Crypto Biz: Can Yuga Labs’ new CEO make Otherside a success?

Crypto Biz: Can Yuga Labs’ new CEO make Otherside a success?
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The turmoil around Yuga Labs ended on Feb. 21 with a leadership change after weeks of community backlash and investor concerns over the firm behind the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) nonfungible token (NFT) collection. 

Yuga Labs co-founder Greg Solano has stepped back in as CEO to replace Daniel Alegre, taking on the challenge of delivering the third playtest of its metaverse project, Otherside.

In January, a short trailer sparked criticism and raised concerns over the project’s progress, placing a lot more scrutiny on the upcoming “Trip 3” playtest. “There’s a lot of confusion around whether leadership can make this trip and Otherside overall a success,” a source familiar with the matter told Cointelegraph.

Yuga Labs has been enduring a prolonged crypto winter for NFTs, with a notable downturn in the market compared with the peak periods of 2021 and 2022. Forecasts for 2024, however, indicate a possible rebound as new and evolving use cases continue to emerge, including closer integration of NFTs into gaming.

Yuga placed a massive bet on this intersection. Alegre was previously an executive at gaming giant Activision Blizzard. “Everything they are doing is about Otherside,” stated a community member on X. “My opinion BAYC will live and die on the success of Otherside.”

Otherside Trip 3 is scheduled for Feb. 29 and could prove to be a crucial milestone in Yuga Labs’ long-term success.

This week’s Crypto Biz also explores Binance’s move to shut down leveraged tokens, Japan’s plan to boost Web3 fundraising, and the increasing inflows into crypto-tied financial products.

BAYC co-creator Greg Solana takes up reins as Yuga Labs CEO

Greg Solano, one of the creators behind the BAYC NFT collection, has become the new CEO of Yuga Labs. He will replace Daniel Alegre, who commenced his role as CEO in April 2023. Under his leadership, Yuga Labs will look to build on BAYC’s utility by being more creative and return its focus to building more partnerships, said Solano. Yuga Labs plans to host an “Apes Come Home” playtest event later this month for Otherside, with the new CEO promising fans more communication around the game going forward.

Crypto exchange-traded products hit bull run levels with $67 billion AUM

A record week of inflows for crypto exchange-traded products (ETPs) has pushed their combined assets under management (AUM) to levels not seen since the last bull market peak in 2021, according to CoinShares. The uptick is primarily attributed to $5.2 billion in year-to-date inflows, boosted by positive market trends. One noteworthy development is the record $2.45 billion inflows in the week ending Feb. 16, predominantly into United States-listed crypto ETPs, including the newly approved spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds. Major contributors to these inflows were BlackRock and Fidelity’s ETFs, which collectively accounted for nearly $2.3 billion of the total, suggesting a significant acceleration in investor interest in the crypto space. 

Binance to shut down multiple leveraged token services 

Binance has announced its decision to discontinue support for certain leveraged tokens associated with major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and BNB (BNB) in the coming weeks. The decision, disclosed on Feb. 19, specifically targets leveraged tokens paired with Tether (USDT), including BTCUP, BTCDOWN, ETHUP, ETHDOWN, BNBUP and BNBDOWN. The exchange will halt trading and subscription services for these leveraged token pairs on Feb. 28 at 6:00 am UTC. All outstanding orders for the affected tokens will be automatically canceled on this date, preventing any further orders from being placed. Binance advises its users to convert any held leveraged tokens into other assets before the deadline to avoid potential losses. The company did not disclose the factors behind the move.

Japan opens up Web3 investments for local VCs

The Japanese government plans to increase strategic domestic investments into Web3 startups by allowing limited partnership (LP) firms to acquire and hold crypto assets. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry approved a bill to promote the creation of new businesses and industries via increased domestic investments by amending four key acts, including the Act on Investment Limited Partnership Agreements. The amendment allows LPs in Japan to invest in medium-sized companies and startups dealing with cryptocurrencies in exchange for a proportionate share of the venture’s profits. Before the bill’s approval, Japanese venture capital firms were prohibited from investing in crypto assets. The Web3 community in the region expects a rise in the emergence of crypto and blockchain startups originating in Japan. 

Before you go: A Polygon-based lending platform wants to reinvent how luxury collectible item owners convert their assets into cash, using blockchain technology to solve liquidity challenges. According to Davide Rovelli, collectors often face hurdles in achieving fair value for their items, either receiving lower offers from dealers or incurring high fees. He believes blockchain technology offers a solution to this problem.

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