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A Web3 Gaming Crash Course: What is it and where will it go?

Sep 19, 2022
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Gamified approaches to Blockchain. What are they, how do they work, and how can they take the Web3 industry to new heights?

The gaming industry has been revolutionized lately with the introduction of gamified approaches to Blockchain technology.

And no wonder why.

In recent years, a few developers have envisioned a way to merge the critical elements of Crypto and Video Games, unknowingly creating an entire industry known as Crypto Gaming.

Appealing rewards, simple gameplay, and an entry for new users to the Blockchain universe…

These Crypto Gaming efforts could potentially take the Web3 industry to new heights.

And we're here to tell you all about it.

So, without further ado, let's begin!

What is Web3 gaming?

Considering that Web3 allows individuals to engage, share, and collaborate with a decentralized approach, we could safely say that Web3 gaming is nothing more than an adaptation of these principles to the gaming industry.

Or like LeewayHertz says:

"Web3 gaming is a process of decentralized gaming where the activities of a gaming ecosystem or a gaming platform, precisely that of the ownership of gaming assets and decision-making in all aspects of gaming, are delegated away from any central authority.

Web3 games are built by integrating blockchain into the gaming ecosystem, allowing gamers to express their opinion on when and how the game should evolve. Web3 gaming also lays down the foundation of play-to-earn for players, and it changes the pay-to-play aspect by offering asset trading, tradeable game tokens and opportunities to earn in cryptos while playing."

What's huge here is the fact that the ownership of the gaming assets, same as the gameplay and decision-making processes are not ruled by a central figure.

Meaning that… The overall experience is way less rigid and allows the player or user to interact with its environment almost without limitations.

Besides, in some cases, there are monetary rewards — as an incentive for playing the game.

A great example of this is Axie Infinity.

This Crypto Gaming Platform introduced many people to this new realm, in which, in exchange for playing, they could get small bits of crypto — almost working as miners if you wish, but with a gamified approach.

That said, in a nutshell, Web3 gaming is the natural evolution of the gaming industry to adapt itself to this new Blockchain era — revolutionizing how people interact with video games and introducing several new agents, businesses, and interests into the Web3 and Blockchain world.

Different types of Blockchain Gaming platforms:

Everything related to Web3, Blockchain, and Crypto shows signs of fast, unprecedented growth.

In fact, more than 400 active Web3/Crypto games are in 2022, meaning that more businesses and developers are allocating their resources to pushing this industry forward!

Why?

Because the Blockchain Gaming Platforms (or Web3 gaming) include several perks for the user, like, as said, opening the door for unlimited creativity and new ideas.

Like giving the user complete power and control over their gaming experience and assets as they earn them.

Now, talking about some of the most recognized platforms for anyone looking to get themselves in the Blockchain Gaming universe…

The Techtian lays out a top 7 below by saying:

1. Decentraland

Decentraland offers its avatar system, tools, and other collections, which users use to customize their assets. Its lands have also come in handy as online galleries, stores, and other virtual enterprises.

2. Sorare

Sorare is one of the biggest platforms in terms of soccer and the entire sports field. If you're a fan of soccer and looking forward to participating in the blockchain, then go for Sorare.

The goal is to build a strong team capable of moving to competitions. You can earn Ethereum or cash by winning your games. 

3. Sky Mavis

Their game, Axie Infinity, turned out to be one of the most successful games on the field. The game also recorded the most significant number of players for an extended period. It presently has a spot in the top 5 NFT games.

4. Mythical Games

The organization has one goal: to build what they refer to as the 'Mythical Economic Engine". Mythical Economic Engine is a scheme to assist game builders in creating NFT marketplaces without trouble.

5. Dapper Labs

In 2017, they released one of the most famous Play2Earn games known as CryptoKitties.

CryptoKitties came in as one of the first successful blockchain games launched with crypto-related gameplay. However, it is not as popular as other games that have taken its place.

6. Dream Team

Dreamteam is another sport-orientated blockchain platform aiming at bringing people together with sports. It drew its inspiration from the Dream Team movie, featuring a similar plot.

7. Zed Run

The Zed Run metaverse game is one of the few with horse racing as its focal point. In Zed Run, players build up their stable, equip it with powerful horses and participate in races.

With each game won, players earn several rewards to keep spicing up their stables. The game can be tactical when building your horse and grooming them.

However, as said previously…

We're in front of just 7 of the most known Crypto Gaming Platforms.

That doesn't necessarily mean these are the best, even though they rank high up there.

The point here is that this new digital economy is pushing creators and dedicated teams to step up and create new experiences to support Web3 growth.

We're all in the same boat. And if we want to arrive at our destination, we must cheer these efforts and support them.

Needless to say that the incentives for playing these games are very attractive, by the way.

Will Blockchain revolutionize the way companies approach video games?

We are convinced that we're already way ahead of that stage. Meaning… It's happening already.

For instance, Analytics Steps highlighted, "The majority of these games are streamed online, and players employ virtual assets to fulfill specific goals and prove their dominance. Gaming is gradually gaining traction as a global sport. According to a DappRadar and Blockchain Game Alliance report from Q1 2022, the blockchain gaming industry alone grew more than 2000% in one year."

2000% growth in one year, and there are roughly 400 games as of 2022.

So, a rhetorical question would be…

Where will the Blockchain Gaming industry be when the word spreads and big companies start investing in Web3 gaming?

Let me get this one for you with a quote from an Investing.com recent article:

"In 2021, total investments in blockchain gaming totaled $4 billion. This figure was already reached in 2022, with investments totaling almost $7 billion. If current trends continue, the figure is expected to reach $10.2 billion by 2022.

Temasek, a Singaporean investment firm, sponsored the current $100 million funding round for Animoca Brands to grow the company's exposure in the industry.

Axie Infinity, another renowned firm in the industry, surpassed $4 billion in total NFT sales, while Xterio achieved a $40 million fundraising, which will be invested in mobile Web3 games."

The Blockchain Gaming industry is booming, guys. And it's still early to crash the party.

Don't let vital information slip through the cracks.

Subscribe to our Newsletter and get weekly updates delivered straight to your inbox. Everything from Web3 gaming, how it's changing, and how the overall Blockchain technology is affecting its path… All at the tip of your fingers, coming from a trusted, unbiased source of information.

Just click here, leave your email, and get started!

Again, it's been a pleasure, and we look forward to sharing new updates with you soon!

Thank you,

— The Spark + Mint Team

How Strategy and Research can take your Web3 Project to the next level

Sep 12, 2022
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Strategy comes first, and it's the foundation of your entire project. Call it Web3 Strategy, Web3 research, or just basic groundwork...

Looking to start a Web3 brand or invest in developing your existing Web3 business?

Then you must have come across some of the usual roadblocks, like…

Where to start?

How do I get my message across to my audience?

How do I know if the design is accurate or not?

Am I saying the right things? Should I hire someone to help me?

And if so… How do I know if I'm hiring the right person?

These questions are all valid. And to find the answers, you must clear something out first:

What's your Strategy?

Yes — Strategy comes first and is the foundation of your entire project.

Call it Web3 Strategy, Web3 research, or just basic groundwork… You must have a clear roadmap to follow before even thinking about investing, marketing, design, or branding.

But hey, don't sweat it. We'll explain exactly what needs to be done, why, and how to get your Web3 brand to the next level.

So sit tight, and enjoy.

Everything starts with Strategy.

Yeah — every layer of a business comes from a strategic process.

How your Web3 brand is perceived comes from a well-put-together brand strategy. How it looks comes from a design strategy. And how it sells itself to the masses comes from a marketing strategy.

That said, there's always a strategy to follow — and you must plan it before thinking about executing… Protect your Web3 brand, assets, and, most importantly, growth.

Just like Precept says:

"The best brands have so effectively mastered their brand strategy that even without the presence of their logo and regardless of which channel you find them on, you still know exactly which company you're interacting with. It may be the way they speak, the content they create, what language they use, which emotions they elicit, or the philosophy they promote. Whatever 'it' is, it's instantly recognizable and it's undeniable."

And this is a perfect example of why Brand Strategy is essential.

Let's think about Bitcoin for a second.

Sure — if you're in the Web3 space or have used the Internet in the past 5 years, you've probably heard of it.

But now… You only need to see the B logo and immediately recognize what it is and what it stands for.

Not because you've been told. But because they've followed an impeccable Brand Strategy to be recognized as a beacon of financial freedom.

The same principle applies to Ethereum, Disney, Nike… 

There's a complex process behind their recognition. And it all began with Strategy.

So, without a doubt, if you're in the pursuit of excellence for your Web3 brand…

Get started with Strategy first.

How does a consistent strategy position a Web3 brand in the market?

Let's get something straight first.

There are not that many Web3 Brand Strategy agencies out there — and that's because this is a relatively new area of focus.

And we're proud to say we're part of that 10% of agencies involved in the Web3 Brand Strategy process since Day 1.

We're one of those OGs if you wish.

That's why we'll tackle this section without beating around the bush.

Alright, so… 

A consistent strategy to position a Web3 brand in the market considers 4 key elements:

  1. Positional Elements
  2. Brand Framework
  3. Value Propositions
  4. Core Values

Let's dissect each of these elements for clarity now.

When we talk about Positional Elements, we mean those elements that speak directly to each persona you're trying to reach out to.

For example, in a Web3 strategy for a Web3 brand, you could have many different avatars or personas — let's say you're aiming for Business Owners, and Investors for this particular example.

Let's think — what could be THAT X Factor each of these avatars could resonate the most with?

It could be finding a safe investing alternative to diversify their portfolio. 

But that would resonate exclusively with the Investor avatar. What about the Business Owner?

They (Business Owner) could be more interested in finding a solution to delegate areas of his business he's not an expert with. 

Now, we need to frame these needs into statements to ensure we craft a positional element they can relate to.

AKA — this is how WE want the audience to perceive your business.

Now, talking about Brand Frameworks…

There are 5 aspects to consider.

We have the Vision, which is the long-term Strategy and idealized description of a business outcome.

We also have the Mission and the shorter-term steps to take to ACHIEVE the Vision.

Then, we have the Brand Promise — what the Web3 brand stands for and how the organization wants to be considered.

Following is the Brand Personality, which is the personality trait that humanizes the Web3 brand. This also includes the Brand Voice—meaning the brand's sound in outward communication.

This is exactly what allows Web3 brands to achieve their correct audiences, becoming the foundation of a marketing, design, and branding strategy.

AKA — don't even think about getting started or investing in marketing, design, or branding for your Web3 brand without performing proper Web3 research.

First, build the brand on paper. Then, build the brand in reality.

And talking about research…

Why is research an important step in this process?

Because it's the best way to determine the threats, opportunities, and points of focus for your Web3 brand development project.

Or, like Voxco says:

"The idea behind any market research is simple: The better you know and understand your customers, the better you'll be able to serve them. But many organizations ignore the role that nuanced market research plays in the success of the business. So here's a list of reasons that should be enough to push an organization to invest and practice conducting regular market research:

  • Customer focus.
  • Maintaining a competitive edge. 
  • Marketing assessment.
  • Concept testing.
  • Adapt to changing market circumstances.
  • Identify threats and opportunities.
  • Increased awareness."

What's more — it's your best chance to plot your business growth.

Like Tutsplus says, a strategy and Web3 research practice will allow you to…

"1. Easily Spot Business Opportunities

After you've done your market research, it'll be clear to you who you want to reach out to (your target customers), where you can reach them (your marketing channels), and what they're interested in. Once you've defined these, you'll be able to easily spot business opportunities. For example:

  • Form partnerships with other businesses. Learning about who your customers are, such as their demographics, can help you find other small businesses that serve them. You can approach these businesses for joint promotions that'll be mutually beneficial.
  • Create profitable order upgrades. Knowing the other products and services that your customers tend to buy can help you come up with add-ons, product bundles, and upsells that increase the average value of each order.
  • Find new locations to sell to. Knowing the geographical areas where most of your target customers live will allow you to create compelling targeted campaigns that suit the needs and culture of that area.

2. Lower Business Risks

Around half of businesses with employees don't survive past the fifth year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The way to make sure that your business survives for longer is to ensure that you've got a steady stream of sales and customers. To do that, you need market research.

3. Create Relevant Promotional Materials

If you've ever wondered what text or images to put on your fliers, website, or social media accounts, with thorough market research, you'll know exactly what to do. Since target customers have already expressed all their wants, needs, and frustrations with you, you'll know exactly what to address and how to address it when you start creating your marketing materials."

What should be included in a proper strategy process?

Let's be clear on this:

There's NO magic formula for Web3 research, Web3 Strategy, or how to build a Web3 brand.

It's ultimately about finding out what works for you considering your particular needs, resources, and strengths. 

Or, like ImsMarketing says:

"You should always ensure the end goals and objectives are clear. Your target audience, business objectives, challenges, and end customer should be at the heart of it."

However, if we had to name a step-by-step process to follow from a high-level standpoint, we'd go with ImsMarketing's recommendation:

  1. Set out clear objectives and goals before beginning the research.
  2. Identify your target audience and market size.
  3. Make sure your sample size is representative of the audience you are targeting. This means there should be enough respondents in the research sample that reflect, as accurately as possible, the larger target audience population.
  4. Choose the most suitable market research and data collection methodologies based on objectives.
  5. Create your research questions – this is applicable regardless of which data collection method you choose.
  6. Ensure the questionnaire is neutral and is not leading. Remain impartial throughout the process.
  7. Build in questions that validate other parts of the questionnaire.
  8. In a qualitative focus group setting include open ended questions and allow for flexibility for respondents to freely speak on a topic that might not have been covered in the questionnaire.
  9. Once data has been gathered employ robust analysis skills to interrogate and decode the findings.
  10. When research findings are determined, make sure to not take these in isolation. Examine the macro environment also (such as language, cultural, economic, political situations) to validate the findings.

Want to skip the learning curve?

If you're tired of brainstorming things yourself, or don't have enough time to develop your strategy process, or even if you just wish you could delegate your Web 3 Brand Strategy efforts to a team of experts…

We're here to help. 

See, our CEO, Jason Goodman, is always available and willing to advise new and not-so-new Web3 Enthusiasts. 

That way, we could understand where you are, what you're going after, and what would be the best way to get you moving towards your end goal.

So, click the link here to schedule a call with Jason, and let's see what we can do to get your Web3 Brand up and running!

Again, it's been a pleasure, and see you next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

Revealed: Why Big Corporations are expanding into Web3

Sep 9, 2022
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Big corporations are making moves... and Web3 has something to do with it. Doesn't matter the size of your business - eventually, you'll have to turn your eyes to Web3 as a way to keep innovating and providing your users with top-notch solutions.

Big Corporations are making moves… And Web3 has something to do with it.

See, it doesn’t really matter the size of your business — eventually, you’ll have to turn your eyes to Web3 as a way to keep innovating and providing your users with top-notch solutions.

But why is that?

Why are these Big Corporations doing business in Web3?

Are we facing a wave of rising Web3 Corporations?

Should you get your business started on a Web3 environment?

And most importantly, HOW to begin a smooth transition into Web3?

We’ll touch base with you on these questions and many more over the next few minutes, so lay back, relax, and enjoy.

Let’s get started!

Web3’s recent growth is no coincidence.

Web3’s growth has been massive over the last few years.

In fact, Cointelegraph points out that recently gathered Web3 statistics show that 2021 saw Web3 project development hit its all-time high.

And… 34,000 new developers committed code to Web3 projects in 2021.

Companies from all over the world and of all sizes are investing in Web3 as part of their business journey.

And what may seem like the logical evolution of a booming industry… It’s actually a bit more complicated than that.

See, dear friend, there’s a message going out. And it’s loud and clear:

More and more people are entering the Web3 space. And business in Web3 will become the new normal, regardless of the company size or budget.

But, why are these new agents entering the Web3 space?

There’s an old saying in marketing:

“Your brand should be where your audience is.”

And now, Web3 projects attract more Gen Z and Millennials than traditional Web2 ventures.

What’s more — A 2019 Deloitte report revealed that 86% of executives believed mainstream brands would transition to adopt blockchain for their businesses, while 77% feared their brands would lose their competitive edge if they took too long to adopt blockchain technology.

Coincidence? We believe there are no coincidences in this aspect of the business.

In fact, Gigster elaborates on this matter by saying:

“Web3 has made the blockchain disruption seem far away from brands, and their product is now becoming a necessity. As a result, brands that adopted a “wait and see” position are now finding ways to differentiate themselves from their rivals in a highly competitive space.”

So, why are businesses like Disney, Starbucks, Puma, and even Nike investing in Metaverse, Crypto, and Web3 growth?

Simple: It allows them to connect with their audience and provide them with benefits that the Web2 landscape simply can not offer.

Now, talking about these benefits…

What are the benefits for a business expanding into Web3?

Starbucks is a great example of doing business in Web3.

They realized a fantastic way to promote their business and reward their customers could be achieved through Web3 technology.

In fact, we dug deeper into their specific venture last August in our ‘Starbucks goes Crypto? Learn more about this potential Web3 Rewards Program’ article. You can read more about this by clicking here.

But they are not alone. 

Disney, Nike, Puma… They are all aiming to become Web3 corporations soon.

Sure — they might have an insane budget.

But if these top dogs, like VC Funds, invest in Web3 projects…

What does that mean for mid to small-sized businesses?

It means they know something you don’t, and you might be missing out on something big.

Now, let’s examine some more benefits for businesses of all sizes.

Just like Social Media Examiner says:

“The tech giants of Web2 are already moving to Web3: Facebook re-branded to Meta to promote its place in Web3 and the Metaverse; Instagram and Twitter allow people to use NFTs as profile photos; Twitter and Discord have embedded themselves into the core of the Web3 discussion.

Using Web3 technologies, businesses of all sizes will be able to connect with their audiences in many new ways beyond developing and releasing NFT projects.

Web3 technologies will let businesses implement more effective incentive or loyalty programs. In some cases, those programs and other consumer experiences will be enhanced by using members’ crypto wallets to understand user behavior — similar to the way businesses use tracking and cookies in Web2, today.”

This comes with a big takeaway, guys.

Web3 allows businesses of all sizes to CONNECT with their audiences in new, engaging, and meaningful ways, more than just releasing profitable products and services.

It’s about providing a memorable experience.

Something they long for to become raving fans.

Something they can’t think twice before joining.

Something that makes them feel part of something BIG.

And that’s what Web3 provides as the main benefit for these innovative businesses and for those sitting on the fence still thinking about joining the wave:

A new, innovative way to connect and build the future. Provide more tailored solutions to everyday problems. And most importantly, a new landscape of opportunities to bring growth to a booming industry.

What are the big corporations that are joining Web3?

You’ve heard it from us before, but Disney is making big moves toward the Web3 business.

For instance, they launched a Web3 Accelerator program, directly benefiting projects such as Polygon, Red6, and inWorld — funding their Web3 growth with upfront cash, know-how, and coaching from industry experts.

However, Disney’s not alone.

Beincrypto lists some top companies joining the Web3 business model below by saying:

  1. Meta

Meta intends to include the inexpensive, lightweight headgear into their social construct. Consequently, after the change, Meta has invested in Oculus Quest, a physical gadget designed to expose consumers to the Metaverse. 

  1. Shopify

Shopify is a Canadian company responsible for millions of online retailers. It debuted the beta version of its NFT trading platform in 2021. It enabled users to mint and even sell collectible NFTs on several blockchains.

In contrast, Shopify’s NFT program enables users to mint and sell their NFTs. 

  1. Twitter

Using NFTs as profile images appears to be an excellent way for NFTs owners to demonstrate their status. This may show ownership of digital assets they may possess. In contrast, Twitter is the only major big tech platform that appears to implement this new concept. 

  1. Spotify

This music platform has just posted web3-based job openings, including positions for managers, engineers, and experts in developing trends in light of the fact that even artists have begun selling their NFT works.

  1. Microsoft

It has said it would aid Astar Network in constructing the web3 future through the Astar Incubation program. This partnership will enable Microsoft to provide Astar Incubation Program businesses with tools and support. Microsoft has also expressed interest in Polkadot, an additional smart contract technology that competes with Ethereum via the Astar Network.

Now, is it safe to say that if you should start looking towards building your business in Web3?

We’d say it is. Only if you don’t want to get left behind.

And we’re all up for helping you expand into Web3.

Spark and Mint focus on helping businesses find a way through Web3 and determine if switching gears is the right move — besides, we help these businesses thrive through purposeful design thinking methods applied to Web3 purposes.

So, if you’re curious about discovering if Web3 is where your business should be…

Just click here to schedule a call with Jason Goodman, our CEO and Co-Founder.

He’ll be more than happy to assist you with your doubts, concerns, and address your thoughts with the utmost professionalism. As if he were in your shoes.

That said, pal, it’s been a blast.

Catch you next time with another red-hot topic about Web3!

Thanks,

- The Spark + Mint Team

Can Web3 be hacked, or not? — Here’s what you need to know to prevent hacking.

Sep 7, 2022
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The decentralized internet should be safer yet, there's always someone with a different idea in mind. Web3 hacking is the real deal, and this is how you prepare.

The decentralized Internet should be safer.

Yet, there's always someone with a different idea in mind.

Web3 hacking is the real deal — and if that ever happens to you or your business, you should be prepared.

But hey… Let's not panic. 

Over the following paragraphs, we'll discuss hacking in a Web2 environment and how it evolved to threaten the Web3 and Crypto industries…

But most importantly…

How good design ensures a safer Web3 universe for every user.

Now, let's refresh our memory before diving into the hacking thingy, shall we?

How did Web3 come about?

Once upon a time, a computer scientist came up with a novel term to imagine what would be the future of the Internet.

And by that, we mean the year 2014 and Gavin Wood coining the term. (No pun intended)

The term ended up being shortened from Web 3.0 to Web3 and entailed a decentralized version of the Internet.

We won't go over the top explaining what Web3 is, but we do believe it is crucial to get the point across to move on to the hacking side of things.

Or, like we said in our 'Doing Your Own Web3 Research: A practical guide' article:

"(Web3 entails) Easy access to information. Fast execution of transactions. And even transparency to build trust among an entire industry."

But now, a question arises… 

Does hacking really represent a threat to Web3?

We believe that same as with Web2, it does.

Hacking in Web2 vs. Web3:

Let's get something straight first:

This is not a guide for hacking. It is an educational post to illuminate our community about the threat of hackers haunting the Web3 environment and the Internet.

Now, let's talk about Web2 vs. Web3:

First, hacking in Web2 could be perceived as the same effort these burglars are applying to Web3.

That's why most Security Experts agree that there's no such thing as 'Security 2.0', given that, quoting Network World, "Security is not a product. It's a process."

