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The 2023 NFT market crash gave birth to one of the strangest NFT collections the world has ever seen. It’s known as Goblintown. Its purpose? To make weird goblin sounds. No, seriously. 

Here’s how the creators describe the project on OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace, “AAAAAAAUUUUUGGGHHHHH gobblins goblinns GOBLINNNNNNNNns wekm ta goblintown yoo sniksnakr DEJEN RATS oooooh rats are yummmz dis a NEFTEEE O GOBBLINGS on da BLOKCHIN wat?” 

Enlightening, isn’t it? And for better or worse, the project took the NFT world by storm. 

The Goblintown collection went live the week of May 20, 2023. In the span of just a few short days, this unabashedly irreverent project saw all 10,000 of its freely minted pieces claimed. Shortly after selling out, the floor price went to more than 2 ETH ($2,500). Makers throughout the space immediately jumped on the hype, with Goblintown derivatives flooding OpenSea’s volume charts just weeks after Goblintown first opened its doors.

Eventually, the floor price crept up to 4 ETH ($4,800) and individual NFTs started selling for tens of thousands of dollars. One of the most expensive sales was Goblintown #8995, which sold for $136,440.

If you’re confused, please know that you’re not alone. Here, we did our very best to suss out what’s going on with Goblintown and explain why the NFT project achieved such popularity. 

What the heck is Goblintown? 

The purpose of the project is also rather surprising. Recently, several prominent NFT collectors have noted that, to be taken seriously, an NFT project must have meaningful utility. Goblintown’s creators….don’t care. 

From the start, the founders were upfront about the nature of this project. On the official website, the team outlined their plans in bold letters: “No roadmap. No Discord. No utility. CC0.” That last bit is especially worth paying attention to, as each Goblintown NFT is registered under a creative commons license, meaning buyers have free reign to do whatever they want with their goblin NFTs.

With its quickly rising floor prices, CC0 licensing agreements, and the amount of support it currently enjoys from the community, some observers believe this crass project holds massive potential. 

Who runs Goblintown?

When Goblintown launched, its creators were anonymous. However, despite the remarkably silly way the founders described the collection, it didn’t seem like an amateur project. In fact, what jumped out to more seasoned members of the NFT community was the project’s high overall quality. 

To begin with, there is the art. It’s far from stick drawings made in MS Paint, and anyone who looks at the images can tell that they were made by real artists. The same can be said of the website. The UX is complex and enjoyable, with a number of fun surprises baked into it. Clearly, it’s made by someone with a background in user experience design and engineering.

Credit: Screenshot of Goblintown website/nft now

Then there are the surprisingly on-brand events, which were one of the earliest measures of the project’s overall quality. In a bizarre Twitter space hosted just past midnight EDT on May 26th, guests were subjected to nearly three whole hours of various speakers taking the stage to make — for lack of a better term — goblin noises. More than 86,000 people tuned in, and media publications around the world picked up the story. 

Rumors flew about who was behind the collection. Many users thought it had ties to prominent crypto artist Beeple. However, he denied any affiliations in a tweet, calling the collection “a shockingly low effort pump and dump project.”

Eventually, though, Goblintown’s creators came clean and revealed who they are. In a tweet on June 15, the Goblintown team uncharacteristically issued a formal message to their community. 

In the post, Goblintown’s creators identified themselves as Truth Labs. It’s a collective of creators whose mission is “dedicated to sharing delightful blockchain mischief, exploring creatively, developing rich, fun worlds and experiences (both IRL and in the digital realm), and providing a platform for new voices and visions in this space.” 

The Truth Labs team previously created The 187 and Illuminate Collective. Finally, with Goblintown, it looks like they were able to meet their goal of lightening up discussions and bringing some levity to the wider NFT space.

The power of community

Taking everything we’ve seen during this project’s lifespan at face value shows us one key thing: the continued power of virality. Despite lacking a comprehensive marketing plan, partnerships with established brands, or affiliations with prominent members in the NFT sphere, it has made a huge mark within the community. 

