The HUGE growth of the rust developer in 2022

  • Posted: 25.10.22

The number of jobs available to a Rust developer has doubled in the past two years.

This is due in part to the fact that it’s been added as a supported language for Linux – this means that more developers are starting to learn Rust and use it in their projects.

The language has a lot of features that make it appealing to developers. It’s safe, fast, and easy to learn. This makes it a great choice for new and experienced developers alike.

And as more developers use Rust, the demand for rust developers is only going to continue to rise.

The Rust language is steadily climbing the rankings on industry reports also.

None of this is a surprise to the team here at Plexus Towers. We’ve seen the growing demand for the Rust developer first-hand.

But now, even the NSA is getting in on the deal, highlighting the security of memory safe languages like Rust.

The NSA has started to use Rust in order to create more secure applications. Rust is a great choice for this because it’s a memory safe language, this means that errors in code can’t lead to security vulnerabilities.

This is a big deal for the NSA, and it’s something that more organizations are starting to take notice of. Rust is quickly becoming the go-to language for secure applications.

But what does this mean for the Rust developer salary?

Let’s break down the Rust-y phase that developers are going through in a bit more detail.

Interest in Rust remains strong, even in a down market

Total UK-based Rust developer jobs are down about 15% from the same period in 2021.

In a down market, that’s pretty good; your portfolio wishes it was only down 15%.

And in fact, overall interest in Rust remains high, given the circumstances.

Notice that spike? There’s actually more interest in the language than there used to be.

And it’s not just random web searches; industry insider reports confirm our suspicions – Rust is gaining some steam.

Here’s a recent Slashdata report – notice how Rust is climbing the ranks.

It isn’t Javascript, not by a long shot – but the size of the Rust developer community has actually tripled in the past few years, from just under a million developers to nearly three million. That puts it at the 11th-largest developer community, per Slashdata.

The Rise of Memory-Safe

Rust’s growth fits in with an increasing appreciation for many of the memory-safe languages. No less an authority than the US NSA just published a memo encouraging developers to make the switch to more secure languages like Rust.

Why the push? From the programming side, memory safe languages like Rust drastically reduce security vulnerabilities. Google’s own research, backed up by the NSA memo, concludes that a whopping 70% of potential liabilities can be traced back to software memory management problems.

That’s what the NSA’s report made clear. Highlighting common weaknesses like buffer overflows or memory allocation issues, the NSA recommended a handful of memory safe languages as replacements.

And Rust was on the list:

  • Rust
  • C#
  • Ruby
  • Go
  • Swift
  • Java

Not Just About Crypto

At Plexus, we’re all about Web3, crypto, and blockchain. But the growth of the Rust developer isn’t only due to web3; the language is fast and scalable, lending itself to applications like games.

Right now, there’s something like a quarter of all developers learning about or interested in blockchain and web3. But under 10% of all developers actually work in those fields.

We’re seeing the continued rise of a highly-regarded programming language, at the exact same time that a huge portion of developers show interest in entering the blockchain realm.

Combine those, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious salary growth.

And that’s exactly what we’re seeing.

More Rust, More Pay

The hard facts are simple.

Rust developer salaries rose by nearly 25% in 2022, despite all the turmoil.

You can see the initial dip around February – followed quickly by a rebound in salaries and even growth.

Same thing shows up here – accompanied by even more significant growth on the upper end (senior devs).

Our own information corroborates this. Despite everything, it’s a great time to be a Rust developer.

Lots of chatter in the dev world has focused on recent stability in the top 20 programming languages. Rust and other memory safe languages are mostly around a decade old now, with established bases, and well-developed resources on Gitbook and elsewhere.

But the salary growth Rust has demonstrated makes us think there’s something more here.

You’ve got continued interest in Rust from both ends – companies who are turning to Rust’s inherent scalability and memory-safe security, and developers who show strong appreciation for Rust’s features and continued interest in areas like web3 that use Rust heavily.

You need both elements to get the strong rise in salaries we’ve seen over the past few months.

And as long as that trend continues, developers will stay Rusty.


How Web3 Is Restructuring The Music Industry

  • Posted: 24.10.22

Some art forms connect with web3 seamlessly.

Take NFTs. Successful brands – like BAYC or Cryptopunks – took real-world ideas of art and brought them into web3 with little difficulty.

But what about music?

Web2 streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music help musicians reach new audiences, but not make a living. That’s unless we talk about Ed Sheeran or The Weeknd getting millions of monthly listeners.

The shift to web3 brings control back to the hands of artists. They get not only new opportunities to earn but also new ways to create and present new music.

The question is – is web3 really going to transform the industry? Or is it just another short-lived trend with a fancy name?

A growing number of analysts think web3 could signal a fundamental shift in new music production.

We think it’s bigger than that. The web3 music industry transformation has already happened, and the future is limitless.

Here’s what that means.

Early Indicator: High-Profile Moves

You’ve heard these headlines:

  • Snoop Dogg announces his plan to turn Death Row Records into an NFT label.
  • Universal Music Group forms KINGSHIP, the first NFT music band consisting of Bored Ape Yacht characters.
  • Mike Shinoda joined forces with Secret Garden to create a music NFT collectible Windchime.

Snoop Dogg is one of the most well-known and revered rappers in the world. In recent years, he has turned his attention to the world of web3, and specifically to the potential for using web3 to transform the music industry.

Snoop Dogg announced that he was creating a new web3 version of the infamous Death Row Records. This label would be based on the use of NFTs as a way to manage and distribute music. This move shows that Snoop Dogg believes that web3 can be revolutionary by giving artists more control over their work (something every artist is crying out for) and by providing fans with a more immersive experience.

Universal Music Group came up with something even more immersive:

KINGSHIP is Universals first web3 music band. Universal Music Group was able to create a band that is made up of virtual characters in the web3 world. These characters are controlled by the band’s members and can be used to interact with fans in new and interesting ways.

It’s easy to see how this type of experience would not be possible without web3.

Mike Shinoda, a musician best known for his work with the band Linkin Park recently created an NFT music collectible called Windchime in collaboration with Secret Garden.

