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THE BIG SPLASH
Spring cleaning 🧹
What is the relationship between Kev Adams and the crypto industry?
There is no such thing.
However, for several days, we have been talking about the French actor who would be involved in a scam around a film financed with... NFTs. Obviously, it did not take more for the case revealed by our colleagues of Mediapart to make headlines and turn into a loop almost everywhere.
Let's be clear, this is obviously a serious matter. We are talking about 700 presumed victims with a loss of more than 1 million euros.
But beyond this particular case, we see above all that this scam affects the crypto ecosystem once again, and gives a deplorable image of it . You only have to look at the comments on the subject to understand that the "Plush" movie scam has become the "NFT" scam...
Some will say that the case has nothing to do with NFTs and cryptos, and they are right, 100 times right. We at The Big Whale share this view. But we would be collectively wrong to think that just saying that is enough to make it true, especially with the general public.
In reality, the ecosystem is still paying for the lack of rules and the great blurring that has existed for years between investment, information and promotion. What role did Kev Adams play in the project? How many personalities or influencers are doing this kind of thing?
The fact that this affair is breaking out at a time when French elected officials are about to adopt a regulation to regulate influencers, and more severely those of the crypto industry, is from this point of view quite symbolic.
Just as the FTX affair did not break out by chance in crypto, the Plush affair did not affect NFTs by chance. We must be able to say it, to assume it and to draw the consequences collectively to put an end to certain practices and to do a good spring cleaning!
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THE BIG NEWS
OUR EXCLUSIVE INFORMATION 🗣
👉 Half-hearted balance for the Smurfs' NFTs
It's not easy to launch a collection of NFTs in the middle of the Bear Market, and the people behind The Smurfs' Society project have realized this.
In spite of a very well polished communication, the first phase of the sale which ended last week was not as good as hoped. "It's not bad considering the market conditions, but we could have done ten times better a year ago", explains its manager, Julien Romanetto.
The open auction that set the unit price of an NFT resulted in an amount of 0.17 ether (about 300 euros). "We were aiming more between 0.3 and 0.5 ether," admits the man who is also the co-founder of Arianee, even if this is only the first part of the sale; 3000 NFTs were reserved for this operation out of a total of 12,500 NFTs.
Several industry personalities participated, giving the "Smurfs" (their name in English) a nice visibility on social networks 👀.
The crypto trader known as High Stake Capital, for example, placed 250 ethers, or 443,000 euros. This friend of the team alone took almost half of the 3,000 NFTs offered for sale.
Sébastien Borget, creator of the metaverse The Sandbox, also participated.
"In hindsight, I think that the terms of this sale were not clear to everyone and that may have limited its effectiveness," says Julien Romanetto. The latter is now turning to the second part of the sale where almost the entire collection will be offered to those who had participated in a game (at a price of 0.17 ether per NFT). "In all, we hope to collect between 2 and 3 million euros in order to have the cash flow to execute our ideas," he says.
With nearly a million euros earned last week (minus 30% that must be paid back to the Smurfs' rights holders), the goal seems achievable.
The Big Whale launches its mapping of the European ecosystem
All the European projects that wish to do so can fill in their information and appear in "The Ocean".
Each project integrated within this mapping will have the opportunity, after the vote of the 300 founding subscribers of The Big Whale ❤️, to :
👉 Pitch the project to The Big Whale community (20,000 members)
👉 Be visible (with a listing) within a dedicated space in The Big Whale
The questionnaire is available by clicking here, and only takes a few minutes. 😎
THE BIG REPORT
Gaming: will the Web3 war take place?
By Louis Lebouc (in Paris)
Whether it's Ubisoft or Sony, most of the historical players in the video game industry are getting more and more interested in cryptos. They do it both for business opportunities, and also to counter the rise of 100% web3 players who no longer hide their ambitions...
Sony usually does a good job of keeping its secrets, but this time it didn't work out. A few weeks ago, a leak revealed that the 🇯🇵 giant had filed a new set of patents related to blockchain and NFTs.
