Newsletter: What the Fork?

Nouns Fork, Solana x Visa, Privacy Pools, and more...

By Forefront - Sep 11, 2023

Happy Monday!!

Welcome to edition 157th edition of the Forefront Newsletter. If you’re new here, we give you a weekly roundup of the best news and insights at the intersection of crypto, culture, and community.

This week we’re covering:

Let's get into it...

📩 Want to sponsor the Forefront Newsletter?

The Forefront Newsletter rounds up the best news and insights at the intersection of culture, community, and crypto. Over 10,000 founders, creators, and investors get it in their inbox every Monday morning.

If you’re interested in sponsoring the newsletter, reach out by email to to explore opportunities to collaborate!

Week’s Highlight

The long awaited Nouns DAO fork is live, and over 40% of Nouns have joined the fork to receive a 35 ETH (per token) payout from the treasury. The fork mechanism was developed by the Verbs team rather than individual ragequit of tokens.

But how did we get here?

Here's a gross oversimplification of Nouns DAO dynamics over the last year: book value vs. meme value. Early holders paid 3-5x the current asking price for the same "vote" in the DAO. Later, many folks accumulated Nouns at closer to 20ETH -- the fork gives those folks an opportunity to profit 15ETH with little to no work.

But more fundamentally, some Nouns holders believed that the DAO was spending too much money on "vibes," leading to heated philosophical battles around otherwise high quality proposals.

Now, on the morning of Monday, September 11th 2023, over 325 Nouns have joined the fork, leaving many people questioning the future of Nouns (and DAOs more generally).

Some DAOs, like Floor DAO, are looking to the Nouns forking mechanism as a model to emulate. Others see the opportunity to fork for quick profit as a slap in the face to the "meme proliferation" economics that have been promoted by the Nounish ecosystem over the last two years.

So where does this leave Nouns? Holders are viewing the fork as the beginning of "Season 3," a fresh opportunity to move forward the Nouns mission with only values-aligned voters who have conviction in the meme-driven economics of Nouns. While the treasury will be significantly smaller, belief in the meme is at an all-time high.

Take Note. Nouns is not dead, and the experiment will continue post-fork. This is the type of experiment in coordination and internet culture that crypto promised, and it’s fascinating to see it play out before our eyes.

What's Poppin'

Visa expands stablecoin settlement pilot to Solana

Visa announced its next step in modernizing cross-border money movement by expanding its stablecoin settlement capabilities to the high-performing Solana blockchain. They are also working with merchant acquirers Worldpay and Nuvei. "By leveraging stablecoins like USDC and global blockchain networks like Solana and Ethereum, we're helping to improve the speed of cross-border settlement and providing a modern option for our clients to easily send or receive funds from Visa's treasury," said Cuy Sheffield, Head of Crypto, Visa. This announcement from Solana comes in conjunction with increased focus on merchant payments (Shopify partnership), making Solana a real home for some exciting experiments in global commerce.

Vitalik Buterin's X account hacked to carry out phishing attack that stole $700,000 in crypto, NFTs

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin's X account was compromised to promote a phishing scam. When the account was taken over, it was used to advertise a fake commemorative NFT mint that supposedly had a time limit, encouraging users to mint them quickly. Yet the link was to a phishing website that would drain cryptocurrencies and NFTs from wallets that interacted with it. The scam stole $700,000 of crypto and NFTs from unsuspecting victims. The attack used Pink, a relatively new drainer software that widely used for multiple big phishing attacks throughout this year. This includes attacks on the Discords of Orbiter Finance, LiFi, Flare and Evmos, as well as Steve Aoki's X account and others.

Blockchain Privacy and Regulatory Compliance: Towards a Practical Equilibrium

Vitalik has co-authored a research paper exploring the concept of "Privacy Pools," a privacy-preserving blockchain protocol that aims to balance user anonymity with regulatory compliance. The paper, co-authored by Buterin, Ameen Soleimani, Jacob Illum, and two researchers from the University of Basel, builds upon the concept of the Privacy Pools protocol introduced by Soleimani earlier this year. Privacy Pools operates similarly to Tornado Cash, mixing multiple user transactions to obscure their origins. However, it also allows users to generate zero-knowledge proofs when withdrawing funds to confirm they are not using a criminal blockchain address while protecting their identity. The research paper aims to find a balance between Privacy Pool-like protocols and compliance with regulatory and practical considerations. The researchers also address concerns about centralization and seek insights from legal experts to ensure compliance across various jurisdictions.

Drake-Endorsed Stake Casino Loses $40M in Crypto Breach

The $41 million hack of crypto gambling site Stake was carried out by the North Korean Lazarus Group, the FBI stated in an announcement on Sept. 7. This group has stolen more than $200 million of crypto in 2023. The Drake-backed gambling firm, which initially described a batch of associated transactions as "unauthorized transfers," notified users that a Stake-led investigation was underway Monday shortly after the attack took place.

Glass Protocol Winding Down Development

This week, the founders of Glass Protocol announced that development on the protocol and application would be winding down. The website, protocol, and NFTs will remain operational and are stored safely. The team came to the conclusion that there is not sustainable demand for video NFTs. It will be interesting to see if other onchain video platforms (like LivePeer) and NFT minting protocols and apps (like Zora) will come to a similar conclusion, or if Glass's focus on video simply did not make for a good enough business in the existing market. Regardless, the team did incredible work pushing the ecosystem forward.

Mainstream headlines this week…

JPMorgan.The bank in the early stages of exploring a blockchain-based digital deposit token for speeding up cross-border payments and settlement.

Crypto Bans.A joint policy paper on crypto published by the IMF and FSB warned jurisdictions against implementing blanket bans to mitigate risks associated with the sector, and recommended targeted restrictions and sound monetary policy instead.

El Salvador x Bitcoin.The Ministry of Education of El Salvador and the nonprofit, NGO Mi Primer Bitcoin (MPB), meaning "My First Bitcoin," partnered to add Bitcoin education to public school curriculum by 2024.

Inbox Signal TL;DR

The seventh edition of Inbox Signal just went out to Forefront Members this weekend. Here's a taste of the stories:

  • Circle x OP.Circle deploys USDC on OP Mainnet and Base.
  • LISTEN.LGHT x Gami on UFO Podcast.
  • Uniswap.Electronification, Trading, and Crypto.
  • THREAD.On bear market vibes.
  • WATCH.Magician's guide to zk proofs.
  • READ.CFTC after DeFi.

Forefront Members get full access to Signal -- our daily curated feed on consumer and creator crypto -- every day. You can become a Forefront Member by minting a 2023 Annual Pass here.

For the Culture

New benefits

The information in this newsletter is not intended to constitute legal, financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied upon as such. Any opinions reflected are the opinion of the author(s) of the newsletter only and not necessarily of Forefront. Please DYOR.

Share article


Weekly Newsletter straight to your Inbox