65% plunge in Web3 Games in ’23 but ‘real hits’ coming, $26M NFL Rivals NFT: Web3 Gamer

Can Shrapnel save Web3 gaming after a horror 2023? Why Disney’s NFT platform is “irrelevant” and the $26M NFT in free mobile game NFL RIvals.

As the year winds down, every gaming company and its dog are dropping year-in-review reports.

A recent report from blockchain gaming accelerator Game7 suggests that many game developers had an enforced nap instead of pumping out new games.

This year, just 223 Web3 games were launched, a 65% drop from the 640 games started in 2022 and even more distant from the 811 games that got going in 2021.

Web3 game releases per year (Game7)

So whats the deal with the sudden nosedive in output?

Well, the optimistic answer is Rome wasnt built in a day.

It seems to be what Immutable co-founder and president Robbie Ferguson believes that many great Web3 gaming hits are on the way … but patience is required. 

Speaking to Magazine, Ferguson says that there has been a significant surge of money into Web3 games lately, and developers are focusing on crafting standout hits:

The last year has been really interesting, Web3 gaming has had such an influx of investment, its just the time-lag of the production of games until we start seeing hits … roughly $15 billion U.S. has been invested in Web3 gaming over the past 3 years.

Immutable now has more than 200 games on the platform, and games such as Shardbound Blade Of God, Arkbound and Galactico Manager 24 have 8+ figures in funding collectively, and have shipped multiple 10 million+ player hits,” according to Immutable spokesperson Alex Revutsky.

Similarly, John Stefanidis, CEO of Balthazar Gaming DAO, mentions the amount of cash flowing in the Web3 gaming scene, even though new money from retail is yet to flow back into the overall crypto markets.

“The appetite has significantly increased. Projects are minting out and raising money again. I think the belief in Web3 has continued to grow, even in the bear market, Stefanidis says.

But in 2024, the real hits wont just be tossing money around to keep players hooked, at least according to Gabby Dizon, co-founder of Yield Guild Games. 

Read also

Fan tokens: Day trading your favorite sports team


An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest: The Parlous State of Financial Education

In a recent interview with Cointelegraph, Dizon declared that the most successful Web3 games in 2024 will pivot from play-to-earn (P2E) to instead focus on being entirely free-to-play to attract players.

Keep an eye on Shrapnel, the AAA first-person extraction shooter blockchain game, to see whether it will emerge as a hit or a flop.

The game has been getting a ton of hype in the industry. 

Its set on Earth in the year 2038, where the objective is to gather valuable in-game assets and safely extract them while facing off against enemies and rival players.

The coming months will also see the debut of the long-awaited Illuvium games, along with other big titles.

However, Stefanidis told Magazine that the games that will score big might just be the ones doing the classic, promise less, but deliver way more:

“I think the challenges that games are having right now are trying to deliver on the huge number of promises that they’ve made, and they’re struggling to acquire users off the back of that when there are other games coming out that are promising much less.”

Ferguson predicts that the first hit blockchain game will catalyze an entirely new narrative as developers will be able to see the playbook used to make successful games.

By the end of this year, there should no longer be any roadblocks for a game thats successful enough from being able to succeed.

Blowfish Studios announce early access to Phantom Galaxies

The team behind the new sci-fi action RPG game Phantom Galaxies described the gaming space as “challenging and unpredictable” when it announced early access to the game.

Are the developers fessing up to a little bit of market jitters as they roll out the new game?

Its probably unnecessary as the title has garnered considerable attention online, already clocking up over 100,000 followers on the X platform, aka Twitter.

Published by Blowfish Studios, a subsidiary of Web3 giant Animoca Brands, Phantom Galaxies is available for free on both Steam and the Epic Games Store. 

Set in the aftermath of an interstellar war, the game unfolds as the Commonwealth and the Union come together to establish the Ranger Squadron   an outfit of skilled mecha pilots who guard human colonies on the outer edges of space.

Players join the squadron as an ensign a junior ranked officer controlling a transforming Starlighter, fighting against pirate factions and aliens. 

According to an official blog post, an official governance token called Astrafer can be used to splash on credits, Ores, and U-Cubes for upgrading the Starfighter.

There are three ranger tracks available in the game. The first two, Standard and Advanced, hook every player up with rewards after hitting certain levels. But heres the bummer Astrafer isnt part of the rewards for these two tracks, unfortunately.

Read also

How to prepare for the end of the bull run, Part 1: Timing


Crypto winter can take a toll on hodlers mental health

The priciest option for players is the Elite Track. Right now, this track is the only way to earn Astrafer in the game, but dont worry, they swear it wont be like this forever.

The Elite Track is the only way to receive ASTRAFER in-game currently, but this will change in future.

However, if users arent into making moolah, they can hop on the Standard Track for free.

Disneys Web3 platform irrelevant

Disney has decided to dip its toes in the nonfungible token space after tossing its metaverse plans out the window earlier this year along with 50 jobs.

