No. 19 — Punk 6529 Launches a Decentralized Metaverse
A decentralized metaverse, a multi-chain NFT, and cryto-payment rails
Here’s my regular round-up of Web3 findings and insights for creators and artists.
Punk 6529 Launches a Decentralized Metaverse
In mid-April, pseudonymous Web3 Influencer Punk 6529 announced his much anticipated project.
He’s launching an open decentralized metaverse.
Punk 6529 owns many rare and highly valued NFTs and has over 346,000 Twitter followers at the time of writing this. He isn’t new to the space and has been involved with BTC since 2013.
The idea of Web3 metaverses have already gained popularity and 2022 has been a year of huge metaverse land grabs via NFTs. Just last week, Yuga Labs jammed up the whole Ethereum network with total transaction fees around $176 million during their land sale for Otherside.
But OM is different. It’s not launching with a land sale. There is no money to invest, only an opportunity to help build and contribute.
Punk 6529 is looking to create an open metaverse that will rival the closed metaverses being created by current Internet giants like Meta and Microsoft. Instead of building this whole thing out and then launching, they’re building it in true open fashion by getting community involvement from the start.
OM’s first city is called Genesis city which houses the 6529 Museum District. The central museum has the largest collection of NFTs on display with over 2,000 NFTs. They’re greatest interests are in Arts and Education and those two areas seem to be central to the early launch.
This early reveal is being referred to as an alpha launch with a beta launch target towards the end of summer 2022.
On the project’s website 6529 lays out the following vision for OM:
Thousands of self-governing districts
Comprising dozens of self-governing cities
With different missions, cultures and priorities
Linked within a vast virtual landscape
Bridged to the physical world
Global distributed, decentralized infrastructure
Personally, I’ve never had any real excitement about the metaverse. I value IRL interactions and until now, haven’t cared much to get a VR set. But after seeing what 6529 is envisioning, I see something more than just a fantasy digital life. I see new forms of human interaction and ways to enhance our physical lives with the digital life.
Much of our human interactions are digital now — think of all physical interactions that have been converted to Zoom calls over the past couple of years or social media interactions. We already have these semi-metaverses, so a more immersive version makes sense.
I’ll be following this project pretty closely over the next several months and look forward to seeing how it evolves.
For more details, check out the Twitter thread straight from the horse's mouth.
Web3 Gets Its first Multi-chain NFT — Gh0stly Gh0sts
A few weeks ago we saw the first multi-chain NFT launch — Gh0stly Gh0sts. Multi-chain, meaning it’s an NFT that’s compatible with multiple blockchains. Gh0stly Gh0sts was released on the LayerZero protocol created by Canada-based LayerZero Labs.
It’s a big deal because it addresses a critical open question in Web3 - Can we cross-collaborate between different blockchain networks?
Gh0stly Gh0sts suggests we can.
Essentially, a collector should have the ability to buy an NFT from a network like Avalanche and send it to the Ethereum network while maintaining the data of the original NFT. Gh0stly Gh0sts, at the very least, represents an important experiment in Web3 that may be pointing towards a blockchain agnostic future. That would do wonders for the user experience.
Right now, anyone that gets involved with Web3 has to consider which blockchain they are working with. They must set up a wallet for that blockchain, buy cryptocurrency from an exchange, and send it to the wallet. They need to keep up with keys, passwords, and phrases for each of these wallets with security protocols on the level of Fort Knox.
When you get into the conversation of different blockchains, you’ll hear terms like L1 (Layer 1) and L2 (Layer 2). L1 refers to primary blockchain networks and L2, as you would expect, refers to a layer that operates on top of a primary network. L2 blockchains essentially open a bridge to the L1 and sync the data onto the L1. Examples of L1s would be Ethereum, Solana, Tezos, Cosmos.
L2 examples would be Polygon, Uniswap, and Chainlink as they are scaling solutions that allow for quicker and cheaper transactions than the L1 they serve — Ethereum. This reduces the burden on the main Ethereum network that would potentially lead to network slow downs and increased gas prices.
Getting back to the main point here — LayerZero Labs is beginning with blockchains that are compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) such as Ethereum, Avalanche, Polygon, and Binance amongst others. LayerZero intends to become an omnichain protocol for seamless interoperability between blockchains and plans on expanding to other L1s like Cosmos and Solana.
So far, the primary trading activity of Gh0stly Gh0sts has been with Eth and not the less expensive networks like Polygon and Binance. A behavior that raises another questions - will omnichain protocols increase the dominance of Ethereum on Web3 over-time?
It’s still early and I expect we’ll see many omnichain NFT launches over the year ahead. It’s worth noting that LayerZero is not the only omnichain protocol and many others such as Quant Network, Analog One, Nomad, and Alexar are amongst the different networks working to create an omnichain Web3 world.
Cryptopayments Are Going Mainstream
Recently, Strike, a mobile payment application, launched a new payment rail that uses Bitcoin to send money. They rely on Bitcoin lightning networks which allows for speedy transactions with barely any transaction fee. The company announced a partnership with Shopify, Blackhawk, and NCR. Blackhawk and NCR are the biggest payment processors in the US and service approximately 85% of all retail merchants (think Starbucks, McDonalds, Walmart, Walgreens).
The brilliant thing about Strike’s payment rail is that it allows for a plethora of currency denominations and allows for the sender and receiver to choose their own preference. So you can have a seamless instantaneous conversion from EUR to USD for a fraction of the cost of a standard credit card transaction.
At the beginning of this year, renowned investor, Chamath Palihapitiya claimed that Visa and Mastercard will be the biggest failures of 2022 due to cryptocurrency innovations. Well, here’s a working example of the inevitable disruption Chamath was referring to.
One thing to keep in mind is that Strike’s software is open-source, so there’s no reason these large payment companies can’t get in on the action. They are likely already on the path.
Strike isn’t the only company disrupting payment systems — Stripe is now allowing crypto payments in the form of the USDC stablecoin (a cryptocurrency that pegs its value to the US Dollar). Stripe’s technology operates on the Polygon network instead of Bitcoin.
Expect to see much more of these solutions hitting the market over the next couple years. In a few years we might even question the need for an ACH payment that takes many days to clear or a Bank Wire.
Strike’s first major client is Twitter, check out the payment flow in the tweet below.
As I dig deeper into Web3, the discussion will involve cryptocurrency and I want to make sure to include this disclaimer. This is not financial advice and is intended for informational purposes only.
As a disclaimer, I have no background or expertise in finances. law, or economics. This article explores new technologies like NFTs and cryptocurrencies and the potential uses for artists and creators. This is for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, investment, financial, or other advice.