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Axie Infinity made an exciting announcement this week, revealing the release of their highly anticipated card-based strategy game, Axie Infinity: Origins, on the Apple App Store. The launch took place in several major markets across Asia and Latin America, resulting in a notable surge for their native AXS token.

Furthermore, Jack Butcher recently launched a captivating NFT collection called Elements, which includes accompanying physical prints. In addition, DappRadar, a prominent analytics platform, published a new report projecting that NFT trading volume is likely to fall below $1 billion for the first time this year. However, the question arises: How significant is NFT trading volume in the grand scheme of things?

This Week's Alpha

Axie’s App Store debut: The highly popular NFT gaming project Axie Infinity has recently introduced its card-based strategy game, Axie Infinity: Origins, on the Apple App Store in its key markets across Latin America and Asia. Previously, the game was only accessible in limited regions through the Google Play store and the company's Mavis Hub. Players can now begin their gaming journey with free non-NFT "starter" characters. Notably, the game has already garnered an impressive 1.5 million installations across all platforms.

  • AXS surge: The moment the news broke, Axie Infinity's native cryptocurrency, AXS, soared with extraordinary momentum, surpassing all expectations with a remarkable surge of over 12%. Its value surged from $7.16 to an impressive $8.04, securing AXS the coveted position of the top gainer on CoinDesk Indices' leaderboard. However, despite the initial exhilaration, the token's market performance has since settled, currently trading just below $7.

The fifth element: Renowned artist Jack Butcher has unveiled a captivating NFT collection named Checks Elements, further enriching his beloved Checks universe by incorporating physical prints. This innovative assortment of 152 generative artworks delves into the fundamental realms of earth, fire, water, and air, while incorporating Butcher's distinctive Checks patterns and grid structures. To enhance the appeal, each NFT within this collection is accompanied by an exclusive monoprint. Presently, a portion of this remarkable collection is available for auction through the prestigious platform Christie's, offering art enthusiasts a unique opportunity to own these remarkable pieces.

  • Consensus of truth: Butcher informed me that Checks Elements delves into the "ever-evolving relationship between consensus and truth." in a more captivating manner.
  • NFT and physical pairs: The project did not incorporate a burn mechanism, allowing for the separate sale of physical prints and NFTs. Nevertheless, Butcher expressed that the ultimate goal is for the NFTs to “exist as pairs that sit together as a complement to the existing checks ecosystem."

Should we care about NFT trading volume? According to a recent report from DappRadar, the trading volume of NFTs is projected to fall below $1 billion for the first time this year, indicating a decline compared to the previous month. However, there is a significant increase in the number of sales, with 2.3 million transactions recorded so far this month. Additionally, there is a noticeable rise in the engagement of weekly active wallets interacting with NFTs.

  • What does this mean? Sara Gherghelas, a blockchain analyst at DappRadar, shared an interesting insight with me. She suggested that these numbers could be indicative of an increasing number of NFT traders participating in trades with lower dollar values.
  • Trading volume metric: While trading volume continues to serve as a crucial measure of activity in the NFT market, it is susceptible to manipulation through practices like wash trading and transactions conducted by a select group of extremely wealthy traders. It is important to bear in mind that, although this metric remains a valuable indicator of trader behavior, it should be interpreted within the specific context of the present market dynamics.

Projects on the Rise

The Memes collection by Punk 6529 (

The Memes by 6529

Who: @punk6529

What: In June 2022, an anonymous Twitter user and NFT enthusiast going by the name Punk 6529 emerged, captivating the art world with a series of NFTs inspired by popular culture and internet memes. Organized into three distinct "seasons," the collection encompasses a staggering 99 editions of ERC-1155 tokens, resulting in a grand total of approximately 77,000 minted NFTs. As of the time of writing, the collection has generated an impressive trading volume of 20,347 ETH, equivalent to nearly $37 million, as reported by OpenSea. The official 6529 website describes the Memes collection as a testament to the ongoing struggle for an open metaverse, brought to life through the collaborative efforts of multiple talented artists.

Why: The project gained significant attention when Gregory Schneider, deputy general counsel for Hedera, developed a tool enabling individuals to incorporate "Meet Summer Glasses," a collectible from the initial season, into any image. This meme, along with its underlying asset, is licensed under CC0, granting everyone the freedom to remix the image.

In Other News

Higher standards: A new wave of interest surged this week for ERC-721C, a groundbreaking initiative aiming to establish on-chain NFT royalties as a safeguard against platforms like Blur that often reduce creator royalties to zero. Simultaneously, another draft proposal known as ERC-6551 gained traction, introducing the concept of NFTs being utilized as a "holding identity" rather than solely representing a single asset.

Bitcoin is doing OKX: OKX, the popular cryptocurrency exchange, is preparing to introduce an exciting new addition to its platform—an exclusive Bitcoin NFT marketplace. In addition to this exciting development, OKX is set to make history by becoming the very first multichain wallet to support BRC-20 trading.

AI crackdown: During a recent Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, representatives of U.S. regulatory bodies expressed their support for establishing a dedicated regulatory body for artificial intelligence. Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, voiced his concerns regarding the potential negative consequences of AI technology, emphasizing the significant harm it could inflict upon the world if mishandled.

Degen bingo: Molly White, the researcher and creator of "Web3 is Going Great," recently shared an intriguing Web3 bingo card that we plan to use at our next conference.



Non-Fungible Toolkit

BRC-20 Explained: How Tokens on Bitcoin Work

If you're familiar with ordinal NFTs, also known as Bitcoin NFTs, you might be aware that they operate quite differently from traditional NFTs on Ethereum. In contrast to the metadata of the token referencing an external file, the complete artwork (or video, music file, etc.) is stored on the blockchain and resides within the witness signature field of Bitcoin transactions.

In recent times, tokens built on the Bitcoin blockchain have garnered significant attention in the crypto community due to the emergence of a new concept called BRC-20. This proposal, inspired by and named after ERC-20, utilizes the same ordinal inscription back-end as NFTs. However, despite the similarity in naming, these tokens do not rely on smart contracts and are not currently listed on the majority of exchanges. To simplify this complex topic, we have prepared a comprehensive explainer.