Tag: blockchain

Economics of Staking Ethereum

Ethereum will soon switch to Proof-Of-Stake. “The Merge” is a big development event where the Proof-Of-Work consensus algorithm will shift to a new model PoS, allowing people to stake their assets to earn rewards.

While recently listening to Hall Press’ episode on Bankless podcast, a few key insights were shared about staking Ethereum

If there is value to the asset outside of staking (spending the token, etc) then the staking rate will be lower.

This is true of Ethereum and Ether the asset.

Ethereum’s use cases make it in high demand

Because Ethereum is a useful asset in web3 ecosystem, there are many other demands for ether.

Think of all the use cases that Ethereum has – from NFTs to DeFi and more.

Many people need to use Ethereum to do these sorts of things, so not everyone will want to lock down their ETH and just stake it.

Because of this, demand for staking probably won’t ever be super high.

Lower rate of staking means higher returns for those that do stake

If demand for staking is low, then value to those that decide to stake is higher.

Stakers want the network stake rate to be as low as possible.

As of now, Ethereum only has around 10% of staking participation rate.

After The Merge, staking incentives will go up, and is likely to have higher income margins.

Only expenses in Ethereum are paying developers (what EF pays out in salary). The EF report showed that the expenses are quite low.

According to Hall Press on Bankless podcast, he thinks that paying stakers does not count as an expense because it is not leaving the system.

Bridging crypto between Layer 2 blockchains – not currently supported?

The Problem: Bridge protocols don’t enable users to bridge between Layer 2s

Crypto holders should be able to use their tokens whenever they want, across any set of blockchain networks.

Ethereum gets you security, but it is a very expensive layer. The benefit of Layer 2 networks is that they are more scalable – fees are lower in L2.

Unfortunately, users cannot move funds directly between Layer 2 networks.

Interoperability for tokens among different chains in web3 is a critical technical problem with crypto bridges today.

Bridging between Layer 2 networks is impossible

For example, users can’t go directly from from Optimism to Arbitrum, no matter what bridge they use.

In order to move tokens between these layer 2 networks, users are forced to take a multi-step process, bridging back to Layer 1 from Optimism before moving their funds to Arbitrum.

You can try it to see for yourself.

As shown below, after adding both Arbitrum Network AND Optimism Network to my wallet and going to the Arbitrum Bridge, its clear that the only connection possible is to go between Layer 1 and Layer 2.

arbitrum bridge only enables funds to go from L1 to L2
Aribitrum bridge only recognizes assets available on Layer 1, even though funds are in Optimism on the same connected wallet.

Layer 2 direct jumps don’t exist (yet).

Current Functionality: Bridging from Ethereum to Layer 2 is simple

Bridging from Ethereum Mainnet any one of the Layer 2’s is pretty simple and straightforward.

For example, a user’s first experience exploring the Optimism ecosystem (covered in this post) is pretty straightforward:

The Ethereum –> Optimism bridge allows for funds to be transferred quickly, letting the user get started with dapps like NFTs, DeFi, and more.

Similarly, bridging from Ethereum Mainnet to Arbitrum is pretty easy.

Users use a service like Chainlist to connect to any number of different Layer 2 blockchain networks directly, without manually typing in the network ID and other information.

How to use the Chainlist website, where you can connect to EVM powered Layer 2 networks.
Connect directly to EVM powered networks using Chainlist, without having to manually enter network details into your wallet

Optimism and Arbitrum are just two examples – Chainlist offers hundreds of connectable networks – an overwhelmingly large amount of software to explore.

Improving crypto bridges will reduce fees for users

The fact that a user can’t move funds between two different rollups without sending funds back to Ethereum Mainnet not only makes the user experience more cumbersome, but it means users pay higher fees.

The bridging process requires two additional transactions on Ethereum Mainnet, instead of a single transaction on Layer 2 between networks.

This multi-step process ultimately requires more gas.

At this point, the ability to move funds between layer 2 networks is an aspect of UX that is missing, and is a big gap in crypto.

The ideal UX features simply have not been built out yet.

Poor user experience is the nature of emerging technology

When you are exploring the frontier of emerging technology, some difficulty of use should be expected.

To put things into perspective, this lack of user functionality is part of what makes crypto most exciting.

If the UX was perfect and every blockchain app was easy to use, then crypto would already be mainstream.

When you are using emerging technology before other people, it is going to be clunky and difficult to use.

We are early; blockchain technology still has so much un-realized value. This is part of exploring and seeing tech trends before everyone else.

We Need to Enable Users to Migrate Between Layer 2 Blockchains

The good news, is that interoperability problem currently exists within similarly EVM compatible blockchains.

Because Layer 2 networks share protocols with Ethereum’s foundational Layer 1, the challenge should be solvable.

The Ethereum ecosystem, with the EVM protocol fundamentals, was made for this type of universal compatibility… shared components allowing protocols to integrate.

