California’s DMV is on the blockchain

California’s DMV is on the blockchain

The California DMV announced that it is experimenting with digital, on-chain car titles. [Image via Paul Hanaoka]

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

Major brands are expanding NFT ambitions. From Amazon to the Premier League, NFTs are having (another) moment.

The California DMV is putting car titles on the blockchain. The Department of Motor Vehicles, a launchpad for cutting-edge tech?

Noteworthy numbers. The percentage of institutional investors who are bullish on ETH, and other key stats from this week.

I WANT MY NFT

The NFT industry is flashing bright spots across tech giants, sports leagues, and web3 brands

Despite ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty, the start of 2023 has been hot for crypto — since Jan. 1 Bitcoin and Ethereum are both up more than 30%. And as the crypto markets gain some much-needed momentum, the all-but-stalled NFT space is also seeing signs of renewed activity. Companies including Amazon and the Premier League are planning to make their first forays into web3 this year, while web3 native brands, like Doodles, have recently announced major initiatives and acquisitions. Here’s a look at what's going on. 

Amazon is reportedly planning a major NFT initiative that could launch as soon as this spring.

  • According to a Blockworks report, Amazon has been in talks with a number of layer-1 blockchains and blockchain-based gaming startups, and plans to sell its first digital collectibles this spring. One potential idea involves getting Amazon customers to play “crypto games” and claim free NFTs in the process.

  • Amazon hasn’t yet confirmed the report, but CEO Andy Jassy has previously expressed optimism about the future of NFTs, saying last year he expects that “NFTs will continue to grow very significantly.” 

  • Earlier this year, Amazon Web Services reached an agreement with Ava Labs, which runs the Avalanche blockchain, allowing developers to use AWS to support their dapps. AWS, which is separate from its retail arm, has also previously posted job listings looking for web3 developers and engineers. 

The Premier League, the most watched sports league in the world, inked a $150 million deal with Sorare, an NFT-based fantasy sports game.

  • Sorare players use NFT trading cards to compete against each other in five-on-five matches, where winning is determined by the real-time performances of the IRL players on the field. With the partnership, the Premier League joins more than 280 global soccer organizations, and all 30 Major League Baseball teams that are also on the platform. 

  • Sorare is one of the most popular NFT-based games, boasting more than three million users worldwide and over $500 million in trading volume in 2022. In the last 30 days, Sorare was the seventh largest NFT collection by sales volume, according to data from Cryptoslam.

Meanwhile, the popular Doodles collection has expanded its NFT offerings while pursuing its web3 animation ambitions.

  • Doodles, known primarily for its pricey, ETH-based collectible cartoon NFTs, just dropped Doodles 2, a new collection that aims to expand the project's customizability and accessibility for newcomers. Via the Flow blockchain, Doodles 2 allows anyone to mint a “base level Doodle” and select generic traits, like skin color and hair style. It became available to existing Doodles holders on Jan. 31.

  • The company’s co-founder, Jordan Castro, said that Doodles 2 will be “the passport that’s used in all of our products — experiences, games, apps, music, animation releases, to bring further personalization, customization and rewards to our fans.”

  • Doodles also recently announced its acquisition of the Emmy-nominated animation studio Golden Wolf. The move, the collection’s co-founder said, will allow Doodles to begin moving into new types of content, including AI animation generation.

Why it matters… The news coming from some of the world’s biggest brands in recent days highlights the potential that many see in NFTs to attract new audiences and create fresh revenue streams. The news also highlights how companies are getting more thoughtful about their strategies. Instead of releasing profile pics and 10,000 edition collections, they’re crafting plans to use NFTs to engage with audiences in new ways.

ROAD BLOCK

The California DMV is experimenting with blockchain-based car titles

The Department of Motor Vehicles: an eternal wellspring of bureaucratic misery, a fluorescent dungeon for car chores, and a government agency that’s … experimenting with high-efficiency blockchain applications? Definitely didn’t see that coming.

Last week, the California DMV announced that it was piloting a new program to digitize car titles and bring them to the blockchain. Here’s what you need to know.

  • The California DMV is partnering with the Tezos blockchain and crypto-software firm Oxhead Alpha to build a private blockchain intended to digitize car titles and facilitate title transfers between owners.

  • The DMV’s so-called “shadow ledger” will replicate the state’s title database on the blockchain within the next three months.

  • Longer-term goals include building consumer-facing use cases, including digital wallets that hold NFT versions of car titles, and the ability to transfer titles between states.

Why it matters… We probably don’t need to explain why a tech upgrade that could reduce the amount you have to stand around the DMV is such a big deal. What is worth mentioning, however, is that this story represents a near-term, tangible benefit of blockchain tech that isn’t deeply shrouded in web3 mystique. Or, as Oxhead Alpha’s president Andrew Smith describes digital car titles: “this is a very obvious use case.”

NUMBERS TO KNOW

348.75 quintillion

The estimated number of hashes per second reached on the Bitcoin network in January, an all-time high. Bitcoin’s hashrate is a measure of the network’s total computing (or mining) power and is considered a key security metric. When the hashrate is higher, miners must use more computational power to solve the time-consuming math puzzles required to add a new block to the network. This is challenging news forBitcoin miners, who have seen revenues plummet throughout the crypto bear market.

$3.28 million

Listed price for Sam Bankman-Fried’s Victorian brownstone in D.C., which served as the headquarters for his pandemic preparation organization, Guarding Against Pandemics. The house is being sold for the same price the disgraced former FTX CEO bought it, in the latest effort to liquidate his collapsed business empire.

60%

Percentage of CoinShares survey respondents who indicated that they believe Ethereum, which is slated for its Shanghai upgrade in March, “has the most compelling growth outlook” among digital assets, up from 40% in the October 2022 research. CoinShares polled 43 investors who cover $390 billion in assets under management.

DISCLAIMER

This material is the property of Coinbase, Inc., its parent and affiliates (“Coinbase”). The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Coinbase or its employees and summarizes information and articles with respect to cryptocurrencies or related topics that the author believes may be of interest.

TOKEN TRIVIA

Which consensus mechanisms does Solana use?

A

Proof of work & proof of stake

B

Proof of copy & proof of time

C

Proof of history & proof of stake

D

Proof of time & proof of space

Find the answer below.

Trivia Answer

C

Proof of history & proof of stake