This move shows that web3 can be used to create unique and lasting experiences that go beyond traditional music distribution models. It demonstrates the potential web3 has to create new ways of connecting with fans and creating a more engaging music experience.

The web3 music transformation is already happening and it looks set to continue in the coming years. With web3, artists will be given more control over their work, and fans will have more immersive experiences than ever before.

Artists have more opportunities to create and distribute music in new ways, while fans can enjoy a better quality of experience.

The potential for web3 to transform the music industry is tremendous – it’s up to us now to make the most of it.  It remains to be seen what web3 will bring to music in the future, but one thing is certain: web3 has already begun transforming the industry and its potential is limitless.

Big names make splashy moves for publicity all the time, but they also indicate where the market is heading. And in this case, it’s heading toward a web3/music mashup.

NFT Music Releases 

Music has always been irrevocably tied to technology. It’s no surprise big names in the industry were quick to adopt the NFT concept.

NFTs aren’t limited to pixel art and ape portraits – they can be songs, videos, or entire albums. Artists quickly realised they can sell unique, tokenized versions of their creations directly to their listeners, yielding higher profits by ditching third parties.

Kings of Leon generated over $2 million from their 2021 NFT album When You See Yourself.

This move shows that web3 can be used to create unique and lasting experiences that go beyond traditional music distribution models. It demonstrates the potential web3 has to create new ways of connecting with fans and creating a more engaging music experience.

Grimes became $6 million richer in just 20 minutes by selling her WarNymph Collection, Vol.1 NFT artworks accompanied by original songs.

In light of the success of her WarNymph Collection, Vol.1, Grimes has announced that she will be releasing a new collection of NFTs in collaboration with web3 music platform Musicoin.

This new collection, called WarNymph Collection, Vol.2, will feature 10 brand new songs as well as exclusive access to behind-the-scenes content. The songs will be available as NFTs on the Musicoin platform and fans will be able to buy and sell them using the Musicoin blockchain.

Grimes is just one of many artists who are using web3 to revolutionize the music industry.

But what’s in it for listeners? Why would anyone pay extra for NFTs when they can get Spotify for free?

It’s more than just “supporting musicians.” Sure, that’s important – but like most web3 concepts, the key idea is ownership.

Buy NFT drops, and you also get personal ownership of the musical piece.

That opens the door for perks unavailable to regular listeners, and expands the market to include secondary sales. There’s also the biggest benefit of all – the sense of ownership and superiority.


Web3 Music Platforms 

Being the sole owner of Whitney Houston’s unreleased demo is cool, but not everyone has $1 million in their pockets. If all artists start making NFT music, how would an average user afford it?

Music NFTs aren’t some exclusive entertainment for the rich. Web3 streaming services make them accessible to everyone.

YouTube and Spotify force you to pay to get rid of ads. Instead, imagine getting paid to listen to them. BitSong attaches ads to songs and pays both artists and fans for each stream.

OPUS gives artists 90% of the revenue and lets users earn money by creating playlists that disseminate music through the platform.

Some platforms don’t take a cut at all. Audius pays artists 100% of the revenue in the native token AUDIO – Katy Perry, Nas, Skrillex, and deadmau5 have already joined the community.

You can listen to songs on Audius for free, and you can also earn money by creating playlists that disseminate music through the platform. This means that artists get to keep all the money they make from their music. With web3 music platforms, artists have more control over their music and can make a bigger profit from it.

Even social media behemoth TikTok integrated Audius, allowing artists to upload their music to the app in one click.

Virtual Pop Stars 

Persona-based music bands aren’t a 21st-century invention – just ask anyone who lived through the late 90s about Gorillaz.

Today, virtual influencers like Miquela Sousa continue transforming the industry. Since 2016, Lil Miquela has interviewed J. Balvin at Coachella, starred in a Calvin Klein ad alongside Bella Hadid, and topped Spotify charts with her indie-pop album.

Lil Miquela might be the most famous example of a digital performer, but not the only one. The web3 record label Player Zero is as digital as you can get; they’re planning to present a vast roster of AVAs.

The label’s first offering, Amari, has already turned into a metaverse pop star with her debut single Deeper.  Her music videos are filmed in virtual reality and played on web3 streaming platforms.

Audience engagement is key for web3 music, and Player Zero seems to have aced it by creating story-based music videos with interactive elements.

Music in the Metaverse

The upcoming years will see a growing convergence of the virtual and real worlds.

Warner Music Group partnered with The Sandbox to create a music meta world WMG Land, bringing live concerts to fans.

Snoop Dogg (he’s everywhere these days) dropped his first-ever meta music video House I Built made with the game’s free UGC creation tools.

A US radio firm iHeartMedia launched the virtual media space iHeartLand in Fortnite’s Creative mode. Over the next year, you can attend over 20 events without leaving your couch.

Virtual concerts lack the constraints of space or time. You can enjoy the performance anytime, anywhere, for a much lower price.

More Opportunities for Enthusiasts 

For a long time, aspiring musicians had no other option but to hope for a record label to notice them and offer a contract, cutting up to 90% of the revenue.

The alternative was to make music independently and consider every 100 streams on Spotify a big win.

Web3 streaming platforms and NFT drops carry the potential to democratise the music industry. Newcomers can access larger numbers of potential fans more quickly, and without cutting into their overall revenue.

Web3 has brought about many changes in the music industry like platforms that allow listeners to pay artists directly, virtual pop stars, web3 record labels and NFT albums. Virtual concerts offer a new way to enjoy music and are more affordable than traditional concerts.

Web3 also allows aspiring musicians to reach a larger audience more quickly and without sacrificing revenue (like with streaming).


Crypto and TradFi: An Evolving Relationship

  • Posted: 28.09.22

If you spend any amount of time on Twitter, you’ll come away CONVINCED that crypto and traditional finance (or TradFi) are sworn enemies.

There are passionate people in both camps, and with most things on the internet, you feel like you have to pick a side.

BUT, they actually have more in common than you’d think.

