Train AI models to sell as NFTs, LLMs are Large Lying Machines: AI Eye

Train up kickass AI models to sell them as NFTs in AI Arena, how often GPT-4 lies to you, and fake AI pics in the Israel/Gaza war: AI Eye.

AI Arena

AI Eye chatted with Framework Ventures Vance Spencer recently and he raved about the possibilities offered by an upcoming game his fund invested in called AI Arena in which players train AI models how to battle each other in an arena.

Framework Ventures was an early investor in Chainlink and Synthetix and three years ahead of NBA Top Shots with a similar NFL platform, so when they get excited about the future prospects, its worth looking into.

Also backed by Paradigm, AI Arena is like a cross between Super Smash Brothers and Axie Infinity. The AI models are tokenized as NFTs, meaning players can train them up and flip them for profit or rent them to noobs. While this is a gamified version, there are endless possibilities involved with crowdsourcing user-trained models for specific purposes and then selling them as tokens in a blockchain-based marketplace.

AI Arena
Screenshot from AI Arena

Probably some of the most valuable assets on-chain will be tokenized AI models; thats my theory at least, Spencer predicts.

AI Arena chief operating officer Wei Xie explains that his cofounders, Brandon Da Silva and Dylan Pereira, had been toying with creating games for years, and when NFTs and later AI came out, Da Silva had the brainwave to put all three elements together.

“Part of the idea was, well, if we can tokenize an AI model, we can actually build a game around AI, says Xie, who worked alongside Da Silva in TradFi. The core loop of the game actually helps to reveal the process of AI research.”

Read also

Decentralized social media: The next big thing in crypto?


Tiffany Fong flames Celsius, FTX and NY Post: Hall of Flame

There are three elements to training a model in AI Arena. The first is demonstrating what needs to be done like a parent showing a kid how to kick a ball. The second element is calibrating and providing context for the model telling it when to pass and when to shoot for goal. The final element is seeing how the AI plays and diagnosing where the model needs improvement.   

“So the overall game loop is like iterating, iterating through those three steps, and you’re kind of progressively refining your AI to become this more and more well balanced and well rounded fighter.”

The game uses a custom-built feed forward neural network and the AIs are constrained and lightweight, meaning the winner wont just be whoevers able to throw the most computing resources at the model.

“We want to see ingenuity, creativity to be the discerning factor,” Xie says. 

Currently in closed beta testing, AI Arena is targeting the first quarter of next year for mainnet launch on Ethereum scaling solution Arbitrum. There are two versions of the game: One is a browser-based game that anyone can log into with a Google or Twitter account and start playing for fun, while the other is blockchain-based for competitive players, the “esports version of the game.”

Also read: Exclusive 2 years after John McAfees death, widow Janice is broke and needs answers

This being crypto, there is a token of course, which will be distributed to players who compete in the launch tournament and later be used to pay entry fees for subsequent competitions. Xie envisages a big future for the tech, saying it can be used in a first-person shooter game and a soccer game, and expanded into a crowdsourced marketplace for AI models that are trained for specific business tasks.

“What somebody has to do is frame it into a problem and then we allow the best minds in the AI space to compete on it. Its just a better model.”

Chatbots cant be trusted

A new analysis from AI startup Vectara shows that the output from large language models like ChatGPT or Claude simply can’t be relied upon for accuracy.

Everyone knew that already, but until now there was no way to quantify the precise amount of bullshit each model is generating. It turns out that GPT-4 is the most accurate, inventing fake information around just 3% of the time. Metas Llama models make up nonsense 5% of the time while Anthropics Claude 2 system produced 8% bullshit.

Googles PaLM hallucinated an astonishing 27% of its answers.

Palm 2 is one of the components incorporated into Googles Search Generative Experience, which highlights useful snippets of information in response to common search queries. Its also unreliable.

For months now, if you ask Google for an African country beginning with the letter K, it shows the following snippet of totally wrong information: 

“While there are 54 recognized countries in Africa, none of them begin with the letter ‘K’. The closest is Kenya, which starts with a ‘K’ sound, but is actually spelled with a ‘K’ sound.”

It turns out Googles AI got this from a ChatGPT answer, which in turn traces back to a Reddit post, which was just a gag set up for this response:

“Kenya suck on deez nuts lmaooo.”

Deez nuts
Screenshot from r/teenagers subreddit (Spreekaway Twitter)

Google rolled out the experimental AI feature earlier this year, and recently users started reported it was shrinking and even disappearing from many searches.

Google may have just been refining it though, as this week the feature rolled out to 120 new countries and four new languages, with the ability to ask follow-up questions right on the page. 

AI images in the Israel-Gaza war

While journalists have done their best to hype up the issue, AI-generated images havent played a huge role in the war, as the real footage of Hamas atrocities and dead kids in Gaza is affecting enough.

There are examples, though: 67,000 people saw an AI-generated image of a toddler staring at a missile attack with the caption This is what children in Gaza wake up to.”  Another pic of three dust-covered but grimly determined kids in the rubble of Gaza holding a Palestinian flag was shared by Tunisian journalist Muhammad al-Hachimi al-Hamidi.

And for some reason, a clearly AI-generated pic of an Israeli refugee camp with an enormous Star of David on the side of each tent was shared multiple times on Arabic news outlets in Yemen and Dubai.

Israeli refugees
AI-generated pic picked up by news sites (Twitter)

Aussie politics blog reported that Adobe is selling AI-generated images of the war through its stock image service, and an AI pic of a missile strike was run as if it were real by media outlets including Sky and the Daily Star.

But the real impact of AI-generated fakes is providing partisans with a convenient way to discredit real pics. There was a major controversy over a bunch of pics of Hamass leadership living it up in luxury, which users claimed were AI fakes. 

But the images date back to 2014 and were just poorly upscaled using AI. AI company Acrete also reports that social media accounts associated with Hamas have regularly claimed that genuine footage and pictures of atrocities are AI-generated to cast doubt on them.

In some good timing, Google has just announced it’s rolling out tools that can help users spot fakes. Click on the three dots on the top right of an image and select About This Image to see how old the image is, and where its been used. An upcoming feature will include fields showing whether the image is AI generated, with Google AI, Facebook, Microsoft, Nikon and Leica all adding symbols or watermarks to AI imagery.

OpenAI dev conference

ChatGPT this week unveiled GPT-4 Turbo, which is much faster and can accept long text inputs like books of up to 300 pages. The model has been trained on data up to April this year and can generate captions or descriptions of visual input. For devs, the new model will be one-third the cost to access.

OpenAI is also releasing its version of the App Store, called the GPT Store. Anyone can now dream up a custom GPT, define the parameters and upload some bespoke information to GPT-4, which can then build it for you and pop it on the store, with revenue split between creators and OpenAI.

CEO Sam Altman demonstrated this onstage by whipping up a program called Startup Mentor that gives advice to budding entrepreneurs. Users soon followed, dreaming up everything from an AI that does the commentary for sporting events to a roast my website GPT. ChatGPT went down for 90 minutes this week, possibly as a result of too many users trying out the new features. 

Not everyone was impressed, however. CEO Bindu Reddy said it was disappointing that GPT-5 had not been announced, suggesting that OpenAI tried to train a new model earlier this year but found it didn’t run as efficiently and therefore had to scrap it.” There are rumors that OpenAI is training a new candidate for GPT-5 called Gobi, Reddy said, but she suspects it won’t be unveiled until next year. 

Read also

NFT collapse and monster egos feature in new Murakami exhibition


What its actually like to use Bitcoin in El Salvador

X unveils Grok

Elon Musk brought freedom back to Twitter mainly by freeing lots of people from spending any time there and hes on a mission to do the same with AI.

The beta version of Grok AI was thrown together in just two months, and while it’s not nearly as good as GPT-4, it is up to date due to being trained on tweets, which means it can tell you what Joe Rogan was wearing on his last podcast. Thats the sort of information GPT-4 simply wont tell you.

There are fewer guardrails on the answers than ChatGPT, although if you ask it how to make cocaine it will snarkily tell you to Obtain a chemistry degree and a DEA license.

The threshold for what it will tell you, if pushed, is what is available on the internet via reasonable browser search, which is a lot says Musk.

Within a few days, more than 400 cryptocurrencies linked to GROK had been launched. One amassed a $10 million market cap, and at least ten others rugpulled. 

All Killer No Filler AI News

Samsung has introduced a new generative artificial intelligence model called Gauss that it suggests will be added to its phones and devices soon.

YouTube has rolled out some new AI features to premium subscribers including a chatbot that summarizes videos and answers questions about them, and another that categorizes the comments to help creators understand the feedback. 

Google DeepMind has released an AGI tier list that starts at the No AI level of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and moves on to Emerging AGI, where ChatGPT, Bard and LLama2 are listed. The other tiers are Competent, Expert, Virtuoso and Artificial Superintelligence, none of which have been achieved yet. 

Amazon is investing millions in a new GPT-4 rival called Olympus that is twice the size at 2 trillion parameters. It has also been testing out its new humanoid robot called Digit at trade shows. This one fell over.

Pics of the week

An oldie but a goodie, Alvaro Cintas has spent his weekend coming up with AI pun pictures under the heading “Wonders of the World, Misspelled by AI”.

Simp DAO queen Irene Zhao on why good memes are harder than trading: X Hall of Flame

The original SimpDAO queen Irene Zhao says making good memes is harder than trading as you need to understand the market and the audience.

Who is this person anyway?

Irene Zhao, the Simp-Queen mastermind behind the SO-COL platform and a Crypto Twitter influencer, explains that having a celebrity in your corner can turbocharge your NFT collection.

Zhaos first Simp DAO and NFT collection, IreneDAO, started with a floor price that was basically pocket change in ETH.

I think it was about zero-point-something ETH, Zhao recalls.

However, the game changed for Zhao when controversial YouTube star Logan Paul threw in around a quarter of a million dollars in January 2022.

The next day, I woke up, the floor price went up five times when Logan Paul bought about 20 pieces or something. I was really shocked, she explains. 

Zhao reveals that Paul stumbled upon the project after billionaire crypto investor Mike Novogratz posted about it on Twitter. That kickstarted a friendship with Paul:

Logan followed me on Twitter and Instagram after he bought my NFTs, Zhao says, adding, however, that theyve never managed to meet up.