In a partnership with blockchain and metaverse firm Dapper Labs, it has created an NFT platform that will offer iconic cartoon characters from the past century on the marketplace, dubbed Disney Pinnacle. 

The platform will also include icons from Pixar as well as heroes and villains from the Star Wars galaxy, styled as collectible and tradable digital pins.

But … is this buzz around mega-billion dollar companies jumping into the Web3 scene still a thing?

Ilja Moisejevs, co-founder of Solana NFT marketplace Tensor, believes it really isnt worth the fuss:

Not sure if it’s an unpopular opinion but Disney, Nike, Sbux, the next Web2 brand getting into Web3 … is irrelevant. It’s like worrying if Walmart will start using the web in 1999. Sure they will, eventually, who cares 99% of web’s value capture was done by web-native startups.

Hot Take: NFL Rivals

NFL Rivals is a mobile blockchain game published by Mythical Games in collaboration with the National Football League (NFL).

The gaming crew only recently bid farewell to Ethereum blockchain and jumped ship to Polkadot. They pointed the finger at Ethereums sluggish transaction speeds and wallet-draining costs. 

Before you roll your eyes at an NFL title, nope, you dont need to be a sports guru for this one. 

Honestly, its not really a game thatll make die-hard sports fans excited. Its straightforward, and thats the beauty of it.

I got sucked into the gameplay, and I swear Ive never seen an NFL match. 

NFL Rivals
NFL Rivals is a free mobile game.

If youre on the hunt for a fresh game to kill time during a delayed flight or keep you entertained when your dates fashionably late, this is the one. 

Better yet, it doesnt cost you a dime to play on your iPhone or Android. 

The tutorial was surprisingly efficient, not like those never-ending ones. It covered throws and kicks and got right into the gameplay without any fuss. 

Once youre in the game, you wear the team manager hat. You assemble your players every game, level up, recruit better players (and ditch the underperformers).

Rivals 2
You can buy and sell players in NFL Rivals.

Once you hit level four in the game, you unlock the option to buy, sell, and trade individual NFL players as NTFs on the Mythical online marketplace.

Jaquan is available for the low, low price of $26M

I took a quick peek at the marketplace, and the big shot collectible is Jaquan Brisker, selling for a massive 100 million MYTH.

Thats around $26 million USD, in case you were wondering.

If youre not ready to splash that type of cash, no worries you can grab yourself a bargain with Justin Houston for just 1.5 MYTH, about $0.39 USD.

What I do like about NFL Rivals is that it seamlessly fits into the iPhone screen, unlike some soccer and tennis games that Ive tried where your thumbs end up covering half the action. Not cool. 

Controls? Pretty smooth. Even if youve got chubby fingers, this game wont have you pulling your hair out. 

More from the Web3 gaming space

  Popular game studio Avalon has teased its new User-Generated Content (UGC) MMORPG in a 90-second trailer. 

  Immutable teams up with Japanese game developer Black Tower Studios to release Web3 game Arkbound.

  Gaming giant Ubisoft has announced plans to launch an Ethereum nonfungible token (NFT) for its upcoming game Champion Tactics. 

  PancakeSwap expands its gaming offerings with the launch of PancakeSwap Gaming Marketplace.

Michael Saylor’s a fan, but Frisby says bull run needs a new guru: X Hall of Flame

Bitcoiner Dominic Frisby counts Michael Saylor as a fan… but says we need a new Bitcoin evangalist & narrative to propel the next bull run.

Dominic Frisby recalls meeting MicroStrategys Michael Saylor for the first time at a crypto event. What started off as an awe-struck moment became confusing after things took an unexpected turn.

I saw Michael Saylor there. I was like, Wow, thats him! he tells Magazine. But it was Saylor who quickly came over and introduced himself before Frisby had a chance:

He just came up to me and said, Ive seen some of your videos, and I really like your work and what youre doing. Would you like to come over to dinner?

Frisby explains he was thrilled to be hanging with the OG Bitcoin maxi in Saylors house, which is much nicer than his own.

Every time I watch a Michael Saylor video, I get orange pilled. The guy is so clever, he declares.

Its something of a mutual admiration society, with Saylor frequently sharing Frisbys television appearances discussing Bitcoin.

Frisby is not just a Bitcoiner and has his fingers in a bunch of different pies, including cracking jokes on stage as a respected comedian, writing books and hosting TV shows.

With a modest 32,300 followers on Twitter some way behind Saylors massive 3.1 million hes still making a name for himself and can often be heard talking about Bitcoin on radio stations like BBC 5.

Oh, and ever heard of hit U.K. show Money Pit? Well, Frisby was the face of it. He admits he has a knack for juggling multiple balls at once.

Im a bit of a jack of all trades, and I just tend to go and do whatever interests me in any given moment.

Frisby can also boast of having penned one of the very first credible books on Bitcoin, Bitcoin: The Future of Money, published by Unbound back in 2014. 

