Weekend Friend Tech Edition (11 - 24 Sep)
Curating the most interesting NFT takes on FT, again
We’ve been away for a bit but dropping another special weekend edition!
We are still in the trenches on Friend Tech, curating the best takes to share them with you. We’ll be back to our regular NFT programming soon.
Before we dive in, just 2 quick notes:
None of this is financial advice. Please do your own research
We have attributed and linked all of the quotes below to the original sources. Please consider buying their key on Friend Tech to support them.
The Best Friend Tech NFT Alpha (11 - 24 Sep)
Bharat Krymo on Sugartown (22 Sep 2023):
Met with Matt Wolf (CPO) for Web3 at Zynga, Camol (CMO) and Tommy Ngo (product lead). These guys really and truly get crypto and the culture which are the first items I wanted to validate. They've also been working with Zeneca as an advisor for > 1 year which is ++EV in my book. I've got an open line of communications with them (well as open as possible). Net from a strategy perspective:
Launching a go wide set of games that will integrate blockchain right of the bat (ex: FPS, side scrollers, RPG, TCG, Sim like games, sports etc) effectively appealing to every type of gamer out there. You can own and play with multiple Oras...no sequential BS like some games.
You only need 1 Ora to play, but if you have multiple you can play in parallel none of the sequential game play BS like some crypto games.
They're running with Live Ops...think of it as a way they can turn on and off games based on interest or lack thereof from discord. This is actually wicked cool, so very much like DevOps in normal application development but with gaming at the core.
Sugartown is the platform or "gaming console" if you will and the games effectively with Live Ops act as dynamic cartridges.
Focused on understanding what games people will play, why they play, how long they play etc. Are treating this as a strategy to ensure sticky PMF.
For obvious reasons they didn't go into deets on what would be entailed in staking outside of what was on their public twitter. I have seen job postings on on-chain gaming devs...which tells me they're serious about getting deeper into crypto vs. superficial first order usage for in-game assets.
They will be bringing titles that have had success prior...(my take) if you've followed Zynga in the past we're potentially talking 200M+ MAUs. I see few brands positioned like they are to succeed. I mean Zynga is owned by Take Two who also own titles like GTA, NBA 2K, Red Dead etc so the potential for future IP is immense.
They're treating their Oras as transmedia (from public twitter)...which potentially means that the Oras IP will be leveragable more broadly perhaps
The main things I wanted to come away with 1) are they competent (check), 2) do they get crypto (check), 3) are they in it to win it (check)
0xKepler on Onchain gaming alpha from T2049 (15 Sep 2023)
Cellula, BladeDAO, autochessia, Chains of the Eternals, mississippi, Paima engine, Metaline showcases at SevenX' new trends summit link:
Chains of the Eternals was new to me but looked high-quality (at ~ 36min)- onchain MMORPG built on Arbitrum Nova.
Mississippi I also didn't see before. Composability of onchain games is taken player-based here rather than dev-based. They have a gamified map generator that every player can engage with. Other players then battle on these maps in a PVP roguelike
Metaline X is a an onchain gaming platform with games from 1st- and 3rd-party devs, and services for game devs such as engines, SDKs, grants etc
Raymond Chng on Maple Story’s Web3 push (18 Sep 2023):
The tldr; Using maplestory IP, the full team is building a new web3 experience they call reward experience 2.0
There is NO item shop. They will not sell you things
You get all gear from game activities. Trade, sell and upgrade items in the game. And more.
They are supercharging UGC, think of maplestory as fortnite style now where creators can build assets and experiences on top of maplestory mmorpg.
Maplestory sdk means that apps can use their IP. Think maplestory health app. Remember pokemon sleep? Yeah. Similar
The alpha here is that, maplestory team (nexon or nexspace) WILL be contributors to maplestory universe
They earn like other creators/contributors. This is a big big big conviction and nv thought this would happen. They are going all out.
I think we will see more game studios look at using their strong IPs in the future and build platforms that enable UGC.
Many teams building in web3 gaming today - when asked what is the hook of web3, they will say ownership. Personally i think its how you use web3 to shift business models. And reimagine the game experience and business.
There are many ideas, and long discussions but, just imagine if a VC or we (retail) and invest in a stargate in eve online (a toll gate) whenever people travel to certain places. Instead of the game who gets this, now players get the stake. This creates new potential business models, investment styles and gameplay experiences. Like the real world. But this is a topic for another day
So maplestory is re-imagining this too
On Generative Art
Linus Caldwell on a new AI art platform (18 Sep 2023):
🚨 We are ready for the launch of the program - a visual timeline that showcases the evolution of AI art.
Mark your calendars for this Monday, September 18th, at 13:00 EST.