Axelar Network seeks to solve interoperability

We know its possible. Still, bridging between Layer 2’s is a feature that is not yet present in web3.

One network focused on this is the Axelar Network.

On the recent Zero Knowledge podcast episode, Sergey Gorbunov discussed how to make layer 2 protocols more interoperable.

Sergey shared information about how Axelar is focused on interoperability, making it easy for users to migrate between chains.

He mentioned that by building service layer protocols on top of the core networks, end to end flows between applications will be easy and seamless for users.

This will also enable bridging between Ethereum L2s so that users don’t have to go back to the main chain.

Exploring Optimism Layer 2 Rollup – Low Gas, Airdrop Farming unsuccessfully :(

Before Optimism announced the OP token, the blue birdie on the internet told me about the likelihood of an Optimism airdrop.

Apparently rumors were circulating during ETH Amsterdam, and airdrops are nothing new – if you’re in the right place at the right time, web3 users can cash in on airdrops.

For example, the LooksRare airdrop sent OpenSea users LOOKS token for free as long as they traded over 3 ETH in volume worth of NFTs.

And although the 3 ETH limit for the LOOKS airdrop was a bit much, I was feeling optimistic for the imminent Optimism airdrop.

How to Bridge to Optimism from Ethereum Mainnet

Once you’ve setup your own crypto wallet, sending funds over to Optimism is actually super easy, and will probably cost you less in transaction fees than you pay in fees on OpenSea when you purchase an NFT.

I think I payed between $12-20 in gas to bridge over, having recently done so Ethereum to Optimism on three separate occasions.

how to use the optimism bridge
Optimism Bridge user interface

One of the best parts about Optimism?

LOW GAS FEES.

While Ethereum Mainnet is like driving through traffic in the middle of a big city at rush hour – and overwhelmed with top-tier NFT projects sparking gas wars among hundreds of thousands of users – Optimism is your chill, quiet vacation getaway in the mountains.

In 2022, there are definitely fewer users in the Optimism ecosystem, but with the number of new entrants to web3 that could certainly change.

Optimism borrows all the good from Ethereum and makes it even better

Optimism is EVM-compatible, which means that the software was built on all of Ethereum’s same protocols

Because of this, transactions share security and decentralization features with Ethereum, while also using complicated new types of cryptography that enable the system to “scale”.

  • Scalability means that more people can use the blockchain network at the same time without gas going super high.

Even though Optimism transactions do use Ethereum, the system is more efficient with blockchain data, allowing many more people to do use the network at once.

With Ethereum as a foundation, Optimism allows users to benefit from the good of Ethereum while also enabling efficient scaling.

This helps users experience lower transactions fees.

OP token is a sure thing, but airdrops are not

With the Optimism announcement published a few days ago, I’m sad to say I’m zero for two on airdrops recently.

To be honest, the Optimism airdrop criteria was pretty difficult to meet.

The team was smart and they made it about more than just bridging a small amount of ETH over once and then getting a free airdrop in your wallet.

The criteria were pretty specific including using Optimism for the first time before June 2021, among other possible criteria.

That’s a long way of saying, the team was thoughtful in the approach.

They made it difficult for a mere degen to gain access to OP tokens this early, and rightly so.

Losing on airdrops, winning on Optimism NFTs

Having bridged over a small amount of ETH, I started to explore some of the different dapps that exist on the Optimism network.

The Optimism website has a section dedicated to different applications that are built on top of their network.

The “Ecosystem” includes a number of apps from Defi to Gaming, as well as NFTs.

Naturally, the first thing that stood out were the NFTs…. if the network is growing, why not try and get in on the ground floor?

optimism ecosystem - dapps, NFTs, optipunks
Optimism ecosystem. What would you try first?

Quixotic is the name of the website marketplace where you can buy and sell NFTs on the Optimism Network. Its the OpenSea equivalent, but on Optimism.

Quixotic proved to be surprisingly user friendly… I managed to buy into an NFT project before I actually realized that it was STILL MINTING!

Yep, the Optimistic Apes were barely halfway through the 2300 round of minting, when I turned up and minted 7 of them, plus that one from secondary.

This is Optimism – we’re not Bored Apes, we’re Optimistic Apes

Optimistic Ape collection on Quixotic by espresso

While OptiPunks are a literal 1-to-1 duplicate of all 10,000 CryptoPunks, the Optimistic Apes do a few things differently.

For one, they support Public Goods funding on the ecosystem, which means founders will be encouraged to build within the Optimism Network.

Featuring a collection size of only 2300, far fewer than the standard NFT project, the artwork of the Optimistic Apes also feels more grungy than the Bored Apes – lots of hoodies, hats, and cigars.

The art itself has a bit of a pencil-sketched cartoony look, however, the artist is for now unknown, according to a post from Chief Ape in the Optimistic Punks Discord chat.

Are Optimism NFTs unoriginal?