For one, both are built on the idea of trust. In order for crypto to work, users must trust that the system will remain secure and that their transactions will be processed properly. Similarly, traditional financial institutions relies on trust between parties to function properly.

Another similarity is that both cryptocurrency and traditional financial institutions rely on network effects. The more people who use crypto or traditional finance, the more valuable it becomes. This is because crypto and traditional finance are both designed to make it easier to trade value between parties. The more people who use either system, the more useful it becomes.

Finally, both cryptocurrency, TradFi and DeFi are subject to regulation. In the case of crypto and the average crypto user, governments have been struggling for years trying to figure out how to regulate the technology. In some cases, this has led to bans on cryptocurrency trading (as in China). In other cases, it has resulted in heavy taxation (as in South Korea). TradFi, on the other hand, is heavily regulated by governments around the world. This regulation can take many different forms, but it typically includes things like licensing requirements and reporting requirements.

Despite these similarities, cryptocurrency (and digital assets in general) and TradFi remain very different beasts.

Crypto is a decentralized system that relies on digital assets to function. TradFi, on the other hand, is a centralized system that relies on fiat currencies.

This difference is key, as it means that crypto is not subject to the same restrictions as TradFi. For example, crypto can be used to trade value between parties without the need for a third party (such as a bank). This makes crypto much more versatile than TradFi.

The relationship between crypto and TradFi is still a relatively new one, and it remains to be seen how it will develop.

The Crypto Winter killed several crypto myths. Chief among them might have been the idea that TradFi and DeFi (or crypto in general) were mortal enemies. Are they destined, instead, to be best friends?

We wanted to take a closer look at what’s happening in the slow dance between crypto and TradFi.

Here’s what we found.

Decentralization might be dead (or dieing)

Cryptocurrency decentralization is the process by which digital assets are distributed among a network of users rather than being centrally controlled by a single entity.

This decentralization has several benefits, including improved security and increased resiliency. However, it also comes with some challenges, such as the need for users to have a certain level of technical expertise.

It’s safe to say that decentralization is one of the key selling points of digital assets.

By their very nature, crypto assets are designed to be decentralized. This means that they are not subject to the same restrictions as traditional fiat currencies, which are typically controlled by central banks.

The old adage for cryptocurrency was that decentralization would unlock a whole new world of financial possibilities. There’d be no centralized points of control, no institutions to bottleneck payments and transfers, and anonymity would be baked-in to the entire system.

That hasn’t exactly worked out. But why?

Let’s start with anonymity.

Yes, it’s true that my name doesn’t appear on any of my crypto wallets. But as the crypto economy and user base grows, and as big players continue to dominate, it’s increasingly easy to identify certain wallets.

That’s a two-edged sword.

On the one hand, it’s made tracking scammers and con artists a bit easier. The growing crypto security sector now features companies that focus on preventing fraud, as well as ones that track down fraudsters.

But it also means that anonymity on most blockchains isn’t quite as pervasive as it used to be.

It’s a big enough problem that privacy coins are a thing – a growing sector of specialist cryptocurrencies that do what bitcoin was supposed to do automatically.

That’s not a knock against bitcoin; it just highlights that as the industry matures, the general sense of anonymity and privacy has given way to the need for integration, scalability and growth.

TradFi has always LOVED the big players, and that seems to be creeping into crypto too:

There’s a rise of traditional finance style “blue chips”

There’s no two ways around it: Big players dominate TradFi.

You’ve got blue-chip stocks, industry giants, near-monopolies – TradFi loves giants.

And increasingly, so does crypto.

For all the talk of Ethereum-killers, Solana, Avalanche, and others still hold less than half of DeFi TVL between them. Ethereum has nearly 60% of total value locked-up on-chain.

And of course, Bitcoin itself is still the elephant in the room, with Ethereum coming second. The numbers drop off fast after the top two, with USDT, USDC, and BNB.

The point is, big players still dominate crypto in the same way that they dominate TradFi.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The rise of blue-chip cryptos brings with it increased legitimacy, stability, and confidence. Investors are more likely to put their money into an asset that has a large market cap and is less likely to experience wild swings in price.

In other words, parts of the crypto space is starting to look a lot like TradFi.

Of course, this centralization comes with its own set of challenges. The most obvious one is security.

The more centralized an asset is, the easier it is for bad actors to target. We’ve seen this time and time again in crypto, with high-profile hacks of exchanges, wallets, and even smart contracts.

The other challenge is censorship. When power is centralized, it becomes much easier to censor certain kinds of activity. We’ve seen this happen with crypto too, most notably with the 2017 fork of Bitcoin that led to Bitcoin Cash.

So, while crypto may be starting to look a lot like TradFi, it’s important to remember that there are still many key differences in the technology. And those differences will become more important as crypto matures.

In the meantime, it’s important to keep an eye on how crypto and TradFi are evolving. After all, they’re not really two separate industries anymore. They’re starting to look a lot more like one another.

BUT, it isn’t just cryptocurrencies and their price.

On the NFT side, BAYC and Cryptopunks are the blue-bloods, and founder Yuga Labs is the big name. And it’s getting bigger; you can read more about the Yuga Labs crypto empire here.

What’s the point? Decentralization isn’t as big a deal as it was cracked up to be, and like TradFi, crypto is dominated by big names and big companies.

TradFi tools are quietly making their way into crypto too:

TradFi Tools For Crypto Bros and their digital assets

The crypto sector is getting more sophisticated. That much is obvious, but what’s less obvious is how that sophistication pulls crypto and TradFi together.

Crypto data analytics have always been front-and-center in the crypto economy. From basic platforms like CoinMarketCap and DefiLlama

…these TradFi tools are designed to give crypto investors the same kind of data heavy information that traditional investors have. And that’s a good thing!

Because as crypto matures, it’s going to look at what TradFi has done right and wrong over the years.

We’re seeing crypto companies getting listed on traditional exchanges and crypto assets being used as collateral for loans. And as that convergence continues, we can expect to see more and more TradFi tools making their way into the crypto world.

We’ve also seen a growing number of more advanced tools too that an everyday user can access.

