Thumbs' Update: Inevitabilities

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Hey friends 👋

I’m back from vacation and feeling rested and rejuvenated and I came back just in time for an absolute whirlwind of product launches, redesigns, and rebrands…

First off, let's talk about the big news. A major name change has taken place in the online space, with an ever-important brand's domain name having several letters removed. This new, shorter name is all anyone can talk about, and it’s easy to see why.

I’m talking of course about my newly secured ENS domain thumbsup.eth 😉

As a quick refresher, Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains allow for human-readable onchain addresses that can point to anything from your crypto wallet to your website.

Back in 2021, I minted my first ENS domain, thumbsupdeals.eth, representative of my twitter account, which primarily focused on frugality and deal-hacking. This was my first real foray into crypto experimentation. Although the name didn't remain for long, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made because it made me eligible for the ENS airdrop, which helped me pay off a substantial portion of my personal debt and allowed me to invest in myself and this project.

When I changed my name to Thumbs Up Finance and minted the ENS thumbsupfinance.eth, I checked to see if thumbsup.eth was available. However, I discovered that it had already been taken and had nearly two years left until it was going to expire. So, I created a calendar event for the day it was set to expire and continued on about my business.

As time went on, I became more certain that I wanted to rebrand as thumbsup. This would allow me the flexibility to write about any subject I wanted without feeling restricted to just finance content. After all, I had already started to diverge into more in-depth technological commentary.

When I noticed that the domain had expired and not been renewed, I knew I had to obtain it. However, on the day I went to mint it, I was surprised to discover that it would cost over a hundred million dollars...

90 days after an ENS name has expired, when it exits the Grace Period it will go into a Temporary Premium Auction.

This is a public auction where anyone can buy the name with a Temporary Premium Fee attached to it that lasts for 21 days.

Temporary Premium Fee

The Temporary Premium Fee starts at $100 million and declines exponentially to $0 over the course of the 21 days.

— source: support.ens.domains

Obviously, I couldn’t afford to pay millions. In fact, I wasn’t even able to spare a few hundred dollars for the premium as it neared expiry. Instead, I used the only tool I had to secure the name for myself: secrecy.

That’s right, after two years during which I never hinted that I was interested in this ENS domain I had to continue the charade. During this entire time, I never posted about it, made bids on it, or mentioned it in passing. And during the cooldown period, I checked the price each day through the registrar itself, not via any third-party app that might leak analytics.

In the end, it paid off. I got the name I wanted for under $50, network fees included.

In Other News

I guess some of you have probably heard that Elon decided to dump 17 years and $44B worth of brand equity down the drain by changing the name of twitter to X. To say that I think this move was moronic is an understatement, but there’s too much actual news in the world for us to dwell on this. Fortunately, there are other options. Take, for example, Lens Protocol, the web3 portable social graph that underlies Lenster, Lenstube, Phaver, Orb, Buttrfly, and more. The Lens ecosystem continues to be one of the most innovative spaces, with new apps and features being added constantly. And things are about to get a whole lot more exciting because, at the Ethereum Community Conference (ETHCC) in Paris, Lens v2 was announced.

This next generation of the protocol includes some pretty big changes, including one I've been eager for since I bought my hardware wallet earlier this year: delegation via the new Profile Manager. This is a big step in making decentralized social identities feasible for mainstream use as it means that users can safeguard their profiles in hardware or social recovery wallets to prevent risking to lose them.

There are lots of other cool features, including quote posts, improved blocking and muting, phishing protection, nesting lens profiles inside other (ERC-6551) NFTs, and what's being called Open Actions.

source: Lens Protocol
source: Lens Protocol

With Twitter being such a garbage fire, I'm spending more and more time on other platforms. I'm engaging with former crypto twitter friends on Farcaster and Lens. I'm catching up on more diverse discussions on Bluesky, and I'm in Discord quite often as well.

My preferred Discord server is, of course, PoolTogether. The community is great, the discussions are varied, the vibes are amazing, and the excitement about the protocol has never been greater.

What’s New With PoolTogether?

A few months back, I wrote about how the next version of the PoolTogether protocol is being designed as a hyperstructure. What this means is that it will be able to run autonomously without the need for interference by the developers or the community, and users will be able to take advantage of permissionless vault creation to spin up their own vaults based on any token.For a refresher on this hyperstructure design, go back and read this post.

One of the key technologies that underlies this new design is the ERC-4626 vault standard. This new standard for yield-bearing vaults is supported by an alliance of DeFi protocols from Alchemix to Yearn and many more.

I wrote all about how and why this new standard has been implemented in a recent article ⬇️

PoolTogether v5 is closer than ever, having recently completed an audit by Code4rena. Generations Software, the company run by PoolTogether co-founder Brendan Asselstine, has also recently announced a timeline for the soft launch of the protocol which is expected to be rolling out on Optimism, Arbitrum, and Ethereum mainnet over the course of the coming months.

I’ve got an article coming all about the rollout of this so make sure you’re subscribed to get post notifications on Mirror so you don’t miss that.



Super-Optimistic

After PoolTogether, the community that has me most excited right now is the Optimism Collective. In the recent Bedrock Upgrade (which I’m working on an explainer about), the code base for the network was modularized. Together with its open-source approach, this means that developers can now leverage the so-called OP Stack to create new chains of their own.