Even if the Optimistic Apes NFT project has taken steps to distinguish themselves, you have to wonder why the top two NFT projects on Optimism just so happen to be called OptiPunks and Optimistic Apes…

Are we copy-catting the two biggest blue-chip NFT projects on Ethereum?

Given that the OptiPunks leverage exactly the same characters as CryptoPunks, but with a fading red background, it sure feels like some sort of precedent has been set.

Still, they sell!

quixotic demand for NFTs - statistics of April 29 2022

Demand for NFTs on Quixotic has skyrocketed over the last few days.

Given the large flood of users moving over to Optimism and bridging funds, no doubt the Quixotic website has been getting a lot of hits.

Yet the Quixotic server has stayed up and running smoothly.

No surprise that the top NFT projects on Optimism are enjoying the buzz as well.

When will the hype arrive to Optimism?

All this talk of missed airdrops and under-hyped NFTs makes you wonder…

Is Optimism simply lacking hype, or is it just that the hype hasn’t arrived yet?

The small amount of hype getting started makes you wonder if its temporary or slowly growing.

Is Optimism just cheap, layer 2 rip-off copy of Ethereum, or simply a sweet, slower paced, lower fee pet turtle?

OptiTurtle?

In web3, the key is to get in early

Getting involved a growing ecosystem early is the one of the best ways to have a big impact.

  • 2012 it was Bitcoin
  • 2017 it was Ethereum
  • 2021 it was Bored Ape Yacht Club

In 2022 could it be…. Optimism?

We are in the Blockchain Era for Layer 2 Rollups

In crypto and web3, trying and using stuff is the best way to gain experience and learn.

My goal this year is to explore the layer 2 ecosystem, find the best dapps, and increase my chances of finding a silver spoon carrying a golden goose egg.

This blog as well as Twitter will be a a place for sharing thoughts and learnings about web3, layer 2 rollups, and the broad crypto ecosystem.

Reach out – DM’s open!

The Case Against Bots: 3 Reasons Bots Ruin Play-To-Own Games

How Do We Prevent Players from Using Bots in Sunflower Land?

When players use bots in an ecosystem like Sunflower Land, the game loses value at its core. 

If assets and progression in the game can be attained without a person actually playing it, then those bot-users gain an unfair advantage over the other players. 

The people who don’t use bots will get discouraged and frustrated having spent real time playing and advancing their farms, while another group of players was able to achieve a greater level.

When people don’t play the game for the sake of playing it, the game loses its appeal to players. 

Once the game is no longer fun for these formerly engaged players, the community surrounding the game starts to dissipate. 

Its difficult for game devs to identify people using bots

It is hard for even the most technical developers to understand how many players have implemented bots to play for them.

It is a challenging technical problem that involves reviewing website log data, among other techniques.

Fortunately, the game developers of Sunflower Land have implemented strict no bot policies in the game. 

Additionally, the mobile version of the game is playable on an app like Metamask using the dapp browser… you just need a crypto wallet.

While the SFL developers have stated that this is strictly against the rules and you will get banned if you try to do this, there is a chance that some people are using bots in a way that is undetectable from the game developers noticing. 

People that use bots get blacklisted, which marks out your Farm NFT with a red X as shown in the image. Don’t be one of those people!

Good work to the SFL team for keeping the community strong and free of bots!

blacklisted and banned farms in sunflower land
blacklisted / banned farms in Sunflower Land

Play-to-Own Crypto Game Sunflower Land is more than just Earning Tokens

Yes, you can earn Crypto and NFTs by playing games in web3.

With crypto games like Axie Infinity generating multiple millions of dollars in revenue per month, it is difficult to ignore the numbers.

Whether or not you want to play games simply for fun or to earn money, wouldn’t it be great if games could optimizes for both?

Whereas Axie Infinity is considered a “Play to Earn” game, an innovative team from Australia has come up with a better model – Play to Own

Play to Own games bring a new framework to crypto and NFT gaming in which playability is taken into account before the money making aspects.

The Play to Own model seeks to establish a fun and engaging environment for players first and foremost. Without this aspect, NFT based crypto games are not sustainable.

What is Play-To-Own Gaming?

Play-to-Own games are attractive to players because it is possible to earn financial rewards within the game, as well as freely trade items and tokens outside of the game. 

These unique features are enabled by blockchain technology. 

Play-to-Own is different from the popular “Play-to-Earn” gaming model. 

Play-to-Earn is actually an unsustainable game model because people will use the game solely to extract money.

This is bad for the game because no value is organically flowing back into the game.

Play-to-Own games are a better model because they place the in-game experience ahead of financial incentives. People before profits.

Play to own is not about making money. It’s about making memories. Steve Woody

The difference with Play-to-Own is that the game creates a place where people go just because they enjoy playing. 

The ability for players to own and trade tokens and items is simply a means to enhance the game, enabling people to continue playing the game for fun. [2] 

Of course, users can decide to cash out and sell their tokens and items if they decide to quit playing. 

