Trending February 2024 # Amazon Adding Matter Support To Echo Devices Next Month; Philips Hue Update In 2023 # Suggested March 2024 # Top 6 Popular

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Today marks the official launch day of the new Matter smart home standard, a cross-platform collaboration between companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and more. A number of companies are officially jumping on board with new accessories today, including Amazon and Philips Hue. There are, however, some caveats with these announcements…


There are over 280 companies which are members of the Matter group, including the big names like Apple, Amazon, and Google. The Matter standard, (originally branded as CHiP), was first announced in 2023 with a target release date of 2023. The launch date was subsequently pushed back to 2023, and later to mid-2024, and is now finally launching.

The idea is that Matter will be a major boon to smart home adoption and popularity. It works by giving accessories cross-platform capabilities without nearly as much overhead as before. For instance, this means that if a device is Matter-compatible, then it is effectively HomeKit-compatible, too.

Amazon brings Matter to Alexa accessories

With today’s official launch of Matter, Amazon has announced that it is bringing Matter support to an impressive 17 of its Echo devices starting in December. Unfortunately, this initial rollout of Matter for Amazon will be pretty limited:

There is only support for Matter via WiFi, not Thread

Only compatible with Android devices

Only supported accessory types: smart plugs, smart bulbs, and smart switches

According to The Verge, Amazon plans to expand the rollout to iOS and Thread early next year alongside support for additional accessory categories as well.

“We’re bringing Matter support to well over 100 million devices across 30 Echo and Eero devices,” Chris DeCenzo, a senior principal engineer at Amazon and the company’s CSA board director, explained in an interview with The Verge. “This is an effort unprecedented in scale and complexity. It’s a big deal, and we need to make sure it goes smoothly.”

Additionally, the delay of an iOS Matter-compatible Alexa app is due to “Apple requiring apps to use new APIs that only just became available,” says DeCenzo. He says they want to take the time to test the integration before releasing it.

The full list of Amazon devices adding Matter support is: Echo Dot (fifth-gen), Echo Dot (fifth-gen) with Clock, Echo (fourth-gen), Echo Dot (third-gen, 2023 release), Echo Studio, Echo Show 8 (second-gen, 2023 release), Echo Show 10 (third-gen), Echo Show 5 (second-gen, 2023 release), Echo Dot (third-gen) with Clock, Echo Dot (fourth-gen) with Clock, Echo Show 5, Echo (v3), Echo Dot (fourth-gen), Echo Input, Echo Flex, Echo Plus (v2), Echo Show 8. 

These devices will be able to serve as “Matter controllers,” meaning that you can add any Matter-compatible accessory to the Amazon app for control via Alexa.

Philips Hue adopts Matter

Meanwhile, The Verge also reports that the Philips Hue Bridge is now Matter certified. According to Signify, the beta firmware can be downloaded starting today and a free software update will be rolled out by March 2023.

Signify says that the Hue Bridge update will preserve previous settings and personalizations in the Philips Hue App, as well as Google and Amazon integrations. But Apple HomeKit users will need to reset to connect again via Matter.

Signify will be leaning heavily on its bridge for years to come in order to help Hue device owners extract maximum value from their existing smart home setups. Even though Matter promises a future without such proprietary hubs, the reality for many smart home owners is that they’ll continue to be needed for a long, long time.

With today’s official launch of Matter, it’s clear that many companies are fulfilling their promises of adopting the feature. At the same time, however, it’s clear that the Matter standard is still in the early days and there are limitations and tradeoffs while the technology continues to mature.

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Amazon Echo Buds Review: Let Alexa Into Your Head

Commuters will enjoy the Bose noise-reduction features. It’s not quite noise-cancelling like you’d see on other buds, but it’s effective and certainly better than nothing.

Athletes should be pleased with the IPx4 water-resistance rating. You can sweat as much as you want without worrying about frying your music.

Smart assistant lovers can’t go wrong with the Alexa integration. Setup is quick, and then you can rely on Alexa whenever you need to.

Can you use the Echo Buds while working out?

Lily Katz / Android Authority

An IP rating is a must-have for workout earbuds, and the IPX4 rating on the Echo Buds tops both the Apple AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds. Amazon’s IPX4 rating is good enough to keep sweat at bay, but you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re planning to swim with earbuds in.

How do you connect the Echo Buds?

Open the lid to your Echo Buds, but don’t remove them from the case. Now, press the button on the bottom of the case until the LED light flashes blue. Once you see the flashing light, head to your phone’s Bluetooth menu, and select Echo Buds from the list. This process is universal for both Apple and Android listeners.

