Welcome back to Chain reaction.
Last week we talked about the NFT community being bad, but still partying. This week we look at the desperation of web3 startups for a post-Apple tech industry.
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crypto wants its own iPhone
Few consumer companies have a better reputation among users than Apple, and few “web2” companies are more despised by crypto startups than Apple.
We’ve talked a little bit about Apple’s reputation in the crypto space over time. The App Store’s rules are quite hostile to crypto and NFT startups, but it’s not the least understandable move for Apple banking money to reduce in-app transactions and justifying its monopoly by saying they protect users from scams and malware. Well, no one can argue that it’s easy to avoid scams in the crypto space these days, but life under Apple’s mobile empire is still frustrating for legit crypto apps that have to be content with desktop-first in an overwhelmingly mobile one. world.
It is therefore not so shocking that the crypto world is showing an interest in building a world without Apple. A task that does not sound so easy…
This week, Solana Labs, the makers of the Solana blockchain, which has experienced a staggering rise and quite a dramatic drop in the token price in recent months, announced their own blockchain smartphone. If you’ve been reading TechCrunch over the years, this should be a little eyebrow-raising. It is nearly impossible to build a smartphone company as a startup, many have tried and few have achieved anything even remotely resembling success.
The Solana phone, called Saga, runs on Android and has its own blockchain-focused features, including a built-in hardware wallet that basically gives users a more secure path to hold and trade crypto or NFTs on their smartphone. I’m sure there is an audience for this phone in the crypto world, but this is far from the ideal launch timing for a niche device that will likely have an even narrower target audience next year when the phone actually launches.
Web3 has received a surprising amount of support from web2 giants, but the companies owning mobile hardware have received notably less warmly. Apple’s users aren’t likely to riot and demand more access to NFT purchases for mobile apps, so for now, the company’s mobile stranglehold will be a frustration that web3 developers are almost desperately trying to get out of.
the latest pod
This week my co-host Anita was on vacation, so our colleague Jacquie joined us to dive into the week’s web3 events. We delved deeper into the topic of the Solana Saga phone, we discussed FTX’s alleged interest in buying up Robinhood, we also talked about some of the crypto-financial companies that are currently in deep trouble.
For our guest this week, I spoke to Julian Holguin, the CEO of Doodles. Doodles is a very popular NFT project that has sold a little over $500 million in total. Previously a major exec at Billboard, Holguin has taken on the task of scaling the Doodles brand into an intellectual property powerhouse. The company has just landed its first round of venture funding from Alexis Ohanian and is gearing up for some big new NFT launches as it looks set to keep the party going even during a crypto slump.
Follow the money
Where seed money moves in the crypto world:
- Entrepreneur first raises $158 million from the Collison brothers to build a startup school with web3 programming
- Crypto game platform without code soba raises $13.5 million led by Lightspeed
- Move-to-earn fitness startup Fitmint raises $1.6 million from General Catalyst
- web3 game Stella Fantasy gets $5 million from Animoca Brands
- NFTs for children platform cryptoys scores $23 million from a16z
- NFT Curation App EyesFi raises $2 million from Multicoin Capital
- Starting Blockchain Linera gets $6 million from a16z
- Start up financial security PolySign scores $53 million from Cowen Digital, others
- Wallet login startup Dynamic raises $7.5 million from a16z
- NFTs for a good start R Labs gets $5 million from Softbank
Here are some crypto analyzes from this week that you can read on our subscription service TC+ (written by Jacquelyn Melinek of TC):
This crypto winter may be long, but builders remain optimistic
While the top digital assets in the crypto market have still fallen significantly so far, some market participants are shrugging it off and focusing on the long game. The crypto world is working to build human experiences beyond throwing money at each other, said Evin McMullen, CEO of metaverse-focused Disco.xyz. “Now that we no longer look to green candles to occupy ourselves, we have the opportunity to explore what other kinds of fun we can have,” McMullen said. “What other types of coordination games can we solve together that are based not only on symbolic prizes, but also on our activities as humans?”
Blockchain gaming unfazed by crypto volatility as gamers ‘seek entertainment’
The web3 gaming industry is one of the few sectors that is seemingly unaffected by the current crypto market conditions, with capital continuing to accumulate in the space – and some industry players say it’s for good reason. The number of active users of web3 games “has nothing to do with the market,” because even if the economy isn’t doing well, people will still be looking for entertainment, said Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands.
Thanks for reading, and again, if you’d like to get this in your inbox every Thursday, you can subscribe to TechCrunch’s newsletter page. See you next week!