I think it was the first book on Bitcoin from a recognized publisher, he declares.

Despite his admiration for Saylor, he thinks the next generation needs its own Bitcoin champion.

I think Roger Ver was a brilliant evangelist for Bitcoin. Saylor was a brilliant evangelist for Bitcoin. But when the next bull market happens, we need a new evangelist. We need to find some new narratives to propel the story.

And even though hes a self-proclaimed Bitcoin maximalist, he admits hes got a small bag of Ether tucked away, even if thats more an investment in Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin than the actual network itself.

My portfolio is probably over 90% Bitcoin, and Ive got some Ethereum. That guy [Vitalik] Buterin, hes obviously really clever. And I sort of think by investing in Ethereum, youre effectively investing in Vitalik.

What led to Twitter fame?

Frisby admits that his Twitter is a bit all over the place, a bit of a hopscotch.

He acknowledges that things might be better for him if he just focused on ranting about one topic.

If I just tweeted about crypto all day long, I would probably have a much bigger following than I do.

His followers spiked in 2021 when Frisby and a group of others went to well-known landmarks in the United Kingdom and beamed messages onto them.

I was involved in this thing where we got a projector. And we went round projecting slogans on public buildings, he explains.

Frisby decided to project the message Bitcoin fixes this on the Bank of England.

What type of content can people expect?

Frisbys tweets are all over the place one day its Bitcoin, the next its CBDCs, and then he throws in some comedy or drops a new music video.

His latest project is a parody song and music video on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Titled Programmable money, Frisby plays the chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab. He starts off chanting CBDC and then goes these monitor every purchase you make, every transaction or decision you make.

It cost me a few thousand quid, and I had to call in a lot of favors. Yeah, I mean you can see its an expensive video.

It looks like its paying off, getting shoutouts from well-known economist Lyn Alden and the famous Bitcoin podcaster Peter McCormack.

Read also

Should crypto projects ever negotiate with hackers? Probably


Here’s how to keep your crypto safe

What content do you enjoy?

Frisby is a Bitcoin maxi for all the wrong reasons.

I just dont have the time to study all these other coins, and Im in various WhatsApp groups and stuff and Telegram chats, and I just cant keep up with this new coin and that new coin. I just dont have the time or the energy.

He rattles off a few of his favorite commentators, like Lyn Alden, Peter McCormack, GiGi, Bitcoin entrepreneur Robert Breedlove and Adam Back, CEO of Blockstream.


By the sound of it, Frisbys been thrown the prediction ball before:

Do you want me to give you a headline stupid prediction that will get loads of clicks because Ive said Bitcoins going to half a million dollars, or do you want me to give you a realistic one that in three years time people go, You got that prediction right!

Obviously, we want the prediction that gets lots of clicks, but well take what we can get.
Frisbys prediction seems pretty reasonable for the upcoming cycle, suggesting we might hit an average price between $70,000 and $100,000.

But it could shoot up to a whopping $250,000 during this cycle. Maybe we should put that in the headline?

DMT and a Hellboy outfit — How diewiththemostlikes got on SuperRare: NFT Creator

Relentless & funny NFT Creator diewiththemostlikes says “good meat” instead of “gm!” and got on SuperRare thanks to DMT and a Hellboy outfit.

Mark Wilson the artist known as diewiththemostlikes has a truly unique style to his art and a presence that could be described as grotesque, performative, thought-provoking and hilarious all in one packet of rolled-up ground beef.

In a digital art market where supply can be infinite, the Indiana-based artist really stands out from the crowd with his ability to garner attention by often ridiculing the NFT space and eliciting both humor and sadness within his work.

An author of five books, diewiththemostlikes has a passion for not only visual art but also scribing his streams of consciousness. He originally minted his first NFT on March 26, 2021, on Foundation after a random account on X reached out because Wilson had made a joke campaign poster for comedian Eric Andre that went viral.

This dude reached out and just said, Hey, I have a Foundation invite. Would you want to mint a piece on there? I said I dont know what minting is. I dont know what Foundation is. I have no clue what any of this shit is, Diewiththemostlikes explains.

He said, It could be a good avenue for your digital art, so I said, Well, fuck it, man. Its not like Im not doing anything with it now. Its getting two likes on Instagram from fucking porn bots. So, whatever, Ill mint something, and maybe I can sell something finally as an artist that would be nice. 

It was a relatively slow start, but consistency and persistence positioned him well, and hes often received praise from other well-known artists such as OSF

Now knocking on the door of digital art stardom, diewiththemostlikes still hasnt come to grips with the position he finds himself in.

I still honestly cant really wrap my head around this shit thats going on. I just assumed I was gonna die alone doing something I hated. To be part of this kind of movement with all these other really insane artists who are on this crazy trajectory and who are constantly leveling up is really cool. Its pretty wild, he says.

our memories were beef too by diewiththemostlikes
Our memories were beef too by Diewiththemostlikes. (SuperRare)

Origin of catchy and cumbersome name

How did the name diewiththemostlikes come about? Well, in classic die fashion, theres humor and an underlying meaning.

