pod has you covered. [Listen here]
  • Pondering the Pudgy Penguins pump? Let the hosts of the NFT Alpha Podcast break it down for you [Listen here]

Watch

  • Beetle speaks to the Wall Street Journal about his vision for the future of NFTs and how they will change the art world forever [Watch here]

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