If recent studio funding announcements are any indicator, veteran video game developers are flocking into the blockchain space, and here’s another to add to the list. Block Tackle, a Solana-based skateboarding game developer, said today that it has raised $5 million from a group of seasoned developers to produce SkateX, a Solana-based skateboarding game.
Play Ventures and Cadenza Ventures lead the $5 million seed round. Coinbase Ventures, Solana Ventures, major metaverse investor Animoca Brands, and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin were among the other notable investors who took part.
Ben Topkins and Rob Oshima, who formerly worked together at mobile gaming firm Kabam, have co-founded Block Tackle, a new Web3 game startup. Electronic Arts, Apple, Roblox, Lucasfilm, and Supercell veterans are among the 13-person crew.
While working on popular free-to-play mobile games like Kingdoms of Camelot, the co-founders witnessed how gamers invested endless hours and dollars in games over the years, but had nothing to sell or transfer to another game. If they switched to a new game, they’d have to start over from the beginning.
To put it another way, game makers own all of the value in those games. Users can sell their NFT assets in Web3 games, or use them in other games and metaverse environments. An NFT functions as a document of ownership for a one-of-a-kind digital item, which can range from profile images and artwork to interactive video game elements.
“We really saw a great opportunity there when we saw that there was potential for players to contribute, both in molding communities and in the value that they produce via play,” Topkins told Decrypt. “We wanted to be among the first game creators to use blockchain technology to create fantastic games.”
SkateX, an NFT-driven skating game built on the Solana blockchain, is being developed by Block Tackle. SkateX will sell one-of-a-kind skateboards as NFT collectibles, which gamers own and can buy and sell as they see fit. However, it will bring NFT owners into the community, allowing them to possibly influence the game.
“Players can take a place at the table and own an NFT,” Topkins explained, “and then they get to skate on that board and accomplish tricks, quests, and challenges to level it up.”
Topkins described SkateX as having an accessible vibe to its gameplay, citing the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series as one of his favorite childhood games. SkateX will allow people to connect online to skate, grind, and pull off tricks together.
The initial 1,080 Solana NFT skateboards will be released in April, ahead of the game’s own release later this year, with additional boards (and board variants) to follow. The game’s boards are being designed by Concept Art House, which has previously collaborated with Dapper Labs and Gala Games on prior Web3 projects.
The NFTs will also be compatible with other Solana metaverse games and apps, with the possibility of being used in them. Topkins said his team is in talks with other game developers working on the platform, and that they’ll also ask the eventual SkateX community where they want their NFT boards to go in the metaverse.
He cited Solana’s low transaction fees and ostensibly carbon-neutral status (due to offsets) as reasons for Block Tackle’s decision. “We’ve also just seen a lot of people in the Solana space that we admire and enjoy working with,” he continued.
Thanks to the seed money, Block Tackle hopes to expand its workforce to around 30 individuals while continuing to develop SkateX. Topkins stated that the team is already brainstorming ideas for new crypto gaming ventures, adding that Block Tackle would “possibly launch other games in the not-too-distant future” in addition to SkateX.
Emirates will accept Bitcoin payments and introduce NFT collectibles
According to chief operating officer Adel Ahmed Al-Redha, Emirates is embracing emerging technologies such as the metaverse and NFTs to increase its reach.
Emirates, the largest airline in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced intentions to accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments and issue nonfungible tokens (NFTs) for trading on its websites.
The chief operating officer of Emirates, Adel Ahmed Al-Redha, reportedly stated at a media gathering held at the Arabian Travel Market that the Dubai-based airline will be onboarding new employees who will be focused on blockchain-related projects such as crypto payments, blockchain tracking, metaverse, and NFTs.
Al-Redha says the airline is looking into adopting blockchain to maintain track of aircraft records. In addition, the airline official stated that the metaverse may be used to digitalize activities such as operations, training, website sales, and other airline-related events. This, according to the airline’s chief operating officer, will make the processes “more engaging.”
Apart from that, Al-Redha stated that the aviation business is gradually making a comeback as more and more travelers arrive. To broaden its appeal, the company is adopting new technologies such as a Bitcoin payment service and tradeable NFT collectibles.
Airports and airlines all across the world are investigating ways to combine blockchain-based technologies with cryptocurrency payments. Air France teamed with various firms in February 2021 to develop a blockchain-based mechanism for verifying COVID-19 test results.
The Latvian airline airBaltic added Dogecoin (DOGE) and Ether (ETH) to its payment choices in March 2021. Since 2014, the airline has accepted BTC and other cryptocurrencies such as USD Coin (USDC), Binance USD (BUSD), and Gemini Dollar (GUSD).
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele declared in October 2021 that the airline Volaris El Salvador would accept BTC payments. El Salvador pushed for BTC adoption when it declared the cryptocurrency official tender.
The Chainsmokers are the First in the Music Industry to Share their new Album Royalties with Fans via the NFT Drop
The famed music duo The Chainsmokers’ new album features an NFT giveaway, which provides 5000 fans a 1% royalty split.
The electronic music duo, The Chainsmokers, are best known for classics like “Closer” and “Paris,” but they’ve also established a reputation as Web3 pioneers. The most recent example is their new album “So Far So Good,” which will include a drop of 5,000 NFTs that will allow fans to share in 1% of the revenues.