Following up on the idea…

"Security is a process; one that constantly evolves and (theoretically) improves over time. As the Internet landscape continues to sprout new threats and exploits, Security adaptively grows to counter with protection and prevention (once again, theoretically). In its many forms, malware rapidly spreads and infects with great speed and efficiency. It's not released incrementally in the forms of Virus 2.0, XSS 2.0 or Trojan 2.0. This is the reason why Security is a process-threats are a process."

That said, would it be accurate to say that Web2 hacking, compared to Web3 hacking, is just the transgression and natural evolution of these unscrupulous efforts and tactics to adapt to new technology?

We believe so.

So, the real discussion is…

What has changed?

What are the differences between Web2 hacking and Web3 hacking?

That Web2 had no Smart Contracts.

Infosecwriteups explains it best here by saying that…

"Web3 bugs are not like web2 bugs, and there are many differences. You can find web2 bugs in web3 applications, not in smart contracts. In web2, we classify vulnerabilities with CWE, but in the smart contract, we classify issues with Smart Contract Weakness Classification (SWC)."

However… What do they mean by saying there's a Smart Contract Weakness Classification?

It means there are common deadly sins in Web3 programming called Web3 Vulnerabilities.

And these are…

Function default visibility (SWC-100)

This issue occurs when a developer forgets to set proper visibility for a function, and a malicious user (hacker) can make unauthorized or unintended state changes.

Unprotected Ethereum Withdrawal (SWC-105)

Due to missing or insufficient access controls, malicious parties can withdraw all ethers from the contract. This issue is sometimes caused by unintentionally exposing init functions. By wrongly naming a function intended to be a constructor, the constructor code ends up in the runtime byte code and can be called by anyone to reinitialize the contract.

Re-entrancy (SWC-107)

In a reentrancy attack, a malicious contract (attacker contract) calls back into the calling contract before the first invocation of the function is completed. This may lead to the different invocations of the function to interact in undesirable ways.

The vulnerability comes when the user requests a number of ethers. In this case, the attacker calls the withdraw()function. He can transfer tokens even though he has already received tokens because his balance is not yet set to 0.

And just to give you an idea about what's coming…

According to Developer Tech, Web3 Projects lost $2B in H1 2022 because of hacking.

2. Billion. Dollars. In just six months. That's insane.

But, what can we do to make Web3 safer?

How can we protect our projects from insider threats and make the decentralized Internet great again for everyone?

The answer may be more simple than you might think it is…

It's design.

Let us elaborate more on this:

How do we make Web3 safer as designers?

Short answer: Design with user intention to minimize the risk of hacking.

According to Wordtracker, designing with user intent could be defined as…

"Every visitor to your site has a reason for being there. They have some needs that they are trying to satisfy with the help of your website. This is called user intent – in other words, their purpose for being on your site. So, why does user intent matter when it comes to website design? Understanding what information the user is looking for can help you to create a clearer path to that information. If a user is able to easily navigate through your website, they are more likely to return to the site or even make a purchase right then and there."

With this in mind, it's clear that design is paramount when it comes to Security… Because your design calls may contain side effects.

Just like Dan Bergh Johnsson says in his book 'Secure by Design':

"We believe that design is an extremely important concept in software development, so important that we even put the word in the title of this book. As such, it's only appropriate to start by defining our view of the term design and how it's used throughout this book. Understanding the meaning of the word will help you understand the discussions and concepts being conveyed in this book.

When developing software, you constantly make decisions on how to write the code that solves the problems. You decide what syntax to use, what constructs and algorithms to apply, how to structure the code, and how to steer the flow of execution. If you're using an object-oriented approach, you'll make decisions on what your object model should look like and the interactions between the objects within that model. If you're applying a functional style of programming, you'll make decisions on what behavior to pass in as functions, making sure you're creating pure functions without side effects.7 All these decisions can be viewed as part of the design process."

That means…

Our main task as designers is to create visually appealing products with a functional purpose… Without neglecting or sacrificing Security, prioritize the 'nice' side of things.

Just like in marketing people say 'cute doesn't sell'... In Web3 design we would say 'cute won't protect your Crypto'. Or something along those lines.

So, as a final thought:

Always keep in mind that as designers, we are responsible for creating appealing but at the same time, safe assets. Designing with user intent prevents hackers from finding breaches or gaps to perpetuate their malicious intent. And we must minimize this if we want Web3 to keep growing to never-seen heights.

That said, fellow designer, developer, or Crypto enthusiast…

If you ever think about designing with a purpose but don't know where to start…

All you gotta do is subscribe to our Newsletter to get informed!

We send weekly emails to our subscribers explaining everything they need to know about Crypto, Web3 hacking, Blockchain Updates, and even Design tips for anyone interested in building their next project.

Besides… It's free, guys. No pennies asked.

Just click here to subscribe and let the ideas flow!

As always, it's been a pleasure — and see you next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

Top 6 Most Unique Web3 Design Examples According To Spark And Mint

Sep 1, 2022
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Web3
Web3

Web3 Design is our Jam. And in today's blog post we'll be going over and taking a look at what we consider the hottest Web3 design examples right now!

Web3 Design is our jam. That's not breaking news if you've been following us for a while now.

However, if there's something we've been wanting to talk about, it is how Design in Web3 has been improving and growing over the years.

It fills us with joy to see how far the Web3 and Design industries have come to explain complex systems, thought processes, and solutions in a way most users can relate to…

And most importantly, it massages our designer and Crypto hearts to see how we've put our two cents to contribute to the Web3 Design Industry growth.

That's why today's post will be more subjective than the others.

Because we're looking at what we consider the hottest Web3 Design examples right now…

And WHY they are so unique.

So, without further ado…

Let's talk Web3 Design, peeps.

What's ahead for you in this Blog:

As said a couple of paragraphs ago, we're looking at some of the most unique Web3 Design projects right now.

We'll cover three specific aspects and what we believe their creators are doing best to achieve a long-lasting impact.

These aspects are…

  1. Overall UX
  2. Design
  3. Copywriting

Now that this is settled let us explain one more thing before diving into these projects.

Why does the Web3 Industry NEED good Design?

Because we are bringing the familiar to the unfamiliar.

Think about it — most users are accustomed to Web2 products, websites, and services.

This means developers and designers should work together to make that transition between worlds seamless and friendly.

Making it almost imperceptible to the least savvy individual.

Just like Built In says:

"Developers have laid the foundation. Now, it's designers' turn to really make Web3 accessible and usable to everyone. This starts with understanding who a given user is and what kind of Web 2.0 products they actively use, including social media and banking apps. Then, designers need to figure out how those experiences can be translated into their own Web3 product so that it feels familiar."

That, and of course, taking a comprehensive approach to your choice of words (a copywriter's job, essentially.)

Yet…

From a more visual perspective…

The easiest way to guide a user through this new digital landscape is to design with, spoiler alert, the user in mind.

That's why the Web3 Industry desperately NEEDS GREAT Design. 

Not just good. GREAT.

And that's what we'll show you today. Starting now.

Our Top 6 Most Unique Web3 Design Examples:

Disclaimer: There's no particular order for this top. Each project has its own 'thing' that makes it unique. So, don't take this wrong — we're all about spreading positivity and highlighting fantastic work!

1. Cosmos Network

Cosmos defines itself as "an ever-expanding ecosystem of interconnected apps and services, built for a decentralized future."

It's a solution for Web3 developers looking to build entirely autonomous, application-specific Blockchains that can easily interconnect.

A huge step for the future of decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), gaming, autonomous organizations, social networks, and even marketplaces, Cosmos strives to make Design a massive part of its efforts.

That said, hands down, their visual approach with the universe-themed look and feel for the brand itself is breathtaking.

It's easy to understand what they do and how seamlessly everything combines.

Cosmos — keep it up. A great piece of Web3 Design right here.

2. Blocknative

Blocknative "builds infrastructure to monitor and manage the complexity of the mempool — making it available to every builder and trader. Our goal is to make working with mempool data as easy and accessible as working with every other aspect of Web3."

And even though their mission and overall statement are fantastic and MUCH NEEDED…

What's truly remarkable about Blocknative's design effort is:

How seamlessly they integrated a Web2 look and feel into a Web3 environment.

The user won't even notice they are in front of Web3 Design.

And just like people say about marketing…

"Good marketing doesn't feel like marketing".

Well, great Web3 Design doesn't feel like Web3 Design.

Kudos, Blocknative.

3. Solana

Solana is a fan favorite. And ours too.

They define the project as "the fastest Blockchain in the world and the fastest growing ecosystem in Crypto, with thousands of projects spanning DeFi, NFTs, Web3 and more."

And even though their coin is one of the most valuable ones out there…

We have to say that apart from Design, their approach to explaining what they do in simple terms is top-notch.

Solana truly understood the assignment:

To reach new users, they must speak their language. And most people feel intimidated by Crypto-talk. That's where Solana knew they would shine.

Solana delivered a user-friendly experience and grew into one of the world's fastest-growing ecosystems with a simple yet comprehensive approach to their copywriting efforts.

Solana knows best, friend. 

4. Project Ark

Project Ark is "an innovative new blockchain-powered conservation platform built in partnership with WWF Panda Labs."

They offer tailored services to create carbon-neutral NFT collections and integrate impact, as well as build the necessary infrastructure for the creation and sale of NFTs independently.

But talking about Web3 Design…

How Project Ark approached the NFT landscape with eco-friendly imagery sets the bar high for their competitors.

It's clean. It's simple. And it's a masterpiece from start to finish.

Creative Direction genuinely focused on capturing the essence of an eco-friendly vibe, merged with futuristic visual cues that could catch anyone's eye.

Plus, UX is top-shelf. Wires are consistent, leaving users no guesswork to find what they are looking for.

Keep an eye on Project Ark. Seems like they're cooking good stuff.

5. Doge Artclub

Doge Artclub is a simple, yet interesting approach to NFT creation for anyone.

They define the project by saying: 

"Dogecoin started as a meme and evolved to be so much more! Inspired by that, the first product by Doge Art Club is the NFT Meme Generator. It's a tool to empower creative individuals to easily turn their art into NFTs without a single line of code and for free!"

Yet, what's truly impressive about Doge Artclub is the visual effects they implement throughout their website.

Imagery, illustrations, and vibrant colors set the tone and invite the user to engage with them.

Let's not forget, guys: Design should also be catchy. And Doge Artclub knows that.

6. Spark and Mint

We couldn't just finish the Blog without highlighting the hard work of our Web3 Design team.

Spark and Mint's website was the final result of years of planning, designing, and refining from 15+ people united to shape a new ecosystem for visionaries, products, and brands worldwide.

We strived to achieve a pleasant user experience all across the board, focusing on suggestive imagery, and hand-guided copywriting to tell a story:

A story in which you, our reader, could see yourself being represented.

As a DDT (Decentralized Design Thinking) Agency, Spark and Mint's efforts rely heavily on co-defining a new wave for blockchain and decentralized apps through well-made Design.

But also strategy, marketing, and copywriting.

All working together to elevate these brands and impact the world.

Curious about how Web3 Design could help your brand?

There's only one way to find out:

Subscribing to our Newsletter!

We send weekly updates on everything Web3 Design, Crypto, Blockchain, and also feature new and exciting projects from all over the world.

So if you're interested in learning more about the Design or Web3 Industry…

Spark and Mint has you covered.

As always, it's been a blast!

Thank you for reading, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, suggestions, or even another Web3 Design project you believe should be featured!

Until next time,

- The Spark + Mint Team

Introducing The Ethereum Merge: What does it change?

Aug 29, 2022
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Ethereum
Ethereum

A long-awaited upgrade to Ethereum, the most popular crypto platform, may make the technology more environmentally sustainable. But it comes with risks.

It's finally happening, guys.

The Web3 & Crypto world was shocked to discover that the Ethereum Merge is happening. 

This upcoming upgrade could revolutionize Blockchain technology and shake everything we know from its core.

In fact, we could be witnessing a long-waited evolution from the world's most popular Crypto platform to becoming more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

And we'll tell you all about it in the next 4 to 5 minutes.

So, sit tight, pay attention, and let's get started with a quick overview of what we're facing.

Let's begin!

A quick Ethereum refresher:

Before we start talking about the Ethereum Merge, let's begin with a few facts to set some precedents:

Ethereum, according to Ethereum.org, is:

"...a technology for building apps and organizations, holding assets, transacting and communicating without being controlled by a central authority. There is no need to hand over all your personal details to use Ethereum - you keep control of your own data and what is being shared. Ethereum has its own cryptocurrency, Ether, used to pay for certain activities on the Ethereum network."

For the sake of clarity, it's important to mention that Ether (ETH) is the native cryptocurrency of this Blockchain technology program.

But how's Ethereum any different than Bitcoin?

According to Ethereum.org:

"Launched in 2015, Ethereum builds on Bitcoin's innovation, with some significant differences.

Both let you use digital money without payment providers or banks. But Ethereum is programmable, so you can also build and deploy decentralized applications on its network.

Ethereum being programmable means that you can build apps that use the Blockchain to store data or control what your app can do. This results in a general-purpose blockchain that can be programmed to do anything. There is no limit to what Ethereum can do, so it allows for great innovation to happen on the Ethereum network.

While Bitcoin is only a payment network, Ethereum is more like a marketplace of financial services, games, social networks, and other apps that respect your privacy and cannot censor you."

Now that we have this information, let's talk about the Ethereum Merge.

What exactly is the Ethereum Merge?

The Ethereum Merge is, in a few words, a long-waited upgrade to the Ethereum system.

Quoting a NY Times article from August 2022, the Ethereum Merge could be defined as:

"At its core, the Merge is a change to Ethereum's verification system. When someone sends money in a traditional transaction, a bank serves as the middleman, verifying that one person has sufficient funds to pay someone else.

Crypto operates without that middleman. In this alternate financial system, transactions are verified by a scattered network of computers. Anyone can plug a machine into the network by running software that solves complex puzzles, an energy-guzzling process for confirming transactions. The computers are racing one another: When the mystery is solved, the winning participants are rewarded with new coins in the digital currency they are verifying.

This verification process is widely known as crypto mining and has the technical name "proof of work." By some estimates, the amount of energy consumed each year in mining is comparable to the annual emissions of entire countries."

This means that the Ethereum Merge will arrive to solve two main issues for the Crypto community:

One is the Proof of Work model…

And the other one is the energy consumption related to Blockchain technology.

We'll get here in a few paragraphs. Still, it's worth mentioning that this Merge (taking place in September 2022) will significantly decrease the energy consumption, switching from a Proof of Work model to a Proof of Stake model.

Proof of Work? Proof of Stake?

Yeah, sorry about that.

Let us explain precisely what this means:

Proof of Work and Proof of Stake are the two central consensus mechanisms that Crypto use to verify transactions. Then, they get added to the Blockchain and create tokens from it. 

Proof of Work is the oldest of these two, and it's used for Bitcoin, Ethereum 1.0, and many more. According to Coinbase, it could be defined as:

"...the original crypto consensus mechanism, first used by Bitcoin. Proof of work and mining are closely related ideas. The reason it's called "proof of work" is that the network requires a huge amount of processing power. Proof-of-work blockchains are secured and verified by virtual miners around the world racing to be the first to solve a math puzzle. The winner gets to update the Blockchain with the latest verified transactions and is rewarded by the network with a predetermined amount of Crypto."

Now, Proof of Stake, employed by Cardano and the newest Ethereum 2.0, is:

"In a proof of stake system, staking serves a similar function to proof of work's mining, in that it's the process by which a network participant gets selected to add the latest batch of transactions to the Blockchain and earn some crypto in exchange.

The exact details vary by project, but in general proof of stake blockchains employ a network of "validators" who contribute — or "stake" — their own Crypto in exchange for a chance to validate a new transaction, update the Blockchain, and earn a reward. 

  • The network selects a winner based on the amount of Crypto each validator has in the pool and the length of time they've had it there — literally rewarding the most invested participants. 
  • Once the winner has validated the latest block of transactions, other validators can attest that the block is accurate. When a threshold number of attestations have been made, the network updates the Blockchain. 
  • All participating validators receive a reward in the native cryptocurrency, which is generally distributed by the network in proportion to each validator's stake."

But, what will the Merge change specifically?

Energetic waste, mainly. But there's a clear intention of systematically optimizing transactions, making them faster and more efficient.

Just like Money.com says:

"Proponents say that the transition will allow the Ethereum network to reduce its energy consumption by around 99%.

The proof-of-work model, which the Bitcoin network uses, requires far more energy than the proof-of-stake model. The negative impact on the environment of crypto transactions has been top of mind for many cryptocurrency critics and advocates alike. Ethereum's shift to the less-energy-intensive proof-of-stake is viewed as a significant advance.

It will also set the groundwork for other aspects of the network's roadmap, like making transactions more efficient."

That, without mentioning that Ethereum developers will have even more room for introducing new features to the network.

When will The Merge be completed?

According to a recent Ethereum.org blog post, Ethereum's Merge is set to happen next September 15, 2022, while official development is taking place this September 6, 2022.

Upcoming challenges from The ETH Merge?

There will be. Even more, the Web3 community relies heavily on Ethereum technology. But don't let panic hit that hard. 

Because when push comes to shove…

Spark + Mint will be there to give you the most recent updates on anything Ethereum, Web3, Crypto, or even the Merge's final outcome.

So, to learn more about these topics or anything else, you must tune in to our Podcast! Just click the link below and enjoy!

Got any recommendations, or want to learn more about anything in particular?

Just hit us up, and we'll get your questions answered in the next episode.

Again, thanks for reading, and see you next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

Here’s how Crypto Wallets work… And why you should own one.

Aug 25, 2022
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Crypto
Crypto

Crypto Wallets... You've probably heard of them. Even more now that the Web3, Blockchain, and Crypto Industries are booming.

Crypto Wallets… You've probably heard of them.

Even more now that the Web3, Blockchain, and Crypto industries are booming.

However… There are many questions you could have.

For example:

How do they work? 

Are they really that useful?

Is it hard to get one?

And many, many more. But hey, don't sweat it — that's what we're here for.

So sit tight for the next 5 minutes, and discover what a Crypto Wallet is, how it works, and the unparalleled advantages of owning one!

What is a Crypto Wallet, and how does it work?

According to Security.org:

"In its most basic form, a "wallet" is a piece of software you can use to prove that you are the owner of a particular crypto account or address.

You can use a wallet to store cryptocurrency securely or to authorize crypto payments to employees or merchants.

Because each crypto account is unique, a wallet can also be used to manage and verify your online identities. For example, you can use your wallet address instead of an email address to log in to a social media or instant messaging account."

This basically means that a Crypto Wallet is a piece of software that every user should have to prove ownership of a specific Crypto piece. And, just like a wallet would do, it's also used to 'store' Crypto assets safely.

And we use quote marks in 'store' because that's not the technical term.

You see, Crypto lives IN the Blockchain. So instead of storing your assets, a Crypto Wallet holds a private key to them.

Like Coinbase says:

"Unlike a normal wallet, which can hold actual cash, crypto wallets technically don't store your Crypto. Your holdings live on the Blockchain, but can only be accessed using a private key. Your keys prove your ownership of your digital money and allow you to make transactions. If you lose your private keys, you lose access to your money. That's why it's important to keep your hardware wallet safe or use a trusted wallet provider."

Meaning?

Crypto Wallets are convenient, safe, and perfect for any Crypto or Web3-savvy individual… Or for anyone who plans to own Crypto.

Now, let's talk about the two main types of Crypto Wallets.

Cold Wallets vs. Hot Wallets. What's the difference?

Let's talk about Hot Wallets first.

These wallets are stored on Internet-connected devices, such as desktops, laptops, or smartphones. 

This means that… If you're one of those individuals who do transactions more often than not, this might be a solid pick for you.

However, there's a catch.

If your device gets infected or hacked — you'll be in trouble. AKA, your Crypto could get stolen.

Now, this doesn't mean you shouldn't own one — but being aware of their pros and cons is critical for safe, responsible use and protection of your assets.

On the other hand, we have Cold Wallets.

These wallets are not connected to the Internet. You must connect them to a device with Internet access to use them.

It might be inconvenient for users who do more transactions than not, but it's hands down the safest option to keep your assets secure.

Why? Very, very simple:

The only way you could potentially get your Crypto stolen or breached is by losing your device.

That said, Cold Wallets are better for storing more significant amounts of Crypto than Hot Wallets.

Now, let's talk about the different types of Cold and Hot Wallets.

Types of Hot Wallets

There are Desktop Wallets, Web Wallets, and Mobile Wallets.

Desktop Wallets, according to Bitpay are those that "utilize encryption to keep a user's private keys securely stored on their computer hard drive."

Their pros are…

  • Excellent for securely conducting small crypto transactions using a computer
  • Free and easy to use
  • No third-party holds your private keys
  • Some can be used offline for cold storage

And their cons are…

  • Most are online anytime your computer is
  • Potentially vulnerable to malware or computer viruses
  • Anyone who has access to your computer could potentially access your Crypto

On the other hand, we have Web Wallets. These are provided by third parties (normally a Crypto Exchange) offering quick access to a user's holdings via the web.

Following up with Bitpay, their pros and cons are…

Their pros are…

  • Easy to use; generally favored by most crypto newcomers
  • Support a variety of transactions (buy, sell, swap etc.)
  • Account security outsourced to trusted third-party (exchange, etc.)

And their cons are…

  • Requires trusting a third party to secure your private keys
  • Potentially vulnerable to hackers
  • Computer used to access web wallet also subject to threats like viruses, malware and keyloggers

Finally, we have Mobile Wallets.

These wallets are accessible via smartphones. Typically using apps and Internet connection.

Their pros are…

  • Easily send or receive crypto payments on the go
  • Highly convenient and easy to use
  • One of the easiest ways to spend cryptocurrency

And lastly, their cons are…

  • Holdings are only as secure as your phone
  • Account could be compromised if device is lost or stolen
  • Like a computer, phones are potentially vulnerable to viruses and malware

Types of Cold Wallets

There are two types of Cold Wallets: Hardware Wallets and Paper Backup Wallets.

According to Security.org, Hardware Wallets are…

"USB devices that store your private key (I'll explain private keys in the next section). It has a PIN code lock to keep thieves from getting into it. To use a hardware wallet to do a transaction, you connect it to your PC.

The device sends a signature through the USB port, but it never sends the private key itself. Theoretically, this should prevent any malware on your PC from being able to steal your Crypto."

These Wallets are extra safe and can only be accessed through a secret PIN code you should care about with your life. 

On the other hand, Paper Backup Wallets are a bit more… Rustic.

And this is because it's just what it sounds like: A piece of paper.

Following up with Security.org here:

"When you first set up a desktop wallet, you'll be offered a set of seed words that can be used to access your accounts if your device crashes (again, we'll discuss this more in the next section). Under normal circumstances, these words are just used as a backup.

