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In this week’s What’s Appening, we cover Discord’s goals after buying the Gas app. The “compliments” app has surged in popularity with millions of high schoolers, and Discord wants to use that appeal to broaden its own ambitions. The brainchild of Nikita Bier, Gas is the second app that the entrepreneur has sold to a social media behemoth for a huge fee – just what is his secret? Elsewhere, we drop in on Reddit, which has quietly been building out into web3 in the most impressive fashion. We look at some of those layoffs from Big Tech companies, wondering if the media is seeing the bigger picture by concentrating on how the layoffs are handled. Our Stat of the Week sees a big surprise from Netflix. And What’s dAppening swims through the choppy waters of the crypto markets, which have been surging so far in 2023. 

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Takes 🎬

📱🤝 Discord – Gas Purchase Broadens Horizons Beyond Gaming

Five years ago, Nikita Bier sold his social media app “tbh” to Facebook for an estimated $100 million. Last week, Bier repeated the trick by selling Gas – the popular ‘compliments’ social media app aimed at teens – to Discord. Facebook (for very Facebooky reasons) decided to discontinue tbh a year after buying it, but Discord has other plans for Gas. For a start, they are keeping it as a separate product, retaining the entire Gas team, which is made up of just four people (😲). Anyhow, the grander scheme here is for Discord to diversify, and Gas, which has grown to over 1 million DAUs (mostly high schoolers) is part of the master plan. In a weird reversal of roles after an acquisition, the Gas team will be tasked with helping Discord to grow across new audiences. Known for its gaming channels, Discord has already begun to spread its wings with non-gaming content, with YouTube integrations, a greater focus on apps and bots, and by allowing users to monetize their Discord servers. Indeed, Paul points out in the latest What’s Appening video that he has been using Discord to access MidJourney, the AI text-to-image generator giving DALLE-2 a run for its money as the market leader. You can check out MidJourney on Discord for yourself here. As for the Gas app, Discord looks like it will be giving the founders carte blanche to keep growing their platform as they see fit. A smart move, as Bier has shown before that he knows how to catch lightning in a bottle when it comes to social media apps. #DiscordBuysGas Read more here.

🤖🕸️ Reddit – Blueprint for Web3 Takes Shape with Community Points Beta

If you are interested in how a Web 2 stalwart transitions to web3, then look no further than what’s appening on Reddit. The platform has been – in our view – very astute at introducing its 400million+ users to the world of web3. In the summer, Reddit rolled out its NFT program, with over 6 million mints to date, as well as providing millions of crypto wallets to users. But now it’s taking things up a notch with more details on Community Points (note: it’s been in the works for a while), a tokenized rewards system that allows you to own a piece of your Reddit Community. It lets you add a customized token to your subreddit, incentivizing quality content and rewarding engagement. In effect, it allows users to create mini-ecosystems with a unique token used for rewards, payments, and governance. Still in beta testing, there are many awesome things that Reddit is doing here, but what has caught our eye more than most is Reddit’s assertion that Community Points will grow beyond its own platform. It points to the blockchain as a means to take Points to other websites and social platforms. This, in a nutshell, is one of the end goals of web3, allowing users to freely traverse the internet with a non-transient digital footprint. If you are a Redditor, you can join the waitlist here. #RedditWeb3 Read more here.

😔👋 Big Tech – Layoffs Continue Apace with Google, Microsoft, and Spotify

Is there a kind way to lay off 10,000 people? Some media outlets believe so, heaping praise on Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella for firing people with “empathy”. They were keen to contrast Nadella’s warm words with the trigger-happy actions of Elon Musk (firing Twitter employees by email in November), but do folks suddenly without a job really care about how they were fired, or do they worry about paying the mortgage? Indeed, critics have pointed to Microsoft’s almost $140 billion gross profits (YTD up until September 2022), or that the company paid Sting to perform a private concert for executives in Davos on the eve of the layoff announcement. Of course, Microsoft isn’t alone in shedding jobs. Google has also been criticized for how it handled the dismissals of long-term employees who helped build it into what we know and (kind of) love today. Spotify, too, announced 600 layoffs yesterday. Dress it up whatever way you want: empathetic firings, emails from Elon – it sucks for these people who did their bit in building and maintaining some of the world’s richest companies. #TechLayoffs Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week: 7.66 million

📺📈 Netflix – Streaming Platform Smashes New Subscriber Expectations

Netflix generally had a terrible 2022, losing net subscribers for the first time in a decade and seeing its stock plummet as a result. But Q4 2022 saw the company smash expectations, adding 7.66 million new subscribers – way, way over the 4.57 million that was expected. In other news, the company is saying goodbye to CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings, the man at the helm since the days when Netflix was a DVD rentals business. He will do a Jeff Bezos, though, by staying on as Executive Chairman. #NetflixAndKillingIt #Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

A dApp is a decentralized app. Here’s the latest in web3, NFTs and blockchain apps.

💰🧟‍♀️ Web3 – Death of Crypto May Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

We usually shy away from reporting on crypto markets here, being more interested in the underlying technology and use cases. However, the surge in price action this January has put a spring in the step of the sector. At the time of writing, Bitcoin and Ethereum are up around 35% over the last 30 days, and the industry as a whole has reclaimed the $1 trillion market cap level. But that tells just part of the story: Innovation is always going to win the day in the web3 industry, and we have seen surges from cryptocurrencies and NFT projects that are building for the future. A case in point is FET (up over 200% in a month), the token that powers As you might gather from the name,, the world’s first self-organizing ledger, is all about powering AI solutions for the blockchain industry. People buy into narratives in the crypto industry, sure, and AI is so hot 🔥right now, but if you are building something with real utility, then the token prices will look after themselves. Of course, it’s too soon to talk about the end of the Crypto Winter, but all the doom-mongers in the mainstream media claiming the demise of the sector was nigh – we are looking at you, Jim Cramer – are starting to look a little foolish. #CryptoBouncesBack Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

As it is Lunar New Year, our friend and colleague Jingdi shares a message for the year ahead:

This past weekend was the beginning of the Lunar New Year, a time of good luck, family, and friends celebrated by many Asian communities around the world. I’m lucky to have spent time with my closest friends ringing in the Year of the Rabbit. The rabbit signifies rest and contemplation, but also positivity, so I hope it is a sign of a peaceful and prosperous new year for us all.

I was delighted to be able to share the experience of the Lunar New Year with friends from different backgrounds, handing out Red Envelopes with money as is traditional. For once, I felt like a proud auntie, gifting money to my younger friends.

I’d like to wish all readers, friends, family, and the 3Advance team a lucky and generous New Year.”

We were saddened to hear of the tragic events at the Lunar New Year event at Monterey Park at the weekend. Yet another instance of the senseless violence that blights our country. As if to punctuate the futility of sending out “hopes” and “prayers”, we learned that yet another shooting happened in Half Moon Bay yesterday. There have been 38 mass shootings in January 2023 alone. Despite the frequency of these tragedies, we should never become desensitized to them. GoFundMe has created a dedicated page for helping those affected by the Monterey Park tragedy. If you can spare a few dollars, you’ll find the details here.

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