I was going to travel to Los Angeles, but at the time, he was somewhere in Puerto Rico. So, we didnt get to meet in the end. But we do have conversations about NFTs.

Rubbing virtual shoulders with big names like Paul is just a regular day in the life of a crypto influencer. Zhao boasts 194,300 Twitter followers, runs her own Web3 NFT platform company, SO-COL, and globe-trots to speak at crypto conferences.

I meet a lot of cool and successful people, and they all have very interesting personalities. Otherwise, they wouldnt choose crypto as a career because its a very dynamic and very fast-paced career industry.

What led to Twitter fame?

Zhao had already built a following as a social media influencer in the Web2 space, and much like Bitcoiners orange-pilling their friends, she has introduced most of her followers to NFTs.

I have been building my own personal branding as a key opinion leader across various social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube. So, right now, I have about half a million followers across all platforms.

She jumped into crypto because she wanted to have control over her own content. She was fed up with only monetizing her content by promoting products, which is how Web2 influencers make a living.

Ive built a deep connection with a lot of big brands, but it kind of sucks, because even though I have a very huge following on all other social media platforms, I dont really get most of the benefits. I dont really own my content or my community.

Zhao set up one of the first Simp DAOs, where NFT purchasers could join her Irene DAO fan club and get closer to their Simp Queen. She later spun this idea out for the SO-COL platform.

Zhao jokingly mentions that shes a big deal in Asia but can roam under the radar in the Western world:

They recognize me, especially in Asia, but in the Western world, the white people cant really recognize Asian people. They think everybody looks the same, she laughs.

Read also

Elegant and ass-backward: Jameson Lopps first impression of Bitcoin

Asia Express

Asia Express: Chinas NFT market, Moutai metaverse popular but buggy

What content can people expect?

Zhao isnt a fan of the serious tone of some in the crypto world. In her perspective, those who enjoy technical or trading discussions might not necessarily be the most appealing minds in the crypto community.

I think I like the shitposting. Its pretty funny; its very entertaining to look at all the memes.

Zhao holds the belief that making crypto memes requires a bigger brain than sharing trading tips:

It is a very smart move because you have to understand the market, and you have to understand the audience to come up with the exact meme that people want. So, its a very rare talent to have.

Nasty Beef: Lady of Crypto

Zhao had a public beef with fellow crypto influencer Lady of Crypto in December 2021.

The feud lit up after Zhao lightly teased her on Twitter for dishing out a no-brainer tweet.

She was predicting the price of Bitcoin or something, but it was a super obvious trend. So, I was like, You are stating the obvious, and then she got offended.

The situation took a sour twist when Lady of Crypto fired back with some nasty comments about Zhaos English skills, saying, In your vids, you can barely string two words together.

Zhao didnt let it get to her personally and thought it was super funny.

Ever the businesswoman, Zhao was more interested in the fact that the post accumulated around 4 million impressions.


Zhaos predictions are pretty much in line with common, received wisdom. Shes eagerly anticipating Bitcoin to reach the $100,000 mark.

However, shes also betting big on real-world assets taking off in the next year:

Of course, Im still bullish on BTC, Ethereum and all the basics. People are talking about RWA a lot. I think real world assets are probably going to go big in the next 12 months.

She also believes that NFTs still have room for growth because plenty of celebrities havent hopped on the bandwagon yet.

I think NFTs for creators is going to be a real hype really soon because we havent really experienced it yet, she explains.

Im still bullish on social collectibles because we havent really onboarded all the Web2 creators to NFTs yet. So, I think there is still much room for that.

6 Questions for Lugui Tillier about Bitcoin, Ordinals, and the future of crypto

Lugui Tillier talked to us about his job as the sales chief for crypto firm Lumx in Rio de Janeiro — and his thoughts on the future of crypto.

Lugui Tillier is the commercial director for Lumx Studios, one of the top cryptocurrency firms in Rio de Janeiro a city with a burgeoning crypto industry.

But for Tillier who holds dual citizenship between Belgium and Brazil cryptocurrency is more than a job. It was a passion sparked by a friend, and it evolved into his first full-time crypto job with Lumx in 2021.

1) How did you get into crypto?

I was very fortunate because Alexandre Vasarhelyi, the stepfather of one of my closest friends, was the one who co-founded the first crypto fund here in Brazil in 2017 BLP Crypto. Before that, he was always talking to me about crypto and blockchain, telling me it was the future and that I should learn more about it. So around 2019, I finally listened to him and deep-dived into Bitcoin. But until then, it had been nothing more than a secondary interest to me. I graduated in marketing from ESPM, one of the leading marketing universities in LATAM, and in 2021, when I saw in blockchain the expression of the connection between brands and people through NFTs and the Metaverse, I pivoted my entire life to crypto and began working at Lumx where I have had the pleasure of integrating Web3 solutions into companies such as Nestl, Ab InBev, META, BTG Pactual, among others.

2) Tell us about Lumx and what you do for them.

We are a blockchain abstraction solution for big enterprises. We help anyone who wants to integrate blockchain into their business, or companies that want to deploy projects or experiment on blockchain. We developed our own solution for account abstraction, payments, decentralized identity (DID), and smart contracts. Now, big companies can mostly focus only on their own applications not on hiring blockchain engineers or learning about blockchain technology and infrastructure, which is still complex. So we enable those big companies to work and test safely. I am the commercial director here at Lumx, so I am always in touch with the directors of the largest companies in LATAM who wish to integrate Web3 into their businesses. It’s still a very consultative sale, but companies are learning very quickly, especially the banks.

3) Do you invest in crypto yourself? What do you take the most interest in right now?

Lugui Tillier
Lugui Tillier at the Savvy Brain Academy in Tanzania, a school he began donating to in 2017 using Bitcoin. Source: Lugui Tillier

I’m investing a lot in layer 2s. (I like Polygon, Arbitrum, and ZK solutions such as ZK-Sync and Linea.) In the last cycle, we saw a lot of projects start on Ethereum, and that was unsustainable. We were paying $50 (or more) per transaction. There were days that we had gas wars, and people were paying almost six Ethereum per transaction.

I still don’t know if there was just a lack of knowledge that you could build stuff on a layer 2 among new projects and companies at the time. But people wanted to have exposure to Ethereum, so stuff that should have been happening on layer 2s was happening on Ethereum.

Liquidity is flowing to layer 2s now, so layer 2s are more prepared for the next wave.

Read also

Porn Payments Were Supposed to be Cryptos Killer App: Why Have They Flopped?


Year 1602 revisited: Are DAOs the new corporate paradigm?

I also really like Bitcoin Ordinals and Ordinal Maxi Biz (OMB). We’re having an explosion of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) being built on Bitcoin, the biggest blockchain in the world. Being able to express art and culture in a 100% on-chain way via Ordinals its really amazing. Thats why I really like Ordinals.

I believe that Ordinals will perhaps capture the most of this new culture and way of expressing everything on Bitcoin. Ordinals help to express the core values of Bitcoin in a much more friendly way than Bitcoin, which is too technical or harsh for some people.

4) Where do you see Bitcoin and Ethereum in 10 years?

I think I see Bitcoin and Ethereum as the main consensus platforms in the world. This is curious, because nowadays it’s rare to see Bitcoin as a platform. We already see Ethereum as a platform where you have other applications and layers to build around it. Because of the advancements of some protocols like Taproot Assets and Ordinals  I see Bitcoin venturing into a new era.

Related: Bitcoin fragments could become more valuable than full Bitcoins

Besides being a currency to pay for stuff, or a store of value, you will be able to store other currencies and assets on it. Bitcoin is moving from an era where it’s been an asset to an era where it will be a platform for storing and trading other assets.

5) What is the main hurdle to mass adoption of blockchain technology?

Lugui Tillier
Lugui Tillier (second from right) in 2022 speaking at NFC Brasil, one of the main Web3 events in Latin America, where he shared his experience of working with traditional companies in Web3. Source: Lugui Tillier

Even though we have made significant progress, blockchain is still composed of complex infrastructure. It’s complicated not just for end-users, but also for traditional companies that want to work with it. I often joke that you only realize how complex MetaMask is when you try to teach your father how to use it  hence the importance of the emerging abstraction solutions.

While these solutions may slightly compromise decentralization, they preserve a blockchain’s programmability and automation and significantly lower the barrier to entry. This is crucial because now we have a second option. People can stay 100% decentralized if they prefer it, but for those who do not, they have the option of adopting a semi-decentralized model, which is the missing link to mainstream adoption.

6) What do you do in your free time?

I really like to study philosophy, especially stoicism. Everyone who works or lives in this crypto world is exposed to a lot of volatility, and theyre used to a lot of dopamine and incentives. The mantra of stoicism is to cultivate indifference to stuff that you are not able to control. When you master this, you are able to live in peace in this crazy crypto world. So its one of my favorite subjects not only for my personal life, but also for my professional life.

$308M crypto laundering scheme busted, Hashkey token, Hong Kong CBDC: Asia Express

Asia Express: Ringleaders of $308M P2P crypto laundering scheme jailed in China, Visa’s Hong Kong CBDC trial a success, Hashkey token.

Visa completes Hong Kong digital currency trial with HSBC and Hang Seng

Hong Kong is one step closer to a central bank digital currency (CBDC) with the release of its successful phase 1 results in collaboration with Visa, HSBC and Hang Seng Bank.

According to a Nov. 1 announcement, Visa said that it achieved “near real-time” finality with transfers involving tokenized deposits of the digital Hong Kong dollar (e-HKD).

Tokenized deposits were burned on the sending banks ledger, minted on the receiving banks ledger, and simultaneously settled interbank via the simulated wholesale CBDC layer,” the payments firm wrote.

“This would provide for settlement in an atomic manner with better streamlining of any operational dependencies imposed by financial institutions and other intermediaries, thus improving liquidity management.” 

The payment processor also stated that its digital HK dollar test pilot was functional 24/7, surpassing the uptime of traditional financial systems, which typically don’t function after hours or on weekends. In addition, the firm wrote that “tokenized deposits can be fully transacted while remaining encrypted, without revealing information about identity, balances, or transaction amounts to non-bank users.”

For its next steps, Visa plans to explore the use of e-HKD in tokenized asset markets and programmable finance to automate real estate transactions. “In this pilots Property Payments use case, the payment from a buyer transferring the remaining balance tokens to the property developer may be automated upon reaching the completion date of the contract, minimizing lag time in closure of the process,” the company said. Other areas of research interest include the expansion of retail solutions and digital cross-border payments.