See also: Bluetooth codecs 101

Amazon’s Echo Buds feature Bluetooth 5.0 and support for the AAC codec, which is great news for iOS fans. Both iPhones and iPad will offer high-quality streaming, but Android users are slightly out of luck. There’s no aptX support, but most users won’t really be able to tell the difference, especially when auditory masking is a factor. The wireless buds use the Realtek RTL8763B Bluetooth SoC, which is great for low power usage.

How to update the Echo Buds?

Lily Katz / Android Authority

We briefly mentioned the fitness update earlier, but how do you go about setting it up? Well, the answer is simple — the Amazon Alexa app. Amazon previously rolled out other updates to help with problems such as overheating, so keeping your Echo Buds up to date is a must. If you’re signed into the Alexa app, the updates should process automatically. If not, just follow these steps to check on your update status:

Open your earbuds, confirm that they’re connected to your phone

Open the Alexa app and head to the devices tab

Select Echo & Alexa and locate your Echo Buds

Scroll to the About section and check on your update version

Set up your Buds through the Alexa app for best results

Adam Molina / Android Authority

Almost every pair of wireless earbuds comes with a must-have companion app. In the case of the Echo Buds, you only have to worry about the Amazon Alexa app. If you have other Echo speakers, you’re probably already familiar with the process, but it never hurts to have a refresher. After all, the Alexa app can help you check emails, set reminders, ask questions, and thousands of other skills. Here’s what you need to know:

Open the Alexa app and navigate to the Device tab

Press the “+” button and select Add Device

Next, choose the Amazon Echo section, and specifically Echo Buds

Continue through the setup until you get back to the Alexa app home screen

Once you make it back to the home screen, you’re fully in charge. Now you can mute your microphone, tinker with your listening modes, and adjust your EQ profile. You’ll also need the app to take the ear tip sizing test, similar to that of the AirPods Pro. The test involves a series of beeps and low rumbles, and you’ll get a readout of your results upon completion.

Amazon claims around five hours of battery life on the Echo Buds, and we actually managed to exceed expectations in our testing. We found closer to 5 hours, 40 minutes of playback. Although this isn’t class-leading, it beats a few big names. The fast charging is excellent — 15 minutes of charging is enough for two hours of playback. Once you factor in the charging case, the Echo Buds are good for about 20 hours of total playback. Unfortunately, the Echo Buds charge via microUSB — really Amazon? What year is it?

Another curious feature of the battery life is that the right earbud tends to die before the left one. We found around 20 minutes of extra listening on the left earbud, which isn’t something we’ve really seen before. You probably won’t notice thanks to the charging case, but it’s an odd feature to be sure.

Is the microphone good for phone calls?

Another category, another odd result for the Echo Buds. Low frequency sounds are heavily attenuated, so deeper male voices tend to sound distorted. The three microphones do well to pick up on the “Alexa” buzzword, but only in quiet environments. It’s tough to deliver voice commands in louder coffee shops. However, my voice seemed to relay well enough — nobody asked me to switch to the microphone on my phone, which has happened before.

Amazon Echo Buds microphone demo:

Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) with Wireless Charging Case

Add the power of Alexa to your ears. Amazon’s Echo Buds are packed with Bose technology and they’re some of the best earbuds around if you want a true hands-free experience.

See price at Amazon



Review: Google Home/Nest Vs Amazon Echo Alexa Dot

Google Home or as it was rebranded, Google Nest, and Amazon’s Alexa are fierce competitors in an otherwise non-existent market – that of smart speakers. While the hardware remains the same, the functions available and the technology behind the service constantly evolve and improve.

Of course, while most users already have a preference, be it based on aesthetics or function, or even price, a comparison can help the undecided make a decision. On the face of it, the two compete on relatively even grounds. In fact, for casual users, both devices will likely work just fine, but we decided to look a little deeper.

The Assistant

Both devices have their own smart assistant – Amazon has Alexa, and Google has the nameless Google Assistant. While both are great voice assistants and can answer questions, control smart devices, and more, there is a key difference: skills.

Alexa has support for third-party functionality, which allows users to teach it things like ordering pizza, or reading a child a bedtime story. Google Assistant has several ‘unnecessary’ functions such as the ability to tell jokes on request, but it lacks the variety of things that Alexa can learn. Is all of that necessary? No. Is it nice to have? For many users, definitely.

The flip side is that while Google Assistant has become very good at understanding natural syntax, Alexa is quite rigid and will only understand commands if they follow the right syntax as closely as possible. For older users or those with memory problems, having to change the way they speak can be difficult – and therefore, a barrier that the Google device doesn’t have.