Ive got the most common name to ever exist, Mark Wilson. When I was applying for apartments, people would think it was a scammer name because Mark Wilson is a super common name here in the States. They would do a background check and think I was a fake person. 

Im cool with my name… But diewiththemostlikes kind of came in, and its funny because its actually a really cumbersome name to say. A lot of people during interviews will ask what they even call me. Its a really long and kind of an unenjoyable name to say, but I suppose that I find comfort in that. Discomfort, if you will, or the inability to kind of determine what I should be called is awesome.

The name pokes fun at a world where we seek likes on social media for dopamine hits, which Wilson points out is a transactional existence.

Its a really interesting distillation of our transactional existence as a whole and kind of how fucking sad and depressing it can be in many ways. But also the beauty of it, obviously, none of us would be here; we wouldnt be talking here without Twitter. Certainly, my art wouldnt be doing what it was doing, or I wouldnt be able to impact anybody without a platform.

Big! Election Day! by diewiththemostlikes
Big! Election Day! by Diewiththemostlikes. (

Finding a story in peculiar places

Observing society and its idiosyncrasies is a big inspiration, and his work often carries open or sometimes subliminal messages that make collectors really stop and think.

Of course, always the prankster with a dry sense of humor, diewiththemostlikes is quick to tie a bow around it with some over-the-top window dressing.

I would say theres stories in the most peculiar places. Theres a story in every sagging ass of anyone walking around the fucking dregs of this country, he says. Within those kinds of nuanced little wrinkles, scabs and wounds is where I thrive and where I love to exist.

This lens on life and humanity is often exaggerated… If you look a little deeper on my pieces, theyre definitely documentarian but certainly grotesque at a very surface level.

regarding the inhalation of failing dreams by diewiththemostlikes
Regarding the inhalation of failing dreams by Diewiththemostlikes. (SuperRare)

Good meat! Sublime satire

The tsunami of crypto X accounts posting gm led to a series of meat art.

Good meat originally arose out of a place of complete ridicule, which is where a lot of my art I feel like comes from. Its satire; its ridicule; its hilarity. I was really annoyed with the transactional state of everybody just saying gm, with nothing else to say. It was gm with a fucking coffee mug, and that was it. Then you just see gm, gm, gm, gm. It was just like, What the fuck are we all doing here? This is insane, dude, says Wilson.

So, then I kind of came up with good meat as a way to ridicule that, and I was posting art with the pieces originally, and then it kind of transitioned into now. Im just gonna post meat pictures now because that fits the kind of dull exchange. The dull morning exchange that we all participate in.

Its just like heres a big heaving pile of rotting meat. Enjoy it or dont enjoy it. Its all good. But its funny because now people will say good meat back, or theyll have their own good meat-inspired post, and its fucking super cool. I love that meat is infecting the space in some capacity.

Read also

$3.4B of Bitcoin in a popcorn tin: The Silk Road hacker’s story


Bitcoin ledger as a secret weapon in war against ransomware

Notable sales to date

Rapid-fire Q&A


I dont have a ton, honestly, and most of that is just because I dont have any art background. I would actually say, growing up, most of my influence was actually in the books I was reading. People like Irvine Welsh, Haruki Murakami, Michel Houellebecq, and, of course, Hunter S. Thompson. All those kinds of absurdists are where I love to dwell.

I should obviously mention Ralph Steadman, who is a fucking incredible illustrator. When I got into this space, somebody said, Your stuff reminds me of Ralph Steadman, and I think thats incredible.

Read also

We tracked down the original Bitcoin Lambo guy


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

Personal style of art

I think one word I would use is relentless. The style itself its funny; I never took an art class in high school and was described as adequate. Thats really the extent of my art history. I didnt study art. Its more or less I bludgeoned my way into making these things. Its been like 20,000 hours on the iPad and in my basement making canvases and acrylic.

Its just bludgeoning stuff out that I feel like has to come out or else itll rob me from the inside, so relentless and unflinching, I guess, are the two words that I would use. Theres almost a psychotic pursuit and an urgency to what I want to tell people.

Which hot NFT artists should we be paying attention to? 

Xer0x I feel like hes massively slept on, like horrifically slept on in many ways. Thats a guy whos obsessed with his craft, and he makes super deep, very personal pieces that are true artistic achievements.

Alien Queen Alien Queen is the shit, but shes probably not even up-and-coming anymore. 

James Bloom Hes a true blockchain artist. The dude is making these super technical and really fucking rad pieces that evolve and change based on interactions.