Despite the promising results, no definite timelines have been given for the full launch of the Hong Kong digital dollar or even that such a launch will occur. In its Oct. 30 report, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority warned there are still issues to resolve:

“For instance, an rCBDC issued as a programmable money may be more susceptible to cybersecurity risks, as it may present more mediums for external threats to inject malicious code.”

With the silent nod from Beijing’s central government, Hong Kong has been striving to become a Web3 hub for blockchain in the Asia-Pacific Region. However, such efforts had been overshadowed by the collapse of the JPEX crypto exchange, resulting in losses exceeding $150 million for Hong Kong investors. Since the incident unfolded, trust in cryptocurrency among local residents has fallen drastically.

The new e-HKD pilot results as announced by Visa.
The new e-HKD pilot results as announced by Visa.

Hashkey’s regulated exchange token 

Hashkey, one of the first crypto exchanges to receive a regulatory license in Hong Kong, will introduce an exchange token in 2024. 

According to the recent white paper, the “HashKey EcoPoints” (HSK) token will be minted on Ethereum with a total supply of 1 billion. Out of this amount, 65% is reserved for users, 30% for Hashkey staff, and 5% for its ecosystem treasury.

Read also

Crypto PR: The good, the bad and the shoddy


Year 1602 revisited: Are DAOs the new corporate paradigm?

The token will be distributed as incentivizes to ecosystem users and distributors and will not be “sold via private or public sales for fundraising purposes.” As for utility, the company states that the token could be used to settle trading fees, along with early access to future token subscriptions and product upgrades on its exchange services.

The exchange also pledges to buy back HSK tokens with up to 20% of profits generated from related Hashkey services. “HashKey implements an offsetting issuance mechanism (burning) to protect HSK holders from the dilutionary impact of rewards-based increases in HSK circulating supply,” the firm wrote. However, regulatory approval is still required for the token design plan:

“The contents of this whitepaper have not been reviewed by any regulatory authority in Singapore or Hong Kong. You are advised to exercise caution in relation to the information in this whitepaper and any transaction that you intend to carry out involving HSK.” 

In August, Hashkey, alongside crypto exchange OSL, received one of the first regulatory licenses for retail crypto trading in Hong Kong. Its trading volume initially stagnated but has since gained traction. Only select coins and tokens such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and Avalanche are approved to be listed on the exchange.

Hashkey's plan for token utility.
Hashkey’s plan for HSK token utility.

$308M syndicate manipulated crypto markets to launder money: Police 

Nineteen Chinese nationals have been sentenced for their role in a $308 million money-laundering scheme involving cryptocurrencies that operated from November 2020 and April 2021.

According to an Oct. 31 report by the Chongqing Tongliang District People’s Court, Mr. Jiang and Mr. Deng, the principal conductors of the money laundering syndicate, together laundered a total of $308 million worth of Bitcoin and Tether for proceeds of crime related to online gambling and wire fraud.

Read also

Joe Lubin: The truth about ETH founders split and ‘Crypto Google’


The Becoming of Bitcoin: A Narrative Untainted by Illusions of Truth

Police say that to avoid platform monitoring and Know Your Customer requirements, the accused individuals orchestrated a sophisticated scheme of using peer-to-peer transactions, where coins were sold at “unusual prices relative to spot markets” for the stablecoin Tether and then transferred to exchanges for cash.

“By fabricating pretexts such as withdrawing project funds and migrant workers’ wages, they organized gang members to withdraw cash from bank counters in Chongqing, Sichuan, Shanghai and other provinces and cities. The amount of cash withdrawals ranged from hundreds of thousands to several million yuan each time. After withdrawing the cash, the cash is packaged in trolley cases, backpacks, etc., and transported by plane.”

The 19 individuals, including Mr. Jiang and Mr. Deng, were sentenced to six months to six years in prison. “In recent years, the phenomenon of criminals committing illegal and criminal activities through telecommunications networks has become increasingly rampant, posing a huge threat to the legitimate rights and interests of the general public,” the presiding judge wrote. 

Due to such a rise in wire fraud involving cryptocurrencies, China’s Central Government has cracked down harshly on crypto-related activities in the country, although there have been some signs of relaxation as of late. Nevertheless, such enforcement actions have sometimes resulted in collateral damage for foreign investors using Chinese-based crypto services without criminal intent. 

The culprits as they appeared for sentencing in Chongqing Tongliang District People's Court.
The culprits as they appeared for sentencing in Chongqing Tongliang District People’s Court.

Slumdog billionaire 2: ‘Top 10… brings no satisfaction’ says Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal

Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal won’t be happy until the project is successful enough to stand alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Read Part 1 here: Slumdog billionaire: Incredible rags-to-riches tale of Polygons Sandeep Nailwal

Growing up in poverty in a Delhi ghetto with an alcoholic father and an illiterate mother, Sandeep Nailwal has always had a fire in his belly to achieve something better.

He wants to go big or go home middling success is not an option.

I am not doing something small, he tells Magazine. Okay, we build some network, and it has a token. It does well for one cycle and then fades into the dawn, and I make a few million dollars for myself and retire or whatever this was not the plan.

We were very clear that we will build this, we will grow the community, and well make it one of the biggest projects in the space.

And thats why, in his mind, Polygon formerly Matic Network is yet to truly succeed, despite nudging a $19-billion market cap at one point and joining the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization (its currently No. 13 with a $6-billion market cap).


Being in the top 10, top 15 projects brings no satisfaction to me. Its very clear in my mind that I want Polygon to have that kind of impact which Ethereum and Bitcoin have had. We have to go to the top three projects in the space. And thats only when I would say that OK Polygon has made it.

Part 1 of this feature told the story of Nailwals rise from grinding poverty to going all-in on Bitcoin with $15,000 hed borrowed to fund his wedding and the difficult early days of Matic Network, where the threat of running out of funds was ever-present.

By mid-2019, Matic Network had raised $5 million in a Binance initial exchange offering to keep itself afloat and had launched the alpha version of its Ethereum layer-2 sidechain. But it was slowly becoming clear that the Plasma technology it was pursuing was not the answer the market was looking for.

Ideas around scaling had begun to change, and Plasmas shortcomings (TLDR: complicated, better at transferring assets than running smart contracts) had seen it lose favor. Seeing which way the wind was blowing, the research-oriented Plasma Group decided to ditch the framework altogether in favor of building an Optimstic rollup and renamed the project Optimism in early 2020.

But the Matic Network white paper had outlined a Plasma-based solution with fraud proofs and a proof-of-stake checkpoint layer, and the team was determined to follow through and build it in 2019 and 2020, despite waning interest in the tech.

Mainnet market crash and resurrection

Just as the project was gearing up to launch its mainnet in May 2020, a worldwide pandemic and the March Black Thursday market crash intervened. Around 70% was wiped off the already paltry sub-3-cent price of MATIC within the space of 10 days. With fears of a new Great Depression gripping the world, Matic Networks future again looked in doubt.

Suddenly, everything felt like it will go to zero. That shock was there for two to three months. We survived that, but what we realized is that, you know, we started with Plasma technology, and now plasma is dead. And now we are launching our mainnet. People are, like, Plasma is dead; there is no interest from the community.

Nailwal says the team came to two conclusions.

The first is theyd try and get as many developers and builders as possible. This was a success, as they launched their Ethereum layer 2 just in time for DeFi Summers ludicrous gas fees on layer 1.

Sandeep at Token2049 polygon club twitter
Sandeep Nailwal at Token2049. (X)

The second conclusion was to never again put their eggs in one basket.

We realized that we need to be multichain; we cant be relying on one particular technology, he says.

Long-term Ethereum community insider Mihailo Bjelic was also thinking about a multichain future and joined the project to become something of a bridge to markets and communities from which the team felt excluded at the time. Nailwal says the projects roots in India meant it had a low profile in the Western world, where some considered it to be just like another internet scam. 

Also read: Beyond crypto Zero-knowledge proofs show potential from voting to finance

In early 2021, Matic Network rebranded as Polygon to highlight the change in direction. At the time, Nailwal told Cointelegraph the idea was to become Polkadot on Ethereum and to add Optimistic rollups, zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups and StarkWare-style Validiums alongside the PoS network.

But Nailwal says they quickly realized that Optimistic rollups were at best an intermediate solution that wouldnt be able to scale up to have 50 chains working in the ecosystem.

With ZK, you can imagine a world with […] 100,000 chains; each of them has 1,000 transactions per second (TPS); all of them combined together could be tens of millions of TPS in the whole network. And the architecture will still survive and keep scaling.

Infinite scalability, unified liquidity and that is the main point for why we bet on ZK because ZK is the endgame for blockchain scaling.

Polygon bull-run fever

At the dawn of 2021, MATICs market cap was just $87 million. By mid-year, it had surged to almost $14 billion, and it was nearly $19 billion by years end. Thats in no small part due to its surging user numbers and ability to scale Ethereum.

At the end of 2020, it had fewer than 1,000 daily active users, but by October that year, it had surpassed Ethereum for the first time with 566,000 users in a day and had flipped ETHs daily transactions, too, thanks to high gas fees on the L1.

Suddenly, the founders were very wealthy individuals, and the project itself had the funds to embark on a major acquisition spree.

In August, it snapped up the entire Hermez network for 250 million MATIC. The project became Polygon Hermez, an Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible ZK solution focused on decentralization and a proof-of-efficiency consensus.

In December, it spent another $400 million in MATIC to buy the Mir team of ZK-proof experts to build Polygon Zero (ZK recursive scaling). And the acquisitions kept coming.

Harvard Business School Sandeep case Studies 2032 - Five technologies that will shape the world from Miss Polygon Twitter Account
Nailwal goes to Harvard Business School, as part of a case study about technologies that will shape the world. (Miss Polygon Twitter)

We reached out to all of them. We said, You want to work with us? And I think at that point in time, whatever was like number three, number four, number five, like we acquired all of them, because number one, number two did not come with us. (But) the talent in number three, four, five teams is super, super good.

The venture capital seemed to think the new plan was a winner, with Polygon raising another $450 million in early 2022, selling MATIC tokens in a raise led by Sequoia Capital India and including Tiger Global and Softbank Vision Fund.

