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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 email@example.com or book a time with me here.
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.
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!
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."
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.
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.
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…
And their cons are…
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…
And their cons are…
Finally, we have Mobile Wallets.
These wallets are accessible via smartphones. Typically using apps and Internet connection.
Their pros are…
And lastly, their cons are…
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:
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:
The general recommendation would be to always use a Cold Wallet.
Only because it's way safer than any Hot Wallet.
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.
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!
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
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.
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?
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."
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…
And more specifically, some Blockchain-savvy VC firms involved in Crypto VC Funds are…
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.
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."
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…
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.
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…
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."
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.
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:
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."
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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…
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.
Believe it or not, you could still be affected.
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.
Believe it or not, there are major advantages of a Crypto Winter.
And the most prominent one is…
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.
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.
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?
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