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Sfermion's Collider #26

Curated news and updates from the world of web3 and gaming.

Sfermion is an investment firm focused on backing the founders building the metaverse.

Hello 👋

Welcome to the 26th edition of Sfermion’s Collider where we highlight the latest & greatest news in the world of web3 and gaming!

Weekly, we aim to drop a curated list of the most exciting stories & updates that we believe are enabling the emergence of the metaverse.

If you're looking forward to reading this edition of Sfermion’s Collider, please don't forget to subscribe below, share within your network, and follow Sfermion on Twitter to get the latest! Check out our Seam (💰) bio here as well :)

Web3 Updates

Chamber of Commerce & Coinbase | CoC Backs Coinbase and Goes After SEC : The Chamber of Commerce claims that the SEC “is causing great economic harm” with the lack of clear regulations for digital assets, and said that it supports Coinbase as it seeks to get regulatory clarity on what a security is in the eyes of the SEC.

Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Moody’s, & DRW | Privacy Blockchain Network Launch : Digital Asset, the financial technology firm co-founded by DRW's Don Wilson, is launching a privacy-enabled blockchain. Goldman Sachs, Moody's, DRW, and Microsoft are among the firms joining the blockchain, dubbed Canton Network. It will be a privacy-enabled interoperable blockchain explicitly designed for institutional assets.

Bittrex | US Crypto Exchange Filing for Bankruptcy : Crypto exchange Bittrex has filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. state of Delaware on Monday, months after announcing it would wind down operations in the country and weeks after being sued by the SEC. The exchange believes it has more than 100,000 creditors, with estimated liabilities and assets both within the $500M to $1B range. These changes have not affected Bittrex Global, the non-U.S. crypto exchange.

Coinbase | Ex-Product Manager Sentenced for Insider Trading : Ishan Wahi, a former product manager at Coinbase, was arrested in July 2022 and charged with wire fraud and insider trading for feeding his brother and another man insider information about upcoming crypto listings. From June 2021 to April 2022, authorities say the men made over $1 million trading on Wahi’s information. This case is the second crypto-related insider trading case brought by the Department of Justice (Nate Chastain being the other). Wahi’s brother, Nikhil Wahi, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud last September, and in January was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Stripe | New On-Ramp Features Live : Web3 companies can now direct customers to a Stripe-hosted onramp to buy cryptocurrencies. Both embedded and Stripe-hosted onramps are now available to any interested Stripe user. See more here!

Alibaba Cloud & Avalanche | Cloudverse - Enterprise/Brands-focused Metaverse Launchpad : The cloud division of Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba (BABA) has built a launchpad for businesses to deploy metaverses on the Avalanche blockchain. Named Cloudverse, the launchpad is designed to provide an end-to-end platform for companies to customize and maintain their metaverse spaces to try and find new ways of engaging with their customers.

WorldCoin | Mobile App Live : The company has also made a minimalist wallet app, World App, which just launched in 80+ countries. Verified users currently get their gas fees covered for free crypto transfers — and through the app, users should soon be able to claim a native token. Thanks to its privacy-preserving features, World App is supposedly the “fastest-growing wallet in the world,” with an app sign-up every 14 seconds.

Worldcoin & Optimism | Tech Partnership : As part of a partnership between The Worldcoin Foundation and Tools for Humanity (Worldcoin's lead software contributor) with Optimism Collective, World App will migrate to Optimism from Polygon. Worldcoin had worked with the Optimism ecosystem in the past, initially launching the World App beta on Hubble, an optimistic rollup originally started by the team at the Ethereum Foundation.

Bhutan | Planning $500M Fund for Crypto Mining : Kingdom of Bhutan’s investment arm is tying up with Bitdeer Technologies for a $500m fund to push for green crypto mining.

Pudgy Penguins & WME | Signed Partnership : Blue chip NFT project Pudgy Penguins has signed a representation deal with major Hollywood talent agency WME. WME’s other NFT-related clients include Dapper Labs co-founder Mack Flavelle, the Boss Beauties project, pseudonymous NFT artist FEWOCiOUS and artist Claire Silver.

Binance | Bitcoin Ordinals Marketplace : Binance NFT Marketplace is soon set to support Bitcoin Ordinals (Bitcoin NFTs), thereby expanding the platform’s ecosystem. Binance NFT is actively seeking collaboration with relevant NFT projects focused on Bitcoin Ordinals to further strengthen the community and ecosystem.