When players have this enhanced level of freedom to leave with their rewards at any time, game developers are incentivized to develop a truly great game where people want to stick around and interact with each other.

When the primary focus is making the game / product great, the downstream impact is a fun game with great financial incentives as well.

For a blockchain game to succeed with crypto and NFT economics, there must be a balance of players who play for the sake of enjoyment with those who play solely to earn money and convert the token into fiat.

For a play-to-own game to work, there must be an active cohort of players consistently being a part of the game and helping to build a bit of “community”.

Sunflower Land is an example of a Play-to-Own game that does a good job of this.

Sunflower Land Community:

As developers seek to maximize fun and enjoyment for gamers, communities form. 

As with almost all web3 projects, value follows community, and community follows utility. 

If the game is fun and engaging, a community could naturally form around the game itself.

The larger the community, the larger the network effects and thus the more valuable the entire ecosystem becomes.

Sunflower Land has a strong community where people from around the world come together to discuss the game.

  1. GitHub: Sunflower Land has an active developer ecosystem and is thus still being developed and improved. The roadmap has quite a few exciting features on the horizon.
  2. Discord: the Sunflower Land Discord group is extremely active and with FAQ’s describing common fixes as well as a support ticketing system for technical issues.

The bull case for Sunflower Land: Community Oriented Developers and Founders

Sunflower Land is unlike other crypto games because there was no pre-sale/pre-mine of the SFL token. 

Additionally, the game is completely open source, and community run at its core. 

As described by the documentation under “Tokenomics”, the team of developers have a commitment to ensuring this aspect of the game remains true:

“We are paid directly with the fees generated by the player driven economy. We succeed when people play and our goal is to design tokenomics that engage users for the long term.” [1]

Before you can play Sunflower Land – or any crypto game – you need a crypto wallet.

SOURCES

  1. https://docs.sunflower-land.com/fundamentals/tokenomics
  2. Play to Own: https://philipla.substack.com/p/blockchain-games-play-to-earn-play-and-own?s=r 
  3. Axie World https://www.axieworld.com/en 
  4. Utility for Rare collectible items in the game: https://opensea.io/collection/sunflower-land-collectibles 

Top 4 Best Crypto and NFT Wallets in 2022 (and which one you should use)

When you purchase crypto for the first time, you will probably use an exchange.

While centralized exchanges have a number of benefits, you often do not have direct control over your digital assets when keeping them there.

Establishing your own self-custodial crypto wallet enables you to access dapps, transact in crypto, trade NFTs, as well as attain greater control and sovereignty over your money.

For this reason, its a good idea to move some of your crypto off the centralized exchange and into your own non-custodial wallet.

The next step is actually getting your first real crypto wallet setup. The good news is you can access the blockchain from any wallet provider. Think of the wallet as your portal to the world of web3. Yes, some portals are better than others, but at the end of the day they should all take you to the same place.

There are 4 wallets that stand out from the rest of the market as being the best:

The Winners for the Best NFT / Crypto Wallets:

Best All Around

Trust Wallet

  • Many assets hosted
  • Ultra secure
  • Large community
  • NFT Optimized
  • Free to use

Best for Beginners

Coinbase

  • Buy with $USD
  • Easiest on-ramp
  • Buy popular tokens
  • NFT optimized
  • Free to use

Most Secure

Ledger Nano X

  • Max security
  • Offline, cold storage of your cryptocurrencies.
  • No NFTs
  • Costs $149.00

Best for Ethereum

Metamask

  • Ethereum optimized
  • Compatible with ERC-721 and ERC-1155 NFTs
  • Most popular ecosystem
  • Explore layer 2 rollups and web3 dapps
  • Browser and Mobile compatible
  • Free to use

1. All-Around Best Crypto / NFT Wallet: Trust Wallet

Trust Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: Non-Custodial
  2. Hot or Cold? Hot
  3. Security:
    • Open Source
  4. Tokens Supported: Supports 53 blockchains and over 53 million different assets.
  5. Price: Free
  6. Ease of use:
    • Easy to use compared to most crypto wallets.
    • As with any new system, it takes some getting used to but there are many instructional guides available.
    • Includes a Dapp browser which lets you connect to various web3 tools and dapps.
  7. Devices Supported: Mobile crypto wallet
  8. Popularity:
    • 168,000 reviews in the app store
    • has a very active user community with forums and comments where community members discuss topics and answer questions.
  9. NFTs Compatibility:
    • Displays images of your NFTs readily, as well as enables you to send and receive them.
    • Only displays NFTs from within the Ethereum Ecosystem. Not compatible with Solana NFTs, for example.
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: you can buy crypto using your credit card.
    • Staking: you can earn 11% APR on quite a few different coins.
    • Multisig: No

Trust Wallet Overview:

For the general user, Trust wallet is great because it has a huge community, open forum discussion, and supports one of the largest number of different assets of any wallet on the market.

