'Sup, it's Taylor. Did you know that getting sick is the worst? Please beam me good vibes, I need them 🙏
On a happier note, I'm the CEO of Hedgehog, the robo-adviser that makes it easy to maintain a diversified, balanced crypto portfolio. Hedgehog is also sick, but in the cool way 😎🦔 Note to self: Submit a proposal to the Unicode Consortium for a hedgehog-wearing-sunglasses emoji, so I don't need to use both. Efficiency!
It's been a helluva week. Again. Let's get into that…
The current big news is that three banks blew up: Silicon Valley Bank, the most dramatically; Silvergate Bank, after prolonged death throes; and Signature Bank, seemingly just for funsies to round out the trio. All three primarily served the technology sector, with SVB specializing in startups and the other two in crypto businesses.
After an initial period of panic among SVB customers, broadcast to the world on Twitter, the government decided to step in to protect the banks' depositors, though not the shareholders. In other words, people with money at these banks will be fine, but the people who owned the banks or loaned money to the banks are getting wiped out.
Whether this intervention counts as a bailout depends on your perspective, but either way it's extraordinary for the FDIC to go above and beyond its longstanding pledge to protect up to $250k — but not more — for each depositor. The last FDIC protection increase was in 2008!
By now there are many blow-by-blow explanations of what happened with SVB and why. Here are three:
- "The End of Silicon Valley (Bank)" by tech-biz analyst Ben Thompson
- "A Look at Bank Solvency" by investor Lyn Alden
- "SVB Couldn’t Ignore Its Losses, But the Fed Can" by ex-Wall Street commentator Matt Levine
Thankfully Hedgehog didn't use any of these banks — as with the FTX blowup, we're not directly impacted, but we expect to feel the shockwaves as they roll through the industry. Here "the industry" could be startups, technology in general, or crypto specifically… take your pick.
Wait, I almost forgot to mention that the bank issues caused USDC to depeg! It repegged not long after, but still, no bueno.
Tldr: I'm getting a little tired of sudden institutional detonations, can we calm down for a few months? It would be good for my immune system…
Wild, wild web
"Web3 art platform Wild raised a $7 million seed funding round led by Matrix Partners," as reported by The Block — not gonna lie, I clicked on this because actress Gwenyth Paltrow also invested, alongside LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin. But the product itself sounds interesting, a sort of bespoke web3 take on Patreon:
[Wild CEO J. Douglass Kobs] said that he and Paltrow became friends after meeting at a leadership summit in 2021, adding that she's an "early adopter" of web3 and NFTs.
Kobs, who previously founded proptech firm Apartment List, is aiming to create a platform where artists building with blockchain can be supported while fans and collectors can easily access creator-made collections. Part of this includes the Wild Residency, an application-based virtual residency program where artists are paired with advisers over 12 weeks for a crash course on creating NFT art. At the end of the program, the artists release collections, sold via auction on the platform.
There are currently 19 artists listed on Wild's website. Wild also has a membership program called Oasis, limited to 1,000 members (there are 406 currently): "Oasis holders are always the first to access the allowlist. Oasis holders can collect 50+ Wild Residency artist drops in 2023 at a fixed floor price, ahead of the public."
According to The Block "the first 300 [Oasis passes] were distributed to artists taking part in its inaugural residency cohort, advisers, investors and the founding team." So that means Wild has sold just over 100 passes. On OpenSea the membership collection's floor price is 0.95 ETH, equivalent to $1,576.47 at the time of writing. Not bad?! Essentially Wild is creating an exclusive, upscale digital club. A luxury brand. Similar to the Friends With Benefits DAO.
Tldr: No wonder Gwyneth Paltrow wanted to get involved! As the creator of Goop, she's the bougie queen.
- "Violet, which offers compliance and identity infrastructure for decentralized finance, launched its compliance-focused decentralized exchange, Mauve."
Tldr: Intriguing combination — best of both worlds?
- "Crypto markets plummeted Thursday [last week, March 9] after the New York Attorney General called Ether a security in a lawsuit against crypto exchange KuCoin."
Tldr: Here we go again! (Take a shot if "I kinda wanna be more than friends" instantly played in your head.)
- "Sesame Street to Launch First NFTs With VeVe, Starting With Cookie Monster Digital Collectibles at $60 Each"
Tldr: These NFTs should come with a fresh-baked batch of cookies delivered to your house. For reasons. Maybe a Crumbl partnership?
- "Instagram is Disabling Its NFT Features"
Tldr: Unsurprising since Meta is in cost-cutting mode at the moment, and AFAIK nobody was using the NFT Insta-gration.
Answer my question of the week for a chance to win some sweet Hedgehog swag:
- insulated stainless steel water bottle with Hedgehog logo
- official Hedgehog team baseball cap
- snazzy Hedgehog socks
- cozy Hedgehog hoodie
- comfy Hedgehog baseball tee
It's not nice to hit people, but the water bottle doubles as an effective bludgeon. Jussayin'... in case someone goes after your cookies.
Question of the week: If you created an exclusive club, what would the theme be?
Mine may or may not be centered on action movies, and the clubhouse may or may not be a tricked-out home theater. With a popcorn machine. And cookies. The Cookie Monster himself is welcome to join.