In This Issue
- For this weeks portfolio tip, I’ll be talking about the next big thing.
- Sam has a report for you on Cardano NFT marketplaces.
- Web3 Academy has an article on why mobile wallet hardware is key to Web3 adoption.
- Rebecca has this week’s top trending coins.
- Biggest Metaverse Projects: Jesse has a report on the 9 biggest metaverse projects.
- Porfolio Updates: Premium members get weekly updates of my complete crypto portfolio, plus what buy and sell orders I have set.
- NFT Mints: 3 upcoming NFT mints to keep an eye on.
Lark’s Portfolio Tips
The Next Big Thing
Finding the next narrative is an eternally tricky and uncertain science in crypto. But here are a few ideas to keep an eye moving into 2023.
Liquid Staking: This is a narrative that has taken off big time in recent weeks. This is because the Ethereum Shanghai testnet has been announced for February, which if successful will see staking unlocks for ETH happen as soon as March. This is a much shorter term narrative. Speculation is already running hard on coins like LIDO, FXS, and RPL. The question is do they have further to run? The answer. Maybe. I would look for pull backs as the initial hype fades and then watch for market moves as the testnet date approaches and then the actual launch on mainnnet happens. This would most likely be a sell the news moment by the way with prices of staking protocols falling in the days after staking withdrawals launch.
AI: I think this is definitely a narrative to watch in 2023. ChatGPT being valued at 29 billion is insane and Microsoft is rushing to buy a 49% stake at that valuation. This has led to and could continue to see a big interest in AI coins. You can see a list of coins here. Just be careful, because like with metaverse the hype can die down real fast and leave you holding the bag. What we would need to see for further price gains in AI coins would be something beyond ChatGPT. Basically more narrative, more hype.
NFTs: I think we will continue to see many mini NFT cycles throughout 2023. While I have not made tracking new NFT collections and the latest narratives in the NFT space a priority, Sam has been keeping you up to date with our weekly NFT reports and new mints. I will be curious to see what collections emerge from the bear market as the future blue chips? A few I personally keep track of are World of Women, Cyber Brokers, and Doodles. But at the end of the day, who knows what the new hot things will be next cycle. Chances are they are some of the new collections being launched in the bear market when no one cares or is paying attention. Watch for high quality artists and / or strong founders.
Celestia & Sui: I know I keep saying it, but the new blockchains launching this year or which have recently launched stand a good chance at being the “big things” next cycle. When and where possible chase those airdrops, we have shared many guides. These could be worth THOUSANDS! That being said, if you miss the airdrops then you will need to buy on the secondary market. Which means be careful. Aptos went from $10 to $3. And has massive upcoming unlocks where VCs get to cash out for the big bucks. So don’t buy the listing hype. If you decide any of these new coins are worth your time and money then be patient and watch for good entries.
Layer Twos: Optimism and Abritrum, the leading Ethereum layer twos, almost hit parity with Ethereum in terms of transaction volume on January 7th. They were just 16,000 transactions away, combined, from matching the main chain. So already we see the layer two narrative taking off big time. But I think this will only grow. This year we are looking towards the release of Layer Zero, zkSyncy, Taiko and zkEVM. All of which will further escalate the layer two arms race. Then we have proto-danksharding coming to Ethereum which will make ETH layer twos 10-100X cheaper to use. This will likely be a spark for the whole layer two ecosystem. So I am watching Optimism which is currently trading and for the launch of new network tokens like Layer Zero and Arbitrum.
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Cardano NFT Marketplaces by Sam
NFTs don’t start and finish on Ethereum, and for anyone wanting to try out a new ecosystem, exploring some Cardano NFT marketplaces can provide an interesting alternative.
Let’s take a look at why to buy Cardano NFTs, five marketplaces to keep on your radar as you’re getting started, and a few more useful resources that can help you get to grips with the Cardano network.
Why Buy Cardano NFTs?
If you’re familiar with trading Ethereum NFTs, then you’ll notice that the Cardano NFT space has many similarities.
Twitter and Discord are the key social media channels, there are similar kinds of projects and collections (PFPs, art, gaming and the metaverse, and so on), and the chatter you’ll hear runs along similar lines (floor prices come up a lot, but so do discussions about art and utility).
As always with NFTs, hype and attention are valuable, and prices are highly volatile, but a difference on Cardano is that the scale is reduced.
The first Cardano NFTs didn’t appear until March 2021–a collection of 100 Berries that were airdropped for free, but are now highly priced–and the ecosystem has, since then, been playing catch up with Ethereum.