Another limitation of Alexa is how harshly it is tied into Amazon – while that makes sense, it’s almost impossible to get her to help you shop anywhere else, something the Nest has no issues with. The Nest is also much better at scouring the internet for information – Alexa largely relies on Wikipedia, and, again, Amazon.

For basic functions such as reading the news, setting timers, and spelling words, both devices work equally well. As far as conversations go, Google Assistant has an edge – it can remember things during the conversation. With the Nest, it’s possible to ask ‘Who wrote Harry Potter?’ and after the answer, follow up with ‘What else did she write?’. For Alexa, you would have to phrase the second inquiry as ‘What other books did JK Rowling write?’.


Both the Nest and the Echo have a simple design with several different versions, be they square or round. The Dot used to be rectangular but is now cylindrical – just like the Nest Mini. The bigger Nest is shaped like a rectangle with rounded edges.

The Dot has options for a version with a built-in clock, and both devices are available in different colours. Both come in blue, black, and white – the Nest also comes in green and salmon.

The Echo Dot is available in a few special versions as well – such as the kids’ edition, which features a panda design on a white Dot, or a tiger design on an orange one. Both the Nest and the Echo also have more niche device options that come with a screen – the Nest Hub and the Echo Show.

Both are economically sized and have smaller and full-sized options available, so as far as appearance goes, it’s entirely up to preference. The additional colours of the Nest look good but aren’t exactly revolutionary. The Dot has additional RGB lighting strips that may appeal to some.

Speaker Quality

While the main appeal of both devices is definitely the smart functionality, they are also speakers – and therefore, sound quality matters. The original and now discontinued Google Home Max absolutely lead the way in terms of sheer volume – without it, the Echo Studio is the new king. The Echo Studio has an impressive level of sound quality as well and boasts angled drivers that allow for directional sound.

The mid-tier devices – the Nest and Echo – sound very similar, with good enough audio quality to be nice to listen to. The Echo has a slight edge when it comes to bass, while the Nest does treble a little better, but for most users, the quality is absolutely comparable.

The smallest devices – the Echo Dot and Nest Mini have somewhat more noticeable differences. The Nest Mini is quite weak in the bass and midrange, an issue the Echo Dot doesn’t have. The smaller ones are ideally suited to be on bedside tables or less spacious desks, so their smaller size naturally also means some trade-offs – the Echo Dot has an edge over the Nest Mini, but the larger sized devices are about the same in terms of quality.

Smart Home Functionality

One of the key driving forces for people actually buying a smart home assistant is their ability to control smart devices around the home. Almost everything can be a smart device now – lights, heating, doorbells, the radio, even fridges and washing machines. Not all devices are compatible with both the Echo and the Nest, although market-leading smart device brands do generally offer support for both.

The exceptions are Blink and Ring – both are owned by Amazon and therefore only work with Alexa. The Nest thermostats and cameras, both owned and created by Google take a more user-friendly approach – they are compatible with both Alexa and Google assistant.

Regardless of what smart devices you have though when they are properly set up and connected to your chosen device, you can do things like combining them into rooms, setting up routines, and so on. While both devices let you combine different actions – turning things on, dimming the lights, changing the temperature, and so on – into a routine that can be activated with one command, there is a marked difference between the Nest and the Echo. As mentioned before, the Nest is remarkably better at understanding natural speech – and that extends to its understanding of commands.

Where Google is likely to understand “turn off the bedroom lights” as a routine or command, Alexa tends to ask follow-up questions – and it definitely doesn’t take commands as reliably as the Nest does. It’s partly a question of getting used to just how Alexa’s syntax works, however just working straight out of the box is also a factor – and there, Google Nest wins, hands down.


Of course, privacy is a topic that needs to be addressed. There’s no shortage of stories where smart speakers violated people’s privacy – such as when Amazon sent one person’s voice recordings and files to someone else by accident. It happens – and of course, it’s a serious issue.

Privacy concerns are a major sticking point for many, and there is a clear winner when you compare the Echo and Nest; the Google Nest. To date, there have been no major issues reported with the Google devices. The company also hasn’t shared private information with the wrong people yet.

For those concerned with privacy, the Nest also has an additional feature – a physical off-switch that disables the microphone, meaning that it can’t ‘secretly’ stay on as some people fear. The Echo also has a button to turn off the mic, but it only shows that it’s off by changing the colour of a light, which subjectively feels a little less trustworthy, in regards to whether it’s ‘really’ off.

