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Solana NFT Sales Surge 170% as y00ts Completes Delayed Rollout – Decrypt

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Sales of NFTs on the Solana blockchain fell by 50% in October following a strong September, which had been aided by the initial launch of buzzy profile picture (PFP) project, y00ts. But November could see a return to fervent activity if today’s early trading is any indication, following the delayed reveal of the y00ts artwork.
Trading volume for NFTs minted on Solana has jumped 170% over the past 24 hours compared to the previous span, per data from Tiexo, up to about 229,000 SOL across the market. That’s over $7.5 million worth.
The vast majority of that trading revolves around y00ts, the successor to the popular DeGods project on Solana. The y00ts collection spans 15,000 unique profile pictures, each featuring a different mix of design traits. The project minted its NFTs—called y00ts mint t00bs—in early September following a hyped allowlist campaign that drew in celebrities and influencers.
Each t00b NFT can be burned (or permanently destroyed) in exchange for the actual PFP NFT. That process was originally slated to begin soon after the September mint, but creator DeLabs—led by pseudonymous DeGods creator Frank—opted to scrap all of the existing artwork and start fresh, yielding a nearly two month delay.
Finally, this morning, y00ts opened up the process to swap t00bs for y00ts NFTs, revealing the artwork and sending secondary trading volume soaring in the process. Both the unrevealed t00bs and y00ts avatars are seeing soaring demand right now, based on data tracked by top Solana marketplace, Magic Eden.
People say NFT projects aren't about the art.
We think they're wrong. pic.twitter.com/mWhBMh06nM
— y00ts (@y00tsNFT) November 4, 2022

Secondary sales of the y00ts mint t00bs have jumped 496% over the past 24 hours, with 74,000 SOL (about $2.46 million) worth of trades thus far. The cheapest-available mint t00b NFT available on the marketplace is listed at nearly 100 SOL, or about $3,300.
Meanwhile, the revealed y00ts profile pictures have surpassed the t00bs in collective trading volume today, with about 78,000 SOL ($2.6 million) transacted so far since this morning’s rollout. The cheapest available y00ts NFT is listed at 72 SOL (about $2,400).
An NFT is a blockchain token that represents ownership in a unique item—in this case, a one-of-a-kind profile picture with distinctive visual elements. Other NFT use cases include artwork, collectibles, event tickets and mementos, and interactive video game items.
Overall Solana NFT trading fell hard in October according to data from DappRadar, which reported $67 million worth of organic trades compared to $134 million the month prior. It’s worth noting that DappRadar figures remove any wash trading—that is, trades done between a user’s own wallets at exaggerated prices to manipulate marketplace data.
Beyond slumping activity after September’s y00ts mint and potential rising competition from NFTs on new blockchain platform Aptos, sentiment around the Solana space also appeared to dip in October as marketplaces rejected creator royalties—either ignoring them outright or making them optional for traders to pay.
Magic Eden initially resisted the move, but changed course after its market share plummeted due to royalties-shunning rivals. Creators typically set a fee between 5% and 10% of the sale price on NFT resales. Since its royalties flip-flop, Magic Eden has recaptured its former market share: the marketplace handled about 93% of Solana trading volume over the last 24 hours, per Tiexo.
Amid those marketplace moves last month, DeLabs slashed the creator royalty on both DeGods and y00ts mint t00bs NFTs to zero, with plans to do the same for the final y00ts NFTs. The team suggested that there was no point in setting royalties if they couldn’t be enforced on-chain, and called it the “next experiment” for the oft-pivoting projects.
Ultimately, however, DeLabs changed course for y00ts: the NFTs have a 3.33% creator royalty attached. But the studio suggested that it will not attempt to punish or limit buyers in some way for buying from marketplaces that do not honor royalties—an idea that Frank previously discussed.
“There will be no enforcement if you do not pay the royalties,” the project tweeted.

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How to buy NFTs: Trojans' venture Moonlight aims to make it easier – USC News