This is the most high-profile case of musicians using NFTs to distribute royalties to fans to date. While artists such as Nas and Diplo have published royalty-generating NFTs for individual songs, this is the first time a band has done so for an entire album for free.
In an interview, Taggart and bandmate Alex Pall said that they chose their most devoted followers, of which 5000 will receive an NFT, by examining data from concert purchases, song streaming, and Discord engagement.
In this scenario, the NFTs will grant fans access to a members-only area of The Chainsmokers’ Discord channel and the opportunity to meet with the duo personally.
Those who get the NFTs will be notified when they receive a payment on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. If customers decide to sell the NFT, a smart contract (basically a computer program) will transfer 7.5 percent of the earnings to The Chainsmokers (one of the benefits of NFTs for artists is the opportunity to receive a share of secondary sales), which the duo plans to gift to the album’s songwriters.
The new record will be released on Friday, and the NFTs will be handed out on May 17. The Chainsmokers use Royal, a platform that uses the Polygon network and was behind Nas’ and other significant artists’ recent NFT drops, to distribute the NFTs.
The Chainsmokers claim to have arranged for the NFTs to be released in a fashion that does not require their supporters to have any crypto knowledge. While crypto enthusiasts can request that the NFT be sent straight to their Web3 wallet, beginners can request that Royal construct a wallet and rely on the site to display and store it.
To reduce fan friction, the duo has arranged for them to be able to acquire and transfer NFTs without incurring any transaction fees. So allow Royal to establish a wallet for them, which will be shown and stored on the site.
The music industry is entering the Web 3 era
The Chainsmokers aren’t new to the crypto industry, but this is their first time issuing NFTs. For years, the two have run an investment group that has sponsored various Web3 projects, including Royal, created by another artist, Justin Blau, aka DJ 3Lau.
According to Pall, Pall and Taggart first discovered bitcoin six years ago while playing a corporate gig for Google. A random guy approached their trailer during a break between scenes and gave them a blue streak about the revolutionary power of blockchain. This event convinced them of the technology’s promise.
Pall claims that they recognized right away how an immutable blockchain record might help them create new relationships with their fans and, potentially, solve the problem of secondary ticket sales. Scalpers (sometimes using bots) sweep up large blocks of tickets and resale them for an enormous profit, which has long irritated fans and singers alike.
Using NFTs on a blockchain can help bands avoid scalpers and ensure that resale earnings go to them or their fans.
The Chainsmokers are a rising number of musicians who have realized that blockchains can be a better alternative to traditional economic structures that include layers of attorneys and music industry middlemen.
Blockchain-based record and distribution platforms give musicians a new method to communicate with listeners and provide the most dependable approach for monitoring royalties, which has been a long-standing issue in the industry.
The Chainsmokers are eager to point out that NFTs and other blockchain-based technologies have yet to be demonstrated in the music industry. “Everyone is still trying to figure this out,” Taggart says.
However, the rising popularity of platforms like Royal, which just funded $55 million, and the growing number of prominent musicians adopting crypto suggest that Web3 is likely to be the way forward for the music industry.
If that’s the case, the NFTs linked with their record will be yet another win for The Chainsmokers, both as musicians and businesspeople. One of the duo’s other businesses is a successful tequila brand.
When asked how they got their entrepreneurial spirit, the duo praised Jimmy Buffett, claiming that the Margaritaville singer built a corporate empire by carefully selecting ventures that fit his brand and personality.
Pall remarked that the duo’s Web3 endeavors would come in handy if his stage appeal wanes. But, he joked, “I’m not going to look amazing in leather pants forever.”
Madonna’s Nude NFT Debut Elicits a Range of Reactions from the Community
The community reacted to Madonna and Beeple’s latest NFT release in a variety of ways, from being inspired to criticizing the artwork’s “flaws.”
Mother of Creation is a series of nonfungible tokens created by the queen of pop and record-breaking performer Beeple. It includes three NFTs titled Mother of Technology, Mother of Nature, and Mother of Evolution. The NFTs depict Madonna in 3D, giving birth to robot centipedes, butterflies, and plants.
While the markets were going crazy over stablecoins displaying instability, Madonna and Beeple thought it was time to show the community something even crazier: NFTs depicting a 3D model of the 63-year-old singer’s vagina.
Following the release, the community reacted in various ways, with some being inspired and others criticizing the artwork. Emiko Inoue, a Twitter user, stated that the artwork is “the most motivating” and would “gladly buy one without thinking” if she could afford it.
Twitter user artbyjstelco, on the other hand, stated that he “totally despises” the artwork. Many aspects of the NFT were attacked, including how nature should “not wear make-up” and have “artificial tits and hair.” According to the Twitter user, giving birth is a painful process, and the artwork does not reflect this.
The NFTs are presently valued 28 Ether (ETH), which is around $56,000 at writing. The auction will conclude in 35 hours. The money raised from the drop will go to three separate charities that help women and children worldwide, according to the collection’s description on the NFT marketplace SuperRare.
Three-dimensional NFTs are becoming more popular. Sony announced a partnership with Theta Labs to launch 3D NFTs last week. This, according to the electronics company, illustrates the capabilities of its new product, the Spatial Reality Display. Users can examine objects in 3D on the monitor without having to wear standard 3D equipment.
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