BTC and ETH hit all-time highs

BTC and ETH hit all-time highs

New York City’s mayor-elect Eric Adams says he will receive his first three paychecks in bitcoin, and wants schools to offer crypto education. [Eugene Gologursky via Getty Images]

There’s never a dull moment on the blockchain. Here’s what you need to know this week:

U.S. cities are racing to become crypto destinations. New York City, Miami, and Austin are among many cities making crypto moves.

The video game industry sees its future in NFTs. Gaming giants like Ubisoft are bullish about gaming on the blockchain.

The week in numbers. Bitcoin’s new all-time high, a very expensive (and heavy) tungsten cube, and the key digits to know this week.

Crypto Capitals

U.S. mayors race to lead the most crypto-forward cities

Last week, Bitcoin influencer Anthony Pompliano kicked off a new kind of mayoral race when he tweeted, “Who is going to be the first American politician to accept their salary in bitcoin?” Miami mayor Francis Suarez said he’d take his next paycheck fully in BTC. Two days later, New York mayor-elect Eric Adams replied that he’d take his first three paychecks in BTC. In quick succession, mayors from Jackson, TN and Tampa Bay, FL hopped on the bandwagon. But what cities are really in the running to become America’s crypto capital?

  • Adams has floated a wide variety of pro-crypto policy measures, including public school crypto education, crypto paychecks, and a municipal cryptocurrency called NYCCoin (created in partnership the nonprofit CityCoins project, which has helped Miami raise over $21 million in municipal funds with its own token, MiamiCoin).

  • Not to be outdone, Miami’s Francis Suarez, who’s been pitching his city as a crypto hub since 2020, has committed to taking his entire salary in BTC. Suarez has previously touted Miami’s cheap nuclear power to Bitcoin mining firms, proposed paying municipal employees in BTC, and even added the Bitcoin whitepaper to the city’s website.

  • In a new blog post, Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin dug into the “crypto city” phenomenon — from blockchain experiments in governance in Reno, NV, to an attempt to create an entirely new crypto-powered city in a remote corner of Wyoming. Crypto-enhanced municipalities, he suggests, could use increased revenue to invest in life-enhancing measures: “They could add more bike lanes, they could use CO2 meters and far-UVC light to more effectively reduce COVID spread without inconveniencing people, and they could even fund life extension research.”

  • According to LinkedIn data, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles lead the U.S. in crypto jobs, followed by Miami and Chicago. But big, mostly coastal cities aren’t the only places to benefit — for every 100,000 LinkedIn members in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Raleigh, NC, two or more people were hired for crypto jobs. 

Why it matters… The crypto industry is booming, with an unprecedented $15 billion in fundraising so far this year, and cities across the country are hungry for the sector’s workers. Adams, however, seems determined to ensure that New York’s preeminence in traditional finance extends to the cryptoeconomy. Or as the mayor-elect puts it, “NYC is going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries! Just wait!”

Game Plan

Top game developers including EA and Ubisoft eye NFTs as blockchain game startups raise record funds

It started with Axie Infinity, the NFT game that has generated nearly $3 billion in sales volume to date. As crypto gaming has begun to pick up steam — more than 750,000 accounts or crypto wallets are now connected to blockchain games, up more than 500% from last year — a massive wave of investment has arrived. In October alone, $1.5 billion in venture capital made its way to blockchain and NFT gaming startups. Meanwhile, big-league game developers like Electronic Arts have hinted at NFT ambitions. Let’s dig in. 

  • Many top-tier game publishers have expressed interest in NFT gaming. On a recent earnings call, the CEO of Electronic Arts (Madden, FIFA) called NFTs an “important part of the future of our industry.” Square Enix (Final Fantasy) is even more bullish — having recently experimented with anime-based NFT digital trading cards (they sold out in a day). The Japanese gaming giant said it will also “focus on blockchain games premised on token economies as a form of decentralized content.” 

  • Ubisoft, maker of Assassin's Creed, already has an NFT-based game on the market: it partnered with NFT platform Sorare to release the free-to-play crypto-based fantasy soccer league game One Shot League, and has signaled intentions to invest deeper in blockchain gaming. Ubisoft Chief Executive Officer Yves Guillemot said earlier this month that the company wants to be “one of the key players” in the play-to-earn gaming market. 

  • Andreesen Horowitz, Michael Jordan, and the New England Patriots’ ownership group participated in a $150 million funding round for Mythical Games — creator of a cartoonish, FUNKO-inspired world called Blankos Block Party. Mythical, which was launched by veterans of game giants like EA and Activision, developed Blankos as a platform that could connect to games from major developers. “We’re going to step into the space with one of them before too long,” said Mythical’s CEO. “We want to have the right infrastructure in place to start onboarding games that have millions of players.”

  • At least one major gaming gatekeeper is less excited about this future. Valve, the company that controls leading PC-game marketplace Steam, announced last month that NFT and blockchain-based games won’t be allowed on its platform — mainstream gaming’s terms of service generally don’t allow in-game items with real-world value. A group of developers have since released an open letter asking Valve to reconsider. Meanwhile, Fortnite publisher Epic Games — which hosts a Steam competitor — remains “open” to the idea of games that incorporate NFTs or cryptocurrencies.

Why it matters… NFTs have grown into a more than $10 billion industry — and everyone from Hollywood to fast-food franchises are looking for ways to participate. Gaming, venture firms seem to believe, is an especially natural fit. As developers of some of the world’s most popular games embrace crypto and incorporate NFTs into their games, they could eventually onboard a massive audience to the cryptoeconomy. After all, there are around 3 billion gamers worldwide.

Numbers to Know

13 trillion Total value of the cryptocurrency market on Monday, November 8 — a new all-time high. The runup coincided with twin peaks for BTC (breaking $68,000) and ETH (above $4,800). In other news, DeFi protocols had more $270 billion in value locked as of Tuesday AM — another all-time high.

140 million Approximate number of Chinese citizens (about 10% of the total population) who have activated digital yuan wallets, according to the People’s Bank of China. As China cracked down on crypto this year, the country ramped up efforts for its central bank digital currency, which has seen adoption grow more than six times in the last four months.

$250,000 Price at auction for an NFT that grants once-per-year access to a 2,000 pound tungsten cube at the Illinois headquarters of metal supplier Midwest Tungsten. Why? Because tungsten — which is almost as dense as gold but much cheaper — has become a meme on crypto Twitter, leading many fans to buy (much smaller) cubes. The auction’s winner can choose to “burn” the NFT and receive full ownership of the giant cube.

49% Percentage of millennials who said they’re “at least somewhat comfortable” owning crypto in a recent survey. Meanwhile, 37% of Generation X and 22% of baby boomer respondents to the Bankrate survey reported the same crypto comfort levels.

13 Age, as of October 31, of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper — which outlines the core mechanics of the cryptocurrency. 🥳

Token Trivia

Which of the following isn’t common crypto slang?

A

Rekt

B

FUD

C

BOMP

D

HODL

Find the answer below.

Trivia Answer

C

BOMP