Of course, both of them have a 100% trustworthy switch – pulling the plug. Since both devices need to be plugged in to work, if you want to be absolutely certain they’re not recording, you can simply cut the power. While that may not always be practical on a daily basis, especially as time-activated functions are reliant on a smart hub being on, it is a sure-fire option!

The Verdict

Both devices are incredibly close, ability-wise. They have each have some benefits. Ultimately, it’s nearly impossible to say which is better. It depends specifically on how you want to use it and if any devices you have are compatible.

For beginners or those not too tech-savvy, the Google Nest is definitely the better choice. It’s easier to get used to. If you are looking for extensive third-party functions, however, you’ll want to go with Alexa. Its third-party skill setup offers a solid number of options.

Appearance-wise, both devices are fairly similar. Unless you are specifically looking to have an always-visible clock like in some Echo devices, there is little difference between the two, other than some colour options and shapes.

The speakers also compete on even ground, though in the smallest devices, the Echo Dot and Nest Mini, the Echo Dot has the edge on sound quality, though both sound just fine.

When it comes to cost, they are also fairly equal. The Nest Mini costs around $50, the Nest Audio around $100, and the Nest Hub about $80. The Echo Dot is about $35, the Echo $125, and the Echo Show about $250. While the larger Echos are a little more pricy, the Dot is cheaper than the Nest Mini. This makes it a more affordable ‘test’ device for those not really sold on getting a smart speaker.

Privacy-wise, Google also has the edge. It lacks the horror stories that Amazon’s devices have given us. The physical microphone off switch also feels more reliable than the light-indicated button that Echo has, but that is fairly subjective.

We like the Google Nest better if only because of the superior speech recognition and understanding it offers. The Alexa is a strong competitor though – you can’t really go wrong with either!

Next Up: Five Ones To Watch In November 2023

In 2023, a new creator economy was born on the blockchain. Since NFTs took center stage, artists have achieved NFT superstardom, billion-dollar brands have been forged in just a few months, and many lives have been utterly transformed time and again. Yet, the most inspiring thing about the NFT space is the number of artists of all creeds and mediums who have found community and support by embracing this technology.

In keeping with our mission to empower creators, we present Next Up — our monthly franchise dedicated to showcasing rising artists. In our November edition, we’ve curated a list of five ascendant talents who have been making significant waves in 2023.

Ana María Caballero

Ana Maria Caballero is a first-generation Colombian-American poet and artist. Her work explores how biology delimits societal and cultural rites and seeks to remove the veil from romanticized motherhood while questioning notions that package female sacrifice as a virtue. She is the recipient of the Beverly International Prize, Colombia’s José Manuel Arango National Poetry Prize, and a Sevens Foundation Grant. Her work has been widely published and exhibited internationally and virtually.

We spoke with Caballero and asked a few questions about NFTs and her artistic process.

How did you first become interested/involved in NFTs?

For years, I felt the life of a published poem was too insular, too quiet, and too short, so I shared my poems as spoken-word videos on social media. When I read about Web3, it seemed like a natural jump for me as I already had digital versions of many of my poems and was inspired by how people connected with them.

I feel very deeply that poems are works of art, and grew certain that this value could finally be expressed via blockchain provenance. I decided to create a digital poetry gallery in April 2023, and a month later, I bought the domain for chúng tôi where I hoped to sell my own poems as well as those of my poet friends. Meanwhile, I’ve fallen deeply in love with the crypto art ecosystem. It’s such a radiantly alive place to be.

How would you describe your art? What’s your process like?

My poetry is rooted in the deeply intimate details of my day. Our desires, regrets, and quests for purpose are inseparable from the logistics of living. We rip envelopes, answer emails, towel children, and boil eggs, all while pondering the ultimate meaning of our existence. I’m direct in my writing. When we embellish what we’re feeling, it’s because we’re afraid of feeling it. I believe that only brutally honest and personal writing can be relatable, much less universal. Language doesn’t need to adorn itself to be powerful or beautiful.

My poems are moments of observation and resistance. I like to employ rhyme which, in conversational texts, becomes a marked departure from our normal speech patterns and adds intention, play, and subversion to a text. Sometimes, I feel like a conceptual artist, drafting poems borne of ideas, rather than from feeling. Others, I feel like an impressionist painter, weaving emotion into what I see.

Do you have any drops/collections on the horizon we should keep an eye out for?

