Base Is Here, But Some of Its Projects Raise Red Flags

  • NFT collection Y00ts stirred controversy by announcing it would be migrating from Polygon to Ethereum after accepting a $3 million grant from Polygon earlier this year. At the same time, its sister project DeGods released a preview of the artwork for its Season III collection, leading to a boost in trading volume.

  • Meanwhile, Coinbase officially launched its Base blockchain and is celebrating with Onchain Summer, a multi-week series of Web3 activations across art, gaming and music with brand partners like Coca-Cola and Friends With Benefits. The biggest mover on Base so far though is the new friends.tech app, but the project raises some red flags.

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On God: Popular NFT collection DeGods saw its sales soar after sharing plans and teasing artwork for its 20,000-edition Season III collection. Within 24 hours of the announcement, trading volume increased nearly 200% while its floor price decreased. Notably, female-presenting NFTs will be added to the collection, which are swappable for male-presenting ones. To avoid dilution, each individual DeGod NFT will have four pieces of generative art associated with it.

  • Y00 too: In conjunction with the announcement of a new DeGods collection, sister project y00ts said that it would soon be migrating away from the Polygon blockchain and onto Ethereum. Project lead Rohun Vora, known as Frank, explained that the shift was meant to “unite the DeGods and y00ts communities” on the same blockchain to simplify the ecosystem. Notably, y00ts accepted a $3 million grant from Polygon to migrate to its chain earlier this year, though the NFT project said it would return 100% of the funding it received.

Hot chain Summer: Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the U.S., officially launched its Base blockchain after weeks of teasing the initiative. The new blockchain is a layer 2 built on top of Ethereum using stack software from another popular layer 2 network, Optimism, and already boasts over 100 compatible decentralized apps (dapps) within its ecosystem.

  • Non-fungible festival: In connection with the launch, Coinbase launched Onchain Summer, a multi-week series of Web3 activations across art, gaming and music with partners like Coca-Cola, social DAO Friends With Benefits and NFT minting platform Zora. In addition to branded NFTs, Coinbase is helping distribute over 100 ETH, or about $186,000, in grants for developers building on Base.

  • Friend or foe: Frenzied activity around a new app called friend.tech drove daily active users to a record high of 136,000 on Base, but the app’s mysterious origins, lack of privacy policy and lagging network are red flags.

Aptitude test: Layer 1 blockchain Aptos, started by former Facebook employees to revive the scrapped Diem project, announced a partnership with Microsoft to expand its tools using Microsoft’s artificial intelligence technology. The tools combining blockchain technology and AI will be used to test and develop new offerings, including a new Aptos Assistant AI chatbot powered by OpenAI. In addition, the two companies have agreed to explore blockchain-based financial-service products, including asset tokenization, payment options and central bank digital currencies.

  • Token jump: The Aptos token got a 15% bump to $7.70 after the announcement was made.

  • AI ambitions: Blockchain and AI make natural partners in emerging markets, and venture capitalists are also shifting investments away from crypto and towards AI, which could encourage more tech startups to start integrating machine learning in order to lure investors.

“Kingdom of the Laughing Man” by Yue Minjun
“Kingdom of the Laughing Man” by Yue Minjun

Who: Contemporary artist Yue Minjun

What: Renowned Chinese artist Yue Minjun, a pioneer of the art style called “Cynical Realism,” has released his first NFT collection. The first installment, “Boundless,” is comprised of a series of 999 generative artworks inspired by his iconic wide smile self-portraits. According to a press release, “each piece of art in ‘Boundless’ sees the artist reinterpreting his signature self-portrait work through the prism of trends within technology, appropriating the crypto-centric PFP [profile picture] to create a unique Web3-based series for digital art collectors.” Upcoming drops will feature 3D animated art and an immersive metaverse experience.

Where: The series was listed for sale on LiveArt, in partnership with iv gallery, on Tuesday, and sold out within two hours, generating $1 million in primary sales. The NFTs are now available on secondary marketplaces like OpenSea.

Sign of the Grimes: Musician Grimes said she made more money from selling her NFTs than she has from making music.

‘Apprentice’ for crypto: A new competition reality TV show called “The Next Crypto Gem” will pit 16 crypto enthusiasts against one another for a chance to win a six-figure prize package.

Let’s ride: Holoride, an Audi-backed VR startup for in-vehicle entertainment, is launching an NFT staking program in partnership with XOXNO, the leading marketplace on MultiversX.

Virtual blue suede shoes: Elvis Presley avatars have come to metaverse platform The Sandbox.

There has been so much froth around artificial intelligence (AI) this year, it’s hard to ascertain what’s hype and what’s real. It feels similar to the early days of blockchain, when people would just declare “blockchain could solve this!” without any actual details on how.

But there are actual use cases for both technologies, too. We spoke to data experts and Web3 insiders and landed on four real ways AI and crypto could successfully converge to create consumer-friendly solutions for verification, ownership and creativity.

Edited by Toby Leah Bochan.

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