This is the second leak about this in just under a year 😅.
According to the first elements, which have not been commented by the Tokyo-based group, the new patents concern the possibility of owning and using NFTs in the games of the Playstation manufacturer 🎮 It is even mentioned the possibility of transferring these NFTs to other universes, and therefore potentially those of the competition.
Without it being written in black and white, this means that Sony could eventually digitize all of its game assets, avatars, objects and more to make them interoperable with others.
👉 You could, for example, use an item purchased in God of War with one of your characters on... Call of Duty.
While this prospect is not for the immediate future, it does show the plate movement that is at work in the gaming industry. Sony, by the way, is not the only studio looking (very) closely at blockchain and NFTs 👀.
The flagship 🇫🇷 Ubisoft has been working on these issues for several years.
Another French company, Voodoo, which is none other than the world leader in mobile gaming (6.4 billion downloads) has, for its part, outright announced a blockchain-based gaming platform. As we revealed earlier this year, there will also be a cryptocurrency. In short, it's moving!
The reasons for this craze are quite obvious.
The video game industry is certainly growing steadily, but the number of gamers is not infinite, either in France or on a global scale. According to a Médiametrie study for the Syndicat des Éditeurs de Logiciels de Loisirs (SELL), there are already 37.4 million French people who consider themselves gamers.
Yet to continue to grow and increase revenues, the industry needs to find new perspectives, and the entire crypto universe provides an ideal playground.
"The ability to own digital objects opens up a new market. Gamers will not only pay for games, but also for digital assets that they will own and that they will be able to trade or give away," explains Jean-Christophe Liaubet (*), Managing Partner of EY Fabernovel.
How much is this new market? 🤔
It's hard to know. According to Accenture, the video game industry is worth just over $300 billion a year worldwide.
The numbers vary, but in-game purchases of items and other items, on the other hand, are worth between $50 billion and $100 billion. This gives an idea of the market potential of NFTs 💰 in the industry.
"Every innovation creates new business models"
It was also to explore this potential that Ubisoft embarked on the adventure in 2018 with a dedicated team. "The goal was to understand the technology and develop applications," explains Nicolas Pouard, director of Ubisoft's innovation lab and co-founder of the Blockchain Game Alliance.
The French studio, known for successful franchises such as Assassin's Creed, has a web3 incubator and regularly launches experiments such as the Rabbids in The Sandbox.
In a sign that things are far from simple, however 😑 Ubisoft last year halted the Quartz project, a platform dedicated to the publisher's NFTs with Ghost Recon Breakpoint as the first big license.
"The video game industry has always been among the first to transform itself. Each innovation creates new business models, even if it's not necessarily easy to set up," explains Nicolas Pouard. From purchase (of the game itself or additional features) to freemium, advertising or subscription, video games are now monetized in many different ways.
Web3 games can generate revenue on primary NFT transactions (at mint) or secondary transactions (at resale).
The NFT-based game, Sorare, thus generated more than $300 million in trading volume in 2021, 40 times more than in 2020. Despite the drop in markets, the French unicorn, which saw its volumes drop in 2022, would have nevertheless managed to keep them well above those of 2020.
Better relationship with the players
NFTs are also an opportunity for studios to review their relationship with gamers, sometimes damaged by the recent surmounting of the games.
Some explain that the objective with NFTs is not to sell more, but better and differently.
"Gamers have the feeling that they are being taken for cash cows. The key is to communicate the benefits of blockchain and reassure them that they can continue to play as before," says Yoni Lasry, Head of blockchain investment & ecosystem lead at Voodoo.
For example, we remember the outcry over the launch of NFTs in Ghost Recon by Ubisoft in 2021. The studio had to backtrack in front of the criticism of its community, which thought that the proposed NFTs were paying, which was not even the case... 🙃
NFTs also allow gamers to be more involved in the development of games and to be rewarded for their personal investment. A community dynamic claimed by Jérôme de Tychey, founder and CEO of the blockchain game Cometh: "We have involved our players from the very beginning of Cometh Battle. Players become stakeholders and co-creators of the game".