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Blake Asherian realizes that most people don’t have a spare $60,000 just lying around — which is about what you’d need to buy an NFT (non-fungible token) of any real value. He also understands that at a broader level, most people don’t even know what an NFT is or how to buy one.
That’s why Asherian and three other Trojans — Gabriel Perez, Matthew Hausman and Can Toraman — have started Moonlight, a fractionalized NFT marketplace that allows users to buy, own and sell fractions of an NFT in a simple and user-friendly way.
Moonlight — Blake Asherian, CEO and founder; Matthew Hausman, frontend architect; Can Toraman, technical advisor; and Gabriel Perez, product and community (clockwise from top left) — allows users to buy, own and sell fractions of an NFT in a simple and user-friendly way. (Photos/Courtesy of Blake Asherian, Matthew Hausman, Can Toraman and Gabriel Perez)
Despite gaining significant traction within the last year, NFTs are still in their infancy, and there are financial risks involved given their uncertainty and high price tags. Moonlight hopes to remedy that, or at least help bridge the gap between most people and this emerging space.
“If the average personal income is 63K, and the average cost of a blue-chip NFT is 51K, that’s a big problem,” said Asherian, a business administration undergraduate in the USC Marshall School of Business.
“Part of the reason why people are not as prone to getting into NFTs is because there’s such a high barrier in terms of knowledge, and technology,” Asherian added. “We’re breaking down that barrier.”
The concept of Moonlight is simple: A group of people will choose an NFT they want to crowdfund, and once the funding goal is reached, each crowdfunder becomes a co-owner. From there, co-owners can buy and sell their fractions on Moonlight’s platform.
Though the platform might be simple — or at the least the goal is to make it as simple as possible for people — the concept of an NFT isn’t widely understood and can seem a little daunting.
Essentially, an NFT is a unique piece of digital art that is certified using blockchain, an immutable record of ownership. The non-fungible part means that no two items are alike or equal. NFTs function similarly to how people collect and sell art or trading cards. Some items are worth next to nothing, while others fetch millions of dollars.
Moonlight’s goal is for people to have the opportunity to own fractions of NFTs of real value, which is why the company focuses on “blue chip” — or most valuable — NFTs, like Bored Ape or CryptoPunks, which have the potential to provide long-term returns and can easily go for six figures.
But why would a digital image of an ape or a pixelated person be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars?
Well, why would someone pay over $7 million for a baseball card? Or thousands for any of the “contemporary art” listed on Sotheby’s?
All are fair questions, and the answers could vary depending on the person or item. The common factor is that collectors feel that these are assets that will increase in value. NFTs are just the newest version.
I would always argue with people: What is the difference between your trading card and an NFT? They took a picture of a guy and then put it on a piece of paper, and it has value somehow.
Matthew Hausman, Moonlight frontend architect
“I would always argue with people: What is the difference between your trading card and an NFT?” said Hausman, Moonlight frontend architect and 2021 USC Viterbi School of Engineering graduate.
“They took a picture of a guy and then put it on a piece of paper, and it has value somehow.”
For those who only read certain media accounts, it may seem like NFTs and the cryptocurrency used to buy them are a losing venture, and they might be for some. However, the creators of Moonlight were quick to point out that there are a lot of financial risks out there, and their platform’s crowdfunding feature can help eliminate some of those potential dangers.
With Moonlight, crowdfunding is key. Users select an NFT and then have a certain number of days to raise the funds. If the money is raised in time, the NFT is moved to the Moonlight platform where people can buy and sell shares. If the funds are not raised in time, then everyone who contributed gets their money back.
“No other protocol allows you to literally raise funds to buy cool stuff together,” Asherian said. “The secret sauce here is having a technology that can allow any number of people to put their money into something and as a group get anything they want.”
The next concept, fractionalization, is not necessarily new, but how Moonlight allows users to fractionalize is in direct response to a large issue within the NFT community. Right now, someone who owns an NFT can fractionalize it and sell those fractions at whatever price they see fit, regardless of the actual market value. People who are knowledgeable about and can afford a six-figure blue-chip NFT don’t have a need for fractionalization. So, the practice can take advantage of those who are new to the space — a problem that Moonlight wants to correct.
“For a bunch of people who are just entering the space of NFTs, how can they trust that that valuation is true?” Asherian said. “They don’t know enough about the protocols or the NFT collections. They’re kind of swayed in an untrue direction and it’s unfair to them.”
Asherian and his team at Moonlight emphasize that their platform is truly for everyone. NFTs — and even the cryptocurrency used to purchase them — might seem daunting for those who aren’t already in that world, but their hope is to take away some of that hesitance.
“At the end of the day, if you look at who’s into NFTs, it’s that 1%, right?” Asherian said. “We want to tap into the 99%, so we have to create a product that’s comprehensive for that group, which not too long ago included myself.”
The initial concept for Moonlight came to Asherian in late 2021, but his interest in NFTs started around two years ago when he was working for his cousin, Sean Rad, the founder and former CEO of the dating app Tinder. Rad — at one time at USC student — had invested in Genies, an avatar technology company, and Genies co-founder Akash Nigam started talking to Asherian about the company’s venture into NFTs. Though Asherian knew nothing about NFTs or blockchain, the concepts piqued his interest.
Soon after, he left his jobs to buy and sell NFTs full time. He admits that there were some definite growing pains early on because of the high barrier to entry, but those missteps put him in a position to succeed down the road.
He started drafting up the concept for Moonlight while studying abroad in Paris last year. He connected with fellow Trojans abroad which led to even more connections when he returned stateside. Asherian credits USC with introducing him to Perez, Hausman and Toraman, and making Moonlight what it is today.
Ever since I was a freshman, I’ve always heard that term ‘Trojan Family,’ but then I was really able to witness what it can do.
Blake Asherian, Moonlight CEO and founder
“I really believe in the Trojan Family and what it offers,” Asherian said. “Ever since I was a freshman, I’ve always heard that term ‘Trojan Family,’ but then I was really able to witness what it can do.”
A transfer student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Perez said his interest in NFTs has been a gradual progression since he was in high school. He started by selling stocks with his friends, and then in college he found a new interest in cryptocurrency.
“I kind of fell in love with the philosophy behind Bitcoin, which is a very anti-centralization of money, anti-central banks, power-back-to-the-people sort of thing,” said Perez, a junior economics major in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
“Then I learned about Ethereum, which was the first time I realized this has a huge potential to be the currency of the internet in the future.”
Ultimately, Perez, product and community lead at Moonlight, felt that if he wanted to further his career in the crypto world, he’d have to move somewhere where he felt it was more popular and valued. He found just such an innovative environment at USC, where USC Viterbi even offers a blockchain minor.
He came to USC before the fall 2021 semester and joined Blockchain@USC — a student-run organization that engages with blockchain-related topics, develops blockchain applications, and connects with industry professionals — as the director of external relations.
We started talking about fractionalizing NFTs and the ability for smaller capital players to be able to dive into these collections, and I was hooked from there.
Gabriel Perez, Moonlight, product and community
At USC, both within his field of study and social groups, Perez surrounded himself with other like-minded people that shared his passion, which is when he first heard about NFTs and eventually met Asherian.
“We started talking about fractionalizing NFTs and the ability for smaller capital players to be able to dive into these collections, and I was hooked from there,” Perez said.
By the end of the spring 2022 semester, Perez and Asherian had formed the Moonlight team formed and started the work to launch their idea.
The Moonlight crew is aware of some of the sustainability concerns with NFTs, primarily the proof-of-work blockchain system that is used by most cryptocurrencies so that transactions can be processed peer-to-peer in a secure manner without the need for a third party. Proof-of-work consumes a significant amount of energy. Rooms full of computers are needed to run complex mathematical equations, and coolers are needed to make sure those computers don’t overheat. By one estimate, mining 1 Bitcoin consumes as much electricity as a standard American home would use in nine years.
Most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain, which currently uses proof-of-work. However, next month the Ethereum “Merge” will shift its blockchain to proof-of-stake, which uses 99.95% less energy by reducing the amount of computational work needed to verify the blocks and transactions that keep the blockchain secure.
“Fingers crossed that ‘Merge’ goes well because it’s a very anticipated catalyst in the crypto world,” Perez said. “If it does go correctly, NFTs are probably not going to have much of an environmental footprint at all, compared to something like a few office buildings downtown.”
But before they get to the point of using more sustainable blockchain, Asherian said they must establish their footing. Moonlight is projected to go live later this fall, and Asherian said once they’ve developed their community and built trust, they can influence people to move towards more sustainable methods.
“When you’re a huge marketplace that everyone starts suspecting has authority within the NFT space, then you’re able to sort of tell them what to do next,” Asherian said. “We really want to be able to gain that authority, and the way to do so is by being transparent, simple and fun.”
Trust and NFTs — or crypto, for that matter — might not go hand-in-hand just yet for much of the general population, but that’s exactly what Moonlight is hoping to fix. They see NFTs as an opportunity not just for those “in the know,” but for everyone.
“We believe there is power in numbers,” Asherian said. “At the end of the day, we want to give power to the people so they can own anything they want, together.”
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Apple tightens its rules on crypto and NFTs in its App Store – CNBC