Omega by xer0x
Omega by Xer0x. (SuperRare)

Notable collector 

I have to give a massive shout-out to SuperRare Zach. Hes been so nice and cool, and he onboarded me after this crazy absurdist tweet campaign to get on SuperRare. To get accepted to SuperRare, it was essentially a tweet that I sent that said I just submitted my application video.

It is me doing DMT and performing How Stella Got Her Groove Back while dressed like Hellboy or something. It was just like an insane tweet, and he just said, This is nuts. Youre on. Id already been putting in work and stuff, but I would say Zach is awesome.

Favorite NFT in your wallet 

Oh, man, I would have to say Pindar Van Arman made this dope ass quantum portrait of me thats super special. Its really goddamn rad. Thats probably my favorite piece that I own. Its a dope-ass piece, and he was so nice to do it. He didnt ask; he just made it. 

Quantum Portrait of diewiththemostlikes by Pindar Van Arman
Quantum portrait of Diewiththemostlikes by Pindar Van Arman. (OpenSea)

What do you listen to when creating art?

I love music. I mean, the absurd part of me would say that I create to Nickelback and Creed and fucking all those other dumb bands. But really, I listen to a shit ton of doom metal and death metal. Bands like Bongripper, Gate Creeper and Withered. Anything thats just slow, grimy and brutal is the only way that you can kind of describe it.




No civil protection for crypto in China, $300K to list coins in Hong Kong? Asia Express

Chinese court knocks back civil lawsuit over “illegal” crypto, Hong Kong exchanges gain momentum, The Block gets $60M from Singapore firm.

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

Hot week for Hong Kong exchanges 

Hashkey Exchange one of the first regulated crypto exchanges in Hong Kong has announced insurance coverage for clients assets stored in its hot and cold wallets. accounts. The policy will cover 50% of Hashkeys digital assets in cold wallets and 100% of digital assets in hot wallets, paying out from $50 million to $400 million in the event of a claim.

Hashkey’s partnership with fintech OneDegree will also see the pair co-develop novel crypto security solutions for the exchange to manage server downtime, data back-up, and load control. “Getting insurance cover from OneInfinity by OneDegree not only fulfills the Securities and Futures Commission requirements, we believe the collaboration can also enhance our financial, technical, and service infrastructure to provide our customers with comprehensive protection,” said Livio Wang, chief operating officer of Hashkey Group.

Read also

Blockchain and the worlds growing plastic problem


Attack of the zkEVMs! Cryptos 10x moment

Wang also disclosed that the exchange plans to submit four major altcoins for listing approval to the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Commission. Since its license was approved in August, Hashkey has grown to over 120,000 customers with a cumulative trading volume surpassing $10 billion. 

Hong Kong
Hong Kong cityscape (Pexels)

BC Technology Group, the owner of another licensed exchange, OSL, has announced a $91 million strategic investment from BGX crypto group. BGX CEO Patrick Pan called the investment “a strategic move that reflects our belief in the immense potential of the digital asset market.” Last month, Bloomberg reported that BC Technology Group was seeking to spin off the OSL exchange for $128 million, which the company denied at the time.

While Hong Kong crypto exchanges are gaining traction, the barrier to entry for users and token developers alike appears to be high. In an announcement on Nov. 15, Hashkey stated that token developers must pay a non-refundable application fee of $10,000 for listing their coins or tokens on the exchange.

Hashkey also warned that developers should expect a total cost of $50,000 to $300,000 for the listing process, if approved, in addition to due diligence or advisory fees.

Hashkey's crypto insurance partnership with OneDegree. (Hashkey)
Hashkey’s crypto insurance partnership with OneDegree. (Hashkey)

The Block gets a fresh start

Crypto media publication The Block has received a $60 million investment for 80% of its equity from Singaporean venture capital firm Foresight Ventures but will still operate as a separate company.

As told by CEO Larry Cermak on Nov. 13, the deal “gives The Block a fresh start ahead of the bull market and provides us with more capital to build out new exciting products and expand our footprint into Asia and the Middle East.”

Forrest Bai, CEO of Foresight Ventures, told Cointelegraph that “the purchase of The Block marks a crucial milestone, substantially strengthening Foresight Ventures’ position in the cryptocurrency sector.”

The Block became embroiled in the FTX scandal last year when it came to light that former CEO Mike McCaffrey took millions of dollars in loans from FTX founder and convicted felon Sam Bankman-Fried. Much of the capital was used to buy out his shares. The Block reportedly laid off 33% of its staff due to the overall market downturn and fallout from the incident.

Read also

Bitcoin: A Peer To Peer Online Poker Payment System by Satoshi Nakamoto


WTF happened in 1971 (and why the f**k it matters so much right now)

No civil protection for crypto in China 

A third Chinese court has voided a crypto investment contract on the basis that cryptocurrencies contravene the spirit of its crypto ban and, therefore, are not protected by law, at least in civil disputes.

