#52 Native Regulation for DeFi. UPS Follows Unilever, Netflix and Mastercard in Metaverse.
Disclaimer: Everything we write in "The Crypto Insider Report" is an x-ray of the industry as we see it, through the lens of publicly available information. We are not financial advisors.
Native Regulation for DeFi
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is one of the core pillars of the revolution that Crypto brings - through it, anybody can access financial services (be it loans, investments, highly speculative derivatives, you name it) simply by having an Internet connection. It had its boom (search for DeFi summer), some ups and downs, but it’s been rather quiet lately. And there is a good reason for it - its regulatory future is unclear. Not only that, but people expect the worst, as state institutions are approaching it with a highly skeptical eye, focusing more on potential illicit activities rather than on its transparency and, why not, the good it brings.
CoinDesk just published a great piece by Michael Karbouris, VP and Head of Strategy, Anti-Financial Crime Technology at Nasdaq (you might have heard of it), addressing this exact matter. I highly recommend you read the full article, it’s great. Here, I’ll briefly call out the main points that I think are key:
Michael essentially calls the current situation an arms race, the same one that takes place when new technology comes around - fighting criminals who want to profit from it.
While money laundering in Crypto accounted for more than $8 billion in 2021, with almost $1 billion of it used in DeFi protocols, it’s estimated that the equivalent number in the fiat system is between 100 and 250 higher.
Furthermore, while the traditional fiat system is opaque, and you have to rely on players to cooperate in detecting and reporting (and not enabling!) such fraud, DeFi operates on the blockchain, where all transactions are public - allowing anybody to monitor and analyse suspicious transactions
The main point on regulation is that we should understand DeFi’s particularities and come up with native regulation that makes sense in the given context, rather than trying to adapt what we already have from traditional finance (TradFi) - the Tornado Cash issue comes to mind
Regulating DeFi is in no way trivial and it will be a while until we get it right. However, it’s important that the paradigm shift Crypto provides - decentralized, trustless and public - is taken into account when coming up with the [new] rules.
Walmart steps in the Metaverse
Walmart’s a household name in term of retailers, with over half a trillion dollars in yearly revenue, making it the largest company in the world in terms of revenue - and the largest private employer with 2.2 million employees. And they mean business whenever they make moves.
Earlier this week, Walmart announced that they’re entering the metaverse via Roblox, the gaming platform. The experience is called “Walmart Land” (which, to be fair, seems lackluster in terms of innovation) and brings fashion and entertainment items to the community via verch (virtual merch). Furthermore, they also created some games to play based on music festival experiences, dressing rooms and music artists in “Walmart’s Universe of Play”. That’s pretty cool if you ask me, especially since they chose Roblox, where their future customers spend a lot of time - and has a proven track record of great entertainment and a huge player base. I think that all those web3 hirees we saw one year ago started having results and bring their projects to an end.
What’s interesting is that this isn’t Walmart’s first time meddling with such concepts. Last year, they filed for a few trademarks for making and selling virtual goods, mentioning that they’re exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences. They also completed 2 blockchain pilot programs using IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric solution for significant improvement in product tracking in China and America.
Two weeks ago we had Starbuck’s Odyssey announcement and now Walmart - it may be a bear market price wise but innovation doesn’t stand around, waiting for it to end. The time to change is now and more and more companies are getting it. Looking forward to seeing who’s next.
UPS Follows Unilever, Netflix and Mastercard in Decentraland Metaverse
The latest brand to enter the metaverse is UPS, with the launch of a venue in blockchain-based Decentraland. The shipping firm is squarely targeting small businesses. To date, Decentraland has done an excellent job of attracting massive brands. Unilever launched its web3 initiative by unveiling a Magnum Pleasure Museum for the ice cream and a Closeup City Hall of Love for the toothpaste brands.
It has managed to attract brands across soft drinks (Coca Cola), fashion (Forever 21, Wrangler), beauty (Estee Lauder), media (Netflix), sport (La Liga), and numerous financial services brands (Mastercard, JP Morgan, Fidelity, Santander).
Many brands see the metaverse as an essential fourth dimension touchpoint, adding to in-person contact, phone and web support. UPS is no different, but at this stage, it’s not offering one-to-one interaction, but instead, embracing one of the metaverse’s key advantages: events. It will host talks by well-known small business experts on various topics such as raising funding, cash flow management, and taking advantage of the latest technology.
Additionally, it partnered with Fast Company and Inc for a small business newsstand, and there’s a “Be Unstoppable Academy” providing education on small business topics such as sales and marketing.
For more educational crypto content, check out the links below:
The Stakeborg DAO Talks on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOrFZZifNn4Nx4nSQL3WS52ALPXgrTSVG
Discord channel: https://discord.com/channels/901898461568442458/903006233584341052
StakeborgDAO Quarterly Reports: https://docs.stakeborgdao.com/reports/dao-quarterly-reports
Stakeborg Academy: https://academy.stakeborg.com/