I just launched a collection called Ways to Misspell Obsidian with chúng tôi the digital arm of London’s Gazelli Art House. This collection, which investigates and celebrates the storytelling potential of long-form poetry, consists of three poems and is based on a lyric essay I wrote that was a finalist for Ploughshares’ Emerging Writers Contest. These works form a triptych of shared signification, recursion, imagery, and vocabulary in which rhyme, unexpected line breaks, and spacing are used to sketch the shadows of meaning.

Ben Hopper

Ben Hopper is an artist, portraitist, and conceptual photographer. Although based in London, his art is nomadic, leading him to travel and photograph anywhere humans might be. His work centers on the human figure and has been exhibited worldwide, notably in media outlets such as HuffPost, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, ELLE, and GQ.

We spoke with Hopper and asked a few questions about NFTs and his artistic process.

How did you first become interested/involved in NFTs?

I saw that my good friend John Chan (known on Twitter as swolfchan) was playing around with NFTs and having massive success. After watching from the sidelines for a while we had a chat in May 2023. At the time, I kind of got the impression that it was now or never and that I should try to ride the wave because maybe it could set me up for financial stability as an artist. So in September 2023, I minted my first pieces which were a part of my genesis collection Dancers on Rooftops, a series that I’ve been working on since 2008. Twenty pieces that I minted sold, and that gave me the funds to continue.

How would you describe your art? What’s your process like?

My art, at the moment, is visual art — mostly using photography. I started photographing circus artists because my brother studied circus. Then from that, I went to dancers, and from that, I went to fetish clubs, burlesque, and cabaret clubs in London. This sort of triangle of circus dance, fetish clubs, and dress-up clubs inspired all of my work that came after I moved to London from Israel in 2008.

I’m really interested [in working] with people and the human body. My process is mostly improvisation and very inspired by performance in dance. So I find an artist or a model that I really want to work with, and we find a location, and then I tell them, ‘ok, you have from this spot to this spot to move.’ During that, I’m trying to get into some sort of state of flow and just completely let go and not think. I take anything between 500 to 3,000 photos in a session. Then I go through the photos in Adobe Lightroom and just kind of select and narrow them down to the best ones.

After a few years, I zoom out and see what I created over time, and all of a sudden, I can identify all these different themes that recur in my work so I can gather them and group them together into projects. That’s often how my projects may materialize. I don’t always think of the projects first.

Do you have any drops/collections on the horizon we should keep an eye out for?

I just released a really interesting, cute collection with a Norwegian artist called Haavard. He’s a generative artist, and he took my dancers on rooftops and put them in videos that go for 15 minutes. They slowly morph into something else — these kind of pixels that mesh around. Other than that, my work is all divided or grouped into projects. So in a way, they’re all ready to become NFT collections. I’m not sure if I’m going to mint all of my projects as collections, but most of my work will likely turn into NFT collections sooner or later.

There’s another one that I’m really excited about, that’s a series of collaborations between myself and graphic artists from all over the world that take my photography and add their own art to my photos. That collection I’m hoping to launch soon. It’s a work in progress, and there will be new works added. It’s going to be a nice opportunity to connect with some of the graphic artists in the NFT space that I find really interesting.

Sasha Stiles

Sasha Stiles is a first-generation Kalmyk-American poet, artist, and AI researcher creating at the intersection of text and technology. A pioneer of generative literature, she is the recipient of a Future Art Award and a nominee for the Forward Prize, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net. Having received numerous other accolades in the Web3 and NFT spheres, her work has been widely exhibited virtually and in IRL worldwide.

We spoke with Stiles and asked a few questions about NFTs and her artistic process.

How did you first become interested/involved in NFTs?

I’ve been writing poems and making media-rich language art my entire life with an emphasis on hybrid poetics, experimental literature, and the poetics of technologies like generative text and AI-powered language models. In 2023, after ‘publishing’ my digital poetry on Instagram for years, I began submitting to art venues like CADAF in addition to the usual literary magazines, and curators started to take notice in a way that many poetry editors had not.

My first IRL solo show opened in 2023. In the same month, the fashion brand Rag & Bone used my AI poetry on the runway at New York Fashion Week. Later that year, the curator Jess Conatser commissioned me to write a poem for Virtual New Year’s Eve, a metaverse experience organized by One Times Square/Times Square Arts. That show opened up a world of possibilities and introduced me to a slew of new media and crypto artists. I realized that NFTs could be game-changing for my practice, and I dove right in.

How would you describe your art? What’s your process like?

