📝 Web3 Field Notes #36 – Owning Your Friends
Coinbase Layer 2 "Base" launches with viral app. Layer 2 boom. Apple x Pixar = Metaverse? Smart wearables in Decentraland. Bitcoin energy report. Microsoft's own ChatGPT. Start-ups, charts & more.
Hey, it’s Marc. I write about Web3, Crypto, and brands. ✌️ Welcome to another issue of my obsessively curated field notes to help you filter out the noise.
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"Web 3.0 is the internet owned by the builders and the users, orchestrated with tokens." – Naval Ravikant
📚 Key Reads
A new internet: on Web3 primitives & social networks. By Joel John. Link
AI & Crypto. By a16z. (audio). Link
The convergence of crypto and AI: four key intersections. By Kyle Samani, Multicoin Capital. Link
Has Binance blown its chance to rule the crypto markets? By Financial Times. Link
Stablecoins can keep the dollar the world’s reserve currency. By WSJ. Link
🚨 What Caught My Eyes
✨ Web3 + NFTs
HTML of the Metaverse: Apple and its Vision Pro platform joined Pixar's push to standardize 3D content. The Alliance called “OpenUSD”1 includes Nvidia, Adobe, and Autodesk along with Pixar as founding members pushing a standard format for interoperable 3D tools and data. In Nvidia’s words: “USD should serve as the HTML of the metaverse”. Link
Punchline: Essentially, USD is open-source software that creates a shared language around packaging, assembling, and editing 3D data. It is more than just a file format and is positioned to become the open standard that enables the 3D evolution of the internet, the metaverse.
Coinbase Layer 2: Coinbase’s Base network officially launched with 100+ dapps and hit over 1.7m active users. The "total value locked" (TVL), a common metric for evaluating blockchains and protocols, ranks Base as the fifth-largest layer-2 blockchain. Coinbase also launched Onchain Summer, a multi-week campaign of onchain art, gaming, music, and more on Base. Link
Punchline: Coinbase's push for crypto and Web3 mainstream adoption is commendable. According to CEO Brian Armstrong, Coinbase has “just about every employee” improving UX pain points at this point – essential to onboard the next billion users. Altruism? Not entirely. Base has also generated over $3m in profits since inception.
Decentraland & Interoperability: One of the most well-known, blockchain based virtual worlds has launched smart wearables and “portable experiences”. Smart Wearables are clothing and accessories worn by your avatar that ‘turn on’ an experience or ability specific to that wearable. Link
Punchline: These items allow designers of digital fashion to add utility to outfits and accessories and provide a deeper experience for the wearer. Imagine a brand collaboration where owning a wearable grants access to a VIP room or a select product catalog. Crucially, the interoperability of these items across different virtual platforms will enhance their utility and long-term value for users. Ultimately, interoperability is at the heart of the Web3 promise.
Owning your friends: Friend.tech, an application on Base, has skyrocketed in activity with 6800+ ETH in trading volume since launching just last week. “The marketplace for your friends,” allows users to buy and sell tokenized shares of other users. Owning shares gives users direct access to interact with the individual via private chat within the app.
🌎 Crypto & Macro
Layer 2 boom: DeBank, most well-known for its crypto portfolio tracker product, announced its own Ethereum based layer 2 chain built for social2.
Punchline: New layer 2 chains, chains that extend the underlying layer 1 chain, e.g. Ethereum, are booming. Base from Coinbase just launched. Linea, a zkEVM from Consensys, just completed their Alpha mainnet launch. opBNB from Binance just launched. Layer 2s might become the big narrative of the next bull run and enablers of mass consumer adoption.
Bitcoin & energy: The new H1 2023 survey by the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) claims year on year improvements in sustainable power by 1% and efficiency gains. Link
Punchline: The BMC is a contested entity. Although it was the first association aiming for transparent Bitcoin mining data, reporting is voluntary, and not all major miners are council members. The best alternative source is the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.
Bitcoin & institutions: Private equity giant David Rubenstein made the case for Bitcoin. Link
Punchline: Institutional voices like Rubenstein or Larry Fink praising Bitcoin signal positivity, especially after the FTX collapse's silence. But even though hedge fund investors such as Paul Tudor Jones helped to launch the last bull run, I wouldn't overemphasize this.
Microsoft & ChatGPT: Microsoft released an open-source version of ChatGPT tailored for business use cases, called ‘Azure ChatGPT’. Link
Takeaway: This makes it easier for developers and businesses to integrate ChatGPT into their applications with more control and privacy compared to the public model.
AI avatars: Lifelike, AI-generated human avatars are here. In the demo, the founder of HeyGen cloned himself using 100% AI. Link
Punchline: We’re about to see a massive influx of AI-generated content across media and it will be very hard to tell what’s actually real. Blockchain may play an important role in verifying authenticity of content (with zero knowledge proofs).3
💰 Money Moves:
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🚀 Interesting Start-Ups:
Friend.tech: social financialization built on Base, cf. “the marketplace for your friends,” allowing you to buy and sell shares of other users.
That’s all for now, folks.
Thank you for being part of the journey.
Back to building! 🚀
PS: A 💎 for you! Keep track of global crypto regulation with the “Crypto regulation tracker” by Atlantic Council.
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🐦 Tweet of the week
📈 Top charts to share with friends
🎨 Artwork: “Yamabushi's Horizons #36”, Richard Nadler
Abbreviation for Pixar’s Universal Scene Description technology.
The chain will be based on the Optimism stack, which is a layer 2 scaling solution on top of Ethereum.
So just like ML models can be used to detect fake data or maybe malicious activity, there is the flip side where ML models can actually be used to generate fake data.
Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs) are cryptographic methods by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that a certain statement is true, without revealing any specific information about the statement beyond its validity. The potential of ZKPs for a variety of applications has grown due to their unique privacy-preserving properties.
In the case of deep fakes, the creator wouldn't have access to the original content's private key or associated metadata, making it impossible for them to produce a valid zero-knowledge proof of the content's authenticity. Viewers can use the associated zero-knowledge proof to check a content's authenticity, thus distinguishing genuine content from deep fakes.