NFTY NEWS is a weekly newsletter covering the latest developments of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the blockchain space – collectibles, games, new platforms, and much more. NFTY NEWS is created by contributor Brian Flynn and adapted from his Medium page. For more information on NFTs, check out Brian’s reading list to get you up to speed on crypto digital assets.
NFTY #25: A Year Since the Kitty
Branded NFTs, WAX’s Blockchain, and the NFL
EDITION #25. It’s a special edition as it’s been ~ONE YEAR since CryptoKitties came onto the scene and big news has come out from the team in recent weeks. I’ll be doing a recap of the announcement and providing some initial thoughts, as well as cover everything else happening in digital assets. Let’s dive in!
1. CryptoKitties announces a $15M additional raise with investors from William Morris Endeavor (a talent agency) and aXiomatic (an e-sports company).
Investors are doubling down on the team behind CryptoKitties to become a leader in digital goods. New investors have joined the frey: William Morris Endeavor and aXiomatic. WME has a whole network full of talent and aXiomatic’s partners include Team Liquid, Epic Games, and Disney 😮
The investment is simply a licensing play. Licensing deals cost an immense amount of $$, and by leveraging a talent agency and gaming brand, Dapper Labs will have access to an immediate fanbase. They’ve spent some time thinking about licenses a lot this year.
In one year since the game was launched, it has remained unbeaten as the dApp everyone talks about. But why now for another $15M investment? Why will fans care about Kitties like Steph Curry Kitty?
Because they’re not putting just Kitties on the blockchain, according to their new site Dapper Labs.
Dapper Labs “is creating a protocol-agnostic platform that other developers can use to share their own NFTs. Altogether, the company is developing an open, end-to-end ecosystem of apps, middleware, developer tools, and more to remove friction of crypto for content creators and consumers.” — Samsung Next
It seems here Dapper Labs is building the bridge from a centralized ecosystem to an open data layer. By building on top of Ethereum, CryptoKitties was constrained to the UX and bottleneck issues of MetaMask/gas/scaling. Now by creating their own layer of applications with partnered brands, they’ll be able to focus on good content without feeling tied down to the limited infrastructure, while also being able to protect their IP.
Let’s face it — user’s don’t give a shit about decentralization or true digital ownership. It just needs to be better than existing applications. This is a step towards creating good content with existing fan bases — a potential new discovery and business model for a brand to engage with its fans.
2. WAX releases their new blockchain explorer with (somewhat) of a Twitch Integration
WAX is one of the stories that nobody in the digital asset ecosystem talks about. They have a massive ICO war chest along with OPSkins’ existing user base. WAX started off an ERC20 token, decided to use EOS, but then pivoted to launching their own custom blockchain. The benefits for using EOS weren’t clear for WAX, other than grouping two massive war chests together.
The blockchain seems to be working out fantastically. WAX has about ~$2M in volume per day. In comparison, the average NFT marketplace on Ethereum has $10K in volume per day.
The drawback with WAX and EOS for digital asset projects is simply security. The measure of how much you own a digital item is measured by the decentralization of a blockchain. Both chains are secured by DPoS — the securitization of transactions may be faster and cheaper but they require less upkeep cost.
WAX users pay no fees. UX is a breeze and ExpressTrade makes being able to send items from users faster and easier than any Ethereum experience. Users can gift items to streamers directly on Twitch instead of donating money, along with branded stickers of streamers that have real $$ value.
FanBits has tried to connect streamers with fans in the past using digital assets. I’ve said before that donations are the killer use case of NFTs — and Twitch is setup to be the ultimate partner for digital asset ecosystems.
3. Hashletes, an app that allows anyone to buy NFL players in the form of NFTs and set their lineup, releases their app
One of the most awaited NFT projects have finally launched. And there’s no mention of blockchain anywhere on the site. No need to purchase Ethereum. No clunky web app with MetaMask.
Hashletes is an experience that rivals existing apps, while being built on Ethereum. Hashletes is also a licensed cash prize business in a handful of states, allowing users to submit a lineup of existing players and win real cash.
It’s too early to tell what their future plans are regarding decentralizing the product — but blending a centralized experience with a distributed database is the path forward for Hashletes.
Maybe soon we’ll start to see more prediction market applications with sports-based NFTs.
4. Let’s figure out how to create skin-in-the-game for creators and keep them making more.
Earlier this year, I’ve sold my newsletter editions as NFTs. The premise was that the covers will fund the artist as well as myself, 50/50, and also provide an investment in my newsletter. A liquidity problem occurs with this approach. Users need to find buyers for a specific edition.
I’ve been thinking about new ways I can create skin-in-the-game for my newsletter so I can keep producing newsletters, without having to buy tokens. Been thinking of a system similar to Cent’s seeding system. This would benefit people like Jonathan Mann who produces a song everyday for the past 10 years.
Really want this to work with my readers on this because it holds me accountable to keep creating content high quality content indefinitely.
If you are working on creative use cases, or working on trying to get more people into crypto and reaching end users using non-fungible tokens, I would love to talk about how I can help. Reach out to me on twitter @flynnjamm, my DMs are always open.