Three top cryptocurrency stories from the past week

Quick Take

  • There were yet more C-suite-level changes at crypto organizations, including Parity and Gemini. 
  • Aptos took its first steps on mainnet.
  • The NFT royalty debate raged on.

Crypto news in the last week saw a continuation of some familiar trends as the industry marched on amid slumping prices. 

There was yet more C-suite-level change with a reshuffling at Gemini and a leadership swap at Polkadot-linked Parity. VC-backed Aptos proved it could successfully build in a bear market as its mainnet went live. And the existential moment for NFT projects continued, as many mulled a potential future of 0% creator royalties. 

Here are the stories that got us talking last week: 

Gemini and Parity's top-level change

The week was book-ended by news of top-level changes in crypto organizations — an ongoing trend amid the bear market. 

Cameron Winklevoss left his spot on Gemini Europe's board of directors, it was learned on Monday. The investor, billionaire and co-founder of crypto exchange Gemini officially stepped aside as a director of its European branch on Oct. 12. 

Cameron and his twin brother, Tyler Winklevoss, remain president and CEO at Gemini. The pair established the crypto exchange in 2014.

Later in the week, we found that that Gavin Wood was stepping down as CEO of Parity Technologies, a key developer of the Polkadot blockchain ecosystem. He will be replaced by fellow Parity co-founder Björn Wagner.

"The role of CEO has never been one which I have coveted (and this dates back long before Parity)," Wood said in a blog post. "Anyone who has worked with me knows where my heart lies. I’m a thinker, coder, designer and architect. Like many such people, I work best asynchronously."

The pair joined the likes of MicroStrategy chief Michael Saylor, Kraken’s Jesse Powell, Genesis head Michael Moro, Sam Trabucco of Alameda Research, FTX's Brett Harrison and Celsius chief Alex Mashinsky, who have all left top roles in crypto in the last few months. 

Aptos: The new kid on the blockchain 

It was a busy week for the new kid on the blockchain, Aptos, the Layer 1 project developed by former Meta employees. Its mainnet went live early in the week. User transactions followed on Oct. 18.

An update on tokenomics showed that the blockchain will have an initial supply of 1 billion tokens, which will increase to 1.5 billion by the end of 2031. The minimal unit for Aptos — similar to a satoshi, or a wei — will be called an octa. Its tokens will be split among the community (51%), core contributors (19%), the foundation (16.5%) and investors (13.5%).

The Aptos Foundation also conducted a retroactive token airdrop to reward early network participants. It allocated 20.1 million APT tokens as an airdrop late Tuesday, representing 2% of its initial total supply of 1 billion APT, according to an announcement on Twitter. These tokens had a total value of from $200 million to $260 million, based on the token's market price shortly after the airdrop opened.

The NFT royalty debate raged on

The NFT space continued to hotly debate the future of artist royalties. Magic Eden announced a switch to an optional royalty model last week, a move that means those buying or selling NFTs may choose what percentage of a sale is returned to the original artist.

Creator royalties have long been touted as one of the top use cases for NFTs, allowing creators to make money on secondary sales. Still, there’s no way to make people cough up on the protocol level. Instead, collecting royalties has traditionally been left to NFT marketplaces themselves. If markets don’t collect, creators don’t get paid.  

Magic Eden's COO called the conundrum a "prisoner's dilemma" in an interview with The Block. Meanwhile, we explained why NFT royalties are almost impossible to enforce on-chain.

Nike and Bored Ape Yacht Club's parent company Yuga Labs were later revealed to be among the top beneficiaries of royalty payments in a report by Galaxy Digital

Royalties for Ethereum-based NFT projects earned a total of $1.8 billion in revenue. The top 10 NFT projects netted $489 million, or 27% of all royalties earned. Yuga Labs, with its Bored Ape, Mutant Ape and Otherside projects brought in $147.6 million in royalties, followed by Art Blocks with $82 million. 


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