I think of myself as a meta-poet probing what it means to be human in a nearly posthuman era. How are technologies like neural implants, artificial wombs, cryogenics, and digital immortality changing the very nature of the human condition? Or themes like birth, death, faith, and imagination, which poets have been writing about for time immemorial. My hybrid work spans from the traditional (my book Technelegy, for example, is a physical object), to the conceptual, to the sculptural, to the natural, to the digital, and to the virtual, all inspired by the belief that poetry is one of the most profound and durable technologies we humans have ever invented.

Do you have any drops/collections on the horizon we should keep an eye out for?

On the heels of sold-out poetry releases at Quantum, fxhash, and the Herbert W. Franke Tribute, this month, I’m releasing new work with Vertical Crypto Art for VCA Invites London. I’m also launching a generative, interactive poetry project called COMPOSE, created with Nathaniel Stern and playrecordmint via Kunsthalle Zurich, as well as curating a poetry experience at CADAF NYC with theVERSEverse.

I’m putting the finishing touches on a new fxhash collab with gen artist and letterpress printing pro Sarah Ridgley, in which we will use the blockchain as a bespoke printing press, and am preparing for a very exciting sale coming up in December that I still can’t quite believe is happening. And, of course, I’m preparing a really special curation of poems and programming by theVERSEverse in collaboration with nft now for The Gateway during Miami Art Basel.

Tyler Boswell

Tyler Boswell is a generative artist who comes from a computer science background with six years of experience in web development. Although he’s always wanted to find a creative outlet that fits his unique skillset, he says he was never good at the traditional arts, like drawing and painting, and eventually became interested in generative art. Outside of generative art, he spends his time hiking and dabbling in photography, drawing much of his art inspiration from colors and shapes found in nature. Boswell is garnering acclaim for his latest fxhash collection “September,” which is second only to Zancan’s blue-chip “Gardens, Monolith” in total sales volume on the platform over the past month.

We spoke with Boswell and asked a few questions about NFTs and his artistic process.

How did you first become interested/involved in NFTs?

I got into generative art in late 2023 and was quickly introduced to the world of NFTs through Twitter. I wasn’t a crypto enthusiast, so I was a bit skeptical about getting involved, but after seeing the incredible art being produced in places like ArtBlocks and fxhash, I was convinced. The community of artists and collectors is incredibly inviting, which made it easy to get involved and meet new people.

How would you describe your art? What’s your process like?

My art is relatively simple, technically speaking, but I like to combine simple ideas and techniques to form more natural, organic, and complex outputs. I usually start by trying to replicate something in nature or with an idea I like from another piece of art, and then modify it and layer more ideas on top to eventually make it my own. My goal is to mask the technical details of how I make something. I want my art to look natural, not [like] the result of an algorithm (even though it is).

Do you have any drops/collections on the horizon we should keep an eye out for?

I have a piece releasing on November 2. I am exhibiting a limited edition generative work, Catalyst, at a VerticalCrypto event in London. I have one more long-form generative work scheduled for the end of the year, but can’t say anything quite yet.

Violetta Zironi

Violetta Zironi is an Italian-born singer-songwriter and actress who first found commercial success at age 18 when she was selected as a finalist on X Factor Italy. After two years of being signed to a major label and trying to escape the creative box she was put in, Zironi sought to regain her independence through digital album releases, live performances, and writing songs for movies and commercials, eventually finding herself in Web3.

We spoke with Zironi and asked a few questions about NFTs and her artistic process.

How did you first become interested/involved in NFTs?

I got involved in NFTs in January 2023. After two brutal years of struggling through the pandemic as an independent musician and being terribly frustrated and drained by the impenetrable Web 2.0 music industry, I had given myself one more year to try everything I could to save my music career.

Around Christmas in 2023, my mother told me about NFTs — specifically music NFTs. I immediately saw it as an opportunity I couldn’t miss out on. I didn’t know anything about crypto or NFTs, but I dove in as deep as I could and quickly learned how to navigate the space. I fell in love with the community and felt the fire and passion in me reignited. It has since been my full-time job.

How would you describe your art? What’s your process like?

My biggest passion is melody. It satisfies me when there is a melody that would be able to survive and live on its own without any arrangement around it. So when I write songs, I always start with the melody and then move on to the lyrics. I collaborate with multi-platinum songwriter Michael Ochs, and together we thrive.

My goal is for my songs to impact the listener (and myself as I play them) as if they were watching a movie, but only with the song. A musical story, from start to finish, that takes you back to a place that feels familiar, yet surprising. I take a lot of inspiration from old jazz standards, traditional Italian songs, and classical music. When it comes to pairing art with my songs, I always want the art to be inspired by the music. I love when the artwork enhances the music instead of taking away from it.

