TBW #68: Summer break!

Read all about The Big Whale's 68th Premium newsletter.

Hello Whales, and welcome to the new kids on the block who've just joined us in the Smart edition!

The editorial byRaphaël Bloch

Summer break 🌞

With Grégory, it's our little journalist ritual. Every Monday, we get together for an hour or two to debrief the news, talk about the latest crypto project in vogue (it can be frittery 😅), and of course to see what information we'll be publishing, after, obviously, all the necessary checks.

We've been doing this meeting every week for nearly a year and a half, and for the first time since The Big Whale was launched, we're not going to be doing it.... Why not? Because we're going to be taking some time off, a two-week break to unplug for a while, even though that's almost impossible in Web3, and recharge the batteries before what promises to be a very busy autumn.

It's going to be busy because of current events and crypto events like Surfin' Bitcoin from 23 August (remember to take your place, you'll get 15% off with the code "TBW") and our themed breakfast on tokenisation, but also because The Big Whale continues to grow 🚀.

As you know, the team has expanded in recent months with the arrival of Corentin, Dea and Julien, which means there are now 9 of us, and soon even 10 with the imminent arrival of a new journalist to the team.

With this new recruit, we're going to be able to expand our editorial offering, bring you more exclusive content and, of course, some new formats too. In the meantime, we wish you a very happy holiday (for those of you who have one), and look forward to seeing you the week of 21 August for plenty of news.

PS: rest assured, we'll be keeping an eye on the news and staying available.

The Big News_

Written by Grégory Raymond

👉 Flowdesk set to complete major fundraising round

It's not all wrapped up yet, but Flowdesk could soon be popping the champagne. According to our information, the French market maker is in the home straight to complete a series B round of funding worth several tens of millions of euros.

The amount is thought to be around €40 million out of a valuation of several hundred million euros. When contacted, Flowdesk declined to comment.

This Series B, which is expected to close in the coming weeks, comes just over a year after Series A, during which the French nugget had already raised €30 million on a valuation of just under €100 million. "It's one of Europe's most buoyant companies", says one investor.

Several investment funds such as Eurazeo and business angels such as Nicolas Julia (Sorare) or Pascal Gauthier (Ledger) had participated in Series A in 2022. Also according to our information, this new round of financing, in which the current shareholders will participate, is being led by a large European Web3 fund.

Created in 2020, Flowdesk is known for its platform that allows crypto players (funds, companies, etc.) to find liquidity on the markets, for buying or selling. But the company, which has been registered as a digital asset service provider (PSAN) by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) since 2021, has also developed other services such as asset custody or cash management. 💰

Under the radar, Flowdesk has enjoyed a fairly impressive trajectory. In the last twelve months alone, the company headed by Guilhem Chaumont has seen its revenues increase fivefold! And it has every intention of using potential new money to keep up the momentum.

The Big Interview_

Written byGrégory Raymond

Arthur Breitman: "The Web3 industry is currently oversized relative to demand"

Arthur Breitman is a rarity in the media. In the space of a few years, the French creator of the Tezos blockchain has given very few interviews, but for The Big Whale, he agreed to take part once again.

The Big Whale: Last week, Paris hosted the Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC), which brought together more than 5,000 people. You took the opportunity to organise events around Tezos. How is the project progressing?

Arthur Breitman: Things are going well! We've got a lot of work going on at Tezos. We're currently scaling up with rollups, which are secondary layers of the protocol. After that, we'll have the subject of the "data availability" layers, which will enable rollups to be decentralised even further.

Alongside this, we've also announced the launch of an EVM rollup (compatible with Ethereum's virtual machine, editor's note) on Tezos.

What drives you to offer rollups? This is understandable for a blockchain like Ethereum which has congestion concerns for its operations, but this is not the case for the Tezos network...

That's a good question. In reality, rollups are a very good thing for the development of blockchains on two levels. First, there's the best-known approach, which is horizontal, with the possibility of having several rollups running in parallel, and talking to each other, while still being connected to the main blockchain.

Then there's the more vertical approach with rollups that offer greater computing power. We're going to have a separation between consensus - which requires a lot of decentralisation - and execution. Layer 1 will concentrate on data availability and consensus, while the rollup will manage execution. All this makes the infrastructure more efficient.

What is the aim of these innovations?

To enable Tezos to remain competitive and innovative (read our survey on Tezos). What's more, they optimise the protocol's interoperability and allow other virtual machines to run on it.

Was it just as important to improve Tezos' scalability?

I'm convinced of that. Just because not all the blocks are filled doesn't mean we shouldn't improve the scalability of a protocol - quite the contrary! If a video game with 10 million users wants to move to a blockchain, we need to be able to offer it an infrastructure that is robust enough to accommodate everyone.

It would be a mistake to look at things too piecemeal, we need to have a global vision. While many projects neglect it, scalability has always been one of our priorities. In 2018, we were the first major blockchain to use the proof-of-stake consensus algorithm (Ethereum has been using it since September 2022, ed. note).

What performance will the Tezos blockchain be able to achieve?

We have demonstrated that the network can handle one million transactions per second thanks to 1,000 rollups, bearing in mind that each rollup is capable of handling 1,000 transactions per second.

In the near future, we hope that one rollup alone will be able to handle one million transactions per second ⚡️.

You are launching an EVM rollup, i.e. one that is compatible with the Ethereum language. Isn't this an admission of weakness for Tezos in relation to Ethereum?

It's a very pragmatic choice. Some people see advantages in developing projects in the Ethereum language, others in the Tezos language. We're not going to cut ourselves off from some of the developers in the community for ideological reasons. The aim is to be open to as many people as possible.

