Akash Weekly: Lex & Arel Avellino of Passage
Welcome to another issue of Akash Network’s weekly newsletter, based on our weekly event series featuring Greg Osuri, Founder & CEO of Overclock Labs.
Our guests this week
Akash’s Mainnet 4: The governance vote is pending
The governance proposal is currently out for voting and is on track to pass with a 99%+ “yes” vote. If you are an AKT staker, please vote to ensure the Mainnet 4 upgrade is completed as scheduled.
The flagship feature of Mainnet 4, a dedicated IP address marketplace, will not only bring Akash closer to parity with large public cloud providers but will also enable new applications and use cases, such as Solana nodes — which have received significant interest over the last few weeks due to recent shocks to the Solana network.
As Hetzner continues to remove web3 from its platform, more projects and protocols realize that now is the time to move to the decentralized cloud. Akash is leading that transition.
We appreciate the recent interest and engagement from the Solana community. We look forward to working together to get Solana nodes up and running on Akash once Mainnet 4 is live.
We also look forward to new features from projects like MASQ that Akash’s dedicated IP marketplace will enable.
Alani Kuye: State of the Akash Ecosystem
In case you missed it: Check out Alani’s ecosystem update to get an overview of all the projects building on Akash.
Spheron’s web3 masterclass
Tomorrow 11/12/22: Spheron is hosting a web3 masterclass in Delhi, and Alani will speak on behalf of the Overclock Labs team.
Check out the event details and find the link to sign up in the tweet below.
Blog Series: Building the Open Cloud
Part 4 of our Building the Open Cloud series by Anil Murty is coming soon. In case you’ve missed any of the previous entries, check out the past installments below:
Lex & Arel Avellino of Passage
Lex Avellino is a world builder, Founder, and CMO of Passage. He’s been creating digital worlds through virtual production for over a decade, working with brands such as American Girl, Amazon, and more. He started this team back in 2017. Outside of work, he is a husband and father of four.
Arel Avellino is a storyteller, problem solver, and gamification nerd. Starting as a filmmaker from Philly turned 7-figure serial entrepreneur, he quickly learned how to lead creative teams to find solutions to unique problems. Now, he’s defining the future of metaverse events with Passage.
Passage’s origin story
Lex Avellino started Passage in 2017, focusing on 3D animation, rendering, and effects work. His background in digital production enabled Passage to create highly experiential events and interactive experiences for clients, including Marvel, Warner Brothers, and the Dallas Cowboys.
Lex describes Passage’s vision: “We want to create something that connects experiences, both physical and virtual.”
Arel and Lex have worked together for a long time, with Arel eventually joining the Passage team as COO. Before joining Passage, Arel started and managed multiple businesses — most recently, an e-commerce business focused on the reader community.
The key to Passage’s worldbuilding is the decision to keep a user’s network of relationships separate from the platform itself. This way, virtual experiences can be interconnected in ways that weren’t previously possible — creating continuity between digital worlds.
Strangeclan is a narrative experience that allows people to understand Passage’s vision easily. Users can create their character and identity and take that identity between virtual worlds.
Passage shows users that the story can go with them across virtual experiences — including characters, assets, and reputation. The Passage team believes that these things should be fluid across virtual boundaries.
Strangeclan reached over $7 million in total sales during its initial mint. Over $2 million of those mints were completed in the first two hours. The second mint reached a total of $700,000.
Strangeclan’s goal is to create a game that truly gives people ownership over their experience.
How did Passage first hear about Akash?
Lex first discovered Akash in December 2020. Passage was using traditional public cloud infrastructure at the time and was actively looking for a way to avoid dependence on large centralized cloud providers. Akash caught his attention as a solution enabling people to regain their independence on the web.
They began to gain awareness in the Cosmos ecosystem by interacting with Greg Osuri (@gregosuri) on Twitter. Greg notes:
Arel notes the similarity between Uber challenging legacy transportation systems by creating a two-sided marketplace. Akash has a similar mission in building its open marketplace for cloud compute. Other large public clouds currently don’t have significant incentives to optimize because of their market dominance. Akash is working to change this.
Currently, Passage runs its website front-end on Akash Network. They are excited about Akash’s upcoming GPU marketplace enabling cloud streaming as a use case. Lex notes that this will let Passage build experiences that give users “access to a world that can’t be shut down.” The plan is to optimize first, then decentralize it over time. Akash fits hand in hand with this vision.
The growth of generative AI
Greg, Lex, and Arel all agree that generative AI will enable greater creativity for artists. Arel notes that text-to-image AI generation is beginning to feel like “programming for images.”
In the same way that video creation has become democratized over the years, AI will likely democratize creative production across all content types in the same way.
AI will revolutionize the gaming industry and the creation of virtual worlds by allowing smaller studios to produce more with less overhead and giving them the ability to create on a faster timeline.
GPU usage is doubling every three months. (Moore’s Law had a two-year doubling period).
To incorporate cloud streaming, Passage will need access to significant GPU compute. Currently, centralized providers are the only way to access the necessary GPUs — but eventually, they envision moving to an open GPU marketplace on Akash once it is available. (Overclock Labs will focus on building this open GPGPU marketplace after Mainnet 4 is live).
Upcoming event experiences
Dcentralize, a web3 event production company, is creating a new festival that Passage will help produce. Passage will help extend their physical event into a virtual space where attendees can experience the same stage performances in Passage’s 3D world. People will also be able to interact with the artists and other attendees in this virtual setting.
Q: What is the plan to enable credit card payments on Akash and Passage?
A: (Passage) We are talking with several technology partners to enable a fiat bridge. Lex notes that their goal is to create an easy way for folks to bring fiat into the Cosmos ecosystem.
(Akash) For Akash, the pre-cursor for fiat payments is stable settlement. We are currently working on this feature. Stay tuned for updates on our official channels.
Q: (For Greg) Where do you see Akash in the year ahead?
A: Overclock Labs (the creator of Akash Network) is well-prepared for the bear market. We will keep building and shipping regardless of market conditions.
Greg touches on company finances and strategy during this section, and as usual for these topics in this newsletter — listen to Greg’s complete thoughts here.
Q: What is the progress toward Unreal Engine 5 support?
A: (Passage) We are already building Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) experiences today. Many of the partners we are working with will be building in UE5 as well.
More from Akash:
Watch the full recording of this week’s spaces below.
Tune into our weekly Twitter Spaces held every Wednesday at 8 am PT, featuring the Founder & CEO of Overclock Labs, Greg Osuri — and special guests from around the web3 space.
Explore the Akash Community and check out our Akash Insider and Vanguard programs.
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