When Inflation Hits 100% This Happens
In This Issue
- Rebecca shares her thoughts on Bitcoin’s new stablecoin, Argentina issuing a 2,000 Peso banknote, China state TV pumping crypto, Cardano’s comeback & Ledger’s recovery service going open-source.
- Altcoin alpha by David.
- This week’s airdrop by Jesse.
- Sam has an NFT report on why Pudgy Penguins are flying.
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The News Now
Bullish On Bitcoin With NFTs, BRC-20 Tokens &… A Stablecoin 💰
21M Bitcoins and only 8 billion people. That’s just 0.002625 of a Bitcoin each. The biggest risk is not having any Bitcoin allocation at all. And it looks like more people are getting off zero. There are now 40M Bitcoin addresses with a balance of $1 or more. Whilst Bitcoin addresses don’t always mean new users, the adoption trend is heading in the right direction. BTC addresses with more than $1, $10, $100, and $1000 have increased by 16%, 18%, 23% and 32% respectively so far in 2023. The Bitcoin network is growing rapidly — in a bear market.
Ordinal NFTs have a major part to play in Bitcoin’s bear market boom. Bitcoin NFT and memecoin trading volumes in May have overtaken Solana’s to make Bitcoin the second-most popular NFT blockchain, behind Ethereum. The Bitcoin DeFi ecosystem just keeps on growing, with a brand-new addition to the network: a stablecoin. The Ordinals ecosystem sure has come a long way in a short space of time.
Stably USD is a BRC-20 token that’s a US-backed stablecoin. Company documents show that every #USD token is fully collateralized and held at FDIC-insured banks by Prime Trust. So users will need to go through Know Your Customer (KYC) identification checks to swap between the two currencies. Fingers crossed #USD takes off on Bitcoin and doesn’t suffer the same fate as it has on Ethereum. StableUSD on Ethereum only has 752 holders and a market cap of $264,000. Bitcoin can do better than that.
Argentina Issues 2,000-Peso Banknote 💸
100% inflation. Sounds unthinkable. But that’s a reality right now for the people in Argentina. They’re suffering from an inflation rate that’s currently 109%. It’s the fastest pace of inflation since 1991 for the country. The proposed solution?
- Raise interest rates to 97%.
- Issue banknotes with bigger numbers on them! What could go wrong from here?
Argentina has issued a new 2,000-peso banknote. The banknote is worth just $8.50 at the official exchange rate and $4 on the black market. I wish I was joking. The largest banknote currently in circulation is the 1,000 peso note, and that’s worth just $2.70. Once the doom loop starts, it’s almost impossible to stop.
So things look set to only get worse from here as the country continues to be under the thumb of the IMF. Argentina’s IMF deal from 2018 went south and was replaced by a new $44 billion loan in 2022. Since then, drought has devastated the nation reaching its second-highest drought reading in almost 20 years. It’s no surprise that the economy is now barely growing. GDP in March was up by only 0.1%, less than the forecast of 0.4%.
Is it China to the rescue? Argentina has teamed up with China to expand its currency swap line in yuan to build up central bank reserves with the hope to avoid another peso sell-off. The two countries signed a 70-billion-yuan swap line agreement in 2009 and expanded it to 130 billion yuan in 2020. Up to $5 billion has reportedly been used and discussions are opening up once again to increase the total amount. This is starting to sound a lot like the US debt ceiling debacle. Different toilet, same…you know what! With an election coming up and a recession looming, it’s the same story in both countries right now. Except, Argentina doesn’t have the reserve currency status to hide behind. They’ve been thrown out to lions and left for dead. This is exactly what Bitcoin was designed for. Bitcoin is hope.
China State TV Pumps Crypto 📈
China’s largest state broadcaster just muttered our favorite “C” word—crypto. China Central Television (CCTV) just broadcast a segment to over 1 billion people about the launch of upcoming crypto retail trading in Hong Kong on June 1. The segment lasted 98 seconds and reportedly included nothing (too) negative about crypto. This is huge! Binance CEO CZ is nothing but bullish as “historically, coverages like these led to bull runs.” Meanwhile, the US continues to crack down on crypto. So get ready for fireworks—the next bull run may be about to kick off in Asia.
Cardano The Comeback Kid 🏆
Cardano’s newly launched DeFi ecosystem crashed HARD in 2022. Its total value locked on-chain in DeFi fell to a low of $48M. The timing couldn’t have been worse. So Cardano thought, “New year, new chain.” Cardano’s TVL has exploded 230% to $158M so far in 2023 and has outperformed all protocols year-to-date.
Cardano has also added over 1,000 smart contracts this year. In 2023, we’ve already seen Cardano launch its Valentine upgrade to enhance DeFi functionality and Hydra, a group of Layer-2 protocols. And the whales have been accumulating, with spikes of more than 1,500% in net flows over the past 30 days. Whilst Cardano’s on-chain activity is still lower than the likes of Arbitrum, nonetheless, it’s a move in the right direction. Will Cardano rise again in the bull market, or slowly fade away? Only time will tell.
