Currently Relevant
September 14, 2023

Currently Relevant: Edition 12

This week: THE RELEVANCE HOUSE publishes first-of-its-kind quantified research into Web3 branding; Coinbase finds its feet again after recent messaging wobble; facepalms all around as Huobi rebrands to HTX.

Welcome to Currently Relevant, THE RELEVANCE HOUSE’s regular roundup curating the best of news, views, and stories from the blockchain, crypto, and Web3 space.  

This week: THE RELEVANCE HOUSE publishes first-of-its-kind quantified research into Web3 branding; Coinbase finds its feet again after recent messaging wobble; facepalms all around as Huobi rebrands to HTX.

What’s currently relevant in THE RELEVANCE HOUSE

This week, THE RELEVANCE HOUSE published our hotly anticipated first report into the state of crypto branding! This first-of-its-kind research into branding in the Web3 sector was created using our proprietary methodology, developed in-house. The first in the series is titled “Everything For Everyone All At Once” and focuses on centralized crypto exchanges – with some surprising findings.

The summary report is now available for download on our website. We are also offering a full 60-page version, which includes details of all the individual findings and analytics used for each company in scope. If this interests your organization, please drop us a PM.

Work is already underway on the next reports in this series, so please watch this space for plenty more insights on the state of Web3 branding to come!

Our Co-founder, German Ramirez, is busy moderating panels at the Swiss Web3 Festival this week. Check out this LinkedIn post for details of the Crypto Valley Deep Dive event in Zurich this Friday, 15th September, where German will be moderating guests from the Web3 Foundation, DFINITY, and Triton Software.

The Big Picture

In each edition, THE RELEVANCE HOUSE founder German Ramirez brings his marketing and strategy insights to the biggest stories from the world of Web3, delivered with a pinch of spice.

Coinbase back on its branding game

Coinbase continues to reorient itself following the SEC's strike against the crypto exchange back in June. Last week, the firm published a blog post outlining its international expansion plans, which are designed to diversify its operating risk away from US markets and towards more crypto-friendly jurisdictions. According to the announcement, the European Union, UK, UAE, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong are all in scope, based on Coinbase’s assessment of each jurisdiction’s engagement with crypto.

The announcement doesn’t shy away from the firm’s unhappiness with the divergent direction that US regulators have chosen to take, accusing the country of “sidelining” itself at the risk of “forfeiting its influence over the future of the financial system.”

This is a welcome and much-needed return to form from Coinbase. Only a few weeks ago, I was left gobsmacked by the company’s claims in a legal rebuttal to the SEC, which might have made some lawyers happy but effectively reduced its core business to an exchange of… Beanie Baby toys. (Yes, it really happened – you can read my full incredulous analysis here).

Now, after that wobble, the firm appears to be taking a much more sure-footed stance with this latest announcement. Coinbase has always had a powerful reputation as a company that wants to do things right, so the SEC legal action has understandably been a huge blow to its strategic direction.

Diversifying into international markets protects its license to operate and its reputation for compliance, simultaneously allowing the firm to shout “your loss” while flipping the bird at the SEC (metaphorically speaking, of course.)

Coinbase isn’t the only exchange that falters when it comes to consistent brand messaging – and it definitely isn’t the worst culprit. All of the top ten crypto brands serve up messaging that’s seemingly contradictory, such as revolutionizing the financial system while remaining focused on compliance. To discover how they ranked and more about their narratives and conflicts, download Everything For Everyone All at Once!

Funding news

Web3 looks set to benefit from a significant boost to funding this week, with announcements confirming over $400 million in new investment to the space.

  • Crypto VC firm Electric Capital has announced via an SEC filing that it intends to raise $300 million for a third fund, following two successful raises for a combined total of $1.1 billion.
  • Derivatives platform Bitget also announced it has allocated $100 million for investment in its ecosystem, including “regional exchanges, analytics firms, media organizations and entities that can contribute to its growth.”
  • Animoca Brands confirmed it has secured $20 million for investment in its Mocaverse project focusing on Web3 identity.

What’s new in Web3?

  • PayPal has made further inroads into streamlining the crypto user experience with an integration that allows users to move funds between their PayPal accounts and Web3 wallets such as MetaMask. While crypto users remain skeptical of PayPal as a centralized fintech giant, removing such a substantial amount of friction from the process could spur interest in crypto from PayPal’s sizable US user base.
  • Nobody is immune to being hacked in crypto, not even Vitalik Buterin himself. Last week, the Ethereum founder fell victim to a SIM-swapping attack, resulting in his X account being hacked and used to post a scam link. Users who fell for the scam lost a total of $691 million.
  • Ongoing bearish market sentiments didn’t dampen the mood at Korean Blockchain Week last week, as 10,000 delegates descended on Seoul for 48 hours to hear speeches from industry leaders including Vitalik, BitMEX founder Arthur Hayes, and Tron’s Justin Sun, who never fails to disappoint when it comes to making his presence known.

Focus on fintech and digital assets

  • Visa confirmed it is working with merchants to move millions worth of USDC on the Solana blockchain, aiming for faster settlement than on fiat rails. The news gave a brief lift to SOL, which later fell on fears of a selloff from the FTX bankruptcy estate holdings.
  • A survey from market intelligence firm Amberdata revealed that an eye-opening one-quarter of asset management firms have made appointments into senior positions dedicated to digital assets. The news illustrates that sentiments remain buoyant even if the markets remain flat.
  • Huobi has raised eyebrows in the crypto community after announcing it is changing its name to HTX. The new name is apparently supposed to reflect the name Huobi and the Tron blockchain – but we’d be willing to bet that for many in the crypto community, the new name evokes a different, now very publicly bankrupt exchange brand.

Inside the infrastructure

  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has confirmed the exchange will integrate the Lightning Network to enable faster and cheaper BTC transactions. The move follows in the footsteps of rival Binance, which had previously undertaken a similar integration in July.
  • The on-off relationship between messaging app Telegram and the TON blockchain network appears to have been cemented with the news that Telegram has formally adopted TON as its Web3 infrastructure, with an integration underway that will be completed in November. While TON began life as a Telegram initiative, it later broke away following legal action in the US, while the TON Foundation picked up development. TON will continue to operate as a separate decentralized organization from Telegram, a privately owned company.

Tweet of the week

This week’s tweet of the week is a departure from the usual wild Web3 content, as we spied a development that could prove to be a serious game-changer for creators of video and speech-based content.

This post, from a user called Jon Finger, showcases a new video translation service called HeyGen. The app can not only translate your voice from your native language into a destination language; it can manipulate the video so that your lips are in sync with the new language.

Check out the two-minute video where he translates a short video into both French and German, having no knowledge of either language:

What difference will this make to your video content strategy?

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