Solana | SAGA Phone Available for Public : Another breakthrough in the mobile era of web3 is here. Saga — Solana Mobile’s flagship Android phone — is now available to the general public and ready to ship to the U.S., Canada, EU, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand. Check out the link to learn more!

Dune Analytics | Solana Data Now Live : Dune introduces their first non-EVM chain, Solana, to the platform. Solana generates a staggering 100GB+ of data daily - 40x more than the 2.5GB produced by the Ethereum mainnet - all of which will be made available to wizards soon.

Alo Yoga & MoonPay | In-Store NFT Claim : Alo Yoga, an apparel and accessories retailer with dozens of locations across several U.S. states, has rolled out an in-store NFT claim in collaboration with MoonPay, letting brick-and-mortar customers receive free digital collectibles featuring “daily affirmations.”

Chiliz | Publich Launch of New Layer-1 : Chiliz is the blockchain tech pioneer behind the and Fan Token digital sports ecosystem, which has 2M+ wallets and has enabled sports teams to build direct relationships with their global audiences. Chiliz Chain is a Layer-1, EMV-compatible, Proof of Staked Authority blockchain. Jump Crypto is among the first of the node validators to be revealed, with more big names from the industry on the way. The chain will also seed projects through its $50m accelerator.

Tessera | Shutting Down Operations : NFT projects Tessera and Escher will shut down over the next few weeks. The founder of the Paradigm-backed project attributed the move to an economic model that no longer worked.

Zora | Introducing Text NFTs : Zora introduces on-chain publishing of text NFTs. All of content will remain free to read, but if a user encounters something that resonates and they want to hold on to it, they can pay a fee to mint it as an NFT.

LunarCrush | LunrGPT Coming Soon : Delve into perceptive conversations, live market data, sentiment analysis, and custom recommendations. Master the ever-changing financial world of cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and stocks with LunrGPT - coming soon!

Gaming Updates

Immutable (💰) | New Payments/Checkout Feature : Immutable releases Checkout - a complete payment solution that manages your game or marketplace's entire checkout process. Enable your users to add funds, instantly purchase or swap assets, integrate multiple payment methods, and more to increase your conversions and ensure your community is always transaction-ready. An exciting feature for gamers and developers to onboard more users to web3 gaming!

Planet Mojo (💰) | Mojo Melee Beta Now Live : Mojo Melee kicks off their free to play open beta, which includes an opportunity to earn a whitelist spot for their upcoming free Chest mint! All you have to do is play the browser version, and No NFTs or tokens required!

LifeForce Games (💰) | Arbitrum Launch & TreasureDAO Partnership : Treasure welcomes Spark Defense, a hero-driven MOBA defense game being built by LifeForce Games, to its ecosystem.

Super League Gaming & MELON | UGC Studio Acquisition : Super League has acquired development studio Melon to boost its capabilities as an one-stop solution for brands that want to build communities across gaming metaverse platforms. Melon will serve as an in-house development studio. In turn, these interactive experiences will leverage Super League’s suite of measurement, monetization and player acquisition tools.

Roblox | 22% User Surge in 2023 : Roblox said that its revenue and DAU count for the first quarter of 2023 are both up 22% year-over-year. It saw $655.3N in quarterly revenue and 66.1M daily users, according to a statement. Total hours spent in the game have also risen 23% year-over-year, and the company saw a 23% increase in “bookings,” which are purchases of Roblox’s in-game virtual currency, Robux (which is not a cryptocurrency). Despite its growing user base and increased sales, the company still reported a net loss of $268.3M. Reuters reported that Roblox’s losses were due to “developer exchange fees, personnel costs, and infrastructure.”

Amazon & Niantic | In-Game Shopping : Niantic’s new AR game, Peridot (Pokémon GO meets Tamagotchi) integrated “Amazon Anywhere” to allow for in-game shopping of physical (and digital) asset purchasing! Huge unlock for the AR space here. Read more here.

NHL | Metaverse Experience on Roblox : The National Hockey League announces the launch of NHL Blast on Roblox, a global immersive platform where millions of people communicate and connect every day. Built by leading metaverse development studio The Gang, NHL Blast introduces creative skating and innovative puck shooting mechanics on Roblox to mimic movements of actual NHL Players.