Ledger To U-Turn And Open Source Recovery Service ✅
It’s been a rough week for Ledger. After a ton of criticism, Ledger is delaying the launch of its new seed phrase recovery service until the code can be made open source. “The private key never leaves the device” was Ledger’s promise. But last week, that turned into “the government can access your keys in the case of a subpoena.” As quickly as a PR nightmare can come, they can quickly go too. Ledger is taking the first step in the iterative process by listening to feedback from the crypto community and adapting accordingly.
After a Twitter Spaces with the Ledger management team and over 13,000 users, an open-source roadmap has been shared showing plans will be fast-tracked. Expect to see a whitepaper for the Ledger Recover protocol in the coming days. Ledger also plans to open-source the dashboard in the coming weeks. Eventually, the plan is to open source most of the operating system, leaving “as little as possible that must be trusted.”
Altcoin Alpha by David
Existing Projects / Tokens
- ApeCoin [APE] is launching an accelerator program for projects working with Bored Apes NFTs. APE holders will be able to vote (via APE) for the projects they want to see incubated, and the winning projects must adopt APE within their economics frameworks. The push is to help increase the adoption and utility of APE.
- Binance [BNB] is launching a NFT loan feature where users will be able to secure ETH loans with their NFTs as collateral. This goes live Friday the 26th. Binance’s move is on the heels of a similar program launched by BLUR, the NFT marketplace and aggregator platform.
- Cardano [ADA] developers have added more than 1,000 Plutus v1 smart contracts to Cardano since the beginning of the year, a 22% increase. Plutus smart contracts are critical for dApps on the network.
- Solana [SOL] has integrated an open-source ChatGPT plugin to the network. You can download it here. And the Solana Foundation has upped their AI strategic grant money from $1M to $10M.
- Synthetix [SNX] is shaking things up. First, Synthetix’ total trading volume has surpassed that of GMX over the past few weeks. One reason might be cheaper trading fees, which are now as low as 0.02% on some trading pairs. And second, the exchange’s founder is pushing for a buyback and burn for millions of SNX tokens, along with a host of other proposals, all meant to spur the next growth phase of the protocol.
- Uniswap [UNI] holders are debating another fee switch proposal that would charge liquidity providers 1/5 of pool fees across all v3 pools, and then redistribute those earnings back to the community. The fee switch is currently being tested on v3 Polygon with the possibility of expansion to Ethereum pools. Additional proposals will need to be made to determine how exactly the additional revenue is to be redistributed.
New Projects / Tokens
- Elixir [ELXR] Protocol, a new DEX that makes markets across multiple CEXs and DEXs, will be integrating with Injective blockchain. The token will be ELXR and the mainnet launch has not yet occurred.
- Vela [VELA] Exchange, the new Arbitrum derivatives DEX, just introduced Hyper VLP 2.0., which outlines rewards and incentives for Vela’s beta participants. Vela’s (in beta) mainnet is on the way.
Airdrop of the Week by Jesse
Concordex is the brand-new DEX built for the Concordium blockchain, a new base-layer network with a built-in identity feature. With the launch of their Incentivized Testnet, everyone had an opportunity to stress test the network and earn a reward in return. Concordex has allocated $50,000 in CCDX tokens for participants. The first 10,000 users to join the Concordex Testnet Rewards Program will each receive a minimum of 5 USD in CCDX tokens airdropped once the TGE takes place. Connect your Wallet and head over to the Testnet Faucet to grab your mock tokens.
Users will earn XP based on the testnet actions they perform. Swaps will net you 100 XP, adding Liquidity will get 250 XP, close a position for 100 XP, harvest LP rewards for 100 XP, and report any bugs for 1,000 XP. Once you’ve completed those tasks make sure to Fill out the Rewards Form. Additional tasks are available for Concordex on the Zealy Questboard that will net you some additional XP. Learn more about Concordex Testnet in their Official announcement.
Why Are Pudgy Penguins NFTs Flying by Sam
Check the NFT space and you’ll find floor prices down while trading remains relatively low, so you might wonder why a collection called Pudgy Penguins has been popping off and behaving like we’re in a bull market.
Is this just more of that famously unpredictable NFT volatility playing out, or is there something special about this penguin-themed platform? Let’s plunge in and find out about the project’s origins, change of course under new leadership, and why it’s suddenly in the spotlight.
Pudgy Penguin Origins
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins
The project launched in July 2021, and so Pudgy Penguins can definitely be classed as an early mover (for reference, Bored Ape Yacht Club minted at the end of April 2021).