In short, the idea of Goblintown — its irreverent “nothing really matters” tone — struck a chord with collectors who had experienced weeks of stressful financial losses. Plus, it was simply absurd and just made no sense. This made individuals curious and also gave them a sense of FOMO. What is this project? What if it’s a cunning ploy by someone huge? What if I miss out? 

These all came together to make Goblintown go viral, and the project quickly transformed into a thriving community.

In fact, at chúng tôi 2023, the Goblintown horde was able to meet up and connect in-person en-masse for the very first time. Numerous attendees of one of the biggest conferences in the space came dressed in goblin garb, proudly representing their community.

Found a random @goblintownwtf goblin at @NFT_NYC … 🧐 what conference talks does a goblin attend? 😂 chúng tôi chúng tôi (@JaySerpens) June 23, 2023

If that wasn’t enough, members of the Goblintown team were even able to deck out a food truck into a fully functional roving branch of McGoblinBurger — complete with goblin staff, of course. One attendee even reportedly received ‘pee’ to go with their McGoblinBurger.

Where can you buy GoblinTown NFTs?

Until recently, you could only buy GoblinTownNFTs on secondary marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, and LooksRare. In September, however, Truth Labs announced the launch of Truth Labs Marketplace, a dedicated secondary sales platform for its own NFT collections, including GoblinTown.

In a press release shared with nft now before the launch, Truth Labs explained that the platform’s goal is to enable sales of its NFTs with reduced fees for sellers. The platform will charge a single five-percent royalty-marketplace fee for transactions on the site.

This significant move showed how Web3 companies are reconsidering the role of marketplace fees and royalties in the NFT ecosystem. By creating the platform, Truth Labs looks to address what it sees as unacceptably high fees on marketplaces like OpenSea, which takes a 2.5 percent marketplace fee off of the final price of every NFT transaction and allows creators to set royalties anywhere from 2.5 to 10 percent.

Security is another tenet underpinning Truth Labs Marketplace. In another apparent shot across the bow at industry giant OpenSea, whose stolen item policy has recently come under scrutiny, Truth Labs claimed in the press release that it would be “more stringent” in its processes for reporting stolen NFTs.

GoblinTown having its own marketplace home might be a sign of things to come. Web3 heavy hitters like Magic Eden and others have likewise recently released tools that specifically address the creator royalty debate. The possibility of a proliferation of NFT collection-specific platforms could result in a fragmentation of the secondary market platform ecosystem, for better or worse.

Regardless, it’s undeniable that Truth Labs injected the 2023 bear market-beleaguered NFT scene with much-needed levity and cash flow. What’s next for GoblinTown is anyone’s guess, but it’s likely to be as irreverent as the project’s reputation would suggest.

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Quantum: The Story Behind The World’s First Nft

Despite what many may believe, NFT art didn’t start with the Bored Ape Yacht Club. It also didn’t start with CryptoPunks. So what was the first NFT, and who created it? Ultimately, this singular honor goes to Quantum, a generative piece of art that was created by digital artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. After its creation, Quantum was subsequently turned into an NFT by Kevin in 2014.

And the reason he minted this particular piece of art? It’s really rather simple. He did it for ownership.

The birth of NFTs

After he and his wife created Quantum, McCoy wanted to develop a way to sell the piece in its digital form. The problem? He didn’t have a way of establishing the provenance of a digital piece of art.

For the uninitiated, “provenance” is the documentation that authenticates the creator, ownership history, and appraisal value of a particular piece of art. Unfortunately, provenance documents for digital art didn’t exist at the time. In other words, there was no way to verify the creator and ownership history of digital works. After mulling over his options, McCoy joined forces with tech entrepreneur Anil Dash to solve the problem. Eventually, the duo started to explore blockchain technology to see if it might provide a viable path forward.

In the early 2010s, blockchain technology was still a niche field. Bitcoin was only valued at $630 (its price at the time of writing is just over $16,500), Ethereum had just launched, and coin creators regularly overpromised, underdelivered, and got sued into oblivion. But McCoy and Dash weren’t dissuaded, and the decision paid off — to put it lightly.

