Bitcoin and most of the cryptocurrency market have experienced a dramatic pullback today. Smart-contract platforms Solana and Fantom, however, have at least been two outliers doing comparatively well.

Having reached as high as US$52,853 on the back of bullish sentiment based round its first day as legal tender in El Salvador, Bitcoin (BTC) took a massive tumble of more than $7,500, to $45,299 a short time ago, to the glee of Bitcoin haters everywhere.

The OG crypto is currently staging somewhat of a recovery at press time, though, reclaiming US$47K and changing hands for US$47,143.

But generally speaking, there’s blood on the streets across the entire crypto market at the time of writing, with double-digit percentage losses just about everywhere you look, including the overall market cap – currently down 11.4% and sitting at US$2.160 trillion.


According to technical analysts such as Michaël van de Poppe and Rekt Capital, a pullback was hardly unexpected, although perhaps even they didn’t quite envisage the sheer carnage the market’s just experienced in the space of the past two hours.

In his latest YouTube video, Van de Poppe had been looking for Bitcoin to hold an area roughly between US$49,000 and US$50K, lest it head back down to somewhere in the vicinity of US$44K. So far, he wasn’t too far off that lower-level prediction.

Still, he, and others are keeping positivity well in frame. “Bitcoin Charts”, for instance, believes BTC is still in a “macro medium-term bullish trend”, despite today’s pullback.

Ethereum (ETH), meanwhile, is down 12.33% and trading at US$3,480, while its smart-contract platform rival Cardano (ADA) has been one of the hardest hit in the top 10 today, down 15.75% at the time of writing, pulling back to US$2.39.

Cardano has been copping a good deal of negative sentiment in the past few days, based around some supposed teething problems it’s facing regarding the scalability of its smart contracts currently being trialled on a public testnet.

Naturally, some of Ethereum’s biggest proponents, for example EthHub co-founder Anthony Sassano, have been wasting no time in calling out the issue.

With “Ethereum killer” Solana on a tear just lately (holding up remarkably well today at US$1.85), and Cardano set to launch smart contracts on September 12,  the “Layer 1 blockchain” sector of crypto is a fiercely contested one – right now, even more than usual.


Andre Cronje rolls the dice with ‘Rarity’ on Fantom

A Layer 1 chain that was having a particularly good day (at least when we began writing this article) is Fantom (FTM), which hit an all-time high of US$1.80 a few hours ago, up 50 cents from yesterday. At its peak today, it was up 121 per cent across the past seven days and 528 per cent across the past 30 days.

Like the rest of the market, though, Fantom has been retracing in the past couple of hours. It’s currently trading at US$1.64.

Fantom’s surge this week can be partly attributed to a minimalistic Dungeons & Dragons-inspired text-based game called Rarity, created by the DeFi-developing, (YFI) genius Andre Cronje.

The game, which requires players to hold some FTM to pay for transaction fees, has caused a deluge of new users to flood into the Fantom network in the past few days. It appears to be not only inspired by D&D but a recent bare-bones, text-based NFT (non-fungible token) phenomenon called Loot (for Adventurers).

What’s Loot (for Adventurers) all about then?

To understand Rarity, let’s first try to understand Loot, launched on August 27 by Dom Hoffman, the co-creator of video-sharing app Vine.

Loot is essentially an NFT project of 8,000 lists of randomised “adventurer gear”, which were available free at no minting cost, and are now, incredibly, selling for a minimum of about 9 ETH (currently about US$33,500).

Despite being an under-the-radar project, all of these lists were claimed within the space of a couple of hours.

“Loot is unique,” reads its website. “The first project of its kind. With no company, art, team, or attributes, Loot makes it impossible to gate-keep any creative decisions.

“Loot is the unfiltered, uncensorable building block for stories, experiences, games, and more, in the hands of the community, at no cost. Loot pursues complete decentralization from day one.”

The project is essentially a prompt, or a spark of an idea for its community to build something, anything, around – such as a metaverse, game, or simply in-game items that might be interoperable between blockchains and different games universes.

It’s a bizarre concept, the success of which beggars belief when you look at the ETH that it’s been generating so far – for essentially a bunch of extremely basic lists of weird items.

But it’s a concept that’s caught the imagination of the NFT community, including Andre Cronje – a proud fantasy world-building nerd from way back.

Which brings us back to Rarity

Rarity is, at this early stage, a text-based role-playing game powered by smart-contract interaction on Fantom. In a blog post detailing the developing game, Cronje explains that players create a “summoner” character, choose a class, then go on daily adventures to receive XP and level up.

As players gain new levels, they gain the ability to craft rare in-game items that can then be sold to, or traded among, other players.

Cronje has essentially taken the core Loot idea, and is in the process of developing a gaming world based on  those Loot items, with an item-trading economy at its core.

It’s a game that a dedicated section of the NFT community is helping to build out with artwork and user interfaces (see below).

Rarity is an exercise in decentralised community game building, and it’s been pretty remarkable to see how quickly it’s captured people’s attention and imagination so far. It’ll be interesting to watch how it develops from here.

As creating a “summoner” is essentially free, minus gas fees, getting involved in Rarity is certainly currently far more accessible than buying a Loot list. Although, in the course of today’s dip, Loot’s floor price has now come down an entire ether to 8 ETH at press time.

Who knows, if things keep dipping, maybe in a few hours you’ll be able to pick up your very own randomised list of capes, rings, magic swords and studded leather gloves for a bargain price of around US$20K or so.

If that’s your bag, then keep a keen eye on OpenSea. Or just buy Bitcoin and Ethereum and HODL.

(Definitely not financial advice. Any of it.)