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The Axie Archipelago is LIVE!
Last Wednesday, we put out a call to the Philippine Axie community to add their guild’s name and location to a mapping project that we were calling “The Axie Archipelago.” The goal was to provide a public directory that scholars, managers, and investors could all use to work together more closely. It’s been just 48 hours since then, and I’m happy to report that the project has been progressing very nicely. We now have a working interactive map at AxieArchipelago.org, collecting the names and links of 150+ guilds across the nation. If you’re a manager and don’t see your guild listed here, please answer the survey form! We’ll continue to update the map regularly whenever there’s new data. Big thanks to Bitpinas, Yield Guild, SkyMavis, and all the folks that helped share the link!
Let’s dive in to the data, shall we? As expected, Cabanatuan has a fairly dense Axie population. That’s not surprising because it’s the basically where this whole trend began in early 2020. Axie University, Yield Guild, and other major groups can trace their roots back to this one city. Elsewhere, the guilds tend to cluster near the largest cities: Cebu, Davao, and of course, Metro Manila. (Manila is over-represented however, because that was the default city for any guild who didn’t give a more specific location, or were too spread out.) But perhaps what is most striking is that the axie hype is basically everywhere, from ChopSchool in Ilocos Norte to Ai Pirates in Puerto Princesa to MMR Esports in Davao. If you’ve never seen a map visualizing Axie Infinity in the Philippines, I strongly encourage you to check out the Axie Archipelago project. (And of course, if your guild isn’t on there yet, make sure to sign up at https://bit.ly/axiephsurvey2021.)
Some quick technical notes, for the people who are interested in this sort of thing. Modern web programming is less “actual programming” and more “cobbling together existing tools in clever ways,” and the Archipelago project is no different. The interactive map is built using the excellent dataviz platform FlourishStudio, and IMGUR for icon hosting. The survey form and data tables are from Google Sheets, with a tiny bit of Google App Script for automation. The website itself is stored on Github and served via Forge. (I did pay for the domain name and hosting out of pocket, but that was a small price for such a potentially useful community tool.) The whole process from sending out the survey to launching the website took a little under a day. If you’re a member of the local community and would like to contribute to this project by helping us manage the survey data or by improving the website, please reach out in the comments!
I keep forgetting to update people about this, but I did actually get my Trezor Model T. In case everyone has forgotten, the Optical Media Board here in the Philippines has been blocking the shipments of crypto security devices because they fall under their broad definition of “USB-based storage.” As an experiment, I bought a Model T directly from Trezor.io on August 4th, but forwarded it to ShippingCart in the UK. I finally received it on August 28th here in La Union. Importantly, there were no Customs/OMB issues, because ShippingCart repacks its customers’ items into balikbayan boxes. I don’t know if I can completely recommend this method though, since it’s such an expensive way to do it. I had to pay an additional $21 in ShippingCart fees, on top of the 10 EUR in Trezor’s own shipping fees.
One other option that I have yet to try: I’ve had a few readers write in saying that they were able to buy directly from Amazon, without getting held up at Customs. I assume this is because the checking is being done manually by Customs staff, and it’s somehow slipping through. If your total shopping cart value is less than $200, it appears that you can avoid the Bureau of Customs and the Optical Media Board permit requirement by going this route. That means that if you’re only buying the $60 Trezor Model One, then buying it through Amazon may actually be your best bet.
In other Axie news, Binance yesterday announced that they had completed integration into the Ronin network. The upgrade will allow Axie players to transfer their AXS and SLP earnings to their Binance account for free, which is a massive cost savings. (Player losses due to gas fees have exceeded $50 per transaction these last few months.) $SLP price spiked about 15% as a result of the announcement, but in the near term, I still believe it’s going to trend towards 5.00 PHP.
The rest of the crypto market has been doing well this week, with Bitcoin testing $50,000 twice now, and Ethereum making its slow ascent back towards $4,000. Even BNB, which has taken a real beating in the last 6 weeks due to multiple regulatory issues, is near $500 again.
Yesterday, I spoke at a Congressional inquiry about the state of visual arts, convened by Congressman Toff De Venecia. The whole event was over 7 hours long so I don’t recommend that you watch the video. The various stakeholders spent most of their allocated time bemoaning the poor conditions for artists and art students in the Philippines. I used my speaking slot to talk about NFTs and how there’s a growing #CryptoArtPH community here already, but I didn’t get any reactions from the people at NCCA, CHED, DepEd, TESDA, the museums, etc.
One striking statistic shared was that the entire Philippine art market traded just $84M in 2019. Is that a big number? Well, the CurioCards NFTart project, which I worked on back in 2017, did $80M in sales in the last 4 months. That’s a single NFTart collection, doing similar sales volume as an entire country … and we’re not even in the top 10 collections on OpenSea. (Before you start sending me offers to buyout your startup, I should mention that the artists didn’t earn that $80M, the secondary market did. But you take my point.)
I’m biased here of course, but I feel like technology has already given us the tools necessary to solve our artists’ problems on the individual-level. The problem is that people would rather cling to old methods instead of taking the time to learn about what’s new. It’s not going to giftwrap itself for you, you have to get out there and explore it for yourself.
See you all next week, cryptofam! Have a great weekend!