However, Cardano NFTs have several advantages:
- The blockchain is cheap and efficient, and you don’t need to worry about gas fees.
- The ecosystem has plenty of room for rapid expansion if it pulls in new users.
- Cardano NFTs are relatively low cost, even in the mid and upper tier collections.
Overall, if NFTs on Ethereum look a little expensive, and the daily churn seems overly chaotic, then Cardano can make for a gentler NFT entry point, while still having plenty of opportunities to make a profit.
Trade your way up on Cardano and you might, at some point, decide to take your profits and throw them at some NFTs on Ethereum. That said, though, Cardano NFTs can be a lot of fun, and once you’re hooked and part of some communities, you may never leave.
Cardano NFT Marketplaces
If you’re looking for the OpenSea of Cardano, then visit JPG Store, which has become the dominant marketplace and is very beginner-friendly. It looks inviting, it’s well constructed, and it’s constantly improving.
JPG Store has multiple payment options, and it’s integrated with Moonpay, allowing you to purchase ADA quickly with a credit card. If you have neither ADA nor a crypto wallet, you can pay directly with a credit card and have NFTs stored via Winter wallet, and there are also options to pay in ETH and SOL.
Don’t worry if you find yourself doing all your trading through JPG Store, as it pretty much has the top spot wrapped up for the moment. However, NFTs move fast, and the potential for rapid disruption is always there.
Before JPG Store, there was CNFT.IO, which was actually the very first Cardano NFT marketplace. Using it was a hit-and-miss experience back then, meaning it was always at risk of being superseded by a more efficient competitor, and that’s exactly what happened when JPG Store came along.
Still, CNFT.IO continues to operate, has improved and updated a lot since its early days, and the name will always evoke nostalgia among early Cardano JPEG traders reminiscing about the clunky, pre-smart contract era.
Another early marketplace that has stuck around, Tokhun was always geared more towards artists wanting to mint their work, rather than large, hyped-up drops, and it has a niche feeling about it.
While the site now feels in need of updates and is a little bare, it can still be worth checking in with and looking around to find new artwork, as there are creators actively minting NFTs there.
An original, forward-thinking platform, Book is focused on using NFTs in the worlds of literature and publishing.
You won’t find PFPs or generative art, but instead, this is a decentralized marketplace where readers can buy, sell and read books, and earn the platform’s native token, while authors can mint their work as NFTs, earn royalties on secondary sales (as well as earning from initial sales), and connect directly with audiences.
In an area of tech where critics demand real-world use cases, Book is demonstrating clear utility and taking a novel, crypto-centered approach to an important industry.
It’s not operating yet, but Flipr is a new platform that’s gearing up for launch. While JPG Store is currently the top Cardano marketplace, a glance at the way the Ethereum ecosystem has developed suggests that new rivals will offer competition, and Flipr may be a contender.
It’s planning a native token to reward traders, which can then be staked, and will incorporate a DAO structure, allowing members to participate in steering the future of the platform.
Holders of a Ghostchain NFT (created by the Flipr team) will also receive marketplace token rewards, airdropped from Flipr.
Look Around Cardano
Aside from the marketplaces themselves, another useful resource is the Cardano Cube NFT Marketplace section, which lists all current platforms, big, small, and sometimes still in the works.
In fact, Cardano Cube is a valuable resource from which to explore the entire Cardano ecosystem, as it gives an overview of all kinds of development, from DEXes to meme coins to wallets, and everything in between.
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Why Mobile Wallet Hardware Is Key to Web3 Adoption by Web3 Academy
If you’ve been in web3 for a while, you’ve likely seen or heard people talk about mainstream adoption.
Heck, we also tend to talk a lot about adoption every time some major corporation dips its toes into web3. And it’s happening more and more now as big brands are really starting to see the value of web3 tech.
But why haven’t we actually achieved mainstream adoption yet?
Some say it’s the UX while others blame it on scams—it’s ironic that immutable, transparent cryptographic technology is held back by security flaws, but it’s true.
At Web3 Academy, we believe that a combination of UX, security and the complexity of the space is what’s holding it back. So how can we improve these and eventually onboard the rest of the world into web3?
We think it’s going to come from web3-friendly mobile wallet hardware.
In this Deep Dive, we break down:
- The current problems with hardware
- How mobile hardware can support web3 adoption
- Current developments in the mobile hardware space
Let’s dive in.