↓ Here's all the info you need to know ↓
— Fellowship (@fellowshiptrust)
Sep 15, 2023
Daily.xyz is a freshly launched platform devoted to video AI art. The platform differentiates by hosting 5-10 daily auctions with .01 low reserve prices and curates each artwork. Its unique "Networked" model introduces an evolved concept of artwork, wherein each piece isn't just unique on its own (1/1), but also marks a step in the artist's journey (x) and the progression of the art form itself (y) to make the (1/1/x/y) model. The site promotes transparency by encouraging artists to share their processes and inspirations through 'Audio Reflections'.
Daily.xyz had a solid launch.
Frank Marzano’s piece sold for .5
Puff Yachty’s ‘Abstraction’ was the daily winner at .60
Noper’s work was the most emotional for my taste with early 90s everyday things vibes
Make sure to check each dedicated pieces webpage and listen to the artist describe the piece near the bottom. My favorite feature thus far.
Alex Gedevani on 1/1 NFT art (16 Sep 2023):
NFT volumes are dead but i think there's an interesting opportunity around 1/1 art from emerging artists though it's a time consuming DD/exploration process. there's far less competition and capital competing on early stage artists these days. You can get good deals and negotiate w artists in dms
Collecting an nft artist’s genesis 1/1 or other early work is kinda like preseed investing, asymmetric bet. Note: time horizon for holding is much longer usually, think years not months for things to play out
My process for 1/1 hunting:
target genesis and/or early
does the artist have an instantly recognizable/distinct art style
does the artist have an active social presence / distro / marketability? this is half the battle
deep dive into prior portfolio work and success if any
is the artist in tune with the dynamics of NFT market (metas, how to drip supply, etc)
if artist already has 1/1s, how strong is the collector base? (more public advocates the better - medici etc). Could be huge edge as they are highly incentivized to spread their story and long term focus
bonus if underlying story that resonates with both web2/web3 (dm them, get to know them/intentions)
getting into auction houses LT requires a combo of good art, story, appeal, marketability
if in it truly for the artist will stick around bear or bull, this is essential
Arad on PFPs:
As long as social platforms are 2D based (identity is a static image), I think PFPs will play a significant role. The last crop of projects likely not gonna make it, as we know has always been case with trends, fashion, and crypto projects. Right now I’m more enamored with PFPs that represent behavioral patterns, a set of beliefs and identity. A real community CAN form around a PFP collection if it’s specific and esoteric and no just a financial bet on a corporate IP. My favorite early examples of this model are Milady and Goblinarinos, arguably Punks were also similar.
IMO Azuki had the best pfp art since punks and their aura radiated a sense of “we are serious and we know what we’re doing”. With the Elementals drop, they showed us the latter is likely wrong - and that there’s nothing clever about their mysterious work behind the scenes. I doubt they can recover from that.
Teng Yan on NFT convos at Token 2049:
Sharing notes from my observations & conversations during t2049 last week. Hope it might be helpful to some of you:
Savvy investors I know are looking to deploy capital at both ends of the curve, not mid-curve. Think Ponzi’s and Cults for example, rather than the next L1/L2.
Every bull market is different, and the next one will not be like the previous one. Many retail folks were burnt by alt coins and they won’t be coming back. It takes a while for a new generation to come up again that doesn’t have PTSD or lost money last cycle. The next bull market probably won’t be driven by alt coins like in 2017 / 2021
NFTs have a good chance of a resurgence in the next crypto cycle, in a different form: because most things in the world are non-fungible (e.g luxury watches) and NFTs are just fun. Shifting the branding away from “NFT” into something different like digital collectibles will be a necessitating factor: still lots of bad PR around NFTs.
The traditional art world doesn’t care about NFTs. It’s a very closed, non-transparent space, dominated by old money and mindsets. Don’t expect them to buy our Art Blocks bags anytime soon.
Every L1/L2 ecosystem needs to think about how to build and support a thriving NFT community. These are people who will actually stay, unlike your airdrop farmers. Solana is a good example: when SOL crashed post-FTX and Sol DeFi died, it was the NFT communities that held strong and showed the world that they loved the chain no matter what happened.
Many US-based teams have no idea what’s going on in Asia and have no team presence, but are actively looking to learn more and collaborate with NFT communities in Asia: think Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Thailand etc. Big opportunity for growth in Asia.
Sui seems somewhat interesting, even though they fk-ed up their token launch. Probably capturing more mindshare than Aptos. Heard there was a lot of activity going on in their hacker houses. I’ll have to dive in more.
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Disclaimer: This newsletter is for educational purposes only. None of this is financial or investment advice. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell any assets. Minting and buying NFTs is risky. Please do your own research.