For the user looking to stake crypto, you can earn a sizable yield on your assets as well.

From owning some of the most well-known blue-chip assets, to buying and trading NFTs on the Ethereum Ecosystem, as well as browsing dapps within the web3 internet, the Trust wallet provides a well-rounded experience within crypto and NFTs for any user.

2. Best Beginner-Friendly Crypto / NFT Wallet: Coinbase Wallet

Coinbase Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: Self-custodial aka Non-custodial
  2. Hot or Cold? Hot
  3. Security:
    • Open Source
  4. Tokens Supported: The Coinbase wallet supports popular tokens like BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, XRP, XLM, and DOGE, all EVM-compatible and ERC 20 tokens, as well as some stable-coins like DAI. (read more)
  5. Price: Free
  6. Ease of use:
    • User friendly and easy to learn.
    • There are many instructional videos on YouTube to help new users learn the ropes.
    • Supports dark mode.
  7. Devices Supported: Browser and Mobile crypto wallet
  8. Popularity:
    • 103,000 app store reviews.
    • One of the most popular and well-known crypto exchanges has a large team behind the product.
    • Publicly traded company
  9. NFT Compatibility:
    • NFTs supported and displayed.
    • ERC-721 compatible.
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: support credit / debit direct purchases for crypto. Easy cash on ramp
    • Staking: Earn interest via smart contracts.
    • Multisig: not supported
    • Anything else? view crypto price movements directly from the app.

Coinbase Wallet Overview:

One of the largest publicly traded crypto exchanges in the world has a non-custodial wallet available for download.

The Coinbase wallet is best for beginners because it enables you to link your existing account on Coinbase.com to your self-custody wallet in order to move some of your funds off exchange.

Having the big tokens supported like Ethereum and Bitcoin as well as Polygon is key. Although it doesn’t have as many coins available as other wallets, it is great for getting started.

As staking is supported, this is a good opportunity for beginners to learn a bit more about DeFi and experience earning some yield on their assets, if that is within your risk tolerance.

One of the downsides to Coinbase is that you can’t use it in some jurisdictions, like Hawaii.

3. Best Crypto Wallets for Security: Hardware Wallets (Ledger Nano X)

Ledger Nano X Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: non-custodial
  2. Hot or Cold Storage? Cold
  3. Security:
    • Most secure hardware / cold storage. Open Source. Keeping your coins and NFTs offline and protected.
  4. Tokens Supported: over 5,500 tokens supported
  5. Price: $149.00
  6. Ease of use: Setting up the Nano Ledger X takes less than 30 minutes.
  7. Devices Supported:
    • Mobile friendly via bluetooth connection. Bluetooth enabled, access your wallet via your phone.
    • Install up to 100 dapps at a time.
    • You also have access to the Ledger Live, a browser and mobile wallet that enables you to access your funds on the go, if you don’t want to bring your physical hardware wallet with you.
  8. Popularity:
    • Ledger wallets have thousands of reviews on Amazon.
    • There is a community on Reddit with over 86,000 members.
    • Ledger Academy provides intro information for people to learn about crypto, such as how to keep their assets safe.
  9. NFT Compatibility: does not display your NFTs
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: no
    • Staking: no
    • Multisig: no

Ledger Nano X Wallet Overview

Ledger, a French company, has a number of hardware products designed to store crypto and NFTs in the most secure way possible.

The only real difference among the Ledger line of products is the number of features like which assets are supported. From a security perspective, all hardware wallets are equally secure because they keep your assets offline, aka in “cold storage”.

Ledger Nano X is the most advanced, and robust wallet from the Ledger line of products.

Granted security is of top priority here, the Nano X supports the most tokens and has the best screen display for usability.

4. Best Crypto Wallets for Ethereum Ecosystem: Metamask

Metamask Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: non-custodial
  2. Hot or Cold Storage? Hot
  3. Security:
    • Most popular wallet to use in the Ethereum ecosystem, enabling you to connect to web3 dapps as well as EVM powered networks such as Polygon and Optimism. Open Source. Your coins and NFTs are easily accessible.
  4. Tokens Supported: all ERC-20 tokens and EVM compatible NFTs (ERC-721 and ERC-1155)
  5. Price: Free
  6. Ease of use: Quick setup, many tutorials online as well as instructional how-to’s in the Metamask support site. As with all self-custodial wallets, make sure you store your private key in a safe, secure location.
  7. Devices Supported:
    • Browser and Mobile enabled. Access your wallet via computer or your phone.
  8. Popularity:
    • Most popular web3 wallet to date with more than 21 million active users.
    • Large Metamask community with forums and more.
  9. NFT Compatibility:
    • Displays your NFTs on mobile, but the functionality could be improved.
    • As the NFT display system is not optimized, Metamask users often find themselves going to OpenSea or Quixotic to view their NFT portfolios as opposed to the wallet display.
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: yes, via credit card, however transaction fees can be high.
    • Staking: no
    • Multisig: no

Metamask Wallet Overview

Metamask, an open-source software wallet built by Consensys, is by far the most popular wallet by user count in web3 as of 2022.