But you can also use these words as a form of long-term storage. Just take the following steps:

  1. Write your seed words on a piece of paper and store it somewhere safe and secure.
  2. Transfer crypto to your desktop wallet.
  3. Delete the wallet from your PC. (Make sure you've done step 1 first!)

Once you've done this, the Crypto is essentially stored on the piece of paper. This means that an attacker shouldn't be able to steal your Crypto even if they install malware on your PC (as long as it wasn't already infected). They would need to steal the piece of paper to get your Crypto."

And now that you know this… There's just one question left to answer:

"Which one should I choose?"

The general recommendation would be to always use a Cold Wallet.

Only because it's way safer than any Hot Wallet.

Yet…

The Web3 space is fast-paced as it gets. If you're into Blockchain, you'll be more than likely performing transactions more often than not.

So Hot Wallets might come in handier if that were the case.

Bottom line?

There's no better pick. It's up to you and your particular needs.

We know, we know… It could be a bummer.

But hey, we could help you decide!

The only thing you need to do is sign up for our Newsletter!

Because that way, we'll be able to send you weekly updates on everything about Web3 Wallets, Crypto, Blockchain, and anything else.

Click here, leave your email address, and you're all set!

Again, thanks for reading, dear Crypto enthusiast — let's catch up with another subject soon!

- The Spark + Mint Team

Here’s why Big Venture Capital Companies are opening Crypto funds

Aug 22, 2022
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0
MIN READ
Crypto
Crypto

The world's most prominent Venture Capital firms are officially turning their heads on Blockchain technology... Opening Crypto funds. Why? Find out in today's blog post.

Great news for the Crypto community:

The world's most prominent Venture Capital firms are officially turning their heads on Blockchain technology… Opening Crypto funds.

Challenging the Crypto Winter panic, these big risk management and investment companies are making bold moves, making people wonder why.

But…

We believe that we have the answer. And it's backed up by numbers.

So, if you're here to discover why big Venture Capital companies are opening Crypto VC funds… You're certainly at the right place.

Now, sit tight, and let's get started. Shall we?

What is a VC?

Acronyms could get confusing. So let's explain this sophisticated term right away:

According to Investopedia, a VC (or Venture Capital) "is a form of private equity and financing that investors provide to start-up companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential. Venture capital generally comes from well-off investors, investment banks, and other financial institutions. However, it does not always take a monetary form; it can also be provided in the form of technical or managerial expertise. Venture capital is typically allocated to small companies with exceptional growth potential, or to companies that have grown quickly and appear poised to continue to expand."

Meaning?

Venture Capital is not strictly referring to a specific type of company but is a form of investment. More specifically, an investment coming from private investors (AKA not listed on public stock exchanges.)

Some famous VCs include…

  • Tiger Global Management, from New York, USA
  • New Enterprise Associates, from Chevy Chase, MD, USA
  • Sequoia Capital, from Menlo Park, CA, USA

And more specifically, some Blockchain-savvy VC firms involved in Crypto VC Funds are…

  • Coinbase Ventures, from San Francisco, CA, USA — with 254+ Blockchain and Crypto deals
  • Digital Currency Group, from New York, USA — with 223+ Blockchain and Crypto deals
  • AU21 Capital, from San Francisco, CA, USA — with 212+ Blockchain and Crypto deals
  • NGC Ventures from Singapore — with 211+ Blockchain and Crypto deals
  • Pantera Capital from Menlo Park, CA, USA — with 171+ Blockchain and Crypto deals
  • LD Capital from Beijing, China — with 166+ Blockchain and Crypto deals

Why are more and more VC funds popping up in the Crypto space?

It's not a booming fashion. In fact, it's been a trend since way back in 2018.

Back then, VC funds acknowledged the potential of Blockchain technology. They were just not sure about how to make money from it.

Quoting an article from Vox:

"Venture capitalists over the last year have disagreed over how they should structure their firms to capitalize on a new type of investing they weren't set up to do.

VC firms, obviously, hold cash. They own stock in private start-ups and sometimes in public companies. But VC firms, typically, do not own cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or Ethereum, never mind potential, still-being-built cryptocurrencies.

So nearly all of the top tech investors over the last year have been meeting internally and reviewing documents to assess how they can equip themselves legally and financially to invest in ways that don't fit with their traditional business model."

There was a clear intention of deep-diving into Crypto. But, clearly, these VC Funds are cautious about where they put their money.

"Tech investors agree there is money to be made in cryptocurrency. They just don't agree on how to make it."

Fast forward to 2022…

They are opening more and more Crypto Funds.

So, what changed?

Or, in other words, the question itself would be…

Why is Venture Capital still looking up to opening more Crypto VC funds when Crypto Winter could have scared them off?

The answer is simpler than you might think…

There's a high chance that, according to these VCs' risk management experts, Crypto will recover its value sooner than later… 

And they don't want to get left behind.

Like Fortune says:

"As of last Friday (July 22, 2022), VC investments in the space have reached $18.3 billion so far in 2022. That's nearly triple the amount invested in 2020 and also on pace to exceed 2021's record haul of $32.4 billion, according to Steven Alexopoulos, an analyst at J.P. Morgan.

Some of the crypto fundraising rounds this year have been substantial in size. In January, Fireblocks, a digital-asset infrastructure start-up that has since partnered with the likes of BNP Paribas, raised $550 million at a valuation of $8 billion. In March, Yuga Labs, the company responsible for Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, raised $450 million at a $4 billion valuation."

Again, meaning…

It's time for them to buy, just like TechCrunch explains further:

"For investors like us, it's time to buy," Miroshnik told TechCrunch. "Valuations have come in and great companies are now available at a more reasonable price."

"Generally, there is a big difference between people who are at the surface of understanding this space — those funds might take a backseat — but true crypto-native funds with conviction will continue to invest heavily," Saurabh Sharma, head of investments at Jump Crypto, said to TechCrunch. 

"This time is where we find the best long-term-thinking entrepreneurs."

That said, there's definitely a risk in any investment. But also several untapped benefits.

This leads us to the next topic, which is…

What are the risks and benefits of VCs in Crypto Communities?

Let's start off with a fact. Not a benefit nor a risk. It's a fact:

Whether it is a Crypto VC Fund or not, VC funds will greatly impact whether a community invests or even considers a project legitimate.

Why?

Because they trust big names. And they also trust that, in most cases, these VC Funds will have performed enough research to think whether an investment is safe or not.

However, that's not always the case.

This leads us to an imminent risk…

Due diligence.

For instance, according to the Coin Telegraph, most VC Funds were LUNAtics once.

"VCs look at cap tables and see who else invested. LUNA was widely considered a "blue chip" by then, leading among crypto analysts and then reputable institutions, such as Three Arrows Capital, Pantera Capital, and Coinbase Ventures. Pantera notably got its LUNA exit timing right, while Three Arrows Capital is in liquidation and has filed for bankruptcy.

Everyone wants to be the smartest guy in the room. "With the LUNA example, VC backers must be seeing something you don't, was the thought," according to that risk analyst.

"It always was a Ponzi, no point mincing words," he tells Magazine.

He argues that "VCs can distort everything, even who supports what L1 chains. It's a PR war; VCs turbocharge the machine. I call it the VC hunger games."

This is one high-profile example of the perils of VC funding for crypto communities."

Yet, on the other hand, there is a significant benefit of VC Funds getting involved more and more often with Crypto and Blockchain projects:

More protection for potential investors.

Following with the Coin Telegraph here as well:

"Lurie, founder of Shipyard Software, agrees that VCs can work hand in hand with decentralized governance and bring major benefits to the community. He argues that in Crypto, it's "necessary to decentralize governance because the community demands it. It is also a necessity to make the VC model work." VC funding is a competitive and a regulatory necessity to building a viable company, argues Lurie.

"Decentralized governance is a trade-off with nimbleness. It's tough to start a fully decentralized company from day one. You need to strike a balance. Start-ups are in a constant battle, and few people make it to the end of that journey." 

"One of the best reasons for VC-backing is governance — a partner on a deal will hold founders accountable," he says."

That said…

VC Funds opening up to the Crypto and Blockchain space has ups and downs. But what's more — several layers are left to explore that go way beyond risks and/or benefits.

And that's something we can't answer, sadly.

Why?

Because only time will tell. Yet, it helps to know what has happened and learn how to read the room to save up potential heartbreaks, such as the Luna incident.

Which, speaking of the devil…

There's another big question that begs a brief explanation:

"Do I need a VC to start an effective Crypto Business?"

Yes. And no.

The good ol' answer of "it depends" is applicable here.

The reasoning behind this is that… It truly depends on the structure, goals, and resources available for your Crypto business (or project if it's still in the works).

Entrepreneur says it best below, talking from a Start-Up approach to VC Funds:

"The traditional start-up approach of building a business plan, making market estimates and pulling funding from VCs is riddled with risk and misconceptions. In reality, less than 1 percent of start-ups have raised capital from VCs. Venture capitalists generally invest only 1 percent of their own funds. The rest is from investors. The majority of those investors fail to earn a profit after fees from the VC firm. Even successful VC firms generate 80 percent of their revenue from 20 percent of their investments."

However, the likes of Forbes believe that approaching VC is a must if you're plotting a Crypto Business move at scale:

"Despite the risk involved, you're going to have to be able to approach and persuade venture capital (VC) firms to invest in your project.

Equity financing isn't for you? There's always the initial coin offering (ICO) route if you're specifically interested in creating your own token. However, this comes with its own share of serious financial risks and legal liabilities that you have to be mindful of. 

The bottom line is that you're going to need people skills. Practicing public speaking and presentation skills will serve you greatly in your crypto entrepreneurship, as there are several blockchain-based VCs willing to lend their ear to your project."

Bottom line?

It's not strictly necessary to approach VC Funds. But hey… It helps a ton.

You can skip a lot of headaches by having a well-structured business plan, plus financing.

So, our take would be…

VC Funds are always helpful. But you're not going to die if you can't land one.

Spark + Mint's approach to Creative Capital:

You may be wondering…

"What's creative capital? And why does this even matter?"

So bear with us for a minute. Because this does matter if you're interested in attracting VC Funds for your next Crypto Project.

Creative Capital is nothing more than the capacity of an entity to design, implement, and express new and complex possibilities through creative action. 

Or, in other words, it's the human effort behind making a complex project comprehensive for uneducated audiences.

Why does this matter?

Because if you're an innovative company representing the Crypto space, you must know the main challenge in this Web3 space is to convey new ideas appealingly.

Both aesthetically and pragmatically speaking.

That's what we do at Spark + Mint.

We partner with Crypto, DeFi, DAOs, and Blockchain-related companies to bring their ideas to life with top-notch design, strategy, and copywriting.

We could blurb and say we are the best and that your project is in safe hands…

But we choose not to. We'd love to show you instead.

So, click here to book a call with our CEO, Jason Goodman, and let us explain how we could take your project to the next level with apples and pears.

And you can also sign up for our Newsletter now that you're here.

Yes, you can!

Our Newsletter goes out weekly with red-hot information about Crypto, VC Funds, Blockchain, Web3, and everything in between — explained objectively to appease the most knowledge-thirsty readers.

But that's not it…

If you need further information, got a Web3 project in mind but don't know where to start, or just want to discuss partnerships… Spark + Mint Invests!

Just click here to reach out to Jason Goodman, our CEO. Prepare your best pitch, and let's see what comes out!

Again, thanks for reading, and see you next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

Money Streaming and Web3: What is this all about?

Aug 18, 2022
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Web3
Web3

Money streaming is trending right now, and there's a reason... Let's shake up the payment industry, and see exactly how it works

Money Streaming is trending right now, and there’s a reason.

This revolutionary concept is shaking things up for the payment industry, as it’s a convenient way to get paid on time… Powered by Crypto and Blockchain technology.

But, what is it exactly?

How does it work?

Could this really improve the standard payment structure? Or is it just another project in the works?

We’ll cover this and much more in today’s blog post.

Spoiler alert: Defi and Web3 companies will love how seamless this is.

So buckle up and pay attention because we’ll begin with the basics.

What is Money Streaming?

Let’s begin with an example that may (or may not) hit close to home.

You’ve worked hard for the last month.

Always going the extra mile. Putting in the necessary effort.

It’s now pay-day.

You wait patiently for the money to hit your account.

But then… It doesn’t.

It’s not like your employer forgot about it. In fact, they did all they had to do.

But banks are slow. More like a snail with a broken leg.

So you pay for the broken dishes. Even though you were diligent, patient, and truthful. 

Worst part? It’ll most likely happen again next time. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Or is it?

Well, that’s why Money Streaming is a thing. 

According to Superfluid:

“Money streaming is exactly what it sounds like: money transferred every second in a flowing “stream.”

Today, money streaming is made possible thanks to novel functionalities enabled by blockchain technology and asset streaming protocols like Superfluid.”

Meaning — it’s a DeFi alternative to payments, allowing both involved parties to fulfill and retrieve their obligations. In this case, paying and receiving the payment.

But how does it work?

Ethereum explains it best, coming from a standard approach to Money Streaming:

“The following describes a standard whereby time is measured using block numbers and streams are mappings in a master contract.

  1. A provider sets up a money streaming contract.
  2. A prospective payer can interact with the contract and start the stream immediately by depositing the funds required for the chosen period.
  3. The payee can withdraw money from the contract based on its ongoing solvency. That is payment rate * (current block height - starting block height)
  4. The stream terms (payment rate, length, metadata) can be updated at any time if both parties pledge their signatures.
  5. The stream can be stopped at any point in time by any party without on-chain consensus.
  6. If the streaming period ended and was not previously stopped by any party, the payee is entitled to withdraw all the deposited funds.”

Result?

No more waiting times. No delays. No excuses. A DeFi, Web3 alternative to receiving and sending money powered by Blockchain technology.

And for those wondering:

YES. You could set Money Streaming protocols in pretty much any crypto. As in Ethereum, Bitcoin, Solana… You name it. 

What could money streaming help with?

There’s a beneficial Twitter thread that touches base with this DeFi subject.

Shivsak Huja explains in his thread that…

  1. If you work in a Web2 environment, you most likely get paid bi-weekly or monthly.
  2. Therefore, you gotta wait a couple of days until the payment hits your bank account.
  3. With DeFi that’s no longer an issue — you can get paid in real-time!
  4. The payer only needs to fund the stream, and the recipient can claim their money anytime.
  5. The stream will have certain conditions. Such as schedule, start time, recipient…
  6. It can also be paused, canceled, or resumed at any time.

Besides, it’s important to highlight the problems Money Streaming can potentially solve.

For example:

  • Parking: Pay only for time used
  • Subscriptions: Pay only for time used
  • Pension Plans
  • Donations
  • Salaries
  • Stock Grants
  • Payments b/w companies
  • Automated DCA investing
  • Online Advertisement

By the way…

There are two different types of Money Streaming accounts, depending on the purpose of it.

Meanfi explains it best below:

“With an open streaming account, you can create payment streams that run indefinitely (no end date). When the treasury runs out of money all streams stop running until it gets replenished. After replenishing the treasury, all paused payment streams can resume their operation.

With a locked treasury you can create streams that act like a vesting contract for reserved allocations, like the ones needed for investors. These payment streams usually have a fixed end date and may or may not guarantee funds through the use of Reserved Allocations.”

How does this improve our current payment structure?

Coming from a Web2 perspective… Anything done for and with Web3 in mind could outperform the standard way of doing things.

Now, what does that mean for Money Streaming?

In essence, through Blockchain, Money Streaming could solve payment delays in any operational aspect.

This means…

  • Happier employees
  • Increased client retention
  • Automated payments
  • Crypto alternatives to liquid money

Let’s sit on that last potential benefit for a second.

It’s no secret that inflation rates worldwide are soaring high.

Call it COVID. Call it Ukraine. Call it politics.

Truth is… Inflation is no longer a dirty word, and it’s affecting every single one of us.

So, how to protect your assets, family, and wallet from it?

Well, Crypto could be the answer. And receiving your payments (or, at least, part of it) in coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Solana (to name a few) could help in the long run.

What are the current Money Streaming leaders?

DeFi alternatives to payments are still under development. But that doesn’t mean there are no leaders in this digital economy.

Altcoinbuzz names a couple in their article “What is DeFi Money Streaming?”:

  • LlamaPay – Built by DeFi Llama, LlamaPay is a salary streaming protocol. It automates salaries, streaming them every second to employees so that they can withdraw them at any time. Furthermore, the protocol eliminates the drudgery of manually transferring wages weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to employees.

  • Mean Finance – It is a Solana-based money streaming protocol. It is also a simple DeFi banking money stream-based workflow protocol. Also, Mean Finance is a no-code vesting, payroll, and multisig protocol. It also focuses on redefining why money streaming goes way beyond salary automation.

But there’s a behemoth that’s the true leader in this industry.

It’s called Superfluid.

Their organized approach to Money Streaming makes payment seamless for companies worldwide, allowing them to describe cashflows and execute them automatically on a chain over time in a non-interactive way.

According to their home page, “a real-time balance updates over time if you send or receive cashflows and updates instantly if you send regular transactions. These cashflows feed directly into your balance, which is why it moves over time.”

Meaning that…

You’d be in real control of your Money Streams. And your recipient would always be informed as well.

Best part? Don’t need any coding to make it work. It’s as user-friendly as it gets. Real Web3 masterpiece right here, friend.

On the look for the new big thing in the Web3 universe?

Say no more.

At Spark + Mint we’re committed to informing subscribers of everything Blockchain, DeFi, and Web3 related through our Newsletter. 

It’s free; you’ll learn more about these hot topics without hitting Twitter or burning your eyelashes looking out for information.

So save up the trial and error, learning curves, or guesswork. Everything you need to know is here!

Just click here to sign up for free.

P.S. We’re officially launching our new Podcast!

Yes, we are! Our CEO, Jason Goodman, will lay out exciting topics regarding the Web3 Design Industry. 

Check out our first episode here, and let us know what you think!

Until next time,

- The Spark + Mint Team

Starting a DAO from Scratch: Here’s what you need to do.

Aug 15, 2022
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DAOS
DAOS

Currently blowing up in popularity, it seems like DAOs are all the rage... But how do you start one, and how exactly do they function? Find out in today's blog!

So you want to start a DAO…

Well, the first thing you need to do is read this blog.

See, DAOs are the latest fashion for a reason. And getting started could seem like a monumental task if you don't know where to begin your research.

But hey — don't sweat it.

At Spark + Mint, we're a team of experts in everything from Web3 to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations… So you're at the right place to learn how to start your next DAO adventure while skipping the learning curve.

Or at least most of it.

So, without further ado…

Let's talk DAOs, shall we?

What is a DAO?

A DAO is an acronym for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. This is an emerging legal structure for organizations with no central governance structure. 

Every member within a DAO shares a common goal and responsibility of acting in the organization's best interest. Thus, the community has an intrinsic value here — something that almost every Web3, Crypto, and Blockchain entity shares.

It's been popularized by cryptocurrency enthusiasts and Blockchain technology lovers to enhance decision-making in a bottoms-up management approach.

Sounds lovely, right?

Well, that's not it. There are several layers to peel off to get to the bones of it.

Like Investopedia says, there are many benefits and crucial factors of getting started with a DAO, like:

  • A decentralized autonomous organization is an entity structure in which tokenholders participate in the management and decision-making of an entity.
  • There is no central authority of a DAO; instead, power is distributed across token holders who collectively cast votes.
  • All votes and activity through the DAO are posted on a blockchain, making all actions of users publicly viewable.
  • A DAO must ensure security is prioritized, as exploits can leave a DAO drained of millions of dollars of its treasury savings.

But it all began long ago in a computer lab far, far away…

The DAO: The First Decentralized Autonomous Organization, probably ever

Continuing with Investopedia on this subject…

"The DAO was an organization that was designed to be automated and decentralized. It acted as a venture capital fund, based on open-source code and without a typical management structure or board of directors. The DAO was unaffiliated with any particular nation-state to be fully decentralized, though it used the Ethereum network. 

The DAO launched in late April 2016 thanks to a month-long crowd sale of tokens that raised more than $150 million in funds. At the time, the launch was the largest crowdfunding fundraising campaign of all time."

But… It was not just smiles and laughter.

Eventually, things came crashing down, as this was one of the first Web3 attempts the Internet remembers.

Clearly, there was a lot to fix. The intention was there, but when you're managing capital… Security must be on point. That was The DAO's Achilles heel.

Like Gemini says:

"The DAO had raised more than $150 million from more than 11,000 investors, making it one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns in history at the time. However, even before the token sale had concluded, several onlookers expressed concerns about vulnerabilities in The DAO's code. More specifically, computer scientists were concerned that a bug in The DAO's wallet smart contracts would allow them to be drained. While programmers attempted to fix the bug, an attacker exploited the vulnerability and began siphoning funds from The DAO.

In the meantime, the Ethereum community debated how to respond to the attack. The DAO's failure would not only mean financial loss for investors, but it also bore dire repercussions for the nascent Ethereum network. The DAO had become such a heavily invested project that its contracts contained approximately 14% of all ether (ETH) in circulation at the time. At only one year old, the promising Ethereum technology and community faced a genuine existential threat…

…​​initially, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin proposed a soft fork of the Ethereum network, adding a snippet of code that would effectively blacklist the attacker and prevent them from moving the stolen funds. However, shortly after that, the attacker — or someone posing as the attacker; it has not been verified — published an open letter to the Ethereum community claiming that the funds had been obtained in a "legal" way, following the rules set out in the smart contract. The attacker also said they would take legal action against anyone who attempted to seize the ether."

Words less, words more… This ended up with two competing Ethereum Blockchains. One of them being the pre-forked version known as ETC, and the other Blockchain presently known as Ethereum — now one of the World's most used Blockchain channels.

So, was The DAO crisis crucial? Yes, it was.

But luckily… It didn't affect Web3 negatively. In fact, it opened up the gates to new and enhanced security procedures.

How does a DAO function as a part of Web3?

At a high level, Chainalisys explains how a DAO works here:

  1. DAO founders create a new cryptocurrency, known as a governance token;
  2. They distribute these tokens to users, backers, and other stakeholders;
  3. Each token corresponds to a set amount of voting power within the organization. Each token also corresponds to a price on the secondary market, where it can be bought and sold at will.

While this process is often described as a way to decentralize power, governance token data suggests that DAO ownership is highly concentrated.

Furthermore, IT Business Edge says that:

"In a Web3 world, the management of platforms and systems is through the consensus decisions of its users. They also have ownership and control of their data.

Early adopters believe that DAOs have the potential to completely change the way that humans think about cooperation, collaboration, and collective resources. DAOs present an opportunity for communities and organizations to rethink how we work together to provide more equitable participation and incentives.

If anything, with the trend towards remote work because of the pandemic, DAOs are much more amenable to people. They essentially provide for operations across any geography at any time."

But… If this Web3 effort requires every involved individual's willingness to push in the same direction, how does disruption or innovation happen?