Do you have any drops/collections on the horizon we should keep an eye out for?

My second music NFT album, Gypsy Heart, will start minting at the end of January, but we will begin pre-selling a limited batch of mint passes for a discount in the second week of November. This collection will be a PFP project, with 5,000 hand-drawn characters paired with five brand new songs, recorded fully analog with original 1950s gear. I want to bring art in its most human and organic form to one of the most innovative pieces of technology we have in order to enhance the craft and allow it to live forever.

Next Up: Five Ones To Watch In June 2023

In 2023, a new creator economy was born on the blockchain. Since NFTs took center stage, artists have achieved NFT superstardom, billion-dollar brands have been forged in just a few months, and lives have been utterly transformed time and again. Yet, the most inspiring thing about the NFT space is the number of artists of all creeds and mediums who have found community and support by embracing this technology.

In keeping with our mission to empower creators, we present Next Up — our monthly franchise dedicated to showcasing rising artists. Although the NFT space has changed significantly over the last few years, one thing has remained true: the sheer volume of creative talent in Web3 only continues to grow. In our June edition, we’ve curated a list of five ascendant talents who have been making significant waves throughout Web3.


Batzdu, known simply as Batz, is an artist, creator, and generalist known for his Modern Memeism style. Having first gained traction in the NFT space with GeoMetric Pepes (a.k.a GM Pepes), the enigmatic artist has since capitalized on his growing success by minting a variety of meme-inspired and fine art projects. His journey to notoriety thus far has culminated in landmark sales of collections like Pepedenza and The Nine and cosigns from Jack Butcher, Vincent Van Dough, and other prominent Web3 figures.

Emi Kusano

Emi Kusano is a Japanese multidisciplinary artist, entrepreneur, and singer/songwriter based in Tokyo. Although in some circles, Kusano is known as the lead singer of the ’80s synthwave group Satellite Young, in Web3, she is most revered as the Co-Founder of the Shinsei Galverse NFT project and her nostalgia and retro-futurism-based creations. Most recently. Kusano made a splash with the release of her Bright Moments collaborative Neural Fad collection, which examines the relationship between AI and memory.


Gelo is a New York-based creator who brings his more than 20 years of experience in architecture and art to the blockchain through a variety of different endeavors. With the self-dictated mission to reinterpret architectural forms as art in a different time and space, Gelo uses light and shade to imbue his pieces with deep emotion. From his 1/1s to editions and collaborative ventures, Gelo’s work tells humanistic stories using architecture as the protagonist.

Ivona Tau

Ivona Tau is an award-winning generative AI artist from Lithuania. Operating from a Ph.D. in AI and 15 years of combined experience in professional photography and AI, Tau has been exhibited widely, including at Art Basel, SCOPE, The House of Fine Art, Bright Moments Berlin, and Sotheby’s. In Web3, she often works with neural networks and code as a medium in experimental photography and motion painting with the goal of evoking emotions through artificially intelligent tools.

Kristopher Shinn

Photos I took on the ferry chúng tôi kristopher (@kristophershinn) June 15, 2023

Kristopher Shinn is a Pacific Northwest-based photographer who primarily shoots on film. Having found a knack for himself capturing moments both domestically and abroad, over the years, he’s released a variety of works both physically and digitally, with his claim to fame in Web3 coming from coveted collections like By Way of Water, Outer, and his numerous collaborative ventures with artists like fellow Next Up/NFT100 honorees Batzdu, Postwook, Efdot, and more.

The Next Cryptocurrency To Explode In 2023: Best 7 Options

The crypto market is a highly volatile place. One second, it’s blossoming, and the next second it’s drooping. Many argue that investing in such an ambiguous sector is nothing more than embarking on a fool’s errand. However, if we look at it a certain way, a lot can be gained from this sector. 

Many investors have made huge fortunes by investing money into Cryptocurrencies that exploded overnight. If you are seeking the best cryptocurrencies to buy, this article is for you. We have compiled a list of the top 7 cryptocurrencies with a great chance of exploding this year. 

Before talking about them in great detail, let us first go through their names:

Fight Out (FGHT) 

Love Hate Inu (LHINU)

Tamadoge (TAMA)

RobotEra (TARO)

Gala (GALA)

Ethereum (ETH)

Bitcoin and specific altcoins ruled the crypto world up until 2013. This authority was brought to an end when the first meme-coin was deployed in 2013. Since then, countless meme-coin have been launched, but only a few have had an impact. 

