Everyone knows that time moves differently in the crypto space. For us, 2021 began back in 2019…
It was a warm day at ETH Waterloo and Rob Secord was musing about the idea of NFTs holding interest-bearing assets. Later, when he started thinking more seriously about this concept, he realized that eGift cards could be represented as NFTs with the ability to grow in value. One of the main things he was trying to solve at the time was enabling small businesses to receive revenue through gift cards so that they might keep their businesses open during slower times. For example, a $50 eGift card (as a NFT) = $25 stays in card earning interest through DeFi protocols, and $25 to the business immediately with store credit. By early 2020 Charged Particles was conceived!
In February 2020 we got “DeFiNFT” as our Twitter handle — long before most were considering the intersection of DeFi and NFTs. Our co-founders Ben Lakoff and Rob Secord met during Kernel in July 2020. Then In October 2020 Ben and Rob went full force into Charged Particles.
Our pre-seed funding round began in December 2020 closing at $750k in February when our protocol officially went live on mainnet. In the same month, we organized the Big Bang launch party in Cryptovoxels, one of the largest Metaverse events ever, where 100 ETH worth of NFTs were sold in an hour. February was an eventful month indeed!
We continued throwing these massive Metaverse events that drew thousands of participants including Zero Gravity in March 2021 where featured artist Shytoshi Kusama listed 5 NFTs for sale with 5 billion $SHIB nested in each (valued at around $175k each at time of writing. We also saw IMT sell an NFT-shirt for 2.5 ETH, making it one of the top ten most expensive t-shirts ever sold.
This was followed by the launch of the Pandora’s Box Nested NFT in April 2021 created by The Guild which was sold for 42 ETH. In the beginning of May 2021 we closed our seed round at $1M, launched our IDO on Polkastarter and listed IONX on Uniswap.
The summer brought with it a number of huge milestones including going live on Polygon, launching a liquidity rewards program for IONX staking, and crossing the 500 ETH mark in NFT sales.
This year we have formed many strategic partnerships with a wide variety of different crypto and NFT related sub-sectors.
Unchained Music, Ashby Projects, Bars and Melody, Beacon Bloom, Intro to Music Theory
Creating a more balanced and equitable music industry is something that we are very passionate about. The development of our music partnerships, guild, and onboarding pipeline continues to develop demonstrates the unique position our technology puts us in to disrupt the industry. In 2022 we’ll continue to help shape new mechanisms and standards for Music NFTs and the role the industry has in the Metaverse
Gaming and DeFi NFTs have a special connection and with our partnerships we intend to continue exploring new horizons such as nested in-game assets that grow in power “charge”, fully furnished Metaverse parcels, gamified item crafting, gift baskets for gaming tournaments, loot boxes for markets, wearable sets, and so much more.
Aave, NFTrade.com, Totem Fi, NFT Trader, xFund, MatrixSwap, NiftyPay, ReNFT, Drops, Derace
Our partnership with DeFi and Financial companies have opened new opportunities such as swapping nested NFTs, staking, vesting, lending-borrowing, and even renting them out.
Polygon, Kylin, Rarible DAO, Mine Network, Huddln, EPNS, RARA Social
Our infrastructural partnerships are meant to take DeFi and nested NFTs to another level opening up opportunities to new use cases and innovative integrations. We’re happy to to be a piece of the puzzle that is NFT infrastructure along with the companies mentioned above. We look to further expanding our place in the greater crypto sphere.
SportsIcon, Birds for Sofia, SuperBid, BlindBoxes, The Guild
One-of-a-kind functionality attracts ambitious partners with unique ideas. This year has seen a lot of out-of-the-box projects such as large collaborative projects, NFTs with baked-in utility, art with growing cultural value, and much more. Innovators find their way into our community.
We have since worked with creators, builders, innovators, and ___ from across a multitude of industries and sectors including art, music, gaming, charity, finance, and more.