That could cause several delays in decision-making… Or missed opportunities on genius ideas because of roadblocks.

Yet, that's not the main issue for DAOs in the Web3 space as of today: It's security.

As it's still in the early stages, most of these companies are offering big stacks of cash to whoever finds significant bugs to fix — always trying to protect themselves from another "The DAO" crisis.

What does it take to start your own DAO, anyways?

Getting started with a DAO doesn't have to feel like a mission impossible.

In fact, there are a few steps to create one effectively — which, to be frank, are not just clapping and making it happen… But you shouldn't have BIG trouble if you do things right and seek some advice.

To get started, you'll need to:

1. Define the Structure of your DAO

This means: Even before determining what tools you'll use, you need to understand the WHY behind your efforts. If there is a problem… How are you planning to solve it?

Why are you trying to fix what's not broken if there's no problem?

So, in short, you must figure out first:

  • What are your short-term and long-term goals for this project?
  • Given your goals, what kind of structure do you want to use?
  • How are you going to approach decision-making?
  • What will the benefits look like for customers, users, and possible investors?

Ask yourself these questions, and then move on to the next step.

2. What Type of DAO Do You Want?

Now that you have an idea of the problems you want to solve, it's time to determine what framework you should use to create your DAO.

101 Blockchains does a great job explaining this step here:

"The second step in starting a DAO focuses on determining the type of DAO you need. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs, are still in the stages of infancy and can serve many use cases. Therefore, you can choose many practical paths for creating your DAO according to your objectives. You must go through different types of DAOs and their functionalities to find the models which can fulfill your goals. Some of the most common types of DAOs include protocol DAOs, social DAOs, venture DAOs, collector DAOs, and social media DAOs. 

At the same time, you must also focus on common goals between DAOs and traditional businesses for improved efficiency. For example, if you are wondering how to start a DAO, you can use a nation-state governance framework for mapping out the general DAO structure. With a good overview of the type of DAO you want, you can develop a definitive approach for building the DAO."

3. Determine the Use Cases of DAO Tokens

See, DAO tokens can be used for several things. Rewards, voting rights on the company's direction, and other types of benefits. But, these DAO tokens can play a massive role in the DAO creation process.

So, if you want to push things forward and make everyone happy… Be wise in determining the types of use you'll give your DAO tokens.

4. DAO Token Allocation, Supply, and Rewards

Sure, pricing is essential. But it's not everything.

Token supply matters, and setting the demanding standard instead of just offering a random value of the original coin supply is what will get your DAO far.

Let's say you've cracked the initial coin supply:

Now, you'll need to focus on allocating these DAO tokens.

This means finding focus on providing appealing rewards to your community.

We say this because there are countless projects STUCK on finding out the best way to make their DAO work while also being tangled trying to discover new ways for token distribution.

So, token utility? Hard nut to crack, definitely. That if you do it yourself, obviously.

5. Create the DAO

101 Blockchains elaborate more on this by saying:

"Many companies opt to develop their own systems, while some choose DAO tools and templates to create the DAO. The tools and templates can help you define the legal framework for the DAO you wish to make. In addition, the tools also offer the required infrastructure for DAO token minting tools, creating the DAO name, and supporting the teams and founding members. 

Some of the popular Ethereum-based DAO tools for starting a DAO of your own offer multiple functionalities. You can choose Aragon, the comprehensive DAO toolkit with functionalities for dispute resolution and governance. Here are some other promising DAO tools you can use for creating your DAO."

How to get involved in DAOs?

This is also BIG.

See, before allocating your resources, money, time, and energy to building your next Web3 project or DAO, you need to understand how these work from the inside.

Meaning?

Joining a DAO to see what they do.

That said, it'll be ideal to find one, buy some of its currency, and get familiar with its processes. A great way to do this is by exploring pages like DAOlist and DeepDAO to find exciting projects that align with your particular goals, taste, and values.

Most will highlight their core mission, governance structure, and guiding principles.

But, if you're more of a hands-on type of person…

We recommend diving deep into the subject by directly collaborating with the DAO.

You can join their Discord channel, introduce yourself, and engage in conversations to contribute.

And, if you're more of a seasoned Web3 professional or have an ability you could exploit like design, programming, or copywriting…

You could apply for a job. These projects are constantly hiring and benefiting from a diverse range of skills. For example, your contribution will always depend on your abilities and your hunger for knowledge and changing how the Internet works.

Some popular DAOs to keep an eye on:

Now that you know what it takes to create your own DAO, it's also important to keep an eye on what seasoned companies are doing to minimize learning curves here.

For instance, Binance considers these three DAOs (MakerDAO, Aave, and Uniswap) the most prominent ones to date:

MakerDAO

MakerDAO is one of the oldest, most successful DAOs on the market. The organization manages the crypto-collateralized DAI stablecoin. They split proposals into Governance Polls for non-technical decisions and Executive Votes for smart-contract changes. Anyone holding MKR, the project's governance DAO token, can participate. 

Aave

Aave is a DeFi lending platform on Ethereum that lets holders of the ERC-20 token AAVE or staked AAVE participate in its DAO. Along with project changes, Aave governance also votes on new projects built on the protocol and Aave Grants to fund ideas.

Uniswap

Uniswap is a multi-chain Automated Market Maker (AMM) that has inspired a generation of DeFi projects. It's one of the largest decentralized exchanges, and UNI holders can vote on and create proposals. To submit a new proposal, you need to hold at least 0.25% of the UNI's total supply. To encourage healthy discussion, there is a governance forum for community members to debate changes.

Want to start your next DAO project? Read this:

At Spark + Mint we're committed to helping our community discover new ways to impact the World through Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, Web3, and Blockchain Technology.

That said, we'd be more than happy to give you a walkthrough of some of the projects we've been working on — and answer any questions you might have.

Our CEO and Founder, Jason Goodman, is taking some calls this week to Q&A some DAO-related questions.

And you're cordially invited to schedule a call with him.

Brightside? If you decide to move forward, you'll skip the trial and error, learning curve, and deadly mistakes getting started with a DAO could mean.

And what's more — even if you decide not to move forward… You'll still leave knowing exactly what needs to be done to create your next DAO project.

You can schedule a call with Jason by clicking here.

P.S. Not ready for a call? That's okay! You can still subscribe to our Newsletter and get familiar with DAOs, Web3, and Blockchain every week — for free!

That was it for today's blog, friend.

Hope we were able to provide value!

Until next time,

- The Spark + Mint team

Starbucks goes Crypto? Learn more about this potential Web3 Rewards Program.

Aug 11, 2022
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Web3
Web3

Earlier this month, August 2022, Starbucks’s CEO and Founder Howard Schultz announced the coffee giant was entering the NFT and Web 3 world.‍ What does this mean for Web3?

I’ll have my Web3 without sugar, please.

Jokes aside, we are witnessing how one of the world’s most recognizable brands opens the gates to new ways of attracting and retaining younger customers.

And, the thing is…

Starbucks’s CEO is planning something big for the coffee brand. 

And that involves Blockchain technology, Web3, and even NFTs.

Curious?

Let’s deep dive into it then!

What was announced by Starbucks?

Earlier this month, August 2022, Starbucks’s CEO and Founder Howard Schultz announced the coffee giant was entering the NFT and Web 3 world.

In fact, they’ll be sharing detailed information on their investors day next month.

According to Charged Retail, Schultz said that…

“We have been working on a very exciting new digital initiative that builds on our existing industry leading digital platform in innovative new ways all centered around coffee and most importantly, loyalty, that we will reveal at Investor Day.

We believe this new digital Web3 enabled initiative will allow us to build on the current Starbucks Rewards engagement model with its powerful spend to earn stars approach while also introducing new methods of emotionally engaging customers.”

Schultz continued by saying that… 

“We don’t want to be in a business where our customer base is aging and we have a less relevant situation with younger people. Our company has never been, in our history, more relevant than we are today to Gen Z.”

This is great news for the Web3, Blockchain, and NFT space — as it’ll continue opening the gates for mainstream brands to embrace the future of the Internet…

While creating a whole new category: Web3 Rewards.

How does this affect current Web2 businesses?

Web2 businesses will have to (clears throat) bring on their A game.

Why?

Because Web3 Rewards are turning into the new shiny object — and brands will eventually turn their attention to them.

For instance…

Starbucks Web3 Rewards are not just NFTs.

They also represent exclusive content, perks, and just like any other Crypto… Value.

Something that standard Web2 Rewards won’t be able to offer.

Sure, coupons… Discounts… And exclusive product launches are nice and all.

But the Blockchain technology provides endless possibilities. And Starbucks’s CEO, Howard Schultz, is aware of that.

“…expanding our digital third place community, and offering a broader set of rewards, including one-of-a-kind experiences that you can’t get anywhere else, integrating our digital Starbucks Rewards ecosystem with Starbucks-branded digital collectibles as both a reward and a community building element.”

In a nutshell…

Web2 businesses face a significant challenge. And that is keeping up Web3’s innovation pace.

Will people look at web3 rewards differently?

We believe they will.

It’s an innovative way to provide relevance to a standard Web2 Rewards program — fixing some of their shared flaws.

For example…

Lack of customization.

Basic features.

And overall, lack of perceived value.

Just like Grit Daily says:

“Customer loyalty is the key to any successful business. Loyalty leaders growing their revenue roughly 2.5x as fast as competitors and peers lacking loyalty. A loyal customer is someone who is willing to stick with a product or service through thick and thin. They are also more likely to recommend a product or service to their friends and family. There are many different types of rewards programs, but the best ones share some common features. They are easy to use, offer a variety of rewards, and allow businesses to customize the program to fit their needs.”

That pretty much sums up what a Web3 Rewards program can provide to new and existing customers:

A fresh proposal to join a paid program, backed up by juicy benefits.

Yet…

What will this program look like, exactly?

Sadly, we’ll have to wait for Starbucks’s CEO to spill the beans.

Will this improve business for Starbucks?

Data says chances are very high that this Web3 Rewards Program will improve business for Starbucks in the short term.

In fact…

Annex Cloud shares some interesting facts about Reward Programs (or Loyalty Programs) below:

  • 69% of customers say that loyalty programs influence their choice of retailer
  • 57% of customers join loyalty programs because they want to save money, while 37.5% go for it to receive rewards
  • 50% of customers say they would change their behavior to attain a higher tier of the customer loyalty program
  • 76% of customers believe that loyalty program strengthens their relationship with brands

So… Yes, these programs DO increase sales and revenue. 

These programs are a proven incentive to make customers choose you over competitors and bring them back to spend cash on your store more frequently.

But those are not the only perks of having a well-established Rewards Program.

Like Stamp Me explains further, there are more untapped benefits most businesses overlook from having a proper incentive program:

  • Builds trust between the customer and the brand
  • Demonstrates that this business is more concerned with ongoing customer relationships than singular transactions
  • Helps the customer gain familiarity with the product, thereby increasing their chances of purchasing it next time
  • Leverages the Endowment Effect, which states that customers place more value on something they already possess (accrued loyalty points or a redeemed reward etc.) than something which they don’t (expired loyalty points or the promise of a future reward once they commit to X more purchases)
  • Removes the risk of trying a new product (after all, it’s free!)

That said, Starbucks has every positive reason to believe that its Web3 venture should work.

But only time will tell…

And we’ll be here to let you know if it did.

Especially if you subscribe to our Newsletter.

There you’ll get quick and convenient access to everything Crypto, Blockchain, and Web3 related information from an unbiased, trustful source.

Plus…

The only thing we’ll ever ask from you is your email.

The rest is on us.

So go ahead, subscribe, and let us know if there’s any other subject you’d like to learn more about.

Coffee is on us. ;)

Until next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey launches Web5: What does that mean?‍

Aug 8, 2022
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Web5
Web5

A new web platform? A decentralized structure for Web3 applications? Are we witnessing the new big thing on the Internet?

If you've been around the Internet for the past decade, you probably know who Jack Dorsey is.

Former Twitter CEO, Co-Founder of the blue bird social media platform, Entrepreneur, Programmer, and Philanthropist…

But also an avid idea man aware of Blockchain technology's benefits and how Blockchain applications could benefit humankind.

In fact…

He made an exciting announcement not long ago, which could potentially change the Internet as we know it.

But, what is it?

A new web platform? A decentralized structure for Web3 applications? Are we witnessing the new big thing on the Internet?

Don't sweat it — we'll explain what all of this means in today's blog.

So sit tight, read carefully, and enjoy!

<heading-2-v2>Who is Jack Dorsey?<heading-2-v2>

Jack Dorsey is mainly known for being one of Twitter's Co-Founders in 2006 and CEO of the company from 2015 to late 2021.

According to Crunchbase, Jack Dorsey has had other 4 roles in the Internet Industry — mainly in the Web2 digital economy.

This entails being Co-Founder & CEO of Cash App, Co-Founder & CEO of Block (formerly known as Square), and several other investment ventures, such as…

  • Epic Games
  • Instagram
  • Jelly
  • Message Bus

Some other facts, as Forbes lays out, include:

  • Jack Dorsey is CEO of payments company Block (formerly called Square); he was CEO of Twitter from 2015 until November 2021. He stepped down from the board in May 2022.
  • Dorsey cofounded Twitter in 2006 with Ev Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass, and was CEO until 2008. He returned in 2015.
  • In April 2020, he promised to give away $1 billion - then 28% of his net worth - to Covid-19 relief and other causes, via gifts of his Square stock.
  • Dorsey co-founded Square with Jim McKelvey in 2009, then took it public in 2015; it was renamed Block in December 2021.
  • Before gravitating to tech, Dorsey was a certified masseur and dabbled in fashion design.
  • In 2016, Dorsey gave nearly one third of his Twitter shares to employees.

What's more…

Jack Dorsey is also an avid investor, given his keen eye for early entries and entrepreneurial efforts.

An idea man, like some people say.

And lately he's been more active than usual… Sharing shocking news for the Web3 community. Exciting news, to say the least.

<heading-2-v2>What was Jack Dorsey's announcement all about?<heading-2-v2>

Before deep diving into the subject… Let's set some foundations.

As you probably know, Web3 is still in the build. 

That means we're witnessing the early rise of an entire Blockchain-based digital economy. Many genius minds are working together to decentralize the Internet. Web3 designers, copywriters, UX experts, and investors are pushing in the same direction.

But that won't stop visionaries from ideating the next generation of tech.

That is words less, words more, what Jack Dorsey hinted.

See — the whole point of Web3 is making transactions straightforward.

Faster. Safer. With way less friction.

And it's not only about Crypto. It's also about information exchange. Identity protection. And, furthermore, personalization.

Web3 is here to fix what Web2 ruined — and this century's great minds are already plotting ways to make all of this happen sooner.

<heading-3-v2>"The best thinking time is just walking."<heading-3-v2>

  • Jack Dorsey

Now, Jack Dorsey has raised the bar in that sense.

On June 10th, one of Block's subsidiaries released a statement saying that they are building a web platform called Web5, designed to decentralize data and give users the ability to control their identity.

More on that, Jack Dorsey has spoken against Web3 as it is currently conceived, just like Barron's says in their article:

"Dorsey has also been an outspoken critic of "Web3," an amorphous sector of venture-capital-backed companies, blockchains, and tokens that is attempting to rebuild much of the modern Internet in a more decentralized manner. Dorsey and others think that Web3 is in reality just pseudo-decentralization, with power concentrated in a few major platforms and VC firms. (There is no "Web4"; Dorsey just skipped that number.)

Block says they want to build Web5 on top of the Bitcoin network, giving users control over their own finances and data. That might sound good, but for now, investors aren't getting much more than a slide deck and a few snarky tweets. (Dorsey wrote "RIP web3 VCs" in one missive.) They are nonplussed."

HOWEVER…

Does this mean that Jack Dorsey is trying to fix Web3, by creating a revamped version?

It pretty much seems like it.

<heading-2-v2>What will Web5 do, exactly?<heading-2-v2>

Again, this is all in the building phase. So what we say from now on will be backed by Jack's pitch deck for the Web5 project.

Here's the pitch deck so you can see it.

Now, talking about Jack Dorsey's Web5 project…

It'll be entirely and heavily based on Crypto and Blockchain technology. In fact, we could safely say it's the backbone of the entire Web5 project.

Just like he said… In his opinion, it'll be the most significant contribution to the Internet.

But enough preambles here.

Euro News explains Web5's expansion plans here:

"According to the launch plans, the Web5 project will provide a decentralised web platform that enables "developers to leverage Decentralised Identifiers, Verifiable Credentials, and Decentralised Web Nodes to write Decentralised Web Apps, returning ownership and control over identity and data to individuals".

In essence, the project is based on the idea that Web3 – which aims to create a decentralised web using blockchain, crypto and similar tech – has the right intention but the wrong execution.

Web5 supposedly aims to tackle this problem by using different tools than Web3, which gives more power and control to the everyday internet user."

Essentially, Jack Dorsey and his team believe that Web3 has a great potential to change the Internet. However… The execution is wrong.

Why?

Because it lacks to address the Identity side of it.

There's a void.

And that void should be filled by building an extra-decentralized web platform that puts the user in real control of their data and, overall, identity.

In fact, they deep dive into the subject, explaining that currently, Web3 relies on centralizing identity and data — yet, with Web5, the user would be in absolute control of their data and identities through web nodes. Decentralized web nodes.

Following up with Euro News here in regards to Web5's potential benefits…

"One key example could be a digital wallet that securely manages identity, data, and authorisations for external apps and connections.

The wallet would then be used to sign in to a new decentralised social media app, negating the need to create an entirely new profile.

Instead, all the connections and relationships and posts it creates will then be stored through the decentralised web node for future use on different apps.

This gives power back to the consumer, rather than third-party companies, and allows better control over the flow of our data."

That said… Web5 aims to build a new phase of Web3, fixing most of their most passionate critics' objections.

All through the power of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology.

<heading-2-v2>How is Web5 related to Bitcoin?<heading-2-v2>

Like Forbes India says:

"Web5 is developed by the Block Head (TBH), one of Dorsey's Block's business units. The Product Lead at TBD, Mike Brock, clarified that, "there are no tokens to invest in with Web5." In Web5, individuals will have ownership of their data and control over their digital identity, supported by decentralised web nodes (DWNS), decentralised web apps (DWAS), and wallets. 

The platform is essentially a DWP i.e., a decentralised web platform. TBD's prototype documents show that Web5 will allow its users to create decentralised web apps and nodes via DID. DIDs, as described by the Web3 Foundation, are decentralised identifiers that enable 'verifiable, decentralised digital identity.' Dorsey believes that digital assets will one day become the Internet's native currency. Hence, the platform will also have a monetary network centred around Bitcoin."

What's more — Web5 will use Bitcoin's identity protection system to provide real data security and next level control over personal information.

But why Bitcoin?

Because that's where real decentralized systems are — according to Jack Dorsey's latest claims.

Like Cointelegraph says, quoting Jack Dorsey:

"Dorsey's motivation for pursuing a new web development model may stem from his belief that Web3 will never achieve true decentralization. The Block CEO has publicly criticized Web3 and the venture capital community that supports its development. In December 2021, Dorsey tweeted that individuals don't own Web3 — VCs and their limited partners do. "It will never escape their incentives," he said. "It's ultimately a centralized entity with a different label."

However… Will it succeed?

That's on us to find out. Time will tell. But if someone knows about innovation and thinking ahead of time… That's one of our pal's best attributes. Better call Jack here.

<heading-2-v2>But we are here to let you know when that happens.<heading-2-v2>

And you’ll find out here first.

At Spark + Mint, we’re entirely committed to informing our readers about everything Crypto, Web5, Web3, and every Internet-related new exciting news in a non-biased, plain English way.

In fact…

You can be in the know first by subscribing to our Newsletter.

You’ll get all this hot news delivered weekly to your inbox, plus some other freebies to support you on your research.

So, leave your email address, subscribe, and learn more about everything Crypto here!

Again, thanks for reading, and until next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

Is .eth becoming the new .com? Here’s all you need to know.

Aug 4, 2022
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Domain
Domain

Web3 is taking over the internet. Should your brand go for a .eth domain instead of a .com domain?

Web3 is taking over the Internet. Quite literally.

Over the past year, there's been a noticeable increase in the number of .eth (Ethereum) domains purchased — and that can only mean one thing…

Web 3 marketing is paying off. And each day that goes by, more Web2 brands are transforming into Web3 brands… And we're just getting started.

But, what does that mean for you?

Should your Brand go for a .eth domain instead of a .com domain?

If so, what are the benefits? Are you missing out on something big?

We'll answer each of these questions in this article, with the utmost level of objectivity and transparency that you deserve.

So, buckle up, grab your glasses, and pay attention — let's dissect what .eth means for you and the Internet now!

What is a .eth domain?

In a nutshell, a .eth domain is a Web3 domain address.

Or, as Education District further explains:

Also known as Ethereum Domains, Ethereum Name Service (or "ENS" for short ) brings human-readable names to the Ethereum ecosystem. Names in the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) look just like the familiar DNS addresses we use today, with ".eth" initially being the only top-level domain (TLD) available currently.

An Ethereum address looks like a string of mixed case letters and numbers, but behind it lies a private key so that only the owner of that private key can spend or send their ether. Contracts and other various programs each have an address too. That address is called hexadecimal (or hex). That hex is a long string of numbers and letters in mixed case that looks something like this:

0xBq13B846F5aB247qW0ac3

But, why was .eth invented anyways?

Simple: Because Ethereum wallets, pretty much like any Internet address, were long and confusing.

Sharing your wallet could be daunting, because just one small mistake could potentially bring down an entire operation… And make your money wander around the Internet like a stray dog looking for its owner.

Nowhere to be found. And someone else may get your precious money.

That's why .eth were designed for — to minimize risk, and optimize transactions.

Like Morgan Linton says, ".eth has taken off because sharing your Ethereum wallet address is a bit like sharing an IP address, it's hard to remember and a simple typo means someone literally sends money out into the ether. So to make things easier, people have wanted a way to give someone a human-readable wallet address rather than a long string of letters and numbers".

And that's the long and short of it: Optimization, transparency, and of course, simplicity — all in one simple address that could even have your name on it.

But, why is .eth any different than a .com address?

Simply put, because .eth is the next step in the natural course of the Internet's evolution. It's the Blockchain technology in motion — a transformative journey from Web2 to Web3, filling the blanks that the orphan Web2 left behind.

But, enough with the poetry — let's get into some verifiable facts.

Like Brandit says:

"...there is currently no "authority" where IP right holders can claim their rights to "retrieve" the address. Unlike DNS domains, for instance, blockchain-based web domains are not governed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and are therefore not subject to its procedures, such as the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy."

That said, Web3 addresses like .eth provide the user with a level of decentralization that a .com (Web2) address cannot.