Quantum. Credit: Kevin McCoy

As is widely now known, blockchain technology contains several properties that are conducive to buying and selling digital art. With it, individuals have a trustless way of identifying the creator and tracking the ownership history of any item on a blockchain. This served McCoy and Dash’s purposes perfectly, and McCoy registered Quantum on blockchain. “I had an idea to use blockchain technology to create indelible provenance and ownership of digital images of this kind. Quantum was the first ever to be recorded in this way,” McCoy later said.

Shortly after that first minting, McCoy and Dash demonstrated how “monetized graphics” like this could be used to establish provenance and sell digital art. Their demonstration occurred during a live presentation for the Seven on Seven conferences. During the presentation, McCoy sold a digital image to Dash for $4 using blockchain. And with that, McCoy and Dash unwittingly set the foundation for what would grow into a multi-billion-dollar market less than a decade later.

Quantum rediscovery and controversy

Unfortunately, Quantum was forgotten following its 2014 mint. This was largely due to its original home on Namecoin, a pre-Ethereum Bitcoin offshoot. Specifically, Quantum lived on Namecoin Block 174923, and that’s where it stayed for years — until the 2023 NFT bull market.

When NFTs started to gain mainstream attention and sell for millions of dollars in 2023, McCoy realized he might be sitting on a golden egg. So he started to promote Quantum, turning to media outlets like Axios to discuss his work and its role in NFT history. Thanks largely to this publicity push, Quantum eventually went up for auction at Sotheby’s. And in June of 2023, it sold for more than one million dollars at auction. The winning bidder was sillytuna, an anonymous NFT collector.

But legal issues soon followed.

Shortly after its million-dollar sale, experts noted that a specific quirk about Namecoin called into question who exactly owned Quantum at the time of the sale. As explained by Ledger Insights, Namecoin requires users to renew whatever is minted on the Namecoin blockchain every 250 days to retain ownership of the digital item. Notably, McCoy never renewed Quantum. This allowed a completely separate entity — veteran collector EarlyNFT — to scoop up the ownership rights to Quantum before the Sotheby’s auction.

In an ironic twist, EarlyNFT secured these rights just a day after the piece about Quantum was published on Axios. Eventually, EarlyNFT contested the validity of Sotheby’s auction through a lawsuit.

Who won? Thankfully, the artists who created and minted the work. In March 2023, a New York federal Judge dismissed the lawsuit. While the Namecoin blockchain was controlled by Free Holdings, the judge noted that Kevin McCoy went on to mint it on Ethereum, essentially creating two different NFTs in the process.

While the controversy surrounding Quantum’s legacy is far from the perfect way to honor the historical NFT and its creators, both Jennifer and Kevin McCoy continue to innovate in the space. In April 2023, the pair are releasing their first NFT collection with a Web3 platform. Read our interview with the McCoys to learn about the project and hear their thoughts on how Web3 has changed since they helped start the digital revolution.

Meet In The Middle In Java

We are provided with an array and a sum value; the problem statement is to calculate the maximum subset sum which does not exceed the given sum value. We cannot apply the brute force approach here because the structure of the array A and similarly the subset sum of the later subset is calculated and stored in array B. Finally the 2 sub-problem are merged such that their sum is less than or equal to given sum.

Approach used in the below program is as follows −

Create an array of data type long and a variable of data type long and set it to 10. Call the function as calculateSubsetSum(arr, arr.length, given_Sum)).

Inside the method, calculateSubsetSum(arr, arr.length, given_Sum))

Call the method as solve_subarray(a, A, len / 2, 0) and solve_subarray(a, B, len – len / 2, len / 2)

Calculate the size of A and B and then sort the array B using the sort() method.

Start loop FOR from i to 0 till i less than size of an array A. check IF A[i] less than equals to given_Sum then set get_lower_bound to calculate_lower_bound(B, given_Sum – A[i]). Check, IF get_lower_bound to size_B OR B[get_lower_bound] not equals to (given_Sum – A[i])) then decrement get_lower_bound by 1.

