Dive into the messy NFT ecosystem, binge 'Yellowjackets' and other stuff to do this weekend

Don’t know what to watch this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

Dive into the messy NFT ecosystem, binge 'Yellowjackets' and other stuff to do this weekend
Image: Showtime; Devolver Digital; OpenSea

This week we're sinking (sorry) into how OpenSea is riding the NFT wave (sorry); binging "Yellowjackets" and the first part of "Ozark's" finally season; and playing a gorgeous game that was just added to Xbox Game Pass this month.

The NFT ecosystem is a huge mess

There’s been plenty written about the current state of Web3. But none quite captures the sheer level of absurdity around the NFT market quite like Edward Ongweso Jr.’s new piece that chronicles the scams, security breaches and just outright fraud that’s running rampant in the digital art space.

A deep dive on OpenSea

Russell Brandom published a deep dive this week on OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace. It’s a great read to understand how one company found itself at the center of an apparent gold mine, and all the side effects of trafficking in unregulated online goods with ballooning price tags.

Have you watched 'Yellowjackets' yet?

I spent most of my TV watching this past week binging “Yellowjackets," the one-part-survival-horror and one-part-dark-comedy series from "Narcos" veterans Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson. It is of course an all-girl "Lord of the Flies," but with multiple timelines showing the events before, during and after a plane crash that strands a high school soccer team in the Canadian wilderness. It’s an uncanny blend of horrifying, absurd and funny all at once.

"Ozark's" final season, part one, is out

When I wasn’t watching "Yellowjackets," I was consuming the seven-episode part one of "Ozark’s" final season on Netflix. We’re back with the Byrd family’s attempts to extricate themselves from a deadly drug cartel’s clutches, all while they inevitably undermine each other’s best efforts in new and more ludicrous fashion. It doesn't feel like there’s a happy ending anywhere in sight here, but it’s still hard to not look on with excitement and horror as Jason Bateman and Laura Linney’s characters fall completely into the deep end.

Death’s Door is a little bit Zelda, with a dash of Hades

The gorgeous indie action-adventure game from developer Acid Nerve is a nice blend of The Legend of Zelda with some more modern artistic and gameplay influences, like the dioramic art of Ustwo’s Monument Valley and the challenging combat of roguelikes like Hades. The game was just added to Xbox Game Pass last month, making it the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

A version of this story also appeared in today's Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.


How 'Zuck Bucks' saved the 2020 election — and fueled the Big Lie

The true story of how Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s $419 million donation became the 2020 election’s most enduring conspiracy theory.

Mark Zuckerberg is smack in the center of one of the 2020 election’s multitudinous conspiracies.

Illustration: Mike McQuade; Photos: Getty Images

If Mark Zuckerberg could have imagined the worst possible outcome of his decision to insert himself into the 2020 election, it might have looked something like the scene that unfolded inside Mar-a-Lago on a steamy evening in early April.

There in a gilded ballroom-turned-theater, MAGA world icons including Kellyanne Conway, Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks and former president Donald Trump himself were gathered for the premiere of “Rigged: The Zuckerberg Funded Plot to Defeat Donald Trump.”

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Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

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Why the digital transformation of industries is creating a more sustainable future

Qualcomm’s chief sustainability officer Angela Baker on how companies can view going “digital” as a way not only toward growth, as laid out in a recent report, but also toward establishing and meeting environmental, social and governance goals.

Three letters dominate business practice at present: ESG, or environmental, social and governance goals. The number of mentions of the environment in financial earnings has doubled in the last five years, according to GlobalData: 600,000 companies mentioned the term in their annual or quarterly results last year.

But meeting those ESG goals can be a challenge — one that businesses can’t and shouldn’t take lightly. Ahead of an exclusive fireside chat at Davos, Angela Baker, chief sustainability officer at Qualcomm, sat down with Protocol to speak about how best to achieve those targets and how Qualcomm thinks about its own sustainability strategy, net zero commitment, other ESG targets and more.

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Chris Stokel-Walker

Chris Stokel-Walker is a freelance technology and culture journalist and author of "YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars." His work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and Wired.


From frenzy to fear: Trading apps grapple with anxious investors

After riding the stock-trading wave last year, trading apps like Robinhood have disenchanted customers and jittery investors.

Retail stock trading is still an attractive business, as shown by the news that crypto exchange FTX is dipping its toes in the market by letting some U.S. customers trade stocks.

Photo: Lam Yik/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For a brief moment, last year’s GameStop craze made buying and selling stocks cool, even exciting, for a new generation of young investors. Now, that frenzy has turned to fear.

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev pointed to “a challenging macro environment” marked by rising prices and interest rates and a slumping market in a call with analysts explaining his company’s lackluster results. The downturn, he said, was something “most of our customers have never experienced in their lifetimes.”

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.


Broadcom is reportedly in talks to acquire VMware

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Broadcom is said to be in discussions with VMware to buy the cloud computing company for as much as $50 billion.

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Jamie Condliffe

Jamie Condliffe ( @jme_c) is the executive editor at Protocol, based in London. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, he worked on the business desk at The New York Times, where he edited the DealBook newsletter and wrote Bits, the weekly tech newsletter. He has previously worked at MIT Technology Review, Gizmodo, and New Scientist, and has held lectureships at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. He also holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Oxford.


Should startups be scared?

Stock market turmoil is making VCs skittish. Could now be the best time to start a company?

Dark times could be ahead for startups.

Photo by Startaê Team on Unsplash

This week, we break down why Elon Musk is tweeting about the S&P 500's ESG rankings — and why he might be right to be mad. Then we discuss how tech companies are failing to prevent mass shootings, and why the new Texas social media law might make it more difficult for platforms to be proactive.

Then Protocol's Biz Carson, author of the weekly VC newsletter Pipeline, joins us to explain the state of venture capital amidst plunging stocks and declining revenues. Should founders start panicking? The answer might surprise you.

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Caitlin McGarry

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