The Problem With Hardware in the Age of Accelerating Innovation
We’re living in the age of exponential innovation, but innovations mostly come through software due to it being extremely scalable and relatively lower cost when compared to the hardware it runs on.
Said another way, hardware is both costly and difficult to develop, and its production relies on a long supply chain of chips and other physical parts.
This is also the main reason why we’ve seen AI tech only just become widely available—we haven’t had the necessary computing power to make it available for mainstream use.
Now, we’ve seen the proliferation of AI because it’s suitable for web2 hardware. Web3 and blockchain, however, aren’t. So we need to develop web3 hardware from the ground up because it’s fundamentally different from what we currently have.
And while we do have web3-friendly technology, such as Ledger, the current UX isn’t suitable for onboarding mainstream users and it still relies heavily on web2 technology. Plus, it is nowhere near as secure as it should be.
However, we’re starting to see web3 DOers recognize the need for secure, user-friendly web3 hardware.
How Mobile Hardware Supports Web3 Adoption
When we say mobile hardware, it doesn’t necessarily mean a typical mobile phone, we’re referring to any device that can easily fit into your back pocket.
But why’s that important?
We believe that over the next few decades, everything will become digitized. We’re talking about money (it basically already is), identification documents, event tickets, ownership documents, and more.
It’s as natural as the progression from the desktop in the early stages of the internet to the mobile phone that put the internet in everyone’s pocket.
And we believe that most (if not all) of these will be stored on a blockchain in some form or another.
So how can web3-friendly mobile hardware speed up this transition?
- Improving the user experience of web3.
- Giving owners a chance to flex their identity.
- Allowing web3 technology to be more scalable.
- Improving security during web3 interactions.
Let’s break these down further.
Right now, web3 is fragmented AF, to say the least. You’ve got hundreds of crypto wallets and finding new protocols and dapps is unintuitive. Plus, once you do find them, you have to constantly sign in with your wallet anytime you’d like to access them.
MetaMask be like
Instead, web3-friendly mobile hardware will give you access to all your favorite web3 applications all in one place.
Regardless, in 2022, most people access the applications they use daily through their mobile phones. More and more people are engaging in eCommerce through mobile, people are spending most of their social media time on mobile, and roughly 55% of Americans even prefer banking through a mobile app (compared to 31% preferring to use a pc browser).
On top of this, a mobile device can easily access identity and ownership documents so you can share them if need be.
Just imagine pulling out your laptop at an airport check-in to prove your identity… probably not going to happen, and that’s why web3-friendly mobile devices will drive true adoption of this technology.
Ian Rogers, the Chief Experience Officer at Ledger, put it perfectly during an interview with Carly Reilly from Overpriced JPEGs.
He said, “When you buy an Apple phone, you’re not buying a piece of hardware. You’re buying into an ecosystem, you’re buying an experience. And the complexity of the digital asset world is similar. Buying a piece of Ledger hardware isn’t just a commodity, it’s an experience that brings you a secure digital asset experience to your phone.”
Ledger has been arguably the top company when it comes to crypto hardware wallets. But until now, their offerings have focused more on the actual utility (i.e., security) rather than creating an experience around the device. That’s why we’re so excited about their upcoming release of the Ledger Stax (more on that later).
But if we know anything about humans, we know they love to flex.
Are Apple phones objectively better than Samsungs? Probably not. So why do they dominate smartphone sales in the US?
It comes down to the experience that Apple sells its audience—sophistication, innovation, and luxury.
Now, if people begin to flex their web3 mobile hardware, it could easily be the reason we see web3 go mainstream. But, it all comes down to how seamless the device’s UX is.
Better UX = Happier Customers = Flex Device = Onboard New People = Experience Good Web3 UX = Flex Device… you get the idea!
Scalability and Distribution
I mentioned it already but it begs repeating, we live in a mobile-first world.
- A staggering 92% of people use a mobile phone to access the internet.
- Most people do their online shopping through mobiles rather than any other device.
- We spend most of our online time through mobile devices and 60% of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile devices.
And that’s a win for web3 because if we can figure out web3 mobile, we stand an extremely high chance of going mainstream.
You can see it demonstrated in the statistics below. While they’re a bit dated now, they still illustrate the extreme adoption rate of mobile hardware.
Ok, so we’ve established that mobile devices are ubiquitous and increase the potential scale of web3 acceptance. But mobile hardware is also an excellent way to distribute and find new applications.