Check IF B[get_lower_bound] + A[i]) greater than max then set max to import java.lang.*; import*; public class testClass{    static long A[] = new long[2000005];    static long B[] = new long[2000005];    static void solve_subarray(long a[], long x[], int n, int c){       for (int i = 0; i < (1 << n); i++){          long sum = 0;          for (int j = 0; j < n; j++){             if ((i & (1 << j)) == 0){                sum += a[j + c];             }          }          x[i] = sum;       }    }    static long calculateSubsetSum(long a[], int len, long given_Sum){       solve_subarray(a, A, len / 2, 0);       solve_subarray(a, B, len – len / 2, len / 2);       int size_A = 1 << (len / 2);       int size_B = 1 << (len – len / 2);       Arrays.sort(B);       long max = 0;       for (int i = 0; i < size_A; i++){          if (A[i] <= given_Sum){             int get_lower_bound = calculate_lower_bound(B, given_Sum – A[i]);                get_lower_bound–;             }                max = B[get_lower_bound] + A[i];             }          }       }       return max;    }    static int calculate_lower_bound(long a[], long x){       int left = -1, right = a.length;       while (left + 1 < right){             right = m;          }          else{             left = m;          }       }       return right;    }    public static void main(String[] args){       long arr[] = { 21, 1, 2, 45, 9, 8 };       long given_Sum = 12;    }

China Is Now The World’s Largest Android Smartphone Market

Just how important is China to the top two smartphone platforms: Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS? The Asian nation is now the largest single market for Android, with the United States a distant second. What’s more, half of the smartphones sold in America next year could be Android-powered unless Apple “makes radical changes to its aging iOS”, one research firm warns Tuesday.

China is rushing to turn in their feature phones for more powerful smartphones, according to Informa Telecoms & Media. Smartphones grew at an 85 percent clip compared to 2011. That’s nearly double the 45 percent year-over-year growth worldwide. Just in 2012 alone, an astounding 786 million smartphones were sold in the 1.33 billion people market…

The rapid growth of smartphones in China is nearly all fueled by Android handsets. A 50 percent penetration of sales during the first half of 2012 will reach 75 percent by year’s end, the researchers estimate.

Apple’s current five percent share of the country’s smartphone market could actually fall in 2013 if the iPhone maker “does not manage to create a TD-LTE variant”.

TD-LTE, or Time-Division Long-Term Evolution, is a radio technology used by China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier with whom Apple has yet to cut an iPhone distribution agreement.

Meanwhile, Microsoft could see its share of China’s smartphone sales double from one to two percent in 2013, thanks to Nokia’s partnership with China Mobile.

While the forecast appears bleak for Apple in China, today’s report does not factor in a number of unknowns which could help Apple compete in a market largely driven by low prices.

Among the unknowns:

the impact of Apple’s record-breaking sales of 2 million iPhone 5 handsets during the first three days in China

whether Apple’s release of a $99 iPhone 4S and a free (with contract) iPhone 4 will counter cheap Android phones in China

the huge customer base available if Apple signs China Mobile in 2013

The research firm also paints a dreary landscape for Apple at home.

According to the findings, it expects Android to “consolidate its position further in the US to such an extent that one in every two handsets sold in country in 2013 will be powered” by the Google software.

The cure: “radical changes to [Apple’s] aging iOS, particularly to the user interface” which the firm said hasn’t changed in six years.

Principal analyst Malik Saadi writes:

Although Apple has upgraded the hardware of the iPhone 5, only a little has been done on the software chúng tôi situation could lead to even the most ardent Apple fans churning as they become disillusioned with using the same UI framework for more than six years.

In fact, iPhone sales in the US could drop to 34 million in 2013, down from 35.5 million in 2012.


I’m reminded of the saying that numbers can be tortured to prove any point.

But Android could have an unlikely Achilles heel both in China and in the US.

According to Informa, nearly half – 41 percent – of  “Android” smartphones sold in China actually use “alternative application frameworks” from local mobile firms like China-based search engine Baidu, e-commerce firm Alibaba and handset maker Xiaomi (in November, Xiaomi acquired an eReader and Apple app creator, according to The NextWeb.