The wallet is focused on crypto and NFTs that leverage the Ethereum protocols, ERC-20, ERC-721, and ERC-1155. Additionally, the ability to add Ethereum Virtual Machine networks to your wallet makes bridging to layer 2 rollups easy and user-friendly.

For people that want to explore the emerging world of web3 decentralized applications (dapps), using a Metamask wallet is the way to go.

Crypto Explained in Under 200 Words: Blockchain-as-a-Currency

Crypto Explained in 156 words

The idea of cryptocurrency is not super novel – digital currency has been used in video games for decades.

Before blockchain, in-game currency never had real value because someone could just copy and paste the code, and counterfeit money would be undetectable.

Similarly, when transacting in cash with $USD, the US mint has made our dollar bills unique and difficult to forge, although someone could still attempt to pay you in counterfeit currency.

Before cryptocurrency, digital currency did not have value in the real world.

Crypto is Blockchain as a Currency

Ideally, money is difficult or impossible to counterfeit. Fortunately for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, MATIC, and Doge, counterfeit is programmatically impossible.

In the 2009 Bitcoin White paper, the counterfeit money problem was solved (dubbed the “double spend problem”) was solved, and cryptocurrency was invented.

The paper details highly technical cryptography enabling Bitcoin – the first cryptocurrency – to serve as the future method of exchanging value on the internet.

Bitcoin is simply a magical currency that sits on top of the more elusive technology called blockchain.

Go bankless and get a self-custodial crypto wallet:

5 NFT Projects Worth Holding Long-Term

One of the hottest trending topics on the internet over the last few months has been NFTs.

not investment / not financial advice. do ur own research.

NFTs are digital collectibles that usually give the owner some sort of exclusive access – whether to artwork, discord groups, or even in-person events. Anyone can create and launch an NFT, in the same way that anyone can start a business and sell a product or service, but with NFTs, the underlying value of the asset is based on rarity, utility, and social hype. Those who want to be a part of a niche community are able to prove their ownership by having the NFT.

While any industry experiencing exponential growth will attract questionable (i.e. scam) projects, those of us who are long-term bullish on NFTs and crypto focus on the fundamentals and maintain ownership in NFT projects with competent teams and strong communities.

But market optimism may fade in the future; as the hype-cycle predicts, the peaking highs are often followed by steep cliffs.

My involvement with NFTs over the last few months has been complicated. I’ve been largely focused on my day job and, when the waves are good, sneaking out to surf while trying not to forget about my responsibilities. Investing has always been a long-term play and something I don’t feel the need to make changes to very often. Besides, everyone in the Ethereum community is patiently waiting for the Merge.

My NFT Plays:

As always, NONE of this is advice, guidance, or suggestions. Please don’t take anything here as investment advice and always do your own research.

The seven NFTs cost me $5,766.92 – and, according to estimates based on floor price, I’ve lost about $505.98 on paper when you include transaction fees.

Despite losing money in some areas, the projects below are the ones I’ve chosen to hold for the long term. Whether that means during a bear market or bull, I believe in these projects for the reasons I’ll share below.

That being said, its time to shill some NFTs:

1. Surf Punks NFT

After hearing about an NFT that gives holders access to surf sessions at wave pools around the world, I was interested. Seeing Koa Smith post something about it on Instagram as well as involvement from YouTubers like Nathan Florence made me realize there was a significant amount of hype behind the project.

Given that this would be my first NFT and mint was happening the following day, figuring out how to move funds to Metamask was a challenge of its own.

My initiation to the NFT game became hard-won when the exchange wouldn’t let me move funds. Familiarizing myself with the intricacies of web3 wallets via trial and error, I finally secured the 0.15 ETH for mint plus extra for transactions fees.

After minting surf punk 246 for 0.15 eth pre-reveal, I later purchased my second Surf Punk, number 273, for 0.69 ETH. The advantage of owning two Surf Punks is that you can bring a friend to events.

Months later and @TheSurfPunks community has been growing at a pace that feels organic. I’ve met and surfed with other holders in Hawaii, hosted Twitter spaces and spoken with the founder Andre, and the Surf Punks treasury has reserved the entire Waco, Texas wave pool for a private holder-only event in March.

surf punks nft

2. Ranchy Rednecks

Twitter Spaces definitely become a source of edu-tainment about NFTs for hundreds of people every day including myself. One evening in December, during the Late Night Degens Twitter space, 3LAU, Steve Aoki, and like 500 other people helped 13 year old Nick sell out his NFT project in 2 hours.

The excitement that everyone had during that Twitter space was too much to not want to be part of it. So I decided to get in at mint price. Unlike my Surf Punks mint, I elected to mint two of these from the beginning.