Dune lets you track individual projects with community-led stats, giving users the ability to create their own dashboards and customize stats for their own portfolios.

HodlIntel focuses on NFTs. Users can follow projects or wallets, searching trading patterns to detect emerging trends.

If these tools seem extremely high-end and market-focused, well, they are. We’re seeing more treatment of the crypto market as a market, with “investors” rather than just “users.”

And it isn’t just analytical tools. You can invest in crypto index funds modeled after traditional stock market index funds. And there’s been some fascinating reporting on the human side – it turns out that Wall Street traders and crypto bros aren’t so different after all.

What’s next? Predicting TradFi’s response to crypto’s growth

It’s becoming increasingly clear that as the years go by, TradFi is becoming less and less apposed to crypto. This isn’t David and Goliath; instead, TradFi and crypto are on course to be heads and tails of the same coin.

In the grand scheme of things, crypto is still in its early stages, and it’s undergone a lot of changes in a short amount of time. It’s been hard for TradFi to keep up, and as a result, there’s been a lot of scepticism from the traditional financial world.

But as crypto has matured, we’ve seen a gradual shift in attitude from TradFi. Where once crypto was seen as a threat, it’s now being viewed as an interest and opportunity.

There are a few key reasons for this change of heart:

1. The rise of institutional investors
2. The increasing regulation of crypto
3. The growing use of crypto as collateral

As crypto continues to grow and evolve, we expect to see TradFi become more and more involved.

You can see how this narrative has shifted in these seemingly-negative comments from big-wig Wall Street figures. There’s criticism – “most of crypto is still junk” – but the broader sentiment is interest, not opposition.

Tradfi wants crypto to succeed. It sees the relationship between the two markets as mutually reinforcing, not opposing. The growing number of experienced TradFi hands who have moved to crypto speaks to this point. One side feeds the other.

We’ve found that if the founders of web3 companies have previously worked in more traditional companies, they’re more understanding of the transferable skills that come with TradFi. Whereas a small start-up of 5 crypto natives are more likely to stay away from hiring people with traditional backgrounds.

Remember, crypto is typically seen as “anti big banks”, so hiring somebody with TradFi experience might be seen as a step in the wrong direction for some crypto native founders.

Web3 start-ups also have to consider the adaptability of the hires they make – when your team is only ~5 people, every person is crucial to the success. Web3 project founders might value the small team experience that comes with crypto experience vs huge teams that are associated with TradFi.

The crypto world is still young, and it has a lot to learn from TradFi.

But as crypto matures, we expect to see the two industries work more and more closely together. There’s a lot of potential for collaboration, and we’re already seeing crypto companies adopting TradFi tools and TradFi companies investing in crypto.


5 Tips For Investing In Crypto Projects

  • Posted: 14.09.22

In the middle of a crypto winter, is it really the best time to think about cryptocurrency investing and building your crypto assets?

Yes! In fact, there’s no better time to fine-tune your method for picking the perfect project.

Think about it:

When the market picks up, there’ll be a fresh wave of new projects and digital assets to choose from.

I’ve found cryptocurrency a good investment if you time it well (which is easier than it sounds).

You need to know “How can I start crypto investing?”

And these 5 tips will start you on the right path. I use these myself – and I’ve felt the pain when I didn’t.

Let’s get right into it:


1. Check out the founding team

When dealing with cryptocurrency investing, it’s important to start at the top.

Who’s on the founding team? This is a natural starting point to analyse new projects or digital assets. But you’ve got to go deeper than mere name recognition.

Instead of just checking how many followers the founding team has on Twitter, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Are the founders mature?

We’re not talking about their fondness for uni antics. What’s their depth in the field? Have they been around the block, or are they jumping head-first into an advanced DeFi project?

Not every good founder has a huge list of accomplishments, but previous projects can tell you a lot. Speaking of that…

2. What’s their track record?

It’s almost as important to look at failures as successes. Are you seeing low-floor NFT project after NFT project? Has the founding team bounced from project to project?

Is the founder Do Kwon?

Ok, bad example. But you get my point – what sort of track record do these people have?

Once you’ve answered those first two questions, here’s the final one:

3. What’s their expertise?

Again, you’re not just looking at expertise in crypto assets. That helps, but the field is still young – no founders are going to have a string of crypto successes over the course of a 20-year career in the space. Instead, look for expertise in other fields that could transfer to crypto.

Let’s take a look at Arthur and Kathleen Breitman, founders of Tezos, as a good example.

Are they mature? Arthur Breitman first posited the Tezos blockchain in 2014. The project didn’t launch until four years later. Now, the project sits at #38 in terms of market capitalization, and both Arthur (@ArthurB) and Kathleen (@breitwoman) are highly active on Twitter, continuing to post developments about the Tezos ecosystem.

Beyond that, they both offer genuine insights into crypto, digital assets and the space in general, not the WAGMI fluff you see from a lot of talking heads.

Check out Kathleen Breitman’s Fortune interview, and you’ll see what I mean.

Founders who plan long-term and stay involved are mature founders.

Track record and expertise? The success of Tezos over the past eight years speaks to the track record. But what about expertise? Interestingly, the idea for Tezos came about while Arthur Breitman worked as Vice President at Morgan Stanley. The Breitmans brought deep knowledge of financial systems, and of managing those systems, to Tezos.

Looking for a crypto winner? Check the project’s founding team. And don’t be afraid to go deep on what they bring to the table.

That’s step one to successfully invest in cryptocurrency. Once you’ve looked into the founding team, you need to:


2. Understand the value add/big idea/use case

Ask yourself: What does the project actually do?

Simple question, but the answer makes all the difference (and how quickly you arrive at that answer).

This is so important to making cryptocurrency a good investment.

Does the project have a clear use case? Is it workable now, or does it rely on future market developments before it becomes useful?

Let’s look at another real-world example:

One clear way to get a use case is to solve a problem. That’s how MakerDAO came about.

The problem: DeFi loans involve cryptocurrencies that make loan collateralization vary wildly; sufficient collateral today may not be enough tomorrow.