Fortnite & Amazon | Fortnite Now Available on Amazon Luna : To further expand Fortnites presence and dominance, Amazon and Epic Games just made Fortnite available to players on Amazon’s cloud gaming service, Amazon Luna, in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and the UK. Amazon Prime members can start playing the game today as part of their Prime membership, and all other customers can play with an existing Luna+ subscription.

Fortnite | Olympic Esports Series in 2023 : The International Olympic Committee announces that Fortnite will be featured in the first Olympic Esports Series in the sport shooting competition. The Olympics will be inaugurating the first Olympic Esports Series in June, and the virtual tournament will be held in a Fortnite Creative Island specifically designed for this purpose.

Counter-Strike Global Offensive | New Concurrent Player Milestone : 11 years after its release, Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has hit a new high for concurrent players - reaching 1.8M players on Saturday, May 6. The game's previous record was 1.5M back in March, but this new milestone now gives it Steam's second highest all-time concurrent peak behind the 3.25M reached by PUBG: Battlegrounds in 2018.

Kevin Durant | Latest Playable Celebrity in Call of Duty : The Slim Reaper will now not only haunt opponents on NBA courts, but virtual battlefields as Kevin Durant will be available as an Operator skin in upcoming versions of "Call of Duty." Yet another celebrity in-game partnership to boost reach and engagement. I’m sure KD will be running around as himself in-game this off-season.

Mist Chain | Game-changer for the Metaverse : Mist is launching Mist Chain: a fully EVM Compatible Blockchain to support all dAPPS (including Games) with fast, low-cost transactions.

Unity | 3rd Wave of Layoffs - 600 People : Unity is bringing their total employee count down to 7K by slashing 8% of their staff on their 3rd layoff.

Research & Interesting Reads

a16z crypto | How to build in web3: New talks from Crypto Startup School '23

Konvoy | Achievement Unlocked: Grandmaster

Naavik | Primer on Fully On-Chain Gaming

Bitkraft | How Blockchain Gaming Founders Should Think About User Acquisition

If AI is an unstoppable force, crypto is an immovable object

Messari | Expanding NFT Utility: Token Bound Accounts

KaijuKingz: A Community For Builders

10 tips for killer User Acquisition ops

UGC: how Fortnite (& Roblox!) are leading the next wave

Yoda Labs: How E-Sports is destined to drive mass Web3 gaming and crypto adoption?

NFT Drops & Updates

Hume (💰) & Glass Protocol | AngelBaby Music Video Drop Live : The #3 song all time on is launching the music video on Glass Protocol. Hume, the creators of AngelBaby, are partnering with Grimes AI and AKidCalledGhost. The mint is live until Tuesday and Sound holders get up to 5 free mints, and Glass Pass holders get a special discount. Def try to participate here!

Elon Musk & Milady | Meme Tweet Craze : Elon Musk tweeted a meme featuring a Milady pfp, which immediately sent the collection’s floor price from 3.8 to 7.35 ETH (has since cooled down to 4.15 ETH). Just another Elon tweet moving markets/floors.

Bitcoin | Ordinals & BRC-20 Soaring : Tokens created on Bitcoin through the Ordinals protocol have exceeded a total market value of $900M, highlighting the rapid rise of an emerging asset niche on the most valuable blockchain. Ordi, a memecoin, leads the BRC-20 token niche with a ATH FDV of $540M. Memecoins make up the majority of tokens created using BRC-20, a recently-developed token standard for Bitcoin using the Ordinals protocol. Close to 5.8M Ordinals have been inscribed (minted) to-date.

Beeple | Goat-related Airdrop for NFT Holders : NFT OG and epic digital artist, Beeple, announces an airdrop for current Beeple NFT holders - something related to goats! The snapshot has been taken and will not include those who held on Nifty Gateway (ngmi if you did, sorry).

Trevor Jones & Nifty Gateway | King Charles Open Mint : To celebrate King Charles’ coronation, OG (NFT) artist Trevor Jones provided a unique opportunity for Nifty Gateway members to own a piece of digital heritage. 20,202 collectors got their hands on “The Oath” NFT for free, featuring a prestigious symbol of the crown jewels representing the royal event, St. Edward’s crown. All holders of the NFTs can enter a raffle on May 14th to win another limited-edition NFT “The Crown”, and a physical print of “The Oath” signed by Trevor Jones.