The advantages of having multiple teams taking different approaches became pretty clear.

We initially kept them completely autonomous so they could pursue their own research, and they collaborated with each other. Due to that collaboration, suddenly, we got a ZK EVM, which people have thought is four or five years away.

Read also

Thailands Crypto Utopia 90% of a cult, without all the weird stuff


The blockchain projects making renewable energy a reality

He says the ZK EVM took just 12 months to develop because of the cross-pollination of ideas between these teams.

Other ZK flavors developing under the Polygon umbrella include Miden (a StarkWare-like system with its own virtual machine) and Nightfall (Optimistic rollups meet zero-knowledge cryptography).

Bets each way on ZK, JavaScript is for midwits

The other big advantage of having multiple teams building different solutions is it doesnt force Polygon to make the same hard choices other projects have had to make.

For example, StarkWare is betting that the additional performance provided by its Cairo virtual machine will make up for the fact that its much harder to port existing Ethereum projects over to StarkEx.

Sandeep as a Blockchain Buddies NFT
Sandeep as a Blockchain Buddies NFT.

Most of the other projects zkSync, Linea, Scroll, etc. are making the opposite bet that less performance but easier compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine will attract projects and see their solutions win market share.

Polygon is the only team with bets each way, with Polygon Miden following StarkWare with a ZK-optimised virtual machine. For his part, Nailwal thinks EVM will win in the short term, but other solutions will come into their own in the years ahead.

I almost feel like EVM is like JavaScript right? he says. I remember when I was in first or second year of my engineering college JavaScript was considered to be a programming language of the midwits! But today, JS is everywhere; maybe 80% of the web is powered by JavaScript. So, EVM kind of has those effects no matter how much you say, These are the problems.

Nailwal adds, however, Our plan is a 10-year-long plan. So, we have the ZK EVMs, we have Polygon Zero, but we also have Polygon Miden, which we believe is highly performant, has privacy features inbuilt […] and it will support all the programming languages.

Miden founder Bobbin Threadbare told Magazine earlier this year that the Miden VM will enable users to do things like run high-quality video games and generate ZK-proofs on their home PCs they can send into the network.

What they are doing, it gives me goosebumps, Nailwal says. But Miden will start blossoming in around one year. By that time, we, as the Polygon community, need to win the ZK EVM. He hints that a new token and airdrop are being considered to help with this.

Ethereum upgrades to turbocharge Polygon L2s

Ethereums next big upgrade, EIP-4844, which is supposed to happen sometime before the end of the year, introduces proto-danksharding to make life easier for rollups, which Nailwal says is welcome but not a game changer.

I think some estimates were saying up to 200300 TPS only for the rollups. So, not a huge advantage, but its going to reduce the (gas) cost of the transactions.

Full danksharding, which is several years away, according to the Ethereum Foundation, however, will multiply that improvement by the number of shards, currently expected at around 64.

So, you can imagine that 64 multiplied by 200. So, there will be, like, you know, 12,000 TPS, all the rollups can support.

In June this year, the project unveiled its Polygon 2.0 roadmap to become the Value layer of the internet. The vision is for a network of ZK-powered L2s that will seem like using a single chain to users thanks to a cross-chain coordination protocol. Builders can knock up their own ZK-powered L2 chain in a flash using Polygons Chain Development Kit.

The existing PoS blockchain will become a Validium, which is one approach to dealing with the data availability problem of how to affordably store stuff on Ethereum.

The roadmap will also see MATIC tokens upgraded to a new token called POL (short for Polygon) and introduce the controversial concept of restaking, which enables token stakers to earn additional rewards by helping secure other networks.

The POL token is basically the hyper-productive, third-generation token. You can validate on multiple chains, and you can validate for multiple roles: You can be an aggregator, you can be a sequencer, you can be a data availability provider, and you can be a prover. So, with the same token, you can actually stake on multiple layers.

Sandeep AMA reddit
Sandeep Nailwals AMA on Reddit.

Restaking is controversial in the Ethereum community, with critics arguing it could turn into an unstable house of cards. But Nailwal says POL will be natively integrated into the ecosystem rather than added by third parties on top, as with Ethereums EigenLayer, which will mitigate the risks.

With Polygon, risk-taking is more enshrined in the protocol; this is part of the protocol; this is how the protocol behaves, he says.

If youre a validator and you are running 100 chains, and of those 100 chains you falter or you do fraud on one chain, you get slashed from all of them, he continues, adding hes not sure EigenLayer could implement that especially when they are building on top of something.

I think there are a lot of nuances where ours is much simpler and easier to do.

Polygon 2.0 is like the internet of money

For Nailwal, the ultimate aim of Polygon 2.0 is to evolve crypto networks in the same way the internet evolved. The forerunner of the internet was ARPANET in the 1970s, then the invention of TCP/IP in 1983 allowed multiple networks to connect, forming an inter-network, which grew into the internet thanks to additional technologies like the Domain Name System and the World Wide Web.

Its interconnectivity of all the networks, he says. This is exactly what you see is happening on blockchains.

Its very hard to move your money trustlessly from one chain to another; you use these bridges, which get hacked all the time. Thats why Polygon 2.0 is not only about having infinite scalability […] But it should also make sure that that value that is being created on these hundreds of thousands of chains also is connected and seamlessly movable.

He says the interoperable layer will enable value to flow between L2 chains, as well as Ethereum and potentially other layer-1 chains as well in the future if they join in.

So, with this Polygon 2.0, we can achieve the same characteristics as the web has, he says. The Web3 network, whichever will win, should have infinite scalability and seamless transfer of value between these chains.

Thats why Polygon 2.0 architecture has got a lot of critical acclaim.

Read also

DeSci: Can crypto improve scientific research?


‘Account abstraction’ supercharges Ethereum wallets: Dummies guide

Future for Polygon and Sandeep Nailwal

Even as the founder of a multibillion-dollar blockchain and living in luxury in Dubai, Nailwal still feels unsatisfied, as if he has yet to make the impact he feels he should. He looks up to world changers like Mark Zuckerberg, Satoshi and Vitalik Buterin a truly remarkable man. So, mere wealth is not enough. He wants to make a lasting impact.

Ive never felt that Polygon has made it, he says. That part is very relentless in my mind, like there is no middle ground like this.

I think Bitcoin, Ethereum only can say that they have made it nobody else, no other protocol can say that theyve made it; they can die in a matter of six to 12 months.

So, Nailwal wont be happy until the Polygon ecosystem truly deserves to stand along Bitcoin and Ethereum as the bedrock of the entire industry

We have to go to the top three projects in the space, he says.

Read Part 1 here: Slumdog billionaire: Incredible rags-to-riches tale of Polygons Sandeep Nailwal

Crypto’s ‘pro-rioter’ glitch artist stirs controversy — Patrick Amadon, NFT Creator

NFT artist Patrick Amadon is proudly “pro-rioter,” as Hong Kong Art Week discovered, and he’s at home in crypto, where everyone’s a rebel.

Patrick Amadon combines a passion for art and activism, and is articulate about how he intends for his work to have impact.

Self-described as a “digital disobedient,” the Los Angeles-based glitch artist has been no stranger to controversy, having made international headlines for his “No Rioters” digital billboard displayed at the Hong Kong Art Week in March that was eventually taken down for its political undertones.

He also made headlines when he pulled out of Sothebys first glitch show, taking a stance against a lineup of artists that featured no women or non-binary people.

(For the uninitiated, glitch art purposefully includes digital or analog errors.)

Like many other artists, Beeples historic $69 million NFT sale in March 2021 caught Amadon’s attention. He had been making digital art for over a decade prior but had no way to attribute value to it. 

When I saw all the press from the Beeple sale, I kind of brushed past the $69 million figure, that wasnt that interesting to me, but I do remember thinking, wait, somebody sold digital art, how does that work’, says Amadon.

I’ve been doing it for a decade but I got stuck in kind of no man’s land. I would make physical work but I liked making digital work more. My audience liked the digital work a lot more but there really wasn’t anything you could do with it in the art world. 

Digital disobedience

Amadon is a deep thinker and puts an incredible amount of effort into making his art purposeful. He also embraces much of the crypto ethos and believes those who are along for the ride are all in some way a little digital disobedient.

I mean, if you’re in crypto, it’s because you’ve rejected something. You’ve rejected something in the financial world, you’re embracing sovereignty, you embrace self custody, self reliance. There’s some social element that you rejected, that got you here to begin with.

I think we’re really disrupting a lot of these existing structures. Were causing hell for a lot of gatekeepers. We’re opening up the doors for a lot of artists. None of us here are obeying what we’re supposed to be doing. 

I feel like all of us really have embraced disobedience in a lot of ways because nobody in traditional finance wants you to think that crypto is valid. Nobody in the art world wants you to think crypto is valid. By virtue of us being here, we’re all disobedient if you look at what society has deemed normal and acceptable.

WAGMI by Patrick Amadon
WAGMI by Patrick Amadon (SuperRare)

Art is a medium that Amadon values as a way to voice his passion for activism and for its ability to point out societal issues he cares about. He puts an incredible amount of effort into making his art have a purpose.

I like doing something that has a purpose for doing it. Often, I like using art as an outlet to comment on some socio-economic or political situation. Or cultural nuance or just something to needle the space a little bit, Amadon says. 

I think that the story of the narrative is the art and I think that the aesthetic is really just the voice that you tell it with. That’s why I think concept is kind of the most critical element of an art piece. It has to be saying something a lot of us can say the same thing. I mean, the aesthetic kind of becomes the voice of it again.

‘No Rioters’ at Hong Kong Art Week 

Embracing his digital disobedience and desire to use art for more than aesthetics, Amadon brazenly had his piece “No Rioters” displayed on a giant digital billboard above the Sogo Causeway Bay store during Hong Kong Art Week.

The glitch art is centered around a surveillance camera oscillating side to side but the primary provocation was showcasing the names and prion terms of activists in the pro-democracy movement from 2019. 

Read also

4 out of 10 NFT sales are fake: Learn to spot the signs of wash trading


Crypto, Meet Fiat. You Two Should Get A Coffee Sometime

It was a billboard the size of the city block in the middle of Hong Kong Art Week which is sponsored by the government. I thought, let’s be a little disobedient. Id followed the Hong Kong protest in 2019 pretty closely. I’ve been a news hawk since the dawn of the internet so I wanted to put up something to honor the protesters, says Amadon. 