Selling out in under twenty minutes at a 0.3 ETH mint price, it’s an 8,888 item PFP collection and, coming from that early NFT period, it shows slightly sideways facing cartoon animals (penguins, obviously), which vary according to superficial appearance traits.
It’s not all been smooth progress for Pudgy Penguins, as towards the end of 2021 and into 2022, various controversies blew up, largely around criticisms of the team in charge.
There were reports that the project was not delivering on promises, a lackluster airdrop (Pudgy Rods, a collection of fishing rod NFTs), and eventually there was a Twitter thread by a user called 9x9x9, who was heavily invested in the project, that contained serious allegations (the draining away of funds) and galvanized the community into removing the founders so a new chapter could be ushered in.
At the beginning of April 2022, Pudgy Penguins was taken over by a group led by Luca Netz which paid 750 ETH (at the time around $2.5 million) to take full ownership, a move which came amid bid competition from, among others, Zach Burks, the founder of Mintable.
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins
Netz is an LA-based entrepreneur with a background in dropshipping, was himself a Penguins holder when he took over the project, and showed immediate commitment to turning the project around and executing long-term expansion strategies.
More recently, Pudgy Penguins this month announced it had acquired $9million in funding, raised in a seed round led by the venture capital firm 1kx.
What NFTs Can I Buy?
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins
The core component of the project is the main collection: those 8,888 original Pudgy Penguin PFPs, and if you want to fully buy in and become part of the community (known as The Huddle), then those are the items to get hold of.
However, there are also some related collections that can be picked up more cheaply than the main NFTs. By the way, you can buy on regular secondary markets, such as OpenSea, or you can visit the Pudgy Penguins’ own specialist marketplace.
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins
There are 22,222 NFTs in the Lil Pudgy companion collection, of which 8,888 could be claimed for free by Pudgy Penguin holders. The rest were sold publicly in December 2021 through a Dutch auction process, with the sale price settling at 0.03 ETH.
Lil Pudgies are a cheaper entry into the ecosystem, but come with the same IP rights as the main collection (meaning the right to profit from commercial ventures). An interesting feature is that they can be bridged to other blockchains–Polygon, BSC, and Arbitrum–using Layer Zero technology.
These fishing rod NFTs were free for Pudgy Penguin holders in December 2021 but were badly received and contributed to the founding team being ousted. If you see them referred to as rogs, rather than rods, that dates back to a spelling mistake on launch, and on the whole, these are not items that will draw newcomers into the ecosystem.
Forever Pudgy Penguin Traits
These NFTs, which represent transferable traits, relate to new items called Forever Pudgy Penguins, which are themselves linked to the freshly launched Pudgy Toys products, all of which is big news that we’ll turn to in the next section.
Pudgy Toys and Pudgy World
Pudgy Penguins on the cover of The Pop Insider magazine
Pudgy Penguins gained a lot of attention this month with the announcement and launch of Pudgy Toys and Pudgy World. Pudgy Toys are physical children’s toys made and marketed in collaboration with licensing and retail experts Retail Monster and toy specialists PMI, are now for sale at Amazon, and had an impressive start, racking up over half a million dollars in sales over two days.
A key characteristic of the toys is that they are licensed directly from the community, meaning if a Pudgy Penguin NFT is turned into a toy, then royalties from sales of that toy are due to the NFT holder.
Pudgy Toys are also intended to onboard buyers into Web3 through the Pudgy World experience. Basically, via a QR code and the Pudgy World website, Pudgy Toy buyers can redeem NFT traits and customize a new Forever Pudgy Penguin.
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins
The Forever Pudgy Penguins are soulbound tokens, meaning they’re locked to one wallet and won’t dilute the original supply, while the NFT traits are tradable. Forever Pudgy Penguins can be used to play games in Pudgy World and to interact with other users, and the whole process is extremely newbie-friendly.
Unfamiliar crypto processes are hidden away as the platform can create wallets for signed-up users, take care of signatures and gas payments and, overall, provide a custodied experience where the blockchain element remains under the hood.
Where Are Pudgy Penguins Headed?
In NFT circles, Pudgy Penguins are a popular OG collection from 2021 that survived controversy. Here in 2023 though, the brand is moving beyond nostalgia and tapping on the mainstream door.
Pudgy Penguins approaches IP in novel ways and is keeping its community of holders closely in the loop. It’s linking NFTs, digital experiences and physical products, and it crosses over between web2 (you buy toys on Amazon and enter an email address to access the digital experience) and web3 (you end up playing with NFTs on a blockchain).
It’s a well thought out attempt to onboard new users to web3 and NFTs, and due to the fact that the characters and branding seem to have wide appeal, it’s been making solid progress so far.
Could Pudgy Penguins be the first NFT project that achieves genuine reach outside of crypto? While it’s still early days, it’s certainly a possibility, and if pulled off then it would benefit the entire NFT space.
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