2023 will be remembered as the “year of meme-coins” for a pre-eminent cryptocurrency that has recently entered crypto. 

Mascot Meme Contest:

The firm will host a competition where community members will be asked to create a mascot resembling the TOAD NFTs. Whoever comes up with the best design will receive enticing rewards. 

Trading Competitions:

For every trade they make, the community traders will receive a 10% profit. This incentive will help ensure responsible individuals trade enthusiastically and maintain the treasury well maintained.              

NFT Staking Pool:


Maintaining the NFT staking pool 

Keep the liquidity up to the desired levels

To ensure the seamless functioning of the firm’s deflationary model

Toad Economics (Tokenomics):

 TOADS have a fixed total supply of 585 million. The initial token allocation is as follows:

69.29% for presale and community bonuses 

13.16% for Project Launch, Public Releases, Liquidity pool, and Misc

7.29% for Prizes

5.2% for development 

5% for team tokens 

2% for token burn

2% for NFT staking pool

1% for liquidity 

2% for treasury


Individuals looking to buy the TOADS token in the presale can choose from various payment options. The firm accepts payments in BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, USDT, USDC, BUSD, BNB, DOGE, SSOL, TRXSHIB, DAI, and DASH.  

Are you planning on purchasing TOADS? Hurry up and avail yourself of the “STAGE 4” promo code to secure a 15% bonus! 

2. Fight Out (FGHT):

One of the biggest challenges that most people face at one point or another is having a good physique. Remaining in good shape can sometimes be very difficult. People need to gain more enthusiasm in the middle of their transformation journey. The diminished passion may be due to a need for more incentives.   

Blockchain technology and many Web 3.0 firms are coming up with solutions to this problem. One great way they have attempted to manage this hassle is by coming up with a move-to-earn system that rewards people for completing their fitness tasks. 

Fight Out works in close association with prominent boxers, athletes and personal trainers. These individuals serve as a guide for people who are motivated to keep their health in check. For each completed task, users get rewarded with REPS tokens which can be used to purchase fitness courses and necessities. The REPS token can also be converted to FGHT or fiat currency and cashed out.


Love Hate Inu (LHINU):

This superlative cryptocurrency has had one of the best presales in history. What makes it so unique? The firm revolutionizes the crypto industry by introducing its vote-to-earn feature. An individual can earn rewards by simply participating in polls and voicing their opinions on important decisions. The polls have unique topics ranging from entertainment to politics and much more. 

LHINU is currently in its 8th stage of presale and is projected to offer an ROI of as high as 60%. Although LHINU falls under the meme-coin category, the countless utilities it creates make it a suitable crypto to buy for the long term. 

To participate in the polls, members will have to stake their LHINU tokens for a minimum time of 30 days. The longer individuals stake their tokens, the more influential they become. Love Hate Inu has reserved 10% of the total supply for community rewards. The remaining 90% of the token supply has been floated into the market for purchase in presale.           

4. Tamadoge (TAMA):

Tamadoge is one of the best coins to invest in right now. What is so unique about this coin? The firm will release a series of arcade games on the Tamaverse. The first of these will be called “Enter the Tamaverse”. Tamadoge will enhance the user experience by incorporating augmented reality in these games and adding play-to-earn features. Moreover, the Tamaverse will serve as a platform where activities like exploring, breeding, and minting of NFTs will be carried out. Players will also get a chance to interact with fellow players.

5. RobotEra (TARO):

Countless new metaverse has popped up in the last few years. Each new company is trying harder than before to come up with something innovative. RobotEra has succeeded in coming up with the most alluring metaverse platform. 

Here, users can own real estate, trade in digital assets, and play games. A notable thing about RobotEra metaverse is that it allows people without the slightest knowledge about coding to create enticing new games. 

Experts predict that the TARO coin will witness exponential price growth. Therefore, buying the token at this stage is a wise choice when it is in presale. 

6. Gala (GALA): 7. Ethereum (ETH):

When the conversation is about the best cryptocurrencies to invest in, it will be a shame if Ethereum is omitted. It is the number 1 blockchain in terms of the number of users and second in the world by market capitalization.

Ethereum is a decentralized blockchain platform that aids developers in the creation of smart contracts, applications, and exchanges. The latest developments in this state-of-the-art firm hint at a multi-fold increase in its price. 

Ethereum’s Shanghai upgrade is finally live. An excellent moment for Ethereum holders and validators worldwide. This upgrade permits validators to withdraw their staked tokens within 1 day. Experts have predicted a sudden hike in Ethereum prices following this notable upgrade. Invest now to reap significant returns. 


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