Sure — there are still ways to identify an address holder, but not quite. That's because Ethereum is, in nature, anonymous. So odds are that search results would only return a pseudonym rather than the actual name of the domain holder.

But it's not all laughs and smiles here. There's still ground to cover.

Following up with Brandit's point:

"First of all, the very decentralized nature of blockchain-based "addresses" means that anyone can register an "address" composed by "brand.eth". This could cause confusion among internet users.

There is a significant risk that the owner of such "addresses" claims to be the actual Brand and either sells the Brand's "address" and/or enters into financial transactions, allegedly on behalf of the Brand. This is particularly noteworthy in light of the growing number of brands that are beginning to embrace crypto as a form of payment for their goods/services. Even though there is a lot of press commenting on such behaviors at the moment, this doesn't necessarily mean that cryptocurrency "address" holders won't be duped into believing otherwise."

Which means… Confusion for Internet users, and a lot of work for Web3 marketing, in general, to cool the waters in that sense.

What can you actually do with a .eth address?

As things stand today, there's the main use most Web3 brands give to .eth addresses:

Linking their domain with their wallets and dApps, to show it as a username.

In fact, as said earlier in this same article, you can send and receive cryptocurrency (not only Ethereum, you can also link your Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Matic, and so on) using this short link instead of a risky-long, 42-character string.

It's easy to set up, and MetaMask allows you to send tokens by typing your receiver's domain name.

Oh — but there's more…

You can also link your current Web2 website to this domain name, and use regular browsers such as Opera to visit .eth domains.

Easy peasy.

But a natural question arises…

"How do I get my own .eth address?"

Glad you asked. You're the future of Web3, pal.

You see, the setup process is fairly simple. First thing you gotta do is visit https://ens.domains

Second, you'll see a button that says 'Go to app' at the top right corner. Click on it.

It'll take you to the next step: connecting your MetaMask wallet to the app. It'll also ask you to confirm your new connection, which you'll want to accept.

Third step… Is finding your new address. You can quickly type some words like your name, or your Brand's name, and if you're lucky enough — it'll be there, open for you to register.

Finally, ENS Domains will show up the cost for yearly domain ownership — which are usually very affordable.

Now… Voilà! You're a new .eth address owner.

And in case you were wondering…

Brands are hopping on the .eth train too. 

For instance, Puma officially changed their Twitter name to Puma.eth last February following their ENS Domain purchase.

And if that doesn't say something about Web3 marketing becoming something big…

You know the rest.

And what you don't know, we'll help you understand it.

That's right. That's why Spark + Mint is here!

See, we share breaking news on Crypto, Web3, .eth, and everything Blockchain in our Newsletter. It's a weekly release with all the facts, do's, don'ts, and interesting facts that every Web3 enthusiast needs to know about.

And we'd love to see you there.

All you need to do is subscribe — and you're all set.

Of course, if you have any questions, just reach out! Our team will get back to you ASAP.

And that's all for today!

Thanks for reading, and see you next time.

- The Spark + Mint Team

Disney Launches Web3 Accelerator: But what does that mean for you?

Aug 2, 2022
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Web3
Web3

Web3 is taking over, and that also brings big news for everything Polygon, Red6, Inworld, Flickplay, Lockerverse, & Obsess...

Disney is the happiest place on Earth… And Web3.

Last month, one of the world's biggest media conglomerates shocked the world by launching what could be a massive step for everything Web3: Disney Web3 Accelerator Program.

Yes — Web3 is taking over, and that also brings big news for everything Polygon, Red6, Inworld, Flickplay, Lockerverse, Obsess, and hey, even for Disney fans (which we all somehow are).

So, in this article, we'll take a more detailed look at this new Disney project, what it is, and what's most important… What does that mean FOR YOU?

Now, without further ado, let's dive deep into the Disney Multiverse, shall we?

What is a Web3 Accelerator, exactly?

If you're not familiar with the term 'Accelerator,' don't worry. It's more of a buzzword than an actual structure.

But, regardless, let's explain this first:

An accelerator, according to BDC, "is a program that gives developing companies access to mentorship, investors, and other support that help them become stable, self-sufficient businesses. Companies that use business accelerators are typically start-ups that have moved beyond the earliest stages of getting established. They have entered their "adolescence," meaning they can stand on their own two feet but need guidance and peer support to gain strength."

It's safe to say that business accelerator programs are mainly directed towards Start Up companies, including most Web3 and Crypto companies as they stand today.

For that, we can say that Web3 Accelerators (like Disney's) are those business enhancement programs designed to fund, train, and develop Start Up businesses until they've moved beyond their most fragile stages — thus supporting their growth, impact, and overall success.

Now, that's on a more surface level.

The specifics are way more interesting…

What does the Disney Accelerator consist of?

It all comes down to Walt Disney's dream: To create a future in which innovation and entertainment come together. Little did he know how powerful this statement would be, and how far innovation would go.

Like they said in a released statement earlier last month, Walt Disney's efforts in "Combining creativity and innovation, (Walt Disney) built a company that is forever inventing new ways to tell great stories. From the Multiplane camera and the first feature-length animated film, to Audio-Animatronics® and computer-generated animation, Disney has always been at the forefront of technology. Through the Disney Accelerator, select companies will gain access to the range of creative expertise and resources of The Walt Disney Company to help them develop new entertainment experiences and products."

Which means…

These selected companies will have access to investment capital, co-working space at Disney's creative campus, and mentor support from top Disney executives, entrepreneurs, and other notable business leaders from the entertainment and tech communities.

But that's not it, dear Metaverse and Web3 enthusiasts.

There's a not-so-hidden message Disney is making public.

They are heavily invested in Web3 and Metaverse projects — with big cash upfront.

This is massive for the Web3 marketing industry. Media conglomerates, investing funds, and top entrepreneurial minds are setting their eyes on this incipient (but inevitable) revolution for the Internet as we know it…

And same as with Crypto, they don't want to crash late to the party.

That's why, in a nutshell, they not only want to be a part of it — they want to guide and help these projects to thrive…

Because Web3 is no longer an idea. Web3, thanks to real, paramount efforts from countless companies and communities, is now here to stay.

What companies were selected for the 2022 edition of the Disney Web3 Accelerator?

According to Disney's official website, these were the selected companies for this Web3 Accelerator Program:

  • Flickplay: Flickplay is a Web3 social app that enables users to discover NFTs tied to real-world locations that they can experience and share via AR.
  • Inworld: Inworld allows users to create interactive, AI-driven characters for immersive experiences.
  • Lockerverse: Lockerverse is a Web3 platform that empowers creators and brands to tell culture-defining stories and deliver unique access and experiences.
  • Obsess: Obsess is an experiential e-commerce platform that enables brands to create immersive 3D virtual stores on their websites and on metaverse platforms.
  • Polygon: Polygon is a scalable blockchain network that allows developers and enterprises to build Web3 experiences.
  • Red 6: Red 6 is an AR company that has created a patented headset and interface that works outdoors in dynamic, high-performance environments.

Each of these will have the right to work directly with top Disney executives in Los Angeles, from July to October 2022, the date on which they'll have a Demo Day to lay out the details of the hard work they'll be focusing on.

Now, you may be wondering…

"Why these companies?"

For several reasons. One of them is that they went under an exhaustive screening process to qualify for the Disney Web3 Accelerator program, as they said in their FAQ section:

"Your application must include only non-confidential information. Please do not submit any business plans, trade secrets, or "secret sauce." All information disclosed to us in your application will be considered non-confidential public information."

So, no secrets here.

But, each company had its own "sauce" to get selected.

For instance — Polygon. For various reasons, they've been shaking things up and are extremely well known in the Metaverse & Web3 community. One of them is their decentralized Ethereum app-building platform and, of course, their coin: Matic.

Or Flickplay, which Screenrant defines as a "Web3 AR company that focuses on NFTs (called "Flicks") that can be discovered or purchased by its users through augmented reality in the real world." Pretty much a genius, next-level approach to buying NFTs in a user-friendly way.

There's a clear fashion here:

Every project involved solves an underlying problem for a community and could be potentially used to boost the entertainment industry to never explored levels.

Now… The future awaits.

What will come out of this edition?

We shall see. And, honestly, we can't wait.

But there is one way to find out sooner…

And you guessed it. Subscribing to our Newsletter!

There you'll find weekly insights on everything Metaverse, Crypto, Web3, and of course, the outcome of this Disney Web3 Accelerator program.

You can do so by clicking here.

And, of course, let us know if there's any particular subject you'd like to learn more about: We're a community, and you, friend, are a huge part of it.

Thanks for reading, and until next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

If you work online, you should care about the Metaverse. Here’s why.

Jul 28, 2022
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Metaverse
Metaverse

What is the metaverse, why you should care, and how you can invest and take advantage of this new universe brewing...

If you've been around for the past two years, you should have heard the term "Metaverse" several times. Or more.

In fact, you may have seen some news related to the Metaverse on Facebook just today, for example.

But the thing is…

Does anybody really know what the Metaverse is?

Or how does this affect Web3?

Or whether you should be investing in Metaverse projects?

Because, if you don't, don't sweat it — that's what today's article is about.

To explain what the Metaverse is, why you should care, and how you can invest and take advantage of this new universe brewing.

So, now, without further ado…

Suit up, because we're going on a trip around the Metaverse!

What is the Metaverse?

On a high level, the Metaverse is a fictional universe in which integrated virtual environments coexist with users.

Which means… It's a VR space in which you can have a character (or Avatar) to move around, engage with other people, and sometimes even own assets.

Just like The Conversation says, the Metaverse is…

"An integrated network of 3D virtual worlds. These worlds are accessed through a virtual reality headset — users navigate the Metaverse using their eye movements, feedback controllers, or voice commands. 

The headset immerses the user, stimulating what is known as presence, created by generating the physical sensation of actually being there.

To see the Metaverse in action, we can look at popular massively multiplayer virtual reality games such as Rec Room or Horizon Worlds, where participants use avatars to interact with each other and manipulate their environment."

Now, there are several layers to this that ACHE for clarification:

To enter the Metaverse, you'll need a VR headset — a head-mounted device that provides an immersive experience to the user.

Also, while navigating through the Metaverse, you'll be able to move, touch, and even communicate with other users. But rest assured, the 'feel' aspect is limited. It's not like you'll get hurt or anything.

It's like having a way to "fool" your brain to think you're actually in the spot the Metaverse is set on.

And while only the imagination can give us a glimpse of what the Metaverse could be, developers are currently cooking some wild stuff to wow our brains.

And that's always worth keeping an eye on for future investment purposes… Especially if you're into Web3 investing.

What is the Metaverse like right now?

Pretty much like a 3D social network, to put it that way.

See, the Metaverse is on ongoing expansion. Developers are getting more and more creative. And with the current efforts focused on Web3 development, we're at the point where you'll soon be able to do the unthinkable inside this virtual world in a good way.

For instance…

Wired, like they said in their Metaverse article, states that to sell the future look of what this new cyberspace could be, Web3 developers must rely on some sense of familiarity for users to "buy it in":

"The paradox of defining the Metaverse is that you have to define the present for it to be the future. We already have MMOs that are essentially entire virtual worlds, digital concerts, video calls with people from all over the world, online avatars, and commerce platforms. So to sell these things as a new vision of the world, there has to be some element of it that's new.

Spend enough time discussing the Metaverse, and someone will inevitably (and exhaustingly) reference fictional stories like Snow Crash—the 1992 novel that coined the term "metaverse"—or Ready Player One, which depicts a VR world where everyone works, plays, and shops. 

Combined with the general pop culture idea of holograms and heads-up displays (basically anything Iron Man has used in his last 10 movies), these stories serve as an imaginative reference point for what the Metaverse—a metaverse that tech companies might actually sell as something new—could look like."

Another great way to explain what the Metaverse looks like right now is simply looking at Decentraland. A Web3 OG.

This DAO allows users to create their Avatars and explore LANDS (as they define it) — all designed by community members.

To make it more interesting…

You can even sell LAND. Invest in LAND. And trade LAND as well.

So, essentially, we're witnessing the origins of a new digital economy — very similar to what NFTs are and what cryptocurrencies once were.

And sure, it's fine. But you may be thinking…

"Why should I care?"

Let's put it this way:

Facebook (now META) changed its name for a reason. They are and will continue to be heavily invested in the Metaverse, and, therefore, Web3.

Marketing, socials, and transactions as we know them will eventually transform.

And being ahead of schedule is always the right thing to do. Especially if you're into investing.

Like a wise man once said: "3 days before a deadline is where excellence is."

And the deadline for investing in Metaverse seems far away…

But time's running out. Each day that goes by.

And you should also care because the top 1% of companies worldwide are taking the Metaverse more seriously… Putting their money where their mouth is.

For example: Nike. They filed seven trademark applications in 2021 to make and sell virtual sneakers.

Or Walmart, who appears to be venturing into the Metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of NFTs.

And, of course, Microsoft's massive US$68.7 billion acquisition of game developing giant Activision Blizzard.

So, what does that say to you and us?

We're at the edge of something big. And it has a lot to do with Web3.

If big companies are investing… We'd say it's safe to assume that everyone else should. 

Where could we see the Metaverse in 10 years?

Disclaimer: most of the following information is purely assumptive. 

This means there's no sure way to know where the Metaverse will be in the next 10 years… But that doesn't mean we cannot do our best to read the room.

There are 3 "predictions" that we, Spark + Mint, consider most accurate.

First one would be The Economic Times's take: The Metaverse being the new normal for remote working.

"With major players like Meta entering this space and confidently signaling it could be the new future, it is only a matter of time before we see other entities following suit. It could lead to an exponential expansion of the boundaries of the Metaverse and unlock vast volumes of value hitherto unknown to consumers and investors alike. 

The future of Metaverse also spans on an idea of running openly, almost without any interruption from a single community or company, as the participation of creators will be from across the world as more brands are looking to open their outlets on the broader Metaverse just like on the internet of the current times."

Now, for the second prediction, we'll take The New York's Post words here: We might actually be able to travel the world inside the Metaverse.

"Imagine scaling Everest, swimming with hammerheads, or skydiving over the Grand Canyon — without ever leaving your living room. All will supposedly be possible in the Metaverse, a new level of virtual reality being developed by the world's top tech gurus.

In its fully realized form, the Metaverse promises to offer true-to-life sights, sounds and even smells, where a tour of ancient Greece or a visit to a Seoul café can happen from your home, Curry said. Decked out with full-spectrum VR headsets, smart clothing and tactile-responsive haptic gloves, the at-home traveler can touch the Parthenon in Athens or taste the rich foam of a Korean dalgona coffee."

Finally, the last prediction comes from META — through Digitaltrends's words: Metaverse's complete form or capacity may be in sight already. And it's 5-10 years ahead.

"We think the metaverse will build on this foundation to become the next generation of the internet and the next evolution in social technology," said Ruth Bram, Meta executive producer. "Both the hardware and software need more work, and it may take five to 10 years to fully bring it to life."

Bram went on to emphasize that the Metaverse has been pioneered by gaming in how it has allowed developers to build in 3D and people to connect in new ways. But according to the quote above, it might take longer for the larger concept of the Metaverse to be fully realized."

And… If you ask us, it's as real as Web3 developers want it to become. Facebook is hands-on. Investing people are into it too. So, it's just a matter of time…

A matter of 5-10 years, to be precise.

How does Crypto tie in here?

Crypto, Metaverse, and Web3 are thick as thieves.

Just like Fool says: 

"The Metaverse, cryptocurrency, Web3. Besides all three of these things being hot technology buzzwords, what do they have in common? For many tech developers and investors, the Metaverse and Crypto are intertwined and will become part of Web3 -- a decentralized internet controlled by individual users rather than big companies."

But not only that.

Crypto technology and Metaverse come from the same mind: Satoshi Nakamoto.

Thanks to Blockchain technology, both Web3 and Crypto are co-existent.

It's what reduces the cost and speed between transactions and information sharing. What gives life to this virtual ecosystem.

To add importance to the use of Crypto in the Metaverse, it's important to remember that cryptocurrencies were precisely designed to allow the users to regain control of their finances — and its decentralized autonomy that the Metaverse enables the user to experience as well.

Allowing Fool to continue with the subject…

"There are lots of 3D immersive worlds in existence today, such as video games where players can interact with each other in real-time. By some definitions, though, these 3D worlds don't truly become part of the Metaverse until they have a fully-fledged digital economy.

Many of these games and services allow users to purchase digital items. For avid video gamers, this is a common practice. Outfits and accessories can be purchased to customize your in-game look or improve player performance. Cloud computing-based services utilize a similar concept, enabling a free-to-use or cheap starter package but locking premium or add-on features behind a paywall."

So, your BTC, Solana, or Ethereum might come in handy for a quick shopping sesh at the Metaverse after all.

How do I invest in the Metaverse?

As of today, there are three main ways to get yourself into the Metaverse investment world:

  • Virtual land
  • Non-fungible tokens representing art or merchandise
  • Cryptocurrency used in the Metaverse, such as MANA or SAND.

Let's break each one down to lay out more details.

Virtual land. Same as Real Estate, but in the Metaverse. You can buy pieces of virtual land and trade them for other assets — or, like Crypto, you can invest and hold your virtual land for when prices go up.

It's still early, so as general advice, waiting until prices go up seems like the wisest thing to do.

You can learn more about virtual land in Decentraland, for instance.

Gobankingrates lays out the details on investing in NFTs (in the Metaverse), and they say:

"The world-famous art gallery and auction firm, Sotheby's, runs a digital art gallery in Decentraland, Sotheby's Metaverse. Here, you can purchase NFTs of digital art. You can also purchase merchandise in the form of NFTs from top brands like Gucci or Adidas.

If you're purchasing NFTs in the Metaverse, you'll need to login to the Metaverse through the platform or world of your choice, connect your cryptocurrency wallet and make your purchase."

On a high level, you can buy NFT art from the Metaverse as it's easy to accomplish. It's a fan favorite because NFTs are becoming more common over the years and people know what to look for and avoid. So, it's also a safe bet.

And finally…

You can also invest in the Metaverse by purchasing Crypto. Coins like MANA and SAND are in places like Coinbase, so finding their value and fulfilling the transaction shouldn't be any issue.

But, as with any type of Metaverse investment… Doing your own research is the best way to go first. And we recently released a blog showing you how to do just that.

For more insights, there's just one more thing to do…

Subscribing to our Newsletter!

We launch weekly updates and insights on everything Crypto, Web3, and Metaverse, so your research takes less time, and you get a trusted source of information in a noisy world.

Thanks again for reading, fellow enthusiasts.

Until next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

Crypto Winter is here. But, what does that mean for YOU?

Jul 25, 2022
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0
MIN READ
Crypto
Crypto

Crypto Winter is a reality, and as soon as you understand what it is, you'll also know why you shouldn't panic. Most importantly, you'll discover this is a great opportunity....

Winter is coming. 

More like Crypto Winter is almost here — a term that has been trending lately. And no wonder why.

ICYMI, several cryptocurrencies have lost most of their value throughout 2022, and whether you are heavily invested in Crypto or not…

This could have huge implications for you, dear reader.

Regardless of your stand on cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Ethereum, the Federal Reserve's performance, or even who's Inflation's fault…

Crypto Winter is a reality, and as soon as you understand what it is, you'll also know why you shouldn't panic.

But, most importantly, you'll discover that this is a great opportunity — a natural cycle.

So, without further ado, let's talk about Crypto Winter objectively, shall we?

What is Crypto Winter?

In general terms, "Crypto Winter" is a widely renowned term derived from the definition of a Bear Market, which, according to Investopedia, is when "a market experiences prolonged price declines. It typically describes a condition in which securities prices fall 20% or more from recent highs amid widespread pessimism and negative investor sentiment."

In a nutshell…

It means a fraction of the time in which any cryptocurrency in general (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, to name a few) has poor performance in the market for an extended period.

Another great definition of Crypto Winter comes from Forbes:

"The phrase "crypto winter" likely came from the hit HBO series, "Game of Thrones." In the show, the motto of the House of Stark was "Winter Is Coming." It was considered a warning that ongoing conflict could descend on the land of Westeros at any time.

Similarly, an extended period of trouble may be settling over the crypto market. During this challenging time, you must remain vigilant and be prepared for chaos to sweep over the market without much warning.

Defining the phrase even more literally, crypto winter is when prices contract and remain low for an extended period. Analysts believe the wheels of the emerging crypto winter were set in motion earlier in 2022."

And, just like any sort of red flag sign, it affects the investment mentality of several other users, reaching a point of panic selling and weakening the Crypto Market as a unit.

Why? Well, because Winter is coming. And being prepared is a must.

But, what does Crypto Winter mean in plain English?

It means that right now, as things stand, your investing purposes should be more geared towards reducing risk rather than seeking it.

But hold your horses, because this aches for a disclaimer:

At Spark + Mint, we're all crypto enthusiasts. We live, breathe and dream of Web3 — it's our purpose to communicate and educate crypto enthusiasts in a non-biased, objective way.

But… Great power comes with great responsibility, citing the mighty Uncle Ben.

And we can't endorse you to purchase, sell, or hold any sort of Crypto or investment.

Roger that?

Alright, now that we addressed the elephant in the room, let's continue:

Crypto Winter became a trending topic also due to the huge layoff wave caused by the market's recoil.

As you may know by now…

Besides the layoffs, there was a freeze in many ongoing expansion efforts and hiring processes, causing big companies like Coinbase and Gemini to lose millions of dollars in value.

Because transparency and credibility are core values in this business (and in Web3 as a whole), and such a massive turn of events would have side effects.

Addressing the situation like champs, both Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (whom you may know from Facebook) released a statement clarifying Gemini's situation:

"The crypto revolution is well underway and its impact will continue to be profound. But its trajectory has been anything but gradual or predictable. 

Its path can best be described as punctuated equilibrium — periods of equilibrium or stasis that are punctuated by dramatic moments of hypergrowth, followed by sharp contractions that settle down to a new equilibrium that is higher than the one before. This is where we are now, in the contraction phase that is settling into a period of stasis — what our industry refers to as "crypto winter." This has all been further compounded by the current macroeconomic and geopolitical turmoil. We are not alone.

To that end, we have asked team leaders to ensure that they are focused only on products that are critical to our mission and assess whether their teams are right-sized for the current, turbulent market conditions that are likely to persist for some time. After much thought and consideration, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to part ways with approximately 10% of our workforce."

And this leads us to lay out two possible scenarios for both avid Crypto Market followers and those who are not…

If you are heavily involved in the Crypto and Web3 market:

Just like The Skimm says…

"Maybe a lot, maybe a little. It will likely depend on how much exposure you have to cryptocurrency. If you work in cryptocurrency, it could mean facing layoffs in your industry or having a harder time finding new work as companies institute hiring freezes. If you're invested in Crypto, you might see the value of your portfolio shrink even further. Or see it rise. Unlike traditional markets, there's not a lot of precedence to base future predictions on."