As narrated by the Liaoning Zhuanhe People’s Court on Nov. 14, the plaintiff, Wang Ping, lent the equivalent of $552,300 Tether (USDT) to a friend, Zhao Bin, for the purposes of investing in altcoins in 2022. The transaction resulted in heavy losses for Wang, leading them to subsequently file a lawsuit demanding the return of the principal. The defendant, Zhao, refused.

At trial, the presiding judge ruled that the plaintiff had no right to judicial relief as transactions between cryptocurrencies are classified as “illegal activity.” Therefore, all “virtual currency and related derivatives violate public order and good customs, and the relevant civil legal actions are invalid, and the resulting losses shall be borne by them.”

“Virtual currency does not have the same legal status as legal currency. Virtual currency-related business activities are illegal financial activities. It is also an illegal financial activity for overseas virtual currency exchanges to provide services to residents in my country through the internet.”

The ruling follows other precedents set by Chinese civil courts earlier this year. However, recently, the Chinese government has clarified that certain criminal acts pertaining to digital currencies, such as theft of nonfungible tokens, are prosecutable under the penal code. Chinese has enforced its crypto ban since 2021.

Philippines to issue tokenized bonds 

The Philippines Bureau of Treasury (BTr) is seeking to raise the equivalent of $180 million from its domestic capital market through the issuance of tokenized bonds.

As announced on Nov. 16, the tokenized bonds are one-year fixed-rate government securities that pay semi-annual coupons offered to institutional investors starting next week. The bonds will be issued in the form of digital tokens and maintained in the BTr’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) registry. “As part of the National Governments Government Securities Digitalization Roadmap, the maiden issuance of TTBs aims to provide the proof-of-concept for the wider use of DLT in the government bond market,” the institution said.

In July, Cointelegraph reported that nonprofit The Blockchain Council of the Philippines partnered with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to foster Web3 adoption in the Southeast Asian country. The organizations will be working to educate and collaborate with local stakeholders within the Philippine blockchain ecosystem, including government bodies, Web3 developers, and civil societies. 

Crypto in the Philippines
The Philippines looks like leaping directly from cash to a digital currency future.

‘$10K JPGs’ scare away gamers, Animoca’s crypto game streaming plans: Web3 Gamer

Animoca buys game streaming platform Azarus that rewards users with crypto, Project Xeno, and why $10K NFTs scare away real gamers.

Animoca Brands buys streaming platform for blockchain games

Hong Kong Web3 gaming giant Animoca Brands (The Sandbox, Revv, Phantom Galaxies), has acquired blockchain-powered streaming platform Azarus for an undisclosed sum.

Built around the slogan streams are not TV, Azarus allows users to livestream their gameplay while using tokens for incentives and rewards. Animoca Brands says it wants to change gaming culture with Azarus tech, by enabling streamers to generate new sources of income, engage their audience and reward their followers while allowing viewers to support their preferred creators. 

Read also

Blockchain fail-safes in space: SpaceChain, Blockstream and Cryptosat


When worlds collide: Joining Web3 and crypto from Web2

This is actually how Twitch won out over the competition originally. By focusing on the interaction between streamers and their audience and designing layered incentives for users to be a part of the community, Azarus also has the potential to grow to a point where blockchain games can meet a much bigger audience.

Collaborating with known brands and streamers, Azarus has already disbursed rewards exceeding $2 million to a diverse audience of over 20 million unique players.

Animoca Brands Executive Chairman Yat Siu likens Azarus to the early days of The Sandbox, which Animoca also invested in, while Azarus CEO Alexander Casassovici says the deal amplifies our vision.

Were not just enhancing streaming; were pioneering a movement where every viewer becomes an active participant, and every stream becomes an immersive experience.

Animoca has a promising library of Web3 games under its umbrella, which means it already has the content necessary to develop the game streaming experience. Now, combined with Azarus tech, Web3 gamers can build a much more vivid community by banding together around their favorite games. The acquisition can also pave the way for Web3 gaming to become a popular profession onboarding the next wave of gaming talent to take part in the future of blockchain gaming.

GAM3 Awards returns with a familiar jury

Web3 gamings new night of nights, the GAM3 Awards, is returning for its second year with three new categories: Best Fighting Game, Best Sports Game and Best On-Chain Game.

Thanks to a bunch of big-name sponsors including Amazon, Google, Magic Eden and the Blockchain Game Alliance, theres $2 million worth of prizes up for grabs.

The first installment last year saw over 100 nominees across 16 categories, more than 250,000 votes, and a livestream of the event reaching over 30,000 users.

Big Time, a free-to-play multiplayer action RPG game set to launch its preseason, won Game of the Year, while Shrapnel, a competitive extraction shooter currently preparing for its public playtest, was the winner of the Most Anticipated Game award.

The events jury comprises prominent figures from the gaming world, including Web3 gaming VCs, chains, infrastructure partners, content creators and yours truly. The jurys decision will affect 90% of the final outcome, with community votes accounting for the remaining 10%.

The grand finale is planned to happen on Dec. 14 and will be streamed live.

