Will Elon make Twitter a Web3 hub?

Will Elon make Twitter a Web3 hub?

It’s what's happening: Elon Musk is following through with his Twitter takeover bid and the crypto community is cautiously optimistic. [Chesnot via Getty Images]

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

Elon Musk pulled off his Twitter takeover. But will he double down on the social media platform’s recent string of crypto initiatives?

Several blockbuster NFT projects launched. From Nike’s CryptoKicks to Coinbase NFT, we’re recapping the week’s non-fungible moments.

The week in numbers. The number of times BTC has been mentioned on Twitter since 2013, and other key stats to know.

DONE DEAL

What Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition could mean for crypto

In one of the biggest acquisitions in tech history, Elon Musk agreed to purchase Twitter on Monday for $44 billion, or $54.20 per share. After initially rebuffing the Tesla founder’s offer last week, the board agreed unanimously to sell Twitter to Musk, who plans to take the company private. Musk is a crypto advocate (Tesla holds more than $1.2 billion in BTC per its latest earnings report) and has mused publicly about his plans for Twitter — potentially including a long sought-after edit button. But could his ownership cement Twitter as the social platform of choice for crypto natives? Let’s dive in.

  • Dogecoin payments on Twitter? Earlier this month, Musk said that he wants to see Twitter Blue, the company’s subscription service, come with the choice for users to pay in DOGE. After news broke that Musk and Twitter reached a deal, DOGE surged more than 20%. Meanwhile, some of Musk’s non-crypto plans include making its algorithm “open-source,” adding an edit button, and letting users post longer tweets. 

  • Days before the sale, Twitter announced USDC stablecoin payments for the platform’s content creators. In partnership with payment processor Stripe, Twitter will enable users to get paid for their Super Follows, and Ticketed Spaces in USDC, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar. Payouts will happen via the Polygon network, which users can connect to with a number of crypto wallets, including Coinbase Wallet. Why would users choose to be paid in USDC? In part because the stablecoin allows Twitter users in 70 countries to be paid in a U.S. dollar-denominated asset — lowering one barrier to fair global commerce.  

  • Twitter’s recent crypto integrations also include NFT profile photo verification and BTC tips for creators — a nod to the fact that many of the most popular voices in the crypto community use Twitter daily. With NFT verification, released in January, Twitter became the first major social media platform to incorporate NFTs. (When the feature debuted, Musk went on Twitter to call it “annoying.”) The BTC tipping feature, powered by Bitcoin’s low-fee Lightning Network, is currently available to users in the U.S. and El Salvador.

  • What did former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have to say about the takeover? In a series of tweets, Twitter’s co-founder praised Musk for “taking [Twitter] back from Wall Street” and called him “the singular solution I trust.” 

Why it matters… Twitter, as Musk puts it, is the “de facto town square” of the internet. Debate about content moderation and free speech aside, the Tesla chief’s Twitter takeover has many in crypto feeling cautiously optimistic. For one, his commitment to making the Twitter algorithm open-source aligns with Web3’s vision of a decentralized internet that gives control of data back to users. And because he’s both a crypto fan and an avid Twitter user, Musk is acutely aware of crypto Twitter’s most annoying issue: “Frankly, a top priority I would have is eliminating the spam and scam bots and the bot armies that are on Twitter. If I had a dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw, I would have a hundred billion dogecoin.”

BIRD IS THE WORD

Are we in the midst of an NFT spring?

Move aside, monkeys — there’s a new king of the NFT jungle. Moonbirds, a collection of 10,000 owl avatars, has seen sales volumes totalling nearly $450 million in the past month — surpassing all other “blue-chip” NFTs collections in the same time frame, including Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks. Last week, Moonbirds accounted for almost half of OpenSea’s total trade volume, which is a big deal, considering the NFT marketplace is on track for over $3 billion in April sales. But the owls might not even be the week’s biggest NFT story. From Coinbase NFT’s beta launch to big-money virtual sneakers, we’re unpacking all the major headlines. 