This means: don't jump into assumptions.

Bear Markets are natural cycles — regardless of the Inflation rate affecting the world, keeping an eye on your assets is the clever thing to do.

If you're not heavily involved in the Crypto and Web3 market:

Believe it or not, you could still be affected.

Why?

Because big companies have invested in Crypto, most of them are losing money today.

This impacts hiring processes, future investments, and also stock market values.

This includes companies like Tesla, PayPal, Block, and Microstrategy…

So yeah, even if you're not a Crypto savvy person…

We're all in this together.

But don't panic — as mentioned above, it's a natural cycle. It happened first from 2018 to 2020 (even with the Pandemic at its golden age), and its value eventually soared higher than most of us thought.

So, what to do?

Wait it off.

The advantages of Crypto Winter?

Believe it or not, there are major advantages of a Crypto Winter.

And the most prominent one is…

Lower prices.

BTC (Bitcoin) averaged $22,000 in price by the time we published this blog post.

This same date last year (July 25th, 2021) BTC value was $40,000.

So, logically implies that in a Bear Market (or Crypto Winter) value… BTC still has much room for growth — thus creating an opportunity for both savvy and noob investors to get their piece of the cake.

For example…

Coindesk lays out a great example of BTC's advantages in a Crypto Winter: Diversification.

"Like gold, bitcoin is a monetary asset and store of value. Bitcoin shares the characteristic of scarcity that people love so much about gold.

But when measured against many of the most essential characteristics of money, bitcoin has several advantages over gold, including transferability, divisibility, whether it can be seized, security, and privacy.

Unlike the case with gold, we can send bitcoin electronically in unlimited amounts. We can easily divide it up into small increments, unlike a gold bar. While bitcoin is still nascent and not immune to cyberthreats, it can be held securely in an encrypted digital wallet as opposed to gold bars that are difficult to safeguard. And, unlike gold, bitcoin can be exchanged without banking and governmental intermediaries that directly monitor payments."

Still a fine way to invest?

We'd say it is. Especially if you're a big actor in the Web3 universe.

But if you're new to Crypto…

Perhaps waiting it off could be the safest route. Yet, safety doesn't mean it's better.

So… Where do we go?

The million dollar question: What to do?

According to the Cointelegraph, the answer is more tricky than just saying "turn right on the next block", and it involves both DeFi and CeFi protocols:

"With DeFi protocols, the risk of lock-ups to generate marginal yield is yet another major factor, as it limits an investor's ability to react quickly should the market adversely change. Moreover, strategies may carry additional risks. For instance, Lido liquid staking with stETH derivative contracts is vulnerable to price divergence from the underlying asset. 

Although CeFi such as Gemini and Coinbase, unlike multiple other such platforms, have demonstrated prudent user fund management with transparency, yield offerings on digital assets are insignificant. While staying within the risk management framework and not taking aggressive risks with the user's funds is beneficial, the returns are relatively low."

However, the true answer will come in the future, and that's not entirely up to us:

It's up to the entire Web3 and Crypto community to develop novel solutions—a new crypto cycle—that faces Inflation with relentlessness and innovation.

Up for that challenge?

If you're into Web3 and staying informed about these novel solutions for a new generation of Crypto…

Then, Spark + Mint is your place to go.

Apart from giving weekly updates on everything Web3 and Crypto, we release monthly reports on worldwide innovative projects, their benefits, their downfalls, and why they are important.

And you can get immediate access for free. Yeah, it only costs to give us your email, essentially.

So, click the link below, subscribe to our Newsletter, and get weekly updates about EVERYTHING Web3.

Hope you found value in today's post — we'll do our best to keep you in the loop in a non-biased, simple way.

Thanks for reading, and chill! Crypto Winter won't get you frozen. ;)

- The Spark + Mint Team

Web3 Marketing vs. Web2: What changed?

Jul 21, 2022
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Web3
Web3
Marketing
Marketing

Web3 is shaking things up, and that includes changing the way we market products to consumers. Find out exactly how this will change Web2 forever in today's blog post!

Web3 has arrived to shake things up. More than most people are aware of.

And that, my dear Web3 enthusiast, involves Web2 and everything we know about it.

And it makes sense — ever since Web3 adoption became a thing, marketing, blockchain, AI, and decentralization all entered the chat, affecting how users perceive and interact with Web2.

For the greater good?

We shall see. And we'll dig deeper into this subject over the next 5 minutes.

So, sit tight, get comfy, and pay attention: We're about to explain everything you need to know about Web3 Marketing and how it's changing Web2 forever.

Web3 adoption, here we go!

How has marketing changed with the evolution of Web2?

A fantastic way to set the tone for this specific subject is… traveling back in time.

Back in 2008, MarketingMag released an article analyzing the pros and cons of Web2, and how its adoption could be a challenge for users.

Sure, now it may seem pointless (or even funny) given how far we've come since then.

But at the moment… It was a big issue.

Not everyone was prepared to adopt Web2. Same as not everyone is ready to implement and hop on the Web3 adoption train.

Back then, words like decentralization, social media, or AI were out of the radar.

Not to even mention Web3 marketing, Web3 design, or blockchain, of course.

Quoting their article…

"Web 2.0 brings us a step closer to the original promise of the Internet as a multi-directional, amorphous hub of interactivity and commerce. For most of the Internet's history so far, the web has just been a convenient, more up-to-date extension of the traditional publisher-consumer model, where an organizer publishes content for its audience.

This shift in building websites separates content and form, allowing users to upload web content without complicated code – now anyone can easily create web content. Therefore Web 2.0 subverts the traditional broadcast model and chaos reigns. Anybody can be a publisher and find an audience, and consumers have more clout through blogs, forums and ratings sites; influential Web 2.0 sites include social networking site MySpace, interactive broadcasting site YouTube and file sharing site BitTorrent."

Now, in 2022, Web2 is almost heading to the retirement home. For good, of course.

See, dear Blockchain enthusiast, ever since the adoption of Web2, several things have changed.

In the world. In finance. And mostly in how we, humans, collaborate and create new solutions to arising problems.

Web2 became an issue, partially.

It wasn't free enough. And users' needs and several new industries depended on novel ways to achieve more ambitious goals faster.

That entails marketing.

Just like Nftically explains here:

"During the financial crisis of 2008, governments used public money to bail institutions. These had taken a lot of leverage to 'play' the market. In came an anonymous individual (or group) by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. Hence, got deployed the Bitcoin blockchain. The blockchain automated the need for banks or any other central intermediary. It allowed participants from anywhere in the world to send money in a secure and trustworthy way.

Hence, the Bitcoin cryptocurrency from the blockchain gave birth to Web3 as we know it today. It took another few years before we saw the emergence of blockchain applications. Think, smart contracts and decentralized finance (DeFi)."

And with this new need, marketing evolved to embrace decentralized ways to reach audiences, facilitating education, transactions, and even making social media one of today's most effective brand-boosting tools.

This, in a nutshell, takes us to point #2:

Why is education such an important aspect of Web3 marketing?

Short answer?

Education is the only way a user can accept a new reality. Not through indoctrination — educating is laying out the positive notes, same as the downfalls of a specific matter.

See… Web3 is a new system.

Many will call it biz jargon.

But in reality, Web3 design, Web3 adoption, and Web3 marketing are as real as you and us.

You can see it reflected in the new blockchain technology and the digital economies depending on it.

That's why having a trusted source to help you get proper insights into this new era of the Internet becomes a must…

And that's what we strive for here at Spark + Mint.

So, if you're into Web3, Blockchain technology, AI, or even Crypto watch — be our guest and join our Newsletter with just a click HERE.

Now, speaking about trust…

How do you create trust with Web3 marketing?

Pretty much by embracing decentralization.

Let us explain:

Just like Venturebeat says in their article about rebuilding trust in Web3, we must avoid at all costs something Web2 did too often:

Centralizing the web.

They said:

"As Web2.0 mined our interests, activity, and online footprints, a focus on growth over trust opened the door to cybercrime, online harassment, and unconscious bias built into the programming. There is a cyber-attack every 39 seconds, more than 40% of U.S. internet users have reported online harassment, and AI recognizes white-skinned men 34% better than dark-skinned women. So, we simply lose our trust in the web where our data is being breached, our safety is threatened, and technology discriminates against human beings."

Besides, Web2 lost the users' trust because a handful of ultra-large corporations own the leading platforms we use every day…

And that's what Web3 stands against through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Decentralization.

Key features of Web3 marketing

There are two main features ANY Web3 marketing effort must include:

Artificial Intelligence and Decentralization.

Why? Because new technologies could be scary. We get it.

So, applying these two core values (or features) becomes crucial to spread the voice and bring people in, in a friendly, education-focused way.

Let's begin with Artificial Intelligence.

Just like Popupsmart says, "With the Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology (helps computers understand, interpret and manipulate human language) in Web 3.0, computers would be more like a human and understand the data provided better, which would provide more accurate and quick solutions and responses."

AI is here to improve user experience by understanding human instructions, interactions, and data, allowing this feature to provide quicker solutions and tailored responses.

Sure, a human's touch will always be necessary — but AI is not an enemy. It's your best ally.

In regards to Decentralization, SocialMediaDissect shares why it'll play a major role in the Web3 expansion:

"It will hold the property of being decentralized. It can hold information in various locations instead of a single location. This means that there will be no one specific location that stands to be the center of information.

This will eliminate:

  • Intermediaries 
  • Any risks of server failure 
  • Any data being stolen
  • Any external authorization"

Because it all falls back on making access to information, transactions, and education simple for everyone…

And that's what Web3 design, Web3 marketing, and everything blockchain-related aims to accomplish in the next few years.

For that, social media will be a huge asset…

"Tokenization can save content creators from duplicated content, and improve their earnings in the blink of an eye through Blockchain technology"

Web3 and Social Media

Social media and Web3 are like peanut butter and jelly for a sandwich — they work perfectly fine together, especially for research purposes.

However…

There is another huge benefit social media can provide to the Web3 marketing industry:

Monetization.

Just like Smallbiztrends explains when talking about social media sites and content ownership:

"One of the disadvantages of traditional social media sites is that creators essentially have to give up ownership of the content they create the moment they post it online. Instagram's parent company Meta Platforms retains the right to use anything posted on its platform for its own promotional purposes. That includes retaining the right to copy, modify and sell that material and those rights to third parties.

In other words, most creators are getting a sore deal. The videos they spend hours creating are not their own. Companies like Instagram and TikTok might be able to make millions of dollars in revenue from their content, while the ones who make it will be repaid with just a fraction of that amount."

That means…

Web3 and social media can give power back to the people through decentralization.

Why?

Because the user will retain ownership of any material — just like NFT works.

That way, any creator will explode its content knowing exactly the size of the portion they'll get, thus encouraging them to create with confidence, transparency, and righteousness to retain the benefits of their hard work.

For example…

Turning a video into an NFT proves ownership of the material, allowing them to protect their content from piracy or duplication.

Speaking of Social Media…

At Spark + Mint, we're committed to facilitating information sharing and Web3-related news for anyone interested in a simple and digestible way.

That's why we want to encourage you to go check out our Doing Your Own Web3 Research article, in which we lay out the details on how to get started on Web3 and Crypto + some pro tips on how to hit the ground running.

Go check it out and let us know what you think!

Have a great read,

- The Spark + Mint Team

Doing Your Own Web3 Research: A practical guide.

Jul 18, 2022
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Design
Design

Where do you find more information about Web3, what are the trust sources, or how do I start doing my own research?

Web3 is a blue ocean.

This new digital economy (and potential solution for diverse daily issues every Internet user faces) is currently under development by thousands of designers, copywriters, and developers focused on decentralizing the Internet for the greater good of humankind.

This means…

Easy access to information. Fast execution of transactions. And even transparency to build trust among an entire industry.

But this doesn't happen overnight.

It's been under development for many years, and shortly, it'll become a reality.

However…

There is a natural question that follows each and every Web3-related concept.

"Where do I find more information about it?"

"Is there an official, trusted source I can look into?"

Or…

"How do I start my own research about Web3?"

And we're covering everything in between—if you stay for the next 5 minutes—on this article.

Now, without further ado… Here's what you should know:

Where do you start with research?

Imagine you're in a Library. But this Library is completely ungated, and there are no restrictions on what you can dig into.

That's how Web3 research and Web3 education could feel at first glance.

See, since transparency is one of Web3's core values, any type of research (UX research, UI research, and even Behavioural research) will be flooded with information of all kinds and sorts.

It's the usual.

So… The question itself would be more about "how do I know if this source is credible?" rather than "where should I start with research?".

Because, sure — you'll find thousands of blogs, tweets, Discord channels, and even websites from projects laying out all the details on your subject matter…

But truly understanding the parameters to determine whether you should listen or not is where the money is.

So, to help you get started (or level up) your Web3 researching efforts, here's our two cents:

Start by familiarizing yourself with the efforts of different projects in the Web3 universe.

Follow those projects. Sign up for newsletters. Dig deep into the thick jungles of Twitter and Discord. And listen.

At first, it could sound and feel intimidating. We get it.

But it'll pay off. And after listening to enough lousy information, your gut will tell you when to listen.

A great way to get started is by signing up for our Newsletter. We share monthly updates on exciting projects, and what makes them unique.

For instance, we released a Crypto Valley analysis last week — and it's a great example of what you can expect from our updates.

So your Web3 education journey evolves faster… And with the utmost quality standard you deserve.

What exactly are you researching?

According to BanklessDAO, there are different indicators of what you should be researching about, and why:

These are…

1. Cold DMs on Discord and joining servers

2. Advanced Twitter search

3. Forum posts and comments

For this first option, they said that "You'd be amazed at how verbose contributors are when you ask interesting questions. Interviewing people over Discord chat is much less intimidating, too, since both interviewer and interviewee have time to think about their responses and really craft their words.

Joining the Discord server itself is another great way to do research. Cruise around like the lurker you are (or the lurker you've always wanted to be) and see what's going on. Listen in on meetings (I recommend listening to larger community-call or amphitheater-style meetings, since small meetings will likely require you to introduce yourself) and see what people are talking about."

And actually, we couldn't agree more. To understand how the market thinks, you must join the market and engage with it.

For our second take, they start by saying, "If you haven't tried this yet, it's pretty dang fun. You can unearth some super weird, interesting, informative, and downright wild stuff by searching properly through the beast that is Crypto Twitter. That noisy place sometimes feels like searching for a teeny tiny fish in a big wide ocean: what you're looking for might be deep. An advanced Twitter search is your gold mining device".

And, to our point, Twitter is a raw source of unfiltered opinions by expert users on a determined subject. But clearly, you need to understand how to cut the noise — something achievable through practice.

And finally… Forums and comments.

See, whenever you're researching a topic, you want to know what the pains and desires of an audience are. And the best way to do that is by going through comments on specialized forums. That's where people go to share their wins and rant about their mistakes.

And yeah… Web3 education and Web3 research are about creating something that benefits the greater good of humanity, and to do that… We (and Spark and Mint are included here) must all understand what their unbiased thinking looks like.

Now… There is something else you should understand.

And that's how UX Research works, and why it's massively important for Web3.

What is UX Research, and how does it relates to Web3?

UX Research is what makes the Web3 universe balanced.

In short, it's exactly what tells every business in the Crypto, Blockchain, and Web3 environment what they need to do to support their audience's engagement and education processes.

Because, you simply can't solve a problem if your users don't understand what the heck the problem is… Or what they should do.

Like TechTarget says, "UX (user experience) research is the study of learning what end users of a system or product need and want, then employing those insights to enhance the design process for products, services or software. UX research can take different forms depending on the area of focus. For example, for product teams, UX research could mean validating concepts and prototypes; while for marketing teams, it might mean testing brand designs and messaging before launching products."

"Welcome to Web3. A world filled with unicorns, long acronyms, market-moving memes, and slang that changes quicker than a well-executed rug pull."

- The Web3 Glossary, Unstoppable Domains

Like Scott McDonald from the UX Collective well said, there's a major community effort going on to preserve the quality of Web3 design, and how UX is crucial to achieving this:

"Yet despite this growing awareness and investment, web3 remains an enigma to the vast majority of consumers.

  • While 90% of Americans have now heard of cryptocurrencies, only 16% have invested in, traded or used them according to the Pew Research Center.
  • Just 1 in 4 US adults knows what an NFT is, and fewer than 3% own one.
  • Four in 10 US adults surveyed this January said they are familiar with the metaverse, but only 16% could correctly define it."

Which, in fewer words…

This means that it won't go as far as we all hope unless the Web3 community takes UX research—their audience's understanding gaps, needs, awareness level, and sophistication—seriously. It'll remain a secret club. And that's only harmful to the tech industry.

UX Research: A quick crash course.

Let's say there are 4 different ways to perform proper UX Research.

We have…

Behavioural vs. Attitudinal research.

And Qualitative vs. Quantitative research.

Where should you stand in this spectrum? The answer is the most common one:

It depends.

Let's begin with a comparison between Behavioural vs. Attitudinal research.

Behavioural research relies on understanding what people are doing. What they perceive as safe considering their decisions. Meanwhile, Attitudinal research digs deep into what the people are saying. What they feel as a fact.

These two variants are very different because, more often than not, what people say they'll do is other than what they think.

Like User Testing says, "Attitudinal research involves assessing users' preconceived attitudes or feelings toward an experience. For example, this could involve asking a user why they like or dislike a feature on your site prior to using it. In contrast, behavioral research is focused on what the user does. Drawing another parallel to the distinction between quantitative and qualitative methods, behavioral research will tell you what's happening, while attitudinal research helps to provide the reason why it's happening."

Now, Qualitative vs. Quantitative research goes a whole different way.

According to the Scribbr

"Quantitative research is expressed in numbers and graphs. It is used to test or confirm theories and assumptions. This type of research can be used to establish generalizable facts about a topic.

Common quantitative methods include experiments, observations recorded as numbers, and surveys with closed-ended questions.

Qualitative research is expressed in words. It is used to understand concepts, thoughts, or experiences. This type of research enables you to gather in-depth insights on poorly understood topics.

Standard qualitative methods include interviews with open-ended questions, observations described in words, and literature reviews that explore concepts and theories."

Which, in a nutshell, means that Qualitative approaches to research lean more towards the WHY and HOW behind something… And a Quantitative approach tackles the HOW MUCH and HOW MANY sides of things.

Now, is there a perfect way to do it?

No. There isn't.

But considering all four spectrums is key… Especially if you're creating something from scratch, just like any Web3-related venture is.

And at Spark and Mint, we've done our fair share of research.

As many as 100 hours of effort, reading, and testing to create a fully comprehensive DDT report on Switzerland, breaking down some of the biggest players in Blockchain, Defi, NFTs, and Web3.

Want immediate access to it?

Just sign up for our Newsletter, and you'll get a copy immediately.

As always, it's been a pleasure having you here.

Stay tuned for future updates from our team!

- The Spark + Mint Team

A quick tour around Crypto Valley: Learn more about upcoming projects here.

Jul 11, 2022
0
0
MIN READ
Crypto
Crypto

We break down what's going on in crypto valley, how to stay up to date with Crypto and Web3 activity, and why keeping an eye on these projects is essential!

Spark and Mint's primary focus is to help everyone interested in the Crypto, Web3, and tech industry to find the insights they were looking for with little to no effort.

That's why, most of the time, we simplify how complex information is delivered so that anyone in any stage of their Web3 or Crypto journey gets the point.

In this case, we're breaking down what's going on in Crypto Valley, how to stay up to date with Crypto and Web3 activity, and why keeping an eye on these projects is massively essential whenever it comes to detecting profitable opportunities.

That said…

Let's give it a go, shall we?

What is Crypto Valley, exactly?

Crypto Valley is an associated term for the digital, crypto, and blockchain-related industries (and overall digital environment) in Switzerland, as in some other European countries.

But, there's more to that.

Today, Crypto Valley is widely acknowledged as Europe's true crypto kingdom. Same as Silicon Valley, CA is for startup companies, Crypto Valley is pretty much paradise for any crypto and Web3-related business.

But why?

Because it's where the first attempt to normalize and incentivize cryptocurrencies took place.

According to Julius Baer, "Crypto Valley's origins date to 2013 when Bitcoin Suisse and Monetas, a 'digital notary,' put down roots. Critical mass was reached the next year, after a Russia-born, Canada-raised computer geek joined the scene. Inspired by the 2009 launch of Bitcoin, Vitalik Buterin broadened the blockchain behind the digital currency into a software that can be used in other currencies and in various non-currency applications. At only 20 years old, he moved from Toronto to the old town of Zug to start up the Ethereum Foundation. After that, the deluge: more and more companies piled in. One of the recent arrivals is the European headquarters of Beijing-based Bitmain, the world's largest supplier of Bitcoin mining-gear."

This means…

Crypto Valley's foundations come directly from Ethereum's nest. Vitalik Buterin, known as one of the Co-Founders of Ethereum, saw massive potential in Zug, a small town just outside of Zurich, to settle down and work its way to the top.

But there's a natural question that pops out of that…

Why Switzerland?

We can assure you that it was not because of their clocks, chocolate, or landscapes.

Even though it could have something to do with it.

But mostly because of their low taxes, decentralization, high-level of democracy, and a citizen-controlled political system that provides the security every Entrepreneur or Crypto-savvy person desires.

Like Crypto Valley's Foundation says:

"Crypto Valley is uniquely positioned to make the most of the decentralized Swiss political system and its matchless business environment. Zug offers a robust platform for global growth due to its pro-business philosophy and the openness and easy accessibility of its local government. Zug's low-tax, business-friendly environment and fantastic quality of life have attracted many of the world's leading companies, creating an international, cosmopolitan culture and easy access to powerful global networks."

Besides, it's a blue ocean for new companies and network-building opportunities. 

A new digital environment to keep an eye on if you're into Crypto, Web3, DeFi, or Metaverse projects.

What kind of projects are being developed right now?

We're on the verge of unveiling what the hottest projects being developed right now in the Crypto-space — especially in the Switzerland digital space are.

For that, we launch a monthly report dissecting those projects we believe are the most promising ones so that we can provide expert insights and bridge the DYOR gap of information for hyped users like yourself.

For our first report, we picked Switzerland because of its increasingly important environment of Blockchain, Crypto, Web3, and Metaverse projects being developed at the moment — but we're not exclusively talking about Crypto Valley for the future.

This report will touch base on Crypto projects from all around the world, giving away exposure to those exciting and innovative projects that are just at the edge of changing how we perceive the business world and how we do even the most minor things.

Want to get prepared for it?

You better. It's just a few days away. More exactly, July 13th, 2022.

To help you set the tone…

You can check out our latest blog entries on Web3 Design, The Power of DeFi, and Researching about Blockchain by clicking these highlighted links.

How to stay up to date with Crypto Valley?

Easy: Subscribing to our Newsletter!