I believe that purchasing two or three of an NFT in which you have conviction is a better move than buying just one because if it pops, you’re going to want to sell one to take profits and still be a part of the community. Owning more than one allows you to do that.

ranchy rednecks nft

3. Ethereum Name Service (ENS) Names

After I learned that the .eth extensions would serve as your web3 username and wallet address, I immediately needed one.

As someone who builds websites and is a proponent of owning your own domain name / internet identity, the vision of ENS really makes sense, similar to the .com top level domain names of the traditional internet.

I purchased two ENS:

  • Epigenome.eth – after doing cancer research in college and majoring in chem, I believe in epigenetics as one of the key industries to help cure diseases and even extend human life one day.
  • LNR.eth – means love n respect; 3-letter ENS names are quite rare. With only 17,576 combinations, there’s a good chance that the 3-letter ENS names become more valuable as more people are onboarded to web3.

The way it works is that users pay to register and extend registration of the ENS name. Prices are currently set at $5/year for names 5 characters or longer, $160/year for names 4 characters in length, and $640/year for names 3 characters in length.

I do believe that ENS names will become much more valuable as web3 gains traction and becomes more ubiquitous – like many areas of web3, we’re still so early.

Additionally, ENS Domains were launched April 2017 – before Curio Cards and even CryptoPunks. Historical NFTs – that is, those first few NFT projects between 2015 and 2019 – are more valuable to some people because they were first and are thus are more original, more authentic, and more rare.

ENS is undoubtedly an OG NFT and depending which one you own, may become super valuable some day.

The floor price of various ENS names on OpenSea is around 0.006 eth as of 3/13/22, with sales in the last day of as much as 1 ETH.

Purposefully under-estimating the floor price as 0 in my Spending History Table at the bottom provides a realistic viewpoint and helps ensure I don’t over-inflate my own expectations of the portfolio.

4. Kooks NFT (number 69)

This NFT is unique in that it was a whitelist gift, and there was no cost or transaction fees associated with acquiring it. Additionally, it is the only NFT on the Polygon Network that I own

@KooksNft is a smaller project right now, but I was able to meet the founder during a Twitter Spaces event that I hosted and he growth of the NFT space means Kooks could serve a valuable position as helping educate people on surf etiquette and respecting the ocean.

5. Full Send Metacard

The Nelk Boys prank videos have been going viral across social media for years. Kyle’s candidness and ability to go off-script is a skill that few creators have.

Boasting 7.27M subscribers on YouTube, watching the Nelk Boys brand grow, improve the quality of the content, form partnerships with the UFC, and finally launch an NFT has been truly incredible. After bringing UFC owner Dana White onto the podcast, Dana is now a Metacard holder which is honestly so sick.

I’ve been following these guys on Instagram and YouTube but once I heard about their NFT launching, I knew that I had to jump on board.

Since I was not on the white list, my initial plan was to purchase one on secondary between the time of whitelist and the time of public sale.

I needed to think strategically.

With over 200,000 Discord members, the project was bound to sell out immediately and so the chances were almost zero that I would be able to get a Metacard during public sale.

During the Metacard minting event, with so much hype and website traffic, OpenSea CRASHED which made it impossible to purchase on secondary there.

At this point, the only way to get a Metacard was to venture into the web3 alternative exchanges – basically the real wild wild west of the internet, where you really have to watch out to protect yourself from getting scammed or having your assets stolen.

The risk of doing this is that you could easily end up buying a fraudulent NFT if you don’t verify that the smart contract and addresses are legit. After digging into Etherscan block explorers, downloading CSV files, and matching addresses, I made sure that I wasn’t about to pay for something fake.

I found a legit Metacard on secondary BEFORE the public sale started and successfully paid for and transferred it to my wallet.

With Full Send gyms on the horizon and new hilarious videos dropping every week, I couldn’t be more stoked for the future of Metacard community.

If you haven’t seen @KyleForgeard and the Nelk Boys’ YouTube videos, look them up immediately. Pranks and comedy is valuable for everyone, because we all need to laugh.

I’m still diamond-handing all of these to the moon.

Did I spend too much money on NFTs, or is this simply a healthy diversification of funds into a risky yet potentially exponential asset class?

You can analyze my spending history table below for yourself.

I’d also be curious to hear how you think NFTs will play a role in peoples’ lives over the next 3-5 years. Share a comment at the bottom and let me know what you thought.

Spending History Table (via estimates)

Playing Conway’s Game of Life on StarkNet

Conway’s Game of Life is a simulation-based computer game where life-like structures emerge from the rules governing movement of the squares on screen.

From such simple rules, the Game of Life the entities on screen behave with completely unpredictable and complex interactions.

