May 16, 2024

🥛 The institutional FOMO is real 👀

Today’s edition is brought to you by Safe{Wallet} – a decentralized custody protocol and collective asset management platform that secures over $100 billion in digital assets with multi-layered security.

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GM. This is Milk Road, we’re that friend in the group that tries the hot wings first, just to make sure you don’t burn your taste buds off.

Here’s the sauce for today:

  • The institutions are coming 🏇

  • DeFi gaming: not quite what we expected 🎰

  • Prices are up, what happened? 📈

  • Circle is heading home 🍪

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THE INSTITUTIONS ARE COMING FOR CRYPTO 🏇

Imagine Paul Revere riding through Wall Street shouting “The Institutions are coming! The institutions are coming!”

And this time, he's talking about the big boys jumping into Bitcoin ETFs.

In case you haven’t been following: the largest institutions in the game are now invested in BTC ETFs. 

In fact, these ETFs saw 884% MORE unique owners than gold ETFs in their first quarter.

Note: Unique owners = professional funds like state pension funds, banks, insurance companies, family offices and hedge funds.

Millennium Management is the big dog in hedge funds, holding almost $2 billion in Bitcoin ETFs! 🤯

But they’re not alone. Here are some of the next biggest holders:

2/ Susquehanna with $1.1B

3/ Horizon Kinetics with $989M

4/ Schonfeld Strategic Advisors with $479M

5/ Bracebridge with $404M

6/ Boothbay with $303M

And here are some others worth noting:

  • The state of Wisconsin investment board dropped $150M into BTC

  • Royal Bank of Canada (top 25 global bank) has a small allocation

  • Switzerland’s largest bank with over $1 trillion AUM, UBS, has a small allocation

  • Fortress Investment Group (the group behind the LA to Las Vegas bullet train) holds $54M

  • Staples like JP Morgan and Wells Fargo joined the party as well

  • Morgan Stanley holds $270M (all in GBTC)

The only one missing from the party? Endowments. Harvard we got our eyes on your $50B.

Total US endowments (think slush funds for universities) sits just under $1T

Who’s next? The $27T AUM (assets under management) pension fund market is in the crosshairs too. 

Michael Saylor, the mastermind behind Microstrategy, also chimed in “they will all need some” when referring to pension funds holding BTC.

Speaking of things we’ve been waiting for…  Vanguard with $7T in AUM has appointed a new CEO, Salim Ramji. 

Why this matters: Vanguard’s old CEO said ‘No Bitcoin here,’ and then got canned…

And now they’ve hired Ramji, the BlackRock guy who launched the biggest Bitcoin ETF. Talk about a 180!

The good news? He loves Bitcoin more than Kanye loves Kanye. 

The meh news? Salim recently said he has no intention of changing Vanguard’s approach to crypto

More and more institutions are flocking toward crypto and eventually, the floodgates will bust wide open…

🥛 Milk Road Take: This just highlights the need for new, crypto-friendly leaders entering the arena. We all long for the day when we can finally say “The old guard is out, and the fresh minds are in.”

Just like the internet revolution, it will take time. This is nothing new, it’s human nature. Older generations become resistant to change and younger generations will fight for the new thing.

And this wave of institutional money is only getting started.

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BLOCKCHAIN GAMING IS HERE… JUST NOT THE WAY WE THOUGHT 🎰

Blockchain gaming didn't turn out to be the playground of interoperable skins and in-game items we all had hoped for…

Instead, it's evolved into something we didn't quite see coming: SocialFi and memecoins.

Both have underlying themes of gamification and speculation of activity.

And right now, the intersection of SocialFi, memecoins and gambling is HOT! 

3 of them are on fire actually. (like NBA Jam)

1/ Friend.Tech

Friend.Tech brings social networking onchain by introducing token-gated private chats. 

Users can mint (purchase) account keys to join exclusive chats, effectively selling access.

Friend.Tech has made a recent resurgence:

  • $68M USD in key swap volume since token launch (May 3rd)

  • Total Wallets continue to climb, at ATH of 329K

Note: If you really want your mind blown check out this PRO Report about the money that’s flowing to the blockchains that Friend.Tech is built on.

2/ Fantasy.Top

Fantasy.Top is a SocialFi Trading Card Game (TCG) enabling players to utilize trading cards featuring Crypto Twitter influencers in an online game. Gotta catch ‘em all.

Players build decks and compete, leveraging their research prowess for rewards. 

Here are some card sales for example:

3/ Pump.fun

Pump.fun is a platform dedicated to the creation and trading of memecoins.

It addresses common beef with traditional token launches: unfair distributions and rug pulls.

The platform ensures a fair and transparent distribution process by eliminating pre-sales and team allocations.

Here’s a simple chart showing how active it is (via deployments aka new memecoins created):

The craziest part? It recently flipped Solana in 24 hour revenue!

🥛Milk Road Take: While some like to discard these protocols because they’re allowing users to launch memecoins and bet on Twitter All Stars, we suggest taking another look.

New tech is often cringe when it launches… TikTok was silly dances and Instagram was food photos but look at them now.

These SocialFi and memecoin platforms are creating new forms of engagement that blend social interaction with financial incentives. And that’s huge!

But here are the big questions:

  • Is this just the next wave of degen capital?

  • Could gamified social apps drive mainstream web3 adoption? 

  • Or will it be a transition period blending the two?

We’re not sure which one (if any) will be the next big thing, but there’s definitely something to pay attention to here. 

Let us know what you think though by replying to this email:

A/ Bullish: SocialFi and memecoins will continue to grow

B/ Neutral: Call me Switzerland

C/ Meh: More hype that will die down

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PRICES ARE UP. HERE’S WHATS HAPPENING 📈

The crypto market was 50 Shades of Green yesterday

Light Green. Dark Green. Emerald Green. Picasso would be proud.

Here’s a list of bullish announcements we think are driving prices:

  • CME Group, the world’s largest futures exchange, is planning to launch Bitcoin trading

  • CPI results coming in at expectations

  • The head and shoulders pattern (bullish signal from price action) we pointed out in yesterday’s cookies

  • AND of course, the wave of institutional confidence riding into Bitcoin ETFs

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BITE-SIZED COOKIES FOR THE ROAD 🍪

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Robinhood Revs Up Solana Staking in Europe, Offers Juicy Bonus. New users get a 10% USDC bonus. As the no-fee trading app expands to Italy, Poland and Lithuania, these localized perks could spark a fresh wave of crypto curious to join the hood.

El Salvador's Volcanic Bet: 474 Bitcoins Mined, 5,750 BTC Stash. Using geothermal energy from the Tecapa volcano, the country has 300 new volcanic processors. Bukele’s crypto hoard sits around $380 million USD. 

Circle Catches Americana Wave, $55B USDC Issuer Returns to US. While pricier tax-wise, the US redomicile could grease the wheels for a smoother public listing and better regulatory clarity.

MIT Genius Siblings Allegedly Swindle $25M from Ethereum Bots. By exploiting a Flashbots flaw, they tricked the automated traders into buying illiquid tokens to siphon liquid crypto reserves. – DL News

Blast Token Airdrop Postponed to June 26, Allocation Increased. Half will go to developers via Blast Gold points for building dApps, while the other half rewards early users who transferred over $2.3 billion to the network before its mainnet launch.

Wanna team up with the Milk Man? We currently have 4 positions open – check ‘em out and apply here!

*this is sponsored content

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MILKY MEMES 🤣

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ROADIE REVIEW OF THE DAY 🥛

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DISCLAIMER: None of this is financial advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. Please be careful and do your own research.