Teaching financial literacy through Web3 games

The crypto and blockchain world gathered in Istanbul this week for Binances flagship event, Binance Blockchain Week. And, of course, blockchain gaming was a huge part of the two-day summit. Between the networking and servings of delicious Turkish food, I found a space to attend a panel where CryptoPotato editor-in-chief George Georgiev was asking some on-point questions about Web3 gaming to industry experts: Animoca’s Siu, Gomble co-founder Chris Chang, Xterio chief operating officer Jeremy Horn.

Who cares about this $10,000 jpeg!

Those were the words of Xterio’s Horn to underline the point that when developers focus on financial gain, they scare away actual gamers. He also compared the attitude of gamers in the East to the ones in the West regarding Web3 games, stating that Eastern gamers have a higher tolerance for pay-to-win elements, as they are more familiar with free-to-play games.

In gaming, we teach people all the time about new systems, added Siu. When you think about every new game you played, you come out of it youve learned a new skill.

He said his children could talk all day about Pokemon characters, Call of Duty skills and Apex Legends characters off the top of their heads. Gamers learn stuff all the time in the games they play.

Read also

Get your money back: The weird world of crypto litigation


Why join a blockchain gaming guild? Fun, profit and create better games

And its true. You learn attacking patterns in Elden Ring after rage quitting ten times and getting killed five times as often. Gamers know the players names in your favorite football club from playing FIFA. Some people even have military knowledge from games like Battlefield and Call of Duty.

So, when he said we could teach financial literacy through tokenized Web3 games and educate these games players, I believe he has a valid point. What Web3 needs is mainstream adoption, and to achieve that, people need to know that it isnt a scam or a get-rich scheme. That can only happen through education. Siu noted:

Were finally getting to the moment in time where the work from all of the developers working in Web3 is finally paying off.

I really would like to see those promises fulfilled. People are starving for good games, especially in Web3. Good, quality games are the only way to gain popularity for Web3 gaming. When they come out and only if theyre really good people will turn their heads and say, Oh look, there is that game in Web3 that I wanna play!

Hot Take: Project Xeno

Artwork for PROJECT XENO
PROJECT XENO promotional art. (PROJECT XENO)

Developed by Japan-based CROOZ Blockchain Lab, Project Xeno is a tactical turn-based player versus player (PvP) game where players can battle each other using their NFT characters. It has a play-to-earn model, which rewards players for their in-game achievements with crypto assets.

Xenos are NFT characters used in battles that can be upgraded with leveling, weapons (that are NFTs) and charms (also NFTs). Each Xeno has two passive skills and a special skill. Special skills can be used by spending a special meter and leveling up using the in-game currency.

The players can put their three Xenos wherever they like in a 3×3 space. Characters are divided into six classes, which can equip four skill cards each. There are glimpses of a team-building aspect and some effort to put strategy elements in, but it needs some improvements.

The English translation is done poorly, with many examples, such as the Skill strengthen tab in the shop. Progression feels very slow and requires quite a bit of grinding if you are not willing to spend money. It’s a no from me, but if youd like to check the game out, Project Xeno is free-to-play and downloadable on Android and iOS.

The gameplay is fairly simple. It made me wonder if itd be more fun if Project Xeno were an auto-battler or an idle game, as it felt like it didnt even need me around to play the game at times. The graphics are fun, but dont expect too much on that front.

More from Web3 gaming space:

Layer 1 blockchain and smart contract platform Sui teams up with Space and Time to provide Web3 game developers with zero-knowledge-proof-based tools.

Immutable announces four upcoming Web3 games for its zero-knowledge scaling solution, zkEVM: GensoKishi Online, Cursed Stone, Sailwars and Rave.

Illuvium is set to launch on the Epic Store Nov. 28.

Decentralized cloud provider Aethir gets backing from Nvidia.

Grammy-nominated DJ and world-famous music producer Steve Aoki collaborates with STEPN for a digital sneaker collection.

Ronin-based mobile RTS game Wild Forest begins open beta on Nov. 9.

Solana Labs launches the beta version of GameShift, a Web3 service for game developers.

China’s surprise NFT move, Hong Kong’s $15M Bitcoin fund: Asia Express

China issues legal guidance that gives NFT markets hope, Bitget invests $10M in Indian startups, SEBA Bank’s Hong Kong license: Asia Express.

China to protect NFTs 

In a surprise move, the Chinese government has guaranteed legal protection for NFTs.

In response to a series of often conflicting judicial opinions on the state of cryptocurrency in the country, the Chinese government has officially issued a legal commentary on dealing with cases of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) theft and their status as virtual property protected by law. 

According to a Nov. 9 publication by Chinas state-controlled Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SUPL), digital collectibles such as NFTs unlike ordinary online images conform to the characteristics of online virtual property due to their non-tamperable features, unique codes and detailed transaction information.