The solution (in part): To introduce a stablecoin, DAI, to the system.

The value-add: Organize the entire thing in a DAO – a decentralized, autonomous organization.

MakerDAO solved a current DeFi problem, giving it an instant use case. And the introduction of a stablecoin and a DAO added new elements to the project, setting it apart from other projects.

When I invest in cryptocurrency, that’s what I’m looking for in a new project. Nearly all successful projects will solve a problem with a clear use case.

All projects need their voice to be heard, and who they choose is critical to their brand:


3. Who is promoting the project?

Ah, the fun question.

Who’s promoting the project? What kind of marketing is involved? Is there genuine community involvement, or is everything pushed by a small handful of operators?

Twitter is notorious for this, with countless accounts shilling little-known altcoins (shitcoins) and low-end NFT projects. I find those projects easy to avoid, but it’s a bit more difficult when a project comes up with celebrity endorsements – Logan Paul, Paris Hilton, etc. They really can be very persuasive in getting you to invest in cryptocurrency.

Or maybe it’s not that hard, when the endorsement is Matt Damon for

Find and follow good influencers instead.

I like @Cobie, someone who isn’t afraid to call out bad actors and weak projects as well as highlight good ones (he called the Terra collapse, among other things).

I’m looking for voices that are reasonable, not cheerleaders who praise every project equally.

If it looks and feels like a big celebrity endorsement, be very careful.

You then have to be honest with yourself:


4. What’s your goal with the investment?

As an investor, are you looking for big yields fast, or playing the long game? Do you want steady returns with growth potential? Do you actually think you can make this cryptocurrency a good investment?

It’s important to match your goals with the project’s capabilities.

These last two ideas go hand-in-hand. You’ve got to know what you want from an investment in crypto assets, and then be careful not to get caught up in the hype.

I learned this the hard way.

When Apecoin launched, I got caught up in the hype at too much and jumped in without thinking. A disaster? No. Risky? Definitely. And what’s my goal with an Apecoin investment, anyways? Is that really a long-game play?

On the other hand, I invested in Filecoin after extensive research. There’s a clear use case (cloud storage backed with blockchain tech) and good support. It’s clearly a long-term project, and that fit with what I was looking for in my portfolio.

The final tip is the most important.


5. Ignore the above tips (hear me out)

“But Raf,” you might say, “All I did was bet big on Dogecoin, and it worked out great!”

Not much I can say to that. Even if you follow all of the above advice to a tee, there’s no guarantee it’ll work out (if it did I’d be a billionaire by now).

And on the flip side, memecoins like Dogecoin do occasionally work out. Doge doesn’t have a use case, the founding team is virtually unknown, and investor motivation is solely to make money. And yet, Doge is at least partially a crypto winner, with a devoted fanbase and a price that somehow avoids a complete collapse.

Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, and a host of other memecoins don’t disprove my advice. They just prove the exceptions – and you know what that means.

So if you want to be an expert at cryptocurrency investing, you need to: Deep-dive the founders, be sure there’s a use case, choose your influencers carefully, and understand your own motivation for investing.

Follow these four steps, and you’ll be on your way to picking a crypto winner.

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Yuga Labs – Evolution Of A Crypto Empire

  • Posted: 22.08.22

Everyone knows the Apes.

And now we even know the main founders behind the apes:

Most know that Yuga Labs – the company behind Bored Apes Yacht Club – is on a roll, purchasing multiple blue-chip NFTs and expanding in all directions.

But few know exactly how Yuga Labs found such success when so many others have failed.

How’d they do it? Is the success of Bored Apes Yacht Club a one-off – or is it the start of an industry model?

We wanted to investigate exactly what made BAYC such a success and how Yuga Labs were able to build an empire around it.

This article will detail exactly how they did it.

Let’s get into it.


Everyone wants to be a part of an exclusive club

BAYC wasn’t the first blue-chip NFT; that distinction probably belongs to Cryptopunks…

…so what did BAYC do differently?

There’s been a lot of coverage recently on the history of BAYC (check out the fantastic Input article here).

Teasing out what set BAYC apart isn’t always easy – on the surface, they took the same steps that most other NFT projects have done.

But a closer look shows three BAYC distinctives:

1. Yuga Labs
Creating a company first wasn’t new – Larva Labs did the same with CryptoPunks…but by starting with Yuga Labs, the founders of BAYC set the stage for expansion far beyond a simple NFT collection.

2. Royalties
Yuga Labs collected (and still collects) a 2.5% royalty fee on secondary sales of BAYC. That system is only possible through the blockchain, but ensures that as long as the collection is active, Yuga Labs will have a steady income stream.

That income gives Yuga Labs the ability to expand. And in BAYC’s case, it helped distinguish the collection from other schemes that rely on primary sales only, leading at times to a tendency to pump-and-dump new collections and move quickly on to the next thing.

3. Forming a Club
About those expansion plans: Yuga Labs took the “Club” part of Bored Apes Yacht Club seriously. They applied it to the ascetic of the apes themselves (with the “bored” trait being the most common in its category), but also to the project more broadly. Purchasing an Ape introduced investors to a new and growing world.

This was clever marketing – when the name came up in brainstorming sessions, Aronow latched onto it instantly. But beyond just being catchy, Bored Apes Yacht Club captured some of the zeitgeist of the broader crypto movement. This is something edgy, something different; after all, investing in any NFTs makes you part of an unusual club already.

After the success of BAYC, the only question was where to take the idea next.

Apecoin was the next logical step

The crypto world has (thankfully) moved on past the early ICO boom. Evaluating new tokens generally revolves around two related questions:

1. What’s the use (case)?
Use case is the “why” of every token. Why do I need this? Take ETH as the classic case; ETH powers the DeFi world, is the basis for innumerable smart contracts, and generally underpins a large part of the crypto economy.

2. Where’s the proof?
PoS, PoW, PoA – consensus mechanisms tend to generate a lot of the arguments when evaluating tokens. Proof of Work has its defenders, while Proof of Stake tends to be dominant, especially among Ethereum-based tokens.

