Currently Relevant
March 22, 2023

Currently Relevant: Edition 1

This week: Credit Suisse coverage is ahead of the curve, there’s plenty of good news on the crypto project funding front, and an influential tech entrepreneur sets heads scratching with an expensive $2 million bet.

Welcome to Currently Relevant, The Relevance House’s weekly roundup curating the best of news, views, and stories from the blockchain, crypto, and Web3 space.  

This week: Credit Suisse coverage is ahead of the curve, there’s plenty of good news on the crypto project funding front, and an influential tech entrepreneur sets heads scratching with an expensive $2 million bet.

The Big Picture

Like the rest of the financial sector this week, all eyes in the crypto world (including ours) have been on banks – most specifically, the end of Credit Suisse, a 176-year old stalwart of Swiss banking. The pace of events over the last week has been startling. Yet even so, here at The Relevance House, we’ve been seriously impressed by the depth and quality of coverage from the flagship financial outlets as things have unfolded.

The Financial Times broke the news of the UBS takeover before it had even been officially confirmed, while by Monday afternoon Zurich time, Bloomberg had published an extensive post-mortem of the days leading up to Sunday’s announcement.

As our Content Editor Robynn remarked, journalists at both publications had clearly been working their sources hard – sources that were evidently in the rooms where things were happening.

What’s new in Web3?

Despite showing early promise, music NFT platforms have struggled to gain real traction among industry executives and high-profile artists. However, maybe there are other routes into the sector. The threatened closure of hip hop’s legendary mixtape platform DatPiff led Azeem Khan, fundraising lead at decentralized VC project Gitcoin, to muse whether or not NFTs could provide legacy music platforms with new methods of engagement and monetization in this piece for Consensus magazine.

Aavegotchi, the NFT “GameFi” project launched by lending platform Aave, closed a multi-year token sale earlier this week after successfully raising $30 million. According to Coindesk, the raise is the largest confirmed in the Web3 gaming sector so far this year and was achieved without the participation of VCs or large investors – a feat that always impresses in the decentralized crypto sphere.

Focus on fintech and digital assets

Degens had cause for alarm early in the week as battle lines were drawn between operators at popular DeFi aggregator service, DeFiLlama. Following a Twitter spat in which the pseudonymous lead developer had accused colleagues of staging a hostile takeover, relations later appeared to have been restored after the project released a statement attributing the incident to “poor communication and a misunderstanding within the team.” Phew.

Former Coinbase CTO and angel investor Balaji Srinivasan has created headlines with one of those “it could only happen in crypto” stories. Last Friday, as a gesture to seal his bet that the banking crisis would cause hyperinflation in the US, he effectively wagered $2 million that BTC would reach $1 million within the next 90 days. To paraphrase Bloomberg’s Matt Levine: what?

In other news, crypto VC funding has made a stellar bounceback in March after a prolonged downturn following last year’s market turmoil. Coindesk reports that VCs spent over $7 billion this month, up from under $1 billion in February. Brief blip or remarkable recovery? Given the current economic climate, it could go either way.

Inside the infrastructure

Microsoft is reportedly working on an Ethereum wallet that will be integrated into the Edge browser. It will be the first time that users can send and receive tokens and NFTs without downloading any additional extensions such as MetaMask.

Mastercard has entered into a partnership that will allow customers in the Asia Pacific region to spend stablecoins via their credit card. The company’s head of fintech in Australasia said that the collaboration with crypto operator Stables is a “significant development” for Web3 adoption.

Could this bear market end up being the one in which crypto finally overcomes its usability barrier?

Tweet of the week

On Crypto Twitter, dire economic circumstances invariably result in a flood of dark humor and memes. This week’s Twitter pick comes courtesy of Ryan Selkis (@twobitidiot), founder of digital asset analytics firm Messari, in reference to a rumored further interest rate hike by the Fed.

For the uninitiated: Selkis invokes another tweet that, for many in the crypto community, has become synonymous with the $60 billion collapse of the Terra ecosystem. Dark indeed.

Tip of the week

Polls are an often-overlooked tool on social media, but they can be a great way to ramp up engagement, conduct informal market research, and discover more about the kind of content your audience likes. Next time you’re stuck for ideas and can’t think of anything to post on Twitter or LinkedIn, ask a question!

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