Notable Figures Onboarded Into NFTs using Charged Particles this year
Familiar Faces from the NFT Ecosystem using Charged Particles this year
Interesting Charged Particles use case realized this year
Part of our decentralization process has led to the creation of community lead Guilds that focus on different sectors, industries, use-cases, and projects. Each of these have their own Guild structure moving towards complete DAO ownership with monthly stipends that are voted on by their members. Music, Gaming, Fashion, Restoration Ecology, Charity, and Visual Arts Guilds are continuously expanding exponentially. These collectives are building and innovating in the web3 space utilizing the Charged Particles protocol, covering a wide variety of passions, led by some highly motivated leaders. These are some of the really incredible projects being built by their respective Guilds:
Unchained Music — a completely free music distribution platform built on top of the Charged Particles protocol
Ashby Projects — a full service NFT agency for the music industry
Grandmother Grove — a DeFi NFT engine to plant trees partnered with the Eden Project
Book of Alchemy — an immersive world utilizing DeFi NFTs for item crafting, story telling, and lore building
DIGITALAX — a partnered Fashion DAO looking to make the fashion industry more equitable
Many more are on the way!
Firstly gotta give a massive shout out to our founders Rob and Ben:
Rob Secord, our visionary founder and technical lead. He brings his 20 years of experience as a full-stack engineer and 5 more within Fintech to the team and continues to be a driving force for the advancement of Ethereum Smart Contracts, NFTs, and DeFi DApp development.
Ben Lakoff, our co-founder and business lead, is a powerful, unstoppable, and ambitious force of nature. You will see him appearing on panels, podcasts, interviews, and AMAs on behalf of Charged Particles literally nonstop. One part social butterfly, one part cyborg, Ben is a key component in driving strategic relations with partnerships forward.
This year, we’ve enjoyed the rapid growth of our core team.
Our product lead, Sam Casey, has been bringing a unique combination of technical skills and business acumen to his leadership role, running our software-engineer “crew of legends,” which includes the kindhearted and expressive Max Jackson, the focused and creative Garrett Gehle, the brilliant and analytical Ely0x, the inquisitive and jovial Kamran Choudhry as well as the latest addition to the team, the down-to-Earth and quick-witted Scott Harlan
Our head of marketing, Steve Neigut (yours truly), run’s point on our overall tactical marketing strategy, navigating our many partnerships, developing communications, optimizing logistics, and our internal team dynamics. Priyanka Khanadali, our incredibly dedicated social media manager, keeps our community in the loop about important updates, events, projects, and so much more. Rafael Hoekstra, PhD, project manager and one-man-think-tank, helps to develop new features and use-cases as well as taking lead on writing a great many of our most impactful thought leadership articles.
Meanwhile, Mango, our creative director, passionately spearheads the public conversation and propels innovation forward around all things Charged Particles and the greater web3 space. He inspires us to think bigger and points towards the equitable and inclusive future that blockchain promises. Danil Pan, our community manager, makes Charged Particles an open and welcoming space, bringing in artists and supporting new members with an open heart.
Together we all help keep this ship sailing smoothly.
From our Discord and Twitter to Forbes and Nasdaq, we wouldn’t be anywhere without our incredible community and we’re excited to keep building the future with you. In 2022 as we move towards decentralized community ownership, liquidity mining within NFTs, further development of tools and support (e.g. SDK / API) to integrate our protocol, as well as empowering artists and builders to innovate, community will remain the core focus of what we do. We’re in this together and this is only just the beginning!
Charged Particles is a protocol that allows users to deposit ERC-20, ERC-721, and ERC-1155 tokens into NFTs. A scarce NFT (e.g. Art, Collectible, Virtual Real Estate, In-Game Item, etc.) can now be transformed into a basket holding a number of other tokens. The Principal amount can be time-locked inside the NFT, and through integration with Aave’s aTokens, the programmable yield from these DeFi yield-generating assets is just a few clicks away.
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By: Steve Neigut