Apecoin, Yuga Labs token for the BAYC ecosystem, handles both those questions in a surprising, but simple, way.

It isn’t positioned as an “Ethereum killer;” there’s no use case positioning ApeCoin as the next Solana.

Instead, Yuga Labs designed ApeCoin to be the base layer for apps in a growing BAYC-centric ecosystem. To that end, ApeCoin uses a pre-mined PoS consensus mechanism with a limited supply.

Without diving too deeply into tokenomics, it’s clear that ApeCoin’s value proposition is tied explicitly to the broader BAYC ecosystem. As the Apes rise (or fall), so does Apecoin.

That might seem risky at first; after all, there are any number of tokens based on lesser-known NFT collections.

But with a blue-chip NFT like BAYC, it seems to be working.

If ApeCoin can weather the crypto winter, it stands to be in a good position on the other side.


Then came the metaverse (are you surprised?)

Yuga Labs has plans for a third leg of the BAYC empire.

The Otherside will be a metaverse-based expansion. Like most metaverse projects, The Otherside will be partly a game, partly a digital virtual reality platform, with real ownership of assets recorded on-chain.

Yuga Labs isn’t tackling The Otherside alone. It’s working in partnership with Animoca Brands, the web3 developer behind The Sandbox, one of the more successful metaverse projects to date.

ApeCoin will be the default currency of The Otherside.

That neatly ties all three legs of the BAYC empire together: players with BAYC NFT profile pics, making transactions with ApeCoin for digital land in The Otherside.


Yuga Moves: The chance to set new standards?

What’s next?

Yuga Lab’s moves so far have taken the company from a simple NFT collection to a blockchain-powered empire. And it’s an empire that’s constantly expanding.

In recent months, Yuga Labs has expanded its NFT collections. Some are natural BAYC spin-offs, such as the Bored Apes Kennel Club and the Mutant Ape Yacht Club. But Yuga has also purchased the rights to other collections, including some high-profile ones. Two collections, purchased from Larval Labs, are especially noteworthy:

  • Cryptopunks
  • Meebits

Cryptopunks is another blue-chipper, launched way back in 2017. Meebits is slightly less well-known, but still boasts a floor price of 4.7 ETH at time of writing.

What’s really significant isn’t Yuga Labs purchasing these collections; it’s what the company does with them after purchasing.

With Meebits, Yuga changed the monetization, introducing the same royalty scheme that applies to the BAYC collection. There’s no royalties on secondary sales of Cryptopunks – yet – but that may change.


The current Yuga model

Put it all together, and there’s a clear model coming into view.

Step 1: Start with an IP, not just a collection
Yuga Labs built a successful IP out of the BAYC collection, capitalising on initial success with a lucrative royalty model.

Step 2: Add a utility token
By premiering ApeCoin next, Yuga spurred adoption of a native currency for its growing BAYC ecosystem. And by tying ApeCoin to BAYC thematically, Yuga ensured that as long as BAYC remains popular, ApeCoin will also.

Step 3: Deploy the metaverse to add a use case
The Otherside provides use cases for both tokens; the BAYC NFTs and ApeCoin. If successful, all three legs should increase in value.

Step 4: Expand to other IPs
At the same time, Yuga is hedging its bets by purchasing other noteworthy collections. Those purchases provide extra revenue streams (Meebits royalties), but there’s an even more intriguing possibility out there: what if Yuga plans to do the full BAYC treatment on Cryptopunks?

Now, PunkCoin and The Punkoverse are mere speculation at this point. But if they ever happen, then the BAYC ecosystem isn’t just a runaway success story.

Instead, it’s THE development model for the NFT industry. Build a collection, monetise it, provide a utility token, develop a metaverse on top.

Let’s see what happens.


Will Crypto Follow Fintech’s Path?

  • Posted: 18.07.22

Fintech took the investing world by storm in 2017 and 2018.

Finance giants jumped in with both feet, holding fintech roundtables and joining initiatives in developing countries.

Even traditionally innovation-reluctant sectors like banking got in on the game, as upstart companies like Revolut and Monzo drew huge investment.

But if you check the headlines today, you’ll notice a less rosy outlook. There’s still plenty of money flowing into the sector, but also increasing scrutiny.

You’re more likely to see articles highlighting layoffs amid a broader fintech slump.

With fintech losing some of its luster, it’s fair to ask what this could mean for crypto.

After all, crypto’s the current big thing, drawing $30 billion in global investment in 2021.

Will crypto lose some of that luster? Or is this an “apples and oranges” situation, and both sectors will take their own path?

Let’s explore these questions in a bit more detail.


Fintech and crypto: two sides of the same coin?

Without getting bogged down in detail, it’s worth noting that fintech and crypto are closely related.

Both rely on technological development to offer innovative solutions to financial problems.

In fact, some analysts consider crypto to be a subsector of fintech. That includes leading analysts like KPMG, who issued the report we linked to earlier.

If you take that view, then any trend that influences fintech will obviously impact crypto as well – it’s all part of the natural rise-and-fall of the broader fintech industry.

But there’s a problem with that analysis, with more than one expert taking the opposing view. Actually, there’s more than one problem; we’ve highlighted a couple of the most important:


1. The blockchain is a whole new animal…

App-based banking, like Revolut, applies new tech to an old problem. But the blockchain is something fundamentally different – a whole new technology that will transform any number of problems. Ownership? NFTs provide permanent, trackable, provable ownership of unique digital assets. Payments? Decentralised, peer-to-peer transactions directly via the blockchain.

Crypto does behave like fintech, it’s true. But just scratch the surface, and it becomes apparent that crypto is something entirely new.


2. …with different underlying strengths and weaknesses…

The blockchain itself is remarkably secure, providing users with a level of security that the broader financial sector has traditionally struggled with. There are problems, of course – scams persist for both crypto and fintech. But there’s an underlying security to the crypto sector that’s missing for much of fintech.

On the other hand, fintech trades in largely familiar technologies. Everyone is familiar with the concept of banking; fintech startups like Monzo just have to apply that concept in a new way. Crypto requires education, teaching potential customers the basics of the technology prior to any sort of engagement.


