Web3 Watch: A16z-backed Scene Infrastructure Company hopes to show crypto is ‘not just money’

Plus, crypto gets its own Shark Tank, and Dwight Howard’s NFT project seemingly flops

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T. Schneider/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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The token-gated social DAO Friends With Benefits is spinning out a software company focused on Web3 applications for online and real-life communities.

A16z recently made a $3 million seed investment in the new entity named Scene Infrastructure Company. The venture capital behemoth also backed FWB.

FWB was initially a token-gated Discord channel that occasionally held members-only events in real life. The group has different membership tiers based on how much of the FWB token individuals own. The DAO landed celebrity memberships and brand deals, though the price of admission is less than it once was. 

Read more: Researchers use blockchain network to simulate the dawn of life on Earth

The token reached a new low of $1.06 on Jan. 22 after nearly reaching $200 in August 2021, according to CoinGecko. It was trading around $4 at the time of publication.

Scene was co-founded by Jose Mejia — who contributed to the DAO and worked at Dapper Labs — and Ethan Daya, the co-creator of content minting platform Zora. 

In an interview with Blockworks, Mejia and Daya said the company would build products for FWB, but they also have grander ambitions based on the premise that the future could involve a lot more people joining groups that look like FWB. 

The pair said one area they’ll be working on is proof of participation in real-life events and the ability to track members’ attendance at events over time. The startup is hoping to reveal some of its features at FWB Fest, a California event referred to as “crypto Woodstock,” which takes place in August.

Scene hopes to build products that, like FWB, create a “funnel that on-boards people into crypto in a way that’s not just money. It’s culture, it’s community, it’s interaction.”

Read more: 3 DAO governance trends to watch in 2024

NBA star Dwight Howard’s token goes bust

Nothing signals a bull market like celebrity NFT projects gone awry. Former NBA standout Dwight Howard launched his Avalanche-based “Ballers” NFT collection in late January. 

The project drew criticism for its design quality and caused Ava Labs to distance itself from the collection.

Over the weekend, Howard released a BALL token that he said would be “for utilities [sic]” down the road. Shortly after the release, BALL’s price cratered, and the token has since essentially stopped trading. The project’s X page was also deleted.

“Thanks @DwightHoward for the quick rug pull,” the on-chain sleuth ZachXBT wrote on X.

Howard’s NFT collection saw 1,440 AVAX of volume on OpenSea, equivalent to roughly $50,000 at current prices.

One interesting stat:

  • A collector this week accidentally bid 655 ether instead of 65.5 ether for a CryptoPunk NFT this week, a difference of about $1.36 million at current prices.

Also of note:

Updated Feb. 5, 2024 at 9:56 am ET: Clarified the A16z-backed entity as Scene Infrastructure Company. A previous version of this article referred to it as Scene Infrastructure.


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