I put a giant security camera up there and then every 10th frame or so just flash protesters names, their sentences, and instances of the government beating up protesters, throwing them in jail. It’s all illegal under the Hong Kong national security law to put that in public and I had it on the biggest billboard in Hong Kong during Art Week for three straight days which was great.

With the names being subtle and difficult to see flashing up in real-time throughout the artwork, the billboard stayed up for 72 hours before Art Innovation Gallery the gallery that Amadon had worked with to display the piece informed him that the owners of Sogo were concerned about the hidden political content behind the work.

The free Hong Kong press found out about it so they wrote an article about it and then the next day it was the BBC and the Global Press covering it, and the Chinese press counterprogramming it, saying I’m pro-rioter which I love because I am definitely pro-rioter.

So it got taken down by the government and I joined the list with Winnie the Pooh in terms of free speech expression being ripped down.

Gatekeepers get out

Amadon believes that the Web3/crypto space has a long way to go, but he’s equally optimistic about the potential of the technology to democratize the art industry, for both artists and collectors.

From a collecting standpoint, from an experiencing art standpoint, from a creation of art standpoint, its massive. You no longer need a brother, sister or cousin to be working at the Gagosian to get a shot at selling physical and be sitting at the main table of the art world, Amadon says.

It’s really tough to participate in the art world if you’re coming from a marginalized community or from a third-world country. What we’ve done with the technology is we really have flattened the space tremendously and we’ve allowed people like Osinachi and Ix Shells to participate meaningfully in the art world that would have been very difficult to access before. We are very accessible and very inclusive.

Read also

5 years of the Top 10 Cryptos experiment and the lessons learned


State of Play: India’s Cryptocurrency Industry Prepares For A Billion Users

Doppelganger innovation with smart contract

In May this year, Amadon launched something unique with his Doppelganger drop in conjunction with Transient Labs. As an artist who is fascinated by the convergence of art and technology, Doppelganger explores what its like to link a nonfungible token to an array of art rather than point to a single image.

Because we’re just beginning to scratch the surface on what’s possible in digital art and what’s possible in digital art when it’s paired with smart contracts on the blockchain, I reached out to Transient Labs and had them build a token that points to an array instead of a token that points to a single link. Doppelganger was built on that.

Doppelganger by Patrick Amadon
Doppelganger by Patrick Amadon (OpenSea)

The contract is artist-owned and essentially can include multiple images into one NFT. Users can pick which artwork to point to with the artist having the ability to add new pieces of art but can never subtract.

Essentially consider them frozen metadata. They will never change and only the collector has control over what it points to. As the collector you get to select what art you’d like to be displayed. I think were up to around 12-13 different pieces right now. I’m going to add another very shortly. I’m just going to keep expanding it because I can keep adding to it, but I can never subtract from it, he says. 

Notable sales to date

Amadons first Ethereum mint was ZoFo and his inaugural mint on Tezos was RGB Glitch 2013.

Notable sales include: 

Rapid-fire Q&A


I really like Edward Snowden and Banksy. Aesthetically, I grew up with all the abstract artists so that’s how I first got into making art. I really like texture and abstract art. People like Richter [Gerhard].

From within the [Web3] space there’s a number of people like XCOPY, Max Capacity and Kidmograph. There was a community on Tumblr that was making glitch work that’s all still here so it’s cool to see. I have known Pak since back in 2013 because the Twitter art community transitioned over to NFTs in a lot of interesting ways. 

Grifter #098 by XCOPY
Grifter #098 by XCOPY (OpenSea)

Personal style of art

Glitches. But my background is in street art. I photograph it, I contribute to it. I’ve always liked graffiti. Glitch blended with graffiti.

Banksy was always the artist that I’ve most looked up to in terms of how they approach the art world and how they approach messaging from their art. 

Notable collector 

I have to say Anonymoux. Anonymoux has become like family throughout this process. He picked up a number of my 1 of 1s. The relationship between collector and artist can be really strong. The amount of support that you get from them really makes it possible to do this on a greater level. Just the amount of support that I’ve received from Anonymoux over the past couple of years has honestly been life-changing.

Which hot NFT artist should we be paying attention to? 

I would say one of the biggest initiatives I’m working on right now is the 404 catalogue. It’s a quarterly exhibition, anyone can enter one piece per artist. It’s an opportunity for artists to strip away any change, strip away platform. I just wanted to be completely agnostic, social media and presence does not matter, just art and giving artists the opportunity to be seen just for their art.

Favorite NFTs in your wallet thats not your own

Ana Maria Caballero, 1 of 1. I picked up her Ethereum genesis piece. She’s an incredible poet. We became friends early in the NFT space 

MUJERES by Ana Maria Caballero
MUJERES by Ana Maria Caballero (SuperRare)

What do you listen to when creating art: 

I work completely in silence. If theres any noise Ill put headphones on noise cancellation mode. If there’s anything that’s distracting, I’ll be distracted. 

That being said, in terms of music in the space that I like, I would mention Mariana Makwaia, I think she is an incredible musician but also doing some really interesting tech things in the space. She used a Doppelganger contract to build her album. Each track has its own metadata all on the same token which I think is a fantastic use of the technology. 




Australia’s $145M exchange scandal, Bitget claims 4th, China lifts NFT ban: Asia Express

Asia Express: Cops bust Australian crypto and fiat money laundering exchange, Bitget now 4th largest exchange, China partially lifts NFT ban.

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industrys most important developments.

Largest money laundering scandal in Australia unravels

Changjiang Currency Exchange, a money transmitter business based in Australia, has beenbustedin a 230 million Aussie dollar ($145 million) money laundering scandal.

On Oct. 26, a 300-strong police operation spanning Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth arrested seven individuals four Chinese citizens and three Australian nationals after a 14-month investigation.

Operating under the front of a legitimate currency exchange business, police say that Changjiang Currency Exchange helped launder dirty funds and tainted cryptocurrency from investment scams and unregistered crypto exchanges.

In one single incident, a 37-year-old Chinese national was accused of using Changjiang’s services to launder AU$100 million ($63 million) worth of funds received from a multinational Ponzi scheme.

Australian Federal Police investigating the Changjiang Currency Exchange
Australian Federal Police investigating the Changjiang Currency Exchange (AFP)

The investigation began after law enforcement officials noticed irregular traffic at Changjiang kiosks across Australia during a time of strict COVID-19-related lockdowns. Police have since seized AU$21 million ($13.27 million) in cash and various luxury items believed to have been purchased using proceeds of crime. The investigation remains ongoing.

Bitget’s colorful Q3

Crypto derivatives exchange Bitget hasrisento become the fourth-largest by volume, trailing behind only Binance, OKX and Bybit.

In an Oct. 20 Bitget transparency report, Bitget claimed that its market share had risen to 9.43%, compared to negligible volume just two years ago. During Q3 2023, the exchange says it onboarded over 9,000 traders along with 85,000 followers or copy-traders, who together achieved a net trading profit of $6.7 million. However, the combined industry trading activity fell by 23% year-over-year to $4.8 trillion in the quarter.

From July to September, Bitget’s user protection fund peaked at $368 million and now stands at $350 million. The exchange claims that it has no debt alongside a proof-of-reserves ratio exceeding 200%. In September, the firm launched a $100 million EmpowerX Fund dedicated to ecosystem development and hosted a namesake summit in Singapore. It also hired 60 staff in July for its Middle East expansion plans. 

Bitget's growing derivatives trading volume year to date.
Bitget’s growing derivatives trading volume year to date. (Bitget)
Read also

Building community resilience to crises through mutual aid and Web3


Crazy outcomes when current laws applied to NFTs and the metaverse

China partially lifts bans on NFTs

After a year of harsh crackdowns on private blockchain enterprises, it appears that China has softened its stance somewhat. 

According to local news reports on Oct. 25, Xianyu (literally “Bored Fish”), Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba’s flagship peer-to-peer marketplace, has removed its censorship of “nonfungible tokens” related keywords in its search tool and relisted Topnod NFT collectibles minted on Alibaba’s Ant Blockchain.

Due to regulatory uncertainty, Topnod digital collectibles were prohibited from listing on secondary markets. Last December, Cointelegraph reported the Chinese government’s official NFT trading platform was planned to launch this year. The exchange is still in development at the time of publication. Since 2021, China has officially banned almost all crypto-related activity saved for outright ownership of cryptocurrencies. 

Blockchain connects interprovincial health insurance in China

Residents of Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces can nowsubmitand validate their health insurance claims using blockchain technology.

In a partnership with Alibaba’s Ant Insurance, users in the aforementioned regions can submit their claims online and after blockchain verification for authenticity, receive their reimbursement within hours.

In one instance, an individual known as Mr. Wang submitted his claim for lung cancer treatment in Anhui and received the full 130,000 Chinese yuan ($17,800) reimbursement within two hours. Su Fang, director of the Financial Insurance Institute of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, commented:

“This time, all electronic financial and medical bills in the Yangtze River Delta have been opened and applied on a large scale in commercial insurance claims, marking the true application of the digital Yangtze River Delta construction. This not only brings real convenience to the people but also improves the efficiency of insurance claims and effectively prevents moral hazard.”

Ant Insurance has operated a blockchain-powered claims portal since 2019. For the past four years, the platform has processed over 2.25 billion medical claims and improved information sharing between insurance providers and medical professionals.

Ant Insurance allows claimants to verify their application via blockchain (WeChat)
China softens ban on NFT platforms to allow related searches. (WeChat)

Huaian uses blockchain to improve surveillance 

The Jianpu People’s Court in Huaian, China, isusinga combination of AI recognition, big data and blockchain technology to improve law enforcement surveillance.

Starting Oct. 25, the Jianpu People’s Court will create an “all-purpose” system for monitoring visitors entering and leaving court premises. As soon as a visitor is identified to be trespassing in an unauthorized area, the system will alert court bailiffs for their immediate apprehension. Officials say that the system can drastically reduce the patrolling of hard-to-monitor areas:

“Outside the court walls and in the public rest areas outside the courtroom of the main building, etc., intelligent behavior analysis technology can be used to capture and intelligently analyze the behavior of the parties, provide early warning of possible dangerous behaviors such as abnormal gatherings, strenuous exercise, fights, etc., and remind judicial police and other staff to pay attention and deal with it promptly and appropriately.”