3. …and the potential to transform industries entirely.

Fintech seems transformative. No more going to the bank – settle payments from your phone! Harness the power of data to make more informed decisions!

But in most cases, these applications are just improvements on what was previously there. Banking in person led to online banking, which gave way to app-based banking and then to banks based around mobile banking entirely.

Crypto offers something truly radical. To stick with the banking example, crypto offers the potential to get rid of institutional banking altogether. Decentralise the entire process; use peer-to-peer networks for payments (and track them on the blockchain itself) and use DeFi services for loans and investments.

Fintech builds on existing systems; crypto proposes new ones.


A slump is not the end

Crypto investors with any experience know this one instinctively. As new and emerging market sectors, both fintech and crypto are subject to dramatic ups and downs – crypto especially.

If fintech and crypto are part-and-parcel of the same thing, then those trends are likely tied together for the long term. It’s true that any apparent slump for fintech in 2022 does seem to coincide with a downtrend in the crypto market. At least, that’s what a quick look at cryptocurrency prices would seem to indicate:

Look more closely at each sector, and any slump seems likely to be short-lived.

On the fintech side, European VC saw nearly 300 deals completed worth 7.9 billion euros through the end of March.

Globally, crypto saw nearly $10 billion pour into the sector over the same time period. That’s more than in 2021, and is somewhat surprising given the struggles of cryptocurrencies.

In fact, if you’re looking for signs that crypto and fintech don’t always move hand-in-hand, there’s great evidence when it comes to late-stage VC investment.

Crypto’s strength comes when late-stage VC deals are down a bit overall from 2021.



Maybe it’s not a question of crypto following in fintech’s footsteps.

Instead, think of crypto as a branch of the fintech tree. Crypto has the chance to build new systems entirely, with key principles – like decentralisation – that run contrary to much of the current financial system, including fintech.

At a time when that system is under increasing criticism, that’s perhaps the biggest difference between the two – and crypto’s biggest strength.

Crypto appears to be following in fintech’s path.

But in reality, it’s blazing new trails.


Terra, LUNA & UST: The Bet & Meltdown Explained

  • Posted: 30.05.22

Terra came, Terra fell, and now we’re all moving on.

It’s hard to underestimate the significance of what happened a few weeks ago.

UST had a market cap of $17 billion, add that to LUNA and it equated to over $40 billion. That’s large-cap stock territory, assets with enough behind them to be safer bets than smaller ones.

And just to put this into perspective:

This wasn’t the latest airdrop of some lesser-ranked memecoin; this was an experimental but highly successful stablecoin that formed the basis of a number of incredibly popular projects. Just look at Anchor Protocol – talk of the town prior to the crash.

Now that the house of cards has come crashing down, more and more analysts are coming out with their hot takes on how they “saw it coming.”

But a few people actually did.

Let’s see what they said, when they said it – and what we can learn from it.


Twitter was the breeding ground of doubt

I want to be clear:

There were real concerns about the Terra/Luna ecosystem before it broke.

As with most things concerning crypto, Twitter was part of the story.

The best examples of doubt are from two well-known users who participated in a high-profile bet intended to demonstrate how weak Terra/Luna was.

So, what was “The Bet”?

@AlgodTrading suggested a bet of $1,000,000 for $LUNA critics to put their money where their mouth was.

There were a few takers right away – and then Player 2 entered the game.

GCR – @GiganticRebirth – upped the stakes.

Those were fighting words, and Do Kwon took the bait.

The stage was set. We had not only money, but pride on the line too.

There was the usual haggling over details, in particular over the use of market cap (remember, Luna is deflationary, burning tokens daily per its tokenomics).

The well-known @cobie would hold the bet in escrow. GCR sent his bet – $10 million, as per the agreement – over the next day in USDC.

A day later, Do Kwon made his deposit in USDT.

Both bets were in, and the one-year clock began.

But that wasn’t enough for GCR. As news of “the bet” spread, GCR tried to get Do Kwon to double the initial $10 million.

That was March 17th 2022; with Do Kwon refusing to up the ante, GCR did the only logical thing – he increased it by himself.

GCR announced his derivatives bet on $LUNA on May 7 2022. Less than 48 hours later, $UST lost the peg – and the Terra/Luna downfall began.


The Collapse

The actual collapse of Terra/Luna took place over 2-3 days between May 9-May 11, 2022. Most of you are probably familiar with the timeline, so here’s a quick recap:

May 8 – Responding to dips in the TerraUSD stablecoin, Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) began spending some of its resources to defend the peg. That meant purchasing UST with Bitcoin as well as a combination of other crypto currencies and fiat.

May 9 – Despite LFG’s increasingly-aggressive attempts to stabilize UST, the stablecoin loses the peg; you can see the turning point in the chart below:

May 10 – LFG empties its reserves, spends 33,206 BTC to purchase over 1.1 billion UST in an all-out attempt to remedy the situation. That attempt fails; between May 10-12, the UST price vacillated wildly, going as low as $0.30 and as high as $0.82 – but still well off the peg.

May 12 – LFG shifts fully into damage control mode, swapping 883,525,674 $UST to 221,021,746 $LUNA to prevent a governance attack on the ecosystem.

May 13 – By the 13th, UST had settled firmly in the teens, trading at around $0.17. Luna’s decline was even more devastating. It was trading at a few thousandths of a cent by May 13. Exactly a month earlier, Luna traded at over $86.

How did the originators of the bet make out?

GCR hadn’t exactly been idle; while holding a short position on LUNA as part of the bet, on May 12 he acquired the necessary LUNA shares to cover his position. If Luna collapsed further, he’d make millions on his short position. If the token somehow rebounded, he’d recover any losses.

How much did hedging the bet cost GCR?

A whopping $700.

Some people tried to capitalise on this quick downturn too:


The Aftermath

So where does this leave everyone?

GCR – GCR saw weaknesses with the Terra/Luna ecosystem, put his money where his mouth was, and was positioned perfectly to profit no matter what happened. Depending on his exact LUNA holdings, GCR was even eligible to receive airdropped new LUNA tokens, giving him a further benefit even if Do Kwon is able to bring the ecosystem back.