Inexpensive Android handsets and local brands like the pictured Coolpad are slowing Apple’s growth in China.

By comparison, Apple retains its ecosphere of hardware, app stores and iTunes.

Additionally, in the US, Android’s lead could peak by 2024, and even fall due to a “more aggressive penetration” by mobile operating systems like Windows Phone, according to the research firm.

I don’t think Apple (or its supporters) should sweat the much-heralded future of Android ‘domination.’  The percentages are in Apple’s favor.

Microsoft’s Wins, Fails, And Wtf Moments Of 2023

Looking back at Microsoft’s 2023, you could make the argument that the company ended on an all-time high. After all, it’s the most valuable company in the world.

As we’ve done in recent years, we list the highlights, low points, and yes, “what the hell was that??!” moments, closing with what we think Microsoft needs to work on most for 2023.

WIN: Microsoft’s conference room of the future

Everyone loves a killer tech demo, and Microsoft showed off a doozy at its Build conference: a conference room of the future where Cortana could both hear and see, identifying users as they walked in. The demo showed off not only Microsoft’s AI technologies, but also its transcription and translation capabilities, as well as the power of its cloud services. Microsoft’s vision may never come to pass, but let’s hope it does. This is exactly the type of forward-looking thinking we like to see.

Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft’s demo managed to incorporate transcription, translation, machine vision, cloud services, and even a mysterious Cortana speaker.

FAIL: Windows 10 S

In March, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore went on record claiming that Microsoft “expect[s] the majority of customers to enjoy” Windows 10 in S Mode in 2023. That may still happen, but whew!—right now, it looks like a major overstatement on Microsoft’s part.

To be fair, Windows 10 S has two redeeming features: One, it enables demonstrably longer battery life within laptops that used Qualcomm processors; and two, it forces the use of Microsoft Edge, which has finally evolved into a decent browser.

Dan Masaoka

The ease with which users could “switch” out of S Mode meant that user engagement time was probably minimal.

Here’s the problem: The Venn diagram merging those who use Edge and who also use a Qualcomm-based PC probably amounts to a small fraction of the user base. Everyone else just sees Microsoft trying to force a locked-down OS upon them. 

WTF: Microsoft’s consumer conundrum continues

IDG / Hayden Dingman

For many, the face of Microsoft’s consumer efforts is its Xbox division.

WIN: The Xbox Adaptive Controller


FAIL: Microsoft ends free Windows 10 upgrade 

Mark Hachman / IDG

Man, doesn’t 2024 seem like ages ago?

WIN: Windows 10 DirectX ray tracing is magic

Up until now, PCs have modeled real life by simulating textures painted onto 3D polygons—enough to put out a pretty convincing simulacrum of an alien planet, but still a bit off. Microsoft, together with Nvidia’s RTX hardware, unveiled a new version of DirectX that enables ray tracing—actually modelling photons as they fly through the air. It’s essentially true photorealism: expensive, computationally intensive, and utterly jaw-dropping. PC graphics changed forever this year, and Microsoft enabled the shift. 


Ray tracing—modeling “photons” as they fly through the air, reflect, and move through translucent surfaces—is hugely expensive and still limited in its use by games. But doesn’t it look marvelous?

Both of Microsoft’s Windows 10 feature updates for 2023 felt underwhelming from the get-go, without the customary introductory hoopla that has accompanied past releases. Consider our Windows 10 April 2023 Update review: Timeline and Near Sharing were the marquee features, though I doubt either gets much love from users. (I use the notification-blocking Focus Assist pretty frequently, though.)

Mark Hachman/IDG

Windows 10’s Timeline feature. How much do you use it?

As for the Windows 10 October 2023 Update—oy, the less said, the better. A step down from the April 2023 Update, Cloud Clipboard and the Your Phone app were its neatest tricks. But the October Update will forever be known for being pulled after it was found to delete data, and then later reissued in November. Microsoft scarcely promoted one of its key victories: polishing Edge to become a decent browser.

