Ring ring ring ring solanathon

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Welcome back to Chain reaction.

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Last week we talked about the NFT community feeling down but still in the mood to party. This week we look at the desperation of web3 startups for the tech industry after Apple.

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If you would like to receive this in your inbox every Thursday, you can subscribe to TechCrunch newsletter page.


crypto wants his iphone

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There are several consumer companies with a better reputation among users than Apple, and there are also several “web2” companies that crypto startups despise more than Apple.

We talked a bit about Apple’s reputation in the crypto space over time. The App Store rules are quite hostile towards crypto and NFT startups, but this is not the most understandable move for Apple, which is saving money to reduce in-app transactions and justifies its monopoly by saying that they protect users from fraud and malware. Well, no one can argue that avoiding scams in the crypto space is easy these days, but living in Apple’s mobile empire is still frustrating for legitimate crypto apps that have to make do with having to be primarily desktops in a predominantly mobile world.

As a result, it is not so shocking that the crypto world is showing interest in building a world without Apple. A task that doesn’t sound so easy…

This week, Solana Labs, creators of the Solana blockchain, whose token price has skyrocketed and plummeted in recent months, announced own blockchain smartphone. If you’ve been reading TechCrunch for years, this should surprise you a bit. It is almost impossible to build a smartphone business as a startup, many have tried and few have achieved anything even remotely resembling success.

The Solana phone called Saga runs on Android and has its own blockchain-focused features, including a built-in hardware wallet that basically gives users a more secure way to store and trade cryptocurrency or NFTs on their smartphone. I’m sure this phone has an audience in the crypto world, but this is far from the ideal time to launch a niche device, which will likely have an even tighter niche audience next year when the phone actually launches.

Web3 has received amazing support from the web2 giants, but has been noticeably less warmly received by mobile hardware companies. Apple users aren’t likely to rise up and demand more access to NFT in-app purchases, so for now, the company’s mobile stranglehold will be a frustration that web3 developers have to find a near-hopeless way out of.


last pod

My co-host Anita was on vacation this week, so our colleague Jackie joined us to dive into web3’s weekly events. We delved into the topic of the Solana Saga phone, discussed FTX’s alleged interest in buying Robinhood, and chatted about some of the crypto finance firms currently in deep… trouble.

As our guest this week, I spoke with Julian Holguin, CEO of Doodles. Doodles is a very popular NFT project with total sales of just over $500 million. Holguin was previously a major executive at Billboard and took it upon himself to turn the Doodles brand into an intellectual property hub. The firm has just received its first round of venture capital funding from Alexis Ohanian and is gearing up to launch several major new NFTs as it hopes the party will continue even amid the crypto downturn.

Subscribe to Chain Reaction at Apple, Spotify or your alternative podcast platform to keep up with us every week.


keep track of money

Where is startup money moving in the crypto world:

  1. Entrepreneur First raises $158 million from the Collison brothers to create a startup school with web3 programming
  2. Platform for crypto games without code Soba raises $13.5M led by Lightspeed
  3. Fitness startup “Move to earn” Fitmint receives $1.6 million from General Catalyst
  4. Web3 game Stella Fantasy receives $5 million from Animoca Brands
  5. NFT for kids platform Crypto receives $23 million from a16z
  6. NFT curated app EyesFi raises $2 million from Multicoin Capital
  7. Blockchain launch Liner receives $6 million from a16z
  8. Financial Security Startup Polysign receives $53 million from Cowen Digital, others
  9. Launching wallet login Dynamic receives $7.5 million from a16z
  10. NFT for a good startup R Labs receives $5 million from Softbank

TC+ analysis

Here are some of this week’s cryptanalysis, which you can read on our TC+ subscription service (written by TC’s Jacqueline Melinek):

This Crypto Winter May Be Long, But Builders Remain Optimistic
Despite the fact that the main digital assets in the crypto market are still significantly declining since the beginning of the year, some market participants do not pay attention to this and focus on the long-term game. According to Evin McMullen, CEO of the metaverse-focused Disco.xyz, the crypto world is working to create the human experience, not just throwing money at each other. “Now that we’re no longer looking at green candles to keep ourselves busy, we have the opportunity to explore what other entertainment we can have,” McMullen said. “What other kinds of coordination games can we solve together that are based not only on token prices, but also on our human activities?”

Blockchain Games Unconcerned By Crypto Volatility As Gamers ‘Search For Fun’
The web3 gaming industry is one of the few sectors that appears to be unaffected by the current cryptocurrency market conditions, and capital continues to pool into the space – and some industry players say there are good reasons for this. According to Robbie Jung, CEO of Animoca Brands, the number of active users of web3 games “has nothing to do with the market” because even when the economy is down, people will still be looking for entertainment.


Thanks for reading, and again, if you’d like to receive this in your inbox every Thursday, you can subscribe to TechCrunch newsletter page. See you next week!




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