Whop Digest Week of Jan 17–23

Hopefully you’re staying warm this season as parts of the county are swept with low temperatures and plenty of snow. Let’s dive into this week’s most important topics.

Microsoft Activision Blizzard buyout

In an all-cash $68.7 billion deal, the tech giant will be acquiring Activision Blizzard Inc to increase its dominance in the video game industry. Upon completion, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest game company by sales. The company is bullish on Game Pass, its Netflix-like subscription service, being the future of video game sales. Additionally, the takeover will allow Microsoft to quickly expand into the mobile and virtual reality gaming markets where it has previously lacked a solid presence.

Nebula’s outlandish prices

The once-highly-valued sneaker bot announced on Monday: the company is pivoting to become an NFT minting and sniping software. On the surface, this may be a desirable change. The fine print tells a different story: all users will be required to pay a 2 ETH (~$4,800) initial fee as well as a recurring 0.5 ETH ($1,200) monthly fee for any renewal users. Nebula fans and critics were up in arms on Twitter over the shockingly high prices to upgrade from an existing license. As for the bot’s current sneaker modules, we’ve seen no updates for over a year, hinting at an increase in risk on the investment or a potential exit scam.

StockX NFTs

In a highly-anticipated move, the “stock market of things” has made its first entry into the NFT space. While many initially thought StockX would build an NFT marketplace competitor similar to OpenSea, they took a unique approach: their custom Vault NFTs, akin to a pink slip for a car, are tied to a physical product stored in one of StockX’s secure storage facilities. For example, the Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Dunky Vault NFT signifies ownership of the actual shoe, which at a later date can be physically withdrawn and shipped to the owner for an additional fee. The NFTs allow for quick and low-fee “trades” of shoes without having to physically ship the shoes between owners.

Louis Vuitton AF1

After the loss of Virgil Abloh, the lead artistic director of menswear at the company, many are anticipating the brand’s next move — in particular, how they will honor his legacy. This week, official images of the Virgil-designed Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 were released. Two hundred pairs of the monogram-styled shoe (in a full-size run) will be released via an auction through Sotheby’s, with a starting bid of $2,000 each. Each purchase will include a limited-edition debossed orange trunk. The auction proceeds will benefit the “POST-MODERN” scholarship fund dedicated to helping finance Black fashion students’ educations.

Twitter NFT profile pics

On Thursday, Twitter made waves in the NFT space with its novel NFT profile picture verification service. Twitter Blue subscribers can now connect their crypto wallets to their Twitter account to verify ownership of their tokens and then automatically import their NFT for display as their profile image. Verified NFT profile pictures will display in a hexagonal format on account pages instead of the regular circular photos. These NFT profile images will link to collection pages on OpenSea and offer project descriptions to give people more insight. The feature is only available to paid Twitter Blue subscribers but could be coming to the entirety of Twitter once it’s out of beta.

IRS facial recognition

Beginning this summer, the IRS will start employing additional verification measures for people who choose to pay their taxes online. Users will be required to submit a photo ID, a copy of a utility bill, and a selfie. The image will be provided to ID.me, a Virginia-based identity verification company. Some are concerned over the company’s data policies and whether it has the right to provide such biometric data to the IRS. These increased security measures will likely become more common amongst government agencies as they attempt to reduce fraud and tax evasion.

This week we’ll see the first release of the NVIDIA RTX 3050, which should be dropping across a variety of online retailers. Good luck!

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