Do Kwon – Speaking of Do Kwon – the collapse of a stablecoin with an $18 billion market cap doesn’t go unnoticed. South Korea, in particular, has a number of questions for the man behind crypto’s biggest collapse. With investigations pending and special enforcement units resurfacing, Do Kwon’s future seems destined to be filled with lawyers.

Of course, there’s also the matter of restarting Terra. This time, Do Kwon dropped the algorithmic stablecoin altogether – LUNA is now the sole token, forked off from what is now Luna Classic.

The LUNAtics – Fans of UST and Luna remained vocal to the bitter end; the proposal to fork the chain into Luna 2.0 passed with 65% of validators approving the measure. There’s also the strange insistence on referring to the whole collapse as “the attack”, something that persists even in official documentation for the new chain.




We can’t talk about the collapse and rebirth of Terra without mentioning Anchor Protocol.

The relationship between the two boiled down to this: Anchor’s astoundingly high returns – 20%!!! – drew more and more investors, with UST pouring into the protocol. That led to a serious reserve deficit problem for Terra.

A bull market covers a multitude of sins, so the problem was hidden for a while. But once the collapse began, there was no way to defend the peg other than the algo. When that failed, there was no second line of defense.

This article from Delphi breaks things down clearly. It turns out that there was a second line; that was LFG, and their admirable efforts to build a currency reserve that could be deployed when the algo weakened. Review the timeline, and you’ll see that LFG managed to stave off collapse for roughly 2-3 days. That’s impressive!

Sadly, the LFG reserve was too little, too late. Had the collapse happened later in the year, with a stronger BTC, LFG might have been able to withstand the flood of outgoing UST. As it happened, LFG put up a good fight that only delayed the inevitable.

Where do things go from here?

It’s possible that the new Terra fork will be successful. With the migration of dApps over to the new chain, and dropping the UST dead weight, perhaps Luna will rebound.

The death of UST itself is noteworthy. It led to a host of “stablecoins are dead!” headlines, but it’s worth noting that algo stablecoins are basically an experimental approach to technology that is barely a decade old. Other stablecoins, like USDC, rely on a more traditional approach to collateralization.

The collapse might have been the biggest blow to the crypto economy since the infamous Mt. Gox incident. But in the long run, this is likely to fall into the same category – devastating on an individual level, but part of a broader learning curve for the market itself.

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Solana Supporting NFTs: Everything You Need To Know

  • Posted: 18.05.22

If you can’t beat them, join them – news that Opensea was adding support for NFTs on Solana made waves when it first dropped.

Was this yet another sign that Solana had made it, a breakthrough in Solana’s ongoing war with the other Ethereum-killer L1’s?

What does it say about NFTs? Have users finally had enough with Ethereum’s murderous gas fees?

Or will Solana have to fight to prove itself – again?

All this and more in our analysis of the biggest recent news in SOL NFTs.

Read on!


Opensea – still the biggest fish (and it’s not even close)

Getting an exact read on Opensea’s market share is tricky, but one thing’s for sure:

It’s a lot.

Like, upwards of 80%.

And in terms of attention, it’s probably even higher than that.

The Solana integration is just one example. There are other Solana NFT marketplaces, but one word of Opensea’s involvement, and all attention shifted.

That might seem unfair, but Opensea’s got the largest market share and all of the “greatest hits” of the young NFT world. CryptoPunks, BAYC, Mutant Apes, World of Women – they’re all Ethereum-based and available on Opensea.

Integrating Opensea and Solana isn’t just about adding a nice bit of functionality to an already-useful tool. Instead, think of Opensea as the primary access point for the NFT world – and it just swung open for Solana.


More NFTs, new use cases

Nothing on Solana currently can compete with the big names of Ethereum NFTs. But that could change, and the increasing volume of NFTs on Solana is one good indication.

As it stands, Solana is solidly in second place in daily NFT transaction volume. It’s too early to see if the Opensea integration leads to a significant and permanent boost – it’ll take a few months to see.

An increasing variety of use cases is another good indicator. Want an example? Take a look at the Coachella NFT golden ticket – launched on the Solana chain. NFT use cases are nearly as varied as the NFTs themselves, and sports/entertainment is just one of many possibilities. It’s interesting to see how many of these new use cases adopt Solana instead of Ethereum as their native chain moving forward.


ETH vs SOL – redux

It’s impossible to talk about Solana and Opensea without coming back around to the idea of SOL as the “Ethereum-killer.” On the surface, the fight isn’t close, at least not when it comes to NFTs.

But there are two questions worth asking:

1. Will this create added competition for Ethereum going forward?
2. How will this impact Solana – and the price of SOL?

First things first. Ethereum isn’t going to see its market dominance vanish overnight. The death of Ethereum, if it happens at all, is going to play out over months and years.

With that said, the Solana/Opensea integration shows that NFT stage one is over. The early days of dominance by a handful of collections on one marketplace are coming to an end. With new projects on new chains, the NFT world is just starting to move beyond ETH alone.

That can only be a good thing from the development standpoint. But what about price?

ETH currently holds about 20% of the total crypto market cap; SOL holds about 1.8%. Price-wise, ETH currently trades at roughly $2800, with SOL right at $100.

These aren’t looking great for the SOL vs. ETH competition.

Dig a bit deeper, and there are some interesting insights. 

The Opensea news led, as one would expect, to a quick boost in price. That was followed by the inevitable dip. But since then, SOL has held steady, avoiding much of the slog that has pulled the broader crypto market – including ETH – down dramatically over the past month.

What’s the takeaway?

Solana isn’t an overnight ETH-killer. That’s ok, because no one is! But the Opensea integration demonstrates the expansion of the NFT world while also positioning Solana better for the long haul. And it appears to have given SOlana some resilience against the current market headwinds.

The whole SOL vs. ETH conversation might just be missing the point. We’re asking SOlana to prove itself again, when so far it has passed every test.

Jump on in, Solana!

The water’s warm.