Through the system, court bailiffs would gain access to all visitors’ movements and details within court premises. Augmented reality will also enhance hard-to-see areas for better resolution. 

How blockchain games fared in Q3, Unioverse & Immutable, Upland token on ETH: Web 3 Gamer

Immutable teams with ex-GTA and CoD devs, Web3 game Brawlers to launch on massive Epic Games Store, and how did blockchain games fare in Q3?

GTA and CoD veterans new studio collabs with Immutable

Web3 gaming ecosystem Immutable is helping Random Games join the blockchain gaming world. The studio was founded by veteran developers and storytellers from famous franchises, including Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Fortnite, Batman, Star Trek, The Walking Dead, Star Wars and South Park. The collaboration centers around Unioverse, a Web3 sci-fi franchise spanning multiple mediums.

Random Games plans to create a platform offering high-quality assets for game creation without royalty fees. The Unioverse community will be encouraged to produce their own stories, games and content using official assets.

Unioverse hopes to foster a continuous stream of professional and user-generated content, given its royalty-free nature. Users can monetize their creations by selling merchandise such as comic books, T-shirts and lunchboxes and retain all the profits.

Heroes from the first release in the Unioverse. (

Immutables vice president of global business development, Andrew Sorokovsky, says Immutable will provide the blockchain platform, tools and services, including its zkEVM for scaling and Immutable passport for digital IDs:

This will allow the team to focus on shipping a great game without having to become blockchain experts in the process letting us take care of the heavy lifting,

Unioverse features Hero NFTs, which are high-quality 3D digital items that you can own in the digital world. Hero NFTs began minting with “Reyu” in January, selling 20,000, and followed up with the launch of “Krishah” in June. With over a million NFTs minted and more than 110,000 verified accounts with connected wallets, they also debuted the first part of a six-part comic book series and in May introduced Proving Grounds, their first alpha game environment.

Random Games previously raised $7.6 million in a seed funding round co-led by Resolute Ventures and Asymmetric.

Brawlers by Magic: The Gathering creator to launch on Epic Games Store

Brawlers, a player-versus-player blockchain card game, will be launched on the massive, mainstream Epic Games Store.

Its the debut game of Tyranno Studios, WAX blockchains in-house game development team led by gaming industry veteran Michael Rubinelli, who has 25 years of experience at companies such as Disney, Electronic Arts and THQ.

Centered around the theme of pro-wrestling, Brawlers player-versus-player (PvP) mode was designed by Richard Garfield, famous for his creation of the popular card game Magic: The Gathering.

Releasing a blockchain game on EGS is a big deal for any developer, as the platform has over 230 million users, including 70 million monthly active users. But releasing a blockchain game on the platform is an even bigger deal, as Web3 companies generally cant access such a massive audience under such a reputable name. WAX Chief Gaming Officer Rubinelli calls EGS the next step on our journey to the mass adoption of Web3.

This launch further accelerates the paradigm shift in gaming as a whole, bringing blockchain-powered fairness, inclusivity and player-centric approach even closer to the mainstream audience.

In the game, players compete in wrestling matches and earn BRWL tokens which can be used to craft or purchase content. Apart from the Brawlers themselves, every in-game item can be crafted, used, sold, traded, or gifted among players, as theyre NFTs.

Garfield emphasized the game’s similarity to traditional physical card games, where players can buy card sets and maintain complete control over their assets, enabling easy trading and exchange.

The game allows cross-platform functionality via NFT bridges to Polygon, Ethereum and Binance’s BNB Chain.

Over $2 billion invested in blockchain gaming so far in 2023

Blockchain gaming investments are up $600 million in the third quarter of 2023, bringing the year-to-date total to an impressive $2.3 billion amid the bear market, according to DappRadar and BGA Games most recent joint blockchain gaming report.

Investments in Web3 Gaming Projects
Investments in Web3 gaming projects between Q3 2022 – Q3 2023. (DappRadar)

However, 2023s tally only accounts for 30% of the preceding years total investments. But considering the state of the wider market, its a respectable figure that proves that a lot of people are willing to bet a lot of money that blockchain games will still be The Next Big Thing.

Read also

The Invisible Man of the Visible World: How Blockchain Could Offer New Hope to Stateless Rohingya


NFT collapse and monster egos feature in new Murakami exhibition

The report underscores how Web2 gaming giants are making assertive strides into the Web3 realm. One of the most notable is FarmVille creator Zyngas successful introduction of Sugartown, which received instant adoption and high praise from the Web3 community. Its a welcome development as better studios generally mean better games.

Daily unique active wallets (UAWs) saw an uptick of 12% compared to last quarter, reaching a daily average of 786,766 UAWs. Alien Worlds, a community-built metaverse, kept its crown as the most-played blockchain game of Q3 2023, capturing over 60% of WAX’s blockchain activity.

Top 5 Web3 Games by Transaction Volume
Web3 games with the highest transaction volumes for Q3 2023. (DappRadar)

Web3 gamings flagship titles, Axie Infinity and Gods Unchained, blazed the trail in terms of transaction volume, with volumes of $90 million and $55 million, respectively. 

In the third quarter, virtual worlds experienced a dip from the last quarters $58 million as numbers showed $13 million in trading volume with 28,000 land sales. Despite virtual worlds declining trading volume, substantial investments like Animoca Brands $20 million funding for Mocaverse keep the metaverse fire alive.

Uplands Spark shines on Ethereum

Metaverse platform Upland will enable trading of its in-game utility token, Spark, on Ethereum. The decision was approved by 87.25% of voters in a recent community governance vote.

Known as the Sparklet white paper, the proposal was presented to the Upland community in late September. The plan involves bridging the games in-app token, Spark, to the Ethereum blockchain, where it will be mirrored and minted as the Sparklet token. Each Sparklet is equivalent to one-thousandth of a Spark.

Upland co-founder and co-CEO Dirk Lueth says the move is a win for decentralization:

Adhering to our mission to build the largest digital open economy, Sparklet allows us to take the next step towards progressive decentralization in a responsible way by offering tradability to our users while having mechanisms in place that can shield and protect Uplands economy from unwanted externalities.

A finite supply of 1,000,000,000 Sparklet tokens will be issued on Ethereum, although Upland has not shared the exact timeline yet. The Sparklet supply will be mirrored by the minting of 1,000,000 Spark on the EOS blockchain, ensuring a balanced ownership structure between the platforms.

Hot Take: Guild of Guardians

Guild of Guardians is a mobile rogue-lite squad RPG that is being developed by Mineloader and published by Immutable. It held a friends and family demo event this week for testing and I was one of the fortunate people who got to try the game.

As soon as the game opens, nicely composed Harry Potter-esque background music welcomes you to the world of Guardians. The demo consists of core dungeon battles, crafting loops, quests and level-up options. The graphics look decent, while the music and sound effects are on point.

Players assemble a team of heroes and venture into dungeons for combat. When assembling a team, you need to consider factional, elemental and class synergies and team composition. For instance, a team composed entirely of Hordes receives a raw attack boost, while teams of all fire elements have an increased chance of inflicting damage over time. Heroes are also split into traditional RPG roles like tank, healer, support and DPS short for damage per second, which is used to describe damage-focused characters.

The main challenge Guild of Guardians needs to tackle is that squad-based PvP gaming has somewhat matured. None of the heroes feel original or new, and the user interface looks like every fantasy-element-bearing mobile game ever.

Artwork from Guild of Guardians
Guild of Guardians promotional art. (Guild of Guardians)

Of course, its not fair to judge such aspects by a friends and family demo, so it’s better to check the full version to see if there are improvements and refinements to form your own opinions its going to be free-to-play anyway. Who knows, you might love it and find your next 600-hour addiction!

More from Web3 gaming space:

Zyngas Web3 IP Sugartown introduces an NFT collection called Oras.

NFL Rivals announces 6-month partnership with Amazon Prime Gaming.

Gods Unchained Season 2: Tides of Fate launches Oct. 25.

Social web game Habbo ditches “Habbo NFTs” for “Habbo Collectibles” in its terminology.

Animoca Brands subsidiary Darewise raises $3.5 million in token presale for sci-fi Web3 game Life Beyond.

The business simulation strategy game Legacy launches on Oct. 26.

5,050 Bitcoin for $5 in 2009: Helsinki’s claim to crypto fame

Helsinki played host to the first Bitcoin for fiat transaction in 2009 — 5050 Bitcoin for $5 — 6 months before Pizza Day. Crypto City Guide.

This Crypto City guide looks at Finlands crypto culture: The most notable projects and people, its financial infrastructure, which retailers accept crypto, and where you can find blockchain education courses.

City: Helsinki
Country: Finland
Population: 1.55 million 
Established: 1550
Languages: Finnish and Swedish, with English widely spoken

Jump to: Crypto culture, Where to spend crypto in Helsinki, Crypto projects and companies, Local crypto controversies, Crypto education and community, Notable crypto figures from Helsinki

Situated on the Gulf of Finland, Helsinki is the capital of Finland and is arguably the worlds most northern metropolis, with 1.5 million people 30% of the countrys population calling the metro area home. Its inhabitants spend winter in a cold, still darkness but enjoy 11:00 pm sunsets in summertime.

Helsinki Cathedral at sunrise, after a night of partying
Helsinki Cathedral at sunrise, after a night of partying. (Elias Ahonen)

Major population centers are nearby, with both Tampere and Turku reachable in two hours via road or rail. There are regular ferry services across the Baltic including to Estonias capital of Tallinn, which can be reached in two hours by sea, and there are also plans to link the cities via an undersea tunnel. The nearby Helsinki-Vantaa airport is the countrys main international gateway and serves as a transfer hub for Asia.

Finland has been ranked the happiest country in the world for six consecutive years by the World Happiness Report. Its income tax rate tops out at 56% one of the highest in the world and the tax data of every resident is public. Helsinki played host to the 1952 Summer Olympics. The country joined the European Union in 1995 and adopted the euro as its currency in 1999. In 2023, Finland became a member of NATO.

As the capital, Helsinkis crypto events draw participants from across the country, making it the natural meeting place for the industry. For that reason, projects and companies from nearby cities like Tampere and Turku are also included here.