We give away precious insights, reports, news, and everything Web3-related to our subscribers for free — with the utmost quality standard they should expect.

Besides, you won't want to miss this Crypto Valley report we're just about to launch.

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Web3 Design is becoming the new normal. Here’s how to use it in your favor.

Jul 7, 2022
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Design
Design

We'll break down exactly how Web3 design is becoming the new normal, what it actually means, and how you can use it in your favor to create meaningful experiences.

If you’re into design, you’ll get this a lot in the next few months (if you haven’t already):

Everything related to website building, or even design studios, will move closer to the Web3 environment.

Or, in simpler words:

Anything related to design will eventually be related to Web3. 

Call it Web3 design, Web 3 research, Web 3 education…

Everything will depend on how fast and seamless you implement a Web3 adoption.

Your business, your work-life balance, and even relationships depend on it.

But that’s for a different subject.

Today, we’ll talk about how Web3 design is becoming the new normal, what it actually means, and how you can use it in your favor to create meaningful experiences.

So, without further ado… 

Here we go!

What is Web3 Design?

To explain in simple terms what Web3 Design stands for, we need to take a quick look at the overall evolution of Web from 1.0 to 3.0, so nothing gets lost in translation.

First and foremost, Web 1.0 as we know it began as simple coding and people creating content with limited resources for a limited quantity of people. More like the Stone Age of the Internet, but crucial given that everything we know today came out of that.

Then, Web 2.0 allowed us to create content from anywhere, anytime. The user was no longer limited to just consuming but was empowered to create by centralized organizations that control data, search results, and policies. (Call them Google, Facebook, Twitter…)

On the other hand, Web 3.0 (or Web3) is decentralized and enables users to get full control of their data, content, and general rules. It’s the next generation of how content and communications are channeled, given that user data is generally anonymous, and the Internet runs on the Blockchain.

This is crucial to understand, as great Web3 design cannot be achieved without genuinely understanding what Web3 is as a whole.

Now, speaking about Web3 design:

It can be defined as the core values and principles that rule and guide creative teams to take user-friendly ideas to the Web3 realm in a user-centric and purposeful way.

This means that the overall goal of design from a Web3 perspective is to educate and improve user experience, as, in many ways, Web3 is still theoretical. But not for long.

You can safely say that a designer’s job to boost Web3 adoption is to make Web3 research less exhausting and bring together familiarity with curiosity to increase the chances of this adoption happening sooner than later.

Making the world a better place, if you wish.

What are the principles for good design?

On a high level, design principles are nothing more than widely accepted guidelines to follow when creating a visual experience. This could be a website, blog graphics, a painting, or social media post.

Regardless of the final outcome, there will always be principles you can guide yourself from — and here are the most common ones when it comes to design from a broad perspective:

Good design is innovative
Good design makes a product useful
Good design is aesthetic
Good design makes a product understandable
Good design is unobtrusive
Good design is honest
Good design is long-lasting
Good design is thorough down to the last detail
Good design is environmentally friendly
Good design is as little design as possible

- Dieter Rams

According to Dieter Rams, a famous designer who influenced most of Apple’s initial creations, what’s considered good design is anything that makes the product functional, aesthetic, understandable, unobtrusive, honest, long-lasting, detailed, environmentally friendly, and simple.

There’s a lot to cover here, but here are the essentials:

Good design must make sense. It must educate. And it must be as simple as possible.

Same as great marketing — it shouldn’t feel like marketing.

You can say the same thing about design (and Web3 design): It should feel organic.

How does good design impact the adoption of Web3?

One word: Education.

See, Web3 is still in diapers for most people. It’s not a widely recognized term yet, and it could sound a bit intimidating by suggesting a MASSIVE change happening for users and how they (or we) perceive the Internet.

That’s why Web3 education is one of the core pillars of Web3 design — it empowers the user to bridge the gap between what they already know and what they will discover familiarly.

Now, diving even further into the subject…

Educating the user is a monumental task, and oriented design helps a ton. 

Like Builtin says in their article “Good Design will be Key to Web3 Adoption”:

“3 considerations when designing for Web3:

  • Design with the user in mind. Understand who a given user is and what kinds of Web 2.0 products they actively use, then try to translate those experiences into the Web3 product so that it feels familiar.
  • Design for trust. Web3 is a completely new and foreign landscape to a lot of people, so it’s important to cultivate trust through clear, consistent guidance and informative data. 
  • Educate through your design. Between all the acronyms, portmanteaus, and jargon, Web3 can be a pretty confusing and intimidating place. Designers can lean into this and leverage all the verbiage as an opportunity to educate and inform even the most novice of users.”

Considering that Web3 as we know it is still in the building stages, the role designers, copywriters, and marketers play is massive — in their hands is the future of an entire digital economy and, more importantly: How the user perceives and adopts this new reality seamlessly.

However, there are best practices for Web3 design that facilitate Web3 adoption and Web3 research.

Just like Web3designprinciples lists:

Whenever you’re building Web3 user experiences and interphases, you should consider…

  1. Active Guidance
  2. Consistency
  3. Community
  4. Data Transparency: Provenance
  5. Data Transparency: Transactions
  6. Record-keeping and Code
  7. Newbie Mode
  8. Feedback
  9. Trust

Let’s chop each one of these for a more precise understanding:

When we talk about active guidance, we mean showing new users how to navigate the website or project with little to no guesswork.

Innovative design shouldn’t be confusing or daunting — users must understand where they are and where they can go next with little to no friction.

Now, consistency is a different thing. Consistent tone, fonts, and imagery will set your project apart from others and give it its own twist — without compromising trustworthiness.

Considering the community for your Web3 design purposes is vital as well. This is because, instead of building something for a particular person, you will be creating something for a group of people — frequently from different countries.

UX/UI Design for Web3 is decisive for mass adoption.

Since data transparency and record-keeping both involve a high level of trustworthiness, it’s pivotal to note that design plays a huge role in evoking these feelings in each user.

The same happens with UX/UI design, especially when designing for new users (or, Newbies in this case). Instead of scaring new users with complex interphases, great Web3 design is inclusive and uplifts users to get familiar with it. 

That’s also how feedback and trust finish the equation — you can’t just build something without listening to your users’ opinions. Otherwise, trust will exit the chat.

The bottom line is…

Educating through design is the way to go. And that’s something we strive to do at Spark + Mint for anyone genuinely interested in Crypto, Web3, DeFi, DeApps, and everything in between.

That’s why our three-step approach to Web3 projects is shaking things up.

We focus on helping users and organizations simplify their preparation stage and execute with precision.

Three steps to get you closer to your goal.

Step 1: Research.

Through source-checked information put in simple words anyone could understand, we bring complexity to a friendly, plain English realm. Crypto doesn’t have to be so complicated.

Step 2: Design.

By applying proven processes and best practices in design applicable to Web3, we bring ideas to the tangible world with the utmost quality every project deserves.

Step 3: Market.

What’s a great idea if nobody’s listening?

Just a whisper.

That’s why our marketing team focuses on getting innovative ideas in front of those intended to see and engage with them.

Marketing 101: Be where your prospects are. And we are everywhere.

And we’d love to be in your inbox, too.

Yeah, we would.

In fact, we’re cooking something we don’t want you to miss.

We’ll be releasing our DDT Report on Crypto Valley soon as we dissect the best practices of some of the Top Web3 projects right now.

Interested?

Sign up for our Newsletter and receive constant updates on market trends, Crypto watch, and our DDT Report!

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

What is an NFT? Understand what they are and how they work in under 5 minutes.

Jul 4, 2022
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NFT
NFT

It could be a piece of art, a music album, or even a Real Estate project in the Web3 world. What are NFTs?

Don’t buy an NFT until you’ve read this first. It’ll break your heart.

Yeah, that’s right. Keep your crypto wallet to yourself for a few minutes, and read this before even considering purchasing an NFT.

Okay, okay. That may have sounded a bit aggressive, but hear us out:

NFT projects are an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the Blockchain and Web3 digital economy, even if you don’t know what Solana, Cardano, or Open Sea Projects are.

Sure — you may or may not have heard about NFTs being JPGs but fancier. Or a new art form. Or a new shiny object that would eventually fade to black.

But none are true. It’s a bit more complicated than that. And we want to bring an unbiased description of what you can expect.

That’s why we’ll explain what NFTs are, what it is all about, and how you can get familiar with them before purchasing something to hop on a hype train.

Let’s begin with the basics then:

First of all, what are NFTs?

Nope. It’s not a new e-Sport.

In simple words, an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a digital asset that represents something in the tangible realm. It could be a piece of art, a music album, or even a Real Estate project in the Web3 world. Best part? You can brag about that piece being exclusively yours, as it allows the user to prove, without exception, the ownership of that material.

Quick clarification: By Non-Fungible Token, it means that the token cannot be replaced or duplicated. It’s unique. 

Think about Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Solana (SOL), or Cardano (ADA) — these are all coins, so they could be traded (they are fungible) for each other, and you get the same in return. 

That doesn’t happen with an NFT. There’s no unique one. Or, at least, there are minimal samples to create scarcity or uniqueness.

Now, back to what are NFTs — Forbes defines them very well by saying:

“An NFT is a digital asset representing real-world objects like art, music, in-game items, and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos. The market for NFTs was worth a staggering $41 billion in 2021 alone, an amount that is approaching the total value of the entire global fine art market. NFTs are also generally one of a kind, or at least one of a very limited run, and have unique identifying codes. “Essentially, NFTs create digital scarcity,” says Arry Yu, chair of the Washington Technology Industry Association Cascadia Blockchain Council and managing director of Yellow Umbrella Ventures.”

The recent hype in NFTs explained:

To explain the hype, we must go back in time to explore where it all began.

Zero works as our own DeLorean for this matter, saying that “on May 3rd, 2014, digital artist Kevin McCoy minted the first-known NFT ‘Quantum’ on the Namecoin blockchain. ‘Quantum’ is a digital image of a pixelated octagon that hypnotically changes colour and pulsates in a manner reminiscent of an octopus.”

So we can safely say that NFTs were created as collectibles — a way to buy, sell, and create digital assets supported by Blockchain technology.

Then, a couple of visionaries, Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah, founded Open Sea, now the world’s biggest NFT marketplace, to list projects online. 

This was the beginning of the Mainstream Era of Non-Fungible Tokens, in which projects like CryptoPunks, CryptoKitties, and even Axie Infinity gained popularity as crypto-based video games, supporting that expansion that now rules to this day.

2021 could be considered the year of its final explosion in the market, supported by the involvement of big names in the Art industry like Christie’s and Sotheby’s, who began to sell NFTs.

To set an example, this helped digital artist Beeple sell a token for a record $69 million at a Christie’s auction. Talking about visionaries.

Fast forward to 2022; even the likes of Eminem, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, or Neymar Jr. are NFT owners at different scales.

But now, let’s talk numbers.

How much money is currently in NFTs?

In 2020 alone, long before Web3 was a thing, there was a reported $82 million in sales from Non-Fungible Token projects, setting the foundation for what was coming next.

2021 wasn’t the exception. There was a 21,000% increase in profits from NFTs projects:

https://twitter.com/NftCartelgroup/status/1502943963493371908?s=20&t=vCkVHfw8y-ec0xanvAM_tg

17,6 billion dollars. And that was last year.

What’s coming next? Time will tell.

We CAN say that NFT collectors sent over 37 billion dollars to the marketplace in 2022, and there are five months ahead of us by the time we wrote this post.

So, 2022 will be a record-breaking year for the Web3, NFT, and Blockchain industries. That’s out of the question.

How does it impact the Web3 space and crypto in general?

In many ways. That’s the short of it. 

The long of it, instead, compounds the involvement of several industries, digital economies, and business models — like Influencer Marketing, Web3, and Blockchain working together.

Odd combination? Could be. But Dennie James from the Forbes Technology Council shares an exciting idea about how these three factors could end up empowering each other:

“The market for Web3 digital products is increasing, and it is difficult for people to resist. As a result, the number of creators, including social media influencers, experimenting with Web3 digital products has risen. Although several creators have already built multimillion-dollar brands through such digital effects, many creators continue to struggle. The market is ripe for innovation, and it is sizable, boasting more than 50 million creators. With the power of Web3, creators can reap enormous benefits from NFTs.

It’s 2022, and we’ve all heard of Web3 and NFTs. However, in this new digital era, how can creators effectively leverage NFTs?

Here are three ways:

1. Convert existing content to NFTs.

2. Create unique and new content for NFTs.

3. Link NFTs with other products and services.”

If you ask us, it’s spot on — NFT, Open Sea, Web3, and the Blockchain industry, in general, could potentially boost not only the Influencer Marketing business model but also Design, Marketing, and even Real Estate.

How? Through the use of smart contracts to speed up negotiations and execution, for example.

Nonetheless, one aspect that cannot be ignored is that Web3’s concept and principles could take NFTs to the moon based on the trustless approach to transactions and new ways to generate profits.

For example, the appeal of NFTs critically relies on community building for asset holders, offering perks such as:

  • Meetups
  • Special offers
  • Early access to new projects

Just like Nike, Taco Bell, and Coca-Cola have done, they’ve immersed themselves in this booming digital economy, pushing other relevant actors to do the same to avoid getting left behind. FOMO is all over the place, but massive news for Web3, Crypto, and NFTs in general.

How to tie utility to NFTs?

If there’s anything the Web3 and NFT thunderbolt rise has taught us, it is that creativity and simplicity sparks excellence.

However, there are standard procedures to tie utility to NFTs — and the core value here is connecting your new creation to a real-life use case scenario.

Not just creating a Non-Fungible Token, listing it on Open Sea, and sitting hoping for the best.

For example, Gary Vee lays out some core standards for adding utility to NFT projects:

How You Can Turn an NFT Into a Real-World Utility for Your Business

“This is about identity. This is about social currency. People buy expensive clothes, jewelry, vehicles, and vacations because humans are communicative animals. This is why they buy tokens, too.” - Gary Vee.

Now, back to adding utility, there are three great ways to get started.

Legit Method lists them below:

  1. Creating your NFT to be redeemable
  2. Fit in your NFT to the real world
  3. Make your NFT usable in the metaverse

Let’s explain each one of these right here:

First, when talking about redeemability, we mean making these NFT projects some sort of good — either physical or digital. You can add a benefit from purchasing that NFT, such as shipping a physical product immediately after they buy.

The second is to find a real-world necessity and connect it to the NFT universe. For example, in the stock market — when someone buys a share, they are supposed to get a percentage of the value of that share they are holding. This could apply to your NFT project by offering a portion of that dividend to your asset holders. That’s utility at its finest.

And finally, you can make that digital asset open gates to other benefits — BTC consulting, Ethereum projects, or Solana-based gaming. The possibilities are endless.

See, when someone buys an NFT receives exclusive access to pre-sales of future collections — which automatically adds utility to the project.

In summary, these are the characteristics your next NFT venture should have:

NFTs, to be considered as such, must have three core characteristics. CG Modern Art says it best below:

  • Indestructible: NFTs are permanent digital assets. Unlike a physical work of art that can break, be burned, or meet any number of calamities, an NFT lives forever in the blockchain. And as you should know, physical art does need to be taken care of, unlike an NFT.
  • Connected to an asset: NFTs are unique because they are linked to a specific asset. These assets differ, making each NFT one of a kind. While these assets are linked to it, they aren’t the same thing as an NFT, which only proves non-copyright ownership.
  • Indivisible: Being linked to an asset also means that NFTs can’t be divided up. While most cryptocurrency tokens can be divided into many units, an NFT cannot. That indivisibility helps maintain the original value.

And we’re happy to shine some light on NFTs, Web3, Blockchain, and Crypto.

Even more, if you subscribe to our monthly Newsletter.

Our editorial team could help you save several hours of research and support your Web3, Blockchain, and NFT journey with insightful resources from a trusted source.

Even news about Bitcoin, Solana, Ethereum, or Cardano — we’re putting everything together comprehensively, so you can understand what’s going on in plain English.

So, sign up to receive monthly updates and share this post on your social media to help us get a bit more exposure. We’d be forever grateful.

Until next time!

- The Spark + Mint Team

Discover the Power of DeFi : A complete beginner’s guide to use it in your favor.

Jun 23, 2022
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Defi
Defi

We’ll sync up on what DeFi is, how it works, how it affects prices, smart contracts, and how it’s related to Web3 with DeFi design and DeFi marketing involved.

DeFi is a term you’ll have to get familiar with sooner than later because it’s taking the finance world by storm. And you better have an umbrella, because when it rains, it pours.

It’s a concept that has been shaking things up in the finance and Web3 virtual ecosystems, and it’s here to impact the design and marketing worlds and even the way we conceive transactions from a high level.

So, to make this topic a bit more comprehensive, we’ll sync up on what DeFi is, how it works, how it affects prices, smart contracts, and how it’s related to Web3 with DeFi design and DeFi marketing involved.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s much simpler than it looks.

Now, let’s get started, shall we?

What is DeFi?

DeFi stands for Decentralized Finance, which can be defined as an alternative to Centralized Finance, in which financial instruments can be used and moved without having intermediaries. This is possible through smart contracts and blockchain technology (which we dissected in our latest blog post — check it out here).

This means that DeFi, in general, advocates for financial liberty and the power of taking ownership of your assets without having to rely on external (and centralized) entities to do so.

But it all started a long time ago, more precisely in 2008.

This person (or persons, or business), Satoshi Nakamoto, created what is now known as Bitcoin (shortened as BTC) — the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency. 

He (or them) was responsible for the Bitcoin whitepaper (2008), its first implementation, and the original blockchain database. But that’s enough of ancient history for now — in short, that’s how DeFi was created and is directly affecting many areas such as finance, retail, and even creating new principles as in DeFi design and DeFi marketing.

Now, following the original line of thought, and just like Coinbase says:

“DeFi (or “decentralized finance”) is an umbrella term for financial services on public blockchains, primarily Ethereum. With DeFi, you can do most of the things banks support — earn interest, borrow, lend, buy insurance, trade derivatives, trade assets, and more — but it’s faster and doesn’t require paperwork or a third party. As with crypto generally, DeFi is global, peer-to-peer (meaning directly between two people, not routed through a centralized system), pseudonymous, and open to all.”

This, in plain English, means that even though the standard process for asset building and management requires a centralized entity’s support (let’s say, a Bank) to trade, borrow, or buy, in this case, you can practically do the same minus the paperwork or delay that standard Centralized Finance involves.

Besides, it’s faster because it’s based on a P2P system, drastically reducing fraud attempts and providing secure communication.

Pretty simple, isn’t it? 

“It is. But how does DeFi work? Are there any more benefits?”

And that’s a great question. Let’s begin by explaining how DeFi works in a nutshell.

According to Investopedia, DeFi “uses the blockchain technology that cryptocurrencies use. A blockchain is a distributed and secured database or ledger. Applications called dApps are used to handle transactions and run the blockchain”.

This means that decentralized finance involves pretty much the same technology that Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many other cryptocurrencies use in a wide range of matters — call it DeFi Design, DeFi Marketing, or blockchain applications overall.

Now, diving a bit deeper into the functionality of Decentralized Finance:

It’s crucial to understand that these decentralized transactions are first recorded in “blocks” (as in blockchain), which users verify beforehand. 

If the user accepts and verifies the transaction, that block is considered closed and encrypted. This equation repeats itself several times to provide the utmost standard of security to each transaction for both parties.

There’s a great analogy to explain how Decentralized Finance works — comparing this model to the familiar one: Centralized Finance.

Think about your last trip to the Bank to ask for a loan.

Sorry for bringing up those unpleasant memories, but bear with me for a second.

You enter the Bank. Go to the front desk. Ask to see your executive, and start negotiating your loan. The executive lays out the terms and conditions. Then, they do some background checks, and if you’re lucky enough, you get your loan approved with crazy fees.

That’s how it works for Centralized Finance. Now, Decentralized Finance, on the other hand…

It’s much more straightforward, frictionless, and trustworthy.

Why? Because it’s based on simplicity — the same goes for DeFi design and DeFi marketing.

Decentralized Finance is an umbrella term for financial services in the blockchain space — primarily based on Ethereum. 

That said, there are key differences that make DeFi special: Its inherent benefits!

For example…

  • It allows the user to hold its money instead of having a third party do so 
  • The user controls where the money goes instead of allowing companies to manage it for them
  • Transactions are not coupled to the user’s identity — they use a pseudonym
  • Transactions happen within minutes, instead of waiting for business days
  • The market is always open, au contraire from banks who usually take days off

And most importantly…

DeFi is open for anyone to use. Centralized Finance pushes the user to apply to use their financial services, making it tedious, more complex, and inaccessible for some people.

That opens up the DeFi market for several agents, opening the gates for new ways to include design, web applications, and even marketing formulas to simplify people’s lives for the better.

Sure, not everyone knows what a smart contract is, or what Bitcoin, Decentralized Finance, or even Web 3 are all about — but eventually, every design, marketing, and finance component will fall into the DeFi environment… And we want to help people be as prepared as they can by when the time comes.

How does DeFi improve the current state of trading?

Short answer: It simplifies, speeds up, and empowers transactions from a peer-to-peer standpoint. 

That’s because DeFi, the same as Web3, enables both involved parties to exchange assets in significantly less time than Centralized Finance would allow them to.

It’s also crucial to note that, because the market is always open, transactions could happen within minutes at any time of the day, any day of the year.

No holidays, no sick leaves, no business days.

Your money, your conditions, on your time. That’s how DeFi brings people together.

How does DeFi make cheaper financing possible?

By simplifying how financing is done, in fewer words.

But first, let us explain what a DeFi loan is.

A DeFi loan is like a basic centralized bank loan but with a trustless approach. It allows the user to lock their assets without worrying about intermediaries. It’s P2P lending, directly from the decentralized platform.

Instead of negotiating with a bank, you’ll accept the terms and conditions from a particular lender and get your loan within minutes. It’s designed to work at a fast velocity, reducing friction to the bare minimum.

According to 101 Blockchains, “DeFi lending helps users lend their crypto to another individual and earn interest on the amount they have loaned. Conventionally, banks have been the go-to destinations for any loan. If you needed a loan, you had to go to the Bank. However, the rise of DeFi has enabled any individual to become a lender, just like a bank. You can loan your assets to others and accrue interest on the loan”.

Following that line of thought, DeFi makes cheaper financing possible because of its core principles:

  • Programmability: Allowing users to automate the execution of smart contracts.
  • Self-custody: Allowing users to protect their assets with Web3 wallets, like Metamask in the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Interoperability: Allowing users to obtain loans in different cryptocurrencies.
  • Permissionless access: Allowing users to use DeFi apps, as long as they have a crypto wallet.

In short, DeFi makes financing cheaper through simple, frictionless programming and functionality.

Or, like Mashable defines using DeFi for personal benefit: “Dead simple, even for a newbie.”