In fact, between 2019 and 2020 alone, there were over 250 million apps downloaded each day, and experts only expect that number to increase.
This is important because the discoverability of web3 protocols and dapps is difficult, to say the least. But a “dapp store” and seamless UX can flip that fact on its head.
Now, you might be thinking, “even if my whole life becomes digitized, I can still do everything I need to through my laptop, right?”
Well, yes and no.
The UX of completing crypto payments and interacting with different dapps currently requires you to use browser extensions. This creates obvious challenges and limitations for developers. Not to mention that it’s much easier to prove your identity through face recognition on your phone.
In the future, you’ll be able to pay for your morning coffee with stablecoins from your phone just like you currently do with Apple pay. It’s seamless. It takes zero effort.
But outside of that, if crypto and web3 truly eat the world like we think they will, most of your life will be on-chain (think money, identity, etc.). And if you want to use and share this information securely it must be done through the right hardware because if someone is able to hack your device, you could lose everything.
And that’s the problem with our current web2 hardware. It doesn’t reach the necessary level of security to completely protect our on-chain activities.
Blockchains are extremely secure, but, unfortunately, the current endpoints we use to access the technology aren’t. That’s why we need web3-first mobile hardware and the good news is they’re coming.
3 Current Developments in Web3 Mobile Hardware
Right now, there are three main mobile hardware options that are potential contenders for helping us go mainstream.
Some are still in development while others are close to distribution or have minimal blockchain integrations currently active.
Here’s what you can expect over the next year:
1. Solana Saga
Solana’s mobile phone has been hotly anticipated with an estimated shipping time of early 2023.
The web3-centric device promises the ability to run dApps and other decentralized applications natively on the phone, without the need for a separate computer or device. It will also feature a hardware wallet for securely storing and managing cryptocurrency assets, a secure enclave for storing sensitive data, and a decentralized identity system.
Tired of signing transactions in your browser wallet? Solana’s Saga will allow you to do it with a simple fingerprint. That’s the type of UX we need for web3 to go mainstream.
Besides its web3 integrations, the Solana Saga also packs some powerful hardware which includes 12GB of RAM, a 50MP camera, plenty of screen space for comfortable viewing, and the latest Snapdragon processor.
2. Ledger Stax
The Ledger Stax announcement is what actually sparked our desire to write this Deep Dive, and for good reason.
Ledger has many years of experience in building impregnable hardware that keeps your assets safe at all times. But now, they’re turning their attention to the hardware’s UX.
Ledger Stax features a sleek, palm-sized touch screen that’s the perfect replacement for your wallet when the world goes digital.
Joking aside, Ledger puts security first, so much so that they’ve never had a security breach. That means any of the 500+ tokens (if using the Ledger Live app) or 5,000+ tokens (if using a third-party wallet) are safe and sound at all times.
Like Solana’s Saga, Stax is designed to be a user-friendly interface for interacting with decentralized applications (dApps) and other web3 technologies. It includes a number of features that are designed to make it easy for you to manage your digital assets, including a wallet, marketplace, and tools for managing and tracking investments.
However, the Stax does require you to connect it to a smartphone or computer through Bluetooth before you can use it.
3. Nothing Phone 1 (Polygon)
On its own, the Nothing Phone has been hyped as one of the top developments in the smartphone space. In fact, TIME even recognized the phone as one of the best inventions of 2022.
But recent news about the phone’s integration with Polygon is what caught our attention. There’s been no official announcement about the extent of blockchain integrations with the Phone 1, but their website does mention native NFT gallery functionality.
However, Polygon has shared that it will enable similar features to the others on this list, i.e., cryptographically-secured ID verification, access to dapps and digital assets, and more.
When these features arrive we can’t say, but we do know that everything Polygon touches turns to gold.
Outside of that, the Phone 1 features an extremely unique design, promises a smooth user experience and offers an open ecosystem for third-party development—a perfect fit for web3.
Web3 Mobile Hardware is the Reason We’ll Go Mainstream
Right now, I feel like we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
On one hand, web3-natives are seeing the glaring issues with custodial wallets (wallets controlled by a centralized entity, think FTX, Binance, etc.). They know that they can’t trust these entities with their investments, but the UX these platforms provide is far superior to what we can currently achieve with mobile hardware.
So after the post-implosion dust settles, many people go back to these centralized entities, and the cycle continues.
Then, on the other hand, we have people looking at crypto from the outside, and what do they see? Billions of dollars being siphoned out of web3 through hacks and scams. We also see plenty of web3 newbies get rekt because centralized entities are the only way they can interact with the space without getting a headache.
