The Lede

Today is blockchain and web3 heavy, again. Talking with startups and younger companies, you can imagine that this comes up a lot. Everything is “spin up a coin” or “make NFTs” and so that’s on my weekly topic list all the time.

The conclusion I’m coming to is pretty simple: the blockchain ledger is game changing for specific use cases. NFTs aren’t the long term win. I’m happy to be wrong, given how many people I know are in the NFT world these days, but as you’ll see in the links, I’m uneasy at best about the surge in NFTs. The NFT market & blockchains more widely will probably follow Gartner’s hype cycle. We’ve crossed the peak of the initial hype curve, IMHO. NFT and blockchain companies should plan how they will survive the trough now. It’s coming.

After the trough, we’ll see the growth in interoperability - where owning an NFT unlocks benefits in other experiences unrelated to the original company. Lots of issues to work out, but hopefully the froth dying down will get everyone to focus creating more value with the NFTs people already own. What I’m calling interoperability could be a way to add that value without building it all in one company.

I feel like I should just say, while I’m a skeptic on the current NFT froth, I do think there’s something valuable there. I’m also very much a believer in the metaverse (with a small m). I’m still talking to folks here to organize my thoughts and get smarter. I expect I’ll write more on this in the future.

  • Decoder Interview with Steve Aoki: I want to lead with this because it’s such a fascinating interview. First, I’m a fan. Second, he’s clearly a crypto believer and is comfortable talking about the tech. As I listen, though, I hear the Aokiverse as a membership-based fan club, with the ability to resell the membership. Ferrari already figured out how to do this without blockchains, plus buying the “NFT” gets you a pretty sweet sports car to go with it. A good mix of savvy with sound business ideas, IMHO - his emphasis on experiences enabled by the NFT is really clear, and fits his overall strategy on his brand and approach to music.
  • Web 3.0 and the undeliverable promise of decentralization: Switching to a more technical track, this (long) piece goes through some of the technical challenges inherent in blockchain tech that will either prevent scaling or prevent the true decentralization that true believers emphasize.
  • Official Formula 1 NFT Game Shuts Down, Tokens Are Now Practically Worthless: I’m fascinated by this story: the “official Formula 1 NFT Game” shut down after they failed to agree with F1 on a renewal of their licensing agreement. Games go away all the time, and people lose the money they spent on in-game items. I’ve recently experienced this when Vainglory shut down and will again whenever Fortnite goes away. So, what was the advantage of this being an NFT? What did the users really own?

Reads

Listens

  • Is streaming just becoming cable again? Julia Alexander thinks so: Some of the links last week touched on this. Good listen, and some interesting speculation about internal drama at Disney specifically (some that resonates with me, some that seems… wrong). I remain convinced that the content companies will be willing to bundle with other services, at least indirectly, as long as they get users logging into their apps or access to user consumption data.

Code & Tools

  • Awesome-Selfhosted: A catalog of services and products that can be self-hosted. Found this because someone asked for a self-hosted Reddit-like product, and someone else suggested they look through this list. It’s got a lot.

Maker & Home Automation