Notable Raises

a16z | $500m Fund : a16z raises $500M which will go towards early stage companies building for American Dynamism. This investment will help catalyze job creation and innovation across the United States.

Sound Ventures | $240M AI Fund : Asthon Kutcher’s Sound Ventures has raised $240M to invest in AI companies. Sound Ventures' investment portfolio already includes artificial intelligence companies like OpenAI, Anthropic and StabilityAI.

LimeWire | $16.5m raise : Limewire has raised over $16M for its blockchain-focused revival. Limewire has surpassed its $15M funding goal and is more than halfway to its $30M fundraising limit. The project’s website says that the sale will close on May 11th and that the token will be listed on four major exchanges beginning on May 16th. Limewire previously announced on April 21st that it had raised $10M through a private sale led by led by Kraken Ventures, Arrington Capital, and GSR.

Blockworks | $12m raise : Blockworks Research, a leading financial research platform, has raised $12M at a $135M valuation led by 10T Holdings. The platform brings together data, analytics, research, governance, and real-time news to help financial institutions and deeply crypto-native investors make better decisions. This investment allows Blockworks to double-down on its efforts to bring better information to the industry.

Pudgy Penguins | $9m raise : Popular and OG NFT brand Pudgy Penguins has raised $9M in a seed round led by 1kx to further build out its IP play.

Odsy Network | $7.5m raise : The Odsy Foundation has raised $7.5M at a valuation of $250M. Their goal is to decentralize access control in Web3, thereby mitigating the requirement for users to have multiple wallets to access different networks and applications.

Aether Games | $4.5m raise : Aether Games has secured $4.5M in token and equity funding from prominent investors. The funds will be utilized to support the development of the Aether world-building project, which includes Cards of Ethernity, Gates of Ethernity, Augmented Reality, and AI technology. The game is set to launch on Sui in the coming weeks.

Blocktorch | $4.2m raise : Blocktorch raises a $4.2M round led by Ideo CoLab Ventures with a vision to provide a platform for developers to monitor their dApps. The funding will be used to grow the engineering and commercial teams.

Artifact Labs | $3.25m raise : Artifact Labs, a blockchain-based firm, has raised $3.25M from Blue Pool Capital, Animoca, and others. The firm plans to use Web3 to engage with historically significant collections, and to support important organizations with new revenue streams. This will help to secure and preserve on-chain data.

PlaceWar | $3m raise : PlaceWar, a P2E social GameFi strategic artillery game ecosystem, has raised $3M to further build out their game and ecosystem.

Artizen | $2.4m raise : Artizen, a Web3 culture-focused crowdfunding platform, announced that it has raised $2.2M to help creators fund projects at the intersection of art, technology, science, and design,

Cookbook | $2m raise : Smart-contract registry Cookbook has raised $2M to supercharge its efforts to support developers’ Web3 projects. The initiative will complement the existing offerings of a platform that offers tools to sift through thousands of open-source templates and access documentation about how to operate them.

Mintstars | $600k raise : The 600K pre-seed round was led by Polygon Labs and SpankChain, and will towards furthering Mintstars vision of a world where creators have freedom to express themselves with fairer pay and ownership of their content.

Mo & Andrew's Curated

Metaverse Live Ep. 14 | Changing Financial Landscape: Bank Acquisitions and Unlimited Bailouts

Naavik Gaming Podcast | How Yuga Labs is Defining the Future of Web3 Gaming

Nice milady, ser Elon

Web3 Tweets

NFT Tweets

Gaming Tweets

Random Tweets

💰 = Sfermion Portfolio Company

Curated by @mopat1214 + @AndrewSteinwold

If you enjoyed reading this edition of Sfermion’s Collider, please subscribe below, share within your network, and follow Sfermion on Twitter to get the latest! Check out our Seam (💰) bio here as well :)

Note: All information in this Newsletter regarding any company or investment is the sole responsibility of the company providing the information. Sfermion, and its affiliates, makes no representation or guarantee to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented. Sfermion is not responsible for any information contained in any links outside our websites and official social accounts.

Sfermion does not offer investment advice/analysis and makes no recommendations on how to act. Information regarding any company or investment in this Newsletter, including any links to information on our website, should not be viewed as an endorsement or recommendation of that company or investment for any purpose whatsoever. Any person receiving this Newsletter is encouraged to consult with their own financial advisor, or relevant personnel, before making any investment decision.