  • On Tuesday, Nike launched its first line of virtual sneakers, which began selling for around $7,500 a pair, with one rare pair garnering nearly $450,000. Last December, the shoe giant acquired digital developer RTFKT, parent company of the popular Takashi Murakami-helmed metaverse collection CloneX — one of the top five most-traded NFT projects this past month, with over $100 million in sales. CloneX holders were airdropped access to the RTFKT x Nike Dunk Genesis CryptoKicks.

  • A new wave of NFT projects have emerged from the worlds of pro sports, fashion, and Hollywood. Following up on the success of NBA Top Shot, the league has launched a new “dynamic” NFT series called The Association — with 18,000 NFTs that change depending on what happens on the court at real games. One of Hollywood’s biggest agencies is also doubling down on NFTs. UTA, which signed a deal with CryptoPunks last year, now has the Deadfellaz zombie-NFT project on its roster (holders include Lionel Richie and Reese Witherspoon). And the high-end British department store Harvey Nichols is getting into the virtual-goods business, with a Hong Kong NFT gallery that displays and sells a range of “blue-chip” NFTs.

  • In cybersecurity news, around $3 million in NFTs, including four Bored Apes, was stolenafter a hacker gained control of BAYC developer Yuga Labs’ Instagram account on Monday and used it to launch a phishing campaign. In a statement, the developer said: “Yuga Labs and Instagram are currently investigating how the hacker was able to gain access to the account. Two-factor authentication was enabled and the security practices surrounding the IG account were tight.” (Brush up on the best ways to protect yourself online.)

Why it matters… Moonbirds was created by an NFT startup called the Proof Collective, a group of 1,000 prominent NFT artists and collectors including Beeple and Gary Vaynerchuk. Membership in the collective itself comes in the form of an NFT — which unsurprisingly has rocketed in value (to a floor price of 100 ETH, around $290,000). But as adept as the NFT community has become in launching coveted collectibles, it hasn’t been as good at making a mainstream pitch. There are around 2.1 million NFT holders today, according to NFTGo — which means that NFTs remain a relatively niche part of the crypto landscape. What will it take to get more people on board? A better user experience is one place to start. Last week, Coinbase began releasing the beta version of Coinbase NFT. Interested in learning more?

NUMBERS TO KNOW

$162.7 billion

Total realized gains for global cryptocurrency investors in 2021, according to a new report from crypto analytics firm Chainalysis. The United States led with $47 billion, more than the total global gains ($32.5 billion) from 2020.

2.5 million

Number of times Bitcoin keywords (including #btc and $btc) appeared on Twitter from 2013 through 2021, according to Twitter user @klapka91, who recently analyzed 50 million tweets from roughly 200,000 accounts while “mapping out crypto Twitter.

52%

Percent of March’s total blockchain activity that came from gaming dapps like Axie Infinity and Aavegotchi, according to a new report from blockchain insights firm DappRadar. During the first quarter of 2022, crypto’s gaming sector saw $2.5 billion of investment and 1.22 million “unique active wallets” connected to blockchain games.

TUNE IN

How would someone from the future explain the metaverse?

If you hopped into a DeLorean and time-traveled back to the early internet era, how would you explain all the ways the internet is woven through our modern lives? Trying to adequately describe what the metaverse could eventually become involves similar difficulties — how can you explain something that doesn’t fully exist yet? 

In the latest episode of Around the Block, host Justin Mart sits down with Alex Reeve — a leading Web3 and metaverse strategist at Coinbase — to identify what the metaverse is (and isn’t) right now, what it might look like in the future, and what we can expect from the journey to the next phase of virtual experiences on the internet.

TOKEN TRIVIA

Which cryptocurrency uses the Lightning Network?

A

BTC

B

ETH

C

SOL

D

All of the above

Find the answer below.

Trivia Answer

A

BTC