At a time when in-person shows have come to a halt globally, mainstream musical talent is beginning to take note of the growth of Ethereum-based digital art. In September, digital art sales reached $1M+ and October sales already surpassed that. The collector demand is there and top-tier talent is recognizing it.

3LAU is one of the mainstream musical talents that has recently entered the digital art world. He’s made millions in his 10+ year career touring around the world, had a #1 dance single globally and gets 2M+listens every month on Spotify. Along with his long-time visual collaborator slimesunday, he recently started tokenizing new audio + visual work on Ethereum. …

2020 has been a breakthrough year for digital art. Creatives have used computers to create unique images and videos for decades, but prior to Ethereum the only way to make serious money as a digital creative was to get hired by a company who could utilize the images or videos. One can make a great living as a designer at Apple or a 3D animator at Nintendo, but those opportunities are limited.

The creation of Ethereum and subsequent creations of the ERC721 standard and tools like SuperRare and Opensea have allowed creatives globally to tokenize their PNG, GIF and MP4 files and sell them directly to collectors who want to own scarce versions of the files. And they’re having a lot of success doing so — creatives on SuperRare have sold over $2.375M …

A Conversation with Hugh Karp of Nexus Mutual

On-chain capital coordination has taken various forms in the 5 year history of Ethereum: hundreds of millions(in USD) to a venture fund (The DAO in ‘16), billions to crowdfunding (ICOs in ’17 and ‘18), and billions to lending and exchange products (DeFi in 2020). It remains to be seen whether these products will reach a broader audience beyond crypto natives, but if you’re paying attention the core value proposition of an open, global platform for finance is now clear.

An insurance mutual is a form of capital coordination that hasn’t received as much attention to date. But I’ve been excited about the concept since I met Nexus Mutual founder Hugh Karp in Berlin in early 2019. Since then, total value locked in Ethereum smart contracts has exploded and the demand for smart contract cover has grown with it. Active cover on Nexus has grown from $1.1M to start the year to $45.3M …

An investor at an endowment recently said to me

Many traditional investors share that sentiment. They now believe the investment case for BTC but they don’t understand the ETH investment case. …

Beating the virus is going to take as much effort as humanly possible

We’re a cryptocurrency-focused investment firm, but we feel a responsibility to contribute to the decentralized response to beating the virus. We’re now giving $2,500 grants to support individuals who are finding ways to help those suffering from the physical, emotional and financial damage that’s being caused. The ideas don’t need to be cryptocurrency related, although we welcome those of course.

Ideas can be anything, from 3D printing of respirator parts for the doctors and nurses on the frontlines, to new testing and tracing tools, to organizing local food deliveries for the elderly or kids who are no longer able to access school lunch. …

A non-custodial wallet that makes Ethereum easier to use

One of the biggest barriers to broader cryptocurrency adoption is user experience. The majority of people using open, global financial products on Ethereum (aka DeFi) today are crypto-natives who don’t mind dealing with the complicated key management and wonky gas payments that come with using non-custodial wallets like Metamask and Ledger. Metamask and Ledger are both good products that many are using, as the explosion of total value locked DeFi in the past year shows. But the wallet UX must improve for adoption to grow beyond crypto-natives.

Custodial services like Coinbase offer users a good UX but aren’t compatible with open, global applications because custodial services are subject to the same regulatory hurdles as traditional financial services. So growing adoption is not just about improving UX — that’s relatively easy. It’s about improving UX while maintaining the property that makes web3 applications unique and useful: censorship-resistance. …

If you’ve got cash in a savings account in the U.S., the best savings rate you can find today is ~1.78% annual percentage yield (APY). If you’re in a country outside the U.S. dealing with negative interest rate policy, you’re even worse off. The desire of central banks around the world to keep rates low to stimulate investment and prop up public markets comes at a cost to people who want to save for the future.

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If you’ve got Dai (a stablecoin) in an Ethereum wallet, you can earn 8.8% APY. The Dai Savings Rate (DSR) launched in November 2019 and there’s now $54.5M in Dai earning 8.8% APY and growing fast. If 2017–2018 was about crypto speculation, there’s a reason to believe that 2020 and beyond will be about crypto saving. But today all of the crypto savings activity is from crypto-natives. …

I slowed down my pace of public writing when I started 1confirmation a few years ago. When investors trust you to manage their money, communication with them becomes the priority. But I enjoy the random conversations that come from writing publicly and plan to do more this year. Gitcoin Grants is top of mind today.

On the surface Gitcoin Grants is a simple crowdfunding initiative. But there are some key differences from initiatives we’ve seen before like Kickstarter and ICOs. Gitcoin is built on Ethereum which allows for global participation. And unlike what we saw during the 2017 ICO craze, Gitcoin Grants activity is not driven by people looking to get rich quick from a new token. Gitcoin Grants is facilitating crowdfunding from like-minded people around the world who want to see new public goods built that bring long-term value to Ethereum.

Price speculation has been the defining cryptocurrency theme of the past decade. But in 2019, speculation began to take a back seat to product usage for use cases beyond price speculation.

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The past decade was about mainstream speculation but there are promising signs real product usage is on the way

When I worked at Coinbase back in 2013, our core product allowed people to speculate on bitcoin (BTC). The buy/sell functionality has always been the backbone of the Coinbase business but at that time, many of us were most excited about the new use cases that a permissionless platform for innovation in financial services could bring to the world.

We also had an application programming interface (API) that helped developers build Bitcoin apps. Interesting apps like BTC Jam (global peer-to-peer lending), BitPesa (cross-border payments) and Bsave (interest-bearing BTC) used the Coinbase API, but these products never gained much traction. It was too early; it turned out that Bitcoin was great as a speculative store of value but wasn’t the permissionless platform for innovation that we thought it could be. …

Nexus is a community-owned and operated mutual providing cover for DeFi and beyond

With Ethereum development momentum building, there’s now over $500M worth of cryptocurrency locked up in smart contracts. No traditional insurance company is willing to insure this value, which presents an opportunity for a crypto-native alternative to aggregate capital, data and the wisdom of the crowd to provide smart contract cover. This is what Nexus Mutual is doing and we’re glad to share that we recently became a member of the mutual.

Ben Franklin formed the first American insurance mutual, the Philadelphia Contributionship, in 1752. …


Nick Tomaino

Founder @1confirmation

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