Outside of that, interacting with web3 is just damn confusing sometimes—especially when it comes to signing messages in a wallet.
Even as a web3-native it can be difficult to understand what permissions a particular signature is giving and to who.
Web3-friendly mobile hardware has the potential to change that. It has the potential to make interacting with web3 as seamless as checking our emails.
And when that happens, off to the moon we go.
PS: If you enjoyed today’s edition, you’ll really like the Web3 Academy Newsletter & Podcast. They’re guiding entrepreneurs, businesses and creators into Web3 by exploring how to use NFTs, Crypto and Blockchain to create thriving communities and build sustainable business models.
Trending Coins This Week by Rebecca
Here are my key takeaways from the trends this week and AI is the first narrative to hit the crypto market in 2023.
1 – Bonk is a Solana-based meme token that’s up over 3,000% in the past week as it’s completed a massive airdrop. Liquidity pools have been offering BONK investors up to 1,000% yield on BONK token pairs. Solana developers burned 5 trillion BONK tokens.
2 – Fetch.ai is a blockchain-based AI platform that’s launched its upgraded wallet and hosted Twitter spaces in collaboration with Leap Cosmos.
3 – Dejitaru Tsuka is an Ethereum-based meme coin rumored to be created by the SHIB team. Dejitaru Tsuka is running a giveaway on Twitter and the deadline has been extended to 21 January.
4 – SingularityNET is a decentralized AI marketplace that’s up 60% as the AI narrative begins to run wild in the crypto market.
5 – Apollo (APL) is the currency for the Apollo Fintech platform that’s seen a new merchant accept the APL token.
6 – Gala is a play-to-earn (P2E) gaming ecosystem that’s announced partnerships with A-list celebrities The Rock and Mark Wahlberg, sending the GALA token up almost 70%. Gala has also acquired a mobile gaming studio with over 20M users.
7 – Oraichain is an AI Layer 1 blockchain that’s launched a new liquidity pool for the $ORAI and $scORAI trading pair. There’s also a viral Twitter thread explaining the case for the AI project.
8 – The Graph is an indexing protocol for querying networks that’s had a tweet go viral showing the increased number of contributors to the network.
9 – Polygon is an Ethereum side chain that’s partnered with Mastercard to launch a Web3 musician accelerator program. It’s also rumored that Polygon paid Solana projects Y00ts and DeGods $3M to migrate chains.
10 – Ocean Protocol is an ecosystem for sharing data and services that’s reached the milestone of 30M OCEAN tokens locked in its data farming app. Ocean Protocol has also launched a hackathon in collaboration with Gitcoin with a total prize pool of $40,000.
11 – Aptos is a Layer-1 blockchain created by ex-Meta employees that’s launched the NFT marketpace, SeaShrine, on the network. PancakeSwap is currently holding a vote on a proposal to continue and build on the deployment to Aptos.
12 – Lido DAO (LDO) is the governance token for liquid staking platform, Lido Finance. LDO has risen by over 55% in a week as momentum builds for Ethereum’s Shanghai upgrade.
13 – Solana is an L1 blockchain that’s started the year off with a 40% rally due to the BONK airdrop. SOL and its ecosystem of assets were delisted from Matrixport, which said they will never list any Solana products again.
14 – Bitcoin’s volatility has fallen to a historic low this week as it has been trading in a tight range. Joe Rogan has also interviewed Bitcoin critic, Peter Zeihan, on his podcast who says Bitcoin can’t be used for trade with its fixed supply as it goes against economic expansion.
15 – Ethereum developers are planning to release a public testnet for the Shanghai upgrade by the end of February.
A must watch for any altcoin investors: Crypto Explodes! Pay Close Attention To These Altcoins! [Big News]
Thank you so much for your support, and I truly hope that today’s issue will give you insights needed to help you master your wealth.
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Lark and the Wealth Mastery Team
TCL Publishing ltd (director Lark Davis, owner of Wealth Mastery) is not providing you individually tailored investment advice. Nor is TCL Publishing registered to provide investment advice, is not a financial adviser, and is not a broker-dealer. The material provided is for educational purposes only. TCL Publishing is not responsible for any gains or losses that result from your cryptocurrency investments. Investing in cryptocurrency involves a high degree of risk and should be considered only by persons who can afford to sustain a loss of their entire investment. Investors should consult their financial adviser before investing in cryptocurrency.
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