Crypto Product News: Oct 22
October 22nd, 2021

📈 Top 3 Stories from the past week

DeFi Pulse breaks $100B | 🔼 37

Worldcoin launch announcement | 🔼 30

Best of the ETHGlobal Finalists | 🔼 26

🌶 Spicy takes below 👇

🤔 Why it Matters

DeFi growth has been up and to the right on just about every metric in 2021. But let’s flashback to 2018/2019 when crypto was in the depths of a bear market, many people believed the 2017 ICOs had been a one-time speculation-driven event and that permissionless blockchains had no real use cases. 😞

However, Maker launched DAI, Uniswap came to market, Compound expanded on the Maker vision, EthLend became Aave, and the first killer use cases (like email for the early internet) were quietly launching and growing. Those of us in the space (and not totally burned out 😰 ) debated whether this trend should be called “open finance” or “decentralized finance”, and I believe the “DeFi” meme came out of the San Francisco Ethereum community (Dharma/Compound/etc) and caught fire 🔥 for it’s simplicity and cheeky defi-ance of CeFi and TradFi.

Scott Lewis and the DeFi Pulse team really cleanly summed up DeFi growth by coining Total Value Locked (TVL) and a simple CoinGecko/CMC alternative for tracking the growth. 🙌 OGs will remember the multi-month anticipation of DeFi Pulse crossing the $1B mark and then the absolute madness and craziness of DeFi Summer in 2020 (shout out to yam, yearn, other great projects, and of course, Covid). DeFi Pulse has expanded out into other business lines, including the awesome DeFi Pulse Index (DPI), and continue to be a hub of DeFi activity. They periodically face criticism that TVL isn’t the correct metric to track and sometimes getting political with listings, but we should applaud them for being a massive contributor as this space has opened up over the past two years. 👏

Now onward to the $1 Trillion milestone, which I suspect will be here before 2024 as cross-chain DeFi opens up many new, innovative use cases. 🚀

🤔 Why it Matters

There are no certainties in crypto, only bull/bear scenarios. So I’m going to give bull/bear cases for Worldcoin:

🐂 Bull: Satoshi’s vision describes an open and accessible financial system with seamless P2P payments over the web…but crypto largely hasn’t delivered on that promise today. Crypto HAS offered a legitimate alternative to fiat, a maximally lean trading/banking experience with #DeFi, and completely open access to previously-gated financial services like market making, leveraged trading, and forex markets. But WorldCoin’s vision describes a fiat alternative that can be used for P2P payments…by anyone in the world. It’s solves the Sybil problem with retina scanning, elevates privacy to a top priority, and seeks to provide some type of global UBI. They are rolling it out in true Silicon Valley “Lean Startup” fashion so will iterate on early experiments to find PMF. And change the world! 🌎

🐻 Bear: Worldcoin has dystopian branding, could expose our most private data, is a regulatory nightmare, and frankly it’s just creepy. Not Halloween creepy, like 1984 creepy. Sam is a legendary Silicon Valley investor, but the crypto sector has very different values than SV: prioritizes open-source, pushes for transparent development, early community participation, optimizing economic incentives, and wealth creation. Number go up. 📈 I think the Silicon Valley approach leads us more down a path to Circle than a global, permissionless currency like DAI, RAI, FEI, etc, built on top of a permissionless unstoppable smart contract blockchain. Is this a product for the developing world? For the surveillance state? For the truly altruistic? Are they ready for backlash from nation states as a company vs. an open crypto grassroots movement? It’s not entirely clear where their initial distribution comes from but they are well capitalized by VCs to spend multiple years finding it.

🤔 Why it Matters

ETHGlobal recently turned 4 years old and consistently runs the best crypto events and hackathons in the space. Of the 218 projects and 17 finalists from their recent ETHOnline hackathon, here are three that stood out:

Degen Dogs runs NounDAO-style auctions, deposits funds into DeFi yield, and streams payments back to NFT holders via Superfluid. It’s the perfect example of composability of NFTs, DeFi, and DAOs and hints at how future DAOs/”digital social clubs” will generate cash-flow to pursue their goals. I think we’ll see a lot of similar experiments in the NFT space.

Nifty Pixels allows anyone to easily create pixel art and launch NFTs for it. It hints at a future when NFT generation and monetization will be built into all our digital creator tools: sketch, figma, Canva, Lightroom, etc while capitalizing on the pixellated art trend started by Cryptopunks. Plus it’s just damn fun. Give it a try!

Neptune provides a financial layer on top of StackOverflow and hints at a future when all in-apps badges/credits/points will have real-world value through crypto and DeFi infrastructure. I expect all web2 platforms (reddit/twitter/etc) to add these functions into the core app or have independent financial layers spring up on top of them. Someone should probably tell Valve. Kudos to Neptune for a really great representation of this future.

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