“This highlights the scarcity of digital collections, which have both use value and exchange value,” jurists write. “According to Article 127 of the Civil Code, it can be seen that from the perspective of civil law, online virtual property is regarded as an object of rights that ‘is different from property rights, creditors rights, intellectual property rights, etc. and is protected by civil law’.”

In addition, jurists state that the theft of NFTs, therefore, carries applicable criminal penalties, which can be evaluated in conjunction with related offenses committed during the course of the theft, such as hacking into computer systems or data theft.

“Digital collections have technical characteristics that cannot be copied, indicating that the holder has exclusive control. If the digital collection is stolen by others, the holder loses exclusive control,” jurists from SUPL say. 

“Although our country has not yet opened the secondary circulation market for NFTs, consumers can rely on the trading platform to complete operations such as purchase, collection, transfer, and destruction, and achieve exclusive possession, use, and disposal rights.”

China has seen a rise in civil disputes this year involving cryptocurrencies, with some courts ruling that virtual assets are protected by law and others saying they are not. Last month, Chinese government-owned newspaper China Daily announced a 2.813 million Chinese yuan ($390,000) grant for third-party contractors to design an NFT platform. In May, Chinese prosecutors announced they would crack down on “pseudo-innovations” within its NFT market. 

Chinese judge explains why the Bitcoin lending contract was invalid and therefore denied relief for breach of contract.
A Chinese judge explains that according to current laws, parties in a crypto lending contract are not entitled to judicial protection.

Bitget’s to invest in India 

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitget will invest $10 million over five years in startups primarily based in India. 

According to the Nov. 7 announcement, startups will have the opportunity to pitch to Bitget and venture capitalists including Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Ventures, and Draper Labs, during the BUIDL for Web3 multichain summit in India.

“Bitget aims to identify valuable and promising projects in the crypto space and provide them with comprehensive support, accelerating innovation in emerging technologies,” the exchange says. To qualify, projects must have a minimum viable product and hold multiple layers of security functionalities with auditing transparency.

Gracy Chen, Bitgets managing director, says that India is “the most wanted place to invest in Asia,” citing its constant advancements in blockchain and overall entrepreneurial spirit. The exchanges previous investments in Indian Web3 startups include AI-based script generator Grease Pencil, AI resume generator HAIr, and AI dermatological app Derma360. 

Read also

Investing in Blockchain Gaming: Why VCs Are Betting Big


Risky business: Celsius crisis and the hated accredited investor laws

Linekongs $15M Bitcoin Fund 

Linekong Interactive, a Chinese tech firm listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEX), will kickstart a $15 million fund dedicated to revitalizing the Bitcoin (BTC) ecosystem. 

According to founder Wang Feng, the new fund is dubbed “BTC Next” and will accelerate novel projects developing asset issuance, exchanges, virtual machines, NFTs and GameFi protocols on the Bitcoin blockchain.

“BTC NEXT will participate in the research and investment of Bitcoin network ecological assets as early as possible, publish crypto investment portfolios regularly, and update the list of Bitcoin ecological crypto assets participating in investment,” Wang writes. 

The Bitcoin ecosystem has expanded greatly this year with the invention of Ordinals and Inscriptions, two novel data storage methods that, together, allow users to mint unique digital assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. The market cap of Bitcoin tokens minted on the BRC-20 standard, mirrored after the Ethereum ERC-20 standard, has surpassed $1.4 billion since inception.

Linekong was founded in Beijing in 2007 with a focus on video games and cinema. In 2018, Wang Feng resigned as CEO of Linekong to focus on blockchain, founding several projects in the nonfungible tokens, decentralized finance, and Bitcoin mining space. He returned to Linekong as CEO in 2022 after an invitation from the firms board of directors to better integrate Linekong products with Web3.

The Ordinals Timeline
The Ordinals timeline. (Originals Bot)

SEBA Bank approved in Hong Kong 

Swiss fintech SEBA Bank has received a license from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). 

The license permits SEBA Bank to conduct regulated activities in Hong Kong and distribute virtual asset-backed securities, advise on crypto assets, and manage crypto investment accounts on behalf of clients. It also permits SEBA Bank to distribute, manage, and advise on traditional securities, such as stocks. 

“Hong Kong has been at the center of the crypto economy since Bitcoins inception, and we are very pleased to have added this Hong Kong license with the full approval from the SFC to our existing licenses in Switzerland (FINMA) and Abu Dhabi (FSRA),” comments SEBA Bank CEO Franz Bergmueller. Meanwhile, Amy Yu, the firm’s Asia-Pacific CEO, praised the SFC for creating a “facilitative” environment during the licensing process. 

Cointelegraph previously reported that SEBA Bank launched institutional Ethereum staking services in September. In early 2022, the firm raised $119 million in a Series C funding round. 

The Hong Kong Web 3.0 Festival gallery hall (Twitter)
The Hong Kong Web3 Festival gallery hall (Twitter)

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.