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Macy's Parade Metaverse Experience to Feature Virtual Galleries from Five NFT Projects – NFTgators

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Macy’s has launched a metaverse experience to commemorate its 96th Thanksgiving celebrations. The US retailer has announced the Parade Metaverse Experience, an immersive event that will invite fans to raise funds for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America no-profit organisation.
Fans will also be allowed to vote for five non-fungible tokens (NFT) projects to be featured on Macy’s Parade balloon for the 2023 holiday. The experience is launching on the OnCyber metaverse platform and will be accessible via desktop and mobile platforms on macys.com/nft.
The experience will include virtual galleries from five NFT projects, giving the fans an opportunity to choose the first-ever Macy’s NFT parade balloon.
An NFT is a blockchain-based digital file representing proof of ownership of an artwork, a JPEG, a collectible, or virtual merchandise among other use cases.
“As we countdown to the 96th Macy’s Parade, we are excited to bring this spectacle once again to the web3 virtual landscape with a fun experience that empowers our fans, collectors and our highly engaged Discord community,” said Will Coss, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 
“Our genesis collection of Parade NFTs last year was so successful that we wanted to give our digital community the opportunity to select a native NFT design to be transformed into a real-world Macy’s Parade balloon, while also creating an opportunity to raise critical funds for our partner Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.”
The virtual galleries are selected from some of the leading blue-chip NFT collections including Boss Beauties, Cool Cats, gmoney, SupDucks and VeeFriends.
The virtual event begins on this year’s Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, November 24 at 9 a.m. EST through Sunday, December 4 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The winning project from the vote will become an in-real-life balloon for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2023.
Macy’s has promised digital collectibles to the first 100,000 fans participating in the vote. The parade metaverse event is produced in collaboration with agency Media.Monks and Transparent House.
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