WTF: Edge’s shift over to Chromium 

Little did we know that shortly after we were blessing Edge with a positive recommendation we would be writing that a future version of Edge will be built on Chrome. Microsoft seems to believe that users will prefer an Edge-flavored version of Chrome. Will users buy it? We’re doubtful. Either way, it’s a puzzling shift, and essentially concedes the browser crown to Google. 

Mark Hachman / IDG

How many features of Edge, such as its per-site media autoplay controls, will carry over to “Microsoft Chromedge”?

WIN: Office 2023 and the triumph of subscriptions

A win for Microsoft, a loss for you: When the standalone Office 2023 debuted this year, you could just feel Microsoft’s lack of enthusiasm. As we noted way back in 2023, Microsoft doesn’t want you to buy Office 2023. Instead, the company wants you to pay and pay and pay for Office 365, in a subscription that renews every year.


Water bill, gas bill, Office bill, trash bill, property tax…

Office 2023 is therefore a slice in time, while Office 365 continues to add features every month. In Microsoft’s defense, that’s a perfectly valid model, and the company highlights the new features that it continually adds. But you can’t help but feel a bit used by Office-as-a-service, too.

FAIL: Cortana stumbles, fades into the background

As for Cortana? Besides the Harman/Kardon Invoke smart speaker—which was being dumped for $50 on Black Friday—and a thermostat from Johnson Controls, Cortana never really established itself in the home nor the car. Cortana’s integration of Amazon Alexa, while a positive, could also be seen as a capitulation. Meanwhile, Cortana chief Javier Soltero, who spoke well of Cortana and its future within various apps, has decided to depart the company. 

Mark Hachman / IDG

Cortana can still be triggered via the Search box on the Windows 10 Taskbar, but she seems more like a reminder engine than anything else.

Cortana’s a bit of a mystery—not quite dead, but without the pride of place it once enjoyed within Windows. I still use it frequently, but for many Cortana is simply nonexistent.

Keep reading to hear about Microsoft’s stand against ransomware, and more.

The World’s Largest Military Plane In Production Is China’s Y

On June 15th 2024, the first operational Y-20 heavy transport aircraft entered service into the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). China has now joined the United States and Russia as the only countries which can design and built its own strategic transport aircraft. It’s built by the Xian Aircraft Corporation, and apparently has been assigned the call sign “Roc”, after the giant mythical bird. In fact, of planes still in production, the 200 ton Y-20 is the world’s largest, as it’s larger than the Russian Il-76 and the American C-17A Globemaster ended production in 2024.

A New Dawn for Chinese Aviation

“11052” is China’s second operation Y-20 heavy transport aircraft. Capable of carrying 66 tons and flying nearly 8,000 km, the Y-20’s massive airframe means that it can also be a heavy aerial refueling tanker, and airborne early warning and control radar plane.

Currently, the 12th Regiment of the 4th Division of the PLAAF has taken delivery of multiple Y-20 transports, incluing 11051 and 11052. The Y-20 prototype first flew in December 2012, with four more flying prototypes completed by February 2024. With a maximum takeoff weight of 200 tons, the Y-20 can carry a 66 ton payload, allowing it to carry payloadthat might range from humanitarian disaster relief pallets to the heaviest Chinese tank, the ZTZ-99A. Its maximum range is over 7,800 km, though this would be less when at maximum payload. Its current four engines are Russian made D-30KP2 turbofans, though the domestic WS-20 turbofan will be installed around 2023, increasing the Y-20’s heavy lift range and short takeoff capability. The Y-20 can also be modified to serve as an aerial refueling tanker to extend the range of other transports, fighters and bombers, or as an airborne early warning and control aircraft to control and guide combat operations by fighters and drones.

A Fresh Bird

This Y-20, still in yellow zinc factory primer coating, is undergoing flight tests at the XAC factory, before it’s painted and enters PLAAF service.

The PLAAF’s first operational Y-20 are stationed in Qionglai, Sichuan Province. Situated close to the major aviation center of Chengdu, where it can respond to fast transport needs in any direction, from the South China Sea to the Himalaya mountains.

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Finally, a Modern Chinese Aerial Tanker

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