Dispatch #89: A Spicy Goblintown Conspiracy
In this patch of your weekly Dispatch:
- A strange, new, hot NFT project
- Venture funding shows no sign of a slowdown
- Crypto in Davos, Oslo
The Big Idea
Are the Hot New NFTs Secretly a Yuga Labs Project?
Earlier this week, nearly 28,000 people tuned into a 3.5-hour long Twitter Spaces of people –err, goblins – grunting barely intelligible sounds. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was elaborate performance art. In fact, it was the hottest new NFT project.
Before it was an NFT collection, “goblintown” was a crypto Twitter meme referring to the bear market. The Goblintown in question here is a 10,000 set pfp NFT collection that went live via a free mint last Saturday night.
With art and a web presence a cut above most collections, it quickly captured attention. The project also willfully flouts some norms of the NFT space. The website reads: “No roadmap. No Discord. No utility.”
Since launch, the collection has risen to more than a 2 ETH floor price, and the rumors swirling about who is behind it are wild. The most prominent theory seems to be Yuga Labs, although that may be more an affirmation of the quality versus anything specific.
Whoever is behind it, Goblintown seems to be the first cultural moment of the 2022 crypto bear market. God help us.
The Latest In…
If there is one thing that everyone in crypto hates to agree on, it’s that we’re in a bear market. If there is a second thing that (at least many) people agree on, it’s that the only way out is to build. The good news on that front is that there is no shortage of dry powder – both within companies and venture funds.
Multiple VCs announced new funds this week – Volt Capital with $50M, Standard Crypto with $500M, and of course, the big one – Andressen Horowitz’s Crypto Fund 4, which raised a whopping $4.5B. Will that money find its way into the next big web3 company? Only time will tell.
The Latest In…
There’s no shortage of strategic deals in our wee corner either. This week, Nexo Ventures invested in Enhanced Digital Group which provides institutions with sophisticated exposure to digital assets through its structured products and derivative trading solutions. The company’s $12.5M raise comes a mere eight months after its founding and brings not only funding but an impressive list of ex Microsoft, Bank of America, and JPMorgan advisors.
The Latest In…
Crypto = Mainstream
Crypto was all over two big (non-crypto) conferences this week: the World Economic Forum in Davos and the Oslo Freedom Forum. Crypto companies advertised throughout Davos, sponsored parties, and participated in panels. Two of the big themes were 1) energy consumption and 2) CBDCs. As for the Oslo Freedom Forum which is run by the Human Rights Foundation, it featured activists, journalists, and companies trying to create a freer world. It was also replete with Bitcoiners and stories of activists using Bitcoin to work around hostile regimes. Аs а CoinDesk headline put it, “Crypto is no longer on the outside.”
The Week’s Most Interesting Data Story
The Solana/Ethereum NFT Flippening
Goblintown aside, NFT volume, prices, and interest are all down. In that environment, however, a new kind of flippening is happening. Crypto VC Li Jin this week pointed out that Magic Eden (ME), the leading Solana NFT marketplace, had actually been more active than Opensea. She noticed 13% more users on ME: 139,000 to Opensea's 123,000. She also noted that there were six times as many transactions on Magic Eden – 2.4 million compared to 404,000. The volume was still higher on Opensea but ME was creeping and seeing 77% of Opensea’s volume. While the sample size is small, it reflects a question that we’ve noticed growing in the NFT community: are Solana NFTs the most exciting part of the space?
What the Community Is Discussing
A decoupling from equity markets?
Seriously – when do crypto valuations catch up?
What to Watch for Next Week:
- Will Goblintown’s creators be publicly known?
- Can crypto finally stop going down?
- Will we finally get Senator Lummis’ crypto regulation plan?