The City of Crypto

With apologies to Augustine

Welcome to the latest in our series of weekly features from Jon Jordan at Gamestx

At the risk of going all Tom Holland — the historian, not the actor — over your Thanksgiving, I’ve been considering the analogies between the fall of Rome and the current crypto atmosphere, post-FTX.

The comparison starts from how Romans tried to make sense of their seeming sudden decline, which started with Rome’s sacking by the Visigoths in 410 AD, an existential event for many Romans.

Some said it was the fault of the Christians, as the worship of Rome’s traditional gods — Jupiter and all the rest — had been replaced by this Judean upstart. And even Christians could only wonder if they had done something amiss to cause such calamity to what post-Constantine was now a Christian empire.

As a response, in 426, St Augustine of Hippo wrote De civitate Dei contra paganos [On the City of God Against the Pagans], which is better known as The City of God.

Augustine’s reasoning was that the ‘City of God’ was not Rome, even as it had not been Jerusalem or the Jewish temple, itself sacked and destroyed multiple times across various incarnations and hundreds of years.

Instead, Augustine argued the degeneracy of Rome was nothing to do with its physical destruction in 401 but its ongoing moral corruption because the City of God was not a physical location.

No, the City of God was the spiritual New Jerusalem of Heaven: the core of this religion was not about physical safety and abundance of a population but spiritual righteousness of the individual.

And — hopefully without stretching the comparison beyond breaking point — that’s something we can take into the future of crypto.

For the value of blockchain isn’t primarily (or ever) based on the flucuating price of any specific digital assets but the new ways in which technology can be used without topdown canonical authority, instead purely through the interacting process of node (and code) consensus.

Similarly, the bad activity of bad actors is not a failure of the underlying technology.

Of course, if such a technology is as useful as many of us believe, it has the potential to be valuable, very valuable, but external value (in the earthly realm of fiat currencies) is not its core, just as the purpose of religion for Augustine wasn’t to reinforce human powers, principalities and comfortable lifestyles but the eventual eternal happiness of the saints.

To which we now add, especially those who self-custody their assets!

Funding news

  • As revealed in a SEC Form D filing, Dapper Labs has raised $5.1 million from individuals within its executive team.

It’s not clear why it would need this small amount of money given the company’s funding to-date is $615 million, so I’d hope it’s related to some sort of compensation, maybe a token vesting.

However, Dapper Labs, which runs the Flow blockchain, laid off 22% of its staff in early November, so there could be the possibility that the company is cashflow-light for short-term operations during the crypto winter.

Netmarble Blockchain Platform Rebrand news

  • As with many large South Korean mobile gaming companies, Netmarble has been enthusiastically announcing blockchain games during 2022, but finding that deploying them is a somewhat harder process.

Indeed, it’s now putting all its blockchain activities into new subsidiary Metaverse World, also rebranded its existing Cube platform as FNCY, and is in the process of getting CUBE token holders to burn their bags on the ratio 10:1 to get new FNCY tokens. Both run on the BNB blockchain.As for games, Netmarble launched casual shooter Golden Bros through Apple and Google app stores during the summer, although it’s difficult to work out how blockchain currently fits into that game, at least the version that’s currently live.

Exploring FNCY seems to suggest that as the service gets up-and-running, various NFTs including character costumes, which provide multipler bonuses will be available for trading, always assuming they pass Apple’s new NFT T&Cs.

FNCY will offer NFTs including a tie-in with K-Pop band IRRIS and DeFi functionality too.

MekaVerse x Core Games news

  • I’m a holder of MekaVerse NFTs so pretty happy to see the launch of the project’s social hub via the Core Games platform. As previously announced, Core now lets users connect their Metamask wallet to their Core account, which means any owned NFT can be used as a profile image, and potentially a texture, say on a costume.

In the case of the Meka Citadel, you can also bring a sidekick Metabot into the hub as a 3D floating companion, and if you own a full MekaVerse NFT, you can go to a floating spaceship and view your mech (or any other mech) in full scale via the hanger.

Of course, this is pretty lightweight functionality at present, but more is coming down the track, and there’s already been a small uplift in the MekaVerse NFT floor price.

Jon’s Gamestx Substack is home to his on-going thoughts on the collision of gaming and player-owned value networks and is sponsored by HiroCapital.

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