Do you consider EVM to have established itself as an industry standard?

No, I don't think so. Ethereum is dominant in the blockchain sector, but there are currently only 5,000 Ethereum developers in the world. If you compare these numbers to the WebAssembly, Python or Javascript communities, you realise that the Ethereum community is still small.

What do you think of Ethereum since its move to proof-of-stake?

I think they made a mistake in the design of their proof-of-stake, particularly with Liquid Staking Derivatives (read our survey) which allow you to obtain tokens representing what you have immobilised in the protocol to contribute to its security.

Some people think this makes the market more liquid and efficient, because you can use them in decentralised finance (DeFi), but I think it reduces the decentralisation of the protocol. Today, a player like Lido weighs a third of Ethereum's staking...

Lido is not a single entity. There are actually 30 validators...

I don't know how many people control machines on Lido, besides, I don't think Lido has any bad intentions, but it does create a kind of centralisation.

What do you think is the biggest risk?

Transaction censorship. With a third of the staking, they can do it.

Europe is often described as the epicentre of Web3, do you agree?

Europe is clearly a magnet, but I also see a lot in Asia and the US.

What is your view of Nomadic Labs, whose role is central to the development of the Tezos ecosystem?

Nomadic, which has teams in France and Benelux, has a dual activity, both technological and commercial.

They have to develop the technological core of Tezos, and also get companies to use this technology. The teams have had a number of successes as we've seen with Stables, the PMU project they've been working on.

Is this one of your favourite projects?

It's a very good project among many others, and it's especially one of the most recent!"

The Big Whale has revealed ten days ago that Edenred had been experimenting with its Ticket Restaurant on Ethereum. Are you disappointed that they didn't choose Tezos?

Now that we have an EMV rollup, it's not impossible that they'll work with us one day (smile).

What are the major challenges facing the Web3 ecosystem in the coming years?

The Web3 industry today is oversized in relation to demand. The Web3 ecosystem is like a city where lots of buildings have been erected that are now looking to be inhabited.

Beyond this question, the fundamentals have not changed. Web3 can improve many things, from the financial sector to art. Thanks to Tezos, you can prove the authenticity of a work. It's no coincidence that Tezos has a large artistic community.

If there's too much infrastructure, what makes you think Tezos will survive? Why shouldn't other blockchains be able to take your place?

Nobody can say what the Web3 landscape will look like in a few years' time, and that's why we're looking to innovate so much and be as close as possible to the needs of the community. As soon as we identified that there was an art market on Tezos, we pushed to offer tools to artists.

Do you think, as many do, that artificial intelligence (AI) has replaced Web3?

There's a real trend, that's obvious. On top of that, AI had the good idea of making news at a time when the crypto markets were not at their best, so the phenomenon was amplified, and we saw investment funds change their tune.

For me, the AI revolution goes back mainly to 2020 with the announcement of GPT-3 by OpenAI. I don't understand why it took more than 2 years and the release of the ChatGPT interface for investment funds to realise this.

What is your opinion of OpenAI, the company developing ChatGPT?

I'm rather divided. On the one hand, you have to admit that they are technically excellent, and that they also have the support of giants like Microsoft. On the other, I'm concerned about the risks that artificial intelligence poses to us, particularly if we lose control of it.

I think that OpenAI and Sam Altman have clearly identified these risks. They are aware of what is at stake, which is why they recently announced that they were going to dedicate 20% of their computing power to security projects to avoid disasters linked to artificial intelligence.

What would be the worst-case scenario for humanity with the development of AI?

There are plenty, but we could have a planet Earth covered in solar panels that would be used to power the computing power of artificial intelligences. Needless to say, in this scenario, human beings do not play the leading role.

Nowadays, machines are not very dangerous, but imagine a robot, a hoover robot for example, that would be much more intelligent than those currently on the market. If it wanted to be sure of fulfilling its role as a hoover, it could go so far as to prevent human beings from going into the rooms it is supposed to clean, or even do everything it can to never be switched off, in order to fulfil the mission for which it has been programmed...

Could Web3 play a positive role in the development of artificial intelligence?

I'd like to think so, but to be honest, I don't have much faith in it. There's a lot of marketing in those who claim that.

The Worldcoin project, which launched its token on Monday, claims the opposite, are they wrong?

Worldcoin relies on eye iris scanning, but like any system, it's not perfect. It's always possible to fool the machine by generating images.

Also, the private key you get from the scan can be shared. At best, it proves that at some point someone had their iris scanned and received a private key, but this is not valid over time. Private keys can be resold, tampered with and so on. I think the project is missing the point.

What do you think Sam Altman's motivations are?

I think what he's interested in with Worldcoin is the issue of universal income. It seems pretty obvious that artificial intelligence is going to destroy a lot of jobs and that a basic income will be needed for part of the population.

Join The Ocean! 🌊

All European projects that wish to do so can fill in their details and appear in "The Ocean".

Each project included in this mapping will have the opportunity, after a vote by The Big Whale's 300 founding subscribers, to:

👉 Pit the project to The Big Whale community (20.000 members)

👉 Be visible (with a listing) within a dedicated space in The Big Whale

The questionnaire is available by clicking here, and only takes a few minutes.

The Big Focus_

Written byGrégory Raymond

Cometh, the rising star of gaming

MP

The French video game studio will soon be offering one of the first Web3 games on the Epic Games Store, which is none other than one of the biggest gaming platforms on the planet. Investigation into a phenomenon.

The sequel is available on The Big Whale's website. 🐳

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