Finally some good news. Despite the ongoing turmoil with some of the biggest names in the Web3 industry, Digital Currency Group, FTX etc, crypto investors have at long last been enjoying some respite from more than a year of consistent downward prices. Here’s everything that happened in the wild world of Web3 over the last seven days summed up for your reading pleasure in this edition of The Chainsaw Weekly Wrap.
This week in Web3
This week we kicked things off Logan Paul admitting defeat to ‘Coffeezilla’ after the internet detective called bullshit on Paul’s latest foray into the world of Crypto. Coffeezilla released a series of videos criticising Paul’s lazy attempt at a Play-to-Earn NFT game called CryptoZoo.
According to Coffeezilla, Paul’s CryptoZoo wasn’t just a total nothing burger marketed at Paul’s legion of followers to make boatloads of cash for Logan Paul and his mates, it was actually fraudulent. Coffeezilla revealed that Paul and the development team had ‘stealth-launched’ the project months in advance to stack up their own holdings of the games’ native ‘ZOO’ token before releasing access to the public.
The Silbert vs Winklevoss saga continues
After Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss penned an ‘open letter’ to Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert asking for his company to pay back its loans, Cameron decided to turn up the heat.
Posting a follow up letter to Twitter on January 10, Winkelvoss called for the removal of Barry Silbert as the CEO of DCG, saying that Silbert was “unfit” to run the company. DCG hit back with a scathing reply that slammed Winklevoss’ claims as nothing more than a publicity stunt with no basis in reality.
Either way it doesn’t look like holders with money stuck in Gemini’s ‘Earn’ product will be getting their cash back any time soon.
OpenAI opens up the playing field
This was a big old week for developments in Artificial Intelligence, with a company called Shift Robotics releasing AI-powered shoes dubbed ‘Moonwalkers’ that allow its wearers to “walk at the speed of a run”. However, the biggest AI announcements came from the industry’s market-leader OpenAI which announced that it may soon be merging with Microsoft to bring its viral AI assistant ChatGPT to Bing Search.
This news came as Microsoft let it slip that they’re pursuing a whopping US$10 billion investment into OpenAI that would see them take a 49% stake in the rapidly emerging AI company.
Oh yeah and rumours of ChatGPT-4, a supposedly colossal upgrade to the already mind-blowing ChatGPT3 began to surface, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on that.
Twitter experiments with monetisation
In some interesting tech news, Twitter has reportedly begun experimenting with the idea of launching an ‘Awards’ feature to help creators monetize their content. Twitter’s new ‘Coins’ feature will see users of bird app able to send each other cash money for dope posts. It’s still unclear as to whether these new ‘coins’ will exist on the blockchain, but it seems most likely they’ll be fiat-based for the foreseeable future.
Crypto layoffs continue
As crypto assets continue on their upward trajectory, the joy wasn’t shared equally across the industry, with bose Coinbase and Crypto.com announcing some massive layoffs. On Wednesday, Coinbase came forward with the unfortunate news that 950 employees — roughly 25% of its workforce — would soon be out of a job.
More recently on Friday January 13, Crypto.com announced that it too would be reducing their overall headcount by around 20%.
Sam Bankman-Fried has a new blog!
One of the more interesting developments in the seemingly unending FTX saga this week was failed crypto founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) decision to release his brand new blog. In a strange and avoidant post to his new newsletter titled ‘SBF’s Substack’, SBF clung firmly to a familiar line of argument that he shared with practically every news outlet that had a free time-slot in late-November. In the post he stuck to his guns and denied that any fraud ever occurred at FTX or Alameda Research.
This strange persistence at playing innocent comes after former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison made an official statement to the Department of Justice where she claimed that she was essentially given access to borderline-infinite free money from FTX to invest in a whole array of “very illiquid investments”.
Both Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang have both pled guilty to the charges brought forward by the Justice Department and are now fully cooperating with investigators. It seems wildly self-defeating for SBF to continue the narrative where he claims that collapse of FTX is more of a ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ situation rather than downright fraud.
Funding news: Venom & Iceberg inject crypto with serious cash
Even though there wasn’t a massive amount of funding activity across the board in crypto this week, there was still a significant amount of cash being directed at the future of digital assets.
The Abu-Dhabi based Venom Foundation team up with Iceberg Capital to launch a whopping US$1 billion crypto venture fund called ‘VVF’ which is aimed at helping an extremely broad array of new Web3 projects into the fold.
From funding new DeFi protocols, DeFi to GameFi applications VVF casts a very wide net, and its hefty nine-figure investment sum comes at a time when many were beginning to fear the worst for the future of crypto venture capital.
Crypto markets get the green light
Cooling inflation data and a more relaxed approach to interest rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve drove a renewed wave of capital into crypto investments, with Bitcoin and Ethereum witnessing their most prolonged rally since February last year.
Fuelling crypto investors with renewed frenzy, Bitcoin is currently surging towards the fabled $19,000 mark. At the time of writing BTC is trading for US$18,186, up more than 11% for the week and nearly 13% for the year.
It wasn’t just Bitcoin and altcoins like Solana and Cardano enjoying some solid momentum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap Ethereum (ETH) also enjoyed a bounty of green candles. Ethereum posted a very respectable weekly gain of 13%, and from the start of this year, ETH has grown 17%.
Winners and losers
It’s been a long time since there’s been some real winners in the markets, but this week showed up for crypto in a big way. The overall biggest winner was the native token of the blockchain gaming studio Gala Games, ‘GALA’ which is currently up 110% over the last seven days as Web3 games see renewed interest.
In second place was everyone’s least favourite Layer one blockchain Aptos (APT) which rode the frenzy for Ethereum alternatives to new monthly highs, surging more than 70% in the last seven days.
While not technically placing in the top two, Avalanche’s AVAX token also enjoyed a whopping 30% rally after it announced a landmark partnership with Amazon Web Services which will see the cloud computing provider streamline blockchain adoption for a whole bunch of different institutions.
Incredibly, we can’t write a biggest loser section this week, because there were simply no tokens in the top 100 that fell more than 1%.
And that’s it for this edition of The Chainsaw Weekly Wrap.
As always, here’s some memes.