Farcaster hype grows, Bluesky opens to the public and SEC’s Hester Peirce is open to new token proposals

Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto, formerly known as Chain Reaction.

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Hello and welcome back to the fourth edition of the new and improved TechCrunch Crypto newsletter. You probably know the deal already, but alongside our regularly scheduled news bits, I’ve added some recurring segments and features — so if you like what you see (or don’t), let me know at jacquelyn@techcrunch.com.

Anyways, let’s get into the big headlines below.

This week in web3

  1. Decentralized social network Farcaster is trying to reach mass adoption through Web 2.0 techniques
  2. Perhaps this is why the bitcoin spot ETFs are yet to send crypto prices to the moon
  3. SEC’s Hester Peirce still plans to push for a token ‘safe harbor’ plan
  4. a16z’s Chris Dixon thinks it’s time to focus on blockchains’ use cases, not speculation
  5. Bluesky is now open for anyone to join

Crunching numbers

This week the crypto market was relatively up as the two biggest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, bitcoin and ether, rose 5.7 and 6%, respectively, on the week, according to CoinMarketCap data. The global crypto market cap increased 5.5% over a seven-day period to $1.72 trillion.

Of the top 10 tokens by market cap, Solana increased the most on the week at 7.7% at the time of writing.

Our favorite ‘Crypto Twitter’ post

That awkward moment when your crypto friends and normie friends see “zero knowledge” as two different meanings. But in case you don’t know…see the definition here.

The latest pod

This year, Chain Reaction is doing monthly series diving into different topics and themes in crypto. To start things off, this month we’re focusing on NFTs.

For this week’s episode, I interviewed Devin Finzer, the CEO of NFT marketplace OpenSea. This is also our first full video recording and it’s on TechCrunch’s YouTube channel; check it out here.

He co-founded OpenSea in 2017 and it quickly climbed to become one of the most well known — and well funded — NFT marketplaces. Two years ago, it raised $300 million in a Series C round at a $13.3 billion post-money valuation, bringing its total capital raised to over $400 million. Some of its investors include firms Andreessen Horowitz and Paradigm, as well as celebrities like Kevin Durant and Ashton Kutcher.

Despite the NFT market’s trading volume falling from all-time highs in late 2021 to early 2022, OpenSea is still pushing forward, even though other NFT marketplaces have popped up and challenged their dominance.

Devin and I discuss the importance of web3 games integrating NFTs, Web 2.0 firms launching their own digital collectibles and challenges the marketplace faces.

We also dive into:

  • Big use cases for NFTs
  • The company’s future mission
  • Retaining community members
  • Gaining market share and trading volume

But wait there’s more…

This week we also have a bonus episode with Hester Peirce, commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

I moderated a fireside chat with Commissioner Peirce at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business alongside Eddie Cullen, a former candidate for New York City Mayor in 2021 and co-founder and CEO of Crescite Innovation Corporation.

We discussed a number of timely topics, including the SEC’s spot bitcoin ETF approval, policy making to keep crypto innovation alive in the U.S. and the commissioner’s Token Safe Harbor Proposal 2.0 and whether Peirce is considering a new one.

Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to keep up with the latest episodes, and please leave us a review if you like what you hear!

Follow the money

  1. Superform Labs raised $6.5 million to help others distribute, manage and access yield
  2. MediConCen raised $6.85 million to automate insurance claims with AI and blockchain tech
  3. Immoblocks raised $5.67 million for its blockchain-based real estate investment platform
  4. Filecoin-centric staking protocol GLIF raised $4.5 million in a seed round led by Multicoin
  5. Tether led a $25 million Series A round for mobile payment app Oobit

This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.

What else we’re writing

Want to branch out from the world of web3? Here are some articles on TechCrunch that caught our attention this week.

  1. Why Latin American SaaS startups are different from their US peers
  2. Actually, it’s good for Spotify that Joe Rogan’s podcast is no longer exclusive
  3. Apple Vision Pro review: The infinite desktop
  4. Adam Neumann is trying to buy back WeWork
  5. Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman of Kleiner Perkins: ‘More than 80%’ of pitches now involve AI

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