What’s really special about this modular approach is the flexibility it offers. As a result, a variety of new superchains have already been announced. Let's take a look at some of them. I've colour-coded them because that's the kind of thing I like to do.

🔴 Optimism Mainnet

🟠 A16z’s Magi - Rust-based consensus client, but using OP Stack components

🟡 Celo Network recently announced plans to convert from L1 to L2

🟢 Public Goods Network (PGN), which will be supported by Gitcoin, Giveth, and more

🔵 Base, Coinbase's own L2 network

⚪️ ZORA NETWORK, the future home of onchain culture

⚫️ Mantle, the DAO led network which makes use of Eigenlayer's data-availability layer for high throughput scaling

This is just the beginning. I think we can expect to see more experimentation and innovation around chains with shared codebases like this. In the meantime, I remain bullish not only on these new derivative chains but also on Optimism mainnet. The Bedrock upgrade has significantly reduced costs, and the upcoming Ethereum network upgrade is expected to include an improvement called EIP-4844, which will make posting data from L2 to L1 more efficient and less expensive. This means that costs will continue to become more user-friendly over time.

Users moving more of their transactions to L2 will also help with costs as the majority of gas spikes are caused by NFT projects and memecoins being launched and traded on mainnet. This behavior is foolish and detrimental to the user experience of crypto, but fortunately, more and more of it is moving to Optimism and other similar scaling solutions.

Speaking of which...

Mint My NFT on Optimism

Hey friends! My patronage NFT, which originally launched on the Ethereum mainnet, was recently ported to ZORA NETWORK. So far, only a few people have minted it, and it got me thinking that maybe ZORA is too new. There aren't a lot of bridging options or wallet support yet, for example. So when I saw that Zora, the protocol, now supports Optimism mainnet as well, I thought it would be a natural fit.

 

To mint this NFT with its unique claymation moving visual artwork, simply head to

mint.thumbsup.finance (ZORA NETWORK)

mint.thumbsup.finance/optimism (OP Mainnet)

mint.thumbsup.finance/ethereum (L1)

All three versions help support my content, unlock future perks, and grant access to...

Q & A

My patrons can send me questions at any time and I’ll try to incorporate them into the newsletter. Recently, my fellow PoolTogether community member, Livster asked:

As a creator in web3, how do you use existing social media tools to promote yourself? Is it difficult to grapple with centralized monoliths like Twitter when you know there's a better solution?

This is an interesting question. Honestly, I struggle with leveraging social media because I feel like it rewards a type of behaviour that I'm not good at participating in. I see people I admire gaming the system with generic, engagement bait tweets that the algorithm favours, and while it helps them grow, I find it tiresome to play those games.

For about a year now, my twitter follower count has remained around 1500, which can be disheartening. However, I've always valued quality over quantity, so I try not to let it bother me too much. I have a decent number of followers who are themselves successful in terms of reach, and they share my posts and engage with me, so I know I'm doing some things right.

Additionally, I've come to realize that Twitter is flawed. I'm sure many of us have noticed this. On platforms like Farcaster and Lens, I continuously gain new followers, my newsletter subscriber count increases each month, and I can see a good amount of traffic to my website. So, I believe it's important not to solely rely on Twitter as the ultimate measure of content performance.

Lately, my main focus has been on gaining more subscribers for my newsletters. I consistently release at least one newsletter per month, along with regular blog content, and I strive to make it authentically me. In the first issue of my newsletter after the reboot, I discussed how I view newsletters as a true peer-to-peer form of social networking, considering email as the original decentralized communication protocol.

I still strongly believe in this concept. So, to anyone reading this, I encourage you to subscribe. Regardless of what Elon Musk does next, regardless of what happens to platforms like Bluesky or Lens, I will continue posting here as long as there are still people reading. After all, where else will I be able to share my...

Recommendations

Every month, I save some of my favourite articles, podcast episodes, and social media hot-takes that shape my worldview and relate to the topics I cover. And this month is no different.

On the subject of Optimism's superchain thesis, we've got two great pieces of content.

First up, there's a new manifesto from the Optimism Collective called "The Law of Chains." For a primer on this new approach to values alignment in the infinitely-forkable world of open source, check out this blog post ⬇️

Then, from ETHCC, we’ve got a talk given by Coinbase’s own Jesse Pollak about Base’s Commitment to Decentralization ⬇️

Lastly, there's another significant piece of news that I almost left out of this newsletter because discussing it would be too burdensome, and I'd rather wait until I've found the right words before addressing it. That subject is Worldcoin. This project, led by Sam Altman (of Open AI fame), requires you to scan your eyeball to prove your humanity. Sam and other proponents argue that this is necessary in a world dominated by AI, but many others raise concerns about the ethical issues, dismissal of valid concerns, and worrisome tokenomics.

To conclude, I'll leave you with this thread from the renowned crypto investigator, ZachXBT ⬇️

Until next time,

Thumbs Up


If you enjoyed this newsletter, consider collecting a copy. It's like tipping and receiving a unique digital collectible as a receipt.

To become a patron of Thumbs’ Update and unlock special perks, like Q&A, you can mint my non-fungible patronage NFT on Optimism, Zora, Base, or Ethereum

And for the cypherpunks, I accept anonymous tips with Zcash to my shielded address:

zs17a2mhl6xeu56cqqeqync9kddyg8gggcy6253l5evjdyw8l8j8f60eg40exr4wk27hnvfgkkgnju
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