Newsletter: Let it Burn on Mars

The Casino On Mars, The Burn Of Nouns, Machiavelli, And More...

By Forefront - Sep 25, 2023

Happy Monday!!

Welcome to edition 159th 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...

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Week’s Highlight

"It's useful to think of crypto as a new planet that's being settled. Skeptics see a desolate planet without purpose. Or worse, a haven for an unsavory casino.

Optimists see the planet's potential:*** a blank slate on which we can build an upgraded financial system and internet platform.***"

The Casino on Mars, a new essay from Matt Huang of Paradigm, single-handedly revitalized my belief and energy in working in crypto. It's easy to get lost in the day-to-day slog of onchain applications and media, forgetting why we are actually here

Last week, the Forefront Newsletter highlighted Erik Voorhees's speech at Permissionless where he gave a very libertarian view on why we're building in crypto. Instead, Huang gives an optimistic view. If Erik's talk is defined by a demand for freedom, Matt's essay is a call for imagination.

The essay touches on many topics: why money is crypto's first killer app (esp. stablecoins), why speculation is necessary on the frontier, and why "crypto going mainstream" seems to be taking so long.

Crypto, according to Huang, is about implementing "a new system of property rights [for the internet]" so that we can safely transact with people we don't already know or trust. This requires more generalized legitimacy, a major reason why adoption seems so slow. We're building the infrastructure for the new financial and social systems of the new planet.

The essay is also packed with some awesome art from artist Myke Chilian. You can collect the cover image on Zora here

Take Note. Overall, the essay is not only a great reminder for where we're headed, but a great introduction to our work for folks who might be confused as to why we're still building in crypto. The new planet is still in its infancy, and we are the pioneers.

What's Poppin'

Free + Valuable: Why I'm Excited About Zora Protocol Rewards

This essay from Danica Swanson explores why Zora Rewards are so exciting for creators, collectors, and developers alike. While a token itself can be priced at zero cost, the protocol-level fee that all collectors must pay is split between the creator of the token, the front-end developer of the mint site, and Zora (among other parties in the future). This means that creators can put media onchain for virtually nothing, but the protocol fees still reward all valuable parties. Over 700 ETH in protocol rewards has been distributed on Zora. Other apps, like Paragraph, are now considering adding their own protocol rewards. It's obvious that Zora Rewards have paved a new path for creators and developers alike, and given many consumer crypto founders a business model that didn't exist just 6 months ago.

The Burn (Nouns DAO)

After the recent Nouns fork, the daily Noun auctions can offer an arbitrage. If one can (1) purchase a Noun for below its implied "book value" and can (2) actually fork with this book value or greater, then one can profit. Today, the book value of Nouns is around 35 ETH and the most recent auction settled at 19 ETH. To solve this problem, Nouners are exploring many different ideas. Arguably the most popular proposal right now is The Burn, where the DAO would automatically burn ETH that is not spent by a certain time (formula in article). This would encourage ambitious spending of the treasury, an opinionated solution that is values-aligned with the meme-driven mission of Nouns. While there is heated conversation happening around this proposal, it is clearly one of the most interesting proposals in crypto today.

Machiavelli for DAOs: Principles for Fixing Decentralized Governance

Miles Jennings is back with another piece on DAO governance. In this essay, Miles explores the challenges facing DAOs and proposes applying Machiavellian principles to address these issues. Current decentralized governance models often struggle with coordination, misalignment of interests, lack of accountability, vulnerability to attacks, and low participation. By embracing governance minimization, establishing a balanced leadership class subject to perpetual opposition, providing a pathway for continual upheaval of the leadership class, and increasing overall accountability, DAOs can enhance their effectiveness.

Dead NFTs: The Evolving Landscape of the NFT Market

In recent years, NFTs experienced a meteoric rise, peaking with a monthly trading volume of $2.8 billion in August 2021. However, by July 2023, the weekly trading value has plummeted to just 3% of its peak. Research indicates that 95% of the NFT collections are effectively worthless, with a market cap of zero ETH. The oversaturation of NFT projects and lack of genuine demand has contributed to this decline. Meanwhile, free NFTs and open editions have experienced a renaissance of sorts, with tokens not only being viewed as avenues for utility but also as points of connection between people and communities on the blockchain. It's likely that NFTs aren't dead just yet, but the media discussing them might be.

The NFT Gaming Market Has Arrived

Today, 4 of the top 5 NFT collections by 24H sales volume are game-related. CSGO skins have done over $200M in onchain secondary sales to date. New web3 gaming companies continue to announce massive fundraises. Building on the post above, it's clear that there is a future for NFTs with real utility, and what better utility to begin with then games that are already built in and dependent on virtual worlds. It'll be exciting to watch how this market evolves over the next year.

Mainstream bites

Stanford x FTX. Stanford will receive entirety of gifts received from FTX.

Citigroup. Citigroup announces token services for institutional clients.

PYUSD x Venmo. PayPal brings their stablecoin to Venmo.

NFT headlines this week…

  • Apecoin DAO. The AIP-304 proposal initiated by Machi Big Brother has received majority support in the vote. The APE Foundation will allocate 11,000,000 ApeCoin to the DAM (Digital Art Movement) organization. DAM will use at least 70% of these ApeCoins to purchase NFTs from YugaLabs and 30% from other notable projects.
  • PSG. PSG releases a new AI-generated NFT collection.
  • Loot2. Station Labs releases Loot2, a collection of loot bags with token-bound accounts (ERC6551).
  • Y00ts. Y00ts gets a rebrand.

Inbox Signal TL;DR

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

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

the internet-native brand framework

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.

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