Thus, the players' efforts could allow them to earn revenue from their victories.
At Voodoo, the web3 managers are counting on this approach to convince the few skeptics: "Thanks to NFTs, we can better share the revenues generated between the studio and the players, which has a negative impact in the short term, but a positive one in the long term since they will stay longer. It's a win-win situation" explains Yoni Lasri.
Finally, it's an opportunity to personalize the gaming experience for gamers: "By scanning a wallet, we can get an idea of a player's profile without siphoning off their data and offer them a customized experience," says Jérôme de Tychey.
Mutation of the gaming players
Eventually, the entire video game market could be turned upside down if companies switch to web3 with the possibility of relying on players like The Sandbox. The French metaverse has already done so with partner brands such as AXA, Gucci or Snoop Dogg.
Finally, hybrid players are emerging, such as Blackpool, founded by Julien Bouteloup: "We are a hedge fund, an e-sports team and DeFi (decentralized finance) consultants all at the same time.
The fund invests heavily in blockchain games by purchasing assets, which are then used by e-sport teams dedicated to the game (a guild). The players are supported by a team of analysts who tap into blockchain or real-world data to detect opportunities in the game.
👉 This business model is very lucrative as Blackpool doubled its stake of 9 million euros by investing in Sorare cards 🚀.
Beyond the business advantages, traditional players are also positioning themselves because pure web3 players are constantly gaining power.
The numbers are still small, but more than $4 billion has been invested in 2022 in blockchain gaming players, allowing some players like The Sandbox, Axie Infinity or Immortal Game to act as a scarecrow for a part of the traditional industry.
"We're still in the seed phase, but things are going to accelerate. In less than five years, some classic studios will be outdated," explains an investor in the sector.
Technical limitations of blockchain
In the meantime, the barriers are still a bit high for web3 specialists.
Despite the progress of blockchain scalability, "we will have to wait a little longer before we see games with hundreds of thousands of players", explains Benjamin Charbit who, before co-creating the Web3 Life Beyond Studios, spent several years at... Ubisoft.
But not everyone agrees. "The blockchain is now mature enough to operate on a larger scale: a decentralized server can now host up to 4,000 players at the same time," explains Jérôme de Tychey.
The average (or even mediocre) quality of today's blockchain games and the relative difficulty of using wallets will, however, continue to penalize web3 players for some time. Not to mention the fact that "Play to Earn" games face an ideological barrier: for the first time in the history of video games, franchises are mixing financial products and gameplay. Not everyone agrees with this philosophy. In fact, the opposite is true 😅 !
Last but not least: the opposition of the historical players. "Even if traditional studios launch crypto initiatives, they don't go all the way because they know very well that pushing the experiment further would threaten their business model," says Julien Bouteloup.
Is this why some players are so keen to regulate the sector? The studios are not stupid," adds Julien Bouteloup, "it's a battle. There should be buyouts eventually among web3 studios because it's the only way for the historical ones to really get up to speed on blockchain."
The historical studios know that they are in the best position to discuss with the legislator: "It is necessary to offer an experience to the general public. When you mix finance and entertainment, players must have no doubt about their experience. They must feel protected," says Yoni Lasry. A position that encourages Voodoo to discuss with French regulators, but also with the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
"The arrival of Sorare in the landscape has been a jolt for the video game world: the demand for crypto-gaming is there, it's a fact. The historical players are not going to let it happen, they are just preparing their weapons ⚔️", underlines Julien Bouteloup.
(*) Jean-Christophe Liaubet is an individual minority shareholder of The Big Whale
THE BIG FOCUS
CoinVertible: the behind-the-scenes story of Societe Generale's stablecoin
By Grégory Raymond (in Paris)
For the first time, a bank has issued a stablecoin on a public blockchain. We investigated to learn more about this project.
The rest is available on The Big Whale website. 🐳