The area was first settled around 5000 BC as the ice age retreated. Vikings raided the established settlements, as did Swedish crusaders in the 10th and 13th centuries. The city was formally established in 1550 as a Swedish trading post, defended by Suomenlinna (Finlands fortress), the largest sea fort in Europe. Later, under Russian control as the Grand Duchy of Finland, the emperor moved the capital from Turku to Helsinki, which was closer to St. Petersburg. Finland became independent in 1917, after which it resisted Soviet occupation in the 1940 Winter War.

The Finnish Parliament
The Finnish Parliament. (Elias Ahonen)

Crypto culture

Helsinkis claim to crypto fame rests with Martti Malmi, a software developer who in 2009 sold 5,050 BTC for a $5.02 PayPal transfer, marking the first time that Bitcoin was exchanged for fiat currency. It occurred before the much better-known May 22, 2010, Pizza Day, when Bitcoin was first used to purchase a physical good. Eventually, Malmi used most of his Bitcoin to purchase a studio in the metro area. If hed hung on to it, itd be worth $171 million today. The Bitcoin was used to seed an exchange called New Liberty Standard, which established the first BTC price of 1,309.03 BTC for $1.

Malmi was, in some ways, a product of his environment, with Helsinki recognized as a bed of technical innovation since Nokia began to dominate the cellphone market. In 1991, Linus Torvalds began working on what became Linux at the University of Helsinki. It is also home to many video game companies, with local firm Rovios Angry Birds achieving global fame in 2009. Helsinki is also the home of Aave founder Stani Kulechov, though he has moved abroad with the company.

In 2019, a then-staunchly Bitcoin maximalist group called Konsensus organized the translation of Saifedean Ammous 2018 book The Bitcoin Standard into Finnish, and later also translated The Little Bitcoin Book by The Bitcoin Collective. According to one member, the organization has since become more accepting of other cryptocurrencies and blockchain use cases.

The crypto community in Helsinki and Finland is somewhat disorganized and divided, with many enthusiasts being interested in one facet be it Bitcoin, NFTs or Web3 without embracing the whole, and thus having few common threads. Still, a certain grassroots energy is evident.

Founding meeting of The Finnish Bitcoin Association in Helsinki on May 6, 2023
The founding meeting of The Finnish Bitcoin Association in Helsinki on May 6, 2023. (Elias Ahonen)

Where can I spend crypto in Helsinki?

Paying with Bitcoin is not common in Finland, where card and app payments dominate. One notable exception is the restaurant Faro, at which a few people are likely to buy a burger and beers with sats at the monthly Bitcoin meetup.

On the bar side, Taudo Baari and Time Bar also accept crypto. There is also the Osuva shooting range.

Samuel Harjunp, CEO and co-founder of hardware startup Xellox and regular at the Faro Bitcoin meetup, tells Magazine about the state of Bitcoin acceptance:

A few restaurants and bars have already been orange-pilled the biggest obstacles are the payment infrastructure and bookkeeping.

Crypto projects and companies in Helsinki

Today, Helsinki has a vibrant tech and startup scene with many coworking spaces. The city is also host to the annual Slush startup conference, which draws 25,000 participants.

Web3 Helsinki is a student-run organization that organized its first event on April 20, 2020, with about 150 people in attendance, making it perhaps the largest single crypto event of the year.

2023s events have included the Web3 Bash in late April, followed by the Aurora Nordic Web3 Conference in June. On June 6, the BRIDG3 Blockchain summit was held at Tamperes Nokia Arena, focusing on Web3, the metaverse and decentralized autonomous organizations.

The Aurora Nordic Web3 Conference, held in Helsinki on June 6, 2023
The Aurora Nordic Web3 Conference, held in Helsinki on June 6, 2023. (Elias Ahonen)

The Finnish Bitcoin Association was established on May 6, in an event attended by Magazine, with membership fees paid primarily with Bitcoin via the Lightning Network. Upon the conclusion of formalities, the saunas of the hosting coworking space were fired up.

For those interested in NFTs, Fungi is a platform advertising a no-code solution that lets organizations build NFT-based communities. One of these was a metaverse island called Cornerstone for VR studio ZOAN, where 100 plots could be purchased as NFTs.

HABBO NFT, operated by the local creators of the 23-year-old online chat room game HABBO Hotel, has dropped an 11,600-piece avatar collection on OpenSea and is currently developing an NFT-based game. A group called The Future of Art has also dedicated itself to promoting digital art and runs an NFT gallery.

The Finnish Web3 Landscape, according to Tampere-based The Good Cartel, which exists to support Finnish Web3 startups
The Finnish Web3 Landscape, according to Tampere-based The Good Cartel, which exists to support Finnish Web3 startups. (The Good Cartel)

An aspiring LinkedIn competitor, Kleoverse, is a proof-of-talent Web3 platform for recruiters and jobseekers that displays skills such as knowledge in programming languages through badges instead of text on a resume.

Phaver is building a Web3 social media app powered by Lens Protocol, which bills itself as the social layer of Web3. Phaver is one of many local projects that have worked with tech design studio STRGL, which specializes in protocol-level Web3 solutions. STRGLs managing director, Kasper Karimaa, sees Helsinki as a haven for developers:

Finlands role in blockchain innovation through its agile engineering community makes Helsinki the perfect place to assemble a skilled team in research, design and development.

One of the most widely known crypto companies in the country was the P2P exchange LocalBitcoins, which employed about 50 people before closing its doors in February 2023. CEO Nikolaus Kangas told Cointelegraph that this was due to a failure to turn our trade volumes and declining market share back to growth.

Bittiraha, which translates to bit money in Finnish, is another old local crypto company. It was founded circa 2012 and installed the countrys first Bitcoin ATM at the Helsinki railway station in December 2013.

The company was also a distributor of Casascius physical Bitcoin and eventually made its own line of Denarium wallets. The parent company, Coinmotion based a few hours north in Jyvskyl now operates a cryptocurrency exchange.

Another major Finnish exchange called Northcrypto can be found in Turku.

A euro stablecoin has also been developed in the city. Membrane Finances EUROe was launched in February 2023 and is designed to be an EU-regulated full-reserve stablecoin that is compliant with recent legislation. While this is notable considering the relatively few operational euro stablecoins, volume remains low at approximately $20,000 per day.

Helsinki native Anita Krypto Granny Kalergis spends most of her time in Dubai, where she organizes blockchain conferences. She feels that Finnish entrepreneurs and decision-makers lack bravery, preferring to wait for someone else to take the lead and for regulatory certainty both from the national and EU levels. Most activity is not advertised, with especially older business people afraid to rock the boat or make major moves, she observes.

Companies here will build something to 95% completion before opening their mouth, whereas projects in other countries will raise money and build partnerships based on a white paper while testing in production.

Helsinki is surrounded by sea and leaves room for nature
Helsinki is surrounded by the sea and leaves room for nature. (Elias Ahonen)

Helsinkis crypto controversies

In 2018, the Finnish customs service planned to auction 1,666 BTC that it had seized in a drug case, but decided not to proceed due to concerns that the virtual money would return to the hands of criminals, displaying a rather negative official view of cryptocurrency. In July 2022, the state eventually auctioned nearly 2,000 BTC for $47 million, with proceeds being donated to Ukraine. 

In December 2021, local media reported a trend of investment scams involving the faces of prominent people, including industrialist Heikki Herlin and then-Prime Minister Sanna Marin. 

Earlier in 2018, the police also made warnings regarding a trend of Bitcoin blackmail relating to bogus claims that hackers had webcam material of users visiting pornographic websites. In 2022, a Helsinki watch dealer fell victim to a common crypto scam, handing over Rolex watches worth $400,000 after mistakenly believing that he had received a Bitcoin transaction.

Cryptocurrency, often adjacent to scams in the news, has come to be viewed with a relatively high degree of suspicion across most of society. Commenting on the decision to halt the 2018 customs seizure sale, Pekka Pylkknen, head of finance at the Finnish Customs Service, highlighted concerns about money laundering, telling national broadcaster YLE that the buyers of cyber currency rarely use them for normal endeavors.

National media regularly interview outspoken cryptocurrency critic Aleksi Grym, head of fintech for the Finnish Central Bank, as an authoritative expert without seeking alternative pro-cryptocurrency views, though coverage has been improving.

As one may notice from this article, the term Web3 is preferred, presumably due to its distancing from the negative stereotypes of cryptocurrency.

Neither the countrys political establishment nor any major party or other large grouping of the population could be described outright as being pro-crypto.

One reason for this could be Finlands stable, highly functional, and high-trust society, in which most people do not see the need to disrupt or fix something with cryptocurrency. Bank transfers are free and near-instantaneous across the EU, with cash use increasingly rare. Virtually nobody is unbanked, and the most trusted institution is the police, with 95% public support. Harjunp, whose startup is working on solutions to protect private keys, explains the disconnect:

Many people dont understand Bitcoin and think its something between criminal money and a pyramid scheme.

It is also notable that the moon mentality and dreams of quick wealth found in many cryptocurrency investors are generally seen in a particularly negative light, with Malmi noting that he never set out to make money with Bitcoin, perhaps owing to Finnish culture and his idealistic mentality.

In the same vein, cryptocurrencies are seen by some as drivers of inequality in a country where large differences in wealth are often considered taboo.

Read also

Dictators turn delegates: Former CEOs grapple with DAO governance


Can Bitcoin survive a Carrington Event knocking out the grid?

Crypto education and community

The Finnish Innovation Fund, or Sitra, has stated it as a priority to accelerate the local development of Web3 services, saying that its in Finlands interest to play an active role in ensuring that the metaverse is created in line with European values.

The fund has also worked with the Finnish National Gallery to create The Finnish Metagallery, an art gallery in the Decentraland metaverse whose building is modeled from the Finnish Pavilion as it appeared at the 1900 Paris World Fair.

Johanna Eiramo from the Finnish National Gallery presenting The Finnish Metagallery in Helsinki at Web3 Bash on April 27
Johanna Eiramo from the Finnish National Gallery presenting The Finnish Metagallery in Helsinki at Web3 Bash on April 27. (Elias Ahonen)

In the old capital of Turku, The University of Turku hosts the Critical Inquiry Into DAOs (CIDS) research group, of which the author is part.

Notable crypto figures from Helsinki

Martti Malmi, the first person to sell Bitcoin for fiat; Henri Brade, board member of Coinmotion; Aleksi Lytynoja, CEO and co-founder of Kleoverse; Niko Laamanen, founder of Konsensus.