A basic, web2 version of the game can be played at the two links below:

There are also a number of mind-blowing YouTube videos on this type of thing, where “emergence” occurs from particle motion after basic rules are codified. [1]

To play the Game of Life on the StarkNet platform, visit the following link: https://www.gol2.io/

In order to play the game on StarkNet, you need a Argent X wallet. Fortunately, Argent X is pretty easy to setup as a browser extension. [2]

Since the game is new and currently in Alpha development, I used the Goerli test net to try the game for the sake of experimentation, because it does not feature live transaction data.

Game of Life on StarkNet Goerli Testnet

Conclusion

I did notice that transactions unfortunately take quite a long time to process.

While the game is interesting and it’s exciting to see new developments on Ethereum Layer-2 scaling solutions like StarkNet, I’m not sure that featuring this particular game on a blockchain is worthwhile.

Since evolution data doesn’t need to be stored and the game is really just for entertainment and viewing the progress of the simulation overtime, users who are curious about the Game of Life are better off trying it in the web2 versions I’ve shared above.

Sources

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=makaJpLvbow
  2. Consensys blog post: https://consensys.net/blog/cryptoeconomic-research/layer-2-and-scaling-solutions-march-2022-week-1/

The 8 Greatest Podcasts on Crypto, NFTs, and Web3 for 2022

Podcasts are one of the easiest ways you can learn more about crypto, NFTs, and blockchain because you can listen passively while doing something else.

Here are the best crypto podcasts that you will find:

The Daily Gwei

the daily gwei ethereum podcast about crypto

Anthony Sassano’s consistency in publishing this podcast about the Ethereum Ecosystem is unmatched – I don’t believe there’s another show that happens as regularly as the Daily Gwei. With episodes coming out at least every weekday, I’m thankful to be able to rely on this podcast for my daily dose of alpha. Additionally, Anthony Sassano does an excellent job of articulating the value proposition for Ethereum in a way that non-technical users can understand.

Where to start: start with the most recently published episode. This show is another daily-update style show, covering what’s happened in the last day in the Ethereum ecosystem.

Bankless

bankless podcast icon about crypto, focused on ethereum ecosystem

David Hoffman and Ryan Sean Adams cover everything crypto, with a focus on the Ethereum ecosystem. The “Bankless” movement suggests the narrative that humans should have custody over their private keys, without 3rd party centralized intermediaries. The show also has YouTube videos for people who enjoy that format more.

Where to start: There are so many incredible episodes that you could honestly just pick one and dig in. Having hosted Vitalik on the show on multiple occasions, you could always start there. I also highly recommend the episode with Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. Lastly the “Ultra Scalable Ethereum – Modular vs. Monolithic Blockchains” episode was particularly enlightening. This is one episode you absolute must hear if you care about the future of blockchain scalability.

Modern Finance

modern finance is a podcast that focuses on crypto's impact on finance

Internet legend Kevin Rose focuses on crypto and how it relates to the future of finance broadly.

Where to start: The episode with the Bankless guys was top-notch. Unfortunately the episodes are not published too regularly on the show, but when something is published, it is worth a listen. I’m looking forward to going back and listening to the episode with the Brave Software CEO, Brendan Eich, as well as the episode with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Into the Ether

into the ether ethereum crypto podcast

Eric Conner and Anthony Sassano cover updates from Ethereum overall.

Where to start: given that the episode covers current events and timely updates, I would just listen to the most recent episode!

The Defiant – Defi Podcast

defiant podcast focusing on defi, crypto, and blockchain broadly.

Camila Russo brings builders and users within blockchain technology and DeFi onto the podcast and does a really good job of asking the tough questions.

Where to start: the episode with Vitalik Buterin was particularly interesting, Camila did a great job of asking devil’s advocate style questions and we get to see how Vitalik responds.

DeCent People

decent people, a podcast covering decentralized applications featuring many crypto experts.

Matthew Leising does a great job of bringing Ethereum experts onto the show and digging into not only the projects they’re working on, but also a contextual background of their lives and how they got started.

Where to start: The conversation with Meltdem Demirrors was the first episode I heard, and it was really interesting hearing about her background in bitcoin, and her story about testifying in front of congress.

Up Only: Chats with Crypto Experts

up only, a podcast featuring crypto experts and whales

Cobie and Ledger host a show every so often where they get together and ramble on all things crypto. Both Cobie and Ledger do a great job of keeping the conversation candid and unscripted, and don’t hold back. It would be great if podcast episodes were released episodes more often, but regardless, the content is always solid.

Where to start: Anytime the founder of Ethereum appears on a podcast to share his ideas, its worth a listen. In addition to having a wide-ranging discussion about the internet and future of crypto developments, Vitalik shares his thoughts on anti-aging and life extension.

Proof

proof, a podcast covering NFT projects

Kevin Rose focuses specifically on NFTs and artwork on the blockchain, bringing artists, collectors, and curators on the show to talk about all things non-fungible.

Where to start: I enjoyed the Particle Collection episode and hearing about the Banksy painting being fractionalized and sold as 10,000 individual pieces. Despite my best efforts, I was not able to get access to mint a Banksy Particle. Still a great show, though.