Is DeFi the future of finance?

The future could come knocking on our doors anytime. But saying that DeFi is the future of finance is a safe thing to say. 

Especially considering how it has reshaped the financial system and made millions of people question how they’ve put up with Centralized Finance for so long without looking for an accessible alternative for true financial freedom.

In Duke Corporate Education’s words:

“On many dimensions, our financial system is letting us down. Retailers, often operating on razor-thin margins, not only face 3% transaction fees on credit card transactions but wait weeks for funding to show up in their accounts. Why is money transfer today so expensive, slow, and insecure? And consider some of the other more general problems with the current financial system. Why are savings rates zero or negative? Why are borrowing rates so high? How is it possible, in the age of the internet, that it can take two days to transfer ownership after buying shares in a company? Why, during the global financial crisis, did we have to bail out the very institutions that caused the crisis? And why are 1.7 billion people in the world unbanked – and many more underbanked?”

This seeds an exciting question:

How could it not be the future of finance if it’s solving the main problems Centralized Finance has been carrying for centuries?

And, even more, how could it not be the future of finance if it’s supporting an entire digital ecosystem, providing jobs, and enabling transactions without much more trouble than having Internet access?

Food for thought.

What challenges could hold DeFi back from growing?

Yet, we can’t see the world through rose-colored glasses — there are challenges, and some are far from being solved.

According to Entrepreneur, DeFi is mainly appealing due to its inherent decentralization. Forgive the redundancy, but decentralization is one of DeFi’s most vital selling points to convince people to join.

However, as things stand today, replacing laws and regulations with smart contracts could not be for everyone.

As they said:

“An impartial ecosystem backed by automation sounds terrific — kind of like the science fiction utopias imagined by Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. But the reality is that the darker elements of human nature can still interfere with this utopian environment, as you can see from the history of failed cryptocurrency projects like Mt. Gox and BitConnect.

Although Bitcoin’s blockchain technology is designed to be nearly impenetrable, there’s still the possibility of the network being compromised via a 51 percent attack. Additionally, the development of Ethereum and smart contracts has been no stranger to controversy, with many of the most utopian promises from its developers not being met.”

Sure, it’s a long way to the top, and most challenges are being tackled — but there’s work to do.

Bottom line, there’s hope for DeFi to overcome its inherent challenges — that’s what technology is all about—reshaping the present to live a better future.

And we’re throwing in our two cents of advice on Web3, Web3 design, and DeFi in our Newsletter.

Yeah, we are.

We believe that doing your research builds character, but it shouldn’t be as draining as it is now.

That’s why we send monthly reports, updates, and reading topics on Web3, Web3 design, Web3 marketing, and DeFi to our readers in our monthly Newsletter.

BTW — we’d love it if you could share this post on your social media. It’ll help us a ton.

Now you know what to do! Sign up for our Newsletter and spark your knowledge with a trusted source speaking plain English.

Until next time,

The Spark + Mint Team

Exhausted from doing your own research about Blockchain?

Jun 20, 2022
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MIN READ
Blockchain
Blockchain

Lay the groundwork for Blockchain technology, what it is, how it works, and how you can apply Web3 design practices to your Blockchain development efforts.

Here’s how it works.

The crypto ecosystem relies mainly on DYOR (Do Your Own Research), a newly adapted tagline or slogan for this go-get-it culture we live in. That's yesterday's news.

However, it doesn't really matter if you're a seasoned crypto enthusiast or a newbie trying to navigate the turbulent waters of a new digital blue ocean… At some point, you thought:

"How do I know if I'm researching the right stuff, the right way?"

Words less, words more, that's what it all boils down to. Finding a reliable source of information to do your own research with a guide.

Even more if you're a Blockchain designer, Blockchain developer, Marketing Manager, or just want to become one and pursue a new career in the Web3 universe.

That's why we at Spark + Mint will start from scratch and lay the groundwork for Blockchain technology, what it is, how it works, and how you can apply Web3 design practices to your Blockchain development efforts.

So, without further ado… Let's get the ball rolling.

What is Blockchain, exactly?

Let's start laying out some foundational aspects. According to IBM, taking a more technical approach to the Blockchain, they define it as "a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible (a house, car, cash, land) or intangible (intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding). Nothing of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all involved."

Blockchain technology, in plain English, strives to make information exchange more accessible, immutable, and secure than regular data-sharing applications. This allows parties to share and receive critical information in less time, only accessible to those explicitly allowed to.

Think of it as having a safe house with unique keys only you and a handful of people you trust have access to.

So, as a quick recap, we can agree that Blockchain technology acts as a distributed and extra-safe digital ledger that can store data of any kind, at any time, in a fast and reliable way. Not much to add to it.

How does Blockchain technology work?

There's no coincidence Blockchain includes the word 'block' in the spelling. 

Like 101blockchains explains, "In a blockchain, there is a linear chain of blocks, and each block is connected to the previous block. How? Each of the blocks contains four key components:

  • Data — Any information that you want to store securely in the blocks
  • Hash — Unique identifier assigned to one specific block
  • Hash of the Previous Block — Includes the previous hash value to construct the structure of the blocks
  • Meta Data — Relevant data regarding the data inside the block, i.e., timestamp or block number.

These four components essentially create the skeleton of the entire Blockchain."

Now, a quick translation — Blockchain technology, in simple terms, works as a decentralized database and stores data, working like a literal chain of interconnected blocks.

First, data is entered into a block that gets assigned a Hash (a given function). That Hash is also chained to a previous has value, following the chain of commands. Finally, each data entered has Metadata, like timestamps or block numbers.

A comprehensive chain of values that make information exchange and security seamless.

So, what are the benefits of Blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology has massive benefits for many industries, and it's easy to adapt to design, development, and execution.

However, we'll first lay out the details at a high level before deep-diving into the specifics.

As Forbes mentions, there are 4 key aspects to consider as benefits of using Blockchain technology regardless of your industry.

These are:

  1. Greater transparency
  2. Increased efficiency
  3. Better security
  4. Improved traceability

But what does this even mean, right?

First, transparency is something that Blockchain technology waves as a flag. Transaction ledgers are open to public view, which adds a robust layer of accountability to act in pro of the company's growth and its own reputation.

Now, efficiency is also a benefit that takes the crown — it mainly eliminates the need of having middlemen chiming in your transactions and charging crazy fees. 

When we talk about better security, we mean that Blockchain technology enables companies to protect their assets with higher capacity. Each transaction is linked to a previous one and totally encrypted. 

Taking their own words for it, "This immutable and incorruptible nature of Blockchain makes it safe from falsified information and hacks. Its decentralized nature also gives it a unique quality of being 'trustless' – meaning that parties do not need trust to transact safely."

Like an incorruptible safety net for information exchange. 

And, finally, improved traceability — like leaving a trace of footprints to understand where the assets or information comes from, preventing fraud, or just verifying the authenticity of the transferred assets.

Magic in the making.

Creating on Blockchain 101: Bitcoin or Ethereum?

That's a common question we get at Spark + Mint. 

"If I want to create on Blockchain, should I go for a BTC-based structure or ETH?"

And hey, it truly depends on what you want to achieve. So let's first differentiate between both mechanisms.

Let's say Bitcoin works as some sort of digital version of gold. Why? Because it's scarce, durable, and easily interchangeable and divided. Besides its value, of course. It's also the first digital currency ever created and the waving flag of the Web3 ecosystem.

Now, Ethereum (also a digital currency) is more similar to a decentralized computer for the world, as it is where most networks run decentralized applications.

More similarities? They are both based on Blockchain technology and are decentralized (AKA — not regulated by centralized entities).

Now, here's where it gets controversial:

Are BTC and ETH really competitors? Or are they the perfect complement for each other?

Depending on which goal you're going after.

That's what it all falls back to. BTC is more included to function as a store of value, while ETH is used to interact with apps to create more decentralized apps. 

So, if you're a Web3 developer or Web3 designer, you must ask yourself:

"What am I really trying to create?"

Having this sorted out in advance will save time, headaches, and guesswork. 

If your main objective is to create tradable assets to store value, perhaps the BTC Blockchain is where you want to get yourself into.

If you're more into decentralized applications, ETH is what makes a bit more sense for its perks and leverage ability. 

An excellent source for more in-depth information on key differences between BTC and ETH can be found here in this fantastic article by Cointelegraph — it saves a lot of research time.

How to apply design principles to Blockchain and Web3 design?

Design principles are those elements that must be present and considered when creating visual experiences for a particular audience.

There are specific elements. So we'll name the most important to set the scene.

Trust is key.

See, Blockchain is built on trust. If you want people to use your interphase and exchange assets or create apps, they need to trust you in every single way.

And that's where design magic comes in.

For example, if you want users to trust you and navigate your application, you must have a human-centered approach to visual experiences and execution. This means making content and navigation intuitive, so even if not tech-savvy people use it, they can accomplish their goals.

Nothing is more frustrating than not understanding what is happening and what to do next, so as a Web3 and Blockchain designer, you need to create for everyone, not just the experts.

Now, talking about trust — design must meet that expectation. Blockchain technology functions to exchange sensitive information, so plan and interphase must be as reliable. That's why your application must be as transparent as possible.

And, finally, simplicity — less is more. Taking Merge words for this one, simplicity is achievable through "a single design language to stick with it as much as possible. It helps users navigate your product easily, identify where they are at any given time, and recognize what actions they can take next. Your blockchain project will be more successful if it has a clean and uncluttered interface that follows a consistent design language throughout."

Best practices for Web3 and Blockchain design

According to the UX Design Collective, keeping it simple is still king. And that's how language and communication become crucial.

Like they say in their Design Principles for Web3 article:

"Reducing the amount of technical jargon. There's a whole new vocabulary that's floating around when it comes to Blockchain. Websites that simplify languages for the average person to digest will be miles ahead. I'm thinking of de-fi (aka decentralized finance) dApps especially, with words like liquidity pools, mining, tokens, protocols, smart contracts… I mean if you're not in the world of Blockchain, you might as well have had been reading hieroglyphics. Using technical language makes it harder for users to understand the value of your dApp. Where language can't be obfuscated, glossaries and help icons should be implemented to help the user understand and refer back to. (See example of Ethereum's glossary). Understandably, where dApps might have different target audiences (e.g. Golem for developers), this might warrant different language. But for the majority of dApps that are aimed at the general masses, keep the language accessible, especially on the home page."

Because, think about it: You may be an expert, but following the DYOR dilemma, most users are either not experts or on their way to becoming one — so as simple as you can go is always the best.

A fantastic way to explain the problem and how to speak the same language your audience does is through video explainers.

Like Metamask did, for example.

This allows them to address the problem and bridge the information gap in a clear, user-engaging way.

Another best practice to consider is enabling easy access to private key management, like Mayank Sharma says in his article:

"The private keys that enable users to access their digital wallets aren't easy to store. People sometimes forget to back them up or don't know how to do so. These keys cannot be recovered once lost: There is no "reset password" option. Designers can solve this problem by following the example of MetaMask and providing each user with a seed phrase, a series of words that can be used to unlock their wallet.

Designers also need to warn users that their funds will be inaccessible and vulnerable to theft if they lose their private keys or seed phrases. Such a message should pop up in a user's wallet app, first as a notification when setting up the wallet and then as a recurring reminder on a preset schedule."

Eager to learn more about Web3 design and get recurrent updates?

Then you'll love our Newsletter. We send monthly reports, updates, and exciting reading topics on Web3 and Blockchain to support your growth journey.

If you made it this far, we'd love it if you could share this post on your social media sharing your feedback. It'll help us improve and grow. 

So, sign up for our Newsletter, and spark your growth!

Until next time,

The Spark + Mint Team

Designing Core dApps on the NEAR Protocol

Apr 20, 2022
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Sparks are streams of consciousness about the empire we're building! This post is about our teams efforts to collaborate with PrimeLab on building the dApps marketplace on the NEAR protocol.

Primed for Growth

Building a marketplace is an ambitious endeavor within any business category.

Building an open source ecosystem on a Layer 1 chain from the ground up is just all out madness! 

It's hard to follow the bouncing ball when it comes to how networks spawn, develop and launch - but the short story with NEAR was that some of its core people/founders exited the Foundation to start PrimeLab in an attempt to build a Product Studio that could assist in building the products that will help open the door to mass adoption of the NEAR blockchain.

Near Protocol, PrimeLab

PrimeLab empowers both people and business to start anything within the world of Web3.

The products that are being built offer NEAR powered applications to be deployed in minutes instead of months and also offer consumers an ecosystem of valuable experiences  within a marketplace of dApps.

Weavik + Spark

Spark + Mint's Founding Partners, Weavik, was already working to support PrimeLab when Spark began to form.

With the requirements for excellence ramping up and the need to deliver on dozens of products in a short period of time, Sparks team of Web3 Product Designers were engaged to help define, design and deliver a suite of dApps within an accelerated sprint timeline. 

The learning curves are steep, the pressure is real - but so is the fun, the opportunity and the vibe of building a universe on the fly with a group of passionate builders. Some takeaways:

  • Onboarding into Web3 sits at the Crux of everything.
  • Fiat + Crypto playing nicely together is key to strong UX.
  • NFT's bring the opportunity for fun + community like never before.

Macbook pro with NFT signup through merchant or customer logins

A Theatre NEAR You?

You may be thinking - this all sounds lovely, but how can I engage on the NEAR Protocol and start exploring these awesome dApps that have been developed?

The truth is - you can explore NEAR now, but the dApps, well - you'll have to wait a bit until PrimeLab ships so: stay tuned and stay connected.

Here's how you can engage with NEAR today.

  1. Learn more about NEAR directly from the source here.
  2. Learn about the new USN Stablecoin that JUST launched here.
  3. The Kraken exchange does a nice job of summarizing NEAR's history.
  4. Nerd out and watch April's Town Hall! 

Interested to Apply for a NEAR Foundation Grant?

Our cofounder, Brian Haacke COO, has helped companies raised over 2M in Grant Funding with Layer 1 chains like NEAR and CELO.

If you'd like to talk to Spark + Mint about funding your new venture, click the "connect" button on the top of our site and lets find a time to chat.

The Web3 Music Revolution

Apr 20, 2022
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Developing the brand identity for the free artists dao

Something Sounds New

Innovation shapes culture and culture shapes innovation.

The Web3 world that we're trying to shape together isn't just about tech - it's predominantly about improving the way we operate, collaborate and create opportunities for one another in this world we share.

It's about taking the power away from the few and putting it into the hands of the many or at least - creating the opportunity to give the voiceless a voice.

Free Artist DAO

The music industry is far from perfect and most would describe it as pretty archaic and top down with the power and control resting in the hands of the Label.

Web3 is giving new hope to empower music makers looking to start creative projects and build communities around them.

While NFT's are becoming an essential piece of any Web3 Musical strategy, It's the DAO's (decentralized autonomous organizations) that hold the largest key to shaping the way artists raise funds for their work and create communities that can share in the future value the artists create.

Spark + Mint is humbled to have had the chance to help one such DAO - The Free Artists DAO, get their ball rolling through core Brand definition and identity work.

Brand definition and artwork direction for Free Artist DAO

DAO Records

From a design perspective, what could be more fun than creating a new record label - let alone a decentralized one called "Free Artistis".

It was and remains one of the most creative and inspired brand work any of us have engaged with in our careers. The brand ambitions were bold: 

  • We wanted to create a warm, inclusive brand that shares a less dystopian vision for the future - more solar punk than "Matrix".
  • We wanted to brand identity to evoke a movement and community with collaboration and support for musicians and artists around the world.
  • We wanted the brand to evoke a feeling of what it means to express oneself freely.

DAO Records for Free Artist DAO

Sprint for Your Freedom

In order to be able to complete our goals for this collaboration in a short period of time and allow our team to be unblocked to activate their community building and marketing efforts and get into Product development mode, we needed to work fast and rely on frameworks and processes to accelerate Brand Development work.

Ultimately, the process was super collaborative and because of that ongoing and constructive approach - we were able to come to an identity we were all excited about.

Stay in The Know!

The Free Artists DAO is still in development. If you're interested to connect with their team re: investment, careers or partnerships - let us know and we'd be happy to make an intro.

Fractionalized Ads In Sports

Apr 20, 2022
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The next BIG thing in sports sponsorship

A New Formula For Race Teams

Everything in Web3 is about reformulating realities across sectors to make things more open, accessible and transparent while creating new systems to manage access, acknowledgment and compensation.

In the advertising arena, it's common for sports teams and leagues to be at the forefront of innovation, looking at new models to create value for their sponsorship partners while adding value to their product for the fans.

Over the past few years, we've seen digital overlays replacing more traditional 'stickers' on arena/stadium walls, sidelines, fields and concessions.

In the world of racing, the vehicles themselves hold all the primary keys of value, covered front to back in branded advertisements.

The race teams are therefore limited in the real-estate they can sell to bring in sponsorship for their teams ,or at least - they used to be.

Porsche Racing around circuit

Opening The Crypto Track

Swiss DAO is a new, Web3 Sports Advertising Product company working with Spark + Mint to modernize the experience and opportunities for all parties to engage around location specific advertisements in Sports.

The founding team has its roots in the world of racing and so - it's here that we're focusing our product efforts out of the gate to enable: 

  • Crypto based sponsorship payments
  • NFT based representations of purchases (with utility) 
  • A smarter way for brands to engage with the teams & sports they care about.

Crypto NFT imagery

Your NFT on A Porche?

This new era in sports marketing doesn't just impact massive brands, but also opens the door for smaller businesses, NFT collectors and investors alike to gain access to previously inaccessible vehicles for advertisement and promotion (pun intended!).

Does that mean that you might one day find your NFT circling around a race-track towards the victory line? Anything does feel possible again in this Web3 era.

Weavik Ignites The Spark

Apr 20, 2022
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How Weavik's Investment helped Spark + Mint come to life.

A Shared Creative Capital Vision

I'd been thinking about starting a new Design Studio that would focus exclusively on Web3 ventures, but I didn't want the domain focus to be the only point of differentiation.

I wanted our design studio to embrace the same core principles that were starting to form in the Web3-verse, and I wanted to go beyond the fee for service model and participate in future value we'd be creating for the companies that we'd partner with.

Creative Capital Artwork through Spark + Mint

Venture capital is a well defined practice, but Creative Capital (inspired by FKTRY) is a lesser understood business model which is ideal for a world where new digital assets like Crypto and Tokens literally represent the value that's being created in the marketplace.

I shared some of this early thinking with Brian Haacke, who was in the midst of growing a 40+ person dev agency called Weavik in Waterloo, and had recently exited a specialist Web3 Development Agency that he helped start a few years back.

Not only was Brian excited by the idea, he quickly shared that he'd already been actively working for months to get a very similar studio off the ground only, he couldn't find anyone passionate & experienced enough to lead it.

Timing is everything in life and you just can't make this stuff up.

Our inspiration into Creative Capital Studio

After a few weeks of bouncing around ideas of how to get things going, a few things became clear: 

- We could spin out a Design Team rather rapidly out of Weavik and begin to separate the design & development operations.

- There was strong demand within some of Weavik's active engagements for specialized Web3 Design + Brand support.

We were both set on the name "Spark + Mint", the Creative Capital model and by all the enthusiasm that emerged whenever we shared our model with others in the Web3 space.

All we really needed was some backing and time. Weavik stepped in and stepped up as a foundational partner to help us with a series of investments and strategic introductions to get Spark + Mint to the point that we are today.

In just a few short months, we've already been operating at full capacity in Q1/Q2 different ventures and are now 10 people strong and counting on this inspired mission to help co-design a more open, free and fair Web + World.

Together with Weavik, Spark + Mint now has the wherewithal to execute against the most ambitious Web3 projects from ideation, strategy and design through to full stack development, deployment and maintenance through our symbiotic technology partnership with Weavik.

Web3 Changes Everything

The processes, frameworks and skillsets that our team brings to the fore isn't fundamentally different from that of design agencies & studios in the Web2 arena.

With that said, it's not an exaggeration to state that Web3 changes absolutely everything and the greatest differentiation lies in the disposition and intention a team takes to navigate all these changes in an ever changing, dynamic and unpredictable sea of activities.

Web3 changes the way we work, the types of companies that are possible to create, the types of value we're able to generate, share, exchange, own and liquidate.

This new era of computing and entrepreneurship creates a space where people can become more participatory and not simply exist as customers.

Tokens and cryptocurrencies, empower us through representative ownership on these new decentralized blockchains.

These changes bring with them a ton of user experience and design challenges that require us to match the technological innovation with what we're calling "Decentralized Design Thinking" (DDT).

DDT Media Artwork

We're cementing our commitment to persistently learn and share our knowledge with the global design community through our DDT Media arm that will be generating global reports and podcasts to help us all engage in these critical discussions around how we want to co-design this new era of civilization.

Learning Forward

As we forge ahead day by day, Spark + Mint will be creating a new, more inclusive way for everyone who wants to join us in our mission to design the future. Through decentralized technology including web2 to web3 project based learning opportunities and partnering with educationally minded Foundations, Startups and Institutions in assistance to onboard more passionate & intelligent designers, makers and artists into this new Web3 reality.

Want to know more?

whether you're looking to start a new venture, partner or co-create something remarkable - our doors are always open for a virtual or in-person chat. You can reach out to me directly at jason@sparkandmint.com or book a time with me here.

A Creative Visual Experiment

Apr 20, 2022
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A Creative Capital Studio for Bold Web3 Ventures and Brands

Exploring Our Brand Voice

No one appreciates just how much goes into developing a kick-ass brand than a Design Studio - but so often we don't afford ourselves the same opportunity to dive deep as we do with our clients and partners.

Our brand has already gone through a few iterations in a few months time as we've invested a ton of time to make sure that our identity represents who we are today and where we aspire to go.

A Creative Capital Studio for bold Web3 Ventures and Brands

In the early days, we'd explored a more sci-fi version of the Spark + Mint brand where we'd be creating these abstract artifacts that would represent the projects we're working on - and they'd exist in a familiar yet, completely foreign and almost otherworldly environment.

We want to create a video that represented the "Sparking" and "Minting" of these artifacts within this imaginative world and we developed a 3D animation in the process.

It was going to be one of the primary pieces we'd showcase at the top of our site.

Although we dedicated to move away from this strategy to the one we've got today (which is another post in and of itself!) we did enjoy the process and the outcome and we thought it would make a nice open source gift to the design community knowing that so many other entities are also vibing on these themes at the moment as they create their own new realities.

Mint Yours Today! (For Free)

Ok - so it's not an NFT and you're not really minting anything, but - the headline just felt right ...

If you'd like to shout out the share - you can feel free to send us some love on Twitter or LinkedIn, but your enjoyment is really all the thanks we need.

To download this video you can click on the top right hand corner of the video above, and it will direct you to our google drive download link!

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