Martin Wichmann, chairman of Konsensus; Antti Innanen, founder of Fungi; Sointu Karjalainen, founder of The Good Cartel; Juha Viitala, CEO and co-founder of Membrane Finance; Mika Timonen, founder of Habbo NFT; Olli Tianinen, CEO of Equilibrium Labs; Kasper Karimaa, managing director at STRGL; Jarmo Suoranta, CEO of TX – Tomorrow Explored.

Keir Finlow-Bates, CEO of Chainfrog; Ville Runola, CEO and founder of Northcrypto; Samuel Harjunp, CEO and co-founder of Xellox; Joonatan Lintala, CEO and co-founder of Phaver.

Cointelegraph team members often found in Helsinki: Elias Ahonen.

If you have any suggestions for additions to this guide, please contact

Digital artist OSF gives fans a pledge of ‘art until I die’: NFT Creator

Holders of pieces in OSF’s “Red Lite District” collection get a “till the day I die” commitment from the U.K.-based artist.

A self-proclaimed jack of all trades and master of none, OSF has become a prolific figure in the non-fungible token world in just over two years, trading his former life at Barclays to focus full-time on web3, his digital art pursuits, his PFP project Rekt Guy and living the life of a degen collector.

The self-deprecating 34-year-old Englishman has a Swiss army knife of skills suited for a modern world of creating digital objects being a self-taught coder, understanding internet culture, with an ability to capture attention and not take himself too seriously. 

While he wears many hats, OSF, the artist, has been featured at Sothebys and has sold multiple pieces for six figures. He describes himself most as an artist and project founder.

I find it really tough to classify myself as one thing or another, but its certainly a question I get asked quite a bit. I do have periods where Im more focused on certain things like trading but overall, an artist and project founder is the way I would describe myself, OSF tells NFT Creator. 

I hate the idea of constraining myself to one thing. I think its just probably a problem I have in life. My attention gets easily captured by anything really and as you probably can guess, I have ADD and all that kind of stuff. I do feel that I just enjoy lots of different aspects of the [web3] space, and I kind of want to be a part of it all.

Dinner by OSF. (SuperRare) 

While initially a crypto skeptic, OSF cut his teeth in early 2021 when he bought some Bitcoin, but it was his good friend Mando who provided the nudge required for OSF to truly catch the NFT curiosity bug. 

It wasnt long until he found himself applying his past decade of experience as a trader in traditional finance to this new emerging asset class of NFTs. Originally minting 150 Bored Apes (0.08 ETH each) in late April 2021, OSF sold most of them about a week later for five times the mint price but remained a large Ape holder, teaming up with Mando in September 2021 to combine their collections.

The duo made headlines in February 2023, selling around 70 Apes at a healthy clip of 78 ETH each into Blur bids as liquidity rushed back into NFTs after Blur Season 1s airdrop occurred. Apes current floor price sits at 26.7 ETH, with NFT prices being down for most collections since that iconic trade.

Its not like we were bearish on Apes. We werent even really bearish on NFTs at this point in time. I know it now looks like a great trade, but Id be lying if I said at that point in time, I think NFTs are going to go to where they are now. I didnt really see that; I only think that became clear later on, OSF says. 

In our old jobs, if someone could tell you youve made all this money, but you still have all this risk, and you can clean up that risk in two trades and just take the money, youd do it. You wouldnt think twice. 

Crypto culture, nostalgia and XCOPY

In a similar vein to the likes of Josie Bellini and Trevor Jones, OSF has leaned into crypto culture with a passion for nostalgia that shines through his work. 

This is exemplified by his art and Rekt Guy, his PFP collection launched in May 2022, shortly after the demise of Terra. Rekt Guy, a collection of approximately 8,800, was a free mint that saw its floor run up as most other PFPs went the opposite way. The floor still sits at 0.47 ETH. 

I really like nostalgia and capturing moments over time. Im the sort of person who looks through my photos from 10 years ago just to see what I was doing then. Ive organized my music into quarterly playlists. I have 2008 Q1, 2008 Q2 and so on. Ive done that since 2008 Q1, so its been 15+ years now, says OSF. 

When I listen to a playlist from, say, seven years ago, I can remember what I was doing at this time. I really like that idea of nostalgia and capturing moments and looking back on it. I think art is a fantastic way to do that.

Rekt Guy 4214 by OSF. (OpenSea)

As a fellow Brit, OSF said XCOPYs style of art and his ability to capture culture have played a significant role in his own creation process.

I would say XCOPY is definitely an inspiration obviously, the style of the art but also the ideologies I love. I love looking at his pieces through 2020. Theyre very British pieces that you wouldnt really get unless you were living in the U.K. during COVID-19; maybe the Aussies would, too, he said.

I think that thats what I love. Thats what art is. Its like when you see something and just really connect with it and get it. I think pieces that can capture culture in moments in time end up being the ones that are iconic.

With my art, I think I just recognized that, and I saw thats how XCOPY did it. I guess I wanted to do the same thing, and half of it was because I thought it could be successful. But half of it was really just for myself.

Red Lite District commitment till I die

OSF loves to experiment, and for holders of his collection, the Red Lite District, it comes with a till the day I die commitment, with OSF promising a new piece of art every single month until his time on earth concludes. 

The story behind RLD, an edition of 210 NFTs becoming an airdrop ticket to free art, involves his brother-in-law, who really liked what would become the first airdropped piece: Fuck Cash Grabs

OSF wasnt as bullish on the piece initially but was inspired to create it off the back of many NFT cash grabs, such as Pixelmon. His brother-in-laws praise eventually convinced him to release the piece, but instead of selling it, he decided to airdrop it to everyone who held an RLD.

Red Lite District by OSF. Source: OpenSea

After a couple of days of the first piece [Fuck Cash Grabs] being airdropped, I was like, wow, the price of this piece is almost the same as the price of the Red Lite District. I thought it would literally just be one of those things that was worth zero. People really valued it, and I thought that was really powerful, says OSF. 

Thats where I thought I would just do it as a monthly thing for anyone that holds an RLD edition. After I airdropped the second piece, Professional Degen 3, which is really good and was supposed to be a 1 of 1, I think thats the point where people realized. They were like, Oh shit, this RLD should be worth quite a lot because youre going to get this stream of cool art.   

Read also

DeFi abandons Ponzi farms for real yield


Why Grayscale’s New Digital Currency Ad Could Bring Crypto Investing To Millions

Following the commitment of art forever to RLD holders in April 2022, OSF continues to get asked if he can really keep that promise. 

I have zero doubt in my mind if I can keep it going or not. I dont feel like creating a new piece every month is a strain on me; I really enjoy it. I have hundreds of ideas written down, and its probably my favorite part of the month. And its also my favorite way to release art because [when] contrasted with a 1 of 1 or an edition, theres an expectation. For example, what price will it sell for? Will the edition sell out? Have you looked after your collectors and all that kind of stuff, OSF tells NFT Creator. 

I cant guarantee that when Im 105, the quality of my art is going to be as good as it is now; who knows? Going back to the nostalgia thing, I love that in 10 years time, Im going to look through seasons one and two of airdrops. Right now, in season two, it is so early, but Im going to be able to look back on all these things, and itll be like a monthly document of either my life or the crypto space or whatever it is that Ive drawn for the rest of time.

From an early morning gym session to Sothebys

OSF has hundreds of art ideas in notes but loves the spontaneous nature that art can bring out of him, like the piece he did titled Carnaby Street, which ended up selling at Sothebys for $75,600 in December 2022. 

The origins of Carnaby Street is a great example of how things often happen in the moment for me. I rocked up to a Barrys boot camp class and turned up too early. It was about 5 am, and I was just sitting outside Soho in London, which is usually extremely busy. It was dead. There was no one there. Sunrise was approaching, and there were all these purple lights, and I remember thinking, I have to draw this now, says OSF. 

I had about an hour to kill, so I pulled out my iPad and sat down on this bench in my running gear, drawing this thing while people were coming through collecting the bins and stuff. That Carnaby Street piece only would have worked in that setting because I was actually just drawing it in the moment. 

The reality is, though, occasions like that are few and far between. They can be magical pieces when it happens, but often there are blocks in the artistic process. 

Notable sales to date

Lova Park sold for 82.888 ETH ($267,800 equivalent on the date of sale) on April 10, 2022. (SuperRare)
Professional degen 4 sold for 62 ETH ($113,000 equivalent on the date of sale) on May 27, 2023. (SuperRare)
Morning commute sold for 35 ETH ($133,900 equivalent on the date of sale) on April 10, 2022. (SuperRare) 

Rapid fire Q&A


I really like Alpha Centauri Kid. I think the reason why I really like him is because I think he is someone who just puts out art based on his own personal feelings or emotions or whatever hes going through without really caring about what anyone else will think. 

I see a piece of his, and it just goes deep. He does things on his own terms and his own rules. Hes just like, Im just creating stuff that I want to create, and here it is on my terms, and if you want to buy it, you can buy it. If not, then not.

I also like the way he gamifies things and makes people feel a bit uneasy sometimes. I think its brilliant. Hes definitely a massive inspiration. I love his stuff, but just the way that he goes about conducting his art, I think its amazing. 

Which hot NFT artist should we be paying attention to? 

I think die with the most likes is amazing. I dont know if hes still upcoming or not because hes been on the timeline quite a lot. But that guy is incredible. He is a performance artist, and people havent seen his performance art yet because some of the stuff is in real life. Its just incredible. 

Hes a writer as well. He writes amazingly, and he just captures this theme of a memetic that no one else does. His stuff is different from any other artist. You could say, here are the animated artists, here are all the glitch artists, here are the neo-precision artists or whatever, but theres no one like die with the most likes. 

His stuff is just so in your face and crass; I think its brilliant, and honestly, I really think he is going to big big places. Hes quite a well-known artist now, but in a years time, I think he could be up there with the biggest people in the space. 

Favorite NFTs in your wallet that are not your own

I am my own suffering by ACK, and Retention pond baptism by die with the most likes.

I am my own suffering by ACK. (OpenSea)

What do you listen to when creating art: 

I have a really weird and wide taste in music. It might be Taylor Swift one day. It might be like Creed the other day. Its just really random based on what I feel like listening to. It could be as random as piano covers of popular songs or reggae covers of popular songs. Its just the most random stuff. Its probably a testament to how scatty I am in general.