Industry Insiders Edition 8

Mandala Exchange

Mandala Exchange

Sep 19. 13 min read

Hello everyone! We are back with ‘Industry Insiders’, a dedicated biweekly newsletter that scours the internet to inform and educate people about what’s happening in the crypto world in an engaging and entertaining manner.

In this edition of the newsletter, we’re going to talk about:

👉 The Ethereum merge is finally here 🔮

👉 Starbucks partners with Polygon 🤝

The Ethereum merge is finally here 🔮

After many years, Ethereum has finally moved to Proof of Stake. It’s one of the most exciting things to happen to Ethereum since its creation. From a user perspective, not much has changed. Here are the things that changed:

Energy consumption dropped by 99.95% and is a giant leap toward greater scalability and economic sustainability. Massive energy consumption has been a big hurdle for Ethereum adoption. Most institutions simply aren’t allowed to invest or use it because of the massive carbon footprint it leaves behind. We can see increased institutional interest in Ethereum now.

ETHs supply has become deflationary – there is ~190 less ETH in supply since the Merge (this is because there is more ETH being burned than new ETH entering into circulation). Block times (how long it takes to complete a transaction) have become a lot more stable & consistent since the Merge.

The Merge may be the most important update in Ethereum history, but it’s sure not the last one. In fact, it’s only the 1st of 5 big updates coming. What’s coming next?

The Surge: This phase will bring sharding to Ethereum. Sharding allows for L2s to scale more easily.

The Verge: This phase implements “verkle trees.” and “stateless clients”. It will be easier to run a validator and “great for decentralization”.

The Purge: Deletes old network history to reduce the amount of hard drive space validators need and reduce network congestion.

The Splurge: 100k transactions per second and other updates.

Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency. And, it’s already been a big success and has thousands of projects built on top of it. Now, after this massive upgrade, more success can knock on the doors of Ethereum.

It’s important to clear some misconceptions though. This upgrade will not make Ethereum faster or gas fees cheaper. Ethereum eventually aims to get to a speed of ~100k transactions per second, but that will come in future upgrades. The Merge was also not focused on reducing gas fees. For that purpose, looking at you, Layer 2 solutions! 

Starbucks partners with Polygon 🤝

Starbucks made a big announcement. They’re partnering with Polygon to put their loyalty program on the blockchain. It’s called Starbucks Odyssey. Starbucks Odyssey will allow customers to purchase and earn digital collectible stamps in the form of an NFT that offers benefits and immersive experiences.

Starbucks hinted at developing a Web3 experience in May when it announced plans to launch a series of NFT collections providing “unique experiences, community building and customer engagement.” Experiences would range from virtual espresso martini classes to coffee bean farm tours in Costa Rica.

Customers can now join a waitlist to gain access to Starbucks Odyssey. It combines the already existing rewards loyalty program with a new web app. On top of that, using the platform is designed to be as easy as possible. Customers use their existing credentials to log in. No crypto is needed. No crypto wallets. No gas fees. Nothing.

This is something to monitor because Starbucks’ loyalty program is massive. It has ~27M active members (more than Mcdonald’s and Chipotle) and ~53% of all spending in stores comes from Starbucks Rewards.

It could be big and open up a bunch of opportunities for other loyalty programs to go on-chain too.

Nuggets from the cryptoverse📊

  • The White House released a “First-Ever Comprehensive Framework for Responsible Development of Digital Assets” outlining the conclusions and recommendations of various federal agencies after six months of studying the crypto industry. 
  • SEC Chairperson Gary Gensler said he supports making the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) the agency that regulates crypto non-security tokens like bitcoin. The SEC would continue regulating security tokens. The SEC announced it was forming a new office to specialize in “unique and evolving” filings around crypto assets. 
  • Fed Chairperson Jerome Powell said that the Fed would not issue a CBDC without clear support from the executive and legislative branches during a conference interview. He also suggested that privacy protection would be paramount for any CBDC issued by the government. The Fed Chair also called for legislation on stablecoins, elaborating that stablecoins should provide consumers with clarity, transparency and “full reserves of very liquid high-quality assets.
  • With Ethereum’s switch to proof-of-stake, Dogecoin became the second largest Proof-of-Work coin, after Bitcoin. 
  • House Republicans sent a letter to the Federal Reserve asking for clarification on the Fed’s thinking around the potential for a digital dollar, including whether curtailing the use of digital assets is part of the Fed’s motivation.
  • In an SEC filing, Microstrategy announced it is selling $500 million in common stock, and will potentially use the proceeds to buy more Bitcoin. The company already holds $4 billion of BTC on its balance sheet, making it the largest corporate holder of the cryptocurrency.
  • Chainalysis and US law enforcement recovered $30 million of the $600 million stolen by North Korean hackers in the Ronin exploit earlier this year.
  • Puma is launching a metaverse space called “Black Station” to showcase its sneaker NFT collection called Futrograde. The NFTs are redeemable for physical sneakers and will be showcased at New York Fashion Week. 
  • Several US Senators issued a letter to Meta, asking for information on its efforts to prevent cryptocurrency-related scams on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
  • JPMorgan hired Microsoft’s former CIO to lead JPMorgan Payments, its new division focused on digital payments and blockchain technology. 
  • SEBA, a crypto-friendly Swiss bank, is launching Ethereum staking for its institutional investors.
  • Bank of America researchers say that Ethereum’s merge could increase interest from institutions due to lesser energy consumption.
  • Opera Crypto Browser, a web4-focused browser built to work with a variety of dApps, added support for third-party wallets such as MetaMask.
  • Linux Foundation announced an open-source digital wallet initiative that may include crypto.
  • South Korean court issued an arrest warrant for Do Kwon, a co-founder of Terra, accusing him of violating capital market rules.
  • Ethereum engineering firm Infura is creating a Decentralized Infrastructure Network to launch sometime next year.

From the World of Web3, NFTs & the Metaverse🔮

  • Popular NFT project Doodles announced a $54 million fundraise led by Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital firm 776. Following the raise, it has now hit a $704 million valuation.
  • Blankos Block Party, an NFT-powered online creation game, launched today on Fortnite creator’s marketplace Epic Games Store, becoming one of the first web3 titles to be published on the popular PC gaming marketplace.
  • NFT platform Sorare is launching an officially-licensed NBA fantasy basketball game. Users will be able to create fantasy lineups using NFT cards based on pro players from the league. Sorare will launch the offering for the 2022-2023 NBA season. 
  • Quentin Tarantino settled with Miramax over his ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFT sale. 
  • LG Electronics launched its own NFT Marketplace called ‘LG Art Labs’ that will allow users to buy, sell, and trade NFTs directly from their LG TV. The program will be available for all US LG TV owners running webOS 5.0.
  • Kingship, a virtual band based on Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT artwork, has named Hit-Boy and James Fauntleroy its co-executive producers and songwriters. These producers have worked with Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. Universal Music Group’s 10:22PM label created the group in partnership with NFT collector Jimmy “j1mmy” McNelis, who owns the NFTs.
  • In a recent interview, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot spoke at length about the video game firm’s adoption of blockchain technology and “Web3 capabilities,” admitting that the company is “still in research mode.”


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