From The Webaverse #005 Oct. 31 - Bytecode Alliance, VR Battle Royale, and the state of NFT.
Exclusively curated bites of tech trends directly from the Webaverse community
This newsletter is a weekly summary of the discussions that took place in the Webaverse community on Discord and Twitter. Join our Discord server to share and discuss the future of spatial applications with more than 1100+ constantly curious around tech, XR, and crypto.
WASI (WebAssembly System Interface) team moves to Fastly.
The members will waddle from Mozilla to Fastly another founder member of the alliance. Except if you’ve been living under a rock there is a growing consensus that web assembly holds the keys to the future of application development.
The bytecode alliance goal is to evolve WebAssembly from a compilation target that you compile monolithic applications to, to a modular ecosystem that you compose applications from.
At the same time, its goal is to secure external dependencies you add to your project so dependencies won’t be able to access let’s say, HTTP interfaces, or read memory outside of their scope if they don’t need to.
In 2018, vulnerabilities for npm grew by 47%. In the meantime, use Synk.
HBO re-enabled for Linux after 2 months.
Why doesn't HBO work on Linux? A few weeks ago, computer users started scratching their heads as they were suddenly unable to watch "Game of Thrones," "Frayed," and even the beloved "Sesame Street," for no apparent reason.
HBO changed a setting in the software it uses to encrypt its video library, preventing computers running Linux from acquiring a digital license to play content. Users are advised that their computers "couldn't play this title," and that trying again later may remedy the problem. It doesn't.
Weirdly enough the petition worked and HBO fixed it.
Some people finally tested the PS5 controller, L + R custom resistance + spring effect + nicer vibration. Interesting. [Youtube]
Avaer tries Population one and gets briefly the second best player in the world #humblebrag:
Population one is probably the best multiplayer vr game out rn, would be interesting to do meetings in it
It’s 3 person teams with like 20 people total and the rest is fortnite with lower quality and more intimate mechanics for vr
If anyone wants to play sometime lmk, I think there are things to learn from the social mechanics
Just don’t buy it on oculus. It’s on steam
I’d recommend you find some space where you can do a full T-Pose + some margin (especially above your head) because of the climbing mechanics, since you have to aim top down some times being sitted doesn’t work much either.
Quibi is shutting down. Everything has already been said: they raised and spent well over $1bn before contact with the customer, giving no room to iterate or explore. The timing wasn't ideal, but Tiktok's short-form video has done great in lockdown and so has Netflix's subscription. You could argue they needed $1bn of content to launch, just as Fedex couldn't launch with only one plane - opinions vary, but surely they could have tried some small-scale experiments first? That also points to the fact that this was a media play - it succeeded or failed on a theory of content, not software. They're giving several hundred million back to shareholders, who are exclusively PE, family offices and some small stakes from media companies - everyone in venture said 'too big for us, and it's a media company, not a tech company'. To that point: this was a Hollywood titan trying to leverage his relationships to build a new colossus. That's how Hollywood works, but it's not how Silicon Valley works. Link
Learning From Quibi - every startup is based on “I understand something about the world that others do not”, so how do we apply that? Link
Politicians do Twitch. Alexandria 'AOC' Ocasio-Cortez, a high-profile left-wing US politician, played 'Among US', the hot game of the moment, streaming live on Twitch. She got 440k viewers. Insert McLuhan/Baudrillard quote here. Link
Demystifying the Merkle Tree. Quick question, can you think of something that's common amongst the implementation of Bitcoin, Git, IPFS, Ethereum, BitTorrent, and Cassandra/AWS DynamoDB? Yes, you’re right, Merkle Trees, thanks to Ralph Merkel patent expiring in 2002.
Hash trees can be used to verify any kind of data stored, handled and transferred between computers. They can help ensure that data blocks received from other peers in a peer-to-peer network are received undamaged and unaltered, and even to check that the other peers do not lie and send fake blocks
Recommended simple and slow Youtube walkthrough through Git Internals here Git Internals - How Git Works - Fear Not The SHA! (30min) that GUI only works when it all works. Forgive how old this video is to still mention “master” instead of “main”.
How it’s simply applied to bitcoin mining Bitcoin 101 - Merkle Roots and Merkle Trees - Bitcoin Coding and Software - The Block Header (24min) aka just sha256 your pairs: 60 lines gist link in python
How Twitter got hacked earlier this year. Lots and lots of security best practices not being followed, partly because of lockdown (which makes me wonder how many other holes opened up in other companies in the rush to go remote). Link
Snapchat clones Tiktok.
With a music integration. Remember when Evan Spiegel complained about Facebook cloning Stories?
In social, every new primitive gets copied everywhere - what matters is the network.
Snap also had a blow-out quarter.
Fortnite CTO Tim Sweeny discusses the economy of the metaverse.
Q: Is there anything that we need to be doing now regarding the big platforms?
A: You know have these intermediaries playing this big trick and they played it over and over and over. You signed up for a platform with really loose rules like when google play first launched as a service for installing software, you didn't have to use google payments. The same goes for Apple, after some years everybody thought they knew the rules, and bam now you have ads before searches and you owe 30%. What I’m really arguing for is several increments months over months, interconnections, social. Really about standards for interoperability. So developers can move from one supplier to the other without losing all of their work.
People seem to be making a lot of money issuing blockchain-based collectibles or Non-Fungible Tokens.
A year ago, the user numbers were truly tiny. Analysis on OpenSea's entire userbase found only 6000 accounts that were active and kinda valuable - of the 20k that were using OpenSea at the time. Since then, there really has been big growth, but the community is still reasonably small. Similarly, the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) ecosystem has seen unparalleled growth in 2020, with Total Volume Locked (TVL) surging from 600 million USD to more than 6 billion USD, as of August 19, 2020.
The explosion of Rarible (NFT art) has been interesting. Aside from having their own exchange, Rarible is also the top token on OpenSea right now. I definitely think this is an exciting development, but also want to take a step back. Digital art scarcity only matters if people care. Like "wowo you really have an original run banksy" — there needs to be places where such art can be viewed. This is where cryptovoxels, Decentraland (and partly the Webaverse) have found a substantial niche - as showcases and digital galleries. That's half of what makes Rarible work ultimately.
Though, there are some people who think that like in real art, money laundering is a major issue. "Oh? Bitcoins from 2012? Nah, I lost all that trading art that didn't end up having any value". Digital art + crypto has upgraded some old methods.
Obviously a big reason that NFT is blowing up now is the intersection of NFT and DeFi. Projects have started coming up where you can stake NFTs to earn ERC20s, or other NFTs. Then they usually have some method of incentivizing people to put money into uniswap pools, to reinforce their new token. Charged-Particles has dipped its toes in this as well, where Interest-bearing Non-Fungible Tokens (DeFi NFTs) are minted with an underlying asset and accrue interest over time, giving the Token a "Charge".
However, this "NFTFi" craze has a fair bit of the scammy hallmark of the yield farming craze. Many projects are coming up that have no intention of being more than a pump and dump with some fancy new tokenomics designed to pump based on hype. This is definitely less ideal but there is some money to be made pumping one project after another, so people do. If you know about all the pumps, you can probably earn 0.5-1 eth per project just from airdrops and flash hype.
Many projects are actively working on layer2. The eth scene was really hurt by the gas fees and Matic layer 2 has come out far ahead in crypto gaming. They are giving out 50k/month to projects, have working tech, provide lots of support. The next phase of crypto gaming will be really fast, cheap, user friendly. Some games will make it so transparent that non-crypto users can be onboarded quickly and easily.
Though in a funny twist, OpenSea is now doing record volume. It seems like people are willing to value NFTs even higher than before, and pay the fees. But the aforementioned money laundry (and wash trading) may also play a role...
Anyway, so it's clear that NFT is going to be just as important as ERC20! The ecosystem is maturing fast, and bearing fruit.
JPMorgan creates a new unit for blockchain projects, says the technology is close to making money.
No wonder it makes money if they keep spoofing the market and having to pay $1 Billion for it.
M3 members are experimenting with open standards like WebXR and VRM. We want to build a long lasting foundation for the open Metaverse. Some of our followers call us the ‘Homebrew Computer Club of the Metaverse’.
What’s crazy is this has all been made in real time, post prod was only intro/outro!
We have a few ideas on how to make it better and it keeps our minds bubbling:
The models need some viseme to have a better tracking of who’s speaking.
Streaming the camera POV to restream.io would be awesome.
The sound would need to be spatialized relative to the camera (Shaw proposed to tink audio in prod tho we’ll take him on that)
The green screen behind is super clever too with a lot of potential! I've wondered if it could realtime suggest clips related to the TTS of the participants to the "cameraman" that he would pick to project behind. Maybe it's all doable in webaverse (and you can rent the studio for some $MMM ?)
The models would need some test/makeup zone before airing: The eyes or the models are an issue when they stick to unrelated objects/surfaces. And some don’t fit the chairs, oops.
If you have other ideas, hit us up in discord!
Hot take of the week:
Second Life has existed forever, and nobody uses it to be their real world self. As much as that’s what rosedale envisioned and promoted at the start.
I don’t see people who value human interaction and look down on technology (in the way much of middle America does) suddenly adopting Facebook horizons. I think this tech is going to appeal to the people who it’s always appealed to, most of whom don’t want to be their shitty real life bodies.(edited)
Horizons is also just not good. Like, none of us are sitting around playing it.
Even if it sets the bar, the bar is far too low for what most people would need to start engaging regularly, like the OASIS. And there’s no way to make money in it.
I don’t see a world where Facebook’s VR offering isn’t the blackberry of the market in the long run. - @Shaw
You can also catch up with @bai on VoicesOfVR, chats about both the struggles and the benefits of building on top of the #WebXR platform, and the journey it took to get here. If you haven't checked out the FIVARS festival yet, I highly recommend giving it a look!
M3 meeting Sunday 1 Nov 7pm? Ask on discord, Halloween vibes, and sharing WIP.
Join our Discord server and subscribe to the newsletter to participate in M3 regular meetings, where we will shape the future of spatial applications, and chat along with 1100+ constantly curious folks around tech, XR, and crypto.
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Previous Edition: #004 Oct. 22 - Quest2 jailbreak